I deal with a ton of messages and emails from artists or agents looking to get booked at places. Most of them suck balls, and not in a fun way. (Coz that might be more useful than the application they sent)
**Skip to the bottom if you’re too lazy to read all the points**
Now, I’m not saying every artist should be a marketing genius, or that every agent/manager should be amazing at what they do. But common sense is worth more than a degree in entertainment management or whatever qualification it is that people waste their money on.
If you want to be considered for an event/venue, try the following few basics. Logically, there’s a bit more to doing things properly, but if you just start with these points, you’re better than 80% of your peers/competitors:
1. Write a coherent message. Seriously, just freaking read what you wrote afterwards. Imagine this is a job application. Or the first time you’re meeting your lover’s parentals.
2. Keep it short and sweet
. I have not met a single venue owner/booking manager who have ever read an entire band’s bio in an initial mail. Nobody gives a shit
where the drummer’s grandma was born or that the pianist started playing on a plastic banjo at the age of 2. That’s the type of shit fans MIGHT read once they already like the band/artist.
3. Info that’s needed: Who you are/who you represent. Short summary of artist bio “Kosie is a country singer from Vereeniging, who plays a lot of sokkie covers and some catchy originals. He can either perform solo with his ukelele and backtracks, or with his 3 piece band called Kosie’s Koeksisters.” Then briefly mention if you are open to playing door deals, or if your intent is to charge a fixed fee for your performance. I realise that not everybody feels comfortable doing this. But it makes my life much easier when I know what you want. Don’t feel obliged to give a set fee yet, as you don’t want to lose a potential booking because you got greedy in your mail. Also, just the fact that you have to apply for a spot, means that you are probably not worth that amount yet.
3b. You might mention a few notable venues/events that are relevant to the one you’re contacting. And for the love of fuck, your artist didn’t “share a stage with Francois van Coke” if he played at 10:00 and Fokof headlined at 23:00.
3c. CONTACT INFO. Cell and email. Basics, but often forgotten.
4. Links, not attachments. Links to Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Only attachment should be a photo worked into the message.
5. Do your research. It’s all good that you’re trying to get your music(ian) into as many places as possible, but at least open the event or venue’s page before you message them. II just received yet another request this morning for an Afrikaans sokkie-poppie to play at a rock venue. Seriously?
5b. Research will help you to sound more intelligent. If there’s a detailed mention in the event description informing you who to mail for artist applications, and you send a message (or worse, post on the FB event) asking that very question, I will laugh at you (and hate you at the same time). Again, it’s not only me. Ask anyone that has to deal with that level of lazy stupidity from 40 bands per day for a week after an event is announced.
5c. When should you approach a festival? Generally when they announce that artist submissions are open. Not a freaking week before the event, or if it’s annual, give at least a month after the event before bugging organisers about the next one.
Bonus point: Build relationship with the relevant people. This point, much like the others, actually deserves a post of its own. But for now, just realise that networking is important, and you’re more likely to get booked if you have had a beer/tequila/conversation with the decision maker in question.
Again, there’s a bit more to the game than just the mentioned points, but you gotta start somewhere, right?
- Common sense.
- Keep it short, info relevant and links to what’s more.
- Do your research.
If you think this post might help bands be better, please share it.
Also, please do give feedback/input if you have any. There’s a lot more that can be added to what I said, so feel free to do it.