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Music Showcases - Smallfish Blog

The importance of music showcases – Get the best of them !

 Music showcases/conferences are legion and you should not neglect them.

If you are a band and looking to extend your opportunities to grow successfully, you may be interested to read this post.

Yes music showcases help artists to grow and shine in front of professionals. Some artists, after a performance at a showcases, were offered a deal with a big label or were offered to participate to some well established festivals. There are a lot of success stories but don’t take them for granted.
There are some tremendous work that need to be done in order to be effective and be noticed.

Nowadays I see a growth of showcases around the world, some are more popular than others. Best example being: The Great Escape, Reeperbhan, SXSW, Eurosonic, you name it.

The best advise I could give any bands is: come prepared !

Who are participating to those music conferences:

Bands Labels, publishers, booking agencies, venue bookers, festival bookers, pr companies, government representation such as Music Export and any other associations interaction with the music industry.

Why you should take part in those events ?

There are multiple and various reasons such as: research of labels, need the help of a booker to find you gigs in a specific territory, you want to participate to some festivals, you want the help of a pr agency for your next release and boost your media visibility in a specific territory…As you can see, it really depends of the situation of the band and their needs.

When is the right time for a band to apply for a showcase ?

There is no straight answer. Based on my experience, I would recommend artists and bands who already developed a fan base in their home country and have at least a record released but also have a touring history.
I always tell to bands to grow their geographical zone organically. If it works well in your home country, think about the neighboring countries before thinking a country at the other side of the planet. You will save money and time.
Needless to say that before to apply for a showcase, you need to have a credible profile and a proper strategy in place. Just make sure to have an updated website, social media enabled (with activity in terms of content and engagement with audience), and your music available on some platform (soundcloud for instance) and finally get some proper video clips.

It’s highly important to have a team behind you and get proper reference from key people or organisation.
  • Ask yourself, what do you want to achieve by participating a music showcases ?
  • Is it the right events for my band ? (if you are a jazz band, you don’t want to apply for a an Indie music showcase for instance..)

Keep in mind that nowadays, showcases are receiving tons of submissions from bands wishing to participate.  Therefore, competition is very high and organisers need to make tough decision about which bands to select. Imagine that some showcases receive several thousand requests for 150/300 slots. IF you are not selected on the first attempt, you can always try the following year (maybe at that time your profile might be stronger and organisers may get some interest..).

You are selected ! Great ! But that’s not it, it’s just the beginning of a marathon !

It’s not because you are part of the line up of a showcase that success will knock on your door ! You will need to work hard to make yourself notice towards the rest of the line up.

It’s very important to have a good overview of who will be present at the events and for that, you should dig in the delegates list.

  • Make a selection of persons you wish to meet and want to invite for your performance.
  • Contact them per email, introduce yourself,
  • Give them some background about your band,
  • What did you achieve over the last 12 months,
  • What is your plan for the next 12 month,
  • Feed them with details about your performance at the showcase,
  • Provide them links and finally explain why you want to meet them.
Some will answers, some will not. For the one who don’t answers, you may send them a reminder about your show, you never know, they might show up unexpectedly.

About your show:

It’s very important that you come prepared. Start your show on time (bookers, a&R don’t like to wait), often they check the first 3 songs before to run to another show. Have a compact show and display the best of your abilities. Don’t forget to mention where to find you on internet. Finally, after the show, mingle with the audience and collect their feedback (positive or negative).

There is always a possibility that just few people come to see your show, therefore it’s extremely important you give the best as you never know who is in the audience !

During the showcases event:

I know, as a band you might be busy working on the prep of your show, which I do understand, however don’t forget the importance to mingle. Don’t play your show and then just go back home, it will be a pointless and disappointing experience because nobody will call you.

Instead organise a full schedule of meetings, you need to work weeks in advance to have a full and organised schedule.
Keep in mind that for each meeting, you need to be able to pitch efficiently. Think of the elevator pitch: you have a minute and need to explain to the person in front of you: who you are, give some background and why you want to meet that person. During the day, you may repeat thousand times the same pitch 🙂 No pain no game right ! AT the end of the day, what matters is to get their business card and follow up ….).
It’s always good to give a goodies to the person you talk to in order for them to remember you (usb key, or anything that is relevant, avoid cd…..).

Importance of being present at panels of discussion:

It’s always good to go to some discussion panels, mostly because it’s surely a good way to meet panelists or a person you have been chasing for weeks and get their attention for a minute. Some of them may give you their business card. You can always follow up per email later on.

Importance of being present at after parties

It may seems very awkward, but after parties are usually a good place to mingle and meet the person you want to approach.

Post showcases:

Once the showcases is over, it’s always good to send an email to all the person you met and follow up with what was discussed and eventually push further the discussion. It may lead to possible collaborations eventually.

Most popular showcases:

In my next post, I will give you a used case of a band who get noticed during a music showcase.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me

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