DIY Blog

DIY Blog: CMU:DIY x Urban Development 07 – Getting On Stage

By | Published on Wednesday 22 June 2016

Last night we co-hosted our latest Industry Takeover Seminar with Urban Development at the Think Big Hub on Hoxton Square. The session looked at how to put on and get gigs.

Throughout all our CMU:DIY x Urban Development sessions over the last year we have talked a lot about building a fanbase and the crucial role gigging plays in that process. So it’s about time we talked about getting on stage!

Most new artists hope to work with various music business partners once their careers gain momentum, including labels, publishers, agents, promoters, merchandisers and management. But these days artists need to get that momentum going for themselves, by writing great songs, recording great music, and then finding that initial fanbase.

While you’ll need to get your social and digital channels sorted as part of that process, by far the best way to reach and engage new fans is to get on stage and put on a great show. The digital channels are there so that – if and when you excite a new audience – those people can connect with you online and stay in touch with you moving forward.

At the outset, gigging is more about marketing than it is income. In that it is very hard to make any money at all when you are playing to small crowds, many of whom are yet to hear your music. But remember, it’s an incredibly important marketing platform.

So how do you get the gig? Well, at the outset the simplest way is probably to put on your own show or club night. Pick an appropriate venue, find how much it costs to hire (many venues will give you the room for free early in the week if there’s a decent bar-take) and then work out how to get as many of your friends along as possible. Oh, and think about what your live show is going to consist of and look like.

Those early gigs are all about creating a buzz. They are about persuading your friends to tell their friends about your music. They are about reaching out to other artists at a similar stage in their careers and sharing your audience. And they are about demonstrating that you can fill a room – even if it’s a small room – so that other venues and promoters will consider putting you onto their stages too.

Because, beyond the fanbase-building, you are also looking to connect with the live sector, the people and companies which run the venues, promote the bigger tours and club nights, and stage the festivals. The agents and promoters who can get you into bigger shows, book you into regular club nights with a loyal following, and secure you support slots with more established acts and decent new band sets at relevant festivals. And the people who can help you expand your live activity beyond fanbase building into a decent revenue stream in its own right.

It all sounds so simple, though it’ll be lots of work, and will require a little knowledge and a lot of passion. We’ll provide the knowledge at the next CMU:DIY x Urban Development session, which looks at the process of going live, from staging the gigs, to planning the shows, to connecting with the live music industry. See you there!

You can check out the slides from the CMU:DIY talk that kick-started the proceedings below or download them as a PDF by clicking here.

For information about other Urban Development programmes CLICK HERE, and for updates on future CMU:DIY events sign up to the CMU Daily HERE.