Tips on How To Get Gigs Using your Musical Talent

   Be prepared to play for little or no money at the start, just to get some exposure. Find a place that doesn't already have working musicians playing. By playing for little or no money you would be undercutting those musicians and reducing the asking price of entertainment in those venues. Once you have your act polished, you can start playing at established places. If you can show the people that your music is good, don't hesitate to make stronger bargains when it comes to money. By playing for free you disrupt the value of music for all the other musicians, including yourself.

   Start small. When you're starting out, any gig is a good gig. House party? I'll take it! Coffeehouse? Book me! Street corner? Why not? You get the idea. Get your music out there.

   You really should have a web site or at least a web page on which you can put some of your songs and some information about your band. It's not uncommon for agents and venues to accept a link to your music in lieu of having you send them a demo CD, and some places accept only these "virtual demos". What's more, a web site can make you look more credible as a serious performer, and it gives you a way to let fans know about your gigs. Even a simple page on a social networking or music site will work, just as long as you can email somebody a link and they can click on it to listen to your songs.

   If you've got some good video footage of a live show, feel free to put that on your web site. Of course, if it shows you getting booed off the stage, don't put it up.

   Whenever possible, try to build a relationship with the venue's manager. While some are too busy to meet with you in person, it's usually helpful if you stop by or call to ask if you can send them your demo. Then, when they receive it, they might remember you and be more likely to seriously consider your demo.

   If you have a responsible friend willing to act as a "manager" let them - venues like to know that they will always be dealing with the same person (not the drummer one day then the vocalist the next). If that person happens to be very personable and can charm, flatter or flirt their way into the venues good books, then all the better. Use every advantage you can find!

   As a general rule, the more songs on your demo, the better. An LP-length demo CD shows that you have plenty of material and that you're serious about making music. That said, the people doing the booking are usually very busy, and there's a good chance they'll only listen to one or two songs on the demo. This is especially true if they don't like the music or don't think it fits their needs, but it's also sometimes true even if they decide to book you. This means that every song on the demo should be great, because you don't know which ones they'll listen to first. Don't fill a demo up with crummy material just to make it look more impressive, and make sure the first song on the CD will knock their socks off.

   Putting together a demo and press kit can seem like a daunting task, but don't obsess over it. You want your demo to be good, but it doesn't have to be professionally recorded. You want your press kit to look good, but it doesn't have to be a major production. You can't get gigs until you start sending stuff out, so just do it.

   You won't get every gig you want. In fact, it may take you a while before you get any gigs. Sometimes it just comes down to luck to break into the scene. Don't take it too hard, and persevere. Keep trying and keep making great music, and people will listen.

   While you can certainly follow up with the venue after you've sent a demo, don't be a pest. Understand that people who are in charge of booking are usually flooded with demos, and they're very busy. Annoy them, and they're not going to want to work with you.

   Sometimes it can pay to be persistent however, and a few friendly follow up calls can help get the gig. If the venue manager/promoter seems grumpy then it's probably best not to bother them (or perhaps get someone else to try to strike up a rapport), but if they just seem busy or disorganized then the occasional reminder call won't hurt.

   Understand the type of venue that you want to play. Corner bars will typically pay bands based on their talent or their ability to hold a crowd. Concert clubs pay bands based on their draw. If you want to play at a concert club make sure that you're able to bring fans along to your shows.