Unless everyone knows your name, getting booked can certainly be a challenge even for skillful musicians. For brand-new and emerging artists, it can be an even greater challenge. But getting booked doesn't have to be a constant worry for musicians willing to put in the time to find gigs. Here are five great tips for getting your band or act booked.
Finish Your Debut
Before you can start looking for gigs, you'll want to make sure that your debut album is complete and available for digital or hard copy distribution. It goes without saying that you'll want to make your debut as solid as possible. Once you've got your debut ready, you can start doling it out to promoters, venues, and other networking sources that can get you gigs (even your friends and family).
One approach to getting booked is to contact venues directly, especially if there's a band coming to town that you'd like to open for. Whether you call, email, or show up in person to deliver a download code or demo CD, reach out to as many venues as you can and ask about the possibility of putting together a show or getting onto an already existing bill. You may get more nos than yesses, especially in the beginning, but don't let that discourage you – keep at it.
Ask Other Bands
This is one of the best ways to get gigs – by talking to other bands. If they like what you do, they may opt to suggest you to a venue or promoter as an opening act for one or more of their shows. Networking with other bands is also a great way to get onto collaborations or tours, so don't skimp out on going to shows and talking with other musicians about their – and your – work.
Talk to Promoters
Promoters work in every area of the music industry, from running club nights to organizing shows. Get to know promoters in your area and let them know that you're looking for gigs. If they like what you do, they'll be more likely to drop you a line when they're organizing a show to ask if you want a performing slot. They'll be even more likely to do so if you come to shows and events they organize regularly – so make sure they know your face (and your name!).
Don't Get Picky
While you should never fall for pay-to-play scams (i.e. having to sell tickets or comp unsold tickets yourself), don't get overly picky about the gigs you are offered. If you're offered a weeknight gig, take it. If you're offered a gig performing at someone's wedding or Memorial Day picnic, take it. Continue an ongoing search for gigs that you feel best suit your act; but getting your music in front of as many people as possible will only do you favors in the long run.
Following these five simple tips will help you land gigs more easily – and over time, more regularly.