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Welcome to the EvO:R Tips Section. We call this section EvO:R-Pedia because it is like a complete
reference library for Indie musicians...Just about every tip has been used so you won't find false
promises and a series of books to buy after reading each tip. This section was put here by musicians
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Getting Your Band Booked
By Lori Mortimore
When I was in college at Case Western Reserve University, I was chair on the UPB (University Programming Board) Entertainment Committee and since then I have acted as an agent to book music acts. As chair at UPB, I got to see first hand what goes on at the buying side of booking bands. Of course it was twelve years ago and certain things have changed and some things remain the same. In college, I was bombarded with promo from different bands vying for my attention, I had office hours twice a week and when I was in, I received phone calls, plenty of them and these phone calls made me feel important. These were of course from bands who wanted to be booked, generally for a very nice price, at my school. First point, the bands that made the extra effort to call me, always got me to listen to their CDs and look at their bios and pics. When I did find their promo, I looked at their pictures to see what kind of band they were. Did the way they dress represent the type of music they played? It always helped if they were a bunch of hot young guys. To a college student looks count! Well all kidding aside, I booked all types of bands, not just young angst ridden grunge bands that were popular in the mid 90's.
Next I had to make the time to pop the CD into a CD player. This was usually when I was screaming at my computer because my database programming (my degree was in computer science) or digital logic project was giving me a hard time. So I appreciated the artistic break such a position as chairing for UPB afforded me. If the music was catchy, always put your best song first, I was likely to recommend the band to my Coordinator, Karen. She was the one with the money and the budget sheet. Sometimes she would listen to the CD; sometimes she would just take my recommendation. If we were both impressed we would generally book the band for next semester.
However, nothing caught my attention like the party atmosphere of a NACA (National Association for Campus Activities) conference. These conferences are playgrounds for college students. They consist of three to four days of bands, comedians, and novelty acts like barrel racing and are always held in fancy hotels. If you are a band that attends one of these conferences, either regional or national, there is a good chance that you will get booked. College students are highly impressionable, and if you stimulate their overworked minds with some fun music, you have their attention! If you are lucky enough to get a showcase (have your band perform), this is maximum exposure and the chance to make a lot of dough. Low budget college circuit acts (guys playing an acoustic guitar and singing) were going for $750 twelve years ago. I believe at minimum touring bands were paid was about $1200 usually with room accommodations and dinner included. The economy might be bad, but all colleges have entertainment budgets.
The other side of the coin is the Bar and Club scene. This market is slightly more difficult, not because of the competition, but because a bar owner's perspective is different from that of a college student. They personally are not as concerned about your originality, but how likely your act is to keep their patrons in the bar to make the register ring. While there are exceptions to the rule, they are in it for profit and you have to convince them that you will make them money. Do you have a following? This is the proverbial question that a bar owner will ask you. One way to build a following or convince the bar owner that you will attract one, is to hit open stages, at the bar that you are trying to get a gig at, if they have one, if not, ask the bar owner to come see you at another gig or an open stage that is convenient for him or her to attend. If they don't have the time to see you perform personally, websites are the key to efficiency.
Websites have become the promo kits of the new age of LIVE Performances and are accessible by most business owners and all colleges. You can often record your original material (or covers for demos) on a computer (1 gig RAM minimum) with a good condenser mic, a software program, a recording soundcard, a preamp, headphones, and your band instruments. Convert the recorded material into MP3s and you have music for a website. Have a friend take some promo shots with a digital camera, then write bios for the band, and keep a schedule online. The bar/club owner will see that you are serious about your band. Building a website also saves the band money on printing for promo kits and demo CDs. Instead, it is much more economical and efficient to print business cards with your website address. On occasion, you may need to send a printed demo, but a website will provide an organized platform from which to gather your promotional material.
There are many places to get your band booked. Before you begin, get organized, make sure that your band knows their songs (being original and/or covers) and define your audience. Decide how to delegate booking responsibilities, either appoint a band leader or hire an agent. If more than one person is booking, it is imperative that communication is constant so that dates are not double booked. Most of all have fun! After all, you are selling your creativity and talent!
originally posted at http://musicxspot.com
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