Hello musicians, I hope you’re all well. If you’ve landed on this page then I guess you’re in search of some lucrative opportunities to showcase your musical talents! This is always the hardest part of being a full time musician, which is why most of us are only part time. Getting your initial business, oh the joys of reaching out to random people that really don’t care about you! Hopefully other musicians from this community will chime in with their tactics in the comments below. I’ll tell you what I found worked really well for me.
Using Google maps, find pubs and live music venues in your area. Call or email them (I would call them at this point as it’s much easier to ignore an email). Ask to speak to the landlord/entertainments manager, and explain you are a musician looking for work. They will be inundated with bands and musicians requesting to play at their venue so you need to separate yourself from the crowd by offering something different.
Explain you understand there are lots of people asking for paid gigs and without seeing you live it must be a really hard decision to make. Find out when they’re available to arrange a meeting and offer to go to their venue and play a free audition. They’re much more likely to accept this over the phone then taking a booking directly for a Saturday night. Go to the venue and perform a song, or 10 – 20 min set for the landlord or landlady/entertainments manager. They almost always accept a free audition, because it makes it less awkward then saying no, and who knows, you might be really good. Believe it or not, venues find it hard to get good live music! It will be much harder for the venue to turn you down after a face to face meeting when you’ve shown them how amazing you are.
Once you get their interest you’ll start getting bookings. This is where you need to make sure you do a good job. You will need quality PA speakers to showcase yourself in the best light. If you know nothing about PA speakers – check out our PA speakers buyers guide here.
You can’t control how many people are going to show up to the gig, as a pub / club gigs can be hit or miss regarding the crowd. Unless you have loads of friends, or followers, then of course get them to all come down. Try to be professional, maybe don’t let your mate Dave do a karaoke at the end… unless the landlord oks it.
As I said at the start, getting the initial business is always the hardest part. Keep offering free auditions until you have regular work from pubs and venues. Some of the places I did a free audition for have booked me 10+ times afterwards, and still continue to book me today. The ROI is much higher then calling around trying to get bookings for cash with no track record. Once you’ve got that, you’ll find people contacting you based on good recommendations from your regular venues. Good performances will get customers asking for cards (make sure you have these https://vistaprint.com) now you’ll get calls about weddings and private parties which is much more £££. Start building up reviews from these venues and use it as advertising material to bring more work in.
Once you’ve completed all the steps above, you’re getting good feedback and you’re feeling confident about your act, start looking for agencies. Get a professional website, professional pictures and start to target the more lucrative private / corporate gigs.