There have been no gig inquiries for you (or your band) in a while. It seems no one wants to see or hear you perform. You are seriously reconsidering the choice of career you’ve made. The existential crisis is very real to you.
Playing live has been the most satisfying part of your choice of taking up music as a career, yet gigs just don’t seem to be coming your way. What’s gone wrong, you ask. Here are a few things that you might want to consider:
Your attitude sucks
Nothing is a bigger turnoff than a bad attitude. Humility is a very attractive trait, overconfidence a career death knell. Sure, you need to promote yourself but there’s no replacement for graciousness. Similarly, don’t badmouth organizers, venues, and other people who work around you. It’s far better to focus on what you’re doing right than assuming that getting likes for a rant is helping your career.
Here’s a tip: if you’ve got a genuine compliment from the media or a fan, use that to toot your trumpet instead of praising yourself to high heaven.
You’re not approaching enough people
It’s great being selective, but it’s also important to keep performing and stay in the public eye. Promoters will also notice that you’re doing your utmost to gain experience and putting yourself out there.
You can make the best of playing smaller venues by promoting new material you will launch at that gig. Another way to use such gigs to your advantage is to make sure you get video content out of it.
Poor quality of live videos
Most people evaluating your music for a potential gig will spend about a minute looking at whichever live video you’ve sent them as part of your EPK. If that seems unfair, think about how many artists send in their material to them. In a competitive market, your edge lies in having the best content to present.
If the sound recording is not up to the mark – avoid using ambient recording; connect the recorder to the console – the merits of your work will not matter.
Similarly, if you have too few live videos, it becomes difficult for a promoter to pitch you to venues or festivals.
Plagued by EPK woes
There are several ways in which your calling card, the EPK, can ruin your chances of getting gigs:
- Incomplete or poorly executed EPKs will convey your unprofessionalism to the decision maker. If you’re not serious about presenting your work, it won’t matter how good your music is or how amazing a performer you are.
- Your social media reach bolsters the decision to hire you. If you haven’t provided all your social media handles, that’s a big miss. If your reach isn’t large enough, there’s less likelihood that people will turn up at the gig. Even if the numbers aren’t great but you’re seen to engaging consistently with your fans, the decision could fall in your favor.
- An updated EPK with your latest shows, a list of venues you’ve recently performed at and your upcoming shows will garner confidence from the promoter. She will also be able to pitch you better for potential gigs.
One thing rings true through all that we’ve said so far – there’s no substitute for effort, astute execution and gracefulness. The things you must do to stay in the public eye, be professional, present yourself well and conduct yourself as you interact with people are fairly simple. But you must keep doing them over and over again. As is oft repeated in the arts, consistency trumps luck, good intentions, talent and even quality. Stay true to the path you’ve chosen and don’t let minor dips in your career shake your resolve. There are more people rooting for you than you know, us included.
Do you know more other faux pas that artists commit to jeopardize their ability to get gigs? Share your insights with us and the community in the comments section.