How to Get Gigs as a Band

By November 8, 2019Booking Gigs, CDBaby

If you’ve got a great little group of musicians, you probably want to book some gigs, not only to make money, but to generate some buzz that will help you sell CDs and downloads.

You might even aspire to get signed with a label and go big.

Even if you start small, it’s good to plan for later.

But how do you get started booking venues for your band, right here and now?

Read on for a list of five simple ways to get your show on the road.

Note: This article originally appeared on CDBaby’s DIYMusician blog here.

1. Team Up With A Local Band

Follow similar artists on social media and show up to their events to see where they play.

Those are the venues and audiences that are most likely to enjoy your music, too.

Don’t underestimate the power of networking.

Be friendly and courteous, and you’ll quickly find out who to contact if you want to book a venue.

If at first, the club manager doesn’t seem thrilled at the idea of booking you, don’t be discouraged.

It’s the manager’s job to bring crowds to the venue, and they won’t necessarily want to risk an unknown group.

2. Offer to Open for Another Band

That’s why it’s a great idea to open for another act.

This minimizes risk and optimizes your exposure.

Especially if you’re just starting out, opening for another band in your genre is the perfect way to get your foot in the door and prove that people want to hear your music.

If you can’t talk them into letting you play the opener, try asking if you can be the intermission.

If you play a song or two while the main band is on break, you’ll get to play for a prime audience and prove your worth.

A venue manager is far more likely to book you in the future if they see you play live and in person.

There are plenty of bands and musicians who think they’re awesome, but when push comes to shove…not so much.

If you’re really serious about your music and not just out to make a quick buck, you’ll accept every opportunity, no matter how small.

Networking with similar music groups in your area is a vital step on your path to success.

3. Be Professional and Easy To Work With

The best bands are a team.

You don’t have to wear matching clothes (in fact, please don’t, unless that’s actually part of your shtick), but you should look like you’re in the same era.

Don’t have wildly differing styles.

Show up early enough to set up and do your sound checks well before show time.

Have your equipment in good order (and don’t constantly try to borrow the venue’s).

Know your stuff and be a easy to work with.

Don’t drink on the job.

If you do have ONE beer, milk it, and don’t let yourself be tempted by offers of free drinks.

No one came to see you or your band ranting crazily into the mic or offering to fight the audience.

When leaving messages and writing emails, be professional and leave out the cuss words.

Wait a week or so before sending a follow-up email if you don’t get a response about booking an event.

Be sure to send a thank-you email within a week after a successful show.

The venue manager will appreciate it and be more likely to book you again.

4. Book Far in Advance

Everyone wants the prime time spot, this weekend.

By booking venues months in advance, you’ll have a better selection of slots, and no one has to scramble at the last minute.

Anyone with a schedule to fill appreciates long-term planners, and once you start, you will, too.

Plan your tour well in advance; leave plenty of time to get the word out and arrange for travel and accommodations.

The best way to build an audience is to play consistently, and widen your area from local to regional so that you don’t wear out your welcome.

5. Balance Audience-Building with Profit

There are two main reasons to play at live events: to make money, and build a following.

You can’t always do both at the same time.

Balance your events between these two goals, or focus on one, and then the other.

You’ll make more money in the long run if you work on cultivating a loyal fan base right from the beginning.

On the other hand, never be afraid to do small events like birthday parties and weddings if the pay is good.

Invest that money into better equipment, merchandise, or social media advertising for your next public appearance.

The important thing to remember is that music is not a get-rich-quick scheme.

It’s your passion, but it’s still a business, and you need to manage both your costs and your expectations.

Where to go from Here

Use these 5 tips to book more gigs and make the most of them.

Booking a gig can be as easy as sending an email but you have to know what to say and when to send the email.

I put together my favorite email pitch that you can grab here for free.

I used this simple email to get the conversation started for many of my gigs.

How GigFaster Can Help

Thanks for reading. Here at GigFaster, we help artists book gigs, promote their music and submit to indie record labels.

We bridge the gap between hard working artists like you and venues, music bloggers and indie record labels.

You hustle with your music and we help you get your music heard and recognized.

Sign up today with our one week free trial!

Craig Kelley

About Craig Kelley

Craig helps indie artists book more gigs, promote their music and submit to record labels @ GigFaster and GigFaster University . His latest release is his 7th album, Not So Blue. His band has supported Grammy artists including Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Rick Derringer, Gary Hoey, Joan Jett, Fuel and many more. He is also the host of The 5 Minute Podcast For Musicians.

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