[00:00:00] Welcome to episode 126 of the Bandhive podcast. It is time for another episode of the Bandhive podcast. My name is James Cross and I help artists tour better this week. We're going to be talking about tips that you can use to book more shows for your band. When you're just getting your music career started and you want to go out and book shows. There are lots of questions you have, but thankfully the good news is that most of those questions. have Easy answers. And this episode, I'm going to go over three tips for booking shows, starting with the basics.
And then also covering some that people who have shows under their belt already should stick around to hear because the tips do get more advanced as we go.
If you're brand new in your local. scene The first thing I can say is just go to local shows, talk to the artists who are playing the shows, establish relationships with them. And the same thing goes for the venue staff as part of the natural flow of conversation.
Ask the people [00:01:00] who you're talking to, who to get in touch with, to book a show at the venue, they will probably tell you, or if the talent buyer promoter is there, they might even introduce you. you want to build up those relationships and, you know, don't just walk up and say, Hey, who do I talk to to book a show? Although that could be effective. If you establish a relationship first or at least have a good conversation, they're going to be a lot more likely to help you. And in fact, As part of your conversation, if you drop that, you also make music, they'll probably ask you about your music.
Because of this, you want to be prepared to have somewhere, to send them to check out your music. It doesn't matter if your music isn't out publicly yet. That's totally fine. But you should have a private link that you can send to whoever asks so they can take a listen.
Especially if you're talking to a talent buyer or promoter because they really need to hear the work you're doing before they can decide if they want to put you on a show or not, or what kind of show that you would fit best. I know can seem strange to send people your music before it's done, but especially if you're just getting [00:02:00] started, you want to do this well in advance of your release date, because if you plan ahead, well, then you can probably schedule a release show for your music.
And if you can do that for your first release, That's going to feel really good. And it's going to get you in that habit for future releases and shows. So I know this first tip was a super easy one and it really works for anyone playing local shows.
And you could also do a similar thing online with artists in other markets. So let's say I'm in the Burlington Vermont market. If I want to go down to Boston, I'm ignoring the fact that I know a bunch of people in Boston. Let's say I didn't. I could reach out to artists in the Boston area and strike up a conversation on their music page and start growing that relationship and then say, oh, Hey, by the way, You know, I'm looking for shows in Boston.
One, would you be willing to play one with me and to, you know, what venues or people should I reach out to, to see what their availability is?
One thing I want to mention here though, is that if you're playing a city that's further away and you don't have friends there, it can be tough to get people to come to the show if it's your first time [00:03:00] out there. So be sure that you have good locals who will bring their own audience and hope that that audience also likes your music.
This is why you want to play with bands who have a vaguely familiar sound to what you play, because if it's jarringly different, their fans, aren't going to enjoy you. So you want to be on a show that has a good bill and all the artists are somewhat similar.
Now, the second tip, and this goes for more established acts as well. As long as you don't have a booking agent who you could learn from make sure to include all of the required information in your initial email, to the talent buyer or promoter, but also keep it short and sweet.
I know that sounds kind of contradictory, but you can do both. here's how I like to structure. You add in the dates, you're inquiring about the venue you want to book. If that buyer or promoter works with multiple venues, a link to your website, a link to at least one live performance video. If you have multiple of these, include them in a page on your website and then link to that page.
Then you add [00:04:00] your draw in that market. If you have one, a draw is basically just how many people you can bring. Like if you look at your past history in that market, how many people were there for you? That's your draw. Then you add in any relevant notes.
And of course you don't write an essay. You just keep it short and concise. Typically I would use the subject line to right away, get the. date And the venue name and the band name out of the way, that way it's easy for the talent buyer or promoter to refer back to because they just look for the subject line.
They can search and say, oh yeah, that's X, Y, Z band on this date. there we go It makes it super easy. I also want to clarify that when I say the dates you're inquiring about, I typically say, Hey, we're looking for a show on June 14th, but could also do the 15th or the 16th. If the 14th is not available that way, they have some wiggle room and they don't just say, no, we don't have the 14th available.
They can say, oh, well the 14th isn't available, but we could do the 15th. How's that work? It just saves a little extra time already letting them know, Hey, we have these other dates [00:05:00] available, but that's something that I would probably keep in the body of the email rather than in the subject line, because otherwise your subject line gets a little too cluttered.
Having the email structured like this with all of us information and keeping it short and sweet gives buyers a good insight into how organized you are and if you're easy to work with or not, because if your email is messy or it's full of word vomit, then they're gonna of see those red flags. And they're not going to be happy about that, especially if they have to follow up for information multiple times and it's like pulling teeth for them, nobody likes working with somebody like that.
Talent buyers typically have more talent requesting shows than they can actually book. So when you are throwing up red flags, this early in the process, they're just going to move on to the next act. They're not going to say, oh yeah, let's give them a chance. Anyway, they're gonna say no, you know what?
This other person who can email like a professional is better. So we'll go with them. That's what happens most of the time. Now for my last tip, pick the right venue. Ultimately, wherever you play is going to affect [00:06:00] how your fans feel about your shows. just as much as your personality or your music.
Because if you play a total dive, the fans are going to associate that with you. And I mean, if you're a punk band or something, that's totally fine. But if you're trying to have a more upscale brand, you're going to want to play nicer venues. on the other hand, if you do play those nicer venues, then that's going to elevate your, uh, your stature with your audience in that city.
So they're going to say, oh yeah, you know, so-and-so played this really amazing venue. I love that. I'm going to go back and see them again. Next time they come. Now the other thing is you don't need to just factor in how nice a venue is. You also have to see what kind of music typically plays there because you wouldn't see a death metal band playing in a coffee shop.
unless it's like A branded coffee shop for death metal fans, but you also wouldn't see an indie, acoustic act playing at a goth bar. That's just something that you don't see. So because of this, when you're looking for venues that you want to play, don't just reach out to the venue. [00:07:00] Instead, before you do that, look up, the other shows that venue is hosting and see if there is in general, a good fit for your music at that venue.
And if there is, then you can reach out. But if there is. Skip that venue and find somewhere else to play because it's not worth it. If your brand doesn't fit with that venue scene at all.
this is another time when reaching out to a local artists in the market, you want to play is really useful because you can ask them what venues they recommend and what venues they like to play. Assuming they play similar music to you. You're going to find out about venues that make sense for you.
That does it for this episode of the Bandhive podcast. Thank you so much for tuning in and listening. I really appreciate it. And I hope that this episode has given you some good ideas about how you can go out and book more shows for your band. Now, if you want to book more shows, get paid and love your next tour.
I have something for you. It's called the road. Ready course. I've been working on this. That's about six months now. I think I started it back in [00:08:00] October and it's now April. So it's yeah, pretty much six months. And went through the beta, went through and recorded a ton of videos. It's a course all about hitting the road with your band for a profitable and successful tour.
If you're interested in learning more about road-ready head on over to Bandhive.rocks/roadready, and you can join the course again, that's Bandhive.rocks/roadready.
Thank you again for listening. We'll be back next Tuesday at 6:00 AM. Eastern time right here in your favorite podcast app until then I hope you have a great week stay safe. And of course, as always keep rockin'.