Why Open Mic’s are TOTAL Bullshit and Yet You Artist Still MUST go to Them.
What you are about to read will be a little lengthy; it’s worth the read so please take your time.
Most Open Mic Showcases are pure bullshit.
Most of them are a side hustles for some local promoter that totally takes advantage of the ego that is present in MOST entertainers.
Let me touch on that ego for a second…
Most of you think you are the greatest entertainer to ever pick up the microphone. Most of you think that you are God’s Gift to the world and that your music is pure bliss.
Most of you think that your shit smells like Skittles and Potpourri.
Let me give some of you a reality check…
It is perfectly ok to “think” that way but the moment you begin to “act” that way when you do not have the credentials, resume, bank account, or accolades that come with that then you need to sit ‘cho ass down.
See promoters are smart.
Most of them are cunning and very deliberate with what they do.
It’s all basic principles of business: Supply and Demand.
With everybody and their moms thinking they can rap, sing, hum, do back flips, beatbox, twerk, and/or some sort of moderate level of talent there is an over abundance of SUPPLY.
BUT for all of the above to get better at what they do, they have to practice.
This is where the DEMAND comes in and this is where you absolutely HAVE TO PARTICIPATE.
If there is a prize to be obtained, GREAT, that’s a side benefit for you.
If there will be a judging panel, GREAT, that is another accessory to what your main goal should be….PRACTICE.
It doesn’t matter who is the promoter, who the judge is or if there is a prize or not…if there is a crowd of people that YOU did not invite, then YOU should have your ass their on stage performing in front of that captive audience.
It’s not the food and beverages that you will be going to enjoy (although that would be an awesome benefit); it is the real crowd participation and feedback that you are after.
Most of these venues/promoters will charge an entrance fee as well as a performance fee. As long as it is reasonable, pay it. Consider it a part of “paying your dues” to get to the next level.
It happens; it’s a necessary part of the game and if you look at it from a business side, somebody has to pay the bartender, security, kitchen help, DJ and promoter…that cost is traditionally passed to the customer. In this case, the customer is YOU.
Here is where the bullshit sometimes come into play.
Instead of you artist being put into a position of power and banding together to put together your own showcases or promote yourselves and your own events you lazy sumbitches sit around and wait for someone else to do it…and then get mad when they tax you for something that you can and/or should be doing yourself.
You ninjas wont even tweet out your social media links but as soon as you pay to perform somewhere you will start flexing talking about “you got a show at ?????” That’s total bullshit. You inability to recognize yourself as a brand has downgraded your status in the industry from being an asset to a tool to be used for one thing: revenue. That makes you a customer.
Now with you knowing that YOU are the customer and all of the other people are there to leach off of you, what do you do to benefit from this?
Here are a few tips to help you come out on the winning side of the hustle:
- Bring promotional material: Even though you paid to perform and showcase your talent, there are still people in the room that may have not heard of you before today. After you perform, you may have just gained a new fan. Please make sure that EVERYWHERE you go to perform that you are taking promotional material to pass out, flyers, mix CDs, stickers, wristbands, etc
- Market yourself: if at all possible, please have some sort of brand awareness ON STAGE with you. In some of these places the sound systems are shit so the people may like your “performance” but they can’t really hear it. Bring a banner with your name on it. You and/or your team should wear t-shirts with your brand on the shirts.
- Merchandise: sometimes you actually do better than the competition. It is at that time that you should have merchandise ready for sale. It could be t-shirts, hats, custom scarves, CDs. whatever the case but to smash a stage and not have something to sell is almost counter productive.
- “I AM”: this piece is more of a prequel than a post performance task but please make sure you have some sort of internet or viral presence before going to ANY public performance. Wherever you are on the internet should be properly displayed on your promotional material and should include your website, social links and your booking information. DO NOT get up on stage and say “Google me”, that is not good business to leave the research in the hands of potential fans. You should make it easier for them and dumb it down by having all that info ready for them.
- Representation: If you have a manager…let them talk. At select locations you may be approached by other promoters and business people about coming to another venue, doing a collab or maybe even making a return to the same spot…you default response should be “let me talk with my manager” or “can I give you my manager’s contact information so you two can discuss that” or “what is your contact info and I will have my people contact you about that” YOU should NEVER EVER begin negotiations on the spot if you have someone already in place to take care of these matter. If you do not, fake it like you do. When they see you have management then the level of “seriousness” escalates to “proper business”. When they see that you do not, then you will be stuck with doing Nigga-Business until you correct that.
It’s all a chess match. You are not only the person playing but you are also a piece on the board. You have to know where to strategically place yourself to succeed. At each level there are multiple games and even games within some games; use each level to your advantage.
The sooner you realize that this industry can NOT function without you, the sooner you will begin to make the proper strategic moves to win.
- Coast 2 Coast Live: LA Edition http://coast2coastlive.com/events/eventdetail.aspx?eventid=449
- Hustle and Flow @ Cream Ultra Lounge, 3249 Buford Hwy NE, Atlanta, GA, United States WEEKLY
- Mixtape Mondays @ Sinsations South, Rocky Creek Road, Macon, GA, United States WEEKLY
- Pass me dat mic @ Club Twisted, columbus ga https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10204512549760626&set=a.2042067938197.127156.1439302848&type=1&theater WEEKLY
- Break Your Records @ Sledge Lounge, Buford Highway Northeast, Atlanta, GA, United States WEEKLY
- Coast 2 Coast Live: Las Vegas Edition @ Boomers Bar, 3200 W Sirius Ave, Las Vegas, NV, United States http://coast2coastlive.com/events/eventdetail.aspx?eventid=450
- Strippers Open Mic @ Strippers off i-75 Byron WEEKLY
- All Out Wednesdays @ Riverview Ballroom, 414 Walnut St, Macon, GA, United States https://www.facebook.com/events/1456712164589414/ WEEKLY
- Coast 2 Coast Live: Bay Area Edition @ Neck Of The Woods, 406 Clement St, San Francisco, CA, United States http://coast2coastlive.com/events/eventdetail.aspx?eventid=451
- Coast 2 Coast Live: Portland Edition @ The Alhambra Theatre, 4811 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR, United States http://coast2coastlive.com/events/eventdetail.aspx?eventid=452
- Exposure Open Mic @ Apache Cafe, 64 3rd St NW, Atlanta, GA, United States http://www.makinitmag.com/events/exposure-open-mic
- Coast 2 Coast Live: NYC Edition @ Santos Party House, 96 Lafayette St, NY, United States http://coast2coastlive.com/events/eventdetail.aspx?eventid=453
- West Coast Hip Hop Awards @ Los Angeles Convention Center, 1201 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA, United States
- Coast 2 Coast Live: Philly Edition @ Underground Arts, 1200 Callowhill St, Philadelphia, PA, United States http://coast2coastlive.com/events/eventdetail.aspx?eventid=454
- Next to Blow https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10204283344786953&set=a.1105515441278.17924.1328526655&type=1&comment_id=10204284146807003&offset=0&total_comments=2&ref=notif¬if_t=photo_comment_tagged
- 6th Annual Coast 2 Coast Convention @ InterContinental Miami, 100 Chopin Plaza, Miami, FL, United States http://coast2coastlive.com/events/eventdetail.aspx?eventid=431 ends 09/01/2014
- Albany Music Awards Artist Showcase https://www.facebook.com/events/210853505771229/?ref=2&ref_dashboard_filter=calendar