Artist 101: Getting Booked For Shows Part 1
Performing is a major tool when an artist is building their name. Shows puts YOU, the artist, in front of new faces. Every show is a chance to gain potential fans of your music. Many artists don’t understand the importance of being out in the streets. Your street grind has to be just as strong as your internet grind. This goes for all genres. Every city has events and it is your duty to attend as many of these events as possible, EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT INVOLVED. If there is a showcase coming up and you know one of the acts, ATTEND. Even if you don’t know any of the acts performing, GOOGLE them and check their music out. The more you show your face at events, the more people can start matching up your face with the name.
A showcase is an event set up as a platform for upcoming artists to bring out their “fans” and network with other artists. Showcases are good and bad for unsigned artists.
GOOD: Every showcase is different, but most likely its the same rundown. There is a host and a DJ who are in charge. The DJ usually warms the crowd up before the show starts and keeps the crowd going in between acts. Before the show, in between acts and at the end of the show, artists should be networking amongst each other. The key is talking to: the artists performing, the host, the people at the venue (staff included) & the DJ. The host can plug you in on the next event if you get in good with them. The DJ will let you know his upcoming events, which may beneficial for you. General convo with the staff is great. Your goal with the staff should be to befriend them, that way they will remember your face next time you attend an event there. I haven’t paid to get in a venue in NYC in the longest being the staff at many venues know my face for attending so many events. Lastly, talk to the artists, whether general convo or about their upcoming shows. Show interest. Some artists will help plug you in the right direction. Once the show starts, STAND IN THE FRONT. Once the show starts and somebody hits the stage, DO NOT SIT DOWN. Stand up and NOD YA HEAD, VIBE OUT, ACT LIKE YOU’RE INTO THE PERFORMANCE, even if its bad. Artists/Hosts performing will notice this. They’ll respect you for this action. Make sure to exchange info with the artists and hosts. Also grab the DJ info. All of this gets noticed, whether you believe it or not. The key to showcases is networking. All you have to do is talk to people and show interest when its time. Honestly. You can’t be anti-social. If a person is anti-social, the music business is not for you.
BAD: Although showcases are good ways to practice your stage presence and good ways to gain fans, they also scams. NOT ALL, BUT MANY. If you do everything I said earlier, you will get some kind of positive outlook on showcases. However, showcases have a negative side as well. Many promoters are out to make money. The music industry is an easy come-up being that its over saturated. Promoters are charging artists to perform in a showcase to be judged by “industry execs.” If you have to pay to be in a showcase, DON’T DO IT. If money isn’t an issue then, hey go for it and blow the cash. But I know majority of unsigned artists are on strict budgets. Many artists all over the world pay promoters to be in a showcase to perform 2-3 songs in front of people that ONCE were in the industry or never really been in the industry. Either way, those “execs” don’t care about you or your music once yall leave that venue. The other scam promoters are pulling is making you sell tickets. Selling tickets is supposed to show how big an artists fanbase is, in the words of your average promoter. However, its common sense that most artists are starting from the bottom. Fanbases aren’t easy to build. It’s tough getting 5 loyal fans/supporters. Then if you don’t sell the tickets, either you cant perform or they try to penalize you by making you pay for the minimum tickets.
Overall showcases can be beneficial to an artist or keep their pockets low. Play it smart. NETWORK with those worth networking with. Talk with the right people and be put in the right places. Prepare for Part 2: Where I will discuss promo tools around the city, social networking & sites such as craiglist.