Getting gigs as a musician in Berlin

23 posts in this topic

Hi,

 

We intend to move to Berlin early 2009.

Does anybody know how easy it is to get gigs in Berlin. We would be looking to perform acoustic sets with popular well-known covers.

Also we enjoy going to gigs, are there many on in Berlin? Where/when and which genre of music?

 

Thanks in advance for your help

 

Ricky and Lizzi

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I´m a musician living in Berlin, but currently not working.

There is probably lots of jobs, because many bars keep live music. But from what I´ve heard, they pay terrible. So it´s really hard to make a decent living as a musician.

About gigs, well yeah there´s plenty of everything.

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As norweigenstudent said, there is alot of live music - no problem finding stuff to listen to, no matter what the genre - jazz, blues, folk, rock, pop, punk, classical, cabaret, metal etc. - it's all here.

 

Also while there are lots of bars and pubs with live gigs, the pay is not great. It gets better once you are kown, and cal pull some people along with you to the gigs. I play part time - mostly folk, in and around the Irish pub scene. We can get 300 euros for a 3 man band, going to down to 100 euros for solo - thats usually for playing three 45 minute sets. You'll get your beer thrown in as well. Note that you will mostly be expected to sign a receipt, so the bar is covered for tax purposes - so you will be in principal required to declare your earnings for tax. Also some pubs will expect you to pay a fee to cover the GEMA costs (GEMA is the German Performing Artists Organisation), and while discussing how it works is a complicated topic, the basics is that any bar with a television, CD player or live music get hit for a monthly fee to cover paying for performance of copyrighted material, and so they may pass some of the cost onto the bands. The GEMA is a pretty fascist organisation, and they pretty much make their own rules, which they enforce with great enthusiasm.

 

So my advice is get over here and get to know other musicians and get into the live music scene. There are quite a log of Open Stage nights, and thats a great way to get known. As usual be prepared to have a sampler CD of your material - usually two or three tracks will suffice. Also beware, only some venues have PA systems, so you may need to invest in that also (as most music bars are quite small, you don't need anything too sophisticated, and the bigger places will probably have a PA system.

 

Be prepared to do the odd free or low paid gig (maybe 50 euros or so) to get up and running at a venue. Once you're in at a venue, you'll get lots of repeat gigs.

 

I know a few people who make a living here form music, but its not easy. I would not like to depend on live gigs for my living. Alot of the money is made in the summer at festivals - most of these are outside Berlin, but if you can get these gigs, then the money is very good for not so much work. There are a couple of agents around who may be the best route into the well paid gigs such as festivals.

 

Hope this helps. Let me know your music style, and I can post a list of potential venues, which I'm sure can be augmented by others.

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Hi,

 

Wow that was a very useful reply, thank you.

At present we haven't put anything together as I'm in DE and Ricky's in UK but we'll be working on some stuff as of September when I return.

We plan to do some covers for accoustic sets (and maybe some of our own stuff!!) from various artists, a few examples would be KT Tunstall, Dido, Alanis Morrisette, No Doubt. I'm sure you know the kinda line we're going down.

We will be looking to do it for fun initially so the pay is not such a problem.

If you could provide me with a list of potential venues to ask, that would be fab.

 

Thanks again,

 

L.

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get a Myspaz page and start promoting yourself now to berlin promoters as well as that seems to help here alot

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While I prefer bands with original material, there is a very lively scene for cover bands. The GEMA hit the pubs no matter what the musicians are playing - most small venues can't be bothered to check what is original and what is not, so there is usually a fixed GEMA fee - even if the material is old folk songs and tunes, with no copyright. As I said, the GEMA are a law onto their own, and will charge the venue what they think they can get away with.

 

Also most bands with their their own material will augment it with covers, especially when new as that is required to get the audience interested (hey, even the Beatles did this).

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Start a hardcore band and play concerts in all the squats. We can play together, I am the worse bassist in the world, but you do not need to know how to play the bass in a HC/punk band.

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GEMA apparently have the right to charge a fee they see fit it is then up to the artist etc to give them the "set list" and waive the charge - as it happens to us on a regular basis bringing bands from other countries we always ask if they have registered their songs - if no then we dont mind booking them as no GEMA fee

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I don't think you can make a living playing cover songs here...

And I have a hard time picturing someone getting "booked" to play cover songs more than once in a blue moon. It's just so saturated here, there's tons of original bands and acts that are having a hard time, let alone people playing other people's music.

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That´s an interesting note, Cosine. In my home country most freelance musicians do make their living playing other peoples music. I do this kind of prostitution myself when the hire is too well to be declned. It´s really hard to get a well paid gig playing your own stuff, unless your songs are know to the public and you have a fan-base. I would guess that also in Berlin those who play their own stuff on cafes and so on, play for nickles and dimes. But I could very well be wrong.

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You lot should get out and meet bands and or artists more - pay is not bad to be honest - I am a music promoter here in Berlin myself for independent/unsigned bands and we never pay gema fees as the bands are not registered and we almost always do something for the "new" bands on the scene if they are good - and we pay a set fee and or % depending on what we are doing.

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having been involved with the Drum and Bugle Corps activity in the usa for so many years and being a past music educator, I would love to start a youth organisation or Drum Corps in berlin. If not, an all brass big band type of band. obviously recording, paying gigs, etc. How does one take a dream and turn it into fuition?

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hi collin manning, and everybody also.

i'm a singer and song writer, and just recently moved to berlin.

i'm in need for help to get to know the music scene in berlin, and how i can start doing gigs and getting known here.

i have a myspace account, www.myspace.com/musickatinka. if anyone is interested to check it out and let me know what my chances are here, and where i can start.

right now i'm doing a little streetperforming here and there, and i'm still standing solo. so for those of you who are interested in backing me up as a band player i will be happy ;to meet you.

 

danke... :)

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Upie,

 

Speak with venues and bars

 

List of bars/Venues

Zosch

Mokum

Intersoup

 

Those 3 are "small" and open to new bands etc.

 

Good luck

 

Oh and we have a British Music Festival coming up soon which i will post on here if anyone is into britpop and indie

 

GEMA there is no charge if you play original songs also - gema have the right to charge and the venue passes on the details to gema of the artist - you can argue and will win with gema if proven your songs are not registered with them

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ok. thanks so much for ur info..

how about where and how to look for bandplayers who will want to back me up playing my songs? how does it ussually work and where to look? or maybe do you know anyone?

 

thanks a lot

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Free Ads in the Zitty or Tip or check out Noisy Rooms it has band space downstairs its in Warschauer Str. and or pop along to the many music places around.

 

Do you just sing or play any form of instrument! what musicians you looking for?

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oke.. thanks a lot

i play a little bit of guitar sometimes in my gig, or piano/keyboard. right now i have a little PA system with minus 2 (vocal & guitar) who back me up performing my own strong on the street. what i'm looking for is a complete band (drummer, guitarist, bassist or maybe more like saxophone etc) who believe in my songs and ready to 'make it happen' you know what i mean right? though is still a solo project, but its more like band concept style. The goal is to find a producer / promoter and get into the 'real' scene. I just moved here to german (berlin)3 month ago.. so i don't really know anybody :)

 

you can check my profile & song at : www.myspace.com/musickatinka :P

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Hey all,

Get up Get down are a band from Cork, Ireland, and we've just moved to Berlin.

We are a live electro dub duo, with a hugely varied range of influences. The live show is an eclectic mix, featuring programmed beats and synths, plus live guitars, bass, keys and vocals.

We just relaesed our debut EP, the Early Warning independently in Ireland, and we're now actively looking for gigs in Berlin.

If you have a minute, check out some of our tunes at www.myspace.com/getupgetdownmusic, and let us know what you think.

 

Our alter egos, The Sunbeams, are an acoustic two-piece covers act. A versatile setlist covers everything from Pink Floyd, Bob Marley, and a little Bowie

to Radiohead, Nirvana and Kings of Leon, with a few Irish folk classics thrown in too.

We have been very successful all over Ireland for the last 3 years, playing as an electric 4-piece rock covers act.

 

And as if all that wasn't enough, we also play as DJs! Mick has had long running residencies in clubs and bars all over Cork,

where he has been a permanent figure within the local scene for the past 8 years.

He plays Dub, Hip-Hop, Electro, Alternative, D'n'B... a bit of everything really!

 

Any and all advice regarding venues, promoters, or just general tips on the scene here would be greatly appreciated.

We've been out and about all week, and doing plenty of work on the net, but our limited German makes for slow progress!!

 

If you like the sound of Get up Get down, let us know and we'll gladly send you on an EP.

Cheers,

Nick and Michael.

 

getupgetdownmusic@gmail.com

 

www.myspace.com/getupgetdownmusic

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Hi guys! now there is a nice site that let you find gigs as a musician and also gives offers from bars and festivals that looking for musicians to play.

the site is a community site of Jazzy Berlin he connected with the jazz people in berlin but the site is open to all musicians genres. there is a lot of information

about music school, jam sessions, rehearsals rooms or information on busking in berlin, its like like its becoming a kind of a center for musicians in berlin, check it.

 

www.jazzclubsinberlin.com

 

http://www.jazzclubsinberlin.com

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