Make Music Your Business #1: GigSalad A Good Business Model For Gigging Musicians
Text by Dawoud Kringle
Make Music Your Business #1 is Musicians For Musicians (MFM) first workshop featuring GigSalad.com founder Mark Steiner.
GigSalad.com is an online service that connects entertainment buyers, event planners, venues, festivals, and other standard live music outlets (weddings, corporate events, memorial services, etc.) with musicians, singers, non-musical performers, models, comedians, actors, and other performers. Buyers and event planners are also members, which facilitates performers and buyers finding each other. GigSalad is also partnering with other services, such as CD Baby.
GigSalad is proving to be a good business model. Some of the attendees shared their experience with GigSalad, and the reports have been favorable. It’s also managed to secure good search engine optimization. Searches for various types of musicians often have GigSalad artists come up first on Google.
The workshop opened with MFM founder Sohrab Saadat Ladjevardi addressing the gathering with a description of MFM’s agenda. This was followed by an MFM tradition: opening an event with a musical offering. This time, the music was presented by David Belmont. His offering was a beautifully lyrical solo acoustic guitar composition called “Dunsany.”
After introductions, Steiner shared how GigSalad began. In a nutshell, after working in a number of music business related ventures, he decided he wanted to make something that would serve the needs of the musicians who are looking for work. This led to the idea for GigSalad in 2003. It originally started as a directory, and evolved into a cyber booking agency.
The discussions that ensued covered a wide variety of topics that were not only relevant to what GigSalad is doing, but also in how to define and meet the specific needs of musicians. The questions and topics included the following:
– Covers vs. original music (the financial advantages to doing covers is obvious).
– Pricing for musicians’ work (a good tip that was offered was that during the initial negotiations, give your price, including all you expenses; but do not explain immediately how it breaks down [i.e. travel, lodging, etc.]. The buyer will immediately see this as the price. In other words, include everything in the upfront quote).
– Marketing of different and specialized genres
and niche markets was discussed (one suggestion that was offered was to do a search for your own genre / service, and see what kind of market for your work exists. This would help determine your marketability; and help you to decide if GigSalad is right for you).
– How often to gig, and how to properly represent oneself.
– One’s self worth as an artist was brought up. In other words, raising your standards and valuing your work, and pricing yourself accordingly.
– The merits and details of GigSalad’s three levels of membership: Free, Pro, and Featured; weighing merits as opposed to costs.
Other useful advice was offered to optential GigSalad clients, such as getting your clients to review you (good reviews are gold), having good video (this is how people most directly are introduced to your work), and other tips and trick to make this work to your advantage.
While this was going on, a mockup profile was made as a demonstration of GigSalad’s services.
The day of the workshop was actually Matt Steiner’s birthday. In celebration of this, (and as a lucrative business arrangement for all parties concerned) he offered MFM members one year of membership with GigSalad free.
Belmont offered a closing musical piece called “Germania;” a blues that made imaginative use of guitar harmonics.
The first MFM Workshop was quite successful. If this is any indication of the direction MFM’s services to its members is heading, this fledgling effort is more than promising.