It’s January so that means artists are clamoring to get their applications in for CMJ Music Marathon, a large industry festival based in New York City, NY. I’ve written about booking and playing music festivals such as SXSW in the past before and many of same ideas hold true here. These are the top 3 things you need to know about booking CMJ:
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Entries in booking (7)
A while ago, I wrote an article for Music Think Tank: 5 Tips on Getting a Label, Sponsor, or Booking Agent.
This week, I got some follow up questions on the best route to go for choosing and pitching to a booking agent or agency. Here’s my thought process on how to find the right partner for your music:
I’ve written many things about booking, such as a step-by-step guide on booking a tour and a few things on getting into SXSW, but what happens if you don’t have a massive history of touring the country? What if this is a new band and this is your first gig? How do you get started?
Here are some tips on booking your band’s first show:
There’s plenty of advice out there for booking a tour. In fact, I’ve written on it a few times (including this step-by-step guide). People generally talk about the same kind of stuff: how to approach a venue, where to book, promoting, etc. However, I want to cover some of the territory that people don’t talk about, the pitfalls that you’ll come across along the way.
I believe that good information should be spread and even though I do booking for bands, I’m not afraid to share, step-by-step, how I go about this process. That’s what this music blog is all about, partnering up with artists to take the next step. I hope this helps your music career.
This is a more concise version of an earlier post which you can read here. I recommend you read that one too.
Once you’ve decided that you want to and are able to tour (and you’ve figured out the why’s), it’s time to plan the how, when, and where’s. This is what I do.
1. Treat it Like a Job Application
I can’t stress this point enough. If you want to get the right sponsor, label, agent, etc., you have to treat the process like you would for a high-end job. You wouldn’t send a generic cover letter filled with typo’s and grammatical errors or an incomplete resume would you? It seems basic but nearly 70% of the submissions I receive lack some of the basics - at least 20% forgot to include the band’s name or a link to the website. If you want a someone to take you seriously, then you have to take yourself seriously enough to make sure the presentation is just right.
It’s often said “It isn’t what you know but who you know.” Just like job applicants who have a mutual contact or letter of recommendation have an advantage, artists that have spent their time networking and building their reputation will have much greater odds. Think of A&R reps as recruiters or the HR department. Put yourself in their mindset, ask someone else to look at your press kit before you hit send. Try not to send unsolicited demo’s (if it is a company you want to work with, introduce yourself and get to know them first).
Dave Cool is the Blogger-In-Residence at musician website and marketing platform Bandzoogle.
One of the most common questions I was asked by artists during my time as a venue booker was how they could find a booking agent. I inevitably answered that they should just keep playing gigs, grow their fan base, and an agent would find them. But is the answer really that simple? In a word, yes. By far the best way to get a professional booking agent is for bands to book themselves until the point where they are selling out shows on a regular basis on their own.
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(Updated June 17)