Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Songs? Check. Name? Check. Equipment? Check. Web-site? Check. Promo package? Check. Gigs? Not so much.

What the heck? I’ve been singing for over 25 years now and you’d think I should be able to get a gig somewhere. There are plenty of places that offer live entertainment, so what’s the problem? Well, let me name a few.

Times are hard, so a lot of venues cut back on what they would pay a band causing most 5-6 piece bands to dismantle and form duos. There are a multitude of groups out there now all vying for the same spots. To make matters worse, most musicians just want to be out there playing so they really don’t care if they’re making any money at it. They just want people to hear their music and they want the adulation that goes along with it. They’ll go and play for a dinner and some beers.

Club owners have happened upon a wonderful idea. They buy some cheap back line equipment, (i.e. bass and guitar amps, microphones, inexpensive drum kit) and they invite musicians to come and “jam”. Asking a musician if he wants to jam is like asking a kid if they want candy. So the musicians all flock to these “jams” and these clubs benefit by getting free entertainment. It’s maddening!

I’ve been out and pounded the pavement, passing along our promo packages to club owners. One of the first things they ask is “where are you playing?”. Nowhere at the moment! We need a gig!

One café owner said we could come and play for free for a night and then he would ask the clientele if they enjoyed us and then he would think about booking us. He would give us sodas throughout the night. Now, I’ve done showcases (basically a 4-5 song audition), but this guy wanted an entire night for free. This is how he gets his free entertainment.

We have played two different venues and they loved us at both. One will book us when they get an opening. Their calendar is quite full at the moment. The other closed for renovations for a week and a half. That was over a month ago. They assure us that we’ll be playing there when they open, whenever that may be.

I’m not discouraged though. I know it will happen, it’s just a matter of time. In the meanwhile, any suggestions on different ways we might approach the matter?

SIS Bren


~Sia McKye~ said...

Sounds like you're going about the right way, Bren.

I have a few friends that book their band too and this past weekend, they were listing some of the same complaints. They are way beyond singing for beer, lolol! The economy seems to be hitting even in that arena. Mark's answer to those that try to be sly and get a free night, I'll give you a 4 song audition, free, but I set up only for paychecks. lolol!

While there are still places that book live music many more are using a DJ and his music. And that's not cheap either, but the quality of music is garanteed. I guess it also depends upon the style of music you play and where you live.

Hang in there, Bren.

Tori Lennox said...

That sounds incredibly frustrating, Brenda.

Beth Ciotta said...

I can imagine how frustrating the situation is... especially given the dues you've paid.

Instead of nightclubs, what about exploring the special event market? Convention parties, weddings, special event parties, etc? It's a different atomosphere, but it certainly pays better.

Hang in there!
SIS Beth

Krys said...


Do you have the capability of recording yourself on video playing music? YouTube might open a few doors for you. Beth's idea is a good one...Maybe play private functions if and when you can get them? Maybe the 'linked in' website (

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