An Open Mic is a great example of a healthy grassroots independent music industry at work.

According to Wikipedia, an Open Mic is…

“…a live show where audience members may perform at the microphone. Usually, the performers sign up in advance for a time slot with the host or master of ceremonies.”

Some people love them and some people don’t, but there’s no denying that the open mic is an invaluable part of the music industry as a whole.

Personally I have the pleasure of running and Open Mic or two over the years in my hometown of Adelaide and in that time, I’ve realised that as a songwriter, an Open Mic is much, much more than just a place to play. In fact, performing regularly at Open Mics is a brilliant way of gaining new fans, selling more CD’s, expanding your mailing list and generally increasing your profile by getting in front of peoples faces more often without overtaxing the goodwill of your friends and family.

An Open Mic is like speed dating for songwriters. A three song audition in front of potential new fans

Here are some benefits to playing at an Open Mic if you’re a songwriter…

1. Networking – Open Mics are a great networking opportunity for songwriters, performers and musicians of all experience and skill levels. Everyone gets together in one place with music as a common bond and this allows magic to happen.

2. Fun – It’s a great night out in a relaxed, performer-friendly environment with performers and punters alike listening to music performed by anyone and everyone. A mixed bag of good and improving performances. You can feel comfort zones being shattered.

3. Road Test – You can road-test your new material as it is being written (even works in progress if you are daring) and get great feedback from your peers

4. Collaborate – As other singer/songwriters are present you can easily find a songwriting partner or two.

5. Showcase – It’s an opportunity to perform your songs in from of an attentive, respectful crowd in which you can promote other shows, get names on a mailing list and/or sell product.

(If you have a band that you are starting and you want to get the vibe happening before your first gig, an Open Mic is perfect for this)

6. Recruit – If you are looking for other band members to perform your songs with you then networking at an open mic should be one of the first things to do on your list.

7. Audition – Most open mic venues have music on other nights so consider your performance an audition for a gig on another night. You never know, you might get asked back to play on another night

Well, thats seven extra benefits of performing at an Open Mic for songwriters. Can you think of any more?

Until next time, keep on writing

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting