Getting the chance to open up for major label artists can be one of the most exciting things to happen to an up and coming band. Especially when the headliner is somebody they grew up listening to. Not only do you get to share the stage with professionals that are viewed as the best of the best, you also get to play in front of their massive crowd of fans. This gives you an excellent opportunity to acquire a large number of your own fans in a very short period of time. Bring CD’s and merchandise to sell and you may very well sell so much of it that the money you made from the gig itself will seem like chump change.
This is great and all, but the best part about opening for major label acts often comes before the show in the form of show promotion. Every time my band opened up for a major label act in the city we are from we had thousands and thousands of people hear our name and see our faces in the form of radio commercials, online ads and posters plastered all over the city. This kind of promotion alone would cost thousands of dollars to do ourselves, but we got it all done for free because we were on the bill for the show. That reason alone should make you want to find as many of these gigs as you can.
How to open for major label artists
So how did we do it? Now before I tell you what it is, do realize that this is only going to work if you are a really good band or artist. If you haven’t taken the time to master your craft then chances are you aren’t going to get these types of gigs until you do. Practice makes perfect and consistently practicing is the only way you are going to get to that level.
What we did is pretty simple when you think about it. We did something that most bands don’t. All we did was contact the person who was putting on the show with links to our songs and videos asking them if they needed a band to open up for so and so band performing on such and such date. Doing this not only got us one show with this guy, it got us several, and this is only one person.
Even if you do this yourself and get rejected the first time, at least your band is now in the event creators head. Keep playing shows and get your name out there more. If you do a good job at getting people to talk about you then eventually that same person that rejected you will hear your name come up in a conversation. If they hear good things they may just end up contacting you when an artist that fits your style comes into town.
This method will work more and more as times goes by. The longer you have been around as a band or artist the more likely an event creator will put you on their bill. Establish a name for yourself and start creating buzz in your city and you may very well become the go-to band when an established headliner comes into town.
I am telling you all of this because I know first hand how effective this method can work. If it weren’t for all of these large scale shows I can guarantee that at least half of our fans wouldn’t have a clue who we are today. We have already used this method with my new band, even though we have only played 4 shows thus far. The good news is that we already have things set up to start opening for major label acts in the next couple of months. How did we get this great opportunity so fast? Because we have established ourselves as some of the most professional musicians in the area and the event creators know that we can get the job done. They trust us and trust is everything. We also work hard to help promote our shows and the promoters really take note of that. Nobody will want to work with you if you can’t bring people out, so make sure to do your work and spread the word about your upcoming gigs.
Now that the “secret” is out it’s time to take action. Don’t just read about it, actually do it! Start doing your research and get to know who the people putting on these large scale events are. In this particular case, the owner of the company was the guy who booked the bands. If the person who puts on events in your area has a booking agent then it would be wise to get to know them both. A great way to find out who these people are (if you don’t already know them) is to start getting to know as many people in the music industry people as you can. The more bands, promoters, managers and agents you meet the more connections you get. Build solid relationships with these people and they won’t have a problem helping you out.
Once you have managed to open for some major label acts in your city don’t stop there! Branch out to adjacent cities and start using this method in as many places as you can. I find it funny even calling it a method because it is so damn simple!
Do you agree with this method? Have you done something similar that has worked in the past? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section below!