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Leadership in the Music Industry: How to Secure High-Profile Gigs and Take Charge of Your Career

Thursday, May 23, 2024

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Episode Recap

In this episode, Jared Judge dives into the essential qualities that separate successful gigging musicians from those struggling to find high-profile opportunities. Jared emphasizes the importance of leadership in your music career, sharing insights on how to take control, market yourself effectively, and ensure consistent gig bookings. Learn how to identify and solve common problems, network with industry professionals, and maintain a proactive mindset.

Best Quote

"My music career is my own responsibility, nobody else's. And understanding, like, the work that you do in the practice room, is great to stroke your own ego, but not great at getting gigs. And sure, there certainly are some musicians who need that kind of work."


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What's up, gigging pros? It's Jared Judge. Welcome back to another episode of The Gigging Musician Podcast. And I want to share with you how to be the most effective musician possible in the context of getting gigs and keeping your bandmates happy.

So, you know, I've been in this game of gigging myself for quite some time, and also in the game of helping other gigging musicians grow and scale their, their gigging careers, helping the book more corporate events, weddings, private parties, even public gigs.

And while I don't specialize in public gigs, those do tend to happen as a natural reaction when you get all of your other stuff together. So I noticed that there's something like a very big difference between those who actually have success and those who don't.

You know, the ones who are always getting these gigs, corporate gigs, weddings, posting pictures on their instagram of them playing at these high profile venues.

And you can just tell that they're getting paid fairly. Those are the ones that are succeeding.

Then there are others who really are not getting the results. You know, they're playing the same old hundred dollar men bar gigs or, you know, they, they come to my program. They, they buy it expecting, you know, just magic to happen when they don't put in the work.

And, you know, they're just like, where are the gigs? Why aren't they coming to me? And then I go and ask them, you know, what, what have you done as far, far as the program goes? They're like, oh, I logged in. And that's kind of one of the big, big differences.

Like, that is, in fact, the big difference, I would say it kind of boils down to accepting your role as a leader in your musical career.

Right. So the big word here I want to emphasize is leadership. And I'm not saying that you have to go out and, like, run for president or anything like that, but accepting that you are the driver of your own music career.

You're in charge. If it is to be, it's up to me. Like, that's the, the saying that leaders have is like, you know, if I don't do anything about it, then nothing's going to happen.

And that's, I think, something most musicians struggle with is like, we just want to work on the music. We want to play, we want to practice, and yet those things will not get you gigs.

Those things may help you kind of sit in with other people's acts, but the problem is people still won't know that you exist if you're just keeping it in the practice room.

So, you know, staying in the practice room and not actually putting yourself out there, not doing any of the leadership work of saying, I am a good musician and I deserve to play these higher profile gigs and I'm going to go out there and shake down the trees and make it happen.

Like, that is a big, big key component to making this all work is actually stepping up and say, I accept responsibility for this. It is my responsibility.

My music career is my own responsibility, nobody else's. And understanding, like, the work that you do in the practice room, is great to stroke your own ego, but not great at getting gigs. And sure, there certainly are some musicians who need that kind of work.

And, you know, I practice too, just as a way to maintain my chops. But I know that, like, learning a new song or getting that one lick 100% correct is not going to be the difference between no gigs and some gigs.

So, yes, we do need to accept responsibility in this as the leaders of our musical acts.

And I'm really feeling like, you know, don't listen to this and take it as me saying, like, oh, I have to go and stop drinking and be a model citizen and all that, because, like, no, that's not what I'm talking about.

I'm just simply saying accepting responsibility for the outcomes in your life and then taking action to modify them if you're not getting the outcomes that you want.

It's kind of, you know, a while back, I did a podcast episode on extreme ownership, which is owning that all outcomes, both good and bad, in your life, are a direct result of your.

Your choices and your action. And this may rub some people the wrong way, but, you know, a lot of musicians don't take responsibility for it. They'd love, like, this is kind of why booking agents exist.

They have nothing against booking agents, but booking agents, most are actually started by musicians who accepted the leadership responsibility in their own musical career and then started to realize, oh, I've got a problem, which is I'm not being booked enough.

And then instead of just complaining about that problem, they decided to accept responsibility for that problem and turn that problem into a question. How do I get bookings in my musical career?

So once they turned it into a question, they started to actually figure out how to answer that question, how do we get bookings in our musical career? Well, step one is we gotta have a good, good branding output.

Like, people have to see a good website that has videos, and that's another thing, is we have to get videos and they have to be higher quality videos where people can actually hear the sound quality and see the showmanship that you put into every performance.

And then once they've solved that, then they realize, oh, well, I just made a pretty website, now I got to get people to it. And that's when they go out and network with venue owners and managers of these private event venue sales managers.

They network with corporate event planners, wedding planners, and start to actually, like, shake hands and meet them and learn about them. Learn about, oh, you've got two kids. I have two kids, too.

Oh, by the way, you know, if you ever need a band for your next corporate event, we'd love to, love to play. And so that's why booking agents are in the position that they are, is because they've learned how to lead their leadership, and they do the business of the music.

And they did it so well for themselves, typically, that, you know, they started to attract other musicians who were not looking to lead but wanted to latch onto the leader's output and what do you call it? The booking agent said, sure, I'll do it for you for a percentage of every gig.

And, you know, if you don't want to lead, then booking agents are a great way to latch onto somebody else's leadership potential.

But since you're listening to The Gigging Musician Podcast, I know that you've got leadership potential and you don't want to satisfy. Like, you don't want to just leave your fate in somebody else's hands.

You want your fate to be in your own hands. And that's why I'm so adamant about this, because I also want my own fate to be in my own hands. And I was actually chatting with a musician the other day who just hired me and my wife to build their website for them.

And they actually have, I think, two or three booking agents that work for them or that they work for, depending on how you look at it. And I asked them, well, you've got booking agents. Why are you.

Why are you coming to me for a website? And they said to me, the booking agents that they have are not actually paying any attention to them.

They don't feel like the booking agents are actually pursuing opportunities, and they feel like they're missing out on income because of this. And it's really frustrating, especially because we're promised by booking agents that, hey, we'll get you gigs, and we just take a percentage.

Well, what happens when that relationship doesn't produce gigs? And so they were just so tired of it. They were like, yeah, we want to take matters in our own hands. And that's why they hired us to do a website.

So, anyway, that's. Sorry, I just got distracted. Yeah.

So that's taking, like, what happens when the leader fails? What happens when a booking agency that you've latched onto doesn't actually produce, which I know is actually a fairly common thing.

And because of what I mentioned at the beginning of this booking agent discussion, which is the fact that a lot of booking agents are musicians themselves, they're going to prioritize their own bands and their friends.

And if you're on their roster and you're not, like, high up on that list, well, you're definitely going to get shoved down to the bottom.

Ignored, neglected. And it's not intentional. It's just kind of the setup.

So that's why it's in our best interest to be our own leaders and take matters into our own hidden. So that's my story for you guys today.

And the question in the call to action is, how are you being a leader for your musical act? Are you stepping up to the plate? Are you identifying what problems your musical act has, such as not enough gigs.

People don't know me well enough. Or if it is a musical problem, like our drummer just can't keep time. What are you doing to actually come up with a solution to that problem? And it's.

Sometimes it's hard to be a leader. Sometimes the hard thing is, oh, I got to fire that drummer, or, you know, got enough gigs. I've got to learn how to market my acts.

I got to get a website for my acts, and then it's taking action on those solutions, which it's a lot. I know. How do I know? I'm doing it every day.

So, by the way, if you're interested in learning more about how me and my wife can help you with your website, either you don't have one and it's costing you gigs, or you do have one and it's not marketing yourself in the way that your act deserves.

Just give me a holler,, or go to our website. That's all I got for you today.

Thanks for tuning into another episode of The Gigging Musician Podcast.

Remember, “Your music will not market itself”. Bye.

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Episode 232 - From Bar Gigs to High-End Events: The Renegade Musician's Guide to Success

Leadership in the Music Industry: How to Secure High-Profile Gigs and Take Charge of Your Career

Episode 230 - Unlocking the Secrets of Consistent Networking and Modern Sales for Musicians

Episode 229 - The Power of Networking and Recommendations in the Music Industry

Episode 228 - Navigating the Gig Economy: Venue Tours, Expos, and the Power of Numbers

Episode 227 - Strategic Moves: Venue Tours, Expos, and Unexpected Gigs

Episode 226 - Maximizing Gigs: New Tools for Tracking Success and Boosting Bookings

Episode 225 - Unlocking Gigs: Venue Tours and Strategic Partnerships

Episode 224 - A Day in the Life: Venue Tours, Unexpected Gigs, and Networking Wins

Episode 223 - Landing Gigs Post-Wedding Expo: A Musician's Success Story

Episode 222 - Navigating the Wedding Expo Scene: A Musician's Journey to Success

Episode 221 - Maximizing Success at Wedding Expos: A Musician's Guide

Episode 220 - Unlocking High-End Gigs: Venue Tours and Virtual Assistant Strategies

Episode 219 - Maximizing Your Music Career: The Power of a Personal Assistant


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