Every member of your live band should share some basic, common goals.
One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced in my live band is getting a group of musicians together that all share the same goals. There are a lot of musicians out there but not all of them want to play in bars. Some musicians just want to jam and don’t want to play any live gigs at all, ever. If your band is going to succeed you really need to have common goals.
The first thing you need to discuss before you even decide on what type of songs you want to play is where and when you will play gigs. This will determine your song selection as well as whether or not the individual band members are willing to commit to certain types of gigs. Too many bands dive right into learning songs which is always the first goal of any band. Let’s talk about that first goal of learning songs for minute. Continue reading “Band Members Must Have Common Goals”
Step by step instructions for listening to Shoutcast Radio streams in iTunes or Winamp.
I’ve been doing some live online broadcasts of my live band lately using Shoutcast. Shoutcast is a technology that allows anyone to broadcast audio from their PC to the Internet. Shoutcast broadcasts in MP3 or AAC+ format and can be played by Winamp, iTunes or the somewhat unreliable mini-player at Shoutcast.com. Broadcasters using Shoutcast can have their station listed in the Shoutcast.com Radio Directory.
Review of the live online broadcast of the band Bonne Nuit playing their first live concert.
This past weekend my latest live band, Bonne Nuit, performed a live online concert. First of all let me tell you a little bit about Bonne Nuit. It’s a band that features myself, Matt Rushton, on lead guitar and vocals. I’m also playing with my 3 oldest sons, Erik on guitar and vocals, Austin on Bass Guitar and Skyler on drums. Their ages are 18, 15 and 14 respectively. So as you can see, we don’t play in any bars.
Tipping the bartenders and waitresses at your live band gigs will get your band remembered and re-booked.
One of the most important things to have when you play in a live band is places to play. Without having a club or venue to play in we couldn’t really call our band a “live band”. It would just be a band that gets together to play for each other and although that’s fun for a while, the real fun is playing in front of an audience at a venue.
I’m sure you know there is a lot of competition between bands to get into the places that feature live music. Even if you have a regular gig you can rest assured that there’s another band ready to step in and take that gig if your band can’t fulfill it. Most clubs have several bands on a regular rotation and there are many other bands trying to get their foot in the door and get booked too. Today I’m going to talk about a very simple way to set your band apart from the other bands that are playing in the same clubs as you. Continue reading “Tipping The Bartenders And Waitresses”
Lowering your live band rates will help you get a gig, but it could hurt your band and other bands chances of getting paid full value in the future.
The current economic conditions have been especially tough on live bands. Gigs just seem to be drying up and disappearing altogether. There is very fierce competition between bands to get the gigs that are still available. Sadly, this has led to many bands lowering their gig rates simply to get any bookings at all. So what should you do when it becomes a matter of money that is the final deal breaker between you and another band getting a gig?
That’s a very tricky question to answer because lowering your rates will not only hurt your band, but it will hurt every band that plays at the club you lower your rates to play in. The biggest problem with lowering your bands going rate is that the new, lower rate will become the accepted pay standard for your band every time you play in that club. The club owner can then use your lower rates as leverage against other bands to get them to drop their prices as well. So as you can see, it hurts all of your local bands if you undercut everyone in pricing just to get a gig. Continue reading “Lowering Your Live Band Rates To Get A Gig”
Making it as a professional musician is as easy as getting out of your comfort zone and start talking to people that can help you.
Ask any musician that you know if they would like to make a living playing music full time in a live band or even as a studio musician and I’m pretty sure their answer will always be an emphatic “yes”. Every guitarist I know dreams of making their living playing guitar. The thing is, great musicians are a dime a dozen. You can find excellent musicians living on every block. So how come so few of them are doing any professional playing?
The answer is incredibly simple, it’s because they have failed at self promotion. So how do you self promote? Again, the answer is a simple one. All you have to do is get out of your practice room and go talk to people! Musicians are notorious for staying in their own little world and dreaming about making a living playing music. All it takes to get out there and make it playing music is to get speaking to anyone and everyone that can possibly help you in your quest.
So where can you find people that will help you with your quest to play professionally? The first place is your local music store. Get down there and start talking to the salespeople. Find out who the top players in your area are. Try to find out where you can meet the best players and highest level musicians in your area. Maybe they come into the local music store regularly. If so, see if you can find a time to talk to them while they’re at the store. Continue reading “How To Make It As A Professional Musician”
Get a signed contract for your live band performance every time you play a gig. You can download a contract template from this post.
How much should your live band be paid when you play a gig? That’s a very delicate question and the answer is going to be different for pretty much every gig you play. Some clubs pay a standard $350 per night. Some will give you a percentage of the door receipts. Some clubs pay less and some pay a lot more. The thing that you have to remember is that gig payment is always negotiable and it’s up to you to agree to a fee before you play the gig.
The most important thing to remember when booking a gig is to negotiate payment in advance of the gig. Try to reduce any variables the venue may throw at you. If the venue tells you “we’ll decide on payment after we see how many people show up” then that is a great big red flag and you should seriously consider not playing that venue. Don’t agree to any stipulations such as “payment based on food and drink sales”. Even payment based on door receipts is tricky because most clubs won’t let you audit their door receipts. The best thing to do when you’re booking your gig is to get all the payment details right up front. Continue reading “Negotiating Gig Payment For Your Live Band – Get A Signed Contract”
Live Bands must change and evolve if they are going to keep on playing gigs.
One thing I’ve found from all my years of playing in a live band is that things are constantly changing. The type and quality of equipment is always changing. The current popular songs are always changing. Your live band has to constantly change as well just to keep up with everything else. Believe me, the best way to let your band die is to refuse to change.
One of the biggest problems I see in live bands is they become unwilling to change to fit the their ever changing environment. The biggest reason for this is because of plain old laziness. It takes work to keep your band up to date and relevant. The biggest mistake that bands make is an unwillingness to change their set list. You really need to get rid of songs that you’ve been playing forever and start learning some new songs. Your song list should be constantly added to and changed up at gigs. Continue reading “Dealing With Change And Guiding Your Live Band’s Evolution”
Using social networking sites like MySpace, Facebook and LinkedIn is a perfect way to market and promote your band and music.
There are so many ways for live musicians to reach our audience today that there’s really no excuse not to be using some of them. Today I’m going to discuss using the social networking sites out there for marketing you, your band and your music. I’m talking about using MySpace, Facebook and LinkedIn to connect with your fans as well as other musicians and bands. There are a lot of social networking sites and some that are dedicated strictly to music and musicians but I’m going to focus on Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn.
Of those three big social networking sites the one that caters the best to musicians and bands is MySpace. MySpace allows you to create a musician specific profile about you or your band and upload your own original music for playback on your profile page. You can also allow people to download your songs for free. The big advantage to MySpace is you get a unique URL that incorporates your name, or a version of it in the URL. For example, my MySpace URL is http://www.myspace.com/mattrushtonmusic . It’s fairly short and it has my name in it. Continue reading “Market Your Band With Social Networking”