Check out Part 1 if you missed it. Hopefully this is helpful to some of you.
Section 2: Finding Employers & Getting a Job
This is the point where you will need to take your focus from the music, to the business. As much as you might hate Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, these will be paramount to your success at the very low cost of FREE! This is a much more involved process that could take you years, months, or weeks depending on how much time you dedicate, and how organized you are. You need to build a resume that you can distribute to potential employers online. One of the most important parts of this resume is a video audition that should be nothing more then you playing a quality version of a popular cover with all of your instruments. If you are able to get a few reference letters from previous bars or venues you have played at, that is another key factor in your “job application”. You will need to ask for reference letters at venues that you play at along the way. If a venue likes your show and invite you back a couple times, then you might consider asking for a reference letter.
Your Music Resume should include the following.
- A clear introduction of yourself and whom you are looking to connect with.
- Offer links to your social pages (of which reflect your potential reach)
- Provide a link to your online video audition or YouTube video
- Explain to the venue your experience level, and what you do that separates you
- Be prepared to provide a list of songs you play (some venues will ask)
- Reference Letters from bar owners that you have played for previously
- Let them know you promote every show! AND FOLLOW THROUGH
Now that you have a resume built with a video audition and properly formatted in a short concise email, we need to start looking for people to send this too. It’s best not to reach further then 1 hour travel time from your home when looking for venues. Remember, we don’t have a huge overhead right now and travelling costs money, so lets try and keep our expenses down at the start. The best way to do this is use Google, Twitter, Facebook and any other online tools to find venues in specific cities within that 1-hour radius. Once you start coming up with results, open up your address book and start a new group called “Ontario Music Venues”. Here you will input all of the information including address, phone, email, twitter, Facebook, and manager who books music there. It should be organized properly and easily searchable in your address book.
Consider adding your shows to ReverbNation, which will layout a nice map for you, and any other place you use for online promotion or scheduling. Eventful, MySpace, or whatever you are using to connect with your fans
As you are building your database of potential employers you can start to send out emails, tweets, give them a follow, like their page on Facebook. You can send your online resume through Facebook or ask on twitter who you should contact for live music bookings. Give them a few days to respond in each location and then think about calling them directly. Best to call at 11am, 3pm, or after 9pm to avoid getting brushed off in a lunch or dinner rush. Leave a message if you don’t connect with the proper person and put a note in your address book the date and that you left them a message. On to the next one and do the same! Do this for traditional live music venues, and even call non-traditional venues close by and offer your services, let them you know might be able to attract some new patrons and bring some friends out. Some places are willing to give it a shot! If you come across a venue that isn’t responding, keep them on the backburner and connect with them in 3-6 months.
I recommend reviewing your address book, adding to it, and calling existing venues at least once a week. It will take you a while before you will start to get calls to your phone asking if they can book you. You’ll need to be the driving force behind the relationship and connection; they have no reason to call you back until they know you are an asset to their business. It is best to call and try to book shows at least 3-6 months in advance. Most places that book are booking at least that far ahead. Tell them it is better for you to have more time to promote the show, you are happy to book something even 6-12 months down the road. Take what you can get, and be resilient.
Lastly, you will need to provide a price. This is the last thing I talk about with venues when first booking. If they ask you for a price, sometimes it is best to ask back. He who speaks first, loses. Generally it is tough to get more then $150 dollars for a single man at a small pub. “WAIT, $150 dollars! For 4 hours of music?” -said the venue owner… You politely explain all of the work you have done to learn the music, book the show, travel to the show, load the gear, play the show, unload the gear and drive home. Its a full 6-8 hour day not including your time in preparation.
Check back for the 3rd Section. Next Week!
Thanks for your interest,