Landing a gig in Los Angeles is no easy feat. The competition is stiff and although it is the second most populous city in the United States, you will find few clubs looking for new bands. There are several reasons for this, especially during the on again, off again, restrictions of the Covid pandemic, but with a few well-placed tips, you can easily land a gig in the club of your choice.
1. Make the Rounds of the LA Clubs
You wouldn’t be surprised to hear just how many bands are trying to get gigs in LA. So many groups come from all around the country thinking they will easily find a club to perform at, but they are often disappointed. If you ask any house band in the city how long it took them to find a ‘home,’ you’d probably learn that they played the circuit for years before landing a steady gig.
Even if it isn’t a steady gig that you are after, many clubs won’t even let you audition unless they have heard of your group from at least one or more people. It really is a dog-eat-dog business and only the savviest of entertainers can actually get heard.
2. Going Beyond Your Sound
Actually, before you even seek an audition, you might want to schedule some studio time. Do this after you’ve had a chance to hear some of the more popular bands in the LA club circuit. Landing a gig in a city with literally hundreds of groups looking for work may be more challenging than you had imagined. A good suggestion would be to book time in a Los Angeles recording studio so you can work on more than your sound.
In today’s world of entertainment, fans want to experience more than your sound. While that is a highly important element, your performance is equally valuable. Many studios, such as this studio based in LA, also have video equipment so that you can perfect your look during performance as well. If your front man, your lead singer, doesn’t seem to have what it takes to captivate an audience, these studios often have dance studios too that you might want to practice in. Obviously, you would need to have a good mix finished in the recording studio that comes with all the equipment you could ever need. Once you have a good, recorded mix, you can move to a dance studio to practice moves and your all-around stage presence.
3. Look for an LA Manager
Another thing you might do is find an affordable LA based manager who is taking on new groups. After perfecting your sound and stage presence, this would be the ‘first’ audition to ace. Once you have a manager with experience getting gigs for their performers, you will have a foot in the door. This doesn’t mean you can sit back and wait for gigs they’ve found. Continue making the rounds of clubs so that you can see what is trending in the city. You just might find that groups having a better sound don’t draw the crowds as much as the bands with a charismatic front man (or woman). People are there as much for the show as they are for the dance floor!
4. Play a Few Free Gigs
Another thing you can do is check out events your bands could perform at. While you might not find anything in the near future, there is always something going on in outdoor stadiums and parks. Check to see if there are any nearby band shells where artists perform at events like other cities sponsor in the summer months. Music Under the Stars is always a huge attraction in almost any city every holding a summertime event. Just look at how big Woodstock was and how it is still remembered today for making music history.
5. Get Social
Finally, don’t ever discount the importance of social media. You know those tunes you recorded and mastered at the studio? If they are original and copyrighted, you can post them on the world’s second largest social site, YouTube. Ask for subscribers and take the time to respond to comments left on your YouTube channel.
You can also link to YouTube from your band’s Facebook page. Not only will Facebook followers get to hear you this way, but anyone who visits your YouTube channel through a YouTube search can also become a follower on Facebook! Did you know that YouTube is also the second largest search engine only behind Google?
The point in all this is that it takes more than being musically talented to make a name for yourself in the LA music scene, and beyond. It takes an entire strategy that is well-marketed. Follow these tips and you just might find what you’ve been missing.