If you’re an artist, especially a solo artist, it’s pretty much a given that you’ll spend more time negotiating gig opportunities than performing. In some cases, clients might even refuse to pay you! For many creatives, this is frustrating – your major skills probably aren’t in self-promotion or haggling, they’re in your artistic talent. Although some people thrive at building lucrative networks, some people need help. Introducing, Gigsalad!
For freelance performers looking for gigs, or event planners looking for talent, the easiest place to start is an online booking platform. But what is Gigsalad?
Gigsalad is a platform that offers an easy way to book music artists for events, with a platform dedicated to helping organizers find their perfect performer. For performers, Gigsalad works as a free manager. Helping boost your visibility and get you paid opportunities.
Think of it as a specialist matchmaker. Helping bring together attractive talent and paying clients!
In this review we’ll be finding out exactly what Gigsalad is. As well as if Gigsalad is worth it, how the interface works, and what alternatives there are! Let’s get started!
In brief, it’s an online marketplace for booking performers: musicians, bartenders, illusionists, circus arts, dancers, you name it!
If you’re a performer, you can get registered on Gigsalad for free. For event planners or organisers (parties, weddings, etc), Gigsalad takes the stress out of entertainment hire. You have access to a huge roster of artists via Gigsalad.com and can see reviews and performers’ quotes upfront.
The company is operative in the USA and Canada.
Established in 2007 by two friends, Gigsalad was initially an online directory. Now the platform has expanded beyond its search function to allow artists to promote with reviews, profiles, and showreels.
It has 1-to-1 support for artists on its database and processes payments (deposits, balance and tips!). As well as featuring top performers on the site.
On Gigsalad, event entertainers are known as ‘vendors’. Event organizers search for vendors and browse profiles. They also compare fast free quotes, contact artists, book music talent, settle dates and pay. All through the online marketplace!
Gigsalad presents its features for event organizers in 3 different stages. Read more about them below!
Here you can fnd the best bartenders, speakers, wedding ensembles or photographers for your special event. You can check out profiles and see how previous hosts rated their services after hiring them through Gigsalad.
Many artists have showreels, photos, and booking quote forms so you can clearly compare costs/other requirements. You can contact creatives before the event to discuss details about the audience, setup, or logistics.
You can also show your appreciation for the performance by tipping the artist securely through the payments platform or connect and pay through your PayPal account.
With details being negotiated in advance and artists being secure in the guarantee of payment via the site. Booking music artists for events, bartenders for corporate events, or photographers for weddings has never been easier! You can trust the creative will give a professional performance and impress all your guests.
All these features – clear communication, upfront deposit payment, the ability to accept or reject quotes – also benefit performers. Having an organization behind you should reduce the likelihood of any underpayment or other difficulties from clients.
Also hiring are commercials, TV, and movie execs as well as private hire event organizers. Having all these people looking in one place saves you a ton of time. You don’t need to create multiple profiles and the gigs come to you!
Event organisers can connect to Gigsalad via the app store as well as through Gigsalad.com. The free mobile app allows users to browse local performers and get fast free quotes on-the-go.
It’s worth noting, however, that the app version is not directly applicable to performers. There aren’t options to engage with leads and update profiles. Hopefully, this will soon get updated.
So, how much does Gigsalad actually cost? Let’s dive into the different fees as well as the different memberships that they offer!
As you might expect, however, these features don’t come for free! In exchange for processing payments, there is a 2.5% service fee (the cost of card transaction).
Also, if you really want to reach the maximum number of clients, you need paid membership to boost your profile. Profiles higher up the search inevitably get more bookings and to be placed strategically, you do have to pay.
While in theory, Gigsalad Free Membership allows artists to sign up without a fee, for each gig booked, you’ll have to pay.
This ends up equating to a membership fee if you’re active on the site.
Mostly the site operates based on paid membership. The subscription-based model allows Gigsalad to offer unlimited leads for one up-front fee or free.
Putting the onus on performers to make their profile attractive to clients and communicate with event hosts.
85% of gigs on offer are general requests and Gigsalad distribute these to members on the basis of verified reviews and verified bookings. The more active you are, the more leads you will get.
You manage your profile, leads, and bookings – Gigsalad is not a typical agency, but a DIY service.
A Pro Profile features a 2.5% booking fee, high visibility and access to client phone numbers.
It also features up to 15 categories and accepts deposits up to $1000. It also allows you to add video and audio samples as well as up to 50 photos.
The Featured Profile has 54% more leads than Pro. It has up to 20 categories and you can add 100 photos. With this membership, you can also put down a $2000 deposit.
In this section we will go over two alternatives to Gigsalad for some super useful comparisons!
There are a few websites like Gigsalad. The most popular Gigsalad alternative is The Bash (previously called Gigmasters – they rebranded!)
The Bash, for many creatives, provides higher paying opportunities. But you often have to actively bid against up to 10 competitors to provide a service. Fast communication with clients is key as a vendor on this site!
By contrast, more leads on Gigsalad are direct inquiries meaning organizers specifically want to speak to YOU. So there’s less need for you to bid against others.
Gigsalad is stricter on limiting communications outside of its platform. For example you can’t provide your phone number via its messaging app or embed links to your website if that includes contact details.
The Bash pricing is pretty similar to Gigsalad but – crucially – without a free tier. Instead, The Bash offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. Here are the different memberships:
The step up in membership relates to the number of categories you can list your profile in and how many miles away clients can see you from. For example, with the Basic Membership, you’re visible 100 miles away, while at Gold you have nationwide exposure with visibility to clients up to 3,000 miles away.
This is important because filters on this Gigsalad alternative consider distance from clients in relevant search results, as well as keywords and reviews.
The main difference between these two is on Gigsalad clients book vendors and pay them through the online platform. Whereas, Backstage is a vehicle for getting you into an audition at which stage you may still be turned away.
As the name would suggest, Backstage is focused primarily on actors and models. Nonetheless, with Netflix, HBO, NBC and Disney all using the Backstage platform it can be a useful place to list your profile and see what comes your way.
Casting calls will likely be listed on platforms like Backstage early on. Membership comes to around £7.50/month, but again it is possible to create a free profile with less visibility. Over 100,000 people are listed on Backstage, though, so be sure to work on that profile to make it stand out!
Starnow is similar to Backstage, in that it mainly offers audition opportunities for small-scale films, commercials, and TV roles, with a focus on actors, models, and musicians. The cost is very economic at £4.99/month. Though you are usually encouraged to pay for 6 months at a time.
You can even create a free profile. Much like Gigsalad, the focus is the company’s Talent Directory which talent-seekers can browse through for free. However, Starnow has some pretty damning reviews of its customer service, particularly in relation to subscription renewal and scam listings (vendors with no profile information).
Although Gigsalad doesn’t come with 5-star reviews for its customer service, it performs better against Starnow.
It gives you a profile, verifies you as a professional in your field and helps you gain an understanding of logistics without the hassle of spreading yourself too thinly promoting on lots of sites for little benefit.
However, some crafts also do better than others. Musicians and bartenders get a lot of gigs through Gigsalad while speakers and comedians receive fewer leads.
One of the best bits about Gigsalad is that you can have a profile on the site and receive leads without paying until you accept a gig! Why not get a feel for the platform yourself?
We hope this review has helped answer your questions about how you can book music for events, hire the perfect professional or register yourself as a performer to start taking on paid gigs.
It’s a hard world out there, but sites like Gigsalad can make your life as an organizer or performer that little bit easier!
Have you ever used Gigsalad? if you have, let us know your experience in the comments section below! Also while you’re here, why not check out some more of our articles such as, Music Gigging Tips or 10 Ways You Can Promote Your New Music Release!