Bangkok Music City’s music festival is a music showcase festival, which is a practice done in many countries in the western music world, but not widely known in Asia.
What is a ‘music showcase festival’?
“There are two types of music festivals. Ordinary festivals aim to please the audience. Showcase festivals aim to serve the musicians. They are the backstage of the music business, the place where creatives meet the professionals who help keep the show on the road. They are the gatekeepers of the music industry. Here, the decision is made about new artists as well as about (digital) trends in booking, marketing and more.”
Music showcase festivals are often paired with music conferences because the music conferences would be the place where the music industry people gather. They are the gatekeepers, potential buyers and decision-makers who can and are willing to work with showcasing artists.
So, a normal routine of a such events would be conferences, seminars and meetings during the day; and then music showcases from evening till late.
Why artists play for free?
A showcase festival is like a trade show – but instead of booths and pavilions, it’ll be stages.
At trade shows, the companies would rent booths, showcase their work, give away marketing material and try to land meetings with new business partners. If you think of bands like those companies, showcase stages are the booths of the music world.
Bands apply to perform at showcase festivals to get the opportunity to perform in front of potential business partners, whether they are booking agents for festivals or tours; music labels; artist management companies; distribution companies; PR companies, etc.
Playing at a showcase festival is an investment – and, sometimes they are quite hefty ones, i.e. having to pay for flight tickets, visa fees, land transportation, hotel rooms and of course food and water (and beer) – and, NOT GET PAID.
Many artists would frown on the fact that they don’t get paid to perform at showcase festivals, but it’s technically wrong to think like that in the first place.
Organizing a showcase festival has high costs, and most showcases even pay to bring in the delegates who are the music industry people attending the conference. Even though they might sell tickets to audiences, but hey – how high a price and how many people are willing to buy tickets to see bands they mostly don’t know, right?
So, performing at a showcase is investing in the opportunity to be seen and to meet with the right people who can take artists and bands to the next level of their careers.
What kind of artist/band should consider going for showcase festivals?
Showcase festivals are the place for bands who have a clear vision of who they want to be, and are willing to invest to move forward in their careers.
They must research on who will be there, (e.g. which booker, agent or label), what business they want out of those people. Then, produce and bring with them the right marketing materials (business cards, flyers, press kits, giveaways, etc.), prepare a business pitch, and design a well-thought-out show to capture the attention of those industry people who might consider giving them a business deal.
If you are an artist or band who just wants to play in front of an audience and get paid to do so, a showcase festival is not the right kind of event for you.
Why showcase at Bangkok Music City?
Bangkok Music City is Thailand’s first international music conference and showcase festival. It is not just a door into the local audience and industry for international bands, but also a gateway for all bands – including Thai – to access the regions of Southeast Asia, Greater Asia, Europe and North America because of the delegates who are attending the event.
We do not accept artist applications for this year’s event, but will announce the application process for next year in the upcoming months, so stay tuned!