Exciting! You’ve been working hard at making your music, and now you’re ready to perform in front of an audience. To help make that happen, you want to get noticed by promoters and booking agencies, and you’ve got to convince them that you’re THE one they want. I won’t lie to you, it’s competitive. And although you’ve certainly paid a lot of attention to crafting your sound, have you given as much attention to the business side of it all?
Are you easy to work with? Is it easy to get in touch with you? Do you come up in search-engines and social media searches right away? And when people do find you, how do your profiles look, how are you presenting yourself? Does it take days to confirm your availability for a show because you need too much time to get a hold of your bandmates? Does it take lengthy strings of emails to work out all the booking details? Do you have ready-to-use riders, press content, high-res music and video files to pass along?
The biggest question is, are you as easy as yes or no?
Unfortunately, there’s a lot of stuff to take care of behind the scenes before you’re gig-ready.
Let’s take a look at how you can approach the not-so-sexy business side of being a performing artist.
Use modern technology to your advantage
Being recommended by or already having successful partnerships with promoters is huge. But you can’t be everywhere and meet everyone at once, and you first have to get your foot in the door.
It starts with appearing on their radars, and moves on to easy and fruitful collaboration. E-mail, Google search, YouTube, Facebook, Homepage, etc. are very likely your first and most common touch-points with promoters and agents. The same goes for your potential audience. The problem with these platforms is that they force you to be technically inclined, and let’s face it, most artists are not. Your pages need to be search engine optimized; your videos well-produced and high-res; your photos glossy and professional; your songs uploaded to every streaming platform; your content must be fresh and fun and consistent. All this marketing stuff seems like it’s separate from the music, but guess what, it’s part of it and it really matters.
Develop a strategy for your online appearance, and keep an eye out for tools that are designed to help you navigate the technical requirements, like Onescreener, for example. You don’t have to do it all by yourself!
Give them what they want
Understand that promoters often have very little time to scan artist profiles when searching for talent. The more time that they have to spend on finding your information, they less time that you have to actually convince them to put you on that bill.
The questions that promoters and agents ask themselves are: Is the music good? Do they fit the bill? What do audiences think of them? How experienced are they, and will they be professional/reliable? Are they available?
These are all questions that you can answer for them from the get-go. Direct them to what they should and want to see. Present your top three tracks and a great video. Have a press kit and riders updated and ready to share. Make sure your booking process is simple, transparent and professional, and make sure that you’re applying to events and agencies where your music fits. When your artist profile is set up so that it only takes five minutes for an organizer to get to know you/your music and then to book you, you’re on the right track.
The truth is, you have about three seconds to make a good first impression. A promoter or agent will listen to snippets of your songs and sift through your supporting material, taking about a minute to decide whether or not they want you. Make that minute count. Having well-organized and great-looking material presented professionally will up your chances. Their challenge is to find the right artists for the bill within a huge pool of available talent. Your challenge is to stand out from the rest, to be an easy catch.
Let’s review some key elements that may prevent you from slipping off their radars:
- Be accessible to fans and promoters. Be where they are by providing an easy to-find and easy-to-use site where they can interact with you.
- Be aware of your appearance. Making good music is one thing, and making a professional impression is another.
- Be easy to work with… as easy as yes or no!
For further reading:
About applying to agents and promoters
About your electronic press kits and your digital business card
About search engine optimization