Why am I actually doing this?
A hobby for some, a real job for others. Although both types of musicians share the love for music, they differ in the economical necessity of making music as well as in the time they invest into it. So here’s a question you can ask yourself: Is it in fact necessary to earn a lot of money with a hobby, if music really is my passion? Or another question that could be of use: How much do I actually have to earn to make living with my music? In the beginning it’s really helpful to increase your awareness about the reason you’re making live music for.
How far did I get yet?
As a musician or a band you need to ask yourself where in your career you are right now. If you’re still in your rehearsing room-phase where the stage view you know best is still the one from in front of the stage, you better don’t set the bar for fees too high. Whereas if you already have a gig history and you’re drawing some people to your show you definitely are able to raise that bar.
How many people actually know me?
Speaking of attracting people: Empty venues are the nightmare of every musician as well as every promoter. So how many people are actually gonna come because of you? Are there only some regulars at the bar that would have been there drinking their beer either way or are your tickets sold like hot cakes? As soon as your filling the venue with a paying audience, talking about higher fees becomes a lot easier.
Why do I play that gig?
Not every gig is paying well, still you should play as many as possible. On the one hand you gain a lot of on-stage experience and on the other hand you gain fans. A lot of live experience and a good fanbase are substantial! Even as an experienced and well-known artist, small gigs bear the chances to try out new sets or new songs in front of an audience.
Instant riches with gigs?
Fact is, promoters budgets are highly varying. Small town clubs most certainly do not have pockets as deep as a company that is searching a band for their next business party. Of course there are wishes of venues or shows to play and sadly quite often reality isn’t matching up to your expectations. At this point musicians and bands should think about which type of gigs they are willing to play. And one more advice: Only because you once got a fee that was markedly above average that fee shouldn’t become your “minimum wage”. That simply would not be realistic.
One thing is for sure: No gigs, no money. So you better start searching your next gigs on gigmit right now.