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The Gig Is Up - Getting Those Gigs

Time for your music dreams to come true – playing live onstage to masses of screaming fans…or at least a room full of people listening in to your creations. Though the ultimate goal is a good-paying gig, an artist or band just starting out may have to take on some freebies. Consider them as experience. Use this list as a start on how to get gigs, a checklist of the basics, and an idea starter.

The Prep:
Talent – know your style, be solid in your performance abilities before you take on too big a gig
All band mates know their responsibilities
Calendar – create your timeline
Internet - online presence, class ads, forums, press, make friends with other bands
Networking – go to shows of other bands and meet them, create critical allies, rub elbows
Press kit – with contact info, web address
Demo tape/CD with your 3 best songs
Rehearsed extensively
Decent equipment – with backups and spares
Reliable transportation for band and ALL equipment
Funds – who handles your band finances, food, gas, places to stay
Booking agency or manager to get bookings – when affordable and research thoroughly
Sound Technician
Playlist – well shaped, great flow, more than enough for the time allowed, minimal pause between songs

The Places:
Fundraisers, charities, benefits
Festivals, fairs, city free concert venues, trade shows
Music competitions, songwriting contests
Battle of the bands
Clubs, bars, pubs – karaoke, open mic night
Weddings, special occasions, private functions, parties
Country clubs, cruise ships
Restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, bookstores
Schools, churches, colleges
House concert
Jam sessions
Online video
Gig trading with other bands of similar style – one band opens the show, the other closes

Getting the Gig:
Attitude should be “how we can help each other”
Understand what is expected of you – don’t assume anything, including food and drinks
Make sure the venue has a good rep for being fair
Be ready if you need to do a live audition during a club’s less busy hours.
Venue specifications, space, sound
Keep your word, build respect, do what you say you will do
Get it in writing, contract
You know it’s up to you to promote your gig, right?

The Promotion:
Word of mouth with enthusiasm!
Flyers, posters – get permission as needed (e.g. parking lots)
Street teams, fan clubs
Internet marketing – events, email, ezines, newsletters, class ads, Blogs, concert calendars, mailing list (online/offline)
Call ALL your friends, family, co-workers, school mates
Press releases to any media available
Newspaper, radio, local gig guides
Bulletin boards, music stores, record shops
Go where your particular style of fan would hang out or work – do your market research
Swap promo with local stores, restaurants, come up with some cool idea
The number of heads through the door is the most important factor for a re-booking

At Work:
A gig is a job – so the same rules apply: be on time, don’t take too many set breaks, be prepared to do your best and be professional at all times. The reputation you create will proceed you.
Sound check, balance, volume levels
Make sure the audience knows the name of your band
A good catchy opening line
Be adaptive to your environment – have a sense of humor
A musician under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a recipe for disaster
Merchandise for sale – CDs, t-shirts, stickers…door prizes
Have someone take good photos (video) for adding to your photo albums later – and schmooze with your fans! Get fan names to add to the photo narrative.
Collect emails, hand out biz cards, promote the next upcoming gig, get references
Something will probably go wrong, think through typical disasters and try to be prepared
Have a great time because you are doing what you love to do!

The Follow-up:
Let everyone know you had a great time and appreciate that they came to see you and thank the venue operators and staff
If you have a band following you, be polite and move your equipment as quickly as possible
Have your pre-appointed money collector do their job
Drop the rock star attitude – don’t get a big head
Respect the people around you and don’t burn any bridges
Learn from every experience
Add any upcoming gig or follow-up press release to your music profile. Show the world what you are about!

About the Author: Artistopia - The Ultimate Artist Development Resource is an artist development and community on the web providing music artists, songwriters and bands all the tools needed for displaying their talent, music business collaboration, marketing and networking. Online since 2003, Artistopia develops advanced technology solutions that leverage the Internet to both the music artist and music companies respective advantage.

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