Whether it be through the thankless efforts of your manager, the booker happening to stumble across your music on Spotify or a passing recommendation it doesn’t matter now… What matters is you’ve been offered a gig and before you accept or decline that offer there are some things you should first consider.
How much money should you accept to play a gig?
Talking about money is awkward. Hopefully, you have management or someone ready to negotiate on your behalf. Regardless, when it comes to any booking it’s one of the first topics to be addressed.
Remember, at the end of the day you’re a professional who is licensing their services.
Granted, it may not always feel like that because you most likely love what you do, but that’s what you are.
Questions that should be considered when it comes to accepting booking fees for a music event:
- Are you being paid a value that is worth your time?
- What are your expenses and are they being covered?
- If not, then is your net intake from the gig drastically less than your gross?
Know your worth and make sure that they know it too.
Understanding what the booker wants and meeting those requirements
You’re a professional and it’s important for you to keep that standard when dealing with a client. You shouldn’t accept a gig when you know you won’t be able to deliver what is expected of you.
For example, if you’re asked to play a college ball with a couple–days–notice and they want you to do a 1-hour set but you only have 30–minutes of material you shouldn’t accept the booking. Now there’s nothing wrong with communicating the reasons why you can’t meet their expectations and seeing if there’s an alternate workaround.
Sometimes bookers are flexible in this regard. Other times? Not so much.
Choosing the right venue is key to booking the right music gig
Location, location, location!
As a professional artist, you’ll be asked to play in all kinds of venues, festival stages, nightclubs or intimate, outdoor acoustic sets.
Some musicians are meanable when it comes to their set up, which is great! But, as a rapper who’s strained his voice shouting lyrics in a noisy bar because there wasn’t a sound system in place… Let me be the first to tell you that while the show can be the right fit, the venue doesn’t always follow suit.
Critically accepting the right gig while avoiding low quality offers helps your career!
This is next piece of advice is just my opinion, and some artists, managers or even agents may disagree, but the most important question you need to ask yourself is: what will this gig do for my career?
If you conclude that it’s important and would make a massive impact regarding your future as an artist, then I would honestly say it supersedes all other items on this list. At the end of the day, this should be your main focus.
For example, let’s say you make ‘bedroom pop’ and you’ve been given a chance to perform at the MTV music awards. The gig is free, and they won’t even pay for your transport. They want you to have a more “band-like” set up as opposed to your usual guitar and microphone operation. Moreover, the venue is way bigger than you’re used to and you’re unsure what to do with that space.
Take that gig!
Some opportunities are too important to turn down. However, like I said that’s just my opinion. This isn’t a hard and fast rule but rather something left to the discretion of each artist and their team.
Do you want to play the gig offered?
At the end of the day, you’re a musician and you should enjoy the gigs.
You should have fun playing live and it should be a career that you find fulfilling. The practicalities of your career are important and should always be considered but that shouldn’t be the only factor you consider.
Play the shows that you enjoy. Play shows that make you feel good.
Savour those moments and the spaces in between them.