Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

News, notes and ideas on music marketing, self-promotion, artist empowerment and more

July 28, 2008

Book a New Music Gig - Tonight!

Want to book more live shows? Want to get results fast? It's quite possible. In fact, if you wanted one, you might be able to land a new gig tonight. Seriously.

Traditional advice tells you to plan months ahead and follow all the right protocols. You should allow enough time to win over the talent buyer and secure a date.

Good advice, but ...

I had an online chat session with my Berklee Music Marketing 101 class students last night. And one of them referred to mistakes made when she started booking her own shows. "What mistakes?" I asked.

"Not having a band ready to play at the last minute," she replied. "We missed out on a few gigs that way."

That immediately reminded me of a time several years ago when I wanted to book some solo shows. I took the first step one Friday afternoon.

My goal was simply to call local venues and get the name of the person who booked the music. Once I had a list, I planned to follow up later with post cards, promo kits and phone calls.

To my shock, the second call I made had me on the phone with a bar owner. He wanted to know if I wanted to come in and play THAT NIGHT -- sight unseen.

I had to scramble and gather the gear I needed. But I played the show and got four more paid bookings as a result.

Rae Solomon -- an indie country singer near Seattle, WA -- told me there's a band in her area called the Last Minute Men. All they do is fill-in gigs for 10 different clubs when they get cancellations. I bet they stay pretty busy.

The lesson here ...

Go looking for gigs when you're ready to play one right away. Sure, many places will blow you off or try to book you months down the road. But, to your great surprise, you just might end up on stage somewhere ... TONIGHT!

But you'll never know until you try.


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posted by Bob Baker @ 10:12 AM   4 comments


At Jul 29, 2008 11:31:00 PM, Blogger NatalieGelman said...

That girls singing her heart out! :)

I thought at first this blog was about street performing but its an even better tool. Lots of the venues I struggled to be booked at early on booked me for a last minute show and then I became a regular artist at the venue. Its amazing how many people cancel a show last minute for whatever reason. You only help yourself by being available for people, making their lives easier. Sometimes, I even will make a point of telling a club to consider me for a last minute slot when I first try to contact them to book there.
Great point Bob!

At Jul 30, 2008 5:39:00 PM, Blogger Brad Cramer said...

it's so true! That's happened to me on more than one occasion, but I didn't get paid

At Aug 9, 2008 2:22:00 PM, Blogger Jay of Jack Brag said...

Of course, you've given great advice once again!

This happened to us last week - and we weren't prepped. We're just starting out so we needed an extra 2 weeks to be up to speed. Unfortunately I didn't know that would happen - now I do & we're prepped to go on any time, any place.... just not 2 weeks ago... sigh.

At Jul 15, 2009 4:17:00 PM, Blogger Faelmar said...

This happens a lot in our band, Chiro. . . sometimes relieving for a band becomes an audition gig.

Great article Bob

-musician on call


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