“99% is shit”, that’s what a colleague booking agent said years ago about all the cd’s, lp’s and cassettes (yes, that long ago!) he received from musicians. I don’t remember who it was, and I don’t think that I would tell you if I would remember 😉 It sounds harsh and I don’t really agree. But than, most of the material I receive comes from foreign colleagues, it has already been filtered.
I certainly don’t want to offend you as artist. But as artist you should respect certain criteria before sending an application to a booking agent. Right now I’m in the process of reviewing all the applications I received since August, and too many artists don’t seem to have an idea themselves why they send me a mail. Why should I than take the time to reply?? Here some basic criteria:
1. Applications coming from friends in the music business get priority.
In this case some people I trust have already thought about your music, believe in you and the chance that I could end up working for you is much bigger than when you mail me directly.
2. You, the artist, already need to have an audience.
It is my job as booking agent to find venues for you to perform, not to find an audience for you. I can only convince the venue that there is an audience, if a certain level of promotion and distribution already is in place in the territory you want me to work for. If you don’t have that yet, social media make it easy nowadays to start for yourself and build a basis.
3. Your music has to be original.
In every country you have several dozen bands that sound like – you name it. I’m looking for artists with original songs who sound new, fresh and different than top-40-bands. Of course you can use well known influences, but please give it your own twist!
4. You have to be good.
I still get lots of applications from artists who can’t sing, can’t write a good song or send me so crappy recordings that I wouldn’t be able to hear either of both. This is less than 99%, sure, but I don’t understand how any artist could think his e-mail is worth my time, if he doesn’t even spent his own time to rehearse and practice first.
5. You and your music have to fit with the agent and agency.
Before you send an application to a booking agent, please do some research. Take a look at the artists he’s booking right now. Would you fit in? If not, it doesn’t make much sense to send your application to that agent.
You can place these criteria in any order you want. And there are more criteria, of course. I only work for artists if I have a connection with their music too, who preferably have something to say and where I can add to what they can do themselves to get shows. But I dare to say that every agent will agree with me on those five criteria. Please take note of them, if you want to be taken seriously.
Now it’s time to continue the reviewing. And no, not everyone gets a personal reply. If I would do so, I wouldn’t have any time left for booking shows for the artists I already work for. And they are always my priority!