7 THINGS TO DO BEFORE BOOKING//
We at Artist Collective are constantly bombarded by bands anxious to get involved in our booking program. Unfortunately, almost always, we have to turn the act down. This isn’t due to lack of talent or stage presence, generally speaking. In fact, if a band is reaching out for professional help growing their brand, they typically understand how the industry works. However talented these acts may be, they typically miss these 7 Things to Do Before Booking:
#1. Design a “OneSheet”/
People call the OneSheet all sorts of things like EPK’s, demo resumes, etc. The idea remains the same. Have one page of text, graphics and info that gives a busy talent buyer the general feel of your band and attach all necessary information. Information like every social media outlet your band uses (which should be all of them), your website(s), “big moments” or accomplishments and most notable venues/events played. Think of it as your band’s elevator pitch. You have 30 seconds of reading to make your bands’ personality and accomplishments known to a complete stranger.
I’m not going to get into the design of your OneSheet, but the main key is finding a balance between personality and information. Be thorough but only say what needs said and make sure that you list everywhere online that your band is visible. Templates can be found all over the place, so Google your ass off until you find a format you dig. If all else fails, hire someone to make it that really knows what they’re doing. Hmmm, if only there was a super affordable company like that… (http://ArtistCollect.com)
#2. Create Demo Reel of LIVE Footage/
One of the most time consuming parts of my recruitment for cruise ships and booking on land alike is getting together a decent demo reel. In the industry there are only a few primary approaches for a demo reel. If it’s a corporate cover gig, you’re looking at a five minute video of 30 second live clips. I’ll stress this again. You need LIVE CLIPS. Venues and promoters don’t care about how incredible your chicken picking is in a studio. They want to know that you can make their patrons happy, get them dancing and engage in a way that keeps them buying drinks and food. Make sure your video is clear, audio is solid and your editing is simple and to the point. There are HD cameras being sold on Amazon now for $60. There’s no reason your demo reel should look like it was shot on my grandpa’s Nokia Brick.
Once again, if all else fails, hire someone to professionally do it. This helps you focus on the creative side of your act rather than the mundane aspects of editing, video conversion and formatting.
#3. Print Business Cards/
This is an industry standard. Get a damn business card. Vistaprint.com exists, so there’s absolutely no reason that you shouldn’t have these on hand at every gig, attending or playing. I’ll even throw you a discount link for your first purchase: https://vistaprint.extole.com/s/eptsw
#4. Create Merchandise/
One of the most brilliant parts of creating music is merchandising and molding that love of your sounds into the love of your t-shirts and swag. Creating a solid brand and exciting people about your sound and your product means you can charge $25 for a t-shirt with your logo on it. You can hustle posters at $12 a pop or $5 coozies. Whatever you’re trying to do with your music, you have to have merchandise ready to sell. It’s the simplest way to double a gig’s revenue and the advertising when folks wear and use your stuff is priceless. There are services that make this easy. Get your shirt designed for pennies at Fiverr.com then head over to Viralstyle.com and upload them for an almost no-cost startup. (Here’s a referral link to Viralstyle: https://viralstyle.com/register?r=OTUyNzY) This makes it super easy and convenient, but your profit margins will be much higher if you do everything on your own site. (Which is my next point.)
It’s worth noting that PayPal Credit offers some pretty fantastic 0% interest options to folks with low/non-existent credit that can be used for that initial investment. Here’s another referral link: https://www.paypal.com/us/invite?token=58aAjY3kti0
#5. Build a Website/
A solid minimalist website is key to be taken serious by talent buyers and venues alike. My thought is this: if a band doesn’t have the forethought of having a clean website, why would I trust them with my business’s Friday Night revenue. Why would a talent buyer want to invest time in an act that doesn’t invest in their most basic resource (i.e.: their website)? Your website is a portal to show your fans and associates alike exactly who you are. This gives you the opportunity to fill in the blanks left by your OneSheet or demo reel. You can write novels about your band’s origin story, throw down blogs about the best Ramen joints you found on tour, or post music videos of your singles. This is one of the biggest pieces of the puzzle and needs to be a seriously tactful investment. I almost always recommend having your website professionally designed.
If you don’t have a website at all, you can use sites like Wix.com or Bandzoogle.com to put a band-aid over the problem. I think those sites are cheap and immediately give me a red flag (as they do to many talent buyers) but it’s better than nothing. If you need a website designed, reach out to us. We have top level coders ready that specifically cater to artists. Visuals are sometimes just as important as the quality of your studio recordings. There have been multiple times that I’ve seen bands get turned down without consideration for having a horrible website. Your image is everything and your website IS the most thorough image representation you’ll have accessible to the world.
#6. Engage on Social Media/
Social Media is an everyday part of life for most of us. It’s where our sleepy, dream-crusted eyes drift as soon as we wake up, it’s how we keep up with that girl we like, it’s how we know what’s happening around the world. I know for me personally, it’s my news, my entertainment, my marketplace, my billboard, and the list goes on. It’s an integral part of our lives and it shows no sign of ceasing any time soon.
Therefore, you need to be present on EVERY social media outlet! Have an account on each and then pick a primary and secondary that you will hyper-focus on. For me, I prefer to use Instagram as my primary and Facebook as my secondary. Statistics show that Instagram will be the most influential and the most used platform moving into the coming year, and I plan to ride the wave. If you need help, please submit your music to us – https://artistcollect.com/submit
And here’s an insider secret: Those “IG Famous” people that you follow with 100k followers more than likely paid for it. It’s the way it works. Backdoor deals, dark web programs and bot automation run rampant in the social media world and 100k followers means nothing when they too are being run by bots and such.
So here’s what we do differently. Our team stays up to date by the hour on new Instagram strategies. We follow the trending topics, hashtags, and research what works and what doesn’t. And also have our coders teach us about how the algorithms work, what throttles your engagement, what sort of things to avoid and how to OPTIMIZE YOUR IMPACT. Combining these hours of study and volumes of knowledge with our own Instagram approved automation, we guarantee growth in numbers you simply can’t mimic on your own.
But here’s the best part: all of our techniques are driven to get REAL FOLLOWERS. We don’t care how many bot followers an account has. We want eyes and ears of real people on you and your art. So rather than getting a thousand Russian mail order bride spam accounts to follow you, we get the local barista, the gym instructor that was at your show last week, or your neighbor. We get those people to follow you. Our program is a game-changer and something we seriously believe in.
#7. Get A Second Opinion/
After you’ve done everything above by yourself or through hiring/consulting professionals, you have one more objective before you should pick up the phone to book: get a second opinion. I would recommend three types of people to review your material. Have your friends look over it first and make sure that your act’s personality is being authentically shown in your content and approach. Then, ask a business professional you trust. It can be any profession, considering the approach you take with this material should be well organized and approachable in any setting. Have them read over your OneSheet, check out your website, see if Google searches bring your act up, etc. Then, email Artist Collective. Our booking division is made up of active musical professionals that know what talent buyers, labels and venues/promoters are looking for. The easiest way to do this is to submit your music here: ArtistCollect.com/Submit
You may be thinking, “Holy shit, Vinnie! You posted a whole lot of links and seem to be talking yourself up.” Well, you’re not wrong. Some bands are completely self-sufficient and do well while others struggle with the day to day of what this business is at its most mundane. That’s why music professionals like Artist Collective exists. We take care of all the business so that you can GET BACK TO THE MUSIC.
If you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to email me. Thanks for your time!