How to Get Gigs

Musicians’ Checklist: 23 Little Things That Will Help You Nail Your Next Gig

How to Get Gigs

Congrats on getting the big gig! Whether you’re preparing for your band’s first show or your album-release party, these tips will help you learn how to promote your band, make your best impression on stage, and get invited back to the venue to do it all again.

Musicians Checklist Gigging Tips

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One Week Before

  • Put up posters around town. Don’t rely completely on social media and the Internet to promote your band. An eye-catching flyer or poster is another great way to grab attention and bring people out to your show.
  • Step up promotion on social media. Share and re-share your Facebook event and a digital image of your flyer or poster, and make sure you’ve invited all your local friends and followers.
  • Contact local bloggers, radio personalities, and alt weekly writers. If you can get a little media coverage for your gig, you’ll be able to reach new fans. Plus you can share the coverage you get on social media to keep your current fans engaged and excited. Look for people who specialize in covering local music or music in your genre to help you out.
  • Send an email to your local fans. Maybe you’ve noticed that it’s hard to reach all your fans on Facebook? For that reason, it’s a great idea to have an email list, as well. When you have a big show coming up, you can be sure your fans will get your email. The same can’t be said for your Facebook posts.
  • Confirm advance information with the venue. Make sure you know what time you need to set up, how long your set is, and the terms for payment have been agreed upon.

The Day Before

  • Double-check your gear. Do all your cables work? Do you need new strings? Better to take care of those things now than have an equipment issue on stage.
  • Pack your gig bag. I like to bring a bottle of water, a couple protein bars, a roll of duct tape, extra ear plugs, sharpies, spare guitar strings, a handful of guitar picks, a bottle of hand sanitizer, and a small notebook with me to each show. Pack your bag the day before to get it out of the way and reduce stress the day of the show.
  • Print or write copies of your set list. Don’t wing it on stage. Make sure you’ve planned your set and practiced it before your show.
  • Plan your outfit. Figure out what you want to wear and lay it out somewhere. Don’t add stress by scrambling to find the right stage look at the very last minute. If you’re in a band or ensemble, talk about what you’re going to wear with the group so you can present a cohesive image.
  • Get a good night’s sleep. You’ll perform better when you’re rested, and you’ll have more fun.

The Day Of

  • Banish your stagefright with a calming activity. Get into a good mindset by reading a book, meditating, exercising, or watching your favorite show. Figure out what calms you and helps you prepare to play like the rockstar you are.
  • Eat a light meal two to three hours before you perform. When you’re on stage, you don’t want to feel heavy and sleepy like you’ve just eaten five Thanksgiving dinners, but you also don’t want to get hungry and lightheaded. Have a healthy meal so you’ll be on top of your game.

At the Gig

  • Be there on time. Being punctual shows the venue that you respect their time, appreciate the opportunity you’ve been given to perform, and that you’re professional. Seriously, if you don’t follow any of these other tips, you must at least show up on time.
  • Always be polite and professional. Save your complaints about the crowd, venue, or other bands for the privacy of your rehearsal space. When you’re at the gig, be positive and kind. You never know who’s watching, and you want to make a great impression.
  • Say ‘hi’ to the sound person, and remember their name. The sound guy or gal is the person who has the biggest impact on how you’ll sound in the audience. Be nice to them, and always remember to thank them for the help.
  • Make friends with the other bands. Hang out and watch their sets, and they’ll want to stay for yours, too. If you’re lucky, the other bands will like you and offer you another great gig.
  • Don’t forget to bring merch. One of the best ways to make money at a gig is to have something for sale. Additionally, people will remember you better if they have something to take with them. Whether you’ve got stickers and CDs or vinyl records and t-shirts, don’t play a show without putting something on the merch table.
  • Always thank the venue, the fans, and the other bands during your set. Be gracious, and spread the love. Being likable will help you get further in your local music scene than just talent alone.
  • Have fun on stage!!! Enjoy your time in the spotlight. Your audience will feel the vibes and have a great time, too.

The Next Day

  • Post thank you’s on social media to your fans, the other bands, and the venue. Keep the good times rolling by thanking everyone again. They will notice and appreciate it.
  • Re-post the photos that your fans shared at the gig. If someone captured a really great live shot of you, show other people what they missed out on by sharing it. You can generate buzz for your next show by sharing how much fun your show was last night.
  • Update the upcoming gigs list on your website. Make sure your concert listings stay current by updating your site the next day. Or, if remembering to update your list is too hard, sign up for Songkick and their widget will update for you when the gig has passed. All you have to do is enter your performance dates, and Songkick will display them on your website, Facebook, SoundCloud, and other sites.

Once the gig has come and gone, remember that the most important thing is the music. Keep practicing and working on your craft, whether you have a show coming up or not. You can always improve musically, and you’ll likely find you get better with every gig you play. Rock on, and good luck!

 

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apple music streaming service infographic header

Infographic: What Apple Music Means to Artists and Fans

Streaming is changing the way the music industry operates, and this week it’s in the news again. Tech giant Apple announced that they will be offering a new music streaming service, Apple Music, at the end of this month. Here’s what their service will offer, and what fans and artists can expect…

apple music streaming service infographic

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The Music Streaming Population

Currently, 41 million people pay to stream music online; this number makes up just 4% of the world’s population. Many, many more people stream music online for free using services like Pandora and Spotify.

Apple hopes to nearly triple the total number of paying streaming customers in the world when they launch their streaming service Apple Music on June 30th.

Does Apple Music Offer Anything New to Fans?

In terms of features, Apple Music’s offerings are very similar to Spotify, Pandora, Google Play, and others. Apple Music does boast a larger library than any of the other popular streaming services, and also features the option to control the app via Siri on your iPhone.

The most revolutionary thing about Apple Music might actually be its pricing structure. Apple Music offers a three-month free trial period to new users, following which you pay $9.99 per month for an individual user or $14.99 for up to five users on a family plan.

Other streaming services, like Spotify and Pandora, allow users to remain on free accounts indefinitely. Additionally, Apple’s family plan allows users to add more people at a lower cost than any other music streaming service currently on the market.

What Does Apple Music Mean For Artists?

Musicians are already making pennies for every song sold on iTunes, and streaming royalty payments are significantly lower for a number of reasons. Reliance on ad sales and small groups of paid users means that music streaming services have less money to pay out to artists.

Additionally, after royalties are paid out by streaming services, they must be divided again between an artist’s label, distributor, and any songwriters or additional rights holders. For every $10 that is paid out in royalties, artists see less than $5.

Initially, Apple Music might be even worse for artists. A contract leaked to Hypebot suggests that during the 90-day free trials of the service, $0 in royalties will be paid to labels and artists.

As more people pay to stream music online, many artists hope to see their royalty payments from streaming increase. Whether this business model can truly scale and help independent artists support themselves still remains to be seen.

Streaming music online is fun, and it’s a great way to discover new music. However, it’s not always great for the artists involved. Ultimately, the best way to support your favorite musicians is still attending a concert or buying their physical merchandise. If you’re true a music lover, support live music!

 

Update 6/22/2015: Following a critical blog post from Taylor Swift explaining why she will withhold her music from the service, Apple has announced that they will pay royalties to artists during the free trial period for Apple Music.

 

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