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How to Get Music Gigs

How to Get Gigs

How to Book Gigs

Let’s start from the beginning. Before you even can think about booking a gig, there are a few things you will need to have in place.

What You Need

To begin, you are going to need promotional material to showcase your talent and music, including:

  • A demo or a finished CD, or a website on which people can listen to your music
  • A press pack, including information about you and clippings of any press coverage you may have had.

You should also have an idea of when you want to play a show — approaching a venue or promoter and asking for a gig “whenever” doesn’t send a message that you are a professional artist looking for consistent work. Come up with a window of preferred dates, make sure everyone in your band has their calendar clear for those days and present your availability to the venue or promoter.

Call Around and Network

So, you’ve got the promo package and demo ready to go — now, who should you send it to? There are two ways you can go about booking a gig:

  • Book directly with the venue, in which case you take on the costs and responsibilities of promoting the show
  • Book with a promoter, who takes charge of promoting the show

Sometimes, venues work with a specific promoter, and sometimes they don’t. Give your venue of choice a call to find out how they do things. If you don’t know any promoters, ask the venue for advice. If possible, get the names of a few different promoters and venue booking agents and send them all promo packages — nothing wrong with people fighting to give you a chance to play, right?

Tired of booking gigs for yourself? Try getting a manager or agent on board who can help you get the shows you want.

Make a Deal

A good deal is part of a good gig. You should prepare yourself, however, for the fact that many shows lose money. If you’re just getting started and don’t have much of a following yet, you should think of your gigs as promotional opportunities for you rather than moneymaking opportunities. Your willingness to work with a promoter and/or venue to try and minimize the financial risk involved in a show will only help convince people to work with you.

Your deal should detail how any income for the show will be divided and confirm information about things like accommodation for the band, riders, backline, and soundchecks.

If there is something you’re unsure about or you don’t think is fair, speak up well in advance of the show.

In addition, you may want to learn more about the following:

  • Door Split Deals
  • Before You Sign a Music Promoter Contract
  • Backline
  • Rider
  • Should I Pay to Play a Gig?

Show Up and Play Well

Now all you have to do is show up and play a good show. Be professional, treat the promoter and the people at the venue with respect, and if you can’t handle yourself well if you drink all of the rider before going on stage, then don’t overdo it. If you happen to have an off night, but you have treated people well, most promoters will want to work with you again. If you’ve given everyone working to put on the show a night of utter chaos and stress, well, you probably will not get a call back anytime soon.

Make sure you take full advantage of the audience at the show and promote any releases, new websites, or any other news the you may have.

Encourage everyone who enjoyed your set to follow you on social media or sign up to your mailing list, so you can let them know when you’re playing again.


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