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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

How To Get Your Band Booked

Club Stage image
You want to get your band gigs, right? You don’t know how to do it, right? Here’s an excerpt from the “Stage Time” chapter of my band improvement book “How To Make Your Band Sound Great” that gives you the inside scoop on the things that club promoters love and hate the most to help you get your band booked. Although the following pertains mostly to bands that play their own music, there are a few items for cover bands to think about as well.

"First of all, most bands will put a press package together to give to a promoter, booker or club owner and most of them make the same mistakes. Here are the things that a promoter or booker does not care about:
  • Who you've opened for or played on a bill with. Nobody cares. Opening for someone famous doesn’t automatically mean that you’re any good. It’s only name dropping.
  • Who produced your record. Once again, this is not an indicator of the quality of your band. If the producer’s really good, he could’ve easily tweaked or sweetened a mediocre performance or even brought in session musicians. And he could've been paid a bunch of money to do it, so his presence on the project doesn't amount to an endorsement.
  • How well you do in your hometown. You might have a lot of friends that like to hang out with you but it doesn’t mean that they’ll follow you when you play farther away from your home base or out of town. It also doesn’t mean that you can draw anywhere else.
  • Press clippings. You wouldn't send out negative reviews, would you? Of course not. No talent buyer looks at press clippings because they all know what they're going to say. "This band is wonderful. Coldplay, watch out!"
  • How good you are. Of course you think you're good. Your music is probably your life. Guess what? It's just another band setting up and making a racket to the club staff. Hard to believe, isn't it?
  • What you sound like. The only reason the venue cares what you sound like is because they don't want to mismatch music genres or book the wrong type of music altogether. Other than that, they don’t care.
Nothing listed above answers the most important question a talent buyer has, which is: HOW MUCH MONEY WILL THE VENUE MAKE IF YOU PLAY HERE?

Always ask yourself that question when approaching a talent buyer regarding a show. Of course, the answer is to draw a crowd. You’ve got to draw some people or your gigging life will be over. Beg your friends to show up. Social media the heck out of your show. If the venue can count on you bringing 20 to 40 people a show, you'd be amazed how often people will ask you to play.

So what do you have to do to get gigs? Try the following:
  • Develop a draw in your hometown. That means you should play about once every month to 6 weeks. Don't play too much more than that since overexposure will kill your crowd, and you need your crowd to keep coming so you keep getting asked back.
  • If you haven't left your hometown and you don't have an album, your only hope is to trade shows. Why develop a draw at home? So you can trade shows with bands from out of town. Just be sure the band you're trading shows with has a draw in their hometown. Check that city's music message boards. Use the many avenues of the internet. It's your only hope.
  • Be your own promoter. Actually save up your own money and book as big an artist as you can afford in the club you want to play, then stick yourself on the bill. It's a perfect way to find out if you're worth your salt.
If you want to get gigs (and who doesn't), keep the above items in mind before you spin your wheels trying the same old things that everyone tries to get gigs."

You can read additional book excerpts from How To Make Your Band Sound Great and my other books at bobbyowsinski.com.
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Don't forget to check out my Music 3.0 blog for tips and tricks on navigating social media and the new music business.

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