Knowing how to get gigs for musicians and bands is essential when breaking into the music scene. A live performance allows you to reach new potential fans and connect with existing ones.
If you’re a new band or seasoned musician, landing a live gig can be challenging, especially without a booking agent. Starting small and working your way up is the best approach. And placing consistent time and effort into promoting your band will go a long way. It’s also vital that you speak to the right people and practice as much as possible.
Performing live is an exhilarating experience shared between the musician and the crowd. Playing a gig for an audience can be the highlight of any musician’s career. But with the current economic climate and competition in the industry, getting a gig is easier said than done.
In this article, we’ll examine the ins and outs of how to get gigs for musicians and bands. We’ll discuss the importance of perfecting your act and exercising professionalism. And we’ll look at how placing emphasis on actively marketing your band will affect positive growth in this industry.
Our Tips on How to Get Gigs for Musicians and Bands
Getting the Gig
You’ll need to do a few things before approaching potential booking agents, promoters, venues, and event organizers. For instance, you must get into the habit of promoting your act (solo or ensemble) and contacting the right people.
Here are some key actions to take before securing that first important gig.
The first thing you’ll need to do as a musician or band is start building your brand and creating awareness. You want as many potential fans as possible to find out about and hear your music and when your next gig is scheduled.
The internet has provided us with an opportunity to connect with almost anyone in the world. And social media, in this instance, is going to be your primary means of promotion.
Make sure you create a profile on the leading social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube. And make time to post original content on these platforms regularly, preferably weekly, and better yet, daily.
If you can afford it, try to get a professional photographer to shoot some photos of you or your band. Commissioning a videographer to shoot some footage of your band would also be a plus. Heck, new mobile phones now include excellent cameras, so you and your friends can shoot footage that can work, especially for social media posts.
Share as many images and video clips as you can through your social media profiles. You could even record jamming and rehearsal sessions to share online. The more content you share, the better.
You’ll also want to share your music on these platforms. If you share songs via YouTube, you can always use a single image or an image montage for the video. You don’t have to have a professional music video filmed for these usages at this early stage.
You can start contacting booking agents and promoters when you have some music, images, and video to share. Sending out emails to potential venues and event organizers is also a great idea.
Remember to remain professional so that booking agents, promoters, venues, and event organizers take you seriously. Creating an electronic press kit (EPK) for you or your band is the best approach.
How to Make an EPK
An electronic press kit (EPK) is, essentially, the ultimate promotional package for musicians and bands. It contains all essential information relating to the musician or band and lets people know what to expect.
When learning how to make an EPK, you should include the following core components:
- Artist/Band Logo
- Artist/Band Biography (Written in the third person)
- Professional Photographs (Press and live images)
- Links to Artist/Band Social Media Pages
- Music (A few select tracks)
- Videos (Interviews and live performances)
It would be advantageous to include sales and play count figures if you’ve distributed your music online. If you’re looking for effective distribution of your music, have a look at Sugo Music Group. We’ve been working in the music industry for over 35 years and can assist you in getting your music out to the masses.
Knowing how to make an EPK and having it ready to send to potential partners will serve you well. It’s an excellent promotional tool and a step in the right direction.
Begin with Small Performances
Unfortunately, there’s somewhat of a catch 22 situation when determining how to get gigs for musicians and bands. The problem is that you will often be required to have experience playing gigs to land a gig.
This isn’t always easy to achieve, especially as an artist starting their music career. But you could consider playing very small and informal performances to gain that much-needed experience.
Look for venues that offer open mic nights where you or your band can play to an audience. Enter competitions, such as Battle of the Bands, where you’ll be required to perform in front of audiences. And, in either case, make sure you have someone taking photos and video footage when you play.
You might also consider playing cover music and performing at a few functions to get the ball rolling. Online platforms and booking agents can help you discover how to get gigs for musicians and bands. And you may end up playing a few corporate functions, parties, weddings, and the like, depending on your music style.
This way, you can gain experience playing live and create some awareness. You’ll also accumulate photos and video footage of you performing live for promotion purposes.
You could also use these opportunities to gather reviews from those in the audience. Having several positive reviews in your promotional arsenal will help you forge inroads in the industry.
Network with Key Industry Role Players
Promoting yourself online and emailing potential partners is not enough. You must get out there and start talking to others in the industry. This is the only way to build lasting and meaningful relationships.
Networking with music promoters and booking agents is a worthy approach. However, it’s just as essential to meet venue, events, and festival gigs agents and promoters. You’ll also benefit significantly from befriending other bands.
Speaking to similar bands and musicians locally and in other regions will increase the scope of opportunities for you. You could ask them to collaborate and share the stage with you. For instance, you could open for them at a gig in their city and vice versa in your city.
You must also leverage each other’s social media channels and existing fanbases to further promote these gigs. Doing this will help you to expand your audience and fanbase to other regions.
You should also follow fellow musicians and bands on social media to stay informed about them. If the band has a website with a mailing list, you must sign up for this too. This way, you’ll know if they’re ever looking for a supporting act.
Find Potential Venues and Festival Gigs
You’ve been practicing and have played a few local party gigs. And your social media pages showcase a few good photos and video clips of you and your band on stage. You also know how to make an EPK and now have one ready to be sent. Now’s the time to start contacting venues.
It’s a good idea to start with local venues which draw an audience that will relate to your genre of music. Again, start with smaller venues before you begin approaching prominent bars and clubs.
Before writing your email pitch, find out who the decision-maker is at the venue. Don’t waste your time pitching yourself to someone who doesn’t have the authority to contract live performers for the venue.
And, if at all possible, try to set up a meeting with the correct contact at the venue. Even if you don’t land a gig with the venue, you will have started to develop a relationship with the venue.
There are many websites and platforms set up to bring venues and artists together. Make sure that you’re listed on as many of these websites as possible. This increases the chances of getting a gig for musicians and bands.
Staying up to date with news and information from your local venues and events organizers is also essential. Follow them on social media and subscribe to their mailing lists to keep your finger on the pulse.
By following these organizers and venues, you’ll be the first to know if they ever advertise the need for a live act. Or if they’re running competitions for musicians and bands to play events and festival gigs.
It’s easy to get carried away when you’re desperate to impress a venue or organizer and get that first important gig. But it’s important not to overwhelm a potential partner with too much information. Remember that these individuals receive plenty of requests just like yours.
Make sure your emails to venues and event organizers are short and sweet. Provide necessary information only and include your EPK. Knowing how to make an EPK could seal the deal and will ensure that you’re taken seriously.
But don’t attach any large files that could delay email downloads or cause the email to be blocked by servers. Always share large files, such as high-resolution images and videos, in the form of a link.
If you’re able to set up a meeting with the venue or organizer, be respectful and maintain a level of professionalism. That means arriving for your appointment on time, dressing presentably, and being polite when you speak to the decision-maker.
Remember that it’s not all about you. The venue or organizer needs to make money too (so make sure all your friends and family show up at the gis!). Therefore, ensure that you offer them a mutually beneficial arrangement. While getting a gig that pays a guaranteed fee is ideal, it will be a rare find for a new band.
Don’t be too discouraged if you don’t receive a response from a venue or organizer. Or if they decline your request. The best musicians and bands in the world all went through this when they first started. Accept that it’s part of the process and keep trying.
Promoting the Gig
If you’re fortunate enough to have booked a gig as a musician or band, you’ll need to start promoting as soon as possible. You must ensure that your fans and followers are aware of the gig as early as possible.
Speak to the venue and ask to share information about the gig through their social media pages and mailing list. Explain that you’ll do the same. In essence, you’ll be promoting their venue, and they’ll promote you or your band.
Create a Facebook event for the gig and invite all your followers and friends to the show. Make sure that you add the venue and any supporting musicians and bands to your Facebook event page.
You should also consider listing the event on local event listings websites, pages, and groups. And perhaps it’s a good idea to contact local radio stations, podcasts, and newspapers for additional promotional opportunities.
Continue to post music, videos, and photos on your social media pages, as usual. But, as the gig date approaches, you should publish posts more aggressively. Be sure to post video clips of the band talking about the upcoming gig and footage of you rehearsing.
If you have the cash, consider setting up some Facebook and Instagram ads. When doing this, target individuals who are in the area and follow bands or artists you admire. You could also target people who play an instrument or regularly attend live shows and festival gigs.
Playing the Gig
All performances are important! You never know who’s going to be in the audience. If you leave a lasting impression with listeners, they’ll promote your music via word of mouth. And word of mouth is the most powerful marketing tool there is.
You must rehearse your act and practice as much as possible to tighten the screws on your performance. If you deliver your music professionally at a good standard, people will be more inclined to listen and spread the word.
But it’s not just about the music. An audience wants to be entertained, and this is your opportunity to create a rapport with fans and future fans. So, while rehearsing for the show, think about how you’ll be communicating with the crowd.
Think about what you might say to the crowd and what you’d like to tell them about your music. And arrange your setlist in a way that takes the audience on a journey.
You could even let attendees request a specific song. Or you can surprise them with a brand-new song that hasn’t been released yet.
It’s also a good idea to have some merchandise, such as t-shirts, ready to give away to the crowd. You’ll also want to have some handy to sell if the venue will allow it.
Remember to tell the crowd where they can find you online and on social media. A great way to get them to follow you online is to take a photo from the stage with the crowd. Then let them know that they’ll find the image on your social media pages and can tag themselves online.
If you can afford it, hire a professional to shoot video and take photos of the gig (or have friends shoot some footage with their mobile phones!). This will serve as valuable marketing material for your social media pages after the gig.
Getting the Next Gig
There’s no time to rest when the gig is over. In fact, you must keep the momentum going for as long as possible. This is your chance to nurture relationships with fans and other venues or organizers.
First, you must post images and videos of your awesome gig over the next few weeks. Make sure you send out special thanks to the venue, linking to their social media pages and website.
You should also credit and tag your photographer and videographer on social media when you post images and footage. This will make your posts visible to their followers too. And it’s a wonderful promotional tactic when learning how to get gigs for musicians and bands.
Encourage fans and followers to share the images and footage by offering a lucky draw prize for those who “Like” and “Share.” You could give away a merchandise hamper, a free album, or tickets to your next gig.
Don’t forget to share links to streaming platforms where fans can purchase and listen to your music. These sales and play count figures will also be great to include in your promotional material.
To distribute your music to over 200 streaming and download services around the world, contact Sugo Music Group.
Continue to contact venues and event organizers when figuring out how to get gigs for musicians and bands. And keep up the networking with other industry role players and bands. Remember to include photos and video footage of your recent venue and festival gigs in your EPK.
Determining how to get a gig as a musician or band might not seem like a straightforward process. But it is within your reach if you’re committed to advancing your music career.
That said, it’s also critical for up-and-coming musicians and bands to take care of their finances. You won’t be making heaps of cash when starting out. And the reality is that the industry is very competitive. So, being a full-time musician can be tricky.
Therefore, all musicians should ensure that they have some financial support until they find their footing in the industry. This could be in the form of a full-time or part-time job. In fact, many aspiring musicians also have jobs in music-related businesses.
When contacting venues and event organizers, patience and consistency are essential when understanding how to get gigs for musicians and bands. And following our above guide about how to get a gig for musicians and bands will bring you closer to your goal.