Many bands/performers want to play ZAPHOD’s but we obviously can’t accommodate everyone that sends us their press package.
Can you remember the last time YOU plunked down your hard-earned dineros/pesetas/pounds/dollars to see a band? Chances are it was a band you heard on the radio, read about, saw their video, or knew about in some way. That’s how audiences generally decide what they want to see…so if you are an unknown act, chances are the audience isn’t going to show up just because you’re playing, even if it is at Ottawa’s most credible live music club.
If audiences don’t show up, the band makes no money, the staff makes no money, the club makes no money. If that happens often enough, the club will eventually close and there will be one less place to see live music and for bands to play. Keep this in mind when you make the effort to send us your kit.
Many performers are rejected, not because they aren’t talented, but because they are not appropriate for the club presently. We don’t want you to waste your hard-earned money on CDs, demos, glossys, posters, postage, couriers, only to have them rejected.
Having said all that, good luck in your endeavours.
Send an email, including your web site link, MySpace link and MP3 links to: email@example.com with “Booking a show at Zaphod’s” in the subject line. Be clear, concise and professional.
When you do get booked, it’s your responsibility to ensure a good turnout. Zaphod’s capacity is 250. If you can’t convince enough people that you’re as good as you say you are, we can’t do much for you. So its incumbent on you to have a reasonable turnout if you expect to be re-booked. Make sure you call all your friends, relatives and acquaintances. Poster the streets. Hand out flyers. Call up the media and tell your story. A good turnout = A good feeling all around.
Postering etiquette & laws
All artists / promoters / street-poster-teams should read this important information: Postering Etiquette
How Should I Promote My Shows?
By Jessica Hopper: http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/uponsun/2013/01/ask_fan_landers.php
Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist, and is the author of The Girls’ Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong.
I work as a promoter for a club in the midwest and I’ve found there’s a real disconnect between what some bands and venues expect — what each of them see as each other’s obligation to promote a show. Whether or not you play for money, glory or the love of art, there are people involved whose livelihoods depend on the show doing well. Besides the venue-owners, bartenders can have a great night or a lousy night depending on how well a show is attended. Door attendants, bar-backs and security might not even be scheduled if a band is booked who has a reputation of not having a following. Some bands seem to prefer to let the chips fall where they may because if they don’t really try, they can’t really fail.
Do you think a band should be responsible to bring the whole force of their following to every show, even if they aren’t headlining? Should these things be outlined by the promoter/venue in advance? What show promotion tactics are best for bands?
Please Keep My Name Out of It, I Have Already Complained Too Much.
Dear Please Keep,
Assuming it’s the promoter or club’s job to get people to the show is one of the common fallacies of young bands. It’s the club’s job to promote the show in all the ways they normally would–distributing concert calendars, flyers, and ticket giveaways. It is the band’s duty to get their fans out. As I have said here before, bands should always work on the assumption that clubs/promoters are totally beleaguered and expect little to nothing of them. This isn’t a slight, or saying that promoters are flakes, but just an acknowledgement that people who are putting on shows for small-to-medium-sized local bands are perhaps the most put-upon and over worked people in any scene. Their list of tasks is infinite, and they are already haggard from doing it “for the love” for years.
It is a band’s job to promote their show to their friends, to applicable press and radio, make a decent poster or flyer and put them up (as well as pass some on to the venue/promoter to post), post it on their Facebook page, etc. Sometime bands complain that they are musicians, not marketing people, that promotion doesn’t fall under the artist’s job description. This is a totally fine attitude to have, but if that is the case, the band should eschew anything beyond playing house shows, and stay out of the more for-profit pursuits and just do it for the art and not for achievement. Because the last thing everyone needs is some whiny band that is unwilling to work for themselves being a burden on the system, so to speak. Do not expect other people to work for your band’s benefit, if you are not willing to do that work yourself.
Not to be all Ayn Landers up in this informational yurt, but the humbling hard work associated with being in a band helps weed out the weak and easily discouraged; it is useful to toughen people up. Being in a band is harder than ever, for a multitude of reasons. Accepting the pure pain-in-the-ass factor of it and embracing the struggle, getting good at the struggle will help bond a band. It also gives them some much needed perspective and experience if/when they eventually arrive in a place where they can/need to hire someone to do their publicity or manage or book them.
Do bands need to bring the full force of their promotional capabilities for every single show they play? Obviously some shows are more important than others, but I think the minimum of flyers/posters, Facebook show invite, and tweeting about it should be the baseline.
The other reason to get good at promoting your band (or at least be valiant/earnest/consistent in your efforts) is that it will please the promoters you work with. The world is larded with lazy musicians; a band that has it together to flier their own show and get some posters and handbills to the promoter is going to be a shining beacon of responsibility and consideration. It is an easy way to gain favor, regardless of your draw or sound. I know we all grew up thinking that being a musician meant flailing around in your ego and being a dick, but simply being a little helpful and carrying your weight will get you a lot further.
So, dear writer, if you find that the baby bands you are dealing with are just not getting it, put an outline of what you expect and a FAQ on the “booking contact” page of your site. Young bands may appreciate your tutelage on how to do promote their shows–and stay in a promoter’s good graces.