Attracting A Promoter

Posted on August 31, 2010

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There are a lot of bands and truly, a limited number of promoters actually booking the Hollywood scene.

Chances are, if you are in another part of the country, the situation will vary – but I thrive here in Hollywood so that’s where this article will take place.

Promoters who book the landscape here tend to view talent as one of the key factors in placing bands in clubs, however, a willingness to self promote and an ability to draw are strong elements to attract attention. They are in a business where they play one of a number of cogs in the machine.  There has to be an element of income or your cog will ultimately get replaced.

The audience in a club is usually there because they already know of one artists on the bill. They arrive to experience live music they enjoy from their particular genre. Maintaining genre friendly shows is important to a booking agent because fans who came to see pop genre music aren’t going to stick around for the hard and heavy band in the next slot. Keeping patrons in the club for the following acts is very important to the club owner who intends to sell drinks, tickets and have returning customers based on the good time they had. Having a style of music that fits a current genre performing on the scene is important if you want to be viewed as a bookable entity.

Draw plays a big role in your potential to be booked. Most clubs and agents have a draw requirement, a minimum attendance guarantee that assures the club of being filled with thirsty and party ready attendees. It’s not a good sight to walk into a club and see a band in the middle of their set with 14 people standing around. Where’s the incentive? Patrons can walk right back out the door of a club and into another venue on the Strip where the choices are nearly endless. Promoters want to know that people will “fill the seats” when you perform. Having a good website with activity, numbers and fan response helps. Playing the scene and building a fan base and street team helps too. We’ll get deeper into that at another time.

Self-promoting bands that have a Twitter, Myspace, Facebook and lots of local listeners are one of the big things to getting a promoters attention. If they can go online and clearly see that the local scene responds to you with buzz, they know there’s a better chance those people will be attending the shows. If all your Facebook and Myspace friends are in Sweden, then who is attending the show? You need to have a buzz on the local landscape, artist websites and hopefully some talk about you in the downtown print mags. It shows that people pay attention. Those people transfer to dollars.

Advanced ticket sales are more often than not a requirement for getting booked into a bigger showcase. It’s not at all uncommon, and most working bands can have those tickets sold within the week. It’s a guarantee for the agent to invest in you – the outcome equals patrons, and this equals time well spent.  If a band can’t sell 40 tickets, what does this tell the booking agent? No one is coming to see this band! Empty floor space is like vacant real estate. It loses money the longer it sits empty. Promoters want people in the door, fans in the seats and sales through the roof. Pre-purchasing tickets is a great showing that adding you to their roster is no mistake. It also helps them to share info about you to people who invest in these shows. Also, a good draw means more money for the band when they play. An excessive amount of ticket buying attendees will transfer into more bookings, more ticket money falling into the band’s account and a much bigger career for the artists.

You’ve got a lot of work to get there, but fill those seats and promoters will be coming to you before you can come to them.

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