How to Get Gigs for Your Band
OK, you've got great songs, a great look, and maybe even some great
recordings. Where are the raving fans? If you're going to make it big in the
music business, you've got to play live, and that means you've got to get gigs.
Gigging is the single best way to get your music heard and to build a fan base.
But how do you book gigs? Surprisingly, it's pretty easy.
- Make a demo tape. A demo is instrumental (no pun intended) in getting you
gigs. These days, a demo "tape" is usually a CD, and it's sometimes just a
website with your songs on it (see Tips below). How many songs you include
really depends on how many you have: you could have a whole album's worth or as
few as three or four. Since a demo generally isn't for sale, you can feel free
to include covers as well as original material.
While a well-recorded demo is better than a poorly-recorded one, a demo doesn't
have to be "radio-ready." In fact, the recording quality can be pretty rough as
long as the quality of your song writing and musicianship isn't, and as long as
the demo gives the listener a good idea of what you play and how well you play
it. You can record demos on a home studio, your PC, a digital recorder, or even
a tape recorder.
- Label your demo. Venue managers and booking agents usually receive a lot of
demos, and it's easy to get them all mixed up. Even if someone likes your demo,
they won't be able to book you if they can't figure out who you are, so be sure
to write or print your band's name and contact information directly on the CD,
as well as on the case or sleeve.
- Make a press kit. At its simplest, a press kit may just be a single sheet of
paper; a more lavish press kit may be a small booklet. Your press kit will
depend on your budget and how much you really have to say about your band. At
the very least, a press kit should include your contact information and a brief
bio which tells a little bit about the kind of music you play, your influences,
and your experience.
You should also usually include a typical set list, including originals and
covers. Think of it as a resume. The venue or booking agent will want to know,
quickly, what you do and where you've played before. Good pictures, if you have
them, are also a nice touch, and more expensive press kits may include full-
color 8X10 photos. If you have positive press clippings, definitely include
them, but if not, don't worry about it.