One thing that a lot of people out there don’t realize is how much work, time, and money it takes to be a musician. You have to buy instruments, software, and other musical gear to practice – which takes up time in addition to songwriting, beat making, and meeting/connecting with other musicians. It can be really tough sometimes! The amount of artistry involved in being a musician should never be undervalued by anyone. This means getting paid for your craft! However, there are a few instances where it’s a good idea to take a nonpaying gig. Here are 3 times where a nonpaying gig might make sense.
1. Charity Shows
Doing a nonpaying gig for charity can certainly raise your profile and get you and your art some nice exposure. Moreover, it’s a way to truly give back to your community and perform for a cause that you believe in. Just make sure that the cause you are performing for is actually one you believe in helping!
2. When It Leads to Better Gigs
This is a tough one to figure out, as you don’t want to be stuck in an endless loop of playing “for exposure”. But there are some great opportunities out there if you do your homework. For example, events sponsored by major corporations may not pay, but the event may or may not be attended by others in the music industry who could find you paying gigs down the line. Take the time to do your homework before committing, however.
3. When It Adds to Your Resume
Finally, there are those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that require you to play nonpaying gigs, but add to your resume. If, for example, your favorite, nationally-known rapper asked you to open their show but there was no money in it for you, would you say no? Think of the possibilities that could open up by telling promoters that you opened for Future, or Kendrick Lamar, or Chance the Rapper, the last time they rolled into your city!
If it can add legitimacy to your art in the eyes of promoters and get you more paying gigs down the line, landing a nonpaying gig might be well worth it in the long run.
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