Proper Etiquette To Approaching Booking Agencies

Blog : April 21st, 2013

A booking agency wants to know about your performance when considering you for an upcoming event and whether or not your music or act is suited for the venue’s style.  They also look at things like your followers and fans on social media as well as the interaction and engagement to see if you are indeed a big draw in your craft.  Each venue is different, for sure, however some general, unofficial guidelines do exist when approaching new venues, here are a few:

1. Don’t cold call. This annoys whomever is answering the phone. They have many other important things to do, like dealing with the hundreds of acts and agents and managers they’re already familiar with. Often times the booking manager has a separate email and phone number from the venue. In the rare instance where first contact can only be made by phone, politely inquire what the proper procedure is for bookings.

2. Send an email inquiry. This is a request for what the booking process is, not a plea for a gig. It’s the polite thing to do for an unknown act to ask the procedures before pestering someone for a gig. These days, email is the preferred way by most in the business to begin dealing with new acts they aren’t familiar with.

3. Always check first to see if there’s detailed booking info at the venue’s website. Most places have a link buried somewhere on their site that has this. Reading it can save you a lot of time and frustration.

4. Don’t send a physical press kit unless it’s requested.  An electronic press kit (EPK), or a link to your website with music samples, will do fine. Save money and trees. A hard copy press kit will likely end up in the slush pile.

5.  Be persistent, but not annoyingly so. Following up is always a good idea when you don’t get a response. But these are busy folks, so give it time, then send another email. Put something short and simple like “Following up” in the subject line. Never come off as feeling slighted. Being ignored is a big part of starting out in the music industry.  Show that you understand this by always acting professional instead of writing something immature like, “This is the third time I’ve tried to contact you and you still haven’t responded, so I guess you don’t care about new music.”

6. Don’t show up in person. The only time it’s okay to show up in person at a venue with the hopes of getting a gig is on open mic nights. Many clubs stage these as a way to find new talent (as well as sell drinks). If you walk in off the street and say, “I’m here to see about booking a gig,” you’ll likely be met with a shoulder that’s colder than the cold call.

The biggest mistake an artist could make after playing a great show is to have nothing of any interest for sale immediately afterwards. – William Morris Agency

Booking agents want to know about up-and-coming acts, even if they might not draw big the first time around. They like to stay on top of that sort of thing, because they want to book the hottest emerging acts. They also expect you carry your share of the promotional legwork, so once you land the gig you want, get to work promoting the event!!  Stomprite Entertainment can help with all of your promotion requirements, contact us at [email protected].

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