Gigging, the Musicians Underground Touring Directory

‘Gigging’ a book written by Michael Dorf & Robert Appel is a ‘Giggers guide to North America’.

I thought it was relevant to my blog as I am a musician and I blog about the various gigs I have. Even though I gig in Australia not North America it is still very relevant!
It is said that this book focuses on the more ‘alternative, progressive, new wave or underground’ genres and deals with how to get gigs, how to get paid for gigs, accommodation on the road, record labels and record companies through different parts of North America.

The first chapter in the book is titled;
Getting the Gig: Exposure and Promotion

In this chapter they explain how you can try to get as many people to your gig as possible. They list options such as ‘putting posters on everything that doesn’t move and playing on street corners to advertise on the day of your show’. They also suggest other ways of promotion such as radio interviews/air play, postering and press kits.

The next chapter is called;
Getting paid for the Gig

In this chapter Dorf and Appel explain the different ways an artist can be paid for a gig, if paid at all and how to decide if it is all worth it. ‘Decide whether it’s worth it to possibly lose money if you have to pay the club owner money her/she didn’t take in at the door.’ They also mention contracts & riders with examples of each.

The book then goes on to talk about;
Accommodations on the Road

Dorf & Appel say that motel accommodation is usually out of the question for a band on a ‘tight budget’ and suggest staying at friends or families houses. If those plans fall through they mention a tactic of ‘getting to know your audience’ by telling them of your accommodation struggles at the end of the gig and hoping someone is kind enough to lend their lounge room, if not the floor of the ‘sweat smelling van’ will do.

The final main chapter of the book details
How Record Labels Work

They go through the reality of dropping in your demo to a record label and mention that your demo may not even get heard. They summarise to say the ‘first steps’ to being signed to a record label are to contact the A&R people at a record company.

The book then lists major record companies, big and small independent labels, and record stores, radio stations and venues at various parts of North America. It lists their addresses, contact numbers and the person to contact.

I have found this book fairly helpful with some good techniques and ideas in it and if I had been gigging around North America in 1989 I would have appreciated it very much!

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