Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ideas for Booking More Gigs

As you've read numerous times if you've spent any time on this blog, gigs are the live-blood of a band, especially in this day and age. Regardless of your skill or place in the music business, you've got to play in front of people to stay musically fresh, improve your show skills and make money. 

I assume that you have strong songs plus a fantastic live show, here are a few simple things you can do to get more gigs:

1. Create a YouTube channel for your band.

Upload a live performance video on YouTube that represents your band at its best. Include a phone number and e-mail address too, so that anyone who wants to book you can contact you easily. Say something like “Contact ________ to book us for a live show.” To show professionalism and interest, try your best to respond to every inquiry within 48 hours.

2. Print up nice business cards

…with your band name, links to your music, live videos, and a phone number and e-mail address that can be reached for booking purposes. Also, include a link to your website so they can learn more about you. You’d be surprised how many bands STILL write down their phone numbers on dirty napkins and torn pieces of paper. Wherever you go, tell people who you are, how good you are, where you are playing next, and how easy it is for them to book you directly.

3. Go watch other bands that sound like you.

If there are any bands in your area with large followings, get out to a couple shows and become friends with other bands. Ask the bigger bands to let you open for them, maybe in exchange for some kind of help like designing a website, flyer, banner, etc. The harder you work for a band bigger than your band, and the more respectful you are to them and their efforts, the more likely they will consider you for an opening slot. Talk up how good your band is and why you are better than similar bands in the area.

4. Tell your fans how easy it is to book you.

Wherever you play - the street, house party, club or major venue, make sure your fans are aware that you’re willing to play anywhere. Use the Live Music Machine’s booking and calendar widget. Put it on your Facebook page, MySpace profile, personal web site, etc. and tell your fans to go there and book you for their private events, house parties, etc. After playing a gig, you should walk around the audience, engage people, ask them what they thought of the show, and let them know you are available to play live anywhere they want you too. Telling them that will definitely help you stand out from the pack.

5. Get guerilla.

Set up wherever there is a crowd of people who might like your music and play for them. Club, high school, venue, and stadium parking lots. How many tailgate parties do you think would love some free entertainment? Play outside clubs where bands are playing that fit in with your style of music. Those people waiting in line are going to be bored, so playing a spontaneous gig right on the spot will definitely make an unforgettable impression.

6. Don’t forget the old school.

Hand out flyers and post cards at events that have a link to free stuff and a way to book you for a gig.

7. Network with key industry people at events and conferences.

Radio PD’s and DJ’s, club owners, band managers, label executives, and others all attend music conferences quite regularly. Say hello to these people, maybe buy them a drink or dinner, but don’t make a nuisance of yourself. Respect their space and don’t try shoving a CD in their face two minutes after meeting them. Introduce yourself casually, let them know who you are and where they can see you play. If’s it’s a club owner, tell them you would love to come in during the day and do a free audition for a free gig. Just make sure you can get a place to sell your merchandise if you nab a gig. Offer to play at places that may not always host live music, like restaurants, coffee shops, stores, and malls.

8. Get creative.

Write up a proposal and present it to the appropriate person at your local school board, offering to do a series of free shows to raise money for the school athletic or band program. Ask to perform during a school assembly when they can provide you with a built-in audience.

9. Find places where bands similar to yours play.

Use ReverbNation’s “Gig Finder” to figure out where bands are getting booked in your area. However, e-mailing clubs with your RPK or EPK usually won’t get any results, because many of these venues have yet to claim their venue pages on ReverbNation. Instead, after finding some good places, print out your press kit and mail it to them, or better yet, personally drop it off it in a nice professional package along with a CD to any decision maker at the club. Follow up with a call within a couple of days so you stay fresh in their minds. If the decision maker has an assistant, get to know that person and you will find that it will be much easier to get in the door. If you email them anything at all, make it your MySpace link along with a concise paragraph stating why they should book you. For some reason, most clubs still feel most comfortable checking you out on MySpace, so play by their rules.

10. Do a gig swap!

If you have a respectable following or are an up and coming band, use sites like and to trade and share gigs with other bands who might want to break into your market. Collaboration is key to success in today’s fragmented music industry.
11. Email Addresses
Everywhere you go, wherever you play, whomever you talk to about your band… collect as many e-mail addresses as you can. E-mail is still one of the best ways to communicate directly with your fan base, and develop long-lasting relationships. 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Giving It Your All

Working 24/7 is a given if your an Indie Artist/Musician.  Success = time + total commitment to becoming Indie/Independent. Most doors will be closed.  But, there is always one that will open if your pursuit is endless.

Be ready to work you tail off.  Through your work and efforts you will 'learn'.  You will learn about many new areas of the music business, because, for the Indie Artist, Music is a business...A REAL BUSINESS. 

As an Indie Artist you have total control and can't blame anyone else but yourself if things don't go right or don't get done. 

As a woman Indie artist, the effort required to become successful will require 3X the effort. 

All problems should be view as OPPORTUNITIES OF ABUNDANCE!

Flexibility means you must be patient, for patience is the key to Indie success.  Hone your craft until your music shines and your band is 'tight' on all songs. 

If what you are doing is not working, most likely it will not work until you discover other means to monetize you and your music.  To me that key is in building a base of True Blue Fans.  These are fans that promote you and your music 24/7 and they spend a minimum of $100 / year on you.

The stage is but one place where you connect with existing fans and make 'new' fans.  Failure to connect is opportunities lost to build your True Blue Fan base. 

Remember the only limit in music success, is YOU!


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Traces of You by Brenda Ribeiro




Name of Artist: Brenda Ribeiro
Booking: 214.773.2087
Album Title: Traces of You 
Genre: Easy Listening, Gospel
Label: Indie (Brenda Ribeiro)
Produced By: Gary Long
Manager: Scott January
Recorded/Mixed/Mastered By: Gary Long
Studio: Nomad (Carrollton, Texas)
Arranger: Timothy Ayers
Co-writer: Timothy Ayers 
Studio Musicians:
Eric Tolliver, Denis Campos, Mike Smith,Tim Ayers, Paul Wiggins, Scott January


Reviewer: Lee Alford
Company: KleerStreem Entertainment


First things first. Yes, this review is off it's original schedule. Why??? I noticed Brenda's Birthday is's late because I wanted it to be my birthday present to her. 


This album, as I understand, remains a work in process. It currently has 3 songs on it with more to come.

Although it's name Traces of You is great, as I listened to it, the only thing I could think of was:  "Songs From The Soul".

I first heard Brenda sing a few years ago and her passion combined with her wonderful voice caught my attention, even though it was at a Karaoke event.

After I received these 3 songs, I did what I always do with new recordings; I listened to them to get a feel if I wanted to listen to them again. After the first one started, I had to stop what I was doing, because of the 'connection' it made with me through a beautiful strong voice endowed with soulful passion.

Now, after listening to all 3 songs, 5 times, with and without headphones, I give Brenda's 3 song CD 4 ½ Stars. I am tempted to go 5 Stars, but, I don't want her to get a 'big' head. :) However , I did rate one song 5 stars...the highest rating I give anyone.

Song #1....TRACES Of YOU

Listen/Purchase Here:

This is the song that stopped me. It's that captivating. It reminds me of that EF Hutton commercial that says: When EF Hutton speaks, everyone listens. When Brenda sings everyone listens. Brenda's voice combined with her beautifully written lyrics comes from her soul.

My feelings during this song were real with that great connecting feeling we cherish with all songs. It's soulful and I felt, very truthful.

The best songs, as we all know, are based on one's life's experiences. Traces made me feel I was being told about Brenda's life experiences through her beautiful vocalized lyrics.

The choice of instruments are superb!

Not a complaint, but, this song at 6 minutes and 6 secs should be reduced to under 6 minutes for royalty reasons, if possible.

Song #2....TRENCHES

Listen/Purchase Here:

Easy listening on this song in a bluesy real to perfection way.

Conveyance of how deep one must go to connect; a sort of protection from all the hurt in this world. But, the one real connection is with God.

Instruments are awesome, with keys in step with lyrics.

Rating 4 ¾ Stars out of 5

Song is 4 minutes and 18 seconds.

Song #3....LOVE YOU BACK
Listen/Purchase Here:

All of us search for everlasting love, at first, through mortals here on earth. To me, this song, is Brenda connecting with an unwavering love that will never forsake her, through good times or not so good times. 

This song states clearly, God's love is the 'perfect' love that never fades or fails us, even if we do fail HIM.

Brenda nails all the lyrics which gives this song passion extraordinaire!

I love this song arrangements and the instruments are awesome.

Song is 4 minutes and 19 seconds.

My rating is 5 BIG STARS


Pick this CD's great....and one you will treasure forever!!!

Additional Information about Brenda
Brenda Ribeiro was born in Turlock California and exposed to music at a very early age. Both of her parents were Christian Music Recording Artists who taught her and her sister to sing and harmonize as a family group. Her first public performance was at the age of two and she began writing songs at the age of 14. Spending part of her childhood and young adult years in Northern Nevada, she was involved in musical theater and also performed as entertainment for venues such as MGM Grand Reno, The Nugget and The Miss Nevada Pageant. She was well received for some of her original Gospel and pop material by secular audiences but her heart belonged to the purposes of God and His calling upon her life. She attended Capital Bible Institute in Sacramento California to prepare for ministry at the age of 20 then soon made her first move to Southeast Texas. After returning to California she served in music and worship ministry for fifteen years, which remains her most, beloved musical expression. As a professional jingle singer, and TV spokesperson, she has a heart for taking the Love and Light of Jesus into the market place where it needs to effectively be seen. Having also had a career in the modeling industry while secretly hiding the physical and emotional effects of domestic violence, Brenda has a passion for helping those who suffer from a broken identity and the devastating effects of abuse in the lives of men, women and children. Her journey has led her to discover who she is and the faithfulness of an ever-present God. The heartbeat of her message is one of hope to encourage those who hurt or hide behind a mask of perfection allowing the perfect love of Christ to minister grace, healing and restoration.

Behind the Tunes and lyrics:

These are three of many songs I wrote during a cocoon season of healing from trauma due to life altering tragedy brought on by the mental illness of a loved one and the tragic death of a very close friend which followed. It was during my darkest and loneliest days that I discovered the presence of God to be what the scriptures describe as "the lover of my soul"...I developed a sort of "Love Affair" with my creator and wrote these songs to reflect my passionate desire and heartfelt thanks for His healing presence that has changed me from once being a victim of abuse to a strong, well equipped woman on a mission to help others to believe in themselves and the God who loves them so much!

Her unique style is derived from diverse musical influences that range from Linda Ronstadt, Dan Fogelberg, Johnny Cash, Faith Hill and Gospel roots.

Finally, Brenda runs a very successful Decorative, Art, and Design Business.

Ted Cohen: 2011, The Year of the Music Service | MIDEMBlog

Ted Cohen: 2011, The Year of the Music Service | MIDEMBlog

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Role of a Booking Agent

This blog details when to expect that you are ready to garner the interest of a booking agent.  Until that time, it is up to you to build your base, buzz, and brand.  Online gigs can help you keep track of and manage that process with automated tools (press releases, contracts, tour itineraries), a national directory of venues, colleges, festivals, fan management notification tools, and widgets to automatically post your show dates to all your social media sites.

Every performer wants a booking agent. Who wouldn't? Someone to set shows up, negotiate the fee, keep an eye on legal issues, deal with any problems that might be on the horizon, coordinate a logical succession of dates that create a nice tour, all for a fee that usually hovers around the 15% mark.

Wow, you don't even have to pay them upfront? They just take a cut? Unfortunately, however, like anything good in life, connecting with a viable booking agent takes time, effort, and dedication. The first thing a musical act must do when considering a booking agent is to take a long hard look at the demand for their music. This is different than analyzing the quality of the music, the themes of the music, the cool stage show, or the vibe of the performance.

Venues are created and built to make money. When an act can demonstrate the ability to bring people in, it becomes able to arrange the use of a venue's facilities to stage the performance (compared to singing on the street). Because both the performing act and the venue desire money, it is the booking agent who will draw up a set of agreements to manage the expectations of both. The title "booking agent" is used for someone who matches performing acts with the venues and completes contractual requirements. A booking agent is typically one of the following three types:

In-house:  The in-house booker only books for his or her venue, and is mainly in charge of finding bands that fit together with the venue (in theory) and keep it full of paying customers. They may branch out and do a festival or two, but primarily they are responsible for one venue. This is the person who most unsigned bands are dealing with when they first start looking for gigs.

Independent:There is a second class of booking agent. They are independent and looking for bands with some sort of growing demand or large potential. While "potential" is a possible criteria, independent booking agents are not likely to work for free. These types of bookers will book shorter tours in smaller venues. They also may book local festivals, one-off shows, and usually have a few local venues they have a good connection with.

Agency:The booking agent who works for an agency is going to work with bands that have a demand for their music. These agents rarely have to sell the band because any band they work with will already have a solid history. They simply show the venue the results of the last tour and commence negotiation on new tour dates. Agency bookers usually have well-developed networks and contacts with venues across the country or the world. Larger agencies, such as William Morris, will have all sorts of resources to assist the artist – corporate tie-ins, connections to other artists, legal backing, etc. Even the smaller agencies, however, are usually very well run and well-supported. Most performers want to reach this level of booking agent.


This brings us to the hard truth. Most performers do not need a booking agent…yet. There are relatively few performing acts that have such a high demand for their work they actually need to pay someone to keep everything straight.

Countless bands and solo musicians are highly frustrated by the lack of demand for their music, and they constantly point to the quality of the performance, claiming that it is so high that people would love it if only someone else could get them in the door. Many unknown bands are looking for a booking agent who will sweep them from obscurity, slap them on as the opener for a well-known band, and the rest will be history. They see the booking of shows as the only thing standing between them and success.

Others might not imagine reaching the top quite so quickly. They just want a booking agent who will cobble together a nice little National or Regional tour to smaller venues and 200 people per show.

Have there been situations where music from an obscure band with no demand found its way into the hands of someone with power, who then dropped them into a nice tour line-up? Yes. Can you expect the odds of this happening to favor you? No.


Booking agents do NOT determine your success in the music industry....You and more importantly your fans do! 

Booking agents exist in part to support artists, but certainly not to create artists. Creating demand can be done in an artificial way using marketing dollars, but music is one of the few things in life that creates demand in a very natural way.

If you can snag an independent booking agent, or even a friend who wants to be involved with your work, more power to you. Some of these types of artist-business teams last for decades and are incredibly successful. We are always more comfortable and more loyal to those who were slugging it out in the trenches with us.

At the bottom level, however, there is much that can be done with in-house bookers. Don't begrudge that you have to deal with the "lowest form of booking agent." Treat them with respect, and play good shows. Play good shows to the point that you can point to ONE venue and say, "I bring a lot of people there every time I play."

Until an artist can say that about ONE venue, spend 6 months, a year, even 2 years building up your show, your vibe, and your audience. A performing act can expect to find a booking agent willing to spend time making the calls, following up, selling the band, doing all the paperwork, and troubleshooting any issues when 15% of your gross amounts to a respectable paycheck for them! Are you a good bet for them? Only you know for sure.

As you perform successfully on a small scale, then access will start opening up at the independent booker level. You may move from one place you can sell-out to a roster of 4 or 5. Now you are getting closer to the point that you need a booking agent. And guess what? When you start needing a booker, you will be shocked at how easy it is to get them to take your calls.

File Sharing, Why It's Here & Not Going Away

The digital music consumption systems and technologies promote different ranges of social behavior in fans; it’s part of the ongoing evolution of social music. Traditional systems and tech encouraged certain conduct, such as the gradual development of musical tastes and the act of collecting music in the physical form—both of which the record industry profited handsomely from. A new age brings new systems, technologies, and behaviors, to think fans and business models are frozen in time—untouched by these changes—is a fool’s errand. So too, there’s more choices in music now than ever and discerning which adds the most value to one’s life isn’t easy. Such an overload leads fans to pursue coping mechanisms like file-sharing. And, when fans fail to make good decisions, they feel burned and look for ways to even the scorecard with the industry and artists that brought those choices. 

That fans are getting more cautious about their purchases is a result of having more risk pushed onto them. To protect themselves from buying something that they didn’t want—they file-share music to mitigate the added risk and are so willing to do so that they put themselves at great legal risk in the process.