How to get gigs

How to pitch your music

Guide

Getting gigs is often very competitive. There are few performing slots and many musicians or bands looking to take them. It can be difficult to know what the best approach is to pitching your music and asking for gigs. Always check with the venue for specifics, as their requirements may vary.

While there are no firm rules when it comes to asking for gigs, the best pitches usually follow several simple steps.

1. Make your music available. Publish it on your website, YouTube, sites like SoundCloud, ReverbNation and Bandcamp, or any other online platform. Even if you don't have a polished recording, venues and promoters will want to hear you first before they consider taking you on.

2. Send your electronic press kit (EPK). This is basically a resume or CV for musicians, artists, bands or DJs, containing their online media or marketing portfolio. It should provide simple access to all your essential information.

3. Pick a date. When suggesting a date, keep in mind that weekends are usually reserved for bigger or more experienced bands who are likely to fill the space. You may want to give the venue or the promoter a choice of dates to book a show - being flexible may increase your chances of getting selected.

4. Send your pitch. This is usually done by email. Be friendly but professional - check your grammar, spelling etc to make sure that you come across well. Include a brief description of you or your band and explain why you feel your show would be good for their venue. Be clear in what you ask for and give a timeframe during which you hope to schedule your gig. Make sure to include links to your music, website and social media accounts, or any photography and video you may have. It can help to point out if you already have an audience for your show, eg you previously had a sell-out gig. Alternatively, you can include a plan for promoting the show online and offline.

5. Follow up. If you don't hear from them, follow up with the promoter or the venue by phone or in person. There is no rule regarding how often you should follow up, or how long you should wait after submitting your pitch. You will have to decide where the balance lies between pursuing an opportunity and simply being pushy.

If your pitch is successful, you may discuss payment, a contract or a live performance agreement. See how to negotiate a gig deal.

If you were not successful, it may help to find out why and use this to improve your pitch in the future.