Gigs are an important part of an artist’s life. It’s when you get to showcase your music to a live audience and get paid. Touring often brings in more money for artists than music streams and downloads. But what happens when your gigs have been cancelled due to circumstances outside of your control? It’s exactly what we’ll be covering in this article.
At a time when you might feel despair, the best tip we can give is to recognise that others feel similarly and the best thing to do is jump into action. Maintain good relationships in the industry and offer support where you can.
Keep in contact with venues
Make a list of all the live venues you have played at, and the local ones you have yet to play at. Contact each of them by email or on social media and ask how they are doing. Let them know they are not alone and you wish them a full financial recovery. Thank them for providing a live music venue to yourself and fellow artists. Sometimes we forget about venues because we see them as brick and mortar instead of a group of people working hard because they love music. They will be grateful for any supportive messages. You need them and they need you – that’s grounds for an awesome relationship.
Send messages of support
Send these out to the promoters you have met and worked with, and to all your musician friends on the circuit. A simple ‘Hello, checking in’ can go a long way. For the promoters who have given you a chance and treated you fairly, send a thank you and enquire about how they are coping. You might even ask if they think the venues they work with will survive and if there is anything you can do. If you have the emotional capacity to help out, you can offer help. This is not a time to place more pressure than you can handle on to yourself, but if you have room to be supportive, please do it. Promoters and other musicians are wondering about the future too and when it comes down to it we’re one big ol’ family.
This is fun! Grab one or a few music friends and play a cover. Each having your own part in the song – whether it be playing an instrument or singing, or both. Your spirits will be higher and those watching will be entertained. Filming can be done easily with a phone or laptop. A simple way to record this is via Zoom the free conferencing app.
There are some things to be aware of if you want to get a good recording over zoom. We want to eliminate feedback and delay, and we want to download the video with separate audio files for each person. This makes for easier editing.
Once you’ve signed up, download and open zoom and follow this set up:
A. Go to audio settings (click the arrow next to mute and select audio settings)
B. Adjust the input volume to about 65-75%
C. Untick the automatically adjust microphone volume
D. Go to advanced and tick show in meeting open to ‘enable original sound’ from microphone
E. Disable both the suppress persistent background noise and suppress intermittent background noise
F. Set echo cancellation to auto
G. Close audio settings and click turn on original sound near the top of the screen inside the app. This will turn blue and you’re ready to go.
Make sure everyone in the meeting does these things too. It’s important for sound quality.
Now as the host go to:
H. Zoom settings
I. Click recording
J. Make sure to tick record a separate audio file for each participant who speaks
Once you’ve set up a meeting and sent a link for others to join (and they have the correct audio settings), press record and when finished stop the recording. Once the call has finished you will be sent an mp4, joint audio, and chat transcript. Plus you will be send each persons separate audio file in m4a format.
Use the audio files in an editing software to mix them and add effects. Add the edited audio to the video and you’ve got an awesome visual for your socials. There is free audio editing software available like Audacity, and most computers come pre installed with video editors. No need to spend extra money.
Tentative bookings for the future
Now is the perfect time to reach out to venues, and along with saying thank you and offering support, ask to be considered to play in a couple of months. Or in 5 months. Not a specific date, but a month in the future. Keeping your name in the back of people’s minds, and letting venues know you are ready to get people through their doors again will be a great help. They will know they can call on you – and you have some hope for the future and something to look forward to. Rehearse too! Be stage ready at all times because you could be called and given 10hours notice so be prepared to accept the offer.
Some festivals have moved online during this period with the lineup recording sets from home. This might happen more and more and it’s something many venues are discussing as a way to keep to a gig schedule and receive some revenue. Supporting this industry, especially the independent facet, is imperative if we want the live circuit to survive.
How do I support live music? By being the live music.
Apply to all the festivals and online concert platforms you can find. Home Made Live is one. You can get paid for performing a live or prerecorded set from home depending on the platform and if it’s ticketed, or if a donation link is available. The more people you invite as an online audience the more you revenue you might receive (sound familiar?).
Set one up yourself. Live stream on Facebook and Instagram, add a link for people to pay what they can into your Paypal or Cashapp account.To get you started with becoming more connected with the music industry, be part of our hub at Creators United. It’s free, designed for artists, and filled with information to support you during these strange times.