Gig swap rules of the road

Don’t just swap. Swap smart.


  1. Don’t swap with someone whose music you don’t like. It’s not a very nice thing to do to your audience.
  2. Don’t swap gigs with people who have the same fans you do. As in IDENTICALLY the same people who came to their gig last night came to your gig last week. Or even 50% crossover fans. It defeats the purpose. Mix it up a bit. Swap with people who are kindred but not the same.
  3. Swap gigs with people who are strong in markets you actively WANT to pursue (as in, don’t just go there because it’s a gig and you didn’t have to book it yourself). Think carefully about what markets/venues you want to build in 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, 2 years. And be realistic about what you think you can achieve, so you select the right gigs to get there.
  4. If someone offers you their hometown, try to give them your hometown or a market where you can draw what is the equivalent of what they are offering you – it’s only fair. Especially if their hometown is difficult to gain audience in.
  5. If you take a gig with someone now with the promise of a future gig with you later down the road, don’t forget and let the gig never happen. That’s rude. Even if it never seems to work out, at least follow up for a while to make sure you’ve tried to make good on the deal. People don’t like jerks.
  6. Seriously, I meant what I said in rule #1. I don’t care how polite you are, how much you like the artist personally, or how desperately you need a gig in that market. Don’t do it. Afterall, chances are their fans won’t be people you’re gonna want to return to in 6 months anyway. And you’ll be kicking yourself when you drive 5 hours to get to the gig and play miserably because your ears hurt.

I’m sure there are others, and I will add as they come to me…