Welcome, fellow musicians. Have you ever performed at a venue, shot through your invoice, got paid, then never heard from them again?
If so, you’ve come to the right place. While there could be a myriad of reasons for a venue’s radio silence, there are some tricks to help ensure you’re at the front of their minds for rebooking. These are 5 tips to keep getting music gigs.
If a venue’s live music plans change, are you going to complain or adapt? You’d be well in your right to do either, but adapting will obviously contribute to a rebook. For example, say you’re booked for 2 hours, and then the manager asks if you can play for another hour (paid), say yes. This can-do attitude will be appreciated and respected, proving that you’re an asset to the venue.
Another example. If a venue needs you to reschedule, don’t get angry with them. Dealing with a reschedule negatively will not contribute to your rebooking viability. Take the reschedule on the chin, be polite, and they’ll be taken aback by your professional and flexible approach. The reschedule hurts now, but you could be reaping the plentiful reward of multiple re-bookings in the future.
Before arriving at a venue, there are ways to make gigging less stressful. In case their point of contact is clueless, you’ll want to make sure you’ll be good to play – no matter where they put you. Bring backup batteries, an extension lead, food/water, and even a battery-powered speaker system if you think they won’t have power for you. Don’t YouTube to mp3 a playlist; make sure it’s downloaded pre-emptively. You get the idea.
There’s nothing worse than not being able to play at a venue, even if they didn’t adequately prepare you for their environment. For example, if the venue manager says, “we need you to play outside today”, and you don’t have to ask them for an extension lead, they’ll know you’re an organised musician who takes their job seriously.
Networking is, unfortunately, a necessary evil of the music industry. While your creative output is critical to your job, so are your communication skills. A solid conversation with a venue owner will put you a cut above the rest of the musicians on their radar, regardless of musical ability. Also, do some marketing of your music and stay in touch with entertainment industry leaders and directors.
So, when arriving at the venue, make a conscious effort to remember names. Be polite and take an interest in their responsibilities at the venue. If they offer you a drink, say yes, then say thanks. Offer to pay for your first drink even if the worksheet says you drink for free. Little things like this will make a world of difference. No one wants to book a muso that isn’t friendly with the staff.
Match your sound to the venue
If you’re on a break between sets, now’s the perfect time to ensure your sound level and style match the venue’s needs. If the manager/point of contact isn’t busy, ask them how you’re sounding or if you need to turn anything down. Even if you know you sound fantastic, it shows the venue that you care about the venue’s needs as well as your own. It’s professional, it’s classy, and it’s a selfless act that I’d recommend getting into the habit of. Of course, if they say ‘Sounds great!’, continue to rely on your own judgement, but if they say, “your singing is a little loud”, don’t take it personally. Just turn the mic down.
The invoice game
When your gig is all done, shoot the invoice through as quickly as possible. Be sure to thank them for the gig and express interest in playing at the venue again (if you want to, of course).
If they don’t mention rebooking, don’t worry just yet. When they pay the invoice, you’ve got another chance to remind them. Say thanks and ask if they need any dates filled.
With this method, you’re not coming across as desperate or pushy. You’re simply letting the venue know that you’re interested and raring to go.
I hope these tips help you further your live music endeavours and land some sweet venues on the reg. Happy gigging!