Talent buyers are busy people, and typically have too much on their plate at any given time to deal with a band or artist who makes any of the following seven mistakes when attempting to contact them.
Guest Post by Jhoni Jackson on the Sonicbids Blog
In case you haven't considered this before: talent buyers are busy people, you guys. Filling a venue's calendar requires a ton of work: sifting through a perpetually growing inbox of inquiries, reaching out to bands independently, keeping an eye on events at other local spots, and ensuring all booked events run smoothly are just the basics. That said: please don't annoy them.
Common sense should really rule out these six irksome habits, but the eagerness and ambition you likely possess as an independent musician can sometimes muddy your judgment. Make sure you're thinking clearly before contacting a talent buyer by reviewing the most common ways that musicians irritate them.
1. Send an incomplete inquiry
Save for whatever additional details are specifically requested by the venue or talent buyer, your booking inquiry should contain this standard info:
- Link to your EPK (create one here)
- Short bio
- One to three photos
- Links to social media
- Links to music on SoundCloud, YouTube, Bandcamp, or an MP3 or two attached
- Proposed dates for the show
- Tentative lineup
- Suggested cover charge
You should always check the Facebook page or website of a venue before sending anything – they may not want certain items, or may ask for others you hadn't thought to include.
2. Message on social media
It's highly unlikely that the preferred method of contact of the talent buyer or venue in question is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other way besides email. Again, check the info available online.
3. Try to book by phone
Don't send an email asking for someone to give you a call. Talent buyers need to hear music, look at your social media numbers, and check their calendars for availability, among other things involved with considering your band for booking. Having a chat beforehand is pretty superfluous when you're going to ultimately send an email anyway, and it becomes an even more unnecessary burden when you begin to have trouble finding a time when you're both available to talk. Save the time and awkward conversation and just deliver all your info at once by email.
4. Follow up too many times
It's understandable to want to follow up about a booking inquiry if you haven't heard back. People sometimes accidentally overlook emails, and you want to be sure yours was seen. Fair enough. It is not cool, however, to send multiple messages in the wake of silence. Especially for small to mid-size venues, the talent buyer or venue owner is probably juggling a bunch of responsibilities in addition to fielding tons of other booking requests. If you haven't heard back in a few weeks after contacting them a second time, it's likely they aren't interested.
You're more likely to lessen your chances of getting a gig than increase them if you pester them too much. One follow-up email is okay; more than that is excessive.
5. Disappear after confirming a date
The level of contact between a talent buyer and band between booking and showtime will vary by situation, but at least a few exchanges are required. You should be in contact once the promo is done and your Facebook event is created, and talk again closer to the day of the show to double check everything's set to go according to plan. The talent buyer shouldn't have to go looking for you in either instance.
6. Contact them constantly with updates
As important as it is that bands stay in touch with talent buyers in charge of their upcoming show, it's also important that you don't overwhelm them with trivial updates. (They're not only working on your event, you know.) So long as they're not super time sensitive, let a few notes accumulate and send them in one email, rather than several.
7. Make changes without telling the talent buyer
Any alterations to the original plan should be relayed to the talent buyer. Even if you're 100 percent in charge of booking, their role isn't simply to reserve the date, but also to oversee the whole shebang. Don't assume you can make changes to the lineup, cover charge, or anything else without their approval. The most common change happens when a band slated to perform drops out. In that case, notify your contact – and include a few ideas for replacements.
Jhoni Jackson is an Atlanta-bred music journalist currently based in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where she juggles owning a venue called Club 77, freelance writing and, of course, going to the beach as often as possible.