There’s one thing agents know for sure: booking a performance doesn’t happen with a snap of your fingers.
In fact, it’s the complete opposite.
Securing an offer from a venue requires an organized strategy, plenty of research, genuine concern for both the artist’s and venue’s best interest, a thick skin, and an effective pitch.
With the growing trend of entrepreneurship in music, more musicians are taking the reigns of their careers and trying to book their own gigs.
The trouble is, they don’t always do it right, which damages their chance of getting booked.
That’s why we’re sharing 8 things you must do before pitching your project.
#1 Compare Your Requirements to the Venue’s Specifications
You might be used to performing locally, where you know the venues well. But, if you’re trying to tour outside of your region, it’s important to do your research to ensure you’re pitching the the right venues.
To find the right venue, consider the technical requirements of your show, the type of audience who enjoy your performance the most, as well as the overall vibe and mission of the venue itself.
Pitching to the wrong venue could frustrate presenters who will see you as someone who didn’t do the appropriate research beforehand.
#2 Prepare Your Materials in Advance
Before you make a pitch to a venue, be sure that your promotional materials are up to date, including your bio, headshots, website, video/music files, and tech rider.
More importantly, make sure all of your links and files are well organized and titled appropriately so that you can find them easily.
Here’s the reason you want all of this ready ahead of time. If a venue or presenter tells you they want more information about your performance, you should send it to them via email immediately after the call. It’s always best to “strike while the iron is hot” by sending information when you are still fresh in that person’s mind.
#3 Choose the Right Time to Make the Call
The “booking season” (when venues are looking at performers for their next season) usually runs from August through April, a full year in advance. Obviously there are exceptions (for instance, summer festivals can be on a somewhat different cycle), but this is the general trend.
That means that from August 2017 through April 2018, venues will be booking performances for the 2018-2019 season.
When in doubt, it is always good to call a venue and just ask when do they do their booking.
#4 Know Your Mission Statement
To sell your music you must be able to explain to a presenter what makes your work valuable, different, and worth listening to.
That’s why we encourage all of our clients to create a mission statement — a one to two sentence piece of writing that concisely summarizes who you are, what you stand for, and what you intend to achieve as an artist and as a person.
Here are a few tips to get you started with crafting your mission statement.
#5 Have the Right Mindset
With so much competition in the performing arts space, one of the best things you can do for yourself is develop a professional, cordial demeanor and a reputation of being great to work with.
That doesn’t mean being a pushover and having no boundaries. But it does mean being responsive, professional in your communications and presentation, patient and understanding in challenging situations, and flexible and accommodating.
It also means staying positive, even when things get scary or hard. If you can put your fears to the side, bolster your belief in yourself, and take action repeatedly, it will ultimately lead to results.
#6 Put Yourself in the Other Person’s Shoes
Remember that presenters are people who are just doing their job.
Before pitching your project, ask yourself:
What’s going to make my pitch appealing to him/her?
How can I practice empathy for what’s going on in their life?
How do I position what I’m going to offer to motivate them to spend time on me?
Your answers to these questions will help you start the conversation (or email) on the right foot.
#7 Practice Your Pitch
There’s a reason our clients love (and also fear) the practice sessions we do with them. We role play by asking our clients to pretend we’re the presenter. The artist pitches to us, and we play out the scenario, pulling from our booking experiences talking to over 1,000 presenters.
In this exercise, musicians can learn exactly where their pitch falls flat and how to better position themselves to make a strong connection with a presenter.
We recommend that you practice your pitch so that you get as comfortable as possible selling another person on your ideas.
Also, see each phone call or email as yet another opportunity to refine your skills. The more you practice, the better you’ll become at successfully pitching your projects to venues and presenters.
#8 Join our free webinar
Now that you know what to do before the pitch, discover what to do during and afterward. Reserve your spot in our free webinar, The Art of Pitching for Musicians.
You’ll discover the 9 best practices for pitching your project, so you can book more gigs and make a living doing what you love.