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Home for the Holidays (Or Not)
Keeping the band busy during the holiday season

The holidays can be lucrative for the working musician. You can literally be as busy as you want to be. Here are some tips to make the most of this special season.

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  1. Scratch my back and I'll scratch yours. don't be afraid to ask for help from local merchants with whom you do business. For example, ask your local music store, radio station, and the catering staff at local hotels to keep your business card on hand in case they are asked to refer a local entertainer. Even if the salesperson is an entertainer herself, she may get offers on days she's already booked. Having someone to refer extra shows to is good business for all concerned.

  2. Sign on with a talent and booking agency. Why take a chance on missing out on all the holiday parties? The agent's fee is usually offset by your band doing more gigs than if you booked the shows yourself. If your band is any good, you'll likely have more gigs than you'll know what to do with. Plus you'll likely have a standard performance contract that the agency uses that can provide you with something more than a handshake to go on.

  3. Take a photo with Santa (or one of his helpers). This is the time of year for the low-cost photo shoots at malls and department stores. Take advantage of it by having the band pose with St. Nick. Have the leader sit on Santa's lap, with the other band mates standing close behind and to the side of Santa. If the photo doesn't turn out, there are lots of other holiday locations that make terrific photo opportunities. Be sure to bring in a guitar or two and drum sticks for the drummer. Have a vintage mic, like the Shure Super 55? Take it with you as a great prop for the singer. Nothing helps sell a band through pictures like corny and nostalgia. Remember those photo shoots of The Beatles and The Monkees?

  4. Send out holiday greetings. Mailing a holiday greeting card from the band is a thoughtful and appreciated gesture. Send them to the owners and staff at the clubs you played during the year (and the clubs you hope to play for in the coming year), your booking agent, the local music stores, the music critics at the local paper, the staff at radio stations that play a similar genre of music, and your special fans. If you operate the band as a business, business greeting cards can be an allowable business expense (see your tax accountant). Everyone likes to be remembered, so keep those cards and letters coming! If the expense is too much, an email with holiday band photo will do, but that's not quite as special.

  5. Learn a holiday song or two. This will pay big dividends for you. Not only does it make the performance fun for the audience, but you can send out the song on CD as a musical greeting card to prospective clients. Don't forget to send a copy to your local radio stations. Put the song name, song length (in minutes and seconds), the band name, and a link to your band's web site, on the CD label. You're practically guaranteed to get lots of free publicity this way.

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