The business side

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I'm in this one band...we don't work too much. Here's the story. We've been putting together like 4 hours of music for almost 6 years now, we practice every other weekend (at most). OK we have a full night's worth of music plus extra. But there is no business plan. What do we do now? None of us are really good at booking the band, promoting the band and doing everything required to get out there. I'm all for hiring booking agents to do all that. I'd like to hear how everyone handles this necessary evil, booking the band, negotiating, and dealing with the upstanding people :) in this fine business....
 

matthew

Senior Member
I would go to local venues that you think you'd be suitable at and talk to the management.

Ask them when its a good time to chat, or catch them when say the manager is taking a break.. go up be nice and chat about what you can offer them. leave a business card and go home.

folllow up with emails, with links to a professional looking myspace with band pictures and recordings.

thats what I'd do.

good luck
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Matthew, I don't want to do that. It's not my thing. It's not MY band, it's his. I guess what I'm asking is, what is everyone's experience w/ booking agents?
 

KBadd

Silver Member
Find an honest agent.

If you are in the band it's also your band. You need to go out and meet people in other bands that are playing live and ask them what they did to get the gig.

Unfortunately you need to be a people person/salesperson. Make a lot of cold calls in clubs, on the phone etc and soon you will have a booked schedule.

I booked my band for the first time when I was 13. I called the principal of a school and asked if he needed a band for the graduation. We set up an audition at our rehearsal and got the gig. If you cannot deal with people straight up then the Agent will do it for you and it will cost.

Good luck my drumming friend!

KBadd
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
... there is no business plan. What do we do now? None of us are really good at booking the band, promoting the band and doing everything required to get out there. I'm all for hiring booking agents to do all that. I'd like to hear how everyone handles this necessary evil, booking the band, negotiating, and dealing with the upstanding people :) in this fine business....
It's a strange thing. Everyone in my band are either managers or have managed projects at work. Yet, when it comes to the band we not only switch off the tension, but also our knowledge and skills - as though we briefly revert to our teenage years. It's been random for a long time. So a couple of months ago I started applying the tiniest amount of logic to it.

• Step one was to research potential venues for us. I then sent the list around for comments / additions / deletions. (At the same time I sent around a list of songs we've talked about covering and forgotten for the same process)

• Step two was to decide on which songs to record for a demo, depending on the venue - three songs for lounge gigs and three songs for bars

• Step three is to beat the chosen songs into shape ready for recording

• Step 3.5 - play songs for another ten years until said songs are at a satisfactory standard :)

• Step four - create MySpace website with songs

• Step five - contact venues and ask about their preferred modus operandi in hiring bands. Apply charm offensive

• Step six - have fun

• Step seven - retire from our day jobs after chance meeting with influential music exec at a gig who just LOVES us and propels us to superstardom.

• Step eight - forget about planning because that's someone else's job. Develop drug habit, attend health farms, marry unwisely and have messy public divorce after partner admits to having a wide stance and sex addiction, (and I deny owning a blue dress), adopt a gaggle of African waifs to jam with at home ...
 

ddocimo

Junior Member
go for cheap at first, and when other people see that your band is a quality group for a good price, they'll go after you.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Polly have I told you lately just how much pleasure I get from reading your stuff? Geez woman you are Pullitzer Prize material if ever there was one...
 

rogue_drummer

Gold Member
Some good news. Instead of emailing the venues (like they said to on their web site, even insisting that is the ONLY way they will book), and not getting any results at all, and getting extremely frustrated, we went outside the system.

Last week I went by a venue we played at in December. We had a "booking agent" / pimp get us in the place on the same bill as 4 other bands. That was all well and good. However, the reason I called this guy a pimp was because he kept all the profits. We played for 1 hour, he kept all the receipts. Not even comped drinks. We had been wanting to play there again, but got no call backs at all, even though the manager of the venue loved our music when we played. He even told us.

I stopped by there last week determined to get an answer. Well I caught both the co-owner and manager there at the same time. Bingo!! They had our biz cards and sample CD and remembered us and wanted us to come back. They were mad at the booking agent for not placing bands in their pub on weekends. They were expecting a band or two and got nothing from this guy.

After talking with the manager and co-ownver for a while, we got booked! Sooner than we thought.

Then on the way home, I had to pick up some more sample CDs from our lead guitar player's house, which was down the street from a venue we had been wanting to play. Again, their web site said to email booking requests. On a lark, I stopped in and asked who their booking agent was. It was the bartender I was asking! After talking to him for just a few minutes, we got booked!

Sorry for the ramble, but I thought I'd pass that along. Talking face to face with venue owners or managers or bartenders actually DOES work if you want to get booked. Someone on another post said venues rarely, if at all, check their email accounts, even though they say that is the way they book. I now fully believe that.
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
A few options...

Booking agent: Be SURE to get an agent that doesn't charge a monthly/quarterly fee! I can't stress this enough. I'd rather pay an agent 20% off the top of the gigs they book than pay a quarterly fee and 15% of the booking. Some agents won't be able to get you a gig for months. Also, you can work with several. They should all have different contacts/vantage points/specialties. Find a few that specialize in the kinds of gigs you want to play for the pay that you want to earn.

Booking gigs yourself: The more profitable way to do it, the best for band reputation, the best way to make sure you're properly represented. But...the most intimidating, especially for people who have never landed a gig for themselves. Once you book a few gigs, it becomes easier. If you want me to, I could go into some of the things that a client would want to hear about your band (how you want to represent yourself, what you should and shouldn't say, etc...). You're right to call this the "business" side, because it IS...you're selling your product, which is your live performance. You want to make it a win-win situation for your band and the venue. There are books you can read, classes you can take put on by your local union, and other successful bands you can talk to to learn about this. The information is out there, and there are plenty of opportunities to practice as well--some of them possibly resulting in gigs!

Most bands don't go anywhere because no one is willing to "step up". Everyone feels like they're either too shy or unqualified to do it. Been there, done that. If you want to play out, and even get paid for it, somebody needs to make a move.

Hope this helps!
 

Garvin

Pioneer Member
I have no actual experience with agents, or booking companies, but one of my previous bands got close to doing this. I would fully support it because I think it is well worth 15% of whatever you get paid not to have to deal with bar/venue managers. They are almost all evil across the board.

My thought, which I expressed to my bandmates was we could huslte our butts off for a few $500 gigs at local venues, but that would basically condem us to being a bar band. I would rather hire someone to book us for 6-7 summer festivals and other higher profile gigs (corporate stuff, weddings etc...) for $1000-2000 and keep their cut of that.

We'd still be getting better money and playing better gigs. There are several types of promotion companies where I'm at, but nothing ever came to fruition and we disintigrated shortly after not doing anything about it.
 

dairyairman

Platinum Member
Sorry for the ramble, but I thought I'd pass that along. Talking face to face with venue owners or managers or bartenders actually DOES work if you want to get booked. Someone on another post said venues rarely, if at all, check their email accounts, even though they say that is the way they book. I now fully believe that.
i told you that! what you did is the ONLY WAY, i'm not even joking. you really have to talk to those manager people face to face at a time when they aren't busy to get any results.

in my band, i'm the "booking/business/promotion" guy, not because i like it. i hate it. but everyone else in the band is completely clueless and unmotivated with that stuff so it falls into my lap if we are to survive.

i'm very excited about a recent success too. i finally managed to get us booked in a very desirable, high-paying club that i've been pestering for weeks! wahoo!
 

rogue_drummer

Gold Member
Excellent!! Congrats DairyAirMan! And thank you for that great advice! I was turning that over and over in my head and chewing on it, thinking the best angle to approach these guys. It worked! The first venue I stopped at I caught the co-owner playing one of those slot machines. I walked up to him, introduced myself again and he remembered me. I asked if it was a good time to talk and he seemed genuinely pleased someone had enough courtesy to ask. He regailed me on all kinds of things: bars, sports, bands, music, cars, etc., etc. etc. Then he called over his manager to work out the details of booking. The three of us had a good chat. Bingo! We got booked.

The next venue I got the bartender booking agent while he wasn't very busy. We talked for a few minutes and even told me the best weekend to play since the venue was by a local college and they would be gone soon for Spring Break.

Face to face is by far the best way if you can catch them while they are not busy.

Again, many thanks for your advice!!!
 
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