Why you should stop playing free concerts in 2021

Photo by Adi Constantin on Unsplash

Building your music brand and business is a massive undertaking and today we will tackle the topic of free shows. Playing for exposure and to expand your fanbase are widely discussed in the music community — is the time and effort worth the end result?

While each individual situation is unique and potential benefits of any gigs need to be carefully weighed, playing gigs for free is generally advised against. Why? Here are the eight reasons you might want to reconsider playing any free shows in 2021.

Sets the value of your time at zero

Whether it’s an in-person appearance or an online performance, playing a free gig means you are setting the worth of your time at zero. Define the hourly wage you are comfortable with and charge accordingly, whether it’s a guarantee or ticket prices.

Free makes it feel like it’s worth nothing

Playing a free show or gig devalues your time and skill — like it or not, a free show usually feels like it’s less valuable than something people paid to attend or set up. While big industry names can afford to have a free performance here and there to offer fans as a gift, lesser known and not that popular creatives in the music industry end up reaping what they sowed as their music risks being further perceived as not worth to be paid for.

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Show4me is a global music interaction network for musicians, music lovers, as well as record labels, concert promoters & other music industry pros.