A Music Marketing Secret From the Big Top


Circus life under the big top

We all need the clowns to make us smile.

– Journey, “Faithfully”

Next to Google, free is truly our friend. In fact, free is so popular on Google that it comes up nearly 14 billion times in a search. We are influenced by free. We want to be disease-free, debt-free, and worry-free. We want our work to be hassle-free, and our YouTube videos to be commercial-free. We want our purchases to be tax-free.

So if free is what the people want, why shouldn’t musicians embrace that truth and give it to them?

That’s exactly what blogger David Hooper suggests in “Music Marketing Lessons From a Circus.” He points out that not everyone goes to a circus because they want to. Parents go because young children can’t take themselves there, nor can they look out for themselves. But not only do parents wind up going, they wind up spending money on things other than rides for their kids.

Musicians should copy this strategy when it comes to club dates, because attendance works the same way. Your family will almost always show up because their family. Some of your friends will almost always show up because they’re your friends. But neither group would attend because of the music alone. So that leaves everyone else there, and the only reason they show up is either because a lot of men will be there, a lot of women will be there, or both.

While that fact may be a hard reality, there is something musicians can do about it. They can give tickets away for free.

Think about the businesses that give stuff away. Some restaurants let children under 12 eat free on certain days. Circuses give out passes that grant free admission to children. And radio stations always give away concert tickets. Musicians, Hooper argues, should do the same thing for their loyal fans because it

… gives you the best of both worlds … it lets you treat your most loyal fans in a special way (a free ticket) but also encourages them to spread the word about the show to somebody who pays.

The “buy one, get one” technique is good for building up a fan base where you regularly play, but it is especially useful when breaking into a new market. If you give five loyal fans passes, and each one brings a paying guest, then ten people show up to the new venue just because you’re there. Add the five family members and another five friends, and you’ve got 20 new faces in the club before you strike the first note. Moreover, if each person spends an average of $20 per person on food and drinks, the club gets $400 more than it would have without you there. Owners notice numbers like that.

Handing out passes might cost bands in the short run, and they should only go to those fans who are the most likely to show up. But whatever the strategy might cost short-term, it has the potential for a much larger return on investment down the road.


Top photo: psiho.child


Got Gigs? Here’s How to Get Them

crowdIf you’re a bandleader with little to no experience in booking shows, this guest blog by Deron Wade is for you. I talked with Deron on LinkedIn a few weeks back, and the conversation turned to booking gigs. He asked if I would take a look at an article he wrote for Tune Cube, and I agreed. Turns out it’s loaded with great advice for those who are relatively new to the art of booking the gig. I have reprinted it below, with his gracious permission.

Booking Gigs? Some Magic Tips to Help You Out!

Your band has been playing in front of your friends and they love your music….

You are a solo singer/songwriter now comfortable enough to sing in front of a crowd, play your guitar and put on a show without knocking the mic-stand over……

You’ve been taking your beats to the streets and now you’re ready to take your rap game to a whole new level……

In every situation, you are ready to start booking shows,  but where do you begin?

Know your niche market

Your niche market = who you are selling your music to.

“Wait a minute, what does selling my music have to do with booking a gig?”


You need to have a venue that supports the atmosphere of your music (What’s the stage set up like?) and has a demographic of listeners that like what you do. For instance: If you are an acoustic artist,  is it a smart decision to play a venue that has a huge  heavy metal following? Probably not. In everything you do, you should be asking yourself, “How is my time being spent here? Is this going to be a valuable experience for me?”

I can’t count how many times music artists have come up to me and complained that the venue took advantage of them. When I ask, “Well, what did you want from the venue?” Their response is,  “We wanted to play.”

“Didn’t you play?”

“Well yeah, but there wasn’t any one there and then they had us get off after three songs.” Continue reading “Got Gigs? Here’s How to Get Them”

The Digest, Volume 10

112112-Fiona-Apple-400The Fifty Best Songs of 2012, by Jon Dolan and David Fricke, et. al. on Rolling Stone.

Some list! Predictable: Taylor Swift (number 2), Bob Dylan, and Bruce Springsteen, who is behind Seoul brother PSY. Questionable: Carly Rae “Call Me Maybe” Jepsen (at number 50). And Fiona Apple – my favorite ever since “Criminal” – comes in at number 12 with “Hot Knife.”

Recordings Not Live, by Bob Lefsetz on The Lefsetz Letter.

The paradigm has shifted, Bob tells us in his latest letter. It wasn’t too long ago that bands practiced, got good, played out, got a following, then recorded an album. Today, that order has reversed itself: now you have to record so that venues can hear what you sound like before they book you. And, of course, you need a following before you can get booked. So what’s a new band to do? Simple – just be like PSY and have one killer song.

Does South Korean Rapper PSY Hate America? by Annie Reuter on 92.3 NOW.

gangnamstyle_wp“Gangnam Style” rapper PSY is scheduled to perform for President Obama during an upcoming Christmas in Washington special, but apparently there are some anti-American skeletons in his closet that have preceded his visit. His 2002 song “Dear America” contains some forceful language about US armed forces in Iraq.

A Simple Reason Why Audiences Are So Small For New Music Concerts, by Elissa Milne on elissamilne.wordpress.com

A resident of Sidney, Australia, Elissa has no patience with musicians who attribute a poor showing to their claim that “Australia is so backward.” It’s closer to the truth, she argues, that indie musicians have a small turnout because the music has no fans. Written with an elegant bluntness, her article should be read by musicians in all countries and of all genres.

Ten Truths About the Modern Music Business, by Jason Feinberg on PBS.org.

The definition of Y in DIY needs to be stretched to include a team if artists intend on being successful by going it alone. There’s simply too much to be done. Other truths: keep an eye on your metrics at all times. Facebook is gaining on email as a band’s preferred communication tool. And someone in the band really needs to understand marketing.

Dream Big: How to Succeed in Today’s Volatile Music Biz, by Mike King on Berklee Music Blogs.

In an interview with American Songwriter’s Adam Gold, Mike King learns about the tricky business of developing a content release plan (hint: it’s not just about Facebook), the value of giving music away for free, digital royalties, and pitching to the industry.

How Do Musicians Really Earn a Living? on Live Unsigned Blog.

merch-tablesIt might be surprising, but for many musicians music is not the primary means of making money. Small wonder, then, why labels want in on merchandise sales. Making a living in the music business is tough, which is why most musicians rely on additional income streams, such as teaching music, playing in multiple bands, or running sound for other bands during gig downtime.

Playing Profitable Shows as a Band: The 25 Percent Rule, by David Roberts on Music Think Tank.

Roberts provides a good template for planning a profitable tour, suggesting budget guidelines for fuel and a (very austere) food budget. Most importantly, however, the band needs to budget for a 25 percent profit – no matter what.

Live Streaming’s Long Tail, by Cortney Harding on Hypebot.

Face it: tours are expensive, taking their toll both physically and fiscally. Live streaming a show is an option, although a slow-growing one. However, as Harding explains, live streams of shows can be profitable ventures when they target specific fan bases: cult followers, shut-ins (think thirtysomethings with kids), and casual fans who may not be willing to commit. (Note: check out stageit.com, a cool way to stream a show, collect a cover charge, and virtual tips, all on one website.)

Will An Internship Help Get a Job? by Katie Reilly on Intern Like a Rock Star.

Don’t count on it, says interning guru Katie Reilly. Better to use experience from an internship to get leads, to gain valuable experience, and to prove to others that you’re serious about working in the music industry.

The Digest is a weekly feature of the Sketchbook blog that provides an annotated listing of links to relevant articles about events, trends, people, and things that have a direct impact on us as musicians. If you find The Digest useful, or if you want to suggest improvements, please let me know. Also, if you have content you’d like to see included, please send a message via Twitter or Facebook. And share the love by passing The Digest on via email or social media.


Image credits: Fiona Apple – http://www.philly.com; PSY – http://www.metrolyrics.com; Noisecreep merch table – http://www.noisecreep.com

The Digest, Volume 7

The Digest is a weekly feature of the Sketchbook blog that provides an annotated listing of links to relevant articles about events, trends, people, and things that have a direct impact on us as musicians. If you find The Digest useful, or if you want to suggest improvements, please let me know. Also, if you have content you’d like to see included, please send a message via Twitter or Facebook. And share the love by passing The Digest on via email or social media.

MusiCares Offers Relief for Musicians Victimized by Hurricane Sandy, by Katie Reilly, Intern Like a Rockstar.

MusicCares, an organization benefiting musicians since 1989, works year round to provide “a safety net of critical assistance for music people in times of need.” Recently they announced a new fund aimed at helping musicians who were affected by Hurricane Sandy. The fund provides the for basics, such as clothing and shelter, and for musical instrument and recording equipment replacement. Katie’s post has links for assistance application and for fund donations.

Lars Ulrich: Meet The New Boss, Worse Than The Old Boss, The Trichordist.

Charlie Rose featured guests Lars Ulrich of Metallica and Chuck D from Public Enemy in 2000 to discuss Napster, the internet and the future of the music industry. Chuck D saw a bright, sunny future for music sales. Lars saw the darker side of the then fledgling medium, one in which millions of artists, musicians, photographers, authors, writers and other creators would have their living illegally appropriated by internet robber barons.

New MySpace Too Good to be True? by Jennifer Van Grove, The Washington Post.

Designed for artists and their fans, the new MySpace, is not a redesign. It’s a new product with a new purpose and a design meant to evoke emotion. MySpace wants to draw people away from a “boring internet” and into relationships with creatives and the content they produce.

Unpaid DIY Music “Competitive Advantage” For New MySpace, by Bruce Houghton, Hypebot.

Over five million artists, most of them unsigned, have uploaded 27 million songs to the social media site, accounting for half of the music played there. MySpace hopes to use this advantage to help them offset a projected revenue shortfall, or in other words, balance the books on the backs of the unsigned artists. Predictably, MySpace doesn’t see it that way, suggesting instead that they’re helping “artists … foster … unique relationships with their fans.”

Music Career Killers: Sure Ways to Ruin Your Chances For Success, by The DIY Musician.

Feel like you don’t have time to work on your music because you’re spending all your time marketing it? That’s an excellent way to ruin the career you’re trying so hard to start. Boring your fans and taking crap gigs on the offhand chance that they’ll yield one more fan are career killers, too.

Why Piracy Isn’t the Music Industry’s Biggest Threat, by Mike Doughty, Immutable/Inscrutable.

“Dear music industry,” writes musician Mike Doughty, “there are some amazing middle-aged artists. There’s loads of genuinely NEW artists who are in their 40s, and they would be loved by people with money to spend. Oh, PS, you guys really, really need money right now.” He goes on to suggest some great ways to widen one’s audience with older listeners who really want to go to the shows.

Pianos Aren’t a Center of Attention Anymore, by William Loeffler, TribLive.

It’s a pity the pro-life movement doesn’t extend to pianos. The Great Recession and associated economic downturn forced cuts in music education programs nationwide, thus cutting into sales of new pianos. Add to that the surge of interest in less expensive digital pianos, and it’s no surprise that some older acoustics find their way into landfills. Fortunately, there’s pianoadoption.com.

How to Help Protect Your Health as a Musician, by Barry Gardner, Musician Wages.

Whether you’re on tour or in the studio, your life as a musician definitely comes with physical stresses that can affect your health. Gardner offers a few suggestions that can help keep you healthy and in front of the crowds.

Doing a Holiday CD? Know Who Owns the Copyright, by Music Clout.

It’s tough to go wrong with a CD of Christmas tunes. They only have a limited, seasonal appeal, but once everyone’s in the mood for decking the halls, they’ll be in demand. Most classics are in the public domain, but you’ll want to do your homework to make sure you’re not stepping on some toes.

Why You Should Think Twice Before Saying Yes to a Gig, by Geraldine Boyer-Cussac, The Successful Musician.

It may be difficult for a lot of musicians to turn down a gig, especially those who are just starting out and need the exposure. Yet Dr. Boyer-Cussac reviews four situations when you should just say no, the main one being if you don’t know exactly how much you’ll get paid.

The Digest, Volume 6

The Digest is a weekly feature of the Sketchbook blog that provides an annotated listing of links to relevant articles about events, trends, people, and things that have a direct impact on us as musicians. If you find The Digest useful, or if you want to suggest improvements, please let me know. Also, if you have content you’d like to see included, please send a message via Twitter or Facebook. And share the love by passing The Digest on via email or social media.

71 Percent of Indie Artist Still Want a Label Deal, by Paul on Digital Music News.

There’s a lot of romance involved in being an independent artist, but that may be easy to forget while the indie artist plans tours, designs and orders merchandise, pays for CD duplication, and handles publicity. Oh, and some new songs need to be written, too. Yes, most of us long for a major label to come along and save the day.

Five Things All Musicians Need Before Starting a Digital PR Campaign, by John Ostrow on Music Think Tank.

If you want to have a successful PR campaign (such as one for Kickstarter), make sure you have music ready to release, a professional bio and photo, a niche, and a strong social media presence.

Entertain or Go Home: Is The Music Enough? by Eric Bruckbauer on How to Run a Band.

Eric states what should be an obvious truth: “People go to shows to have a good time and to be entertained. It’s that simple.” Yet some bands don’t understand that they’re in the entertainment business. In order to succeed, you have to do what KISS did so well: engage the audience while setting the band apart from the rest.

What To Know About Management Contracts, by Francis McEntegart on Music Think Tank.

Make sure to choose a manager that understands the music business and how it works, and make sure that he couples that knowledge with plenty of good contacts that respect him. Be clear on what his twenty percent will buy, and get your own attorney to review the agreement before you sign.

Four Things To Be Aware Of Before Signing With a Music Manager on Music Clout.

Know what you’ll pay this person. Expect to pay a percentage of your earnings, but beware the manager who asks you to pay up front for his or her representation. Also check out his history and reputation. A little due diligence goes a long way.

The Next Music Revolution by Alex Hoffman on Hypebot.

Sensory information already gathered about us by our smartphones can be paired with third-party data, creating a new culture driven by context, wherein experiences and recommendations can be automatically catered to us. Instead of manually tapping to set our Android’s alarm at bedtime, it be will able to infer from our Google Calendar appointments and Google Maps traffic data just how long we need to commute to make our first meeting on time and wake us accordingly. Will this revolution be televised? If our smartphones think it should be.

Ten Tips to Improve Your Recordings, on Music Clout.

Practice, practice, practice. You might get lucky on the first take, but don’t count on it. Get plenty of rest the night before. Bring spares – cables, strings, picks, drum heads, whatever. Take frequent breaks to avoid ear fatigue – this can be costly in terms of studio time. And remember, you can never fix it in the mix.

Less Is More, by Janet Horvath on Playing Less Hurt

The Summer Olympics gave musician, author, and speaker Janet Horvath an opportunity to reflect on how athletes prepare themselves for the highly competitive games, and in what ways musicians are kindred spirits to them. Many musicians are guilty of, at one time or another, driving themselves to the point of exhaustion. “We too need to be reminded that our bodies must be recharged,” she writes, “in order for us to be able to execute intricate, complex maneuvers day after day.”

Music Industry Careers for Shy People, by Katie Reilly on Intern Like a Rock Star.

So belting out a ballad in front of a stadium full of people isn’t your idea of a music career? Fear not – Katie Reilly has a solution. Marketing, finance, accounting, law, and sound are all areas that are in heavy demand within the music industry, but these don’t make heavy demands on you to put yourself in front of thousands of strangers week after week.

Book Review: The Savvy Musician, by David J. Hahn on Musician Wages.

Hahn notes that Dr. David Cutler’s The Savvy Musician is a book for the modern musician, offering a detailed, thoughtful map to a meaningful career in the business, all the while stressing that a musician can build a career for himself anywhere. This book is a must-read for any working musician, or anyone serious about becoming one.

Advice To a Young Musician

I ran across the following this morning while perusing the Craigslist music ads. The headline read “Can Anyone Help Me Get Signed.” (I crossed out the genres and influences to eliminate bias toward any particular genre. The genres are immaterial. Lots of kids feel this way.)

Hey im XX years old. Singer, songwriter, and I play the acoustic guitar. I’m looking for a producer, or manager who can help me get a record deal. My genre is xxxx xxx xxx. My influences are Xxxxx, Xxx Xxxxx, Xxxxxx, Xxx Xxxxxxxx, and many more. If you can help please email me asap. Thanks

The thing is, this could be any musician, at any age, and in any genre. Where to begin? So many problems to deal with, so many misconceptions to overcome.

Let me begin by saying that I hope you make it in this business, young musician. I really do. But you have your work cut out for you before I see your act at Bonaroo, or the Ryman, or Madison Square Garden, or The Iridium.

Now, let’s get down to business. The first thing you need to realize is that the world doesn’t owe you a living, much less a record deal. They’re not given out for free just because you ask for one. You have to pay your dues, and that means writing good music, recording a CD, playing gigs (at which you sell the CD), and building up a loyal fan base. Then you repeat all of that until you get the results you want. That formula hasn’t changed, and there are no shortcuts.

But before you even start, ask yourself why you want to be a musician in the first place. Do you enjoy writing music to the point of being unable to imagine doing anything else? I can’t tell from your post. It sounds like you’re all glassy-eyed over the romance of a record deal and what you think that entails: money, tours, limos, more money, and so on. There’s nothing wrong with that, but you need to get your career vision firmly in your head before you start down that road, not after. How will you know you’ve arrived at your destination if you don’t know your destination?

Read what artist management guru David Lowry has to say about starting a career in music and creating a buzz. Musicians are the product, he says, not the CD, and that you have the sole responsibility of promoting you. Use Twitter and Facebook, but don’t spam your followers. No one wants to follow someone who talks about himself all the time. Engage your followers, and you’ll build a fan base. Managers and booking agents only get involved when there’s a good following built up and there’s something to take to the next level.

Learn about the music business. Read this great article by Christopher Kanabe, and pay particular attention to points 8, 9, and 10. Your post suggests you’ll put your hand in the hand of the first “manager” that comes along, and I sincerely hope you don’t. Never forget that music is a business, and that there are many ways to lose money in this business. If someone offers to represent you, do your homework. Talk to past and current clients. Visit some shows that this person has booked.

Finally, read this excellent blog post by Danny Barnes on how to make a living in music. Then read it again. It’s so packed with good advice that it should be required reading in any university course about the music business. Here’s what he has to say on the music industry (emphasis added):

the main business strategy is to build your own audience. if you have a draw, agents, labels or investors [which i do not recommend] and stuff will come to you. if you skip this step and start trying to talk to industry people and you don’t have a draw yet, you are going to be sorry [unless you are really hot looking or have a famous parent and/or willing to sign away the rights to the whole thing of course]. build your own audience. if you can sell your own records that you make yourself and do your own shows, you can attract the attention of industry folks and get your calls returned.

It shouldn’t be surprising that this attitude about the music industry is so prevalent. Not when American Idol invades our living rooms every year showing talented Nothings becoming Somethings, and everyone getting the idea that he or she can do it, too. It’s America’s annual Hunger Games, only these Tributes can’t wait to compete. Instant music career! May the odds be ever in your favor!

I sincerely hope this article has been of some help, young musician – whoever you are. Keep reading about and studying this business you want to be a part of. Keep practicing your instrument, and try to write something every day. Network with other musicians. Post your music on YouTube. Play out, and do it often.

And take the advice of Sir Winston Churchill:

Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense.

And you’ll get your record deal.

How To Support the Indie Musician

Want to stimulate the local economy and do it for next to nothing? Support your local independent musician!

It’s easy to do, says Texas musician and writer Tracy Ready, and there’s not a lot of cost involved. In a recent article, Ready lists five low- to no-cost ways you can support the singer/songwriter in your neighborhood and support your local economy at the same time.

  1. Go to the event. If it’s at a club, pay the cover and stay for a set. Have a beer. Your total investment will probably be ten dollars or less, depending on the cover. You’ll blow that in a week on soda. And sign up for the newsletter. That’s free, and you could get a free music download just for doing it.
  2. If you like the music, buy the CD. Most artists sell their CDs at their gigs, usually for $15 or less. If you don’t want to buy the disc, drop $5 in the tip jar.
  3. Spread the word on Facebook and Twitter. This costs you nothing, but the potential boost to the artist is priceless. Retweet them when they advertise a gig. Post a review of the show on Facebook. Like one of their blog posts.
  4. Support their Kickstarter project. Even a five dollar donation helps.
  5. Host a house concert at your home. Invite several of your friends over for a house concert to hear the artist in an intimate setting. Suggested donations for such concerts are usually between $6 and $15, depending on the number of people, and everyone often brings a covered dish. It’s a more relaxed atmosphere, and fans have a better opportunity to get to know the musicians. (Click here to read more about house concerts.)

I’m going to add number 6: send this post to your friends so that they will know how easy it is to support the local music scene.

Should Musicians Ever Work for Free?

Such a simple question. Such a simple answer. Most us quickly realize the answer after adding up the costs of instruments, lessons, transportation to and from the gig, CDs, and so on. Yet for those who still struggle with the issue, here’s a flowchart that will lay it all out for you. (Note: this is the clean version of the flowchart. A version with saltier language is available.)

Still can’t decide? Here are more of my thoughts on the issue, along with some from The Successful Musician blog.

The F-Word (Free)

Warning! This post contains a word that is potentially offensive to musicians: free. If you wish to avoid exposure (oops, another expletive!) to this word, please click your browser’s return button.

I’ve written before on the difference between value and worth, the former being the price tag the market wants to hang on musicians in general, and the latter being the perceived value you have of your own talents. Most of the time there’s a meeting in the middle, and everybody is satisfied.

But I’ve never heard a musician say that he or she wasn’t worth anything. In fact, I’ve heard and read just the opposite. Don’t play for free. Club owners are just using musicians who do a gratis gig. You’re selling yourself out, and you’re selling out your fellow musicians. All of these are excellent reasons not to play a free gig.

So it’s always a bad idea to play for free exposure. Right?

Well, yes. And no.

If a venue is making money, then you should be making money as well. Club owners who try to get by on the cheap by offering “free exposure” (or worse, a percentage of the door) do musicians no favors , and players who take these gigs ultimately wind up hurting the community of musicians who are trying to make a living (or part of one) by selling their time and talent. No club owner would tell a vendor he would “try” his beer for a week, and that he’d pay for it if his patrons liked it. Yet musicians across the country get fed the same exposure line on a daily basis, and we’re expected to take it and be grateful?

But the club owner doesn’t want to get screwed any more than the band does. He wants to sell food and drink. He’s not a producer; he’s not interested in advancing anyone’s career other than his own. He doesn’t want to invest in entertainment that his patrons may not want to see and walk out on, even if they’re good. Musicians call him up every day and swear they have a huge following, a million Facebook friends, and that they can bring a mob to the club. Of course, he’s heard that one too many times before (face it, folks, we’re all guilty).  So he plays it safe, offering no promises beyond free food, drinks, and exposure. Maybe he offers the door, or a percentage of it.

That being said, I would strongly caution musicians against always saying never, as there are certain occasions when a free gig makes good business sense. Here are some:

  • If you’re a brand-spanking-new band, and nobody has heard you, despite the fact you have a killer demo, then take the gig. Use the occasion to get used to playing in public under stressful conditions (nerves, loud club, rude patrons, drunk patrons, repeated requests for “Free Bird” or “What a Wonderful World”, etc.). And bring a tip jar, but don’t expect people to rush forward with cash all by themselves. Let them know you’d appreciate their generosity. Mentioning that twice per set is not too often.
  • Play a charity event with 2 or 3 other bands, and go in with them to advertise it heavily. Invite all of the people mentioned in the suggestion above. My band has played two charity events this year and has gotten several well-paying gigs and valuable contacts from that work. (You may also be able to use this as a tax write-off. Check with your tax professional.)
  • Try out some new material or to launch a solo act.
  • Record a live album.

If you play any gig, but especially a pro bono one, then make sure you do the following:

  • Use the gig to add to your mailing list. That will pay off later.
  • Ask for testimonials or recommendations from the venue owner and people in the crowd.
  • Sell your merchandise, pass out cards, and give away demos to those that express genuine interest

But remember: always tell the owner that this arrangement is not a permanent one; better yet, express that in writing. Failure to mention this caveat can quickly derail the possibility of renegotiating the pay arrangement. “I just thought you wanted to do it this way,” or something like that is what you’ll hear.

You’ve practiced hard. You’ve written songs by the score. You’ve given up other things to pursue your craft. You’ve invested thousands and thousands of dollars in gear and a music degree. You’ve bought a van to haul it in. So yes, you deserve fair pay, and you should always ask for and expect it. But you should also always keep in mind that doing the occasional freebie might be a good thing for you. Businesses give away merchandise all the time in order to get new customers; are we not businesses as well? By putting an exposure gig in the proper context, you put yourself in a position to reap the rewards of networking, merchandise sales, and recommendations.

And never forget: there is no such thing as an insignificant gig.

20 Ways To Get More Gigs, Parts 1 and 2

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a band in possession of talented musicians and expensive gear must be in want of a gig.

I must sincerely apologize for maligning Jane Austen so horribly, but I just couldn’t help it. It’s true. Show me a band, and I’ll show you a group of people who want to play out. But how does one get those gigs? Is it as difficult as the Bennett girls finding husbands?

Not quite. The Live Unsigned Blog spells it out for you in this article loaded with advice on landing more gigs. (Part two can be found here.) Some of the advice is common sense stuff that musicians ought to know, like why bars hire bands (right answer: to bring more folks to the bar), and to be nice to the people who hired you. Then again, it might not occur to a band to try to stand out more (it worked for KISS) or to swap gigs with other bands.

There’s plenty of food for thought in these articles, and I’m pretty sure you’ll find a few things you can try right away. Let me know if you start booking more gigs. And remember that I get ten percent.

Note: This is a repost of an article that previously appeared on http://www.robertwoliver.tumblr.com.