Here are some highlights from his information-packed talk (all credit for the following goes to Vinny Ribas, ):
- Know and understand that don't get booked because you are good. You get booked because of the value you can bring to the owner of the venue. This should guide your "selling points. Know your strengths and weaknesses here.
- Like other business people, you should have your 'elevator speech' down... "This is who I am" and "This is what I can do for you".
- Determine what price you need to charge to be able to make a profit! Don't lose money unless the exposure at that particular venue is very important.
- Always confirm your engagement 2 weeks before the gig.
- BE PREPARED... a buyer could ask you for such things as:
- Website (Vinny says preferably not just your MySpace site)
- EPK (Electronic press kit)
- List of past performances
- Photos- live performance shots are even better than studio shots
- CD- live recordings best
- Live video, online or DVD
- Bio- several, geared to different kinds of gigs
- Serious press reviews (not just press releases you wrote)
- References from other venues (A HUGE selling point)
- Song list (some venues want to know the cover songs you know, and that you are not going to play something offensive, etc).
- A "one sheet" synopsis [Bio, recent performances, calender, bio, picture, contact info to go along with CD]
- FINDING GIGS:
- Vinny suggests you identify the kind of gigs for which you are most appropriate. Don't mix messages of who you are, it can be fatal to your "branding".
- Pick one kind of gig to research... ask your fans at gigs and in your email lists to call the venue and request they hire you.
- Put surveys on your website and social networks
- Check out venue websites, see who they've booked that would have an audience similar to yours. Then check the websites of those artists to see where else they have performed.
- Ask your fans to tell you about bands that are similar to yours. Find them online, check their calendars to see where they perform. Those venues might be a great match for you, too. Use website resources like: Eventful.com, OnlineGigs.com, GigFinder.com, Indie bible, Indie Venue bible, SonicBids.com, ReverbNation.com
- Use organizations and events than can refer venues or showcase you to entertainment buyers such as Naca.org, Fairsandexpos.com, FolkAlliance.com, SXSW (the largest indie artist conference/showcase in the world, held annually in Austin, Tx.) Especially check out the "Red Gorilla Showcase", and other genre specific associations (Bluegrass, Blues, Country, etc.)
- Trade referrals with like-bands and artists! Offer to introduce them to a venue in exchange for them doing the same. Find out the typical price range they get.
- Find out whether or not the venue expects YOU to draw the crowd. Don't disappoint them by building false expectations.
- CREATE A BUZZ
Vinny had a lot more to say, for instance, contact venues where you are getting radio airplay, offer to do radio and TV interviews to promote shows, do your homework before you make your calls, know what to say when you do make the call. Look for a video on his speech to be uploaded soon at IndieConnect.net site. There are many other videos uploaded there now, my speech on the voice should also make its way there soon.
I think from the info in this post, you can tell what a value these Indie Connect meetings are, for $5.00 (more if you order food, of course). The networking is important, the community is quite wonderful. You might want to consider checking it out if you're in or near Nashville.
Anyone else with booking tips to share?