Expert Music Career Advice For DIY Musicians

How to Get the Most Bang for Your Buck on Sonicbids

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Over the past decade, I’ve had the opportunity to use Sonicbids as an artist, manager, and now as a promoter. I’ve seen the Sonicbids platform evolve over time, and I believe it has reached one of the most advantageous stages for artists to connect to new opportunities.

We all know the term “starving musician” has some truth to it! Every penny counts when it comes to you or your band’s expenses. Playing music is definitely an investment, and you can rack up some serious spending between your gear, websites, travel, promo materials, and everything else that comes with being in a band. If you’re looking to maximize what Sonicbids has to offer you, here are a few tips to help you get the most bang for your buck:

Use your EPK to keep everything in one place

Take advantage of the fact that Sonicbids hosts and maintains all the backend operations to provide you with a pretty awesome EPK. Doing double work is a pain and a waste of time, so simply keep your Sonicbids EPK up-to-date and consistently share the link with anyone you are working with to book a show, whether it’s a Sonicbids gig or not.

From a promoters perspective: Getting emails that are massive in length, filled with tons of different links to music, video, websites, and a bunch of text containing your bio and quotes is overwhelming to look at and way too distracting. It generally leads to skimming, therefore missing half of your key info. The same goes for sending a bunch of photos, music, and one-sheets as attachments – this can cause your email to bounce, and the attachments often won’t load on mobile devices, yet again making it a hassle just to open your solicitation email. A simple email with one link to your EPK is the way to go! Plus, the Sonicbids platform works well on mobile devices, allowing promoters to check you out while on-the-go.

Pro tip: Create a trackable short link from a service like bitly.com (i.e. bit.ly/yourepk). This will give you statistics on how many times the link has been clicked and helps you track if your EPK was even viewed.

Think long-term

Sonicbids is full of opportunities all of the time – as soon as some submissions close, others open. They’ve developed tons of relationships with promoters over the years that would take you an immense amount of work to obtain on your own. The fact that so many promoters are available in one location to submit your EPK to is incredible. If you’re serious about your music career and don’t want to miss out on opportunities, save yourself $36 right from the start by purchasing a yearly membership rather than a monthly membership. With so many other things you have to worry about as a musician, a yearly subscription means that you don’t have to remember to pay every month, and your membership won’t accidentally expire without you realizing it.

From a promoters perspective: If you keep joining sporadically to apply to different gigs on a month-to-month basis, you will potentially find yourself spending more money – and you’ll definitely find yourself spending way more time fixing up your EPK every single time rather than having it always ready to roll. By spending a bit more up front for a yearly membership, you’ll be automatically inclined to consistently explore opportunities, since you’ve already done the work of putting together your EPK for the entire year.

Read (and reread) gig listing descriptions and requirements

One of the most important things you can do is read every gig listing thoroughly! Rejections never come easy, but it’s part of music industry life. With limited spots for gigs and lots of artists competing them, make sure you meet all of the requirements for the gig listing and that your EPK contains everything the promoter needs to evaluate you. Research the promoter and the opportunity before submitting to make sure it will be worth your time if you do get selected. These rules apply to both free and paid submissions.

From a promoters perspective: Guidelines for each gig are typed out for a reason. If a licensing opportunity specifies that you must have high-quality, fully produced recordings and you only have a garage demo, don’t submit it! Respect the promoter’s time, and remember that one bad impression can permanently scar your reputation with that promoter.

Choose wisely

One of the awesome features of Sonicbids is that there are so many free gig listings to find and chose from that you may not have heard of before. Paid submissions tend to have a higher demand, and it helps promoters narrow down their selection to artists who are confident enough in themselves to pay to submit (otherwise there would be more submissions than could be handled efficiently). No matter the gig you submit to, make sure its obtainable from your end. Can you get there? Can you play for the compensation offered? Can you wait until the application review date? Are you the right genre? It all goes back to reading the details of the gig.

From a promoters perspective: Remember that Sonicbids is just a platform to connect artists and promoters – they don’t make the selections or charge the application fees. If you don’t get selected for an opportunity that carried a $30 application fee, the end result is that the promoter did not select you, not Sonicbids. It’s crucial not to get discouraged, and another reason why you should keep active by applying to several free gigs that fit your needs.

Pro tip: Set a budget each year that you follow for submitting to paid submissions, and come up with guidelines and criteria that must be obtainable from your end before spending your hard-earned cash. For example: Say you’re a regional band from California, and you have five shows along the West Coast a week before Bonnaroo. You pay $10 to submit to Bonnaroo, and they pick you. Do you have the resources to land some gigs on the way to prevent yourself from losing $1,500 in travel expenses to get there?

 

One of the coolest things about submitting through Sonicbids is that your EPK has to be reviewed by the promoter, and you know that you’re only contacting promoters when they have a gig available. The $9.99 a month is well worth it just to have awesome hosting and layout of your EPK, let alone the opportunity to connect with promoters across the country for gig opportunities such as festival performances, showcases, licensing opportunities, and contests. Your EPK is ultimately the biggest time and money investment you will have in landing gigs, so if it’s solid, then your return on investment for a Sonicbids membership will be great!


Marc Secoy handles media, accounting, and production at Your Town Entertainment, which organizes Paper City Music Festival and books entertainment for several other organizations' events.

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