Last week we covered equipment needed for a band. This week is all about the gigs and publicity.
There are many ways to create public awareness of your band. The most obvious are publicity, competitions, and live performances. The easiest way to make a name for your band is to enter competitions. Don’t be too selective about which competitions you enter. Any publicity is good! The more competitions you enter, the more experience your band will get playing under pressure. You may also want to try putting your hand up to play at functions or at public events, like school fetes.
Organizers are always looking for cheap entertainment, and it’s a great opportunity for the public to hear your sounds. Who knows what type of people the audience may include! When you first start playing in public, avoid original songs. Popular cover songs are much safer, as they are just that – popular! Play them well and the audience will warm to your band. Once you have built up an audience, then you can slowly try mixing in original material.
Even though playing cover songs may go against your creative processes, remember that if you want to make it as a live act, you are at the mercy of your audience. You must do everything to attract and hold your audience. A proven formula is the cover song. Find ones that genuinely reflect the type of band you are. This will give the audience a feel for your band without hitting them full on with your presence. It is easier to build up a fan base this way.
Just because you are playing covers doesn’t mean that you can’t be unique either. Research other bands, see what they are doing, and do things differently. Play against the norm. It’s a lot easier to attract attention when you are swimming upstream. Your uniqueness will stand you out from the crowd.
A large part of attracting an audience is publicity. Make sure you play to this by getting as much publicity as you can. Local media is a good start. They are always looking for a new story. Contact your local newspaper or radio station before gigs or after any success in competitions. Tell them what you are up to. Often they will find an angle to it and it may lead to some much needed free publicity. Developing your own website is always useful as well. It may come as a shock to newbies, but the fact of the matter is that the product only counts for 10% of the success. 90% is advertising and publicity, so do what you can to spread the word!
No matter how popular the cover songs you pick are, or how frequently you perform, your band will fail without performance consistency. After working so hard to attract an audience, you don’t want that audience labeling your band as inconsistent. There is no excuse for a bad day in the live music industry. If you’re going to take this seriously, make sure you have had enough practice, and air out any problems (be they technical or personal) before you hit the stage.
Now you have all the parts to forming and maintaining a successful band! It can be a tricky process. There will be ups and downs for any band. The test of a good band will be how they survive the lows. Keep working at it, because the highs completely over shadow the lows.
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