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Songwriting Guide

When starting out as a songwriter, one of the best ways to get your name known is by performing live. Without a record or publishing deal and marketing budget, the only person who can promote your music to the public is you. Getting out there and playing is a good way of being seen not only by the public (who are the people who will hopefully buy your music one day) but also by people in the industry looking for new talent.

First off, your gigs will probably be at local pubs and few and far between. It's a good idea to look for other venues besides these places, as there will be many people like you trying to get a slot.

Battle of The Bands events are held all over the country and can be a good way of getting noticed.

Check local music listings for venues that give you opportunities to perform such as 'open mic' nights, working men's clubs, pubs and music venues. There are various places that host bands though you may find competition fierce for the more popular places. However, also check out any venues holding competitions. 'Battle of The Bands'-type events are held all over the country and can be a good way of getting noticed.

Various showcases exist. PRS run events supporting unsigned musicians, and some smaller festivals showcase unsigned acts. There are also music industry events that showcase unsigned acts, but these are rare and difficult to get into. The 'In The City' music industry conference in Manchester showcases unsigned acts. See the links below for info on these organisations.
Send us your views or read other peoples'
Send us your comments on: Gigs

annette manchester
I took your advice and I am doing my own material. It is working, I am now gigging every week. And I have done my first festival and getting ready to do my second. I am also getting a fan club and have become involved with a collective of musicians. This is great because we all support each other.

Do you actually think the boy band 'Blue' and many others ever gigged unsigned around the UK before they made it, what about solo singers who find it hard to perform anywhere, may be in a local talent show, I cant see any of the A/R moguls turning up for a front row seat to watch you, great if you just want to perform, but if you want to get signed.. you need a hit record and more, top management with some disposable dosh, good connections with pro music pluggers, and that they know some big contacts in the Real Music Industry...some do make it by gigging/etc, Usually bands.... your chances?...well I would do some extra lines on the lottery if I was you..its usually about who you know in music and TV.

Don't take Battle Of The Bands seriously and you'll be fine - I've had enough experience of them, my bands just go in for them once in a while but it's just for a gig. If you like playing your songs, that's all that counts after all.

Earlsdon Jack, Coventry
It's worth looking around for pubs and clubs that do "singers' nights" (where people take turns to go up on stage to sing/play) and "singarounds" (where everyone sits in a circle and sings/plays). You could also look for pubs and clubs that have "quiet nights" (eg mid week nights which are normally fairly quiet) who wouldn't mind hosting a singers' night. Alternatively, take your guitar to parties and gatherings, or play in the park or city centre (licencing/policing permitting!). Libraries often have bulletin boards where bands and music groups advertise for members/audience. Offer to play for your local theatre group. Hang around in your local recording studio - you might also be able to cadge some free recording time "off peak" if you offer to help out in exchange. Meet up at each others' houses or in each others' garages to play. Offer to play for hospital or old age pensioners or prisoners!

Luke Thomas from Bridgwater
In bridgwater there are plenty of pubs to play at and the biggest place to play in our area is a place called the palace night club where they have rock nights etc. We are a pop/punk rock band, but we would like to get a biggere event than this, maybe even a small festival of some sort, would it be possible to get some listings or even for you to send us some info on places or how to find them? The other thing is, because of our genre it is harder to gets gigs because most plaeces don't do rock music or they only have special nights for it, how can we change or go around this? Thanks very much

Lewis from Manchester
I'm having trouble finding gigs for my band but agree that battle of the bands are great fun --- i'm playing in one tomorrow!

Songwriting Guides Writing a Song Performing Why Perform your Own Songs? Becoming a Performer Vocal Training Gigs Getting Paid for a Gig Working with Other Writers In the Studio Publishers Record Companies Management Staying on Track
 The Songwriting Game
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Play with chords and find out what kind of songwriter you are with the Songwriting Game.

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