Last night I ordered a new DMX light controller. This will give me more control over my LED par cans, enabling me to produce better quality light shows for my own band and performances, not to mention other performers I work with.
I saw this picture yesterday, I got me thinking. The person who made this joke, needs to read my blogs. I've made money from playing guitar for some 30 years now, for 15 years, it has been my main income. The problem for most people that can't make money at it, is not lack of musical skills, but lack of management skills. Look around you at other musicians in your area, which musicians make money, which ones don't? It may sound obvious, but I looked at this, worked out what the money making musicians did that the others didn't do and copied the good habits.
Here are a couple of things not to do.
1. Play for free.
Anyone can play for free. You can fill your diary with endless open mics, charity events and such like. I limit my charity events to just one or two a year.
Make sure you are playing for the minimum Musicians Union rates for the job. This minimum rate, is the minimum for a reason, it's the minimum you are worth.
2 Not treat yourself as a business.
Have a business plan. Know what you want and how you are going to achieve it. Also, be flexible. This is just so important. it could be a whole book in itself, not just a little part of a blog post.
Another par can has arrived.
It will be used has a new addition to The Backtrackers stage lighting. It is also available to hire on it's own, or with other lighting effects.
PA and Stage lighting hire. Also great for parties.
I now have this lighting rig to add to my present set up.
If you would like to hire a lighting rig for you stage event or rock Or pop band, I have small light shows and smoke machine from only £25.
For more Information on PA and Stage Lighting hire http://paulclews888.weebly.com/pa-and-light-show-hire.html
As many of you know, I'm not a fan of open mic nights. You don't need to get ripped off to get your first gigs. http://paulclews888.weebly.com/1/post/2013/03/open-mic-nights-why-you-should-not-play-them.htm You could play at family and friends parties for instance. These kind of events will offer you a supportive audience, and introduce you to other party guests who may never have heard of your band, or if they have, may not know what you sound like. This could lead to another gig.
Another simple way to get a gig is to book yourself. Hire a pub or hotel room, or even a village hall or similar and sell tickets. In the old days in Ilfracombe, all the bands used to hire the Vaults Bar. Advertise your gig with posters in local shop windows. Many shop owners are happy to do this for free. These days it is much easier to make your own posters and tickets with computers and printers. They were just not available to me. Advertise your gig on gig web sites and of course on social media. Twitter being the best way to get your word out because of its size and the fact you can reach many people with no followers what so ever, with clever use of hash tags. Always include the name of the town or city where you are going to play, and including the surrounding towns is a good idea too. Facebook is important but difficult, in comparison. You need to actively collect 'likes' on you page, which for an unknown band is not easy. But you can advertise in local and other type specific groups. It is also well worth having a Google+ page to promote your gigs, because it is searchable on Google.
Gigs can also be promoted, often for free in local news papers, and on local radio. Just be creative.
Sell as many tickets as you can, and don't forget you can charge on the door too. It's a good idea to charge a little more on the door to encourage ticket sales. Get all your family and friends to buy tickets too, and you will make a profit from your gig.
What if you don't have enough songs? Well set up the gig as a double or triple bill with other local bands in a similar position to you. Split the overheads, split the profits. More bands promoting, means more advertising, bigger audiences, and more exposure for your band.
A word of warning before you start gigging. It's a little boring, and not very rock 'n' roll, but you need to get public liability insurance to protect yourself, your audience, and the venue you are playing at. The best way to get this in my opinion is to join the Musicians Union.
Good luck and get gigging.
I have been meaning to write this blog for a long time. A couple of years in fact. I keep putting it off because I know it's a little controversial and I want to get it right. In other words, I've done my research. Many of you may disagree (I have had many debates on Twitter and Facebook about it). It makes my blood boil.
Now just to be clear, when I say 'why you should not play them', I also mean, you should not watch them, or eat or drink in the venues that promote them.
The pub landlords that promote such events will tell you, they put them on
'to give new talent an opportunity to play in front of an audience', as if they are doing the 'new talent' a favour. Well let me tell you, this is a big fat lie, they put them on for profit. Now profit is not a rude word, but everyone contributing deserves a slice of it. They are using the musicians skills and talent to line their own pockets, and not share any of it with the musician. Okay, they often give you a 'free pint'. Let me tell you about that 'free pint', it's not free, you worked for it. I wonder if the landlord pays his plumber and staff in pints. Pints do not pay your mortgage, kids shoes, or even a packet of guitar strings. They should also be declared to the VAT man by the landlords because, as an accountant informs me, they are in effect making a taxable supply to the musician in exchange for services, so the VAT on the full value of the pint should be paid over. I hope you landlords are declaring them. Equally, musicians should be declaring them to the tax man. You are accepting beer as income. I suspect the whole thing is a hot bed of petty tax evasion. I suggest musicians should try going down to Soundpad in Barnstaple and offer them a couple of flat pints of beer for a packet of Ernie Balls. I can ensure you they will laugh you out the building. Musicians are consequently 'paying to play' as the old musicians slogan used to say.
Another trick that the landlords and agents use to pull you in is, 'come
play the open mic night, and we'll see how good you are. If you are good enough I will book you'. This is another lie. They rarely give gigs this way, although they will deny this. I know many venues that book a whole year or seasons entertainment on this basis, abusing the good will of hopeful entertainers.
Entertainers need to stand together, say no to this rip off, and put an end to this awful practice, that is in all but name slavery.
People have argued 'but they're fun'. I don't think putting musicians out of work and treating them as slaves is fun. I take no pleasure in it. Where are your principles? It's a nobel art.On occasions, I've had other musicians tell me, 'I only play for fun, I work in the week, I don't need the money'. Again, I don't see how putting other musicians out of work is fun. How would you like it if I go to your boss and say to him I'll do your job for free, because I work as a musician, therefore I
don't need the money? There is a minimum wage law, some how musicians fall through the net. Has this musician got public liability insurance? I have never
met one that has. Therefore any accident, such as taking someone's eye out with
a guitar neck, or burning the pub down with your untested (PAT) electrical equipment, is not usually covered by the landlords insurance policy. You're taking a hell of a risk.
When it comes to these practices, I want venue owners to give up, and pay up!
I'm off for a walk to calm down.