Using Casinos As A Springboard For Your Music Career

TThe internet has been many things to many people, and while you may have spent the first few months of your music career just using the internet and social media to get your name out there and make sure that people actually know who you are, you’ll soon come to realize that it’s difficult to stand out from other internet artists.

You could spend years just making and posting cover videos on Youtube, and just pray that you get discovered, but the rapid expansion of the internet has already created hundreds of Youtube celebrities, and unless you have the support of one established celebrity to help plug your music, or command of a certain niche yourself, it would be make progress from your online posts.

Making a name for yourself is all about exposure, and when it comes to exposure, booking gigs is still of paramount importance. Many bands start out just playing in small bars, but let’s face it: this scene gets old after a while, and it’s no way to make money, what with many bars charging bands a fee to be able to play at their venue. Bands end up having to pay for their time at the bar with drinks and entrance fees from friends and family, and on a bad day, they may even end up shelling some money out themselves.

Rather than continue to play at bars, once you’ve got some experience under your belt, you can try performing at casinos. Of course, you won’t start out as a big ticket performer, playing your music center-stage for hundreds of thousands of casino-goers to experience right away. As with anything else in this industry, you start small, playing music in the lounge on Alternative Music Fridays or Live Band Thursday, moving from casino to casino until you start to build an audience and people begin to recognize you.

But these casinos have a whole world of musical entertainers to choose from – why would they go for a small, relatively unknown band like yours? The truth is that they need new kinds of entertainment, and they need new bands. Starting with the launch of Intercasino in 1996, land-based casinos have been on the decline, playing defense against the rapid expansion of online casinos, and it’s become all the more important for them to secure new names and try to appeal to a completely different type of casino-goer: the younger, less experienced millennial who, while not knowing a lot about gambling, knows a lot about music.

Imagine Dragons. Photo credit: Hayne Palmour IV

Imagine Dragons. Photo credit: Hayne Palmour IV

It’s undeniable that there is now more worldwide support for independent bands, and as Indie continues to rise as a genre, commercial brands like casinos look towards making the most of it, relying on its global appeal to bring more customers to their doors. It’s done wonders for some casinos, but it’s done more for the bands that have been able to utilize this opportunity. Imagine Dragons is the perfect example – a band that started out the same way just any other band had, playing whatever gigs they could find. Today, the band is among the most popular in the world. Frontman Dan Reynolds tells Billboard, “Bands have asked me, ‘What do you attribute your success to?’ The two things I always say are one, we never said ‘no’ to anything. We’d play birthday parties, weddings, casinos. We wanted to perform and create as much as possible.”

Of course, having found their home and launched their career in Vegas, Imagine Dragons has done well to pay homage to the “city that never sleeps at night”, not just with various references throughout their songs, but with repeated shows in Vegas. In an interview with, Reynolds also said that, “We didn’t want to do a New Years show anywhere else. We told management, if we’re going to do a New Years show, it’s going to be Vegas, period, end of story, just because it feels like the completion of a lot of work and a way to kind of spend time with family on New Years and celebrate the last two years.”

Recently, Imagine Dragons has signed a contract to appear in new ads for the city, and if their success is anything to go by, perseverance and “good old fashioned Vegas luck” could very well be the winning formula to making the most of playing at casinos.