How To Clinch Your First Freelance Music Jobs
The hardest, and often scariest, part of moving into freelance work is finding your first gig. With a wide wide world, and a massive industry with so many moving parts, it can be hard to find your feet. Good news! This blog is here to help you out. We’ll shine a torch on the tips and tricks working professionals use to find their freelance music jobs, and give you valuable insights on how to make money with music.
Social media is vastly more powerful for making connections in this industry than it might seem at first. You might have already made a Facebook page advertising your services, shared it with your friends and family, and discovered that you’ve had little engagement and even less work from it. These are great and good to have, but the real resources are found in the myriad groups and pages that exist to connect freelancers with fellow freelancers and freelance music jobs alike. From these tailored online spaces, you have the collective knowledge of the industry itself, and tips for work, or referrals to other resources, are only a question away.
Hashtagging your social media output with relevant keywords plumbs you in to a wider network of people who follow them. Through careful, curated, well-hashtagged social media posts, not only can you advertise yourself to people beyond your immediate social media contacts, but connect with others, even in your local scene. Which leads us nicely on to..
THE LOCAL SCENE
It might feel like freelance music work is somewhat divorced from the “real” music scene: relegated to function gigs, cover bands and royalty-free instrumentals. They ARE lucrative lines of work, but only a tiny part of a line of work that spans EVERYTHING. Go to gigs; talk to the sound guy; get friendly with promoters; talk to the support bands. There is work to be found in every interaction!
Get offered a box-office shift for a local gig, and it could lead to more in-depth work with the promoter. A chance conversation with the opening band’s drummer opens up room for paid demo recording, or even a songwriting consultation. Being known to your local scene can only open doors for you to make money in music – before you know it, you’re the go to guy for when that signed local band loses a drummer to a broken arm, or when that studio around the corner needs an in-house session musician.
This doesn’t mean to sideline the more conventional route to making money in music; indeed, the scenes go hand in hand. You’ll find function musicians playing in originals bands, or even working behind the bar, at your favourite venue. Through them, you’ve a route into regular live work.
The key message to take from this is that you’re in control of your career, at every step. It can often feel like the luck of the draw in figuring how to make money with music. While it’s true that there’s a certain amount of fortune in coming across work, it is also true that that amount of work you put into your various networks increases your likelihood of finding it. Not only that, but taking control of certain social or networking situations puts you in the spotlight as a professional. Active engagement with everyone you meet, and every conversation you find yourself in, is the key to being known for your craft. It’s up to you to own your line of work!
Nestled somewhere in the above is the snippet of advice which will clinch you your first freelance music jobs. It might seem like hard work to put yourself forward so persistently, but therein is the best thing about networking: the better you get at it, the less you have to do it. More work, repeat work, recommendations – these are how you consistently and reliably make money with music.