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A Hustler’s Guide to Gig Promotion

Posted in Articles, Recession Proof Musician | 4 Comments »


A Hustler’s Guide to Gig Promotion
by Carla Lynne Hall

The saying “The early bird catches the worm” is based in fact. In the professional concert industry, a concert promoter “advances” a show in the months and weeks before a major artist is scheduled to perform. That basically means that he or she will do everything possible to promote the show and bring paying fans to come out. Even if you haven’t hit the big leagues yet, there’s no reason why you can’t follow their example in your hometown.

Some suggestions may be considered “beneath” a normal recording star, but until you reach the top, take every possible advantage to get the word out. These guidelines are based on the best possible lead times, which make it easier for fans and journalists to put your show in their schedules. When you’re performing multiple shows, your promotion duties may overlap a bit. It may not be possible to do all of the things listed here, but the main thing is to step up your guerrilla marketing skills. Rehearsals are not included in this list because it’s a given.

As soon as you get a date from the club booker:
Check a calendar to avoid slow holidays and possible double bookings
Get a poster to the club with photo, show date and time
Make flyers for handing out
Update ALL of your band’s web sites

Four weeks before show:
Send press releases to music editors in local papers. Invite them!!
Send press releases to local and college radio stations.

Three weeks before show:
Follow up with music editors and radio contacts
Send gig notices to community calendar/event listings (fax, email, or snail mail)

21 Days up til the day of show:

Mingle and schmooze at other local band gigs
Go to local music business events
Go anywhere that has potential fans
Hand out flyers and music samplers (if you have them)

14 Days up til the day of show:

Mail snail mail flyers (no later than 14 days before)
Confirm that posters are in a visible spot at the venue
Personally go to the venue and hand out flyers to audiences similar to yours
Perform at an open mic or two. Announce show & give out flyers.
Make sure that local stores carrying your CD are well-stocked.

7 Days before show:
Send notice to your email list
Give an in-store performance at an indie – friendly store
Perform live on a local or college radio show
– Hold an interview
– Give away tickets and/or free CD for lucky listener

2 Days before show:

Send reminder to your email list

Day before show:
Rest. You’ve earned it.

Show Day:
Give nothing less than a great show
Announce the availability of your CDs onstage
Announce your web site address onstage
Have CDs, merch, and mailing list available immediately afterwards

Day After Show:
Send thank you notes & emails
Perform gig followups (updating your blog, posting audience photos, etc)
Start booking your next show

Rinse and repeat this formula for each performance, and watch your fanbase grow!


Originally published in

4 Responses to “A Hustler’s Guide to Gig Promotion”

  1. A Hustler’s Guide to Gig Promotion Says:


  2. Kourosh Says:

    Excellent listing, thanks! These sorts of lists are the things that take a long time to build and perfect but don’t necessarily appear so at first glance. Thank you for taking the time to put it together and post it.

    – Kourosh

  3. A Hustler’s Guide To Gig Promotion – Guest Blog « The Hit Music Academy Says:

    […] […]

  4. George Aston Says:

    Hey there!
    My band just recorded our first full song!!!

    Check it out, we’ve learnt a lot from your blog! 🙂

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