Category: Get Gigs Online

Battle of the Bands: What You Should Know About Contests

Battle of Bands: What You Should Know About Contests

By NationWide Source Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

In a time when grabbing a fan’s attention gets harder each day, when people’s attachment to their smart phones, tablets and computers makes it simultaneously easier and harder to connect with them, when you’re competing against a flood of content and noise from other artists, how is a band supposed to stand out and get actual attention? One way to gain increased exposure and recognition is by entering band contests, which are becoming increasingly common.

Battle of the Bands—Contest Formats

There are a few different ways a contest can be held. The most common are web-based or live. In a web-based contest, you’ll be asked to upload a song (or more commonly, a video) and promote yourself, in effect promoting the contest. In a live contest setting, the setup is very similar to a live show. You’ll be asked to perform a shorter set, and there will be judges that will be watching for the best performance, crowd interaction, song quality, and so on.

Benefits of Band Contests

In addition to reaching new fans, contests can have other benefits. Winning or placing in a contest looks good on your band’s bio. Quite often, the judges are people from the industry with proven track records and lots of pull. Sometimes, contests award recording sessions, the chance to play a big show or on a big tour, or just a substantial amount of cash. All of these things are helpful and useful and good… so why wouldn’t someone want to participate in a contest?

Drawbacks to Band Contests

Contests can have their downfalls as well. If you spent a lot of money on the contest and don’t win, you may feel like you have wasted money that could have been spent on recording a new song, buying newer equipment, or getting better gigs. Additionally, not all contests are as legitimate as they seem; triple check the contest to be sure you’re not walking into a scam.

Where To Find Contests

The Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands is one of the most popular ways to get involved in contests. Their current opportunities including playing at Warped Tour, Epiccenter, Aftershock, Uproar Festival, Crossroads, and Showdown at Cedar Street. The Hard Rock Cafe also hosts a battle of the bands. On a smaller scale, look for local battle of the bands at cities and venues near you. Even if you lose, these can help you gain a  local following.

The ball is in your court; keep an open mind about contests when moving forward.

Have you entered a Battle of the Bands or other contest before? How did it affect your fan base? How did  you do?

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Find an Open Mic

Finding an Open Mic

By NationWide Source Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Are you on the prowl for new gigs? You might consider open mic nights near you. They are an excellent way to test out new music or test your sound with a new crowd at a specific venue. There are many resources you can use to find open mic events, but you should do some research before deciding which opportunity is best for you.

Know Your Act and Your Venue

It goes without saying that death-metal bands and folk bands attract different crowds. The same goes with your local music venues. Don’t show up to a comedy venue ready to perform your rendition of the new Miley Cyrus song unless your goal is to knock the crowd off their bar stools in fits of laughter.

You know your music better than anybody else. The more you can scout the possible venues in the area, the better. Which venue has the right demographics? Where would you like your band to gig in the future?

Find Open Mic Nights

Start by picking up one of those free newspaper/magazines that your city might have sitting out at restaurants, coffee shops, art galleries, or music venues. Scour the listings for upcoming open mic nights. Or, visit websites like and search by your city or zip code. Contact the venues of interest to ensure the listings on this website are valid before you pack up your van.

Make a Good Impression

If you have a demo recorded, you can drop this off with the person who books the music at the venue. Do this a few days before the open mic, and let the music manager know that you will come to perform on open mic night.

Ask about the event. Clarify the types of acts the venue is looking for and who generally shows up to perform. Some open mic nights provide a drum kit or allow you to plug your guitar/bass into the overhead P.A. system. Coffee shops aren’t usually too keen on you turning your rig up to 11, but acoustic tunes are acceptable.

The night of, bring people that will help increase the drink sales at the venue while cheering and dancing (or moshing, if that’s your genre) for your band. Your friends are money in the bar manager’s pocket and is the first test to the marketability of your band at this venue.

Have you done open mic nights? How did you find out about the event? How did it go?

See also: 4 Steps to Getting Better Gigs.

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