Beware of Music Entrepreneur Shills & Charlatans

I was recently on the receiving end of a bit of flack.

There’s an article on Music Think Tank that refers to a post on this website discussing how to make a killer set list. The author pointed out that there’s nothing entrepreneurial about this.

I think Mr. Nicholas Patrick Quigley will be surprised to find there’s a great deal that’s entrepreneurial about that post, so instead of trying to defend myself or answer his criticism, I’m going to explain what’s entrepreneurial about it.

1. I Was Leveraging Old Content

Between January 2012 and July 2013, I handled online marketing for a music industry startup.

I produced a lot of blog content to help promote that company during that time.

When the company folded in 2015, there was mention of how the assets would be distributed or sold.

I was not interested in the domain names, or even the source code for the software that was being developed. The one thing I wanted to secure was the content I had worked so hard on to promote the business.

So, I got in touch with the appropriate parties, and asked if the content was an asset I could hold onto. To my delight, they said “yes”.

So, occasionally, I will dig into the archives, find things that I think are still relevant to musicians and music entrepreneurs today, update them, and then share them on this website. It’s free to consume for my readers, and it could help someone, so I see no issue with this.

Plus, I think it’s the tension between music and entrepreneurship that’s important. As I continue to share about my journey here on The Music Entrepreneur HQ, you can see how my thinking has shifted, and how I’ve changed my focus. I’m evolving, and as I evolve, the content on the website evolves.

I could jump on a soapbox and claim I know everything, but I don’t. I keep growing and learning. Thus, the tension. I believe that tension is what deserves the most attention, because as I share about it, you as a reader get to stand on my shoulders and see further. It also assures you that I’m not promising an easy journey, unlike some experts I know.

Leveraging old content is something great entrepreneurs do. Just look at Darren Rowse and 31 Days to Building a Better Blog (one of his most successful eBooks that originated from free content on his website).

Leveraging old content is something great musicians do. Just look at Richie Kotzen, who is an incredibly prolific artist who isn’t afraid to revisit and rerecord old songs. Consider the example of The Essential Richie Kotzen, which features “2014” versions and acoustic versions of many songs from his archives.

I think the greater tragedy today is entrepreneurs and musicians thinking they should never leverage old content. You could be missing some serious opportunities.

2. I’m Adding Value to My Readers

It’s impossible to cover every topic imaginable on a single music industry blog/website.

I know it’s ambitious, and yet that’s exactly what I aspire to do here at The Music Entrepreneur HQ.

After all, I’m an entrepreneur. I have huge dreams and goals. I want to be the go-to source for all things musicpreneur related.

I’ve even been branching out in the topic of creativity and creative entrepreneurship as I look to broaden my audience. And, what’s not entrepreneurial about that?

Sorry, I’m getting a bit off track. My point is that what if that one piece of content is the difference between someone finding this website and not? What if that post helps someone make $10 more than they normally would at gigs? What if it sparks thoughts and ideas that means the difference between someone continuing or quitting?

Look, you can do business at whatever level you want. For a lot of people, an extra $500 to $600 per month would mean a world of difference. Some entrepreneurs would laugh that off and call it small potatoes but trust me when I say I know how significant that small amount of money can be.

And, I’m perfectly happy helping my readers/listeners/viewers/students make an extra $100 per month or an extra $10,000 per month. I want you to be satisfied with your results, so what I think you should aspire to has nothing to do with that equation.

3. The World Doesn’t Need More Entrepreneurial Content

I know this probably sounds like it flies in the face of what I’m about, so let me explain.

You can get your latest news updates, motivational content, how-to guides, and so on, from Entrepreneur, Entrepreneur On Fire, Inc.com, Success Magazine, Mixergy… Whatever turns you on – there is no shortage of publications. And, this content gets pumped out like nobody’s business.

Do I see the value in it? Absolutely. Am I consumer of said content? Yes. I’ve even ghostwritten a significant number of pieces for sites like the ones just mentioned.

What interests me more – and I believe what interests you – are the intersections between the two worlds of music and business.

I’ve had everything from authors to musicians to music business owners to people who offer services to musicians on the podcast. As a listener, you’re not going to resonate with everybody, but you will likely find someone you relate to, and that can mean a lot when you’re trying to figure out what to do in the music industry, or when you’re trying to find an example you can follow.

I could just pump out content about business and entrepreneurship, and if that’s what you want, let me know. If you take issue with blog posts like My Top 5 Favorite Pieces of Guitar Gear, then send me an email letting me know what you’d rather read. Be my guest.

4. I Benefit From Posting Content That Gets Viewed

I have a content driven business. That means I depend on content to help me build credibility with my audience, and ultimately make sales.

That may not be your business model, but it is mine. So, the more quality content I can publish, the better. It gets more eyeballs on my website, more people signing up for my email list, more people buying through my affiliate links, more people buying the products I have to offer.

But ultimately, it doesn’t just help me, does it? I don’t think it’s intrusive or bad practice to have a couple of call to actions at the end of my posts. I think this is what most bloggers completely fail at when they’re trying to monetize their work!

So, if it helps my readers, and it helps me build my business, it’s a win-win!

As a content creator, I also need to ask myself. How many people are going to read an article titled “How to Make a Business Plan” (good luck ranking for that in Google), versus How to Make a Killer Set List. I think the answer is obvious.

Yes, it’s all in how you frame the content, and I’m not saying I won’t talk about business plans down the line. What I am saying is that you couldn’t possibly know the strategy behind what I’m doing when you haven’t even taken the time to reverse engineer it!

Final Thoughts

Don’t take everything at face value. Dare to dig deeper. You may think you have the answers, but you might be missing something.

It’s always easier to criticize those who are creating than to create something yourself. Only then do you truly realize how challenging it can be to create something great.

I may not have been as deliberate and intentional about The Music Entrepreneur HQ brand in the past as I am today, but all that means is that I’ve grown. And, I’m happy to share this journey with you, because it gives you the chance to learn from my wins and losses.

Interested in Learning More About this Topic?

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How Singers Develop Vocal Cord Disorders & How to Avoid It

This guest post comes to us via Vincent Reina, a piano teacher.

If you know you’ve got what it takes to put together a guest post for The Music Entrepreneur HQ, you can learn more about what it takes here.

Now, here’s Vincent to tell us how singers develop vocal cord disorders, and how you can avoid it.

Many amateur and professional singers are faced with the challenge of giving their very best every time they go onstage. The problem is that even professional singers don’t have unlimited vocal capacities, so they must go to great lengths to keep their vocal cords healthy.

You must be here because you are a singer yourself, and you know that this is a hurdle you must overcome.

If you have been singing for a while, you’ve probably had some bad days when you’ve had to stop training and performing. It is crucial to have this rest period, because your cords need rest. Your body needs this rest, too, because singing can be taxing physically, mentally, and emotionally, especially when done every day. Rest is important, particularly for professional singers.

But some singers still develop vocal cord disorders such as laryngitis, vocal polyps, and vocal cord paralysis. These are common illnesses that professional singers face due to voice overuse and lack of rest.

These disorders often start with the singer developing a raspy voice, where even normal talking can be painful and takes a lot of effort. These are bad signs, because it means you have stretched your vocal folds too much, not leaving enough space for your cords to rest.

What can you do if you develop a vocal cord disorder? Do you stop singing altogether? Would you blame the vocal lessons company whom you have partnered with for training?

Here are some tips to help you avoid vocal cord disorders. And no, it’s not the fault of the vocal teacher you are currently training with.

Know When to Stop

It can be challenging to stop singing when you have lots of projects lined up. It is hard to get contracts, so if you have work coming, it is difficult to stop. However, you must know your limits, because not resting when you need to can cause more severe damage to your voice. It’s better to miss out on a week of work than to be unable to sing for the rest of your life.

If you have an agent, let him/her know that you cannot take contracts until you get well. You can have someone fill in for you in the meantime. It is hard to say “no”, but you must think long-term.

The best way to tackle this is to take breaks. Schedule time off and let people know when you’ll be available to work again.

It is better to set these hard boundaries than having to say “no” to clients, because you may not get calls back after turning down too many gigs.

Remember, rest is essential. But don’t just rest for the sake of rest. Enjoy your time off, and get quality rest. Stay away from foods like sweets and cold drinks, and give your voice as much rest as you possibly can.

Watch Your Lifestyle

Talent can get you ahead with professional singing, but lifestyle plays a huge role in your success, too. If you are a singer, you must be willing to sacrifice many of the things you used to enjoy.

Food and drinks with caffeine, sugar, too much oil, and colder drinks and food must be avoided at all costs. You should also say “goodbye” to smoking, even the occasional puff. Smoking and a bad diet can cause your vocal cords to deteriorate, so it is crucial to be on guard at all times.

There are many ways for you to avoid developing vocal cord disorders, but the most important step for you to take is to take breaks when you need them.

No one likes turning down gigs, but it may be necessary if you want to keep your voice in the best shape possible.

076 – Setting Your Defaults

We spend a lot of time and energy thinking about what to do with our time and who to spend it with?

And, while you can’t control all variables, all things being equal, if you were able to stick to a set of “defaults” that guided your life, how much easier would managing your time become?

In this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast, I talk about the importance of setting your default.

Podcast Highlights:

  • 00:14 – Intentionally planning how you want to live
  • 00:31 – You can’t live by your plan 100% of the time
  • 00:58 – Why set “defaults” for yourself?
  • 01:33 – Where’s the fun in defaults?
  • 02:15 – Easy decisions versus hard decisions
  • 04:12 – What does a default look like, and how do I create one?
  • 05:21 – Creating contingency defaults
  • 06:06 – Please question your defaults

Transcription:

Planning can require a great deal of time and effort.

But I believe it’s worth every minute you spend on it, because if you don’t plan how you’re going to live, you may never get to where you want to go in life. It’s like setting out on a journey with no specific end in mind. You will get somewhere, but is that somewhere a place you want to be?

I don’t know if it’s possible to live by your plan 100% of the time. Life is full of surprises, and the unexpected can happen. Just when you think you’ve got the hang of things, your plans can be derailed by people, events, and circumstances.

But if you have an agenda to fall back on, you can always get back on track. Maybe not the same day, maybe not even the same week, but usually within a short amount of time, you’ll find yourself back in your routine.

I believe an important part of creating your routine is setting your defaults.

Why Set Defaults for Yourself?

By setting your defaults, you can eliminate a lot of unnecessary thinking and conserve your energy for the things that matter to you most.

Steve Jobs was said to have worn the same clothing every single day, so that he wouldn’t have to go through his closet trying to figure out what to wear in the morning. He saved his energy for what he felt was most important in his life.

Since we all have limited willpower that diminishes through the day, using up that willpower for the minute details of life can steal energy and creativity that could be better applied to your highest priorities and projects.

Where’s the Fun in Defaults?

I can hear some of you objecting already: “If I set defaults for every part of my life, I will never have any fun!”

I know exactly where you’re coming from. I enjoy being spontaneous, and I have a lot of fun when others involve me in their spontaneity too.

But therein lies one of the benefits of setting defaults for yourself – you’ll probably eliminate a lot of boredom!

If you’re the fun-loving, spontaneous type, there’s a good chance you find yourself bored a lot of the time anyway. So, think about it – if you always had something new and different scheduled in your calendar, you would have a lot to look forward to, and you wouldn’t get bored or restless as often.

Plus, you can schedule spontaneity blocks into your life. There’s no rule against it!

Easy Decisions & Hard Decisions

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably wasted a lot of time trying to figure out what to do on a given night. In the last six years or so, I often defaulted to work, because that was the easiest thing to do. I was already at work, so soldiering on and doing more work was an easy decision to make.

At that time, finding something to do, asking friends to join me, and going out was the harder decision to make, as weird as that might sound. And, that wasn’t part of my value system at the time.

The easy decision isn’t always the right one, though, especially long-term, as evidenced by the fact that I was severely burnt out before going on my trip to Japan. Yes, I did it to myself as much as anyone else, but at least I learned from it and took proactive steps to correct my mistakes.

I hadn’t taken much time off, if at all, in the last six years. At times, I was burning the candle at both ends. So, in 2017, I booked time off and set aside my work for two weeks. I was deliberate about this.

Was going to Japan an easy decision or a hard decision? Believe it or not, it was a hard decision for me.

When I reflect on my trip, I recognize it should have been an easy decision to make, because I enjoyed myself tremendously and created a lot of incredible memories.

The hard part was the cost and anxiety associated with making such a commitment. There can be opportunity costs associated with taking time off too, but in this case, that would not have amounted to much because I had no mental space or energy to handle more projects.

Setting defaults can help you make hard decisions when you don’t feel like it. Let’s say, for instance, your calendar app reminds you to practice your guitar at seven in the morning.

Setting defaults can help you make hard decisions when you don’t feel like it. Click To Tweet

There’s a part of you that might dread having to start your day that early. But if you’re committed to your success, and you’re not a flake, then you would follow through on the decision to practice your instrument at the specific time you set aside for it.

Commitment begins with self. If you can’t commit to your own priorities, how can you expect to make a commitment to others?

What Does a Default Look Like?

Let’s say you go to book club on the first Thursday night of every month. So, that would be a default of yours, though you may not have identified it as such.

We all have defaults – work, church, meetings, meals, family life, date nights, social events, and so on.

It’s worth thinking about what your defaults are and mapping them out in a calendar app, or even on a piece of paper. I’ll talk more about this in a moment, but our defaults often go unexamined, leading to wasted time and energy drains. I think you’ll see this for yourself if you audit your schedule.

If you want to create a new default, look at the available time blocks in your calendar and schedule something new in an open slot. Let’s say you want to work on your personal growth. So, you set aside 7:30 PM to 8:00 PM on Wednesday nights as your default time for reading relevant, value-adding books.

Then, it’s just a matter of living by the defaults you set in your life. When experimenting with a new default, try it out for at least a month and decide whether it works. I would suggest not creating too many defaults at once, because it takes time to adopt new habits. Starting with one or two would allow you to get the feel for things before you commit to more.

Create Contingency Defaults

Let’s say Thursday night at 6:00 PM is when you hold band rehearsals. But things can come up, and sometimes rehearsals might get cancelled, right?

If you didn’t have a contingency default, you might twiddle your thumbs for a while and think about what to do with that time. Should you eat? Should you go out? Should you work on that recording project that’s been on the backburner for a while?

Meanwhile, if you had a contingency default, you would waste a lot less time and energy thinking about what to do next. Your contingency plan could simply be personal practice instead of band practice. That way, you would still be improving as a musician and preparing for your next gig or recording project.

I understand this can be a lot of defaults to be thinking about, but if you want to achieve big and enjoy life, you need to be intentional about your plans.

Question Your Defaults

Are your current defaults truly benefiting you? Are you making progress towards your goals and dreams, and are your habits supporting your progress?

As I already pointed out, everybody has defaults whether they’re aware of them or not. And, actions always reveal a person’s character and priorities. Words are unreliable, but actions never lie. I can always tell what someone’s priorities are by watching what they do.

I would encourage you to question your defaults, as more than likely there are items in your schedule that need not be there. They are holding you back from becoming the best you can be, and accomplishing what you’re truly capable of.

If you’re going to book club, ask yourself why that’s a default of yours. Reading can be beneficial, and I talk quite a bit about the importance of reading myself, but with something like book club, you also need to look at the material you’re reading and the people you’re hanging around.

Are you reading material that stimulates your creativity or benefits your life in some way? Are you meeting and spending time with people that add value to your life?

If you want to optimize your schedule, you need to be willing to question everything you’re doing. You have both positive and negative habits, as we all do. The goal of setting defaults is to create a set of habits that continually push you in the direction of your dreams.

Purging unproductive defaults can be challenging. It’s easy to get attached to an activity or group of people. And, it’s also easy to rationalize and justify an emotional decision later. But ask yourself – what is the long-term impact of what you’re doing? If it’s going to make you unhealthy, unhappy, or unproductive, you need to examine it seriously. There can be dire consequences for sticking with a bad habit for too long.

There can be dire consequences for sticking with a bad habit for too long. Click To Tweet

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075 – Moving as a Musician: 4 Things I’ve Learned from My Moves

075 – Moving as a Musician: 4 Things I’ve Learned from My Moves

Is it time to move? Are you looking to relocate, either for the sake of your music career, or for the sake of your own well-being?

In this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast, I share some thoughts on my last three moves.

Podcast Highlights:

  • 00:14 – Reasons for moving as a musician
  • 00:41 – Moving may not be fun, but at times it’s necessary
  • 00:51 – What I’ve learned from three separate moves
  • 00:57 – My latest move
  • 02:20 – Moving can improve your quality of life
  • 03:30 – Sometimes hard decisions are only made on a deadline
  • 05:04 – Moving can shake up your habits and routine
  • 06;18 – Moving may force you to innovate
  • 07:59 – Summary and final thoughts

Transcription:

I haven’t heard anyone say moving is their favorite activity.

And yet, for a musician, the need to move can arise for a variety of reasons.

You may find yourself:

  • Wanting to leave an unhealthy situation.
  • Able to afford a better living space, and therefore a better quality of life.
  • Needing to relocate due to new career opportunities.
  • Wanting to move in with your significant other.
  • On the hunt for a more affordable place, because you want to streamline your lifestyle.
  • Or otherwise.

Moving may not be fun, but at times it is necessary. It’s surprising how many music blogs talk about the importance of location, and yet leave the topic of moving entirely unaddressed.

So, here are some of my thoughts on moving, and what I’ve learned from three separate moves since 2012.

My Latest Move

Things have been anything but the same old, same old for me since returning from Japan in November 2017.

There were several minor setbacks, as well as some major ones. The biggest of all was my car breaking down. I ended up replacing it urgently.

Little did I know there was another challenge waiting for me on the heels of the last.

Things started changing at home when a longtime roommate moved out. A new roommate moved in shortly after, and let’s just say he wasn’t entirely stable.

This quickly prompted the need and desire to find a new place to live. In some ways, I had been putting it off anyway, and had been putting up with a lot of nonsense where I was living in the interim.

As I write this, I’m not fully moved in to the new home. We just took possession of the place today.

And when I say we, I mean I decided to find a place with a fellow entrepreneur and friend. We knew that splitting the costs would allow us to afford more house. We also felt it would save us from winding up in the same situation again.

Moving to a safer, healthier, and cleaner environment quickly became a major priority, especially considering my goals and life as an entrepreneur.

A stable, peaceful, and consistent environment is what an entrepreneur requires to do their best work, because we’re always trying to solve huge problems with our businesses. Unfortunately, this sometimes leaves us with little time and energy to deal with the smaller problems that arise in our home lives.

Here are several other things I’ve learned from my recent moves.

#1 – Moving Can Improve Your Mood & Quality of Life

With my latest move, my spirits were lifted, almost instantaneously, as I left an unhealthy environment and found myself in an entirely new one.

This is the only time this has happened in the last three moves. When I sold my house in 2012, I was having to move an entire house into a basement suite. So, while this did relieve a lot of financial pressure, my quality of life didn’t exactly get better. I found myself on the far eastern outskirts of town, which wasn’t exactly known to be the safest.

With the next move, I was simply moving from one basement to another. My parents referred to my new room as “the dungeon”, if you’re wondering exactly how much of an upgrade that was.

But with the latest move, I feel like I’m getting a fresh start. After spending a bit of time in our new home, my friend could see right away that there was a shift with my mood and energy. A big weight was lifted from my shoulders after leaving the last house behind.

Though I never advise anyone to increase their lifestyle too fast, if you find yourself in a position where it makes sense financially to upgrade, then it’s good to know that moving might open new channels of creativity for you.

#2 – Sometimes You Only Make Hard Decisions on a Deadline

One of my favorite Japanese pop duos is CHAGE&ASKA. In the liner notes of one of their albums, they noted the fact that it seems projects can only be completed within the strict confines of a deadline.

Projects can only be completed within the strict confines of a deadline. Click To Tweet

It’s easy to daydream about what it would be like to have unlimited time to work on your creative projects as an artist. But as fun as that might sound, if you didn’t have clear guidelines for your projects and you weren’t disciplined, you would probably end up starting way more projects than you could realistically finish.

With the latest move, there was limited time for me to plan and pack. Realistically, I knew I couldn’t bring all of my stuff with me, because I knew I would be moving into a smaller home. I’m not a packrat per se, but I do have a bad habit of holding onto a lot of things, mostly because it’s easy for me to create an emotional attachment to them.

For this move, I forced myself to think in terms of just the essentials, and the most valuable items I possess. I decided everything else could be put into storage, sold, given away, taken to the trash, or simply left behind.

I’ve had the desire to be a minimalist – or at the very least an essentialist – for a while. Since there wasn’t much time to figure everything out, and I needed to act fast, I simply took the opportunity to triage and streamline, and I know my life will be better for it.

I’ve talked about being a channel and not a dam before. I think that philosophy applies here too. Create outflow in your life, and you’ll begin to see new inflow. The act of giving, selling, or eliminating things you no longer need, in my experience, can lead to some incredible blessings.

#3 – It Could Lead to Changes in Your Habits & Routine

Let’s say you move from a closed-in apartment complex to a suburban house where scenic walking paths are plentiful. Would that inspire you to take more walks to clear your head, stimulate your creative thinking, and improve your health?

Even if you only end up moving 15 minutes from your previous home, which is what I did, you will probably find yourself frequenting different stores, and potentially utilizing businesses and service you never did before.

That gets you out of your regular routine. Maybe you like your routine, and you tend to avoid change. But sometimes without change and new stimuli, your creativity can suffer, and you can end up becoming too comfortable.

Perhaps moving to a cleaner, nicer house would inspire you to spend more time organizing and cleaning. Maybe it would cause you to wake up and go to bed earlier so you could get more done during the day.

Moving can shake you out of your regular routine and cause you to evaluate how you’re doing things right now. Routines need to change based on how your goals evolve. Sometimes people forget to adapt based on what’s important to them right now, blindly living out the same routine without questioning it.

If the definition of insanity is trying the same things expecting different results, then we are all insane at times.

#4 – You may be Forced to Innovate

You pack all your boxes, carefully move them out of your old home one by one, and then into your new home. But what’s this? You can’t seem to find what you’re looking for! You could have sworn the item you’re searching for is in one of three boxes you already checked.

This happens all the time. Moving is generally a process, and not a one-and-done activity. It can take time to settle into a new place, and when you first move in, there’s a good chance you don’t have everything set up the way you want it to be.

Maybe your agenda goes missing and you end up having to reconstruct it from memory. Maybe the internet guy can’t make it out to your house to set up your router for a full week. Perhaps you threw out your old desk and ordered a new one to be delivered later.

Whatever the case, the temptation is generally to get frustrated and not do anything when things aren’t going the way you want them to go. I would argue that this is an opportunity to innovate and rethink your approach, even if you only apply it to your situation temporarily.

Entrepreneurs are problem-solvers. And even if you don’t consider yourself an entrepreneur, you’re likely a creative, so here’s an opportunity to put that creative brain of yours to good use.

Innovating can boost your self-confidence and can even lead to new creative ideas. If you feel like you’re stuck, begin thinking of alternative solutions to your problems. I find most people don’t, and just make excuses for their lack of imagination.

Try James Altucher’s idea generation method. He says he doesn’t go to sleep without coming up with and writing down 10 ideas (typically, 10 ways to improve something, such as a business). Not every idea you come up with will be any good, but imagine all the options you’ll create for yourself over time. In just 10 days, you’ll have 100 fresh ideas to work with.

Summary

Sometimes, moving can improve the quality of your life. This may be a pressing necessity rather than just a decision to live “the good life”, as it was in my situation.

When you make that transition, you may find yourself performing at a higher level, accomplishing more in less time, and taking hold of newfound inspiration.

If you find yourself unable to make up your mind about what to purge, give away, sell, or keep, putting a hard deadline on your move can help you triage and make quicker decisions about what’s essential to living your life.

There often are hard deadlines connected to moving anyway, but it’s far too easy to give yourself too much time and space to decide on every little thing. If the need to move is urgent, and you’re not thrilled about the prospect of moving all your belongings to begin with, you’re more likely to make clearheaded decisions about what and what not to take with you.

You may find yourself doing things a little differently after your move. Getting out of your routine is a good thing, especially if you’ve become a slave to it instead of using it as a tool to achieve your goals. It might give your creativity a boost as well, as it has for me.

Moving may also force you to innovate and find ways of coping with deficiencies. You may end up finding better, more efficient ways of doing things. Or, you might find yourself purchasing new tools.

Moving isn’t all bad, and it can be exciting at times, too, especially if you’re moving for opportunity.

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How to Book Gigs on Your Own

How to Book Gigs on Your Own

This guest post comes to us via Annabelle Short.

If you think you have what it takes to contribute to The Music Entrepreneur HQ, check out the guidelines here.

Now, here’s Annabelle to talk about how to book gigs on your own.

Playing live on the stage in a room full of people can be exciting. But booking gigs can be a very challenging process – particularly if you are doing all the booking on your own.

If you have a new band, playing live in front of a crowd of people can be the easiest and quickest way to build up a loyal fan base, get some attention from the media, and perhaps, attract a record label deal.

Gigs are often the most effective way to build an audience and promote your new release.

But if you’re not feeling up to the challenge of booking gigs on your own, don’t worry, just follow these simple steps and you’ll land your band onstage before long.

Booking Gigs on Your Own: The Easy Way

Here are four simple steps you can follow to book your own gigs.

Step #1: Prepare Your Promotional Materials

Before you even book gigs on your own, you need to take care of a few things. Here’s what you’ll need to do:

First, you’ll need to demonstrate your abilities as a musician or band. For this, you’ll need some promotional materials, such as:

A website, a finished album (CD) or a demo, your band’s contact information, and any media coverage your band has received.

Once you have these promotional materials ready, you’ll also need to have a good idea of when and where you want to play. You can’t just approach a promoter randomly for a gig and hope to get one. You’ll have to send a clear message that you’re a professional band seeking regular work.

Let them know your availability and preferred dates for the gigs, and make sure all members of your band are available for those days, too.

Step #2: Get in Touch with the Venue or Promoter

So, you got your promotional materials ready – a what’s next? Whom should you send it to? The answer is simple. You can either:

  1. Call a venue of your choosing and book directly. You can call a venue of your choosing and learn how they run events there. You can also ask them for advice on how other bands in your area are working with a venue agent or a promoter. Remember, if you opt to take this route, you assume all the responsibilities and costs of promoting the show.
  2. Contact a promoter who’ll manage your show. If you can, get the names of a few different promoters from a venue and send them your demos, CDs, and promo packages.

Step #3: Strike Up a Deal

A good deal is part of what makes a good gig. But there’s something you should be aware of – you might not make money playing gigs, and sometimes you can even lose money.

So, if you’re a new band and don’t have hundreds of fans following you yet, focus on making fans instead of trying to make money.

Demonstrating to your promoter and/or venue that you are willing to minimize financial risk will also give them another reason to keep working with you.

What should your deal detail? Well, your deal must explain how any income generated from the show will be divided. It must also include information about accommodation for the band, backline, riders, and soundchecks.

If something is bothering you because you’re unsure about it or you think it’s not fair, you should speak up with your promoter and/or venue well in advance to clear things up.

Step #4: Show Up & Play a Good Show

Now all that’s left to do is show up at the venue and perform. Be professional and treat everyone with respect. Though alcohol can be a major temptation at bars and pubs, go easy on it if you know it can affect your performance.

And, even if you have a bad night, if you treat everyone with respect, most promoters will want to work with you again. On the other hand, if you make a big mess and stress everyone out, you probably won’t get a call back.

Final Thoughts: Book Gigs on Your Own!

No matter what happens, see every gig as an opportunity to showcase and promote new releases, and share anything of interest with your fans. And, last but not the least, ask people to sign up for your email list so that you can let them know when and where you’ll be performing again.