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Music Showcases - Smallfish Blog

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

Why you should not neglect music showcases/conferences?

If you are a band and looking to extend your opportunities to grow successfully, then attending music showcases could definitely be a good starting point.

Beside, if you have been interacting per email with labels, bookers, media, it’s always good to attend music showcases and meet them face to face. It helps to grow the relationship.

Yes music showcases help artists to grow and shine in front of professionals. Some artists, after a performance at a showcase, 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 necessarily for granted. Some tremendous work need to be done in order to be effective and be noticed.

Being notice among all the flock of artists/bands applying and performing is certainly a massive but exciting challenge.


Definition of a music showcase

A showcase festival is an event combining public performances (like a festival) and industry conferences/trade events.

Note:the existence of such event help also a region to develop their economy and get a certain visibility.


Who are participating to music conferences:

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

As you can see, there are a large number of actors, and all with a specific goals and it’s crucial that you identify who you should meet.


Popular music showcases across the world 


Why, as a band/artist 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.


Question of timing – Right for your band or not ?

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 good national but also international touring history.

I always tell to bands to grow their geographical zone organically. If it works well in your home country, think about the neighbouring countries before thinking a country at the other side of the planet. You will save money and time.

The question to ask is: WHY do you want to attend a music showcase with your band ?

  • Do you want to develop a specific market and need help from a local distributor or a local booker ?
  • Are you looking for a label for your next release ?
  • Do you need help from a PR agency to promote your next release ?
  • Are you looking to educate yourself by attending panels and understand how you can navigate throughout the music industry with your band ?
  • Interested  to meet some other artists and eventually look for a collaboration ?

As you can see, there is multiple reason to attend a showcase, depending on your goals and strategy.


An example of strategy could be: Your band is based in France and has tour a lot in the French territory and is looking to extend their touring activities in the Benelux. As a band, your will be to contact and set up meetings with bookers (from venue and festivals) from the Benelux but also eventually PR agencies or artists based in that region.


Apply the right way and increase your chance to be selected.

Nowadays, music 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.

Did you know 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..).

Before applying for a showcase, you need to have a credible online profile and a proper strategy in place (as described above). 

You will 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 platform (soundcloud, spotify, deezer)
  • Youtube channel with official video clips and proper live footage.
  • An updated EPK
  • Some quotes from key people of the music industry (it’s always good to have but not compulsory)
  • Business cards

I know, it can be very time consuming to have those elements above updated on regular basis, and I can totally understand that you prefer to focus on your music instead. Therefore, you may think of building a mini team (people from your surrounding or eventually outsource to professional if you can) that could help you and handle those tasks for you.


TIPS: when applying online for a showcase, always mention your activities for your next 3 to 6 months such as touring plan, release plan, promotion campaign.


Data-mining the delegates database:

Let’s suppose your band is selected. You will have access to the delegates database.

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 and build a schedule of meetings. In order to do this, I would advise the following:

  • Make a selection of persons/companies you wish to meet and/or 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.


How to maximise your chance to be noticed during music showcases

You will have a good number of opportunities to network :


During 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.
  • Promote yourself during the show.
  • Finally, after the show, mingle with the audience and collect their feedback (positive or negative) and business cards.

Note: 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 music showcase 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 network. 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  work on your full schedule of meetings,
  • Make sure, you give a proper pitch based on who is in front of you. 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.
  • Remember meeting are often short, so keep it clear and straight to the point.
  • Give goodies to the person you talk to in order for them to remember you (usb key, or anything that is relevant, avoid cd…..)
  • Collect business cards, contact details.


During the day, you may repeat a zillion 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).


During panels of discussion:

It’s always good to go to discussion panels, mostly because it’s surely a good way to meet panelists or a delegate 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.


During conferences after-parties:

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


Post music showcase:

Once the showcase is over, and you are back home, I recommend you do

  • an inventory of the contacts you made
  • segment them based per interest
  • re-contact them and continue eventually the discussion you started and push further your projects
  • Re-evaluate your current project based on the new contacts you made
  • Re-evaluate your performance based on the feedback you received during the music showcase
Good Luck !!
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