In the final part of the Fair Play guide series this post covers artist submission sites, sites such as Sonic Bids and Get Me On Stage have become a contentious issue amongst musicians. Whilst some artists feel aggrieved that a cost is attached to a gig/festival application, others have benefitted from the process, by receiving gig offers for events that they have previously struggled to secure.
To avoid wasting your time and money, consider the following:
- Some events use artist application sites, but still accept submissions through other, more traditional means. Check your options before applying.
- Ensure that you’re a suitable act for the event, and that you’re available to play, if invited. Check dates, entry requirements and the nature and profile of the event.
- Submit only what is required – some events use these sites in order to control and filter the large influx of applications – additional material may therefore be unhelpful.
The Fair Play guide has been compiled by the Musicians Union and will be fully announced at an event by The MU and Generator. The guide is the definitive companion for anyone involved in their own promotion, offering advice in terms of recognising good deals, and information surrounding band competitions, showcase events and things to avoid.
- If a gig goes well, speak to the promoter straight after your set, with regards to another booking – it’s a good time to negotiate a higher fee/better deal. The same goes for the other bands on the bill – if you’re from different towns, there may be an opportunity to arrange gig swaps.
- Merchandise – Most small venues will allow artists to sell merchandise without paying a commission, and often provide a designated space to do so. Although many artists now release only within the digital domain, gigs offer a good opportunity to sell directly to fans, and to expand the brand of the artist. Merchandise can also be used to encourage fans to invest in a band, and can make them aware of products also available through an online store. If you have more upcoming gigs locally, have tickets available to sell.
- Data capture – Many of your fans may exist within your online communities, but it’s still relevant to collate contact details, in order that you can keep them updated via e-mail and SMS, and also include those that don’t participate in your online activity. Take a clipboard with a mailing list to gigs, and get people to give you their details when they’re buying merchandise, and ask someone to walk round with it whilst you’re playing.
- Royalties – Live events generate song-writing royalties, which are collected and distributed through PRS for Music. When artists register their songs with PRS for Music, they can then collect the royalties generated when the material is performed at gigs. Set lists should be submitted to PRS, regardless of whether artists are performing original material, or covering other artists’ songs.
- These days, promoting yourself is an integral part of becoming a successful, performing musician. The Fair Play Guide is the definitive companion for anyone involved in their own promotion. It fits easily in your pocket and means that when it comes to the ins and outs of filling a venue, you’ll never be caught out again.