How to start a band -

How to Start a Band


If your dream is to make a band, but you don’t know where to start, don’t fret. Starting a band isn’t exactly an easy task, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming, either. 

Starting a new band isn’t usually an easy undertaking. Like everything else worth doing in life, it requires hard work and determination. If you want to form a strong band that will last long enough to find success, you will need to put in long hours of practice and find a vibe that is unique to you. 

Here are some tips to help you get started and make your band successful. 

1) Choose Your Band Members 

If you want to start a new band rather than a solo project, the first step you'll need to take is to find additional members. 

It is possible to have a two-person band (like the White Stripes), but it is most common to have four members. There is no exact or optimum number, it will entirely depend on what kind of music you will be playing. 

When looking for members to join your new band, you want to be selective–don’t settle for the first person who shows interest and can string a guitar. Ideally, you want to find people you already have a connection with or you know you can bond with. Early disagreements can be eliminated by starting a band with people you find agreeable and who you can spend a lot of time with. 

You also want to make sure your styles all match. If you have your heart set on starting a metal band, but your roommate’s best friend only plays dreamy synth pop, that won’t work unless you’re going for something extremely experimental. 

Thanks to the internet, you don’t have to rely on leaving flyers at the laundromat looking for new band members, but you can still keep it old school by leaving flyers at your local record stores or venues. Network with your friends and take it to your social networks to drum up interest. 

Once you have your members, you can work on the next steps.

2) Find Your Sound and Style 

You should already know what genre you want your band to play when finding bandmates. Whether you’ve settled on metal, country, indie rock, or blues, you still need to find your groove. 

In addition to your sound and musical style, you also need to brainstorm ideas on how you want your band’s image to look. You don’t need to go crazy here (stage makeup is not required), but having a unified look that matches your sound will already put you a step closer to being the real deal. 

Think of The Beatles–in addition to their widely-popular songs, their early image of slim suits, Chelsea boots, and matching mop tops is an instant identifier. 

Working together with your bandmates to determine your influences, inspirations, and favorite musicians will help you better create your desired sound and image. Once you pick a style, you don’t have to keep that look forever if your band and image evolve, but consistency for a new band is ideal. 

Two men playing musical instruments

3) Create a Memorable Band Name 

Besides finding your sound and image, coming up with a solid band name is another crucial aspect of your Band’s branding. 

Since you can’t play gigs until you have a name, this should be one of the first things you do once you have your members and a sense of what kind of music you’ll play. 

There are a million ways to create a name for your new band, but every member should be involved. The easiest thing to do is jot down all ideas in a stream-of-consciousness style, so no potential names get left out.  

Once you have your list limited to just a few, search to make sure the band name doesn’t already exist and isn’t trademarked. 

Go for a short name that’s easy to spell and is searchable on Google. 

4) Design a Great Logo 

So, you have your band members, you know your sound, and you settled on a band name. Now it’s time for a logo. 

While you can wait on this step, it’s best not to. Creating a cool logo is a great way to stand out as a serious band. 

For more information on why you need a logo and how to get started, check out our post on How to Make a Band Logo

MerchBooth offers entertainers professional logo design and custom design services.

5) Create a Band Agreement 

While not all band members will like the idea of having a “contract,” creating a document that outlines the standards and responsibilities of the band will go a long way in helping you reach professional status. 

In-fighting is the main reason bands break up. You don’t want to start a band only to have it end quickly, so having a document to split up responsibilities and resolve tension before it even happens is a significant step. 

Here are things to include in a band agreement: 

  • How often the band will practice and what the expectations are for coming to practice
  • Responsibilities assigned to each band member (band leader, public relations manager, rehearsal director, bookkeeper, etc)
  • How the band finances are being managed/who pays for what
  • What equipment is needed
  • How do band members get paid 

Have a third party draft the document or use an online template. Every band member should understand and sign the agreement. 

6) Write Songs

To have a band, you need music, and playing covers will only get you so far. While playing cover songs is a quick and easy way to get material under your belt and build an audience, eventually, you will want to play your own material to stand out from the crowd. 

Writing original songs that are creative and unforgettable can be incredibly challenging. In your band agreement, you may have designated who in the band is responsible for songwriting. While one person may focus on the bulk of the songwriting, crafting songs for the band should also be collaborative. 

Recording music

7) Record & Release a Demo

After you have some new songs under your belt (and have practiced to perfection), it’s time to record your music. 

Remember, musicians make a band to be heard, and you can’t gain an audience if people don’t have a way to listen to your music. 

When it comes time to start looking for gigs, you will want to have something to send them. Enter demos. 

Once you have mastered and recorded a few songs, edit them together into a short mashup. The demo should give a venue owner or promoter a good perspective of your music quality and style without requiring a big time commitment. 

8) Play Gigs

You have your look, your name, and your songs, so now it’s time to play some live shows. 

It may be challenging to book live gigs early on, but it is the best exposure you can get locally at such an early stage. At this stage of gig searching, keep it local–look for bars and restaurants that host live music. 

Once you have perfected playing together as a band, you can look for bigger playing opportunities, such as music festivals and opening acts for larger bands. 

To avoid the headache of trying to find and book local gigs for your new band, you can join the  Special Guest App. Special Guest allows unmanaged talent to create a free profile. Once you have a profile, users looking to book local bands can hire you directly. The best part? It doesn’t cost you anything to be on the app. 

9) Spread the Word 

Now that you know how to start a band, it’s time to promote it. 

Like learning how to make a band, making a successful band requires a lot of hard work and potentially a bit of luck. Not only do you need to write and play great songs, but you also need to learn how to market yourself to build a bigger audience. 

Whether or not you’ve played any live gigs yet, you can promote your new band on social media channels like YouTube, Instagram, and Tik Tok

We also recommend researching niche marketing and how it can help you promote your new band. 

Don’t forget about local promotion, too. Tell your friends and have your friends tell their friends. Hang posters, create Facebook events, and actively engage in the community as a band.

Once you start getting some traction, consider making and selling band merch. Join our parent company to create a free talent profile and start getting paid gigs. As a member of Special Guest App, you can create a free storefront to sell band t-shirts to all of your friends, family, and fans. 

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