How to get a gig if you’re an unsigned band
Once you and your band have strung a few decent tunes together, and you’ve practised enough to give yourself (and all your neighbours) tinnitus, there’s only one thing left to do. Play a gig. Getting out there and getting your music heard is essential for young bands but, as all too many know all too well, sometimes it’s not that easy.
1. Make sure the music is recorded to a high level
When you get sent a track and the quality of the recording is good (doesn’t have to be studio level), it makes you take the music a lot more seriously. It’s harder to get into the music when it’s an iPhone recording and you can hear a baby crying in the background. Well recorded music sets a precedent and shows that you’re taking the project seriously.
2. Send an Email that makes sense and give context
Everyone complains about the number of emails they receive so best to send something that is short, concise and easy to read. Make sure there is a link to music that works (the number of times I’ve tried to open a SoundCloud link that doesn’t work) and maybe include one video that has some sort of live element. If you don’t have this, don’t worry, one track is fine. If the booker likes the music, they’ll want to hear more and will respond to you. If you’ve supported artists on the way up, or have played reputable music venues, mention that in the email, it gives context.
3. Always follow up
If the person you have sent the music to hasn’t responded after a week or two, it’s totally fine and advisable to send a reminder asking them to give you some feedback. The likelihood is that it’s just at the bottom of their inbox. Don’t send a rude email or constantly chase up every day.
4. Go to a gig / open mic night
Try to meet the person who books these shows. Go to gigs and meet artists, make new friends. You’re more likely to get a gig if you have a personal relationship with the booker or the band!
5. Keep on writing
If you’re struggling to get gigs it might be because you’re not ready! Keep on writing and don’t give up. Lots of young musicians try to get out and gig too early so don’t get deflated if no one is getting back to you yet.