How to get gigs is a prominent question nowadays musicians often ask. You’re the best thing since One Direction, Billie Eilish, Nancy Ajram, David Guetta or the Arctic Monkeys. You’ve written some great songs and want to share them with the broader world. You want to bask in the adoration of a real-life audience, and not just your mum and little sister who barge in on you when you’re rehearsing.
In this blog, we’ll outline the key steps you can take to help you get gigs as a musician and make your mark in the industry.
- Make Sure Your Artist EPK is in Order
- Have Music Demos and Links Available
- Make a Promoter List (Dream 100)
- Network Network Network
- Put Your Night on
- Be a support act
As a musician, getting gigs is vital to your success, exposure and revenue.
Whether you’re just starting or a seasoned performer, having a steady stream of gigs can help you build your brand, grow your following, and get your music heard.
So let’s dive into some actions and tips to get more gigs
Get Your EPK up to date
Your Electronic Press Kit (EPK) is essentially a digital portfolio showcasing your music, brand, and musician experience. It’s basically your music CV.
Ensure your EPK is up-to-date, easy to navigate, and includes all the relevant information that a promoter or venue owner might need.
Have Music Demos and Links Available
In your EPK, having music demos and links available is a must when trying to get gigs. Or even better, use some live footage of other gigs if you have done them.
Music demos are essential for showcasing your sound and giving promoters an idea of what you have to offer and where they could give you a slot.
All in all, having an EPK is an essential tool you’ll need when reaching out to promoters, venues, and other industry players.
Network Network Network
Networking is a crucial part of how to get a gig as a musician. If there is one tip that stands out for me, this one.
I have lived in three different countries: South Africa for ten years, the UK for seven years and now, for the last nine years here in the United Arab Emirates. Each time I have moved to the country, I have taken time to network, which has helped me get immersed in this fantastic industry.
Here are a couple of ideas on what networking looks like;
- Check out your local listings, such as Time Out or WhatsOn. See what local bars, clubs, and venues are playing your music. Go down to meet other musicians and industry players. Connect with the bar personnel or door staff. This always helps.
- Collaborate with other musicians from venues you want to play.
- Connect with DJs or resident musicians on social media. Connect musically. Think of it as dating, not asking straight away for marriage.
- Reach out to the venues to offer to cover musicians that can’t make it to the gig.
Head down for one of their gigs, show them support and bring a USB loaded with your music and press kit.
There really is no substitute for meeting people. Getting in front of someone and supporting their gig or venue while directly marketing and promoting your act is priceless.
You are your best PR, so do it face-to-face.
Make a Promoter List
The “Dream 100” concept involves creating a list of 100 potential promoters, venues, or industry players you’d like to work alongside.
I learnt this concept from Russel Brunson, the owner of Clickfunnels.
This concept can be a great way to focus your efforts and prioritise the people and venue most impacting your career path.
Creating your Dream 100
Look for promoters and events that are relevant to your genre and style of music. Check out their websites, social media profiles, and past events to better understand what they’re looking for in a performer.
Create a list of the top bars, clubs, and venues you’d like to gig at in your hometown, then state, country or region – this is entirely up to you and your goals.
Prioritise the best fit. Consider factors like the size of the venue, the type of audience, and the compensation offered when determining the best fit for your music.
Use a google doc or excel document with their contact details and relevant bookers, managers or owners of each venue.
You might like the new cocktail joint that’s just opened up, but you’re unlikely to get the gig if you play heavy-speed metal.
So be realistic. Once you’ve drawn up your dream guest list, it’s time to go around and meet and greet.
How To Get a Gig – Reaching Out
Once you’ve researched, it’s time to start reaching out to promoters.
Ideally, as mentioned above, networking and meeting a person would be best, but if this is not possible, make sure to personalise each email or message and include the following information:
Remember to keep it engaging, concise and to the point
- A brief introduction of yourself and your music
- A link to your EPK
- Information about your availability and preferred type of event
- Why you would be a good fit – what value you bring to them
When reaching out to promoters, being professional and courteous is essential.
Remember, you’re trying to make a good impression and build a relationship with these industry players, so be respectful and follow up on time.
You will get rejected but that’s okay – keep going.
Host Your Own Night
Build your castle!
Global superstar Kaskade started this way when he started his night on a Monday night in his local city.
By putting your night on, you can offer extra revenue to the venue, showcase your music, build your brand, and increase your fanbase.
When hosting your night, consider the following tips:
- Find a suitable venue. Look for a venue that fits your style of music and the type of audience you want to attract.
- Offer to host a night when the venue is closed. Many bars and clubs are closed on certain days of the week, and offering to host a night when they’re closed can be a great way to get gigs.
Be prepared to be a support act
Don’t ask for the moon on a stick. Yet. Be humble, be patient and be aware that you’re just starting.
Your first gig might be supporting your favourite band, and you might get a record contract off the back of it.
However, it’s more likely that it’ll be at 6 pm when people are still eating, and the sound engineer is the only one paying attention. So lower the expectations, bring a smile and enjoy the first gig however it goes.
Linked to the above tip of putting your night on, work with other bands and promoters to put on your night.
Grab five bands, bring down 20 people each, and you have a guaranteed crowd and support network.
Of course, there’s more work to do: you’ll be responsible for promotion, marketing, sound engineering, stage, guestlist etc. But you will equally share any profits between you all, and you’ll have done it all on your own without any outside help.
Getting gigs as a musician is essential for career growth, exposure and revenue. To achieve this, you must ensure that your EPK is current and contains all relevant information that a promoter might need. In addition, networking is a crucial part of the process, and it involves connecting with other musicians, industry players, and venues.
By following these steps, you can increase your chances of getting gigs, building your brand, growing your following, and getting your music heard by a wider audience.