The importance of doing concerts
Concerts and merchandise sold at them make up a huge portion of an artists income, you’re not going to make a living sitting around selling tracks on iTunes unless you have already built up a huge fan base. Concerts are a great way to make money and gain new fans.
Booking your first concerts.
Booking shows can be very difficult to do if you don’t know the right people, so you need to know the right people. Some of the best people to know to help you with this is other artists. A lot of times when an artist books a gig it is up to him or her to provide the opening acts. If you don’t already know a few people who are booking their own concerts then start going to local concerts and talking with the other acts there. Don’t just run up and tell people to let you own for them, tell them you enjoyed their set and ask them for some advice on something related to music, this let’s them know you are also an artist, and people love to give advice so its a great conversation starter. A few days later follow up with them on Facebook or Twitter and give them some links to your music and let them know you are looking to do some shows and to keep you in mind the next time they are doing a concert. At first you might not get paid to perform, but you can sell merchandise, make new fans and as your fan base and drawing power increase you will be able to negotiate better term because you will have the leverage of a large group of fans that will come spend money to watch you perform. Another easy way is to search Craigslist for promoters looking for acts. These people are already actively looking for artists so just email them links to your music and follow up with them about booking opportunities that are coming up. A word of warning, unless you are at the point that you are talking directly with venue owners and renting a venue out you should never have to pay to perform somewhere and if you do you are getting ripped off. The one exception to that rule would be if you were entering a rap battle of some sort with a cash prize, but those aren’t for everyone and often lead to more drama than opportunities for other concerts.
It’s up to you to steer your career toward the top, if being an artist that lives off their work is something you want to be then you need to be investing as much time and energy into getting your music to the people as you can. If you’re expecting some A&R to stumble across your soundclick page and sign you because you’ve got good songs then you have a long wait ahead of you. More and more artists are going the independent route these days and even the ones that get signed to major labels are the ones that went out there and did all the work needed to create a buzz. This isn’t a weekend hobby, this your future and your career and you need to treat it as such. Now get out there and start doing some shows.