The US music industry is #1 with an almost 32% share of the world’s music revenue. That works out to about 15 billion USD annually. Well over half of those revenues now come from live music performances, with the expectation that share will grow.
If you want to perform temporarily in the US, you will need to secure one of these work permit options. Here is a brief description of each:
B1: For showcases, only i.e. gigs with no fees earned. You need a letter from the event organizer and you present that at the border.
P1: For internationally established artists who are “internationally renowned”
P2: For paid shows, if you are a member of an organization that has a P2 program relationship with a US labor organization. Canadians can apply through the Canadian Federation of Musicians to secure this visa. Gig dates must be included and crew as well. Lead time minimum is currently 90 days before entry date (note: subject to change).
P3: For internationally established artists that are “culturally unique or a traditional ethnic, folk, cultural, musical, theatrical, or artistic performance or presentation” and their support staff
O1/O2: For internationally established artists “with extraordinary ability or achievement” and their support staff
Canadian performers will also be subject to a withholding tax on performance revenues.
For more detailed information on work permits and tax issues, please download US Work Permits for Musicians Overview.
The US is a huge national market with mega-urban areas on both ocean coasts – plus more in between. For more information on the largest urban regions, please see the Key Urban Areas in the US descriptions below.
The US’s annual festivals are numerous and varied. For more information please see the Major US festivals tab below.
Artists from Abroad www.artistsfromabroad.org
The League of American Orchestras and Association of Performing Arts Presenters have consulted with nationally-recognized experts to create the most complete and up-to-date online resource for foreign guest artists, their managers, and performing arts organizations. Covers both immigration (visas) and tax issues.
US Government: Temporary Worker Visas travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/employment/temporary.html
Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for permanent residence.
Canadian Federation of Musicians: Work Permits www.cfmusicians.org/services/work-permits
Canadian members who wish to perform (work) in the United States may apply for non-immigrant work permits through AFM. The AFM provides the exact same level of service as immigration lawyers or visa service agents.
US Music Magazines
Rolling Stone Magazine www.rollingstone.com
Alternative Press Magazine www.altpress.com
The Pitchfork Review www.thepitchforkreview.com