You’ve started with playing music on your best friends party, your uncle’s wedding or your high school party
You’ve got inspired by all of this and you felt the need to start making your own music
After struggling in the studio for a couple of years you’ve finally created a track that is dancefloor-worthy and that you feel comfortable with showing the world.
Your tracks are starting to get more plays on the internet and your first fans are getting in on your social pages
But… You still don’t make enough money to make a living out of it
For most of the people, this is ‘the dream’, for some people it simply isn’t…
How can you make more money from your artist career?
Gigs. That’s one of the best ways to earn more money in this industry and that’s what we’re gonna talk about in this article
There are three ways of getting gigs:
- You fix them yourself
- You have a booker who fixes it for you
- Your being asked to play
Let’s start off with the first option, you fix them yourself;
Getting gigs by yourself is all about your network and starts with your inner circle most of the time
Who do you know at this moment that could help you get in contact with a club promoter/owner?
Maybe your nephew works at a bar of a club and maybe he could help you get your first gig there?
Try talking to bar staff or bouncers during a night out as well.
Like I said, it’s all about the network, the more people you know, the easier it gets.
It’s better to target the persons you would like to know to make the chances bigger that you are gonna end up with the right person.
It would be best to target people who are in contact with the people you need, so let’s say you need to get in contact with the owner, this could be your plan:
Knowing the bar staff leads you to the owner
Knowing the bouncer leads you to the owner
When you know the DJ, he might invite you to play a night together at his resident club
My point here is that you never know how things are gonna end up when you get to know someone new
You might be surprised how things could go…
The only thing you have to do is to talk to strangers and be a genuinely nice guy
No one wants to hang out with a dick so be nice.
The second option is having a booker who arranges it for you.
Let’s take a few steps back here…
Before you are interesting enough for a booker you should already have something going on in your career
You should already have a few releases who’ve got some attention in other DJ’s sets etc
You should already have a growing fanbase
You should already have released some music
The reason behind this is that a booker needs enough ammunition to sell you to promoters
This is all about money.
If a promoter books you, they make an investment
They’ll want to earn that money back (and it would be great if there would be a profit as well)
And the risk of the investment is depending on how big you are as an artist
If a promoter books Hardwell, it’s more likely that the club will sell out and that the promoter will get back his investment than when he will books a starting DJ and the club is empty because nobody knows him. Then it would just be a waste of money for the promoter.
That’s why your popularity matters to a booker and a promoter, it’s all about money.
So knowing this, what is the thing that you need to get a booker?
I know this is easier said than being done so here are a few other ways to get the attention of a booker:
- Music that performs well online and offline
- Having a decent social media following
- Engagement on your social pages
So let’s say you’ve done all this and now you have a booker, what can you expect them to do for you?
Well at first, they should arrange gigs for you
They should have a network of promoters all over the world where they could ‘sell’ you
And “selling” you actually means that they can book you there and promoters will pay for it
This should be the core business of your booker, making sure you get gigs every weekend.
So you might say that the network of the booker is really important
Especially if you’re not popular enough to sell out a show by yourself
You need a booker that is trusted by the promoters
Someone they know personally, doesn’t sell bullshit and only offers quality artists
Besides the network and arranging gigs, the handling of the gigs is also really important
They take care of all your booking agreements, traveling schedules and hotel bookings.
(This is when we talk about an international gig)
You could have guessed by now that the booker isn’t doing this for free, he or she needs to pay the bills as well and this is how most bookers work:
They charge a percentage fee for their services which simply means this:
Let’s say you’ve got booked for EUR 1000,-
They charge 15% (the number could be different per booker) on top of that which will be added to the promoter invoice, so the promoter will end up paying 1150,-
They will also take a percentage of your earnings. Let’s say they will charge another 15% of your fee, this is how it will look like:
Your fee: 1000,-
Bookers fee: 150,-
Your revenue: 850,-
You don’t pay a monthly fee, the more they sell you the more they’ll earn.
So the reason why a booker could be a good way to get more gigs is that you could lift on their network and experiences
And if you don’t want to give away a percentage to a booker just for arranging a gig, remember…
Having 85% of EUR 1000,- is still more than 100% of EUR 0,-
Last but not least, point number three:
We already covered most of this on the second point but let’s dive a little bit deeper into this right now.
The best way to get booked is when you have the leverage
And when your popular, you have the leverage because promoters will come to you instead of the other way around
You will be able to ask for certain things like a higher fee or a higher billing
Why are you able to ask for a higher fee?
Because you’re a popular artist and it’s more likely that the promoter is gonna make money by booking you.
Why do you get higher billing?
Higher billing means getting a better spot on the flyer. A bigger logo or a higher spot. This also has to do with the fact that you’re more relevant than someone else on the flyer
Becoming a successful artist isn’t as easy as it might look by reading this piece
It is really (really) hard to get to that point and it will even be harder to stay there once you’ve made it
Success isn’t just one thing that you’ve done, it’s a combination of various things you’ve done in your career that all adds up
Make sure you do everything at the highest level possible and use every possible opportunity you will get
Be smart and creative, think long term and don’t let anyone get you down.
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This guide is helpful to you when:
- You don’t know where to start
- You want tips and tricks to finish your tracks
- You don’t know how to get your music signed
- You want to know more about music marketing
- You want to know more about the music industry