A number of artists might say that accepting non-paying gigs as a musician is a bad idea, and 83% of the time, I’d agree with them. I’m not here to tell you that it’s actually great, or even that it’s fair or right when someone asks you to perform for free, however if you’re willing to think about it in the unusual occasion, there are some reasons why it might actually be in your best interest to say yes.
What makes a free show work for you? Well here are some few benefits that you should think about before rejecting any request.
1. You will be owed.
Instead of a promoter or event organiser wanting you to play for free, make sure they understand that you have done them a big favour by playing a gig for free, as you would prefer they owed you cash, after all it’s not a paying gig. Such promoters or bookings you can utilise them to your advantage at a later stage, the whole point of playing the gig for free it’s mainly as an invest in return for later stages. Just make sure you give it your all and play as if you expecting cash this will pull out a statement for yourself. In most cases promoters/ event organisers who hire you for a gig for free think that they giving you a lifetime chance in life and great exposure for your career. In some minor ways they correct, but as I said, take it as an investment for later stages.
2. Reach new contacts and fans
Playing a gig for free may not seem as a good idea; however it can link you to other heights. It may be the perfect time to introduce yourself and what you can offer, to not only a group of people but also opening new channels of new followers or it being industry contacts, it can be worth it after all. If you have a chance of displaying your talent and your art to those with the power to turn it into money, doing so without immediate payback could be a good decision. In most cases people who come to events the main source that pulls them it’s the music, who knows, whoevers watching you, could help you getting more shows or sign you to management or various deals. It may also be an advantage of reaching new fan by doing so, it can also add up to your songs getting more streams or bought online too.
3. You could make some money
Even though you play for free at an event, there are other possible ways of coining at least a few Rands. Depending on the situation, ask the organiser of the show, if you can have a table at which to sell your merchandise and meet people. It’s perfectly understandable to want to sell t-shirts and CDs or may being any merchandise that promotes your yourself or it being your movement at a show, especially when you’re not being paid! You need to do your best and be the standout act and people will remember you, there will be a chance to turn those people into money makers, as you might be able to get them to stream your music, buy tickets to later gigs, or even purchase your merchandise later on, if you can’t make a sale right then and there. Selling T’s and Cd’s might not amount to the check you would have been paid if it was not for free but, since you have already agreed to perform for free, finding any excuse to gather a few Rands is certainly better than nothing.