Me and performing have a very love-hate relationship. I love performing and being up on stage, but hate all the planning and production that goes into it. But in an ever-increasing digital world where musicians are acquiring less and less revenue from online music sales, performing becomes more important than ever. Unless you're Drake who had roughly 10 billion streams last year, then don't expect to make a living solely off music sales. Performances and guest appearances become an additional source of revenue and supplementary income to balance out the lack of revenue you're getting from streams and downloads. But if you're a newer artist, making money off performing may sound like a long shot. I assure you it's not.
As a new artist there are several benefits to performing: gaining exposure and new fans, boosting your confidence, building your stage presence, bringing that online experience to life for your listeners, networking, perfecting your craft, and ultimately making money. But if you're feeling lost on how or where to even start, here are a few suggestions to guide you in the right direction:
- We all have to start somewhere, and hip hop/R&B showcases are a great way to get your feet wet
- Things to know:
- 99% of the time there's an entry fee: anywhere from $35-$350 (if it's a competition and cash prizes are involved)
- You perform alongside other artists (anywhere from 9-20 artists). But on the bright side its your chance to stand out in the crowd and give the audience something to remember
- Often the hosts are assholes, they're there to make money, so keep the chit chat with them to a minimal
- However, I recommend before the show starts introducing yourself to the DJ and ensuring he has the right tracks, and the ascending order of the songs you're performing
- EODUB is one of the longest running open-mic nights in NYC. I highly recommend giving it a try
- Notable mentions include Harlem Nights, Nuyorican Cafe, Bushwick Public House, and Father Know's Best
Indie on the Move > visit the features section > select band or show availabilities > contact the booking agent
- Things to know:
- There's often a minimum draw of 8-15 people
- Typically the booking agent keeps the the first 10 cover fees, you get to keep everything else
- Say you don't meet the minimum draw, then I suggest covering the remaining cover fees and you're more likely to get to perform there again
- Things to know:
- ReverbNation Gig Finder - this tool included with your ReverbNation account allows you to reach out to venues directly about putting together a show on your own as opposed to going through an agent
- Submissions - submit your music for a chance to perform at some of the biggest music festivals around the world (SXSW, LiveNation, A3C, you name it, the possibilities are endless if you put yourself out there). What do you have to lose? Absolutely nothing.
- Outreach - reach out to other artists on social media and see if they're interested in collaborating on a show or if they need someone to open up for their shows. Worst they can say is no. And if so, then move on or try again later.
I hope after reading this, you're feeling less overwhelmed about performing and eager to get started. Trust me when I say your music career and potential to reach a mass audience depends on it. So show up and show out. Have some other performance tips you want to share? Comment below with your thoughts.
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