Getting paid gigs at weddings and functions by Last Minute Musicians
The music industry has undergone a massive amount of change over the last twenty years, in an almost unprecedented way. In this guest blog, Jon Fellowes of Last Minute Musicians discusses some ways to help fund your creative projects by performing live.
Some of the recent developments in music have been very progressive; it has never been easier to record and share your music, and this can help you build a following and reach new fans. However, the abundance of new music being distributed every day, combined with the ever-changing platforms through which the public chooses to consume it, means that it is becoming harder and harder to monetise your music effectively.
With diminished revenue being brought in by royalties and streaming, more and more independent artists are looking for other ways to fund their creative projects. Traditionally, live performance has always been another route for musicians to make money and this has seen many acts hitting the road, hard… some of which may have been “retired” for some time!
But what about smaller acts, who can’t immediately guarantee large audiences, paying top dollar for tickets to shows for their originals band? Fortunately, there is still another way to make money playing live - thousands of clients are booking musicians for weddings, corporate events and other functions every single day.
These gigs are not only well paid but can end up being very regular. Just a couple of shows over the weekend can leave you with a good wage and plenty of time during the week to devote to writing, producing and marketing your original music.
So how do you go about getting booked for these shows? Below are some basic steps to take to set yourself up as a function act. If you want more detailed information, check out the Last Minute Musicians Blog or How To Get Gigs.
Step 1: what you’ll need
Whether you are looking to perform solo or as a duo/band, there are a few requirements you’ll need to get things off the ground, and establish yourself as a function act:
2 x 45-minute cover sets
One of the major differences between gigs with an originals band and functions is the set lengths. When you’re playing your own material, a support slot can be as little as 30 minutes - the absolute minimum most function clients will want from you is 2 sets of at least 45 minutes in length. You will also need to take into account the variety of material you might need, as well as encores.
Being able to promote yourself effectively also requires some basics. Obvious things like high-quality recordings and photography are a good start, but a well-written biography and showreel/promo video are also worthy of consideration. Some physical materials like business cards and banners will be a necessity for effective networking.
Top tip: For more advice on room vids, read our blog Why promotional videos are important for musicians.
It’s always a good idea to establish yourself on social media and make sure you secure all of the relevant handles for your act fairly quickly. A good website (utilizing all your promotional material) will act as a central point to direct clients to. It’s important to keep both of these things updated regularly.
Top tip: For help on social media, check out Reload’s blog on Social Media Marketing for Musicians.
Step 2: Promote yourself
Once you have everything in place, it’s time to get out there and get some gigs booked! Local pubs and clubs are a great place to start – they won’t be as well paid, but they are a great opportunity to get yourself in front of an audience relatively quickly and try out your new covers. If they are well attended, you can also utilise open mic or jam nights in a similar way, meeting other musicians and potential clients.
If you have more of a budget in place, consider doing some local wedding shows – although they will cost you to exhibit, they are an excellent opportunity to get yourself in front of an audience of potential clients that are actively looking to book live music.
Top tip: Check out this Last Minute Musicians blog – Wedding fairs: What musicians need to know.
Lastly, make sure you get “out and about” online. Joining Facebook groups like Dep Musicians in the UK and UK Musicians for gigs is a great way to see regular work opportunities being posted and being active and engaged on social media will help get the word out about your function act.
Step 3: Join an entertainment directory or agency
Once you have the experience of your first gigs in the bag, it’s time to think about expanding. Getting on the books of an entertainment agent is a brilliant way to get more shows. An entertainment agent fills the role of connecting prospective clients with their preference in the act.
While this can be a brilliant way to attract lots of new enquiries, they will charge commission for the service and usually have a whole roster of acts for you to compete with for the booking.
An entertainment agency, such as Last Minute Musicians, operates in a similar way, but without the commission. The band pays a small contribution to be a member of the directory, but keeps 100% of whatever they make from the shows they book and negotiate directly with clients.
From everyone at Last Minute Musicians, we wish you the best of luck with your music career!
LastMinuteMusicians.com is the UK's leading live entertainment portal. More than just a directory - it's the most convenient way to connect potential clients and there preference in entertainment. Visitors can browse profiles, read reviews, listen to audio, watch videos and choose from a rapidly growing selection of the best musicians, bands, entertainers and related companies. For musicians, the service represents a very cost-effective way to pick up more gigs, without paying any hefty commission - register for a listing today!