Open mics: the pros and cons for musicians

“You should probably avoid open mics…”

Or so says THIS article by Jeremy Young from Soundfly.

Here are the negatives about open mics, according to Jeremy:

  1. The “audience” won’t be inclined to value your performance
  2. You’ll only be networking with beginners or open-mic lifers
  3. Your on-stage practice time would be better spent at a coffee-shop gig where you’re the sole focus
  4. You hardly ever get valuable feedback from songwriters or audience members at an open mic

I tend to agree with these points, BUT…

There’s one benefit to open mics that’s often overlooked.

If an open mic is hosted at a venue that also books live music for other nights of the week, it can be a great way to introduce yourself. I’ve gotten decent paying gigs from playing open mics, impressing the bartender, or making a connection with another performer, and so forth.

But yeah, open mics can suck. They can also be a lot of fun. I think it’s about tempering your expectations. They’re definitely NOT a reliable on-ramp to a music career, but when used sparingly, open mics can open doors.

What do you think? Have you gotten anywhere playing open mics?

Waste of time, or a good building block for your music? Lemme know in the comments.