Topic: How do you market yourself for gigs?  (Read 6821 times)

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Offline Bart Elliott

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How do you market yourself for gigs?
« on: December 24, 2001, 11:41 AM »
A good deal of people ask me this question almost every other day ... "how do I market myself, and how do I get work?" So, I thought I would pose this question to everyone here (I'll share my thoughts a little later).

How do you market yourself as a drummer/percussionist and musician?

Give some details of what you do specifically, as well as some success stories to show that your methods work!

drumsonly2002

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Re: Got Gigs? How do you market yourself?
« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2001, 05:06 PM »
When I played full time I found attitude and desire got me into a lot of bands. When I play (ed) I put everything into it. The effort and desire got noticed and I always had work. I was fortunate in that I never had to advertise, the music community had a who's who is doing what, so word of mouth kept me working. I'm not a great drummer compared to many I see on video's etc, but try hard regardless of where I am on the drumming map. The other important factor is attitude. To get along with others, and constantly remind myself that I was there to provide the drumming product the band and music needs in order for it to sound good. To be open to suggestion, cooperate, more or less be a servant for the band. I was there for them and my ego was left home. I figured if someone was going to pay money to see a band, I'll give them their money's worth the best I can. A person doesn't have to be the world's best drummer, but can try just as hard, and provide a good product. I also really enjoyed my band mates and the association, so having fun is important. Sound good, work hard, get along with people, and employment should follow. My 2 cents of advice.

sidereal

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Re: How do you market yourself for gigs?
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2001, 10:59 AM »
I agree... word of mouth, attitude, hard work... all those are crucial in getting gigs. I don't really market myself much, although I plan to launch my website next year and get business cards printed. The latter, only because I've been asked for a card on a few recent occasions. I don't want to be forcing cards on people.

It's a very gray area, this idea of marketing oneself. You don't want to come off pushy. An easy-going personality opens many doors, then kicking ass behind the kit closes the deal.


Offline Bart Elliott

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Re: How do you market yourself for gigs?
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2002, 04:48 PM »
I think having a good (positive) attitude, being able to get along with people, and being able to "throw down" when the red light is on.

You can be the greatest player in the world, but if you are difficult to get along with, you won't be getting much work.

To market myself, I have a Press Kit with my biography, equipment list, discography, audio demo and photos. I try to keep this updated and available at the drop of a hat. Now with the Internet, I basically use my web site as a press kit.

I always have a business card ready; containing my name, email address, phone number and web site URL. When someone asks me for my phone number, we don't have to hunt down a piece of paper or pencil, I just hand them my card. Incidentally, I NEVER force my card on someone because I don't want to come across as being pushy or desperate. If they don't ask for my card, and I REALLY want them to have it, I ask if I could give them my card. This method seems to be a little more socially acceptable.

I go out and listen to bands, hang with other musicians who are doing what I want to be doing, sit in on Jam Nights, make phone calls to past contacts, check the bulletin boards at the local music stores ... so on and so on.

When it comes down to it, you've got to be able to play ... but if you are never given the chance, the world will never know. You've got to convince them that they need to hear you.

I've noticed that in the recording industry, almost everyone will try somebody at least once. This may not be true in cities where the competition is fierce, but has been my experience thus far.

If you don't get out there and be seen, no one is going to call you. You've got to build RELATIONSHIPS ... that's what the Music Business is!!!

Nomad442

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Re: How do you market yourself for gigs?
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2002, 04:35 PM »


I agree, keeping good relationships is key to success as a gigging musician

Offline Matt Self (Gaddabout)

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Re: How do you market yourself for gigs?
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2002, 03:57 AM »
Quote
How do you market yourself as a drummer/percussionist and musician?

I'm starting over, and I've been asking myself this question a lot, lately. I'm learning some things I wish I knew the first time. I used to think I had to market myself to the world. In hindsight, that wasn't a very focused marketing plan. Musicians hire musicians, so I've got a better idea how to get this thing going, and it's working so far. Here are some things I like to keep in the back of my mind:

1. On nights you're not playing, go and listen to other musicians on every possible occasion.

2. Introduce yourself to *everybody*, especially other drummers. Referrals are the lifeblood of the industry.

3. Be complimentary, but not effusive. A first meeting is not the time to offer criticisms, either. =)

4. Be humble when discussing your own talent, but never meek. Be honest about your limitations, but don't bring them up if you don't have to.

5. Smile. Tell a joke. Musicians dig other musicians with a sense of humor. Make sure it's a good joke, first, though, and make sure the person you're telling it to isn't the grandson of the DNP chairman before you whip out that Bill Clinton line you heard the other day. Just kidding. Save the political jokes for your family get-togethers.

6. Don't ask for work. Don't offer your name and number. Don't do anything. But always be prepared in case they ask you.

7. Always remember that other musicians are your lifeline, so don't get involved in their pissing matches. If they've got a beef with another player in town, there's nothing wrong with playing stupid. If you've got a beef with another player in town, keep it to yourself! =)

8. Always be yourself. If you're not George Carlin, do not attempt to be the life of the party. If you are George Carlin, well, it's a little late to be starting a new career in music, don't you think?
Odd meter isn't broken. It doesn't need to be fixed. - David Crigger

felix

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Re: How do you market yourself for gigs?
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2002, 04:53 AM »
Gaddabout, I would definitely not hesitate to tell someone that you are looking for a gig, whether live or studio and I would offer your services, but I have found the "soft sell" approach the best.  I would hit some studios if you are hard core into it.  For myself being a budding studio owner, I want to know who is all out there and who is willing to do what.

And I would get some cards made.  All the pro guys have cards in town it seems.  

I can't wait to hear about your success.

Offline Matt Self (Gaddabout)

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Re: How do you market yourself for gigs?
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2002, 07:46 AM »
Quote
Gaddabout, I would definitely not hesitate to tell someone that you are looking for a gig, whether live or studio and I would offer your services, but I have found the "soft sell" approach the best.  I would hit some studios if you are hard core into it.  For myself being a budding studio owner, I want to know who is all out there and who is willing to do what.

And I would get some cards made.  All the pro guys have cards in town it seems.  

I can't wait to hear about your success.

I'm finding if I take the initiative to introduce myself, they ask me about my experience, what I'm currently doing, etc. It's just like an interview, and if they're interested, they ask for my number without me looking desperate. Maybe this won't work when my sole income is based on drumming, but I've sort of garnered a pretty good rep so far as "the new guy." That's a far cry from when I was 19, and I was "the new punk." It feels good to start over. =)

Odd meter isn't broken. It doesn't need to be fixed. - David Crigger

sidereal

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Re: How do you market yourself for gigs?
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2002, 09:08 AM »
Quote

2. Introduce yourself to *everybody*, especially other drummers. Referrals are the lifeblood of the industry.

Just curious, but has anyone else had problems with this? I run into other drummers in the circuit all the time who come to gigs (and occasionally I go to theirs). It's a very incestuous thing where everyone knows everyone. But for some reason, with the exception of one guy, I've had a hell of a time hitting it off with the other drummers. They like to hang out with my band mates, but always seem uncomfortable around me. Granted, one of them got booted in a band and replaced by me. But I don't know what's up with the others. Maybe there's some bad word of mouth about me (can't see how that would be justified), or jealousy... But I'm wondering more if it's just the way the drummers are in the scene I'm in. Or maybe I'm putting off some vibe that I don't intend to.

Offline James Walker

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Re: How do you market yourself for gigs?
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2002, 09:12 AM »
re:  on-site networking, all I can add is that most of the gigging musicians I work with are looking to continue their own networking efforts, and all it takes is for me to ask, "Hey, could I get your number and e-mail...?", and almost 100% of the time they'll ask for my info' in return.

I keep thinking of Jon Lovitz's old character from Saturday Night Live:  "GET TO KNOW ME!!!"  Get to know players of the same instrument as you ("I need a sub..."), players of other instruments ("I need a _______ for my band"), radio DJs, caterers ("...my client needs a band for his wedding reception...") - gigs can come from the most obscure corners, sometimes.  Get to know musicians, and get to know people who HIRE musicians!
"I played with Holdsworth, Fripp, and Belew...I wish we drummers could play that differently. Drummers are starting to homogenize into the same guy, which frightens me." - Bill Bruford

Offline Bart Elliott

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Re: How do you market yourself for gigs?
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2002, 09:21 AM »
Quote
re:  on-site networking, all I can add is that most of the gigging musicians I work with are looking to continue their own networking efforts, and all it takes is for me to ask, "Hey, could I get your number and e-mail...?", and almost 100% of the time they'll ask for my info' in return.

This is something that I definitely do. I've talked about this in past threads on other forums ... which many of your have read.

Basically, you don't want to be pushy by forcing your number or business card on somebody ... but if you ASK for THEIR info, chances are they will reciprocate.

Offline Matt Self (Gaddabout)

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Re: How do you market yourself for gigs?
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2002, 12:16 PM »
Quote

Just curious, but has anyone else had problems with this? I run into other drummers in the circuit all the time who come to gigs (and occasionally I go to theirs). It's a very incestuous thing where everyone knows everyone. But for some reason, with the exception of one guy, I've had a hell of a time hitting it off with the other drummers. They like to hang out with my band mates, but always seem uncomfortable around me. Granted, one of them got booted in a band and replaced by me. But I don't know what's up with the others. Maybe there's some bad word of mouth about me (can't see how that would be justified), or jealousy... But I'm wondering more if it's just the way the drummers are in the scene I'm in. Or maybe I'm putting off some vibe that I don't intend to.

I definately hit it off better with guns for hire than some guy who lives and dies by the fortunes of his bar band. Session players are less stressed, make a lot more money, and have a professional interest in networking and making friends. Just my experience. I think it has a lot to do with experience and being comfortable with one's own ability.
Odd meter isn't broken. It doesn't need to be fixed. - David Crigger

felix

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Re: How do you market yourself for gigs?
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2002, 02:29 AM »
I'll tell you how I hit it off drummers...and it can be hard sometimes cause most of them are birds.

I take an extremely humble approach when I talk with them.  Believe it or not I always say how great their gear is if it comes to it or how I like their band...whatever.  I'm so nice it's disqusting.  I don't think I'm being condescending, because to them it is hip, you know?   And I really try not to say anything bad about them while they aren't around...it's bad carma.  If they want my opinion I always offer my artistic interpretation but explain how viable their approach is as well.  Some think I'm a flake, but I don't care.  My one HS marching buddy has a very successful copy band and we didn't talk for several years because of an argument over a music deal.  People were saying how long could we go on like this.  Well, he's coming to my studio to record this week so I must be doing something right.   Previously he almost beat the living tar out of me in a fist fight we got into it so bad! I just kill them with kindness.  If he screws me again...well, I can afford it.

LeeFlier

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Re: How do you market yourself for gigs?
« Reply #13 on: February 07, 2002, 06:31 AM »
sidereal, that's very odd that you don't seem to hit it off with other drummers.  In my experience, even in really competitive places like L.A., drummers seem to get along better with each other and be more supportive than most other musicians.  Bass players too.  It's lead guitarists and lead singers who seem most prone to have an attitude toward others of their kind. :D

I agree that the best "marketing" is to go and hang with other musicians, see other local bands etc.  I do that all the time and am sincerely excited to see other local musicians that are good.  Having a competitive attitude really sucks, but if you are genuinely enthused and supportive of your peers they WILL call you for a gig when opportunities come up.  Especially if they don't feel you're trying to steal their gig or you'll stab them in the back - that's the quickest way NOT to get called.

And yes, a sense of humor helps.  Fortunately drummers seem to have that more so than most other musicians. :D  Also, a particularly good thing to talk about when you first meet other musicians, is music that you both like.  If there's a particular genre or band that you're passionate about, and the person you've just seen playing is obviously influenced by them, it's fun to talk with them about it and also lets them know you are knowledgable and enthused about music without really trying to sell yourself.  Usually it doesn't take long after getting into such a conversation, before the other person asks, "Do you play?"  I didn't develop this consciously as a "marketing technique", cuz I just love to talk music with other musicians anyhow, but I know when I think back that it's been an inroad to a lot of gigs.

--Lee

Offline Matt Self (Gaddabout)

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Re: How do you market yourself for gigs?
« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2002, 09:02 AM »
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sidereal, that's very odd that you don't seem to hit it off with other drummers.  In my experience, even in really competitive places like L.A., drummers seem to get along better with each other and be more supportive than most other musicians.  Bass players too.  It's lead guitarists and lead singers who seem most prone to have an attitude toward others of their kind. :D

My experience is the smaller the market, the more competitive and unfriendly the musicians. I'm in a very small market, and the drummers around here behave like junior high turf punks. It's really, really bad.
Odd meter isn't broken. It doesn't need to be fixed. - David Crigger

 

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