Get Singing Gigs Through an Online Platform?

'It’s the site I found my wedding band on – now I get gigs through it!' says Jamie Becker.

I first heard about GigSalad earlier this year, through a generic Google search, while my fiancé and I were looking for a wedding band – not the kind you wear around your finger, but rather the type that gets folks on the dance floor! Oh, and this is NOT an endorsed article or “puff piece” for GigSalad – they don’t know that I am writing this; I just want gigging singers know about a tool to get gigs.

We had already explored the depths of Facebook and Instagram and found a couple hopefuls, but to no avail…and much frustration. The irony is that my husband and I are living in Nashville, TN (otherwise known as ‘Music City’)! Nevertheless, I soon understood why booking sites exist; they make things easy.

I simply entered the details of our event (i.e. outdoor wedding reception, preference: pop/soul band, our budget, etc.) and voila! In less than 24 hours, GigSalad connected us with an incredible vocalist/performer named Kira Hooks who fronted a band that was just what we were looking for our big day. The music was on point, and I could tell our guests felt the same way- what a win!

From Self-booking to Online Bookings

After the reception came to a close, I couldn’t wait to thank the band. After chatting for a bit, I asked Kira, “What has your experience been like on GigSalad?”

Really good,” she responded. She continued to say that she’d gotten a lot of work out of it, and though it is an investment up front to sign up, it’s totally worth it. 

As a singer/songwriter/performer myself, I was intrigued. I had always approached getting gigs by going to venues in person, striking up conversations, and/or making a ton of cold calls and emails.

This was different. This idea that as a performer, you’d sign up, make a promo kit, and gig leads would come straight to you (saving a ton of time) and each gig would be paid at a rate that you as the performer have control over negotiating. 

Quite frankly it sounded like a fantasy.

Onboarding with Online Gig-Getting

In Music City, you get quite used to playing for tips (or most commonly for ‘exposure’) in various bars and restaurants. The most base-pay I’d ever received was $120 for a 3 hour slot, granted there was one other person playing with me, so really my net was $60 plus tips and food, which to be honest is pretty significant compensation comparatively to most gigs. 

Jamie Becker Gig Salad Profile
Here’s a peek at some of my dashboard data on GigSalad…

I began to reflect on Kira’s words. From the sound of it, a significant portion of her income was coming from this site, and all I could think was “why aren’t I doing the same thing?” After all, I came to Nashville to make a living doing music – and this may just be what I need to start turning music into a career.

As my husband and I came back from our honeymoon in May, I was ready to jump in and start my promo kit. After revamping my bio, editing some live videos, and gathering some of my best photos, I had completed my online profile. Feeling the hope instilled by Kira’s words, I put down the $289 admin fee to use the site for 6 months, and felt a nervous rush.

There was no going back. Now, it was the waiting game for someone to have an event that they needed music for and wanted me among the other listings for the job.

In the days that followed, I had yet to have any hits on my promo kit and I grew doubtful. Was this a mistake? Should I have done this? Thankfully, before I could wallow in self deprecating regret regarding the money I may have wasted, it happened.

My First Gigs through this Platform

I received 3 direct messages regarding 3 different events- a corporate gig, a birthday party, and a baby shower with dates all within a week and a half of each other.

I was elated, and I knew I had to get back to the messages right away otherwise someone else may fill those gigs first! 

So, I immediately responded with messages thanking each person for reaching out, describing what I could provide to meet their requests, including my price considering the specs, and closing off with another thank you or a ‘looking forward to connecting with you!’.

I wondered if beginners luck was in fact a thing because, to my suprise at the time, I got all three of those gigs, and quickly covered that initial investment.

With that, I knew I had work to do. With only a couple weeks of preparation time, I spent considerable time, arranging set-lists, rehearsing on my own and with other players, and double and triple checking my equipment – making sure all cables were working properly, batteries were juiced up in my guitars pick up, etc. I even bought a tablet holder so I could have my set and charts professionally displayed on my iPad. Goodbye music stand (and all the paper clips I used to use to hold my charts!) Hello, ease…

And, hello first corporate gig!!! 

I had been asked to provide an acoustic duo, and thankfully a good friend of mine was down to take the ride with me and provide some keys/bgv’s to my guitar/voice. We had one rehearsal which was very efficient thanks to charts and apps like “GigBook”, and after a full run through, we felt pretty good! The night before the show, we loaded up the equipment, and at 6am gig day, we drove off to the venue to set up the PA system and rock n’ roll.

How the Money Works with Online Gigs

I can’t lie, I was pretty nervous. I hadn’t played an event quite like it before. It was to take place at one of the nicest hotels in Nashville, and we were providing music for a breakfast session during a giant mixologist conference. You heard me- ‘mixologist conference’ which basically equates to people in fancy suits drinking some of the fanciest cocktails alongside their fancy omelettes- all at 8am. Pretty sweet huh?!

Needless to say, it was a memorable gig and one that was surprisingly laid back. We played our set, had some great interactions with the people there, and called it a day all by 9:30! 

Since that performance, I have had a handful of bookings some from GigSalad directly, others from those who happened across my GigSalad profile, and one that happened after playing a previous event booked through GigSalad. All in all, I have made close to $2,500 in gig earnings since starting GigSalad, and I have gained opportunities to challenge myself like never before through charting hundreds of songs, taking requests, and learning popular songs in other languages as well! It is energizing.

A Word of Caution 

Now, it’s important to note that booking sites like these are not fairy godmothers who just give everyone money upon signing up. It does take time and investment and hard work to perfect the services you seek to offer.

With that said, if you have a few years of performance experience up your sleeve, a developed song list, and a craving for paid gigs, why wait? A tool like GigSalad may be just what you need to help fill your calendar with the gigs you’ve been hoping for!

Happy Gigging!

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