Business of Music

6 things you can get when you’re paid in exposure

As an emerging musician, you’re often hit with the cursed word “Exposure”. Many companies or agents would want you to perform for free or offer exposure as payment.
Although exposure won’t put food on your table or pay your bills, there are ways you can leverage it to make it work in your favour.

Here are just a couple of things you can get if you’re not getting paid in cash:

  • Access to the event for yourself plus a guest: You can request free tickets for the event for yourself and a guest. If they have a bar, you could request free access to the bar or restaurant.
  •  Invitation to backstage or VIP section to network with guests and other performers: With this exposure you can connect to new fans, meet possible business partners or perhaps get a future collaboration.
  • Introductions to media outlets and guaranteed features through their communications team: Ensure the exposure comes with promotions for you and your music using their platform. This could be in the form of radio ads, flyers, TV Ads, etc. It could also be arranging interviews for with various press, magazines and newspapers.
  • A committed amount of marketing spend on social media for your performance: You could request for social media push for your performance. This could be in the form of sponsored ads or influencer posts.
  • Official video footage and photography you can use in your portfolio: Request for access to photos and videos from their official photographers. This can contribute to your portfolio as well as gives you professional shots from your performance which you don’t have to pay for.
  • Short term or long term brand partnership: You can look into building a working relationship with the event, booking agent or company. Is this a periodic event? Request to perform at their next 2 or 3 events. Remember, performances are a great form of promotions for any musician, and you need all you can get as an emerging musician.

Ultimately, before you say no just because you’re not getting paid the amount you want or any amount at all for performance, think about the bigger strategy you have and how you can leverage the experience.

If you’ve had to negotiate your performance fee, what are some things you asked for and how did you make it worth your time?

Benewaah is the lead curator and editor at Harmattan Rain. Her love for music is closely rivaled by her love for plantain.

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