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New cover band, ready to start booking...tips for getting foot in the door?


netwerx1

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My 80's rock cover band is coming along nicely and nearly ready to hit the pavement, so we've agreed to start looking for some May bookings to get us going. We originate in a smaller community, maybe 50K...but only about 30 minutes from a 500K metro area. We're gaining lots of support on our Facebook and ReverbNation pages, and are fairly confident we'll be able to pack the room those first couple gigs...and our plan is to get some good video and photos there for press kit material.

 

That said, none of us have much if any experience booking gigs. We're not picky about where we'll play, aside from not wanting to play where it's likely our genre won't play well. Nobody is really playing our material in this area, that is, some play songs from our genre, but not exclusively from our genre. We focus on the 80's hard rock and hair band music that was popular in its time, and then only the songs that have a danceable or sing-a-long/crowd chant type of groove.

 

Any tips or advice for this first-timer to help us get things rolling?

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Put a good promo pack together.
Find out when people who hire will be at clubs and go talk to them
. Phone calls, email and Facebook will get you nowhere.

 

 

This^^^ Call the clubs you are interested in. Find out who does the booking and when they will be there. Then show up. One face to face meeting is more valuable than tons of Emails. Get in their face. And be professional. Dress nice, act professionally. In short, don't act like an asshole musician, act like a business person. People will respect that.

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So what should a good promo pack contain for a new band...and once I get that meeting with the hiring guy, what are the most effective ways to sell a band that hasn't played a paid gig before and has no references other than a private party gig?

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So what should a good promo pack contain for a new band...and once I get that meeting with the hiring guy, what are the most effective ways to sell a band that hasn't played a paid gig before and has no references other than a private party gig?

 

 

Pictures, song list, good sounding CD.

 

It's a tough sell if you don't have experience. Try hitting clubs that have bands on the weekend and open mics during the week. Play an open mic and talk to them about weekend gigs. Once you've done the open mic, you could name the club that held it and say you've played there without telling a lie.

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I agree with a good promo pack. In your band pic, Just be sure to:


A: not stand in front of a brick wall

B: not stand on or near train tracks.



:o

 

Perfect! :lol: I can name at least 5 other bands in our area who have done that in their pics, mostly in black & white. That and standing in front of a plane or in an open field.

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I agree with a good promo pack. In your band pic, Just be sure to:


A: not stand in front of a brick wall

B: not stand on or near train tracks.



:o

 

I will add: don't pose on a set of steps. And don't try to look like hardasses.

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For a new band with no contacts, a promo kit is going to help a lot. I don't know how it is around your area, but May has been booked for 2-3 months for me. You might need to think about June and beyond, and the gigs will be slow to come at first. It's frustrating when you finally get a gig, you do well, and then they can't book you for 6 months because they are already booked up. Just be professional like everyone has said, be patient, and keep working on your show.

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If you have friends that are gigging see if they'll let you play durring one of their breaks... It has worked for me in the past. Just make sure the person booking the talent is going to be there or it'll get you nowhere.

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Put a good promo pack together. Find out when people who hire will be at clubs and go talk to them.
Phone calls, email and Facebook will get you nowhere.

 

 

Interesting. Maybe it's a regional thing, but we've had the exact opposite experience. Sometimes we'll have to go in and close a deal, but lots of folks are willing to look at our multimedia online and take a chance on us. If we do go in, we always call first to confirm that the person is going to be there. Showing up cold, or when you "heard they should be around" will usually result in frustration. As for a printed press pack--I think I still have the entire stack I started out with a few months ago. Nobody looks at them or wants them. Maybe as we move up the ladder this will become more important, but just starting out it's kind of a waste. At least it has been for us.

 

A lot of places here want you to do their open mics for a couple songs just to make sure you don't completely suck. We have a live vid montage we threw together that isn't gonna win any awards, but it's been enough to get us a few gigs (we filmed a little showcase slot that someone let us do--you can do the same at an open mic). I've even walked into places with my laptop and showed them that and have been able to bypass the open mic audition.

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I do most of my new rooms by cold calls, email, and having them look at our web site too, but I also did face to face's with a lot of venues as well. Sometimes you have to be more persistant with the email/phone call method.

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I'll add 2 things to the promo pack:

 

1. Phone calls work for this...call the place and find out the first and last name and job title of whoever books the bands. Write up a professional cover letter on letterhead you design with your band logo at the top, address it to the bar manager or agent including their full name and job title, etc etc, and write up a short and concise letter discussing what you have to offer them. Why should they hire you? They'll be impressed, and you look like professionals.

 

2. Once you gain more experience, get employer reviews. Nothing more impressive than opening our promo package and seeing quotes like: "Very tight band with a great following. I look forward to their performances here, both personally and professionally." - Manger X from Venue Y. It will sell ya!

 

One other tip...be confident but not cocky. If you project the image that your band is the s**t, then that's what you are (at least until you show otherwise!).

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As for a printed press pack--I think I still have the entire stack I started out with a few months ago. Nobody looks at them or wants them.

 

 

Completely disagree with this!! We did not start booking good (and better paying) gigs until we designed a promo pack, which we modeled after a professionally designed pack that was made by a talent agency for a friend's band.

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Dudes, different buyers in different markets can respond differently.


Why is it an either/or choice? You can have a press kit AND an online presence. You can market via email AND over the phone AND in person.


Nothing works until it works.

 

 

Heck yeah. I know I didn't say anything about staying away from online contacts and promo! Although, I agree with the idea that 100 emails won't get you as far as 1 or 2 talks to a talent agent or bar manager, etc, in person.

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Good info, we're definitely willing and ready to carpet-bomb the area with face-to-face meetings, promo kits, social media. We're finalizing our logo right now, so the promo kit will be first priority this next week or two.

 

We also thought we'd hit up the organizers of the various outdoor events that take place around here to try and get a couple slots to help spread the name.

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Completely disagree
with this!! We did not start booking good (and better paying) gigs until we designed a promo pack, which we modeled after a professionally designed pack that was made by a talent agency for a friend's band.

 

 

Cool. Whatever works. All I was saying is that nobody looks at ours. Around here they'd rather see or hear us play than read some canned marketing fluff about why it's better to hire us to play Jesse's Girl than some other band. I've looked at a ton of other bands press kits--they all look the pretty much the same after a while. Writing means nothing. (I know this for a fact--I'm a writer for a living, LOL.) Show me the goods.

 

I'm not saying it doesn't work for some people, just never any band I've ever been involved with.

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Cool. Whatever works. All I was saying is that nobody looks at
ours
. Around here they'd rather see or hear us play than read some canned marketing fluff about why it's better to hire us to play Jesse's Girl than some other band. I've looked at a ton of other bands press kits--they all look the pretty much the same after a while. Writing means nothing. (I know this for a fact--I'm a writer for a living, LOL.)
Show
me the goods.


I'm not saying it doesn't work for some people, just never any band I've ever been involved with.

yes, word of mouth and knowledge of the band win out easily over the glossiest promo pack.

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