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Get the gig: How musicians can make it work (or just relax) during a pandemic | Entertainment

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Jake Laughlin is the founder of DentonRadio.com, a talent buyer and author.




Welcome to my first column with the Denton Record-Chronicle. On a regular basis I will be answering marketing questions from artists. I am a radio producer, talent buyer and author, and I hope my career in music marketing has given me insights that can help you take that next step in your career.

Over the past weeks, things have been bad for the artistic community. Our gigs are all canceled, and it’s a scary time for our friends and colleagues. Before I go into the marketing stuff, I want to take a moment to say that I hope you are giving yourself permission in this time to grieve and to heal.

I have been consuming a lot of marketing materials that say things like “Take advantage of this time,” “Make this time awesome,” “Work harder than ever before,” “Let’s all be creative!” While these materials have great, optimistic messages, some of us just don’t want to hear that right now. My heart goes out to all the artists and venues that are deeply hurting.

The reality is that while this time does offer some opportunity, some of us might be hurting too much to even think about it. If that is you, please know that our hearts and thoughts are focused on you. Your efforts over the years, creating the amazing music that has colored our community, has not been in vain. You have touched more lives than you know. I want to say thank you for everything you have done for Denton, and if you need time to heal, please don’t read this column as another “rah-rah” marketing piece.



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Dunashay Thomas performs on the rooftop stage at LSA Burger Co. Local venues have shuttered during the pandemic, but Denton talent buyer Jake Laughlin shares tips on how local musicians can amplify their music through inexpensive marketing.




If you would like to hear my thoughts on some digital opportunities out there right now, please read on, but if not, I hope you hear a sincere “thank you” from all of us who truly love your music in Denton. Please take time to focus on you, and when you are ready, we will all be patiently waiting with eager ears.

During this time, there may be some opportunities that, in a few years, we will be thankful for. Most of us have more days than not where we say, “I will finally do (fill in the blank) when I have the time.”

Well, I guess now we have it.

At DentonRadio.com, we are seeing record-high numbers on our video content. The internet has a more “captive” audience right now. Perhaps this is the time to develop social media and digital presence? Perhaps this is the time that we have been waiting for. In a few years, we may look back at this as the time that propelled us to the next level.

I honestly hadn’t planned on my first column being about developing digital presence — I was going to write about establishing relationships with the venues where you most want to play, but it seemed like a good time to pivot.

Here are a few practical steps you can take:

Want to make a website?

I suggest a site called SquareSpace.com. It’s very affordable, super user-friendly, and the end result is very slick. A lot of artists think they need something fancy or unique, so they develop their site from the ground up. But the cost of a website keeps going up — development, URL security, hosting — the list goes on and on. Services like SquareSpace and Wix handle all the headaches and let you focus on the fun part of designing the site.



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Brian “Beerman” Houser performs at Dan’s Silverleaf. The coronavirus pandemic has shuttered venues, but Denton talent buyer Jake Laughlin shares tips on how musicians can give their work a signal boost during lockdown.




What social media platform matters the most?

Right now, I strongly believe Facebook is still by far your best bet. Facebook “likes” are what venues are looking at when they decide whether or not to book an artist. Special note: You need to have a Facebook page, not just a profile. Additionally, Facebook is still the best advertising purchase in the market. You would be surprised how much of a huge difference $20 can make when promoting your events.

What do I need to livestream?

Hundreds of artists across Denton have started livestreaming to raise money and build following (let us know in advance at DentonRadio.com that you are going to livestream and we will share it on our Facebook page).

Several artists have reached out to me with questions on the equipment needed to do it well. Without breaking the bank, I would suggest connecting your PA to your laptop with the Shure X2U, or connecting your PA to your smartphone with the JK Audio Daptor Two. Both options can help you up your audio quality, but don’t overthink it. Just using your phone by itself can work just fine.

In my book, Get the Gig: A Musician’s Guide to Booking More Live Shows, I mention that the most beneficial step in getting yourself booked at a new venue can simply be spending time in that venue. When the staff and decision makers of a venue get to know an artist on a personal level, it is far easier for that artist to book that venue. I suggest every artist pick one night per week, or month, and spend time socializing at a venue they want to play.

Just because we are stuck inside, doesn’t mean we can’t continue to make ourselves known. Venues are spending more time than ever right now engaging on their social media. They are working hard to develop relationships So when we can all go out again, they can release the battle cry that the doors are finally open once again. Use this time to comment on and engage with social media of the venues you want to work it. Don’t go to all of them and say, “I want to play here.” Just engage. You have no idea how helpful that will be once these venues can start booking again.

Lastly, use this time to engage with fans. You will be surprised how much return you receive on your social media right now. The internet is the one event we can all go to right now. We have a limited opportunity right now to engage with people we may never get the chance to connect with again. There are endless fans out there looking for content to enjoy.

To recap: I suggest setting up a website with SquareSpace, establish or beef up your Facebook page, start hosting livestreams, engage on social media with the venues you want to work with, and engage more than ever before with fans and potential fans. If you use this time to do those five things, this time might even look like a good thing … when you look back on it.

Special announcement

I wanted to take this opportunity to let every know that Stoke Denton has moved FlintConf 2020 (a conference for hipsters, hackers and hustlers) online, this Wednesday through Friday. I am on the speaker lineup for “hustlers day” on Wednesday. I will be giving a talk called the “Successful Event Formula,” a guide to increasing attendance at both in-person and digital events. You can register at flint.stokedenton.com.

Featured band

In each column, I want to highlight a Denton musician or band. This month I want to highlight The Shortlist. The Shortlist is an alt-rock band from Denton, oh yeah, and they are amazing! The first time I saw the band was in-studio at DentonRadio.com. They were playing an acoustic set and I was extremely impressed by their four-part harmonies. Everyone on staff started crowding around the studio to see who was making this incredible music. We were all instantly hooked.

A couple of weeks later, a group of friends and I met up at LSA Burger to watch them play. I was expecting to see the same four-part harmonies and acoustic guitars but was blown away when they instead rocked everyone’s faces off. This group can do it all! They are very talented musicians, performers and writers whom I couldn’t recommend more.

The Shortlist recently dropped a new single called “I Want More.” Check it out. Oh, also, their guitarist Aron Hawkins just got married. Congratulations, Aron!

JAKE LAUGHLIN is the media and productions manager for Discover Denton, the founder of DentonRadio.com, a talent buyer and the author of ” Get the Gig: A Musician’s Guide to Booking More Live Shows.”



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Katy Perry Has Booked Another Major Gig

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As the world’s biggest dance music festival, everything about Tomorrowland is major. And even though the event is happening exclusively online this year amidst the global pandemic, the Belgian festival will still be massive.

Today (July 14) the show got even bigger with the addition of Katy Perry to the lineup. In an announcement posted on the event’s social media channels, Dutch star Martin Garrix chats with Perry via video conference to tell her about the festival and welcome her to the show.

“I’m excited,” Perry says in the clip, “because I’ve seen it growing up for years and years and have always been blown away by the stages.”

“It’s literally a different world,” Garrix says of the IRL event, “and when you going there in real life one day, you’re going to be blown away by the visuals, the people, the energy.”

The announcement comes ahead of Perry’s new album, Smile, out August 14. Perry is also expecting her first child later this summer.

Happening July 25-26, Tomorrowland Around the World will also feature performances from more than 60 artists including Garrix, Steve Aoki, Tiësto, San Holo, Paul Kalkbrenner, David Guetta and Charlotte de Witte. The event will feature eight stages and include the reveal of the 2020 mainstage, a marquee attraction of the festival.

Additional activities will include games, workshops and educational talks on topics including lifestyle, food, fashion and the Tomorrowland Foundation, which focuses on charities working to help disadvantaged children. Fans can participate via a PC, laptop, smartphone or tablet, with no VR equipment necessary.

Watch the announcement video below.



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Married At First Sight’s Nasser Sultan lands a surprising new gig

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He’s back! Married At First Sight’s Nasser Sultan lands surprising new gig as he returns to television

He’s the former Married At First Sight star who has made a name for himself chasing reality TV fame. 

And on Tuesday, Nasser Sultan, 52, landed a new television gig which will see the controversial reality star host his own talk show, Dab or Fab! 

Sharing exclusive behind the scenes photos, Nasser was seen getting his makeup and hair styled ahead of his return to television.

He's back! Married at First Sight's Nasser Sultan, 52, (pictured) has landed himself a surprising new gig hosting new series television series called Dab or Fab!

He’s back! Married at First Sight’s Nasser Sultan, 52, (pictured) has landed himself a surprising new gig hosting new series television series called Dab or Fab!

In the photos, he is seen wearing a Niall Horan shirt while he chatted to the hair and makeup team.

Another photo shows the star sitting on a red lounge on the Sydney set.

While it’s unclear if the show will be picked up by any Australian television networks, Nasser tells Daily Mail Australia his show ‘will air in Belgium, Italy and the UK’. 

Glam: Sharing exclusive behind the scenes photos, Nasser was seen getting his makeup and hair styled ahead of his return to the limelight

Glam: Sharing exclusive behind the scenes photos, Nasser was seen getting his makeup and hair styled ahead of his return to the limelight

‘It’s raw and no scripted stuff,’ he explained while he teased the project.

The new series will see Nasser, who failed find love on reality TV, join two co-hosts each week while they discuss and debate trending topics. 

Earlier this month, Nasser shared a photo of his blink-and-you-will-miss-it moment he appeared on Channel 10’s Bondi Rescue where he was seen going for a surf.

Coming soon: While it's unclear if the show will be picked up by any Australian television networks, Nasser tells Daily Mail Australia his show 'will air in Belgium, Italy and the UK'

Coming soon: While it’s unclear if the show will be picked up by any Australian television networks, Nasser tells Daily Mail Australia his show ‘will air in Belgium, Italy and the UK’

‘Let’s just add this to the list of TV appearances shall we? Bondi Rescue – the only way is up now,’ Nasser wrote in the caption.

He shared a photo of himself dressed up in a rescue uniform – the iconic yellow and red cap and rash shirt 

In the past, the part-time personal trainer has often been spotted at Bondi Beach enjoying the sun and surf. 

Nasser rose to fame in the fifth season of Married At First Sight. He was ‘married’ to Gabrielle Bartlett, but they called it quits before the finale. 

He was happy! The 52-year-old proudly shared a slightly blurry photo of his brief moment on the program in which he was seen going for a surf

'A celebrity's work is never done': Back in December, Nasser revealed to his fans that he would be appearing on Bondi Rescue

He was happy! The 52-year-old proudly shared a slightly blurry photo of his brief moment on the program in which he was seen going for a surf 

Rise to fame: Nasser starred in the fifth season of Married At First Sight. He was married to Gabrielle Bartlett (pictured), but they called it quits before the finale

Rise to fame: Nasser starred in the fifth season of Married At First Sight. He was married to Gabrielle Bartlett (pictured), but they called it quits before the finale

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Meghan Markle books first public speaking gig since leaving the Royal Family

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Meghan and Harry are moving closer to their goal of financial independence, with the Duchess of Sussex set to take the stage for her first public speaking job since leaving the Royal Family.

Meghan is appearing as the special guest speaker at a summit for the Girl Up campaign alongside an impressive lineup of famous faces, including former First Lady Michelle Obama.

Watch the video above

Girl Up has a presence in 120 countries and works to “empower women and inspire them to get involved in social change.”

“The present is female! But don’t take our word for it. Hear Meghan Markle, The Duchess of Sussex’s advice for global girls leaders when she takes the stage at the 2020 Girl Up Leadership Summit, happening virtually July 13-15!” read a tweet by the organisation.

Royal Commentator Victoria Arbiter told Sunrise the event was “significant” as it is “setting the stage for the type of work Meghan is going to want to do moving forwards.”

“This is an opportunity to launch herself as a philanthropist and as an authority on this topic on this side of the atlantic,” she said.

“I think we’re going to see a lot more of this going forwards.”

Royal Paycheck

It’s unknown whether the Duchess is being paid for the appearance, with rumours she is waiving a paycheck and using the gig as a platform to promote herself for a spot in the elite speakers stable.

Arbiter says Los Angeles based Harry and Meghan are in hot demand in the United States and could rake in mouth-watering amounts of cash.

“Let’s take an event in the future in which she could be paid… a number of experts in the field have said that individually Harry or Meghan could command upwards of $500,000 for an appearance,” Arbiter said.

“If they appear at something together, they could be looking at $1,000,000.”

“If Harry and Meghan want to maintain their lifestyle then they’re going to need to make some significant money moving forwards, and public speaking is the most lucrative way to do that.”

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