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Re: (OT) For getting gigs, each musician should have...

Nice Matt. Clear and good. 

On Jun 23, 2012, at 11:11 AM, Matt Davignon wrote:

> Since Kay'lon is feeling non-loopy today, I figured it would be a good
> time to finally write this:
> As someone who runs a small venue, I should share that there are
> certain things a musician can do to make them easier to book. This is
> written mostly for getting shows at small venues that book new, local
> acts. For these, it's good to have:
> --A WEBSITE: This can be a bandcamp page, a soundcloud page, one of
> those template sites such as weebly.com, or your own standalone site.
> The point is to have something a booker can find on google and know
> it's official and reasonably up-to-date. Simple is good. Someone
> should be able to easily find your bio, sound samples, and photos.
> --BIOGRAPHY: A bio serves two purposes: 1) Encouraging venues to book
> you, and 2) once you are booked, providing the venue with text they
> can post on the show announcements to get people to come to the show.
> Each bio absolutely must list what instrument you play should have
> some sort of description of the experience a person might get from
> your show. Use descriptive terms instead of value terms. For example,
> my bio uses the words "organic" and "gloopy", but doesn't say
> "excellent" or "important". I'm personally fond of bios written in the
> third person ("Matt Davignon is..." instead of "I am..."). If you are
> in or have been in bands that readers may know about, it's good to
> list them. Do not list every single band or collaboration you've been
> in. If you've won a lot of awards or have played with famous people,
> you can include that, but if it's more than a certain percentage of
> your bio, it can be a turnoff. (Unless you're really famous, then it's
> kind of expected.)
> An ideal bio has both a long and short form - some venues prefer 1
> paragraph, others prefer a half page. A good strategy is to write 3 or
> 4 paragraphs, where the first paragraph includes the description of
> what you do in a performance. That way a venue can copy as many
> paragraphs as they want. That's what I've done here:
> http://www.ribosomemusic.com/biography.html and my friend Agnes Szelag
> has done here: http://www.agnesszelag.com/bio/
> --MUSIC SAMPLES: This is where the bandcamp or soundcloud page comes
> in. I never book a band without hearing them first. They tell me
> whether a band plays the kind of music that fits my venue, and that
> they don't totally suck. I'd say at least 4 different music samples is
> ideal, and they shouldn't all sound the same. I'd recommend that at
> least one be a live sample.
> --PHOTO: When I was new, I objected to the photo idea, because I
> didn't think music booking should be based on appearances. That's not
> what this is about. Venues usually don't use the photo as a reason to
> book you or not. Instead, venues often need something to put on their
> show announcements once you ARE booked. Also, if a local paper wants
> to do a story about you, they'll often ask for a picture. There's a
> minimum resolution often requested - usually at leat 300 dpi. I
> personally think a nice photo of you playing your instrument is better
> than a Hollywood-style face shot. (However, more formal music venues
> may prefer the face shot.) It's great that Mark Hamburg and George &
> Alana Wiltshire have been taking artist pictures at the Y2K looping
> festivals. This should be easy to find on your website. Many artists
> put it on their home page or their biography page.
> --VIDEO: This one's kind gravy, since you probably won't have it when
> you get started. I think it's good to have a video of you playing
> well, because you can include a link when you ask for shows, and it
> gives the venues a pretty concrete idea of what you're about. When you
> get your first gig or two, try to get a friend to record your set with
> a camera that has decent sound. (I currently use a Zoom Q3, but the
> Flip camera I had before works fine too. My droid phone is too shitty
> for this, because the sound comes out all glitchy.) The video doesn't
> have to be on your website. I search for artist videos on Youtube or
> Google (which returns youtube results).
> Now, none of these things by themselves will get you a gig. Venues
> also need to know that you exist, and that you're able to play shows.
> The best way to do this is to go to the video a few times when local
> bands you like are playing. Then, after a few visits, talk to the
> booker about whether you could play at their series.
> Payment at small local venues tends to work in one of five ways:
> --Free Show: Admission to the show is free. Artists do not get paid.
> --Door Split: The venue takes a percentage of the door income, and the
> rest is split between the artists. In my experience, the venue share
> is usually between 30% and 50%. For beginning musicians, this is
> usually the ideal situation.
> --Rental: Artists pay for the nightly rental of the venue (often
> $100-$150), and keep all of the income.
> --Artists get the top: The venue usually needs to make a certain
> amount to cover their nightly expenses (usually $100-$150). After that
> amount is made, the rest of the door income goes to the artists. If
> the venue doesn't make their minimum, they don't often charge you the
> difference, but they might not invite you to play again either. (This
> doesn't mean they don't like you, but it costs money to run a venue.)
> --Cover Charge: At bars/clubs, income is taken from the door fee (the
> "cover") and from drinks sold. Different bars/clubs will have
> different policies about how much of the cover goes to the bands, and
> if the bands get a percentage of profits from drink sales.
> By small venues, I'm thinking of cafes and art galleries that
> regularly have live music by local artists and touring artists who are
> not famous.
> For larger venues (where moderately-known touring indie-rock bands
> often play, such as San Francisco's Bottom of the Hill), they will
> usually need all the above, PLUS the venue will need to have some sort
> of faith that they will make enough money that night to cover their
> operating expenses. If you feel absolutely certain that 40 or more
> people will definitely come to your show to see you, then you're
> probably ready to move on to larger venues. Saying hello in person
> probably won't work for these venues unless they already know of you
> by reputation. Often these venues have booking request pages on their
> websites.
> Matt Davignon
> mattdavignon@gmail.com
> www.ribosomemusic.com
> Podcast! http://ribosomematt.podomatic.com