Showcases at fairs and markets


How to make the most of the showcase in front of programmers, potential buyers and other industry professionals.


It is widely recognized that an artist’s or band’s music does not sound the same in a studio recording as it does in a live performance. Today, sound quality and stage presentation are equally crucial. The live show is the opportunity that consolidates the artist’s career and strengthens his relationship with the audience. Therefore, accessing live performance opportunities, beyond recorded music, has become a vital aspect for industry professionals.


It is in this context that showcases have gained great popularity at markets and music fairs, as they offer a concentrated and intensive way of presenting an artist’s work on stage. The organizations that manage these events usually open calls for artists of various genres and styles, and then select those who will participate in the showcases.


It is important to research the showcase history of each event before signing up, especially when it comes to markets specializing in specific music genres or regions. The selected artists must be precise and coherent in their presentation, showing the best and most representative of their sound and musical identity through a carefully selected repertoire. This allows them to take full advantage of this exhibition space in front of programmers, potential buyers and other industry professionals.

What should I expect from a showcase?

A showcase represents a distinctive promotional space where the artist can demonstrate his or her talent. However, it also becomes an opportunity to evaluate what messages you want to convey to the various audiences and target audiences present about your identity, music and repertoire.


Attendees at these promotional concerts will discuss each of these issues and decisions. Therefore, it is advisable to structure a repertoire that encompasses different nuances, that offers both impact and good sound, that includes intimate moments and that, at the same time, is a representative selection of the artist’s aesthetics and identity.


Generally, a showcase may not include more than four or five songs (depending on its length). Since the audience is composed mainly of industry professionals, the artist must be prepared to receive little applause and an atmosphere with little warmth, as well as adapt to the constant entry and exit of spectators. This characteristic should not be interpreted as a lack of interest, but rather as the reality that professionals in the sector can evaluate the artist in a short period of time.


The fundamental thing is to understand that, through a showcase, the artist must leave an impression on the programmer’s mind and ear. For those who are not familiar with the artist’s work, it is the first opportunity to experience his music, his aesthetics and his signature sound. It is recommended that the artist be accompanied by a representative who can conduct business meetings and evaluate the results, allowing the artist to concentrate on his/her performance.


We should not assume that a showcase will automatically lead to a tour. If it does happen, it would be more appropriate to consider it a fortuitous outcome, the result of an ongoing effort or the coincidence that the potential buyer was present at the concert.


Showcase Arde Bogotá at BIME Bogotá 2023

Showcase attendees

At the fairs and markets, there are various figures belonging to the music ecosystem, who generally fall into two main categories: buyers and sellers. Although this distinction may seem simple, it actually facilitates decision making and provides fundamental insight into how we should approach our strategy. If we have a showcase scheduled at the market or trade show, we are interested in having them attend and usually will have to do so.


Buyers: The buyer’s objective is to seek out products that serve his or her programming. In this area, one can also identify so-called opinion leaders, people who, because of their track record or experience, are widely respected in a given field. Identifying them and attracting them to the showcase or scheduling a meeting with them can be of great interest. Examples of buyers:


  • Festival programmers
  • Programmers of public institutions
  • Private or independent programmers
  • Record labels looking for artists
  • for its catalogs.
  • Recruitment agencies
  • Digital distributors


Sellers: mainly artists or representation offices and booking agents. Examples of vendors:


  • Artist management offices.
  • Groups/soloists that do not have an office behind them
  • Record labels
  • Recruitment/distribution agencies
  • Complementary service providers (press agencies, web designers and programmers, audiovisual production companies, etc.).


Dual-role professionals: it is common to find professionals who simultaneously act as buyers and sellers. For example, companies that represent artists who also program a festival, a venue or are looking to include new bands in their catalog.


La Sra. Tomasa showcase at BIME Bogotá
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