OK: you got some local gigs and you are really loving playing out. Now what? Time to rest and enjoy the moments of success? Um, no.
Once you have a local gig or two, it's time to decide where you're headed next. Do you want to get more local gigs? Do you want to tour? Are you still working on finding a musical niche? What ever direction you're headed, you will want to continue to network. And that means that the gig you're already working is a great bouncing-off place for your next move. Here are a few possible avenues that you can take to optimize your current gigs while connecting to your next one.
Make a Video
One great way to use your current gig is to make a video of it. It may not be the most pristine recording, but that's okay. As usual, invite your fanbase to attend. In fact, tell them that you will be recording a video. Choose your videographer. By that, I mean hand pick them. Point out your best fans to the videographer and ask her/him to pick them up in one or more of the video captures. This will help the live nature of the video (and offset any recording quality issue if that turns out to be necessary). If possible, use a stereo output on the board or DAW as audio input for the video camera if you want to have more of a band sound and fewer audience sounds. Let the venue know you'll be video recording in case they need to adapt the lighting.
Post the video the next day and send a special newsletter to your fans to let them know it's up. If it's true, be sure to let them know that some of them are in it.
Network, network, network
Having the gig does not mean that the networking stops. It actually puts you in an even better position for networking. Continue to get to know the folks at the local establishments. Give kudos to the staff while on the microphone and in person. Send a thank you note to the entertainment director, manager and/or owner the same or next day after gigs. Add the new gigs to your bio and (probably) to your press kit. If you already know what your next step is, be sure to put it out there to your fans and network.
Enjoy the moment. Enjoy the gig.
Keep enjoying the current gig once you know where you're headed next. I've seen many bands and artists keep the local venues as gigs even after other trajectories begin to take hold. That's the key element of keeping it real: enjoy now. If you're not enjoying the gig, it's time to move on anyway.
So, have fun making your music!
Stan (aka @mu4now)