An Exciting New Look at Gigging
I have a new baby girl in my family. Her name is Kenzie, and she is beautiful. Since my daughter was born I’ve had more than one person ask, “Are you planning on getting a real job now?” To which, I reply, “I have a real job. It’s music.
“You see, I quit my day job in 2005 to do music full-time. But I must admit hearing Kenzie’s ‘coos’ definitely make me reconsider some of my goals. For one, I love gigging, but I don’t want to spend all of my time on the road.
That thought has my head twisted around brainstorming how to supplement my income with fewer gigs. Then it occurred to me–maybe I’m looking at gigging all wrong? Maybe there’s another type of gigging that will allow me to stay home more and make my fewer road trip gigs?
When I first started my old group, the Brobdingnagian Bards, I was unstoppable at promotion. I wrote article after article, blog after blog. I sent out newsletters. I promoted free MP3s incessantly. I emailed fans as soon as they wrote me. I was every band’s dream promoter.
As a result, we quickly became one of the foremost Celtic bands online. On the Renaissance festival circuit, I once heard our group described as “legendary”. No kidding! I was shocked to hear that description.In 2005, I not only quit my day job, I also started to burn out. My promotion of the band floundered. Our popularity waned.The point of telling you all this is now I realize that my grueling gigging schedule at the beginning of the millennium was not just on the road, it was countless hours of online promotion. That’s when I remembered Enya.
Enya rarely plays any live performances. Her success was initially based on having her producer get her music featured in TV and films. For Enya, there is no touring. So why can’t you or I do that?
Okay. Getting featured in TV or film is no easy task. But perhaps there are other musicians who have done the same… like Jonathan Coulton. Coulton is most famous for his Thing-A-Week project. Basically, he recorded one new song every week for a year. Then he podcasted each of those songs and released them for free to the world.What is so special about this is not the podcasting or giving away free music. I was doing that for years. It was his ability to unite his Geek niche together and get them involved in his online community. It was his constant blogging, his struggle to stand out that made him special.
While Coulton is now “legend” in his own right among the geek community. I haven’t heard a peep about him since he started touring. Has his popularity likewise waned due to fewer “gigs” online? Or has he indeed been able to leverage his internet popularity with his touring schedule. (Incidentally, he’s recording his first new album since Thing-A-Week, right now)It turns out there is indeed another way to “gig”. I started this article back in January. The past few months I spent promoting Irish music non-stop for St. Patrick’s Day. I wrote article after article, blog after blog. I hired writers for my Celtic MP3s Music Magazine, and I posted new podcasts nearly every week. I also had fewer gigs this year, but my income was higher than last year. My online “gigging” made the difference… and then some!
Now I’m not gonna tell you that blogging or podcast is the “way” to “gig” online. Nope. It’s not for everybody. You need to find your preferred medium. It could be videos. It could be message boards. Is Facebook is your favorite tool. Perhaps it is Twitter, Flickr, SoundClick, Reverbnation, Pandora. Perhaps it’s responding to comments on the Comedy Central website, The New York Times, or Amazon.com. Perhaps your medium is a new website that I don’t like at all.
It doesn’t matter what your tool is. You can enter and dominate a market. You can build a fan base if you find your niche. You can “gig” online and become a superstar in your own right.Now start gigging!
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© 2000-2014 Marc Gunn -- Austin, Texas