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”
Review of Bruce Springsteen’s Superbowl XLIII Halftime Show.
I was pretty excited to see one of the top live performers of all time, Bruce Springsteen a.k.a. The Boss play the Halftime show at Superbowl 34. I was prepared for the game with loads of delicious junk food and all the anticipation that comes with an expected win by the Pittsburgh Steelers. I sure didn’t think the Cardinals were going to prove to be much of a challenge for the Steelers but it turned out to be a pretty exciting game. You gotta love it when the win comes in the last two minutes of the game. But we’re here to talk about the music and The Boss’s live Halftime performance.
Giving away free items at your gigs is a very effective way to market your live band.
Constant marketing is essential for every live musician to promote their music and their band. With marketing your goal is to be able to keep your name and and logo in front of as many people as you can as often as you can. That brings me to the topic of giving away free swag. Yes the term “Free Swag” is a current buzz phrase on the marketing scene especially among the young and the hip. In case you were wondering, the term “Swag” as it’s used here means cool free stuff. Traditionally, swag means booty, goods or money stolen by any thief and is most commonly associated with pirates. Yo-Ho! As I said, it’s really just appealing to the young hipsters of today.
It’s an essential marketing tool to get a recognizable band logo and get it trademarked. This article discusses logo design and trademarking.
A good band logo can be a very powerful marketing tool for your live band. A good logo will be an image that people will associate with your band every time they see it. After choosing a band name you should create a memorable logo to use on all of your band documents, websites and merchandise.
Qualities of a good logo are:
It’s instantly recognizable
Looks good in color or black and white
Looks good in various sizes
Is easy to reproduce
Is not too busy
Brings an emotional response
Can be used in many situations
A trademark protects a word, phrase, symbol, design or a combination of these, that identifies and distinguishes the goods or services of one person or company from those of others. A copyright on the other hand is a form of protection for Authors of literary, musical, dramatic, artistic and certain other intellectual works. Continue reading “Creating A Band Logo And How To Trademark It”
For live performing musicians, Christmas gigs can be the most lucrative and funnest gigs of the entire year. There’s just something about the season that brings out the best in people. Some of the best times I’ve had at gigs are the ones I’ve played right around Christmas. The celebratory and giving spirit of the season seems to really affect the club owners and especially the audiences at this time of year.
A good show is really the coming together of the performer and the audience. Around the holidays people are just ready to relax and have a good time. This really becomes evident as you play gigs around the holidays. The audience is so eager to celebrate that our jobs as entertainers become much easier. You can really draw on the audience for that extra push of energy to take your show to the next level. Having a successful gig at Christmas is as easy as keeping things light and happy onstage. You don’t even have to play exceptionally well as long as you’re having a good time. It’s a great time to market your band because people will remember you if they have had a really good time. Associating your band with good memories is fantastic marketing. Continue reading “Playing Christmas Gigs: Good Times, Good Pay, Good Marketing”
Probably the single most important thing a live musician can do to successfully market themselves, their band and their music is to network with as many other musicians as they possibly can. I can tell you from experience that I’m able to keep playing gigs because of who I know and associate with in my musical realm. I’m not a big self-promoter but I have contacts and friends in the music world that are really good with promotion and finding gigs. Networking with these types of people have really helped me advance my career. By networking with other bands and musicians you can increase your chances of hooking up with them for all sorts of gigs and musical projects.