You’ve got the band together, and you’re ready to book some gigs. Yet, especially in the New York City area there is a lot of competition—with over eight million people in the area, it’s pretty easy to believe there are thousands of bands out there.
So, presenting your band to venues becomes that much more important. Whether it’s through social media, video, or just plain elbow grease reaching out to booking agents, there are tons of ways to get your name out there and make an impression.
We’ve put together five ways a band can put themselves out there to be more attractive to booking agents and, ultimately, land more gigs for your group. Tell us what you think!
5 Ways to Book More Gigs for Your Band
- Social Media
You have to go where your audience is, right? Social has for years been the driving force in building awareness and finding gigs to play, especially on Facebook. Venues will often post their calendars and the bands playing, so you can find an empty date and reach out.
Social media is also the way bands are promoting themselves these days. Without a Facebook or Instagram page, it’s hard to keep top-of-mind with both your listeners and booking agents. As long as you post regularly—and create posts that will generate engagement—you can be sure to get noticed not only by more listeners, but venues as well.
- Media, Media, Media!
Recordings are often the gateway into the sound of your band, and especially if a venue is going for a specific aesthetic or audience, you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t have readily available media to share.
The obvious option here is recordings of your songs. From there a booking manager can better understand if your group will fit into the mission of the venue, whether it be all folk or acoustic acts, is a DJ club, or a straight rock bar.
You can also experiment with video, which gives listeners and booking agents alike a sense of how you perform. Whether it’s a cell phone video capturing lively crowd reactions (and how many people you draw), or a polished video recording portraying a sense of professionalism, putting more of your sound into the ether gives booking agents more reasons to put your band on a bill.
- Mailing Lists
This is a technique that goes back to antiquity, but it still works. Many bands will create mailing lists for listeners to share music and tour dates, but not all bands create a database of contact information for booking agents.
If you’re looking to book a specific date, you can send an email blast to as many venues as you possibly can. And, using the Blind Carbon Copy (BCC) option for your email provider, you can add a personal touch—something that always goes a long way.
- Create a Lineup
One thing that all booking agents love is when you make their job easier. While you may be pursuing dates to play on your own, that still leaves a good amount of work for the booking agent—help him or her out by setting up your own bill. Creating your own lineup is one of the easiest ways to get more gigs for your band. Inhenerly by doing this you’ll be doing lot’s of #5 on our list, which again helps you to get more gigs.
If you have a feel for the kind of audience or aesthetic a particular venue goes for, reach out to other bands that will complement your sound and present the entire bill to the venue. This is effective because it adds a personal touch—since you’re considering the venue’s given audience and identity into the bill—and you’re also helping out other bands get gigs.
- Band Networking
One of the easiest ways to get gigs is to go to them yourself. If you find a band you want to play with, make an introduction and start a line of dialogue. If you have media available to share, you can be sure they will call on your band when they have a spot to fill.
If a band drops from a bill, booking agents will either reach out to more acts, or call on the groups already booked to fill the spot. Making yourself willing and open to be called upon could be what lands you the next great gig.
One way to make this strategy into a growth hack is to attend shows of larger bands who have an audience you want to break into. This means when you’re called upon to play a show with that band, you will simultaneously be exposing yourself to a larger listener base which, in the end, makes this strategy a win-win.