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E-mail for booking gigs

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by jive1, Apr 15, 2010.


  1. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Alexandria,VA
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    I find myself in the position of doing something I hate, booking the band. I haven't done this since the 90s, and I found that I just didn't like dealing with club owners/managers. I've been lucky that in the last decade or so, I got to work with bands that either had booking agents or someone else in the band doing the legwork.

    I'd love to just use a booking agent, but the project is new, and from talking to them, they are hesitant about a new band, even though they may be familiar with other bands I worked with. So in the meantime, I still want to get the booking operation going.

    Back when I was booking, most of it was done by phone calls, and stopping in. Back in the day, we called the venue, sent them a promo pack, stopped by to talk, and we'd get a gig out of it about half the time. That's what I know to do, but this is now 2010 and I have less time but more technology available. What I'd like to know is if e-mail is an effective means of booking a band, or if you still need to do the phone calls and legwork like the old days. If there's a better way that makes better use of my time, I'd like to know. I would love to know what your experiences are.
     
  2. Rick Auricchio

    Rick Auricchio Registered Bass Offender

    Well, there are some restaurant and bar owners who are comfortable and reliable with email, but there are many others who just don't bother.

    I think the phone works well because you get through to people more often. Email is more easily ignored than the phone.
     
  3. MakiSupaStar

    MakiSupaStar The Lowdown Diggler

    Apr 12, 2006
    Huntington Beach, CA
    I've found that email works best. Most venues won't go out of their way to call you back. It's an endless game of voicemail that leads to nothing. In your email be sure to provide links to your music, and provide dates that you are available for the next couple of months.

    Also seek the venue out on myspace/facebook. Sometimes this gets faster response.
     
  4. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Probably depends on where you are. We are finding that venues will not respond to emails, you have to go in person.
     
  5. cassanova

    cassanova

    Sep 4, 2000
    Florida
    I won't leave it up to chance they might read my email. Email's are easy to blow off, the owner could consider it spam and just delete it, not to mention they might not check it on a regular basis.

    When you go in person, you at least know you are talking to who you need to talk to and they have your attention and promo pack. After meeting with the owner or manager I'd ask them for their email address and find out if that's a better way to communicate with them.
     
  6. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

    Sep 10, 2008
    Pomona, SoCal
    In LA these days its fairly common to do a lot of the booking work via email. Every time Ive tried stopping into a place to speak face to face with someone the 'person who does the booking' is never there. Probably best to show up while another show is going on, but then theyre probably busy. I happen to get most of my bands bookings done while at my day job. An email should include links to your music (a myspace page works well for this) and a phone number, as some bookers like to take the conversation to the phone.
     
  7. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    I think you may have to pound the pavement and shake a few hands right out of the gate. Once introductions have been made, if both parties are amenable I see no reason why an E-mail isn't as good a phone call.
     
  8. My band played with a national act just by saying that we have a large fanbase and agreeing to sell 30 tickets. All email, just make sure you seem professional.
     
  9. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member

    depends..

    you can sound more compelling in person or over the phone.
     
  10. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    You can try emailing half of your contacts and calling/visiting half. See what works the best in your area.
     
  11. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Alexandria,VA
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    One of the reasons why I'm thinking e-mail is more efficient is because pretty much everything that's in the promo pack is on our website. Saves us money, and them clutter. Send them a link, and all they need to know and see is there.

    And back when I was doing the booking, it was a pain to get to see a manager during a time when they are available. And quite honestly, I don't have to the time to run around town trying to catch people when they are on shift and not busy.
     
  12. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Alexandria,VA
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    I agree, but it's a matter of time available.

    Phone tag, not having messages returned, mileage, etc. for a place that is just dead set on not booking you isn't real efficient to me.

    I believe in the 80/20 rule. 80% of your business comes from 20% of your clients, so 80% of your time should be spent on that 20%. The challenge right now is determining who that 20% is gonna be.


    I'm a firm believer in that face to face communication is the most effective means, but I think my wife would kill me if I were bar hopping every night hustling gigs like I used to.
     
  13. YUP, Eyeballing them works best for the initial contact. Remember 1st impression is everything. Once they know who you are,and what you look like, then you can call and e-mail. I find it works better, perhaps it is a matter of them being able to associate a face with the voice/e-mail.
    Music is showmanship, and it is a people business. Electronic communication is so impersonal. It takes the "people" out of the business.
     
  14. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    For me its a combination of emails, cold calls and phone calls. I have done well with all three but find most want me to email a contact site...myspace etc with band info and songs an EPK for the most part. Some want me to send a CD and short Bio. Others never answer emails and would never get an owner or manager on the phone so i stop in person with a CD. I have even eaten and drank at the places to show i was there for more than a drop in call but find this approach gets me the least amount of bookings which really ticks me off.
     
  15. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Alexandria,VA
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    I found this to be the case as well.

    My theory behind that is that once you come in to wine and dine, they no longer see you as a vendor and they see you as a customer. Once that happens, it's hard for them to see you as a vendor. They already made money from you as a customer, and their mindset continues to operate in that way.
     
  16. IanStephenson

    IanStephenson UnRegistered User

    Apr 8, 2006
    Phone call first. Follow up on email. The email with website links replaces the old press pack (but printed versions available for non-tech friendly places - they still exist).

    Having heard our guitarist regularly book gigs by cold calling bars, there's a level of confidence you can inspire by actually talking to someone, that you just don't get on an email. Anyone can set up an email and website. Actually speaking to someone makes a connection, and that's the real basis of doing buisness.
     
  17. Phone call, find out who you need to talk to and when they will be there. Show up with press kit and demo and your schedule. If you are playing a lot of places in the area that helps. If you are new to the area this ( the schedule) show the number of times you are asked back to places.I always bring a yearly schedule that way if you are booked in a place say 10 time that year.it shows your drawing power. I have booked in places sight unseen because owners have visited our web page and know call backs = following which here in NJ is more important to clubs that if you have share the stage with Yngwie Malmsteen!
     
  18. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Alexandria,VA
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Here's an update.

    E-mail has thus far gotten my bands nothing so far in terms of gigs. I got an invite for an audition at an open mic nite, and that's about it for venues.

    But, on the bright side. I got in contact with a couple of agencies interested in us. One of them books some of the better clubs in town, and the other does high dollar weddings and events. We'll see how that goes, but hopefully something will turn up. Still trudging along.
     
  19. I am not affiliated with it, but you could look at gigmasters.com
    It's like an online booking agency. Most of the gigs I have gotten from there are private parties, weddings, and corporate gigs. Most bars don't book through there, but the other gigs pay better.
     
  20. I almost always start with a phone call. If I get their voice mail I always leave a brief message about the band and ask that they call me back. The one key point though is I always end my message with something like, "I'll check back with you in a week or so if I haven't heard back". Then I make sure to call them back in about a week and if I get a voice mail, I leave another message with a similar ending. It's amazing how many phone calls I get back once they know I'm not going away.

    I also use e-mail a lot and one of the things that I find helpful is to have a PDF version of our press kit that I can e-mail as an attachment. The press kit has links in it that go directly to the song recording section of our website and also to our main page.

    I think the main thing is to have the tools in place (website, recordings, press kit, etc.) that show people you're serious. From there it's all about persistence.
     

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