It can be difficult to get out of only gigging in your own local scene because promoters are often unwilling to put on bands they haven’t heard of in areas where they have no real fan base. Thanks to Live Unsigned there is a way around this. When you’re promoting your own gigs by adding your gig listings to Live Unsigned, all over the world other bands are doing the same thing. If you change the location in the “Pick A Place” part of the site to one that you want to play at you’ll see listings for gigs by other acts playing it that area. By looking at the Live Unsigned listings and profiles you’ll soon find interesting bands who play in a similar style to you and who you can play with. Have a look where they are based via their website (they may be gigging away from home) and contact them and ask them if they would be interested in doing a gig swop. Website details for many bands are listed on their Live Unsigned profile.
In a gig swop you go and play in another bands area as a support slot and they play with you in your area in the same way. You both benefit by playing to each others fans and expanding your gigging network. Often bands also offer somewhere to sleep and help with contacts in their local scene. As we have said before on this blog building a community around your band, whether it’s in person or online is vital. This is where the fan base starts to happen by shaking hands with people, sleeping on floors, playing to a small amount of people and working hard so that it grows over time. Just hanging out with fans after shows makes a big difference, especially if you want someone to sleep on your next tour.
Make sure you are approaching bands with an individual email (not generic spam) and if you like their music tell them. Even if bands can’t help with a gig swop they may know promoters and other influential figures in their area who may be interested in your music. You never know how well connected people are. The band you are approaching may even end up becoming fans of your music. Don’t forget some band members are also promoters, podcasters, bloggers and in some cases even work for labels and the mass media.
Once you have set up some joint gigs promote them via listing in Live Unsigned, social media, flyering, local press etc. If you can get a few bands involved you can even set up a little mini tour of all the places you come from. As this is fairly unusual it is something that may be remarkable enough to get you press in itself so don’t forget to approach magazines/press/bloggers/local radio/newspapers etc. There are more ideas for ways to promote your gig here.
Don’t forget this can work across the world, not just within your own country. It just depends on the bands you meet and the relationships you make, reaching out to other bands within your genre is always a worthwhile thing to do. Think of the effort bands like Black Flag and Husker Du had to put in to gain a fan base in the 80′s, thanks to sites like Live Unsigned it is so much easier now.