So you want to be a singer-songwriter. You’ve written some songs. You’re ready to start putting yourself out there, but where the heck do you start? Booking a real paying gig can seem scary, but I promise it's not rocket science!
Here’s how to go about booking your first gig:
Put Your Set List Together
Get a list of songs together that you can play. And practice them. A lot. I’d recommend 45 minutes of music minimum for the average gig, but many of them require 2-3 hours of music if it’s a restaurant-type gig.
Get your set list together BEFORE you start this process so you’ll have plenty of time to practice!
Make A Press Kit
You’ll need something to show potential venues that you don’t suck. That’s what a press kit is for. When you’re first starting out, you won’t have any “press” to put in your press kit, but you WILL have music, a bio, and some pictures, which is enough to show most venues that you’re serious.
Most press kits these days are electronic press kits (EPKs). You CAN get fancy and make physical press kits, but most venues prefer EPKs anyways.
You have two options for setting up your EPK:
Now it’s up to you how fancy you want to get with the content in your press kit:
Hopefully you have an idea of what venues in your city have live music, but there are TONS of resources you can use if you don’t have a clue where to look.
Next you’ll need to find venues to contact. You’ll need to contact quite a few, because a lot of them won’t respond. Don’t take it personally – some venues only book higher profile artists or have a recurring list of bands that play there and aren’t looking for new acts.
Once you’ve found some venues, go to their website and try to find contact information for the person who does the booking. Often they’ll put information on their facebook page “about” section that’s not on their website, so make sure you check there.
Send an email to the venue with a SHORT (one sentence) description of your music, dates that you’re available, and a link to your press kit. Make sure you check their events calendar to make sure the dates you're requesting are open! Don’t attach any files, because unsolicited emails with files attached often go to spam.
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