Hello everyone, and welcome to my first educational moment. Today I am going to be discussing how to communicate with talent buyers and venue owners. What to do, and what not to do. This post coincides with my educational moment on “Hold That Thought” at the bottom of blog you will find the audio version.
We have experienced this scenario many times over the years when receiving bands submissons. It starts off with a simple email. Fifteen minutes later, you get a Facebook message. Fifteen minutes after that you receive a voice mail, and then shortly after the phone call you receive a tweet. All within an hour’s span. The sad thing about this situation is that I am not exaggerating. This happens all the time
When we experience something like this, I can’t help but think, why would I want to work with someone who refuses to give us at least 24 hours to reply? The outcome will always be the same for us because we won’t take on any new artists who lack professionalism. So if you are trying to obtain new work, than show some professional courtesy. Give the buyer, or venue owner, some time to process the message and reply. Response rates are not a click away.
To better understand the business we need to know that talent buyers and venue owners get bombarded with band submissions daily. So how do we get our message through to them without harassing them?
First, respect their time. Whether you are emailing or calling , give it two weeks before you check back in.
Find out what their favorite form of communication is. For example, go to their website first before you send a message over social media. I myself want to spend as little time on social media as possible, so the best way to reach me is by phone or email. I use social media to market the business and connect with friends. I don’t use it to acquire talent and secure dates.
Read the band submissions page before you hit send, If they ask for an EPK and you don’t have one, then why waste your time? If they ask for a live video of the band and you don’t have one, why waste their their time? If it’s a cover show and you send a setlist with ten songs for a four hour gig, don’t expect a reply.
You are trying to obtain work, not the other way around. If you went into an interview for a 9 to 5 job and they required you to fill out an application before hand, but you couldn’t provide all of the information on that application, why would you expect to get the job? It’s the same situation, the only difference is your probably going to get paid more as a musician.
Over the years I have acquired a better understanding of how talent buyers work. Not just because we book for venues, but also because I, myself, solicit for two bands. Both bands that I inquire about have moved on from the bar gigs and are in search of either corporate functions or all original festivals. I have been doing this for about 3 years now, and it’s been a huge learning experience for me. Here is some of the insight that I picked up over the last three years that has helped me progress.
1. Get used to be rejected. You will experience a very low return rate on converting new opportunities into actual sales. My first couple of years the percentage was right around 2%. I have slowly climbed to an 11% rate, which is still no where near the place I want to be. When you hear the word NO, don’t get discouraged Get creative and work harder. The music business is not about getting lucky, it’s about hard work.
2. Track your data. This will give you insight into the industry . What is the most optimal day to send an email? what is the best time for a cold call? When do talent buyers typically schedule their shows or events? without this knowledge you are just wasting time. I use a crm but for my first couple of years I got by with a simple google doc sheet.
3.Your content that you send. What exactly is in the email? Take a step back and look at your material from a different perspective. Let’s do a little mock role play. I want you to craft an email to a fictious festival. Send them what you would normally send when trying to obtain new work. Then I want you to send that email to yourself. Before you open that email I want you to put yourself in a different mindset. Here is the scenario…this is your second year throwing “Rock The Bay Music Festival”. Year one was a struggle but you made it through. The second year seems to be even more of a challenge because some sponsors did not see a return from last years event. This means that you have had to work twice as hard as last year to obtain vendors and sponsors. So the majority of your time has been spent marketing and hunting down vendors for “Rock The Bay.” Your inbox is ridiculously overwhelmed, but this week you will need to announce the lineup so you can start gaining traction. You open the inbox and start shuffling through band submissions. You realize that a high percentage of the band submissions all look the same. You finally come across a band from the next town that stands out! I want this band! I need something different this year. How does your band stick out from the thousands of other bands in town? What makes you different? You need to think about these selling factors when you are trying to obtain work. Market your message creatively!
4. Be prepared with dates. Add the dates in the email that you are looking for. This tells me that your organized and ready to work.
5. Lastly, realize that there are “different courses for different horses”. Knowing what type of venue or event you are contacting is key. Over the years we have had every type of genre contact us for the cover venues we represent. If you are a singer/songwriter, them soliciting a venue that showcases top 40’s dance music is not going to be the right fit for you. There is nothing wrong with a venue that kindly tells you that your music is not the right fit. The owner or agent usually has a good feel for what will work and what won’t work. I solicited a craft beer bar once, and the owner told me that the band played too many corporate bars, so they would not fit. At first I was offended, but soon realized that she was indeed correct. Know what course works for you and stick with it.