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Top Seven Rules For Getting Music Gigs

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Top Seven Rules For Getting Music Gigs

by Tessie Barnett & Jessica Brandon

Are you looking for Gigs? Here are a few helpful tips for the best practices in the gig business.

Lord & LadyMany artists and professionals have built a solid, organic following with their talent but struggle to get beyond a certain threshold. It’s a point at which some artists give up and others get big. It is possible to grow your business to the level of name and brand recognition. It just takes consistent movement, time, and exposure. By incorporating these tips into your own business, you can attract loyal clients and jump to the next level in your career.

 

  1. Be Passionate

When you’re performing or engaging with your fans, there needs to be energy—and lots of it. An audience can very clearly see when an artist has become stagnant or bored. Having experience in your field is a benefit for obvious reasons, but after the initial excitement of performing wears off, you should be aware of how that affects your output.

Try to push yourself at all times. What would be an unusual addition to the song you’ve gotten hundreds of requests for? What could you bring as a visually appealing element to your performance? How can you get closer to the audience? The performers who involve their fans make a lasting impact, and those fans are eager to tell others about it.

 

  1. Be Open

Too often, entertainers will pass up an opportunity to perform because it doesn’t pay well—or at all. Yes, it’s a controversial subject and this is your livelihood we’re talking about. But in order to increase your exposure and networking opportunities, it’s going to require a little give and take.

Charity and nonprofit functions are just a few events that will request donated performances. We’ve seen many artists advance their business by taking advantage of this outreach. The event organizers responsible for raising funds for a particular cause have to entice people to attend. What better way to do that than with live entertainment? With that in mind, they’ll promote your talent to the community as it benefits you both.

These charitable events are typically attended by community leaders, business owners and journalists, so the exposure and networking opportunities can be well worth a performance donation.

 

  1. Be Everywhere

Speaking of networking…

It’s imperative to take advantage of the outreach capabilities available through social media. These days, artists are able to connect with fans more than ever, so it’s become easier for them to expect this direct engagement. In order to gain traction in your industry and build a loyal following, you’ll want to make yourself accessible. Your social media platforms can be used to promote your talent, of course, but it has increasingly become a way for your followers to get to know the person behind the talent.

Networking is about creating ongoing relationships. As your business grows and your calendar starts to fill up quicker, you may find it difficult to maintain each of these relationships. Your network can evolve on its own simply by displaying client reviews on your website. A recent consumer review survey showed that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Request reviews from your client right after a show when your performance is still fresh on their mind. This is the optimal time for feedback. Fans are still pumped by your intense energy and often times want to give back any way they can.

Another benefit to the review process is that it requires the client to list details that, over time, could be forgotten. Because they took the time to reflect, your performance can be imprinted in their memory which will make them more likely to recommend you.

We’ll be sure to keep you up-to-date with any new trends or practices that can help you get more gigs. Until then, be passionate, be open, and be everywhere.

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” -Steve Jobs

 

  1. Know Your Music Inside-Out.

There is a need to be not just “good enough”, but GREAT. Why settle for less? Whatever developing stage you are at, go beyond it, re-commit yourself to your instrument or voice. Take lessons, or better yet, sit yourself down and watch on YouTube or at your CD player and choose a favorite musicians record, and listen closely to what they are playing. then re-play it, and re-play it again. Challenge yourself to go beyond your limitations. Who knows, maybe you will fall into some new territory, wherein you will find yourself, your “sound”, and increase your chance to stand out from all the mediocrity that is your competition.

Believe it or not, record labels love to hear innovative, accessible new sounds. Actually in their heart of hearts, that is what they are really hoping to hear on every new demo, and from every new act they go see at a live venue. You see, in the business of music, when we hear something new, original, and accessible to people, we can then invest in you with more security, believing that if we put our “label brand” on you, with our talents of promotion and marketing coming to the front, then we “have something”, and your music becomes our music, and we work together to broaden you audience appeal.

 

  1. Make Set Lists

To some this is a regular, fundamental practice. To others, there isn’t much thought put into it, or they don’t make one at all.

There are several advantages to taking the time to write out a set list:

When each band member knows what song is next, the show will run much smoother.

You can properly time your set.

You’ll learn how to make the show flow and reduce or eliminate “dead-air.”

You’ll be able to go back over it and review what worked and what didn’t work.

There is a definite art to constructing a good set list – especially one that works well over and over again. When it’s done correctly, you’ll consider keys, tempos, genres, and especially – your audience, and put it in an order that makes sense.

The primary objective is to take people on a ride by dictating the mood in the room with the way you put your sets together. Creating and utilizing great segues and medleys is also a must to keep things moving and to keep the crowd engaged. With practice and tweaking, you can come up with brilliant set lists that make your band look like pros.

 

  1. Pick the Right Songs

This is perhaps one of the most crucial aspects of your live show. There are many factors to consider including your genre, the ability of the musicians in the band, the venue, and the type of gigs you are playing.

 

The priority here, of course, is to make sure that the crowd is enjoying the show. If someone has walked into the room where you’re performing, they’ll be much more likely to stay if they like the songs you’re playing. You’ll never be able to please everyone, so you want to focus on what the majority of people want to hear. It’s important to always remember that you are not playing for you, but rather, you’re playing for the people that are listening to you.

  1. Know Your Audience

As previously mentioned, your show and song list should be catered to the people in attendance. If you have a regular following, you should have a good idea of the kind of music that they expect to hear you play. Just like a company that has a physical product that they are looking to sell, your band has to have an intimate understanding of what the people want.

One of the best ways to determine the preferences of the crowd is to simply talk to them individually. Ask them what they like and don’t like, why they like you, and how they think you could improve. Quite often, you won’t even have to ask, and people will just voluntarily offer up information. Your job in this case is to simply pay attention and take it all in. Then you can process what you have to work with and base your presentation on what will yield the best results for everyone involved.

 

GigSalad is the largest entertainment booking platform in the U.S. and Canada. This marketplace connects event hosts with entertainment. GigSalad can help you do what you love.  www.GigSalad.com

For more information on IAMA (International Acoustic Music Awards), go to:  http://www.inacoustic.com

 

 

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Big Success Secrets For Booking Gigs You Aren’t Using But Should

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Big Success Secrets For Booking Gigs You Aren’t Using But Should

By Tom Stein, Professor, Professional Music Department, Berklee College of Music

 

Big Success Secrets For Booking Gigs You Aren't Using But Should

Big Success Secrets For Booking Gigs You Aren’t Using But Should

You’ve gotten to the point where your music abilities are strong enough as a group to play out in front of an audience. You know that getting on stage will be the next necessary step to improving your act’s tightness. At this stage it is super-important to get the band playing live in order to generate enthusiasm and momentum. Getting a gig is the next logical move in your development as a band. Yet, because you have never done it, you don’t know how. It’s the old “Catch-22” conundrum: you need experience to get the gig, but you need a gig to get experience. What to do?

First, take a deep breath, and relax. Realize that every single person or band that is amazing at doing anything started out from the same place. For even the most incredible musicians, there was once a time that they couldn’t play their instrument at all. Just like you, they had to begin somewhere. You really have no choice other than to begin from exactly where you are. There are a number of things that have to happen before you actually take to the stage (I’ll list them a bit later in this article). You should first take an inventory to see where you are.

What are your band’s strong points and weak points? What do you hope to gain from playing a live show? Do you have all the equipment you will need? Do you have transportation for yourselves and your equipment? How far are you willing to travel? What do you estimate your expenses will be? These are logistical questions that will help give you some bearings on the type of gig most appropriate for you to go after. I would recommend that you write some things down, and create some useful lists or diagrams.

There are other important considerations. For example, what style of music do you play? How many songs or sets can you perform? Is your music primarily for listening, dancing, or background? Have you created a digital footprint for your music that will allow you to publicize your gig properly, ensuring that an audience will come? Or will you seek a gig at a venue with a built in audience, like a festival? Should you get paid?

I recommend that you make your approach as professional as possible. If you have prepared your logistical plan and know what type of audience you are trying to reach, you will be prepared to speak confidently and knowledgeably about all aspects of your intended performance with prospective venues, clubs, clients or festival directors. If they see that you are well prepared, they are more likely to give you a chance. It is important that you can tell them about what you do in a cohesive way, speaking articulately about why an audience will enjoy your music, why it is in their interest to hire you, and what’s in it for them. Try as best as possible to think from their point of view. With your speech you can paint a picture for them of the opportunity you are offering them, either to make money, enhance their reputation, or just have a lot of fun. Don’t be arrogant about it; just state the facts, and do your best to sell your band, keeping their interests in mind.

While you are preparing to sell your band, you will need to do some research into the opportunities that exist. If you know musicians who are playing out already, ask them where the best places are to play. Check listings in local entertainment guides, and go check out some bands. Hang around the venues as a customer to get a feel for what is going on. Talk to the managers and staff to find out who is responsible for booking. Try to figure out what will fit best in each venue and be prepared to offer that with a strong conviction that you can provide what the venue needs. When you do get in contact with the responsible party, present yourself in a businesslike manner. Dress the part. Shake hands, look people in the eye, and speak with confidence about your music. This usually takes a little practice.

Don’t be discouraged if you get rejected. Failure is an opportunity to start over more intelligently. Analyze what happened and make adjustments to your pitch for the next prospect. Observe how other musicians sell themselves if you are able to. Understand that adversity makes you stronger, and just keep at it, no matter what. Even if you fail a hundred times, you might very well book a gig on the 101st time!

At some risk of oversimplification, we can explain the steps of getting to a gig onstage into a few stages. Using terms relative to the music business, there is: preparation, sourcing, pitching (selling), negotiating, agreement, performance, and follow through. The preparation stage involves taking inventory as described above, plus getting the music tightly arranged and well rehearsed. It might be wise to create some sharp promotional materials. Sourcing means figuring out the places you want to play, doing your homework on them and getting in contact with the person doing the booking.

Pitching your music is talking about what you do, as previously described. You have to sell yourself, your band and your music; you do this by using words intelligently and enthusiastically. You will learn to talk about your music in such a way as to give those listening confidence in your abilities and talent. Closing an agreement usually requires executing some sort of contract, whether verbal or written. Sometimes this is called an “event confirmation”, or similar. The agreement exists to protect both sides through stipulating responsibilities and rights, and clarifying terms. To get to an agreement, a negotiation must first take place. Negotiating is an art form, and is a necessary part of human commerce and transaction.

Performing is where you deliver the goods as promised. If you do this well, you will find that each gig leads to more gigs. People like what they see and hear, tell others about you, and your reputation grows. Of course, if you mess this part up, you won’t last long in the business. So it pays to pay attention to all the details, and do your best to do a fantastic job that everyone will rave about. You are only as good as your last performance.

Follow-through is the last step, and often neglected by musicians. After the gig, you should always contact the venue and booking person to thank them and make sure they were happy. Listen carefully to what they tell you. Any complaints or suggestions for improvement should be taken to heart as they are giving you a chance to better yourself. You can ask them for future gigs and for referrals.

As you begin to see, there is more work to getting gigs than might at first meet the eye. Especially in the beginning, it can be tough to get momentum with booking gigs. It can feel a little like pushing a boulder uphill. The rewards can be tremendous, however. There is nothing like the electricity that happens between a good band and an audience, and the energizing effect it can have on a band. Playing live shows can also be frustrating, such as when an audience doesn’t respond. It is always a learning experience, in any case, and always worth doing.

 

-Tom Stein is a visionary musical entrepreneur, music producer, artist development consultant, arranger, bandleader and performer on electric bass, voice and guitar. He is also a professional educator; he teaches at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts and is the founder of Music Connectivity, a cultural diplomacy firm. www.tomstein.com

 

For more information on the 12th Annual IAMA (International Acoustic Music Awards), please go to: http://www.inacoustic.com

 

 

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