Why So Many Musicians Will Never Be Successful

[Editors Note: This was written by Anthony Cerullo and it originally appeared on the Sonicbids Blog.]

Even without seeing his full face, it’s a fair assumption that the man pictured above is none other than Bono from U2. Say what you will about the man, but it’s hard to deny his success. The quest to finding success like Bono’s – or any other famous musician, for that matter – is a difficult one. The reasoning behind this is because the definition of success is different for many people.

Some believe that all it takes is maintaining a standard of excellence. As long as they conquer the technical aspects of their instrument and become fluent in the language of music, then success will grow naturally. Not to put down those aspects, but there’s more to it than that.

Today’s age of music is increasingly competitive. Techincal musicianship is common practice and no longer a mind-blowing concept. Of course, there are still musicians out there who are better than others, but in terms of the audience, people won’t pay that much more to see someone like Herbie Hancock play piano compared to Taylor Swift. In fact, Taylor Swift probably charges more and isn’t nearly as musically talented as Herbie Hancock, yet some would argue she has a more successful career.

Audiences and musicians alike understand that technical excellence is a necessity if one wants to make it in music. That being said, it’s hardly all you need for success.

The keys to a successful personality

First of all, great job at mastering your instrument. You’ve practiced until your fingers bled and fought through the periods of low motivation until, finally, you’ve broken through. Friends, family, and teachers alike all praise your ability on your instrument… so why are you not playing Madison Square Garden on New Year’s Eve? Well, as we already know at this point, it takes more than skill to breed success.

If you want to change the world of music, that’s not going to be done just by being the best – people also need to recognize your creativity and individuality. By approaching your music in a unique and thoughtful way, you don’t even have to be an amazing player. You can see examples like this all over the music industry. Take the Beatles, for instance. None of them were virtuosos at their individual instruments, but they did something that no one else did, and they will be remembered forever for it.

Besides originality, a few key personality traits are needed as well. It’s easy to get lost in the monotony of life, but if your career isn’t going where you want it to, think about something: Are you playing it too safe? Are you sitting at home practicing your instrument and looking at all the massive tour schedules of other bands?

Some people who play it safe think that in order to make it big, you need to be skilled, rich, or lucky. A little bit of that will help, but more than anything, you need to be bold, dedicated, and devoted to taking risks. The big gig isn’t going to fall in your lap – you have to get out of the house and go for it.

You know that feeling that you might lose everything when taking a risk? It’s not a bad one. A scary feeling, yes, but bad, no. In the end, it will be persistence that brings you to the top, not luck or money.

Once you finally have the courage to risk it all and leave your comfort zone, you need to figure out how to maximize your time.

Don’t settle for mediocrity

Once you join the rat race to success, it’s crucial to differentiate yourself from the pack. There will be plenty of musicians of equal talent and dedication to compete with. To stand out, many believe they should practice longer or more efficiently. This will help, but you only have so much time and energy. By not managing your time effectively, you’ll burn yourself out.

Once that happens, you’ll seek any victory you can get to revive confidence. This is why so many people aim for mediocrity. It’s easy to obtain, safe, realistic, and doesn’t consume much energy. Some people are content with mediocrity as it satisfies them just enough.

However, the field of mediocrity is crowded. Mediocrity is like a lake full of trout fishermen. Sure, trout is alright, but there’s a lot of other guys here fishing for it. Meanwhile, in the ocean, a few daring seafarers hunt after Moby Dick himself. Moby Dick is certainly a much harder catch, but there is also less competition for this very reason.

The big goals are the ones to go after. Assuming you’ve already mastered your instrument, your energy will be best spent putting maximum effort into what you believe. You want the Moby Dick of ideas – the one that seems almost unobtainable, yet you couldn’t imagine failing to capture it.

This dream has to be deeply personal. If it’s not, you won’t be willing to do whatever it takes to make it come true. Before attempting anything, that desire has to be into place. Otherwise, you’ll be wasting time and energy. In other words, don’t exhaust yourself fishing for trout.

Put it into action

This will sound cliche, but it’s time to be honest with yourself. We all have dreams, but what stops us from doing them? If you took a piece of paper and wrote down the top five things to do before you die, would you start doing them right that second? Probably not, but that’s the issue with many who fail.

Too many musicians crave success but, whether they know it or not, shy away from it. It can be something small like not telling your friends about a gig because you’re afraid of what they’ll think. Maybe you’re sitting around putting off album production for another day. Have you written out the song you’ve been humming in your head for the past week? Why not?

It’s common sense, but nothing will get done unless you put it into action. Start small and write a list of things you need to advance your music career. Then just start doing them. Put more energy into the bigger goals on the list, but don’t skip over the smaller, necessary ones. If you’re really that dedicated to becoming a successful musician, then you’ll be rewarded greatly for your dedication to action.

4 Things Music Journalists Expect After Reviewing Your Album

[Editors Note: This blog article was written by Allison Johnelle Boron, editor-in-chief of REBEAT Magazine, and it originally appeared on the Sonicbids Blog.]

 

It finally happened: that hot music blog called your album “inspired” and urged its voracious readers to give it a listen. You do a happy dance and text your mom to tell her you’re on your way to bonafide rockstar status. This one 300-word post has made your entire day, week, and month.

But before you get too swept away by seeing your band’s name in print, don’t forget whose fingers typed it. You likely either cold called the writer or blog, worked with a publicist or PR agency to facilitate the review, or had a friend of a friend pass along your music to his or her music journalist pal.

Whatever route the review took to get written, pause your celebrations and make sure these four things are on your immediate to-do list.

1. Write a thank you

Music journalists aren’t obligated to write about anything musicians send over. In fact, writers’ inboxes are absolutely flooded with emails from artists and publicists, making it impossible to open each one, let alone play the tracks inside. So the sheer fact that your pitch broke through, warranted a listen, and inspired a write-up is a bit of a miracle.

Be sure to send a thank-you note over to the writer. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, but make sure he or she knows you truly appreciate the time it took to give your music a thorough evaluation. Regardless if the resulting piece is positive or negative, thank him or her for sharing his or her thoughts and getting your band’s name in front of readers.

If you were fortunate enough to have a friend or PR person introduce the writer to your music, be sure to shoot him or her a thank-you email, too. It’s a small gesture that only takes a moment but makes a huge impact.

2. Share on social

The first logical step after reading a review of your music is to share it on social media. But before you scamper off and start posting all willy-nilly, put some thought into it. Make sure you’re posting so that the blog knows you’re doing your part to promote its article. After all, writers hate thinking that their pieces fall on deaf ears, just like you worry that no one is listening to your music.

When posting to Facebook, go ahead and tag the writer and/or publication in your post. This can be done low key; a simple, “Thanks for the review, Blog Name!” at the end of your post can suffice. In a tweet, either mention the blog or writer at the end. As a bonus, it’s likely you’ll get a retweet from the publication. Yay for more promotion!

3. Credit when using quotes from the review

You already know that press quotes are a valuable part of any media kit or artist website. Displaying them for promoters, other writers, potential team members, and more adds credibility to your whole musical operation. If there’s already press buzz around your music, you’ll look that much more attractive to folks you’re trying to woo.

Just be sure you’re not extracting lines from reviews and posting them into the ether. Be sure to attribute them with the writer’s name, publication, and date, as well as a direct link to the review itself.

Also, if you want to clip the review into a snippet by condensing sentences, that’s fine. Use an ellipsis (…) to denote that you’re Frankensteining the review into a format that works for your purposes. For example, “the band’s new album is a real departure from anything else on the radio…a complete 180 from their last single.”

4. Keep the relationship going

Most writers aren’t expecting an everlasting friendship once your review goes live. After all, they’re busy people who also often balance their passions with day jobs, families, and personal obligations. Not to mention that after your review goes live, they’re probably already onto the next thing. This doesn’t mean, however, that they’ve forgotten you or don’t want to hear from you ever again.

In fact, it’s really important to keep those connections alive in an organic way. If you live in the same city as the person who wrote about you, invite him or her out to see you play, or if you have a plus one for a show, offer to take him or her as your guest. If you see an article or meme or funny video that makes you think of an email exchange you had, send it over.

The key is to forget the “salesy” stuff and forge a human connection. That way, the next time you release a single, album, or video, he or she will be more likely to jump at the chance to support it because of your personal connection.

The Sneaky Way to Promote Your Music Without Actually Talking About Your Music

[Editors Note: This blog was written by Dave Kusek and originally appeared on the Sonicbids Blog.]

I know it sounds completely counterintuitive to promote your music and raise awareness for yourself as an artist without actually talking about your music – or your music career, for that matter. But it’s being done more and more and has become a really powerful way to make a name for yourself by bypassing the crowded indie-musician market.

Let me explain. The key is to establish yourself as an expert in some related topic like gear, self-releasing music, or songwriting. It’s about sharing valuable information on a topic you have a lot of experience in to draw potential fans. They find you by searching for “how to write a song,” or “how to book your own gigs,” or “guitar pedal review,” and discover your music through that connection.

Push vs. pull marketing

Traditionally, there are two ways to go about promoting your music. You can either push your message out to fans and potential fans (push marketing), or you can pull them in and get them to come to you (pull marketing).

Push marketing is those typical advertisements you see on TV and hear on the radio. They’re just pushing information out about their product to a large audience hoping to reach someone who may be interested.

Pull marketing is about giving out valuable information that you know your target audience is searching for. This valuable information could be exclusive or behind-the-scenes access to you as an artist. This kind of content will pull in current fans and deepen your relationship.

But you could also share advice on something you have a lot of experience with. This will help you reach a new audience who may not even be familiar with your music.

So let’s go through the strategy step-by-step.

1. Find your expertise

The first step is finding something you have a lot of experience and knowledge in. As a musician, you have a few really obvious routes – music, songwriting, mixing, mastering, music theory, gear, instruments, etc. These are the skills that form the very foundation of your career, so you definitely have a lot of valuable information to bring to the table here.

Many musicians, including Scale the Summit’s bassist Mark Michell, have set up online schools to share their musical knowledge and techniques. The key here is to bring this training online instead of doing local lessons. Not only will you be able to reach a much larger audience, you’ll also start showing up in Google searches for things like “online bass lessons.”

Other musicians pull on other skill sets like music business knowledge, booking gigs, or creating YouTube videos. DIY musician Ari Herstand, for example, runs the blog Ari’s Take, where he shares his experiences and the skills he’s learned from booking his own shows and generally running his own career. Other musicians like Alex Cowles share their knowledge on self-releasing music.

2. Find the right platform

If you want people to organically find you, the best option is to go online. Depending on the kind of information you share, your platform may be a little different. So, if you’re creating music lessons, videos may be your best bet. Try making YouTube tutorials, playthroughs, and lessons, and release them regularly to build an audience.

On the other hand, if you’re sharing the things you’ve learned on getting your songs licensed or booking college gigs, a blog may suit your information better. Gear and guitar pedal reviews and demonstrations might use a combination of blog posts and videos.

You could also aim to partner with other media outlets to share out your information. This will help you get your name out to a larger audience. In addition to his own blog, Ari Herstand also writes for Digital Music News. Maybe you could get a regular column in a small online music magazine or music industry blog – start small and grow from there.

3. Show up in search

Now that you have your content up, you need to make sure people can actually find it. There are plenty of SEO guides out there, but basically, you just want to think about what people are actually typing into search. There are also a lot of cool tools like Google’s Keyword Planner that can give you some ideas.

You want the keywords and article titles you choose to be relevant and specific to what you’re posting. So if you’re posting a review of a certain guitar pedal, a title like “Boss Waza Craft VB-2W Vibrato Review” will perform better than “Guitar Pedal Review.” Likewise, if you’re sharing your tips on how to set up good lighting for a music video, something like “Setting Up Good Lighting for a Music Video” will probably do the trick.

Of course, good SEO won’t instantly drive thousands of people to your articles and videos. It’s going to take a lot of work and consistent posting to build up an audience.

4. Create the connection

Here’s the most important part of this strategy: you need to make the connection to your music and drive your viewers or readers to check it out. After all, music is your main gig.

There are a few options here. You could obviously host your blog on your band’s site, or share your tutorials or gear reviews on your band’s YouTube channel. That way, your music is just a click away. This works, but it will make it more difficult to get the SEO working like you want.

If you host your content off your music website, you need to make the connection obvious. Include an “About” page that shares your story. Highlight your musical journey and your creative career as an indicator of your expertise on the subject.

You should also mention your career and bring out stories in your articles and videos.Preface an amp review by saying you brought it on tour and recorded some awesome sounding live videos with it. Include the live video to prove your point (and introduce your readers to your music).

If you’re teaching people on YouTube about modes, you could mention that you used a certain mode when writing a new song you have out. Play a short section of that song to show your point and include a card in the top right corner to link to your music video.

How To Prevent Psyching Yourself Out Before a Show

[Editors Note: This article was written by Anthony Cerullo and originally appeared on the Sonicbids Blog.]

It’s a quiet Thursday night, and you’ve just gotten home from a long day of giving music lessons. Now that the distractions of the day have dissipated, it’s just you and your thoughts. Yes, those pesky thoughts that bounce off the empty walls in your room, teasing you with every chance they get.

This time, they’re focused on the big gig tomorrow night. It’s at a high-profile venue and a large turnout is expected. The opportunity is substantial, but instead of excitement, your brain focuses on the stress. Memories of last week’s show haunt you as every wrong note, missed cue, and voice crack dance around your brain.

You try to block out these negative feelings by thinking of rainbows and unicorns, but even that’s helpless. Sleep becomes a wasted attempt as the sensation of public humiliation before a large audience is all but a burning reality. Worst-case scenarios continue to repeat themselves throughout the night and even the next day leading up to the show.

Some may think feelings like this are nothing more than a little anxiety, but psyching yourself out can have a major impact on a performance. If the bulk of your time leading up to a show is filled with negative thoughts, that will likely lead to a poor performance.

It doesn’t have to be this way, though. A solution exists for even the most anxiety-plagued musicians around.

Seeing is believing

Say what you will about visualization, but there’s some truth to it. That’s not to say that just by thinking about a boat, you’re going to get it, but thinking positively can certainly help with a musical performance.

If you still are skeptical about this, though, introduce yourself to Michael F. Scheier and Charles S. Carver. These two men brought the science of optimism to the forefront in 1985. Before that, this type of thinking was nothing but theory, but now researchers have embraced the research and have confirmed the powers of positive thinking.

Just like intense negative thinking can lead to a dramatic decrease in quality of your playing, the same is true for the opposite. By reinforcing positive thinking, an actual increase in performance quality is possible. That’s right – simply imagining how you’re going to play will translate into reality. It sounds crazy, but when you think about it, it makes perfect sense.

For example, think about when you practice an instrument. You’ve probably heard the term “muscle memory.” By practicing the correct patterns repeatedly, it’s as if your fingers remember the movements easily. Eventually, by practicing these good habits, they become more natural until you’re hardly thinking about the notes in a given scale. Now, think about when you practice a pattern incorrectly. Poor habits are developed which are much harder to get rid of.

Well, it turns out this same occurrence can be found in our mentality. By reinforcing your brain with positive thoughts, it becomes a more natural feeling until positivity practically bleeds from your pores.

Again, this may seem like some mumbo-jumbo made up by some two-bit psychologist, but there’s truth to it. A few years ago, psychologists at Purdue University tested this theory out among professional golfers. Their conclusion showed that with positive thinking, golfers’ performance actually increased. If it can work for them, it can work for you.

What not to do

Now that you have some idea of how to think positively, it’s important to know what not to do.

When you have negative images in your head, it’s not just a matter of blocking them out. In fact, blocking them out actually makes the situation worse. You may think you’re thinking about them less, but suppressing negative thoughts mean you’re only increasing the chances of them invading your head once again.

For example, for the next minute, try not to think of a metallic purple magic school bus. So, how long did that take before you thought of it? Using that logic, you have to reinforce the ideas that you actually want, not what you don’t want.

When you’re thinking about an upcoming performance, it’s important to think about specific words you want to use. Avoid words like “don’t” (e.g., “Don’t play the chorus too fast this time”). Instead, say something like “Be mindful of the tempo during the gig.” That way, you aren’t just focusing on the thing you want to avoid and therefore making it more likely to occur.

Put a stop to that evil voice in your head

We all know that evil voice – its sole job is to pollute your mind with negative images, but it’s really up to you whether you want to put up with it. You’re going to see images, both good and bad, no matter what the situation is, so you may as well make them positive ones.

When a thought pops up in your head, ask yourself if this is a constructive thought or a negative one. If it’s a negative one, then simply redirect your focus to something that will help you become more successful.

The thing is that negative thoughts tend to be more natural. We can thank our survival instincts for that one. According to Clifford Nass, a professor of communication at Stanford University, negative thoughts are processed more thoroughly than positive ones. As a result, we tend to contemplate unpleasant events with stronger words than we do with pleasant events.

Because of this, we have to try a lot harder to direct our focus to positivity. Over time, your ability to focus on good images will become better conditioned, not unlike practicing an instrument. Eventually, you won’t have to try so hard to think positively, and you’ll have more control over your mind during important moments like that big gig coming up tomorrow night.

How to Maximize Your Music Promotion on Social Media Using a Simple Formula

[Editors Note: This blog was written by Dave Kusek, founder of New Artist Model, and it originally appeared on the Sonicbids Blog. As we continue to celebrate the launch of TuneCore Social, here is some helpful content for independent artists who are always on the look-out for social media strategy tips!]

 

 

As a musician, the last thing you want to do is spend hours and hours every single week dealing with your social media. After all, you probably started in music to be creative, not to sit behind a computer dealing with marketing.

While it’s awesome that you can be in direct contact with your fans in today’s modern music industry, it definitely puts a lot of strain on your time. You need to post quality content on a regular basis, and on top of that, you need to post unique content to your different channels to keep your fans interested across the board. I mean, why should someone follow you on Facebook and Twitter if you push out exactly the same messages on both platforms? That all adds up to a lot of content and a lot of time.

But there’s a solution to simplify your approach, maximize your impact, and speed up the process – and it starts with just one piece of content.

“Circular viralocity” is a phrase coined by marketer and career coach Brendon Burchard. In short, it’s a very simple formula that will help you turn one piece of content, like a cover video, music video, or new song, into multiple pieces of unique content that you can easily share across social media. It’s also a way to circulate your fans to all your online channels like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, SoundCloud, your blog, and your email list.

In the end, not only will your social media promotion be more effective, it will also be easier and less time-consuming to manage. So let’s break down the steps.

1. Multiply your content

The first step is to derive multiple pieces of content from whatever you’re sharing, and it’s actually a lot simpler than you might think. As an example, let’s say you’re uploading a cover video or even an original song video to YouTube:

  • YouTube: First, you’ll post the music video or cover video to YouTube.
  • Facebook: Create a shorter edit of the video and upload directly to Facebook to take advantage of its sleek video player.
  • Twitter: Grab your favorite lyric line from the song and create a quick quote graphic in Canvato post to Twitter.
  • Instagram: It’s pretty easy to just snap a photo while you’re filming the music video or cover video, but if you forget, you can always just grab a screenshot from the video for Instagram.
  • SoundCloud: Pull the audio from your video and post it to SoundCloud.
  • Blog: Your blog gives you the chance to go a little deeper with your fans, so use this opportunity to let them into your world a little. One option is to simply post the video and write up your thoughts on the song, what it means to you, the story behind your lyrics, or what the writing and recording process was like. If you have more time, you could film a separate video where you actually explain and talk about some of these things on camera and post that instead.
  • Email: You can definitely just email out a link to your blog post, but if you want to take it a step further, you could send your email subscribers a free download of the MP3 audio from the video.

Of course, there are a ton of other options. You can post short videos to Twitter, different lyric quotes or images to Facebook, or free downloads on SoundCloud. Get creative with it!

2. Link it together

Okay, so now you have a lot of really great content. This is where a lot of people stop, but we’re going to take it a few steps further to really power-drive your social reach by linking everything together.

What do I mean by that? Basically, you want everything you post to be linking somewhere else.

  • Your shorter Facebook video can link to the full YouTube video.
  • Your Twitter can link to the YouTube video, your SoundCloud, or your blog post.
  • You can add links to your social channels, your blog post, and a place they can buy/download the MP3 for the song in the description of your YouTube video.
  • Your blog post can include a link to sign up to your email list.

See what we’re doing here? We’re getting your fans to check out all the awesome content you just created to drive up the exposure and engagement on all your online channels. It’s a big content circle!

3. Drive traffic

If you really want to maximize this strategy, you want to be actively encouraging your fans to follow through the content circle. In other words, let them know that you’ve got a lot of different and cool content for them on your other channels.

When you’re working with YouTube, most people don’t take the time to look in the description box, especially if they’re viewing on mobile. So the best way to get your fans to check out your links is to actually ask them. Do a quick voiceover at the end of your video encouraging your fans to open the description box and click through your links, or even better, get on video yourself.

On Facebook and Twitter, ask your fans to click through the links you share, and tell them why they should. What will they get by clicking through that they can’t get here?

If you follow this circular viralocity strategy, your social media should be much less time-consuming and much more effective. If you’d like to learn more strategies to simplify your career and unlock more opportunities, I’d like to give you the opportunity to download my most popular ebook, Hack the Music Business, for free. It’ll take you through some of the best strategies for indie musicians to help you grow your fanbase and your career.

3 Tried & True Methods of Negotiating Higher Pay From Venues

[Editors Note: This article was written by Jhoni Jackson and originally appeared on the Sonicbids Blog.]

Upstart bands and artists in the early stages of cultivating a fanbase often encounter opposition when booking. From a business perspective, it makes sense: if a talent buyer or venue owner isn’t sure you’ll draw a crowd, then handing over a potentially big-bar-sales night to you is a risk. And when you do land a gig, he or she might insist on minimizing that risk by offering you a super low pay rate – or no pay at all. How do you convince that person you deserve more?

When looking to negotiate higher pay from venues, these three strategies can actually yield results, especially if you work hard to promote your shows. Really, these methods mean opportunities to genuinely earn more if you put in the extra effort. Talent buyers and venue owners can appreciate that, and most will pay you accordingly.

1. Show your worth with numbers

Bands often reference what they’ve been paid before when suggesting a guarantee or percentage. That’s a somewhat futile method of negotiating, as no two venues are exactly alike financially. What works for one in terms of payments won’t necessarily work for another.

Your best tools of persuasion here are found on social media. How sizeable is your online fanbase? For your last show, how many responses did you get to the Facebook event? It does matter, of course, how many actually showed up – but if you don’t have crowd shots (use them if you do!), then the closest thing to proof of great attendance is those event responses. Send over your social media pages as well as past events to show the strength of your following.

This won’t work for everyone, of course. Obviously, if you’ve never played before, you don’t have any previous Facebook events to use as examples. Additionally, not everyone trusts the prowess those numbers supposedly signify: an impressive online following doesn’t always translate to in-person devotion.

2. The plus deal

This is sometimes referred to as “back end,” though that’s technically the name of the extra profit you get. Here’s how it works: you’re guaranteed a certain percentage or dollar amount, but you also get an additional amount after a certain point. That marker can be a number of tickets sold, or the talent buyer’s bottom line.

For our purposes here, we’re talking about bands and artists who aren’t getting much pay to begin with, so let’s work with relatively low numbers.

Example one: $50 guarantee plus 10 percent back end after 50 tickets sold at $5 each.

In this scenario, you’ll get your $50 either way. But if more than 50 tickets are sold, you get more. Let’s say the cover count is 100 – the door has raked in an additional $250. You’d get $25 extra.

Example two: $50 guarantee plus 10 percent after $250, with tickets at $5 each.

This could be a situation where there are four bands on the bill, and each is guaranteed $50. If the door money reaches more than $250 – meaning more than 50 tickets sold – then 10 percent of the surplus goes to you. (And probably 10 percent to each of the other bands, too.) So at 100 tickets sold, you’d get your $50 guarantee, plus $25 more for reaching 100 ticket sales.

These numbers are somewhat arbitrary; they’re intended not as standards of negotiating, but rather as examples you can adjust to fit the exact situation you’re in. Talent buyers and venue owners might be more willing to accept a deal like this because there’s little risk on their part. They don’t think they’ll make enough from the door to pay you more than X amount, and you agree to that amount – but you get a little more if you prove them wrong.

3. Prove your draw, then up your rate

Did it take a lot of convincing to get the gig? If the talent buyer or venue owner is dubious of your ability to pull a crowd, he or she might ask you to play for free. When you’re just starting out, that’s okay, but you should always be looking toward the future. You should only perform at no charge when it means it’ll get you closer to paid, or at least better quality gigs. (Or if it’s for charity.)

Agree to play for free (or cheap) once, but ask them to commit to another gig if you draw X number of attendees. Post-show, if you can, talk with whoever booked you. What did he or she think about the performance? The turnout? If the right person isn’t present, follow up the next day via email or whatever form of contact that person preferred in the past.

Send him or her a clip of your set if you’ve got one, and mention the fan response as a way to help him or her see that your next show can be even more successful, and that you deserve some level of payment. Try to actually book a follow-up gig before the conversation goes stale. (Booking several months ahead is ideal, anyway.)

For more on transitioning from free shows to paid gigs, check out this interview with a seasoned musician who’s successfully moved into making a living off her music.


Jhoni Jackson is an Atlanta-bred music journalist currently based in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where she juggles owning a venue called Club 77, freelance writing and, of course, going to the beach as often as possible.