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How to Get Gigs as a Solo Musician

by Johnny Kilhefner

Solo musicians have their work cut out for them. Not only do they have to do all of the recording and performing alone, but they also have to seek out their own gigs at bars, nightclubs and other venues. Live shows help musicians gain recognition and are a source of income, which is derived from from ticket sales, cover charges and sales of CDs and merchandise.

Find Suitable Locations To Perform At

Make a list of the venues best suited to your style of music. If you've never performed before, start at a small venue that will be more likely to accept you as a performer. Visit every venue on your list and ensure it is the right place for your music to be heard.

Contact the Booking Manager

Call the owner or manager of each venue. Ask if you can schedule a performance and provide a way (online or CD) for the venue manager to listen to your music. If you are unable to get a hold of the owner or manager by phone or email, go to the venue and ask to speak with whomever is in charge of booking.

Explain Why You're Performer Material

Venues are in the business of making money by attracting paying customers. If you're trying to take up time and space in a venue, they will want to know how many people you can attract. If you have a social network presence, alert the venue to the amount of people you have direct access to and their willingness to pay to watch you perform. If you have a street team that does promotions for your CD, let the venue know that they will assist with marketing. Give them a prediction for how many seats you will be able to fill.

Auditioning

Before getting a "yes" from a venue, you may have to audition at the venue. Prepare for the audition by scouting the venue for its acoustics and the kind of equipment that will give you the best sound. Show up to the audition on time and have everything you need to perform with you.

About the Author

Johnny Kilhefner is a writer with a focus on technology, design and marketing. Writing for more than five years, he has contributed to Writer's Weekly, PopMatters, Bridged Design and APMP, among many other outlets.

Photo Credits

  • Polka Dot RF/Polka Dot/Getty Images