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Terre Haute Federation of Musicians
The Business of Music 2

BOOKING YOURSELF

            Maybe you dont have an agent or the phone isnt ringing off the hook. Whether youre a single or cover band, having a great sound isnt enough. Getting work takes time and patience. If you want the better paying gigs that pay better than scale+beer+applause, heres a checklist of things you need.

1)      Keep your press kit up-to-date. You do have one dont you? You need a 3-4 song demo, recent photos, a list of past gigs, quote sheet. Make sure your great endorsements are from credible people.

2)      Song List. If you're a cover band or a lounge act, you have to be prepared to do as many as 5 sets a night. You want easily recognized and familiar hit tunes and you want whoever is booking to know you have a terrific repertoire.

3)      Business cards. This is obvious. Make sure the info is adequate, up-to-date. Be sure your e-mail address and website is listed. Give it some class if thats your thing, or some creativeness if youre more hip.

4)      Answering machine. You cant sit around the house all day waiting for that call. BUT you can't afford to miss it when it comes! When someone is interested in booking you, they want info now, not in a week or two. Make sure it works and is TURNED ON! Voice mail is excellent for this.

5)      Pocket calendar. Dont leave home without it. You don't want to have to get back to someone who wants to book you.

6)      Is the venue right for you? Are you a 10-piece expected to play on a 3-piece stage? Are you chamber music in a rock club?

7)      Thick skin. You will have to make a lot of contacts. Not everyone who gets your info will run to the phone to call you. Many will forget who you are. Be ready to handle rejection professionally. And be ready, willing, and able to walk away if the money or terms are not right.

8)      CONTRACTS. The union is another advantage here. Your local supplies them. Use them. File them.

9)      Personality. You're good. You know it. Let 'em know it with tact, charm and personality. Have a positive attitude. Don't chop someone else to build yourself up. If you do, you're not as good as you thought. DONT BRAG! Don't tell them the way it is. You'll come off looking like an ass. No matter how good you are, you won't get the job. Don't get testy if you don't get the job. The clubs know each other. You won't just lose this job, you'll lose many others before you even hit the door.

10)   Thank you notes. Other bands seldom send them. When the gig is over, send the club a note of thanks. It doesn't have to be long. It can even be hand-written. It will set you apart from everyone else. That's EXACTLY what you want.

11)  Don't start hacking away at your fee if somebody says "You're price is too high". Explain your experience, your past and performances. But be prepared to say "No thanks", if they won't budge. Some bars like the noisy, awful, $50. and all-the-beer-you-can-drink bands. The bands are as bad as the bar. Run away from them as fast as you can.

Well theres the list. How do you stack up? Seems simple doesnt it? Then why doesnt everyone do it? The music business is also the marketing business. You need both to be a success.