When first setting off into the professional world of music, there is often the assumption that good talent alone will attract good job opportunities. Unfortunately, a few more behind the scenes business tactics are required to get your name out there and get hired. For musicians who are not as experienced in the world of business, there are several important concepts that may seem quite confusing. To clear the muddied waters a bit, this article will explain what booking a gig is and how to do it, what a manager is and how they can help you, and finally what a record label is and how you can go about signing to one in order to strengthen your music career.
Before you can book a gig, there are a few things that you must make sure you have prepared. The first thing every musician must have before they book their first gig is a demo or a finished CD. Another option could be a website where people can listen to your music. Another key item you must have before you can get yourself booked is a press pack. A press pack is something that shares information about the musician or band and any pieces of press coverage that has been published about you and your band. Choosing a rough estimate of when you want to preform rather than saying ‘whenever’ will seem more professional to the venue or promoter trying to hire you as it gives them something to work with.
Now that you have the essentials, you can work on actually booking a gig. You have two options when it comes to how you book the show. You can either book with the venue itself or you can book with a promoter. If you book with the venue itself, then the musician or band has to cover the cost of promoting the show whereas if you book with a promoter, then they handle it all. Some venues are affiliated with specific promoters and some are not. Call around to many different venues and ask them how they do things. Sending your promo pack to many different promoters and venues will really benefit you in the end as it will get you more options and more opportunities to perform.
Booking a gig is essentially making a deal with the venue or promoter. In order to actually get job opportunities and perform for your fans, you have to recognize that you won’t always get the most attractive deal, and sometimes shows may even result in money lost. If you are just starting out and your fan base isn’t very big yet, you need to see shows as an opportunity to get noticed and get your music out there rather than a chance to make money. Many famous bands started out playing for free anywhere they could only to make money further down the road once they developed a strong following. This, however, doesn’t mean that you should accept being taken advantage of. If something doesn’t feel right, it is important that you speak up sooner rather than later.
At the end of the day, the most important thing you can do is show up, and put on a great show for your fans. When it comes down to it, your fans have no idea what kind of deal you made our what it took to get you on that stage. All they know is that they came to have a great musical experience and that is what you should deliver. Perform your best, be professional, and future gigs are sure to be in your future.