Opportunities That Many Indie Artists Miss

gig© 2010 Vinny Ribas

  1. Collecting fan information – Many artists let gigs go by without asking for audience members to join their mailing list. Many also don’t have a way for people to join their mailing list on their website, MySpace page etc. This literally results in leaving money on the table, as you’ll see farther on down the list!


  1. Seeking out weekday/fill-in gigs – It can be relatively easy to make extra money or garner extra publicity on an off day or during the daytime before a night gig. Some examples are performing at nursing homes (for pay), singing at a wedding, performing acoustically in a park (to sell CDs), singing at a sporting event or performing at schools/colleges. You can do this both at home and on the road.
  2. Selling multiple CDs or CDs and merchandise. Your fans will spend more money with you if you give them the chance, and especially if you make them an offer. Bundle multiple CDs together, or a CD and a t-shirt for a special reduced rate, and your fans will gobble them up!
  3. Up-selling audiences and fans. This is related to #3. but has a different twist to it. In addition to having pre-set bundles of CDs or CDs and merchandise, you can offer them to purchase anything else at a discount if they buy your CD. For example, ‘Buy our new CD and get 30% off on anything else you buy, including more of the same CD.”
  4. Fan appreciation – If you’ve collected fan email addresses from a show, why not email them, thank them for coming, and then offer them a free download as a token of your appreciation? Being thanked never gets old, and it can help to build long-term fan relationships!
  5. Gift-wrapping CDs and merchandise. Why not have some CDs that are already gift-wrapped as a birthday present, Christmas present etc. Include a free card that the fan can fill out. When your fans see that, many will have an ‘aha!’ moment. Make it easy for your fans to give your music as a present!
  6. Pre-sell things you don’t have yet, such as CDs, merchandise etc. You can fund your next recording project, getting new merchandise etc. with pre-orders.
  7. Repeat marketing. Keeping in touch with your fans, whether it’s by newsletter, Twitter, text message etc. means multiple opportunities to sell your music and merchandise. You never know when the timing is right for someone to buy from you!
  8. Not establishing a street team. No artist can do everything that needs to be done all by themselves. There’s rehearsing, writing songs, booking, marketing, lugging equipment, keeping equipment in top shape, bookkeeping, recording and on and on. What are the things that your act requires that you can ask your fans to help with? Don’t just ask them to help – teach them what needs to be done. You’ll be able to spend more time on the things that only you can do!
  9. Charging what you’re worth. Many bands under-price themselves. There are a lot of factors that go into deciding on your basic price, as well as what you’re willing to reduce your price for and what you need to increase your price for. But if you do your homework regarding what comparable acts are getting, you just might find that you’re worth more than you’re asking.
  10. Performing for more potential fans. If the goal is to build a large fan base and following, doesn’t it make sense that you should play for as many new people as possible? Take every opportunity to perform in front of new audiences, whether you are getting paid or not. More fans = more $!
  11. Leaving people you meet empty-handed. Have business cards, a press kit, a demo CD or a complete CD with you at all times. Every person you meet should leave with something that has your contact information on it! You never know if they have the influence to do something for you! If nothing else, it’s another person who knows your name. And if they hear or see it enough, they just might decide to check you out!
  12. Passing up opportunities for great PR. Performing or just volunteering at fundraisers that get press coverage are great ways to get your name and face in the papers. Holding your own benefit concert can serve the same purpose. Taking part in radio promotions can get you great radio press. Find ways to create stories worth repeating in the press.
  13. Making friends with radio. If you are seeking airplay, it is definitely in your best interest to ‘court’ radio programmers. If you’re going to be in their town, send some CDs for a contest, do a live interview, offer to do some of their advertiser promos for them etc. You can also do phone interviews if you’re not going to be around. Treat them like gold, and they will d
    o the same for you.
  14. Giving 110% for even the smallest of audiences. You NEVER know who is your audience, or who they know. Imagine the impression you’ll leave if someone influential sees that you care enough about your fans to really give everything you’ve got even with the smallest crowd!
  15. Being discovered. By ‘discovered’ I mean being offered a great gig without asking fo it, or finding an agent, promoter or even an investor who believes in you and wants to help you. This will never happen if you’re not out there all of the time. That means performing as often as possible, holding your own showcases, volunteering, attending trade shows and conferences etc. In other words, you need to put yourself in the way of opportunity!
  16. Making vital contacts away from music-related events. Networking outside of the business can be just as important as inside the business. Chamber events, civic organizations etc. are great place to meet venue owners, engaged couples etc.
  17. Getting sponsorships. If you know the demographics of your fan base, and they match that of the customer base of a product you use, you have a good chance of getting a sponsorship. This could range from sponsoring your transportation or your set design to providing you with makeup, clothing, jewelry etc. Every business wants their brand to get more direct exposure to their exact potential customers.
  18. Getting gear endorsements. If you have garnered a strong reputation on a specific instrument or as a vocalist, you may be able to get an endorsement deal from a musical instrument company. Basically that means that the company will supply you with product (like guitars or amplifiers) in exchange for your promise to play only that brand of instrument (especially from stage).
  19. Performing in movies. Everyone is always trying to license their music for film and TV, but forget that many movies and TV shows also use live performances for bar scenes, concert scenes etc. Is there a movie being shot near you? Contact the music supervisor and find out if they will be needing any live musicians, and what, if any, the requirements are (genre, union members only, SAG member etc.)

Opportunities are everywhere if you just keep your eyes and ears open, and apply your creativity to your business as well as your craft. The possibilities are literally endless.[/private_member]