We all do this for the love of it right? Being an acoustic singer in the UK is more important to me than my bank balance.
That being said, money = freedom and if you can figure out a way to get paid as a musician, then life can be pretty, pretty sweet. Not only will you be living your passion you will be making a living at the same time.
We live in a time of technology, knowledge, and opportunity.
Having been a musician for over 15 years, I really wish I had been given access to the tools that new musicians have now, as I am sure players with 30 years experience said the same thing about me.
So in this article, I am going to share my simple way to get paid as a musician along with some tips to help it happen.
The most tried and tested method remains the same, get yourself some gigs in the local area and ask for payment. Local pubs and clubs are always looking for entertainment for their punters, so if you are half decent they might consider you.
These need to be suited to your style, there's no point asking for a gig in the local church when your band plays death metal.
That being said, don't limit your venues too much. Most pubs and clubs put on a variety of different shows so it might just mean you need to pick the one that fits you best. But how do you get onto the bill?
Here are my tips and hacks for skewing the odds in your favour.
Learn how to do business
Whilst you might be a UK musician, making money is business. That doesn't mean you have to sell your soul to the Man, start wearing a 3-piece suite, and trading stocks, but it does mean you need to understand how business works.
If you want someone to give you money you have to be able to give them something they want. If you are an amateur band or solo musician you need to shed the idea that people will just fill your pockets with gold and silver because you love your own music enough, it just isn't going to happen.
Instead, do your research on the venues who put on live gigs and find out what they want. Common things are more punters, more money, less hassle etc.
Solve one, or more, of their problems
So if you want to address one of those elements, why not put a proposal to the venue whereby your payment is determined by the amount of people you can bring to your gigs? Or that they will get a percentage share of any ticket sales? Or you will bring all your own gear so they don't need to hire any equipment.
The idea is start getting paid no matter the amount. Once they have given you cash for your services it opens a whole load of doors.
Offer discounts or trials
If you struggle to get a venue to pay you at first, why not offer them a special rate or trial to see if it works for them? I am reluctant to offer freebies (because that reinforces our craft being undervalued), but you could say you are willing to give them a 50% saving on your normal fee.
Or they could save money for booking you for multiple dates as it helps you save time looking for other venues. These venue owners are business people and they understand that time is money whichever way you look at it.
Do their advertising
Most musicians know that they have to spend time promoting their music and shows. Venues need to do the same. Why not offer to take some of the burden from them in exchange for the money they would normally spend?
Designing posters, doing social media event organising, spreading word of mouth are just some of the tools you will need.
So there you have it, some of my simple hacks in getting venues to choose you over another local band. Think of the owners as clients, people that you want to have a relationship with and keep happy. Take away some of their problems and they start to see you as the solution.
Liked the article? Why not share! Or check out some of my live acoustic covers.