Check out Gigmor’s new explainer video! We’re excited to have it finished it. The team at LessFilms.com really came through for us on this one.
How To Book Shows
Playing a lot of gigs can help you become great at playing in front of a crowd. But, how do you book shows as an independent artist? Continue reading and you’ll learn how to book shows and get paid to build up your portfolio.
Starting with the basics.
First, we’ll cover how vendors and concert promoters go about booking shows. Following that, we’ll have an exact plan of how to book a gig just like a concert production company.
The business of booking shows and playing concerts is based around one thing, money. You need to understand this to make it ahead of 96.5% of all artists. Once you realize that they want to sell as many tickets, cover charge and bar sales as possible you can understand why you don’t play the big venues. To understand what each part of the business is looking for, I’ve broken down each roll in the transaction.
The venues pay for top talent. These are the venues that get big name acts that have a following and will easily sell tickets to a show. Many musicians do not fall into this category. The second way venues get shows is that they rent out the space to a band. The band will then sell tickets to cover the cost of the rental. Sometimes venues have a bar guarantee. This is where the bar is guaranteed a certain amount of revenue from drink sales. Venues want two things, money is the first and most important. Second is a terrific experience for the customers, because happy customers always spend more at the bar. As you can see the second has a direct effect on the first.
Concert Production Company –
Many musicians cannot afford the rental fee for a venue’s space. So what do they do? This is where a concert production team comes into the mix. A concert production team will put the money up front to rent the music venue. Then, they get a bunch of bands to play a concert. The bands are then required to promote the show to their audience. The promoter rents the space, books five bands, and collects the money for the tickets sales. Once the promoter makes their rental fee back, they take a percentage of the ticket sales. The musicians only get paid if they sell all the tickets they promised to sell. This can work well for musicians, as long as they sell the amount of tickets or more than they promised to sell.
Now onto the exact blueprint you can use to book shows.
You can be the concert promoter. Call up all the bands in your area and find out if they want to play a show with you. Get five or so bands to start, then call around to the venues, find the ones that consistently have music similar to your bands and look at the reviews of the venues online. You will want to find quality places to have a show. Now, call the best venue and say you are a concert promoter and want to rent their space. Find out the cost. It could be anywhere from a bar guarantee, to a 5,000 dollar fee. Depending on how much you have, book shows that make the most sense. I know it may seem crazy to spend money to play a show, but really if you do your research and find the right venue you can make some good money.
Then, enlist the bands that you gathered to make sure that they will sell a specified amount of tickets. Have them post fliers and send people to your website to purchase the tickets. Look at that! You are your own concert promoter! Great.
Tips: Use your email list to promote your show. Also, make sure that people friend you on facebook or twitter at your shows. Ask them to when you are on stage.
The second technique:
If you have been networking with other bands, you will be able to leverage your relationships. Find a band that you have formed a relationship with and ask if they need an opening act. Say, you can bring your own fans to help increase ticket sales. You will want to show that you can help them grow as a band and maybe you can show them how to promote their band online too. This way you will been seen as a new up and coming act and will gain fans that are fans of the other band.
Gigging Like You’ve Never Gigged Before
The last piece of the puzzle is about throwing the ultimate party. Many musical acts play music and hope that the audience likes their music. But, there is more to it than that. The goal is to throw an event. What do I mean by this? You want to have people enjoy themselves. In creating a show, the key word is “Show” so the audience feels connected to you and your music is important. Being a great musician is about throwing one awesome party. Here are some tips to throwing a terrific concert.
Connect with the audience.
Speak to them in a direct conversation. Engaging with your audience is about talking about local talking points. So ask around, talk about the restaurant that everyone knows or the local [fill in the blank] everybody knows. Do some research about the area.
There are some tools you can use such as http://tweetwall.com/. It is a live twitter feed that you can project while you are in concert. This will create a live conversation during your show. Put a guest book over by the bar so people can give you their email. This will help with your email marketing.
Be a great showman
This is an art and can take some practice. It can take time but don’t worry about making mistakes. The key is to make mistakes early and often. As you learn what works continue to do those things.
Some tricks that you can use to become a better showman are as follows.
- Bring People Up on Stage. This might make you nervous the first time you do it but trust me the person coming up onstage is more nervous.
- Create a part of the song that the crowd can sing. I know this may seem cheesy, but the goal is to get participation, and create a memorable evening.
- Sing about things that your audience finds relevant. Or bring somebody on stage ask their name, and then include that persons’ name in the song.
- Pretend you are, throwing a New Year’s party and have balloons drop down from the ceiling. This stuff may sound gimmicky but the real goal is about creating an experience.
- Does your audience read teen vampire novels? Hire a friend or actor to dress up in a vampire costume and dance around on stage.
The point is you want to get engaged with your audience. Show them you care, and do what is relevant to your audience. I went to a jazz club once where the singer song writer got into a conversation with a person in the front row. It seemed like two old friends having a chat and you, “the audience” felt connected to them. It was a great show and I had a wonderful time, plus there were only fifty people in the bar anyways. The size of the show doesn’t matter.
Just get out there and go book shows. Big or small it doesn’t matter. No matter where you think you are in your gigging skill set you can only get better with practice. Also, congratulations! You just finished this article. Leave your comments below and tell me how you are putting the techniques to work. Take action. You are equipped with knowledge on how to book shows and succeed in today’s music industry. Get out there and put these techniques to work. The only way this will work for you is if you do the work. Don’t be scared. Roll up your sleeves and put in the work. It will pay huge dividends down the road. Good Luck!
Congratulations, you can run the ultimate music promotion. Don’t just stop with reading this article. Sign up for gigmor.com to get awesome newsletters and connect with other musicians.
Today, more than ever, it’s easier to create an EPK and find gigs in your area. In fact, you can create your free EPK on Gigmor! Unfortunately, many people are still using techniques from the 1920’s to promote their music. Below are a few tips on creating an EPK that actually works.
What is an EPK?
Simply put, an EPK (electronic press kit) is a resume. It will help you book shows, get coverage in the media, and grow your band.
What isn’t an EPK?
It’s not a CD, list of experience, boring biography, or a drab one sheet that tells people all about “you”!
Are you confused yet? Good.
Let me ask you a question. Have you ever applied for a job and received an interview?
What did you do differently than the other 98% of applicants? Getting a gig is exactly the same as a job interview and your EPK is your resume. Your approach to crafting the EPK is very similar to how you would approach writing your resume for your dream job.
The goal of creating an EPK is, of course, to get booked. Talent buyers are doing a job, same as everyone. Think about what motivates them to make a booking decision. Let’s think about a talent buyer at a typical music venue. Ultimately, they want to fill their venue with fans and sell them alcohol.
Your EPK should be focused on what you can do for them.
How do you make an EPK that sells?
Here are the four elements to a great sales letter:
- Grab Their Attention
- Understand Their Problem
- Gain Trust
- Solve Their Problem
Now, let’s look at the traditional elements of an EPK:
- Music/Music Video
- Press Coverage
- One Sheet Summary
- Song Summary
How do you combine these elements to create the ultimate EPK?
First, you want to have an amazing photo. If you can afford it, find a professional photographer to take photos of you. Express to the photographer that you want to convey a message in the photo and they should help you with this. Don’t have a friend take a photo with a smartphone. You want to have a professional quality photograph.
2. Header With A Tagline.
Create a header that is the band name and then a one sentence (shorter the better) tagline. You want the tagline to describe you and get people’s attention to read further.
Most people put press on the bottom, but you want to show people you matter. Put your press quotes, sources, and links high on the page. What this does is give social proof that you matter. It also doesn’t matter how big or small. Just make sure you have a link to the article to make it as easy as possible to view where you are mentioned. Including a promoter review is a huge plus too (as long as it is positive).
This is a bio that is more of a quick sales summary. You want to describe the type of person you are. Give a quick history and talk about how you are a benefit to the venue. You want to provide every reason why someone should hire you.
Quick tip: Call up a vendor and find out how they hire acts. Find out the issues they face when hiring a band.
Now, when you are writing your summary, briefly describe the style of music. Also, describe the type of customer you will bring in. Write about how you solve problems [one], [two], and [three] for the vendor.
5. Music Video
Put a music video up that represents you. If you don’t have one, create one. Here’s how. Contact a local video production company and find out what it would take for them to film a music video. If you have the money, do it professionally. If you don’t have a ton of money, the best thing to do is to contact a local college with a video department. See if you can find a talented student to do the work at a discount rate. Students will want to have a portfolio piece and they have top equipment that will make your video look very professional.
You can post a live feed from soundcloud on your website. This will allow someone to play your music. You should post the top 3 or 4 songs, no more. You want to give someone viewing your EPK an idea of your music, but you don’t need to overwhelm them with too much music.
This doesn’t necessarily need to be there. But if you must keep it short. Usually this is covered in the summary, and if you write your summary right you shouldn’t need a bio. If you really want a bio put it on a downloadable link when someone downloads your mp3 or record history.
- Put several buttons on the EPK page that say “book this band”. It will allow someone to book you through a contact form.
- You want to sell yourself through your EPK, but you do not want to sound like a super sales letter. Be authentic.
- You may want to create a different EPK for each outlet. (media, venue, other opportunities).
This is the ultimate EPK and if you create anything like it you will be ahead of the fold. Now that you have an stellar EPK it’s time to reach out and book a show. Continue to the next chapter to learn how to book gigs and get paid! Keep on rockin.
What is email marketing?
I will first describe what it is not. First, it is not a bunch of coupons that get sent out to emails that never get opened. It is also not a way to make people buy your stuff. What it is however is the one place online that you are guaranteed for someone to see your message.
So… how do you make this silver bullet work for you?
Below is one of many strategies and I will go over all the philosophy followed by an exact blueprint of how to make this work.
Email is the best place to create an authentic message and conversation with your fans. You want to write emails that tell stories and somehow help people to see that you care about them. You build a relationship by creating a conversation with them. You engage with them by replying personally to their emails. Once you have a relationship you ask for people to purchase tickets, albums, and merchandise. Finally, you over deliver. You give them more than what they asked for and keep building the relationship. This is what it is all about. It is the way to foster a community of raving fans.
Let’s go over the exact blueprint of email marketing.
Collect An Email Address
The first thing is that you want to collect an email address.
An “opt-in” form. When you have people land on your homepage, you want to offer them a free three song download. All they do is submit their email address. You can also offer them this with a pop up opt-in form. I know pop ups are really annoying but, it really does work. You just need to make the offer sound too good to pass on. You should also put a smaller version of the opt-in form in the middle and bottom of you blog posts that you are driving traffic too. Making the offer relevant to the blog post is a must for having this be the most successful.
- Telling them you won’t spam them.
- Saying you will keep them up to date on your shows and even presale discounts.
- Good post for super detailed opt-in pages.
Yay… You got an email! So now what?
So, let’s say you make an offer for a free music download for an email address. There is software that will automatically email them the music download once someone submits their email address. There are also a bunch of really cool features like auto sending emails at predetermined intervals to help you build a relationship on autopilot.
So, what kind of emails should I write write?
You will write emails to build a relationship. The first email will have your music download confirmation. The person will need to confirm that they signed up with you before they get the music download. This is standard to make sure that future emails don’t end up in the spam folder. Once they click confirm your auto responder (this is the thing that sends the automatic email) will send the music download. Since this is a download explain what the item is and how to download it. Thank them for being interested and make them feel included in your fan group. Here’s an example below.
Hey [They’re Name],
You did it! You’re an exclusive member and here is your personal copy of our songs. Just click the zip and download it. Open the folder in your computer and extract the files. Then listen till your heart’s content.
The first is [name] did the percussion and it is up tempo and awesome! The second is [blank] was made when I was feeling down, so it really is my soul on a plate. The third is [blank] is about how excited the band was after touring for a month and excited to get home.
We sometimes send out email updates on tours, other music, and sometimes crazy things. So, keep posted on other emails.
Glad you are now in the club; thanks.
P.S. This might seem weird, but could you do me a huge favor…? Email me back and let me know what you think. You Rock!
Remember to just be yourself. Let them know you appreciate them. Get them excited and don’t forget to ask them to respond. This opens the conversation. Whether they email you back with good or bad comments, thank them for letting you know and respond to their email. It will also make them feel special that you personally sent them a message.
Send an email two days later. In the email send them to a blog post. This will help you to build a relationship with your audience even further.
Hey [Their Name],
I hope you have been enjoying the music you got. Remember when I said I would email you crazy things sometimes. Well this is one of those times. As I sit here in my purple chair watching “Sanford and Sons” reruns I couldn’t help but think it hasn’t been all cupcakes and cheetos! Check out this post I wrote and think you would really enjoy [link].
P.S. Some big things are in the works so stay tuned, our fanbase has grown and we’ve noticed!
This email starts by reminding them of your relationship by recalling something you said in the first email. Second it gets specific about what I am doing. The little details make you seem more real. Then it sends them to a link. The article should be about a struggle you have had in your life. This makes someone feel connected to you by reading an emotional story that they can connect to. The connection, everyone has struggled at one time or another. Next in the blog describe how you overcame those obstacles. Then summarize the article with how important your fans are to you. Describe how when you struggle even now, your fans help you through these struggles.
The Next Email
Now send a third email three days from the one you just sent. This email should direct someone to another blog post that either you, another band member or even a fan wrote. The blog post should be about community. How your fan community stands by each other and how exciting that is. The idea is to get someone involved in the excitement of being involved in something bigger than they are.
Hey [Their Name],
OMG, have you met Janice? Seriously though if there was ever there was a more heart warming event read [link]. She’s one of our supporters and was hiking down a road in the middle of December, in the Cold!!!! I can’t even finish cause I’m too excited. But honestly go check out the article its that good.
I almost forgot, your are special. No, I mean Really Special:-) Thats just my opinion.
Keep On Rocking,
P.S. Good things still percolating, stay tuned!
You can probably imagine the blog post that this email sends you to. The point is to confirm there is a community of people that follow your band and stick up for eachother. You might have to search for some of these stories but by asking around you should find some good ones. Also this email is very persuasive in getting someone excited about the blog post. It also cheers them up by letting them know what you think. It might seem cheesy but you have to be super obvious when you write otherwise readers can jump to their own conclusions. Sometimes these conclusions are good but other times they can damage your relationship.
Wow! Lots of work and still not a single dime… right?
Wrong… You are getting paid in social currency. Honestly better than real dollars. Most people want the check and then move on to the next adventure. But, the really successful individuals build social currency into reoccurring revenue. While others want the paycheck and then wonder why nobody knows who they are two years later. You are building a group that will keep giving you money every show, album, and merchandising event. Woohoo!
So how do you ask for the money?
After you have sent four or five emails (including the one that has the download). It is time to send a sales email.
l’ll lay out an email that gets high responses every time.
Sales Email Example:
Subject: You Rock, Seriously… Okay Check This Out
Hey [Their Name],
Since we have gotten to know each other I feel like we are family. That’s why I felt compelled to give you this; our newest record at 25% off (use code club25 at checkout). This will only be until (specific date five days from now), so… “get it while its hot”, as they say. Plus, a free download of any other album. Thats a huge discount! Keep on rockin’.
P.S. This offer is only valid for people that I deem worthy and yes, you are worthy.
A killer subject line that will get opened. I don’t know about you but if the one above is in my inbox, I’ve got to check it out. Second keep is short and sweet. Get to the point and don’t over do it. Give a specific time that the deal ends. Lastly give an offer they cannot refuse, you don’t need to give away all your music, but showing you appreciate them and giving a great deal usual compels even the people who are on the fence.
That’s it, you’ve done it – Great job. “So, what did you just do”, you might be wondering. Well, let’s break it down. The first email is giving something away to a prospect for their email. The key is to remember some people will stay on your mailing list while others will unsubscribe right away. Don’t let this shake you it’s perfectly normal. Then you got a prospective fans email and you started to quickly build a relationship. As the relationship was built, they felt more connected to you, the musician. Finally, you asked for the sale. This can be a tough thing to do, especially if you have never been in sales, but here are some tips that will help you.
- Always be yourself. Follow the formula as it is laid down but don’t sound fake. Be authentic.
- This style of selling is called direct sales based off earlier forms of mail order sales. There is a right and a cheesy way. Above, I have laid out the right way.
- This formula can be used for selling shows, selling merchandise, or selling other things. For example, I had a client take customers through the process above, but then ask for reviews in iTunes. This worked and helped them rank well in the iTunes store.
- Be creative. Above is a guide for starting out, but the more creative you can be the better for you and your audience.
Now you’re equipped to go out and make some sales. You can start to get profits and repeat as often as necessary. Next we are going to move into a profitable EPK or electronic press kit. I’ll lay down what works, what doesn’t, and how to succeed best. Go check out the next chapter!
Learn to get online traffic to your website. This section will guide you through proven techniques for getting subscribers to your sight.
Getting traffic is easy. Most people struggle with this because they get too much of the wrong kind of visitors. For example: Let’s say you have a company that sells lamps. You can purchase a bunch of google advertising that will direct traffic to your site for the word lamps when someone types the word “lamps” in Google. You can spend all the money in the world. Unfortunately, you won’t sell too many lamps. Why? It is because the customer might be searching for “freestanding lamps” or “street lamps”. These are two totally different products and you might only sell Table Lamps. Long story short, if you are not targeting the correct types of terms or people, then you will waste a ton of money.
So, with this new knowledge lets go over how the process works. The goal is to build an email list. Wait… What…? I thought you said we will be advertising on other networks? Okay you got me. So, let me break it down for you. What you will be building is what is known as a sales funnel.
What is a sales funnel?
Simply put… a sales funnel is the system by which you put prospects in the top of your funnel. Then, they move through a sales process. Finally, you have customers come out of the bottom… Yes, paying customers. Here, I will show you a “paid sales funnel” and then provide you with different places you can pay for these campaigns.
How does this work?
- Well, first off the quickest way to get traffic is “Pay-Per-Click” advertising. Pay-Per-Click is just what it sounds like. It is where you pay when somebody clicks on your advertisement. The advertisement should be a promoted post in whatever platform you are using (check below for platforms). Create some content that is either music they can listen to, a post that is relative to your target audience, or a video interview of another band.
- Once they are on your website you can focus on relationship. The best method is to get someone to subscribe to your email list. This is covered extensively in the next chapter to stay tuned. Giving someone content that is relative to them will help you to build a relationship.
- How do we know if the relationship is going well? It is called trust. This is when a person has moved through the first two stages and are opening your emails and commenting on your music. It is where they like what you do and believe in your cause.
- Finally after someone trusts you it’s time to make an offer they cannot refuse. What this does is make a raving fan out of that person. They trust you so much and like your special discount on your brand new album that they have no problem giving you money.
Different Places You Can Get Pay-Per-Click Advertising
Facebook – This is the largest social network out there and can be very successful. Most people throw money away and have no idea how to spend on this platform. The key is to start small. Then review your results tweak your messaging then see the results. It can take a while but all good things do. Here is a great post on how to start on Facebook.
Twitter – Twitter ads are taking off right now and it’s good to get on the gravy train before everyone figures this out. Twitter has a variety of options for advertising. The best one for your music marketing efforts is using their Promoted Tweets.
- Sign up for an account. If you already have twitter, then you are good to go.
- Once signed up, go to the twitter search section. Look for other bands in your genre. Follow these bands.
- Then go over to digg.com and look at what is popular and the most re-tweeted stories.
- Now you know what your audience will like.
- Create a similar tweet and link it to your similar article.
- Now in twitter, choose your target audience or interests in timeline.
- Target your tweet. Using Keywords In Timeline Setting.
- Look for .50 to .75 cent cost per click (cost per engagement is what Twitter calls it).
There are services out there that will help with this such as:
Stumble Upon – A great site that you can use for free, but here is how to use the paid traffic.
- Create a blog post. Here’s a few tips of the type of post below.
- Make a highly visual blog post with lots of eye catching photo’s.
- Make a list style post that has songs of musicians that you like along with one of your songs.
- You could also promote. Ten “must see” concerts by local bands or five musicians you didn’t know played live music in your area.
- Using paid discovery on stumble upon.
- Sign up for a stumble upon account.
- Select the URL of the article that you want to promote.
- Once you are in stumbleupon ads, you will have some criteria that you will need to fill out.
- Select your target market. You already did this in the first chapter.
- There are two options; .10+ per click and .12+ per click.
- With the more expensive of the two, you will be able to be more specific with your criteria, interests, age, and location.
- Using “interests” helps and location will work wonders.
- Get visitors.
- Once you have the account set up, you will want to run the ad.
- Make sure you start slow and small until you get the hang of it.
- This is a great form of promoting concerts that are coming up. Make sure you use an eye catching picture at the top of the post. Create an awesome header that makes you want to read the article.
- Make sure your page loads fast, fast, fast.
These are my favorites for getting paid traffic. The trouble is that you can easily spend a lot of money and not have it work. Trust me, 98% of marketers spend money that doesn’t make sense for their business and then say how horrible the service is. The thing is companies want people to spend money so they make it really easy to. So don’t think it will work amazingly the first time. Instead, spend small until you get the hang of it. If something seems to work then spend a little more to make sure. Once you figure out what is working for you spend more until you reach your goals. Right now you have mastered getting people in the top of your sales funnel. You now have traffic! Follow along in the next section to really see how to get bags of cash out of your sales funnel.