Performing Live: 9 Shows You Should Say No To for Musicians

Saying No!

Just because an opportunity comes your way, doesn’t mean that you should say yes to it. You need to think about your goals you decided on here and decide if this opportunity aligns with your current goals. If it doesn’t, you need to say no to it. If performing live is one of your goals, then you’re probably excited when someone approaches you about performing live! But, you still might want to avoid the following types of shows. And say no to them.

you need practice.

With this show, you perform for free. You won’t be paid. And you’re not expected to bring anyone. It’s going to be practice for you.

This could actually be a good option for you if you’re just starting out and don’t have a large fanbase in your area.

A Mismatch Of Genres…

Performing with other bands that are in the same genre as you are the ticket to gaining more fans. Their fans will most likely be into your music too. If you’re a rock band, and the other bands are jazz and pop…then you have nothing to gain from their fans or from performing with them. Pass on these events.

But It’s For Charity.

With some charity events, they’ll ask you to play for free.

But hold on a second, don’t you think the venue and the staff are getting paid? You bet they are. If you’re bringing people, you should be getting paid. Even if you’re only getting 15% of ticket sells, there will still be plenty left over to help the cause.

the potential for tips and merch sells.

Venues can choose to not pay you but can allow you to sell your merchandise and have a tip jar.

Now, this is a slippery slope and can turn out really good or really bad. So it’s up to if you do these shows. We’d only do it if you know you’re amazing at working the tip jar and convincing people to buy merch.

new fans will discover you!

Some shows won’t pay you but they’ll promise that you’ll gain exposure.

We would only recommend doing this if the other artists that are performing are your same genre and are much bigger than you. That way you know a ton of their fans will be there and their fans will definitely be interested in your music.

Let’s make a deal.

A business owner could offer to make a trade with you.

If you perform at my event for free, I’ll do X for you. Maybe they’re a videographer or photographer. This trade is up to you. If the value is worth it, and you trust them, go for it! If you don’t think it’s worth it and don’t trust them, then say no.

it’ll be fun. this is your hobby, right?

For some musicians, it really is a hobby and they’re not trying to make it into a career. But when musicians work for free they’re making it more difficult for other musicians get paid. Even if it’s just a hobby for you, we still suggest asking for some compensation.

Sell x tickets to perform.

Some promoters may approach you and tell you that you have to sell a certain amount of tickets in order to perform. Then you may get back profits if you sell more than the required amount. The thing is, with this model, you’re doing all of the promoting. Isn’t that the job of the promoter? If you do this, you might as well have your own show if you do this.

you pay, you play.

You have to pay to perform.  Then you may get money depending on sells. The truth is, these promoters are using your money to rent the space. Say no to these shows.

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