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Terre Haute Federation of Musicians
The Business of Music 1

Primitive Promotions from Scratch

      Are you a band just starting out? Or you just haven't hit your stride yet? Could be you just don't have the bucks to promote your band yet.
First of all, if you've got any club work coming up already, or are in negotiation for gigs, these people could help you get through the bleak periods.
*One idea is to try for a deposit along with your contract. If the club owner balks, you could explain that you're going to use better equipment for his gig, and he'll benefit in the long-run.
*Another idea is if you know the club is booked for awhile, tell them you are also booked, but would like to discuss the possibility of returning in six weeks. [And then DO IT!]. This tells the club owner you aren't beginners and that his customers won't be test subjects! Tell them you LOVE performing there and that you did a good job, the crowd was receptive, the club had good receipts, and that you showed up on time. Then ask the club owner if they might write you a letter of recommendation. However you ask, put it in your own words but let them think it was their idea.
*Something else. Club owners know each other. They know which bands are a pain, which are good, which are late, which ones bring in the crowds, and which don't work at all. Don't alienate a club owner if he or she is having a bad night. You may think you'll never want to work there again, and you may not. But things change, and management/owners change. But the reputation you'll end up with will hurt you in the other clubs in the area and may take a long time to recover from [if ever].
*After a successful gig, try to re-book your band immediately. The good feeling from the nights' performance could pay off in more work. And you can always ask the club owner about other job referrals.

      Remember if they like you, they are more apt to refer, or just give you a couple of names and have you go for yourself.
Constant communication is very important. Some club owners don't like to return calls [surprise, surprise]. If you don't hear from them don't give up. Send them a note. Give them another call. Leave an interesting message on their answering machine. Call them again. A little decent persistence can have a lot of reward. Use your personality. Get them to like you, and ask them to book you. Even if they don't book you, always let them know where you are playing, what you are doing, and how you could do a great job for them if the opportunity presents itself.
      A tactic I have often used myself especially when starting out with a new band is: Send flyers, send business cards, send brochures, send articles, send anything and everything you can with the band name on it. CONSTANTLY! Place flyers on billboards, in grocery stores, mail them to clubs and club owners, place them in music shops, anywhere and everywhere you can. Then when you start calling about bookings, they will recognize the band name and this will make them more receptive to you. [Psychological marketing works!] They may not be able to place the band name, but they can't put the band name together with anything bad either. This means a great start and hopefully more work for your band!