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Don’t Just Play in Your Garage: How Bands Can Get More Gigs

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Be honest, how often do you sing in the shower or serenade your hairbrush? Most of us have dreams of becoming a rock star — even if we don’t want to admit it.

54% of people even play an instrument, according to reports from Gallup.

But while there’s something fun about jamming in your garage with your buddies, it won’t help you get to where you want to be.

Are you looking to get more gigs for your band? Here’s a quick rundown on how to book shows and make a living playing the music you love.

Immerse Yourself in the Local Music Scene

At the end of the day, playing in a band is a lot like running a business. You need to have your finger on the pulse of your market to make sure you have a product worth selling.

One great way to take the cultural temperature is by engaging with your local music scene.

It doesn’t matter how big or small your town is, there’s a high likelihood that your area has independent bands and venues nearby. And if your local scene is truly non-existent, start it up yourself.

Connecting with your fellow musicians isn’t just a great way to strike some new friendships (or friendly rivalries). It’s also a fantastic way to make more contacts within your area.

No one else understands the struggle of being in a band quite like another band, after all. Solidifying friendships can help you land future gigs and open up an avenue for cross promotion.

Show Them What You’re Made Of

Let’s go back to high school physics for a moment. Newton’s Law states that an object in motion tends to stay in motion. Though he wasn’t talking about booking shows, his findings are quite applicable.

The tricky thing about booking shows is that it’s largely based on momentum. Once your band books a gig, you’re more likely to book another gig and another one and so on and so forth.

Unfortunately, this means that you’ll have to play a ton of low-paying gigs at first or play some nontraditional shows. Many shows may not even take place at a traditional venue! Plenty of local shows occur at someone’s house, for instance, though audiences are just as eager to hear great music.

These gigs won’t be the most glorious shows you’ll play, to say the least. But as long as you have fun and make some good contacts, they’re a great way to build up some clout.

Keep Track of Everything

Playing shows is wonderful, but promoters need to see that hard evidence that you can sell tickets.

As good as your word may be, you’ll need to keep track of attendance.

Get sales figures from the venue and keep them in a safe location. You can use these numbers to secure a better rate in the future.

If you can, film your performances. Not only will the videos make great promotional tools, but you can watch them back and study them to improve your future performances.

Make Friends With Your Local Venues

You’ve mastered the art of the house show. Now it’s time to move onto bigger things.

As you begin to generate buzz around your band, reach out to local venue staff. Introduce yourself, send a clip of a performance or link to a track, and let them know that you’re accepting bookings.

Most bands wait for promoters to make the first move, which isn’t a great idea. In an age where any band can put their stuff up on Spotify or YouTube, a promoter’s time is more valuable than ever.

The day to day life of a venue owner is hectic enough as it is. From booking talent to securing food and beverage licenses to dealing with venue staff, promoters simply don’t have the time to reach out to your band. Reaching out saves everyone time.

Design a Digital Portfolio

In the age of social media, it may seem like building a website for your band is a waste of time and resources. On the contrary, a great-looking website is more helpful than you’d think.

While social media is great for connecting with fans and posting about upcoming shows, it’s hard to get in-depth with your marketing.

But a website allows for more elaborate biographies, contact information, and links to your social profiles as well as music streaming services.

Aside from that, a great website is the first step toward boosting your digital presence. Using search engine optimization, you can make sure your band is the first result when a promoter is looking for talent in your area.

Get Social

Social media is a fantastic resource for bands looking to grow an audience and book shows.

What makes it such a powerful tool? It’s right in the name: It’s social.

Social media allows for bands to connect with their fans anytime, anywhere. Furthermore, a ‘Like’ or ‘Share’ is every bit as good as the traditional word of mouth advertising.

Add Your Band to a Directory

The downside to social media profiles and websites is that they take time to have an effect. Most bands don’t instantly notice a difference in their bookings.

But if you’re tired of waiting, why not go to the source?

Adding your band to a directory is a great way to help those looking to hire entertainment learn about your group. And they’re more than a massive list of band names.

Plenty of sites, like Alive Network, which you can view here, allow bands to specify what types of events they’d like to play, giving you more control over your bookings.

Get More Gigs: How to Book Shows Like a Pro

With this guide on how to book shows, the only thing you have to worry about is rocking the house. So remember what you’ve learned today.

Don’t underestimate the power of your local music scene, and never be afraid to make contact, be it with a promoter, fan on social media, or client on a directory.

If you’re interested in more ways to get eyes on your band, be sure to check out our guide on creative marketing ideas.