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Gigging on a Dime

“Gigging on a Dime”…I remember that song from the 80’s.  It was fantastic, wasn’t that Bon Jovi’s follow up to “Living on a Prayer”?  No?  I must be thinking of something else.  Oh, you mean actually gigging, with very little money.  Wow!  I was way off wasn’t I?  It would make a great title for a song though, wouldn’t it?

These days musicians are finding it more and more difficult to break into and onto the music scene, in the normal way.  It used to be (way, way back, like back around the time of Elvis, in the 50’s back) a singer or group could go in, cut a record and find channels to get airtime to get their single played.  That’s why you saw the rise of so many one hit wonders.  Tours were common, but you usually had several artists or groups playing together, in the same concert.  The day the music died – when Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and the Big Bopper died, in the plane crash on February 3, 1959.  Also on this tour, but not on the plane were Waylon Jennings, and Dion DiMucci (of Dion and the Belmonts).  Today, you’re lucky to find known names, at a major concert.  You have the Headliner, and maybe a warm up band that has some kind of fame.

New Technology to Get Heard

Is there still hope for new and upcoming artists?  Absolutely.  One solution is right at your fingertips.  Make technology work for you.  There are a massive amounts of indie websites created every day, where new musicians have the opportunity to be heard world wide, rather than just local radio play.  Look at how many musicians are playing their material on alone.

But musicians are performers.  Ask any of them what gives them the biggest charge (aside from playing their own material) and most will tell you the thrill of playing in front of a live audience, where they can experience the enjoyment of their fans.

Investigate your Venue

So how do you get started on your concert tour?  Maybe you can start, with those Megabus Coupons you've been saving.  Cities of any kind of size will always have bars and nightclubs, with live entertainment.   A lot of these types of venues will accept new unsigned acts and allow them to perform.  Some will require an entertainment license (you will need to check what licenses may be required).  Be sure that before you book a venue to drop by and check it out first.  You don’t want to book a performance, in a place that either does not have a very good customer base, or is about to go out of business.  Also, be sure to know what the clientele is that frequent the venue.  There’s nothing worse than being a bubble gum pop singer and booking a show at a hardcore biker bar.   Also, make sure there is not some other major event happening that will take patrons away from your show.  Not a bad idea to find out if the staff is friendly or if the service is good.  And if you are expecting to get paid, ask around with other musicians how management is with following through on payment.  There is nothing worse than putting your heart and soul into a show, just to get stiffed by the owner.  It’s enough to make you want to throw your keyboard down the stairs!

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