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At Sparkplug, our mission is to empower musicians. We do it in two pretty specific ways: we want you to be able to safely and easily make money on your creative assets by renting them out, and we also want you to be able to access creative rentals more cost-effectively and seamlessly.

But there are many ways to support the creative entrepreneur, which is why we get super excited when we hear about other companies who are also invested in empowering artists. One of our favorite new companies making ground for musicians is GigSalad, where musicians can earn money by — wait for it — playing music!
Self-described as “the marketplace for booking bands, musicians, entertainers, speakers and services for parties, productions, and events of all types and sizes,” GigSalad has a roster of tens of thousands of performers. Hosts search the site to find and hire these performers for their events. They might hire a piano player for a dinner party or a clown for a birthday party. As you might expect, musicians make up a large part of their creative roster.

If you’re a musician trying to break through all the noise, it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that you possess a highly valuable skill: your ability to play and perform. GigSalad connects you with people who want to pay you for that skill.

Gigs come in all shapes and sizes. You might be playing a set for a holiday soirée or background music at a conference. Maybe you lead singalongs at a birthday party. While researching for this article, I was asked to submit a quote to “Sing Academy Award nominated songs for 2015 movies and some older songs of Award winners” in February of 2016. Not my normal bread and butter, but fun and potentially lucrative!

To start interacting with potential job opportunities on the site — GigSalad calls them "Leads" — you first need to set up an account and populate a "PromoKit." A PromoKit is essentially a user profile with the usual Profile Photo and Overview of services, but with additional elements like Videos, Additional Categories (think tags) for search, a Photo Gallery, and Verified Reviews.

If you opt to be a paid member of GigSalad on either a Pro or Featured level, you can tap into even more components of the Promokit, which allow you to include audio in your profile, add more categories and more photos, and link out to Youtube and Vimeo profiles as well as accept deposits for gigs.
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You want your services to be searchable across as many areas as possible, and you want to include as many examples of your work as possible for the folks who find you to review. From this point forward, you simply sit back and relax while event hosts search for the talent they need. They’ll reach out. You’ll decide whether or not you want to take the job.

Once you receive a Gig Lead, you can begin to interact with your potential client. In the Lead, you receive all the details of the job, including the client’s name, date & time of the event, location, a sub-category for time needed, as well as details on the service, the type of talent needed, the number of guests in attendance, age range of the audience, equipment needed, performance location, and even song requests.

From that point, you have the option to send a quote, decline the event, or send the client a message. Once the client has all their quotes in, they make a decision and hopefully you have a gig. Depending on your level of membership at GigSalad, you can accept deposits through the system and get paid the balance at the event.

These days, I think we’re primed to think of our ability to play music as not being worth all that much. The price of recorded music keeps going down, and we constantly undercut ourselves and one another to play small gigs for no money. So many people write articles about the value of music and the value of musicians. But the problem is an inherent one. We want to get ahead in the long run, so we undercut ourselves in the short run. And we do this despite realizing that we’re actively creating the landscape whereby people can take advantage of our skills.

It’s important we remember how incredibly valuable our talents are and that we can actually get paid to do what we love. It might not be MSG and it might not be the big label advance for the whole band, but for many of us, it sure beats waiting tables. You can… surprise! Make money as a musician.