You’ve narrowed down your target area and selected key cities to play. Now you need some shows locked in. Obviously, you’re going have to take cash into account, but money is going to be dealt with throughout the entire touring process and I’ll be cover that later.
There are 2 ways that I book shows: Through bookers/venues, and through other bands. When attempting to book shows directly through the venues, there are some key points to keep in mind when making contact:
1. Professional Contact = More (and better) Responses - DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT send some half-assed 3-sentence email with misspellings and bad grammar saying, “we are on tour and want to play your venue” or anything of that sort. I have had bands ask me for help with this pathetic effort and I won’t even respond. If I have to ask everything I need to know about your band, you have wasted my time. When asking a favor of someone, it’s a good idea to make it as easy as possible for them to say yes. When you write, include as much valuable information as possible: who you are and who you represent, where you’re from, the dates you are looking for, the kind of draw you have in the area, and where I can hear and see (YouTube) your music. Most clubs care about one thing with bands: THE MONEY FANS MAKE THEIR CLUB…do whatever you can to quickly direct their focus to you and off of the night’s take and this means making it easy. Include a signature at the bottom of your email…I’d even go so far as to suggest using the same basic email and just adjust it to each venue you contact.
2. Proper Representation - I have tripled the amount of responses and doubled the actual bookings per tour by approaching clubs as a manager/booker/representative rather than as a band member. Clubs are inundated with requests from touring bands and the majority are flaky, unresponsive, late, unorganized, and lazy. Whether you like it or not, you’ve already been judged by the person receiving your email simply because of your position. Bookers think they’re above you when you’re in a band, but for some reason they respond better to their “peers” in the booking business, even if they have to turn you down. This may be due to the fact that they know bookers/managers deal with setting up tours and know when they’re getting screwed/toyed with. I’m may be biased, but I think this is another reason management is vital to artist success.
3. A Good Resume’ Does Help - The artist’s version of a resume’ is called a “1-sheet”. Thomas Starks (www.facebook.com/thomasstarksmusic and www.thomasstarks.tumblr.com) lovingly chewed me out for not having a 1-sheet for my bands and I IMMEDIATELY went and made one. I have found a 1-sheet to be INVALUABLE to booking shows. Your 1-sheet should be short, sweet, and to the point while packing as much information about your project into one sheet of paper. I attach my 1-sheet as a pdf to all booking emails and make the online links clickable.
This is getting long and it’s past midnight…I’ll continue this part tomorrow. Talk soon!