Despite the best efforts, being an active musician requires traits that transcend musicality, and this can cause problems for artists who purely focus on music without taking the time to develop other important music industry skills. For example, the skill it takes to cold-call music venues and ask for shows is hugely important if you want to start making a name for yourself in your local scene. But even the smallest venues are typically inundated with emails from another band asking the same thing, and if you go about it the wrong way, you could end up severing an important relationship that your band will need for years to come. Here’s a few tips to avoid pissing off the venues you work with:
Love it or loathe it, touring for long stretches of time is mandatory for bands who want to be taken seriously. Even if things go well, touring can be a hugely taxing endeavor for most bands, with the chief difficulty of most tours being that musicians are often asked to work for weeks and months at a time in exchange for little or no money. And unless you’re packing the venues night after night or are touring with a cover band, your band is most likely not making a whole lot of money on tour. Bands run the risk of going broke and breaking up if they go too long between working and paying the bills at home. So, what’s a serious band to do when it’s in the position of needing to regularly tour but simply can’t afford to? Try getting a remote job.
I’ve got a controversial opinion for you: playing a show at a “real” music venue isn’t always everything it’s cracked up to be. When you picked up an instrument and started performing, you probably had big dreams of playing massive stages in front of sold-out crowds of adoring fans. But the reality is that it’s pretty damn hard––if not near impossible–– for most bands to sell out even smaller venues, and that not all music venues are created equally. In fact, depending on your unique situation, skipping the venues to play more house shows might be a much better bet.
A dream for most up-and-coming American bands is to perform at world famous venues like Red Rocks, The Fillmore, and House of Blues, but there’s thousands of incredible small venues scattered across the country that are often overlooked. If you’re a new band eager to take on the world, making your mark at small venues is one of the best ways to do it, but small venues are a blast to play even if you’re in an experienced band that can sell out 1,000-capacity rooms. We’ve assembled a list of five incredible small venues that are worth playing whether you’re just starting out or have been at it for years.
Cover bands can be a lucrative side gig for musicians today. Many corporate events, weddings, or private parties book them for a flat rate, i.e., no door percentage, nothing contingent on merch or drink sales, which equals more take-home pay in most cases.
Like any musical venture, though, there are many things to consider before committing to a cover band; use this list to think it through.
We all know that touring has the potential to do some game-changing things for bands. In addition to getting a band tighter and more experienced musically, the right tour has the potential to bring industry attention and exposure to fans. But what’s often not talked about is the benefits serious touring can give to the individuals behind the band. Traveling can open up a person to incredible things they couldn’t have seen or experienced sitting at home. Unless you’re incredibly lucky and financially successful, touring is an unglamorous affair, but it’s also a fantastic way to see the country. We’ve assembled five gorgeous routes to take on your next tour through the United States. Some of these routes are off the beaten path, but are well worth exploring if you’ve got time to kill.
If you’re young and single, touring with a band can be one of the greatest experiences of your life. In addition to getting to play music all across the country and possibly the world, touring can be an experience filled with late night partying and endless possibilities for meeting new people. But if you’re a bit older and are married or in a committed relationship, weeks or months at a time spent away from home trying to promote new music on tour can be massively challenging for even the strongest couples.
If you’re in a serious relationship and plan on touring for long stretches at a time, you’ll have to go through a difficult balancing act between the needs of your music career and your obligations at home. Couples can still manage to thrive if one of its members tours regularly, but not without a lot of hard work and planning. Here’s a few tips to help.
While seeing Phish perform a sold out show in Charlottesville, Virginia, a naked man ran onstage and interrupted the performance until security could catch him. It was very strange and unsettling, and for a moment, frightening. But what happened later in the show was absolutely incredible. During the band’s encore, they performed a fan-favorite song, “Run Like An Antelope.” The lyrics are simple: “You’ve gotta run like an antelope, out of control.” The crowd always sings along loudly and gleefully. But on this particular night, Phish took advantage of that weird scare earlier in their set and changed the lyrics to, “You’ve gotta run like a naked guy, out of control.” Now, this might sound weird on the surface, but for everyone in the audience, it was magic! Everyone sang along, screaming at the top of their lungs, laughing. The show became known as “the naked guy” show. It created a special moment for the concert goers.
So, what’s the story here? During live performances, there are going to be mistakes, slip-ups, gear malfunctions, and everything your nightmares can possibly imagine. Sometimes these mistakes are as simple as landing on the wrong note for half a second; other times, it means taking a 15-minute break out of your set to address a complex gear issue. When these panic moments appear, have a plan ready to control and own the issue, and even turn it into a special moment with the audience like Phish did that night in Charlottesville.