Answers to Common Questions about Booking and the Music Industry
I thought I’d take a moment to answer some of the most frequently asked questions sent to me. If you’d like to submit a question or topic for a future article, feel free to tweet to @SimonTheTam
Can a band have more than one booking agent?
Yes and no. It depends on the type of agreement that you have with your agent. If you have an exclusive contract, then no one is able to set up shows outside of your agent. If you don’t, then you can. Some other rules might apply, it just depends on what terms you agree to. For example, I offer non-exclusive booking.
How to book a tour/How to go on tour?
For information speaking to that specifically, I recommend subscribing to this blog or even looking at this group of articles I’ve written specifically about touring.
How to find a sponsor for an artist/How do I get a sponsor for my band?
Sponsorship is probably the number one thing that I get asked about these days. That’s why I decided to write a book about it, keep it cheap (it’s less than $4), and offer that up to artists. You can get the book here. I also wrote a bunch of free articles on sponsorship which you can read here.
How important is band image?
It just depends on your target audience. Do they think it is important? Then yes. The band image, just like all of your artwork, logos, merchandise, logos, etc. is part of your band’s brand. It’s important to keep some kind of cohesive vibe in all of your materials, the way your band presents itself, and how you market yourself. Your brand is the persona that you present to the word. It could even be care-free and “anti-image” which is kind of an image itself (just look at the 90’s Seattle grunge scene).
How do you get record labels, booking agencies, or managers to notice you?
People in the music industry depend on staying in touch with trends. The greatest way to make a positive impression on these people is to create a buzz about your act: touring smart and touring often, getting great press, licensing, etc. Pretty much, it’s doing everything that you hope to have them doing for you and doing it well. Sometimes, it feels like a Catch 22: if you can put our records, market, book shows, and get great opportunities, then why do you need them?
Think about your music as a small business. If you want to get a strategic partner or an investor (the record label, manager, etc.), then you’ll have to prove that you can manage with what you have. Like most successful bands, Apple began in the garage before it took over the tech industry. It was years of hard work, great buzz, and an enthusiastic fan base that launched their brand.
It’s OK to contact people but have a clear objective in mind, make a clear elevator pitch, and be respectful.
Also, many people in the industry are active in musician type forums and websites (we like to see who is working hard, who is active, etc. and some of us write articles to help artists too). We see who has great ideas and who simply complains. Guess who makes a more positive impression? Word gets around quick, both good and bad.