The DIY Musician’s Complete Guide to Touring Presented by iMoveiLive

A Booking Strategy that Works
by: Kevin of CD Baby
Getting your band booked in the local club scene can be a challenging task to say the least.  It’s hard enough to get your email or press pack noticed by the club booker, but once you get your foot in the door, there are still numerous factors that can dictate whether or not you actually get a gig.  It’s time to get strategic!  Here is a strategy you can use to greatly increase your odds of getting the gig all the while making the club booker happy!
Step 1. Get familiar with the venue’s calendar – There are many inside tips and secrets that can be gleaned just from consistently checking out a venues calendar.  Most clubs are meticulous with their calendar (which are usually posted online).  Start looking for specific clues.  Do they have a standard number of bands on the bill every night?  Is there a night where they tend to give new bands a shot?
Step 2. Look for holes in the schedule – Once you pick up on a club’s booking patterns, you can start finding holes in their schedule where THEY are in need of a band.
Step 3. Make sure your music is a match – Now that you have identified the shows where the venue is most likely looking for bands, narrow it down to the shows where you music is a true fit (time to be honest folks!).  Remember, in order for this strategy to work, you must only pitch to the shows where you fit!
Step 4. Target that specific show in you email pitch – Now you are prepared to approach the club booker in a way that HELPS THEM out! Just put the show name and date in the subject line of your email and politely let them know that you would be a good fit to round out that bill (Keep the email brief!).  The chances of getting a response to your email, and better yet a gig, just went way up!
Remember: Booking a club is a tough job, and the club booker is always happy to solidify a show and get it off their plate.  When you approach them in a way that helps them out, you’ll see results.  If you constantly spam them wanting to play dates that are already filled on their calendar, then you will never be taken seriously.  It can take a long time for a new band to a get a crack at a highly regarded venue/club.  That is, if you do what every other band does and expect the club booker to do all the work for you.  Instead, stop looking to them to solve your booking problems and start thinking about how your band can HELP THEM out.  That’s what my band (Hello Morning) did, and we consistently get asked, “How do you keep getting those gigs?”  Now you know the secret!
Originally Published on DIY Musicians  June 2010

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