When you spend twenty-five years playing in bars, it quickly becomes apparent why some are more successful than others. The places that do well have common threads running through them, things they do that less successful establishments don’t. Interestingly, as often as not these “things” they do are not only easy and accessible to all publicans, all publicans already know about them. The difference is that the successful bars actually do them!
A case in point is the different ways bars select their musicians. As a singer, I can often tell how good, bad or indifferent a bar is based on how easy it is to get a gig from them. When all it takes is a phone call, chances are I’ll arrive to a half-empty pub. The posters I sent will still be sat in an envelope under the bar, and the best I can hope for on Facebook is whatever I’ve posted on my own page. No wonder the place is half empty. However, when a publican puts me through the ringer to get a gig, I know that IU can expect something very different; Not only will my posters be up, so too will some of the bar’s own. And the Facebook posts, apart from there being several across the week leading up to the gig, they’ll be engaging and look professional.
That’s provided they give me a gig at all of course. The successful live music bars have high standards across the board so I need to prove that I can deliver. Just like any supplier trying to make a sale, I am expected to come armed with my sales and promotions materials, a collection of media that shows I am what I say I am. Typically I would expect to be asked for some, if not all, of the following:
- Videos: If you ask for nothing else, ask for a few videos and preferably live ones. While something professionally shot is desirable, something well filmed on a mobile can be sufficient to let you see if they are the band for you.
- Photos: Pictures speak volumes about an Act because they show how serious they take what they do. Are the photos professional, amateur, or do they have any at all? One way or another they are an essential part of a booking because they are needed for your Facebook posts should you book the band.
- Song List: You’re not looking for a song by song set-list for the gig, but you do want to get a good idea as to what your customers can expect to hear if you book the band and whether it is suitable or not.
- Short Biography: A biog helps flesh out an Act’s credentials, but it’s about more than just the words. A biog can offer a window into the Act’s attitude to what they do; if it’s full of spelling and grammatical errors it could be a reflection of an overall amateurish attitude.
Booking live cover bands is easy, but they’re expensive. So does it not make sense to put in a little time and effort to get the best you can? It’s what the success live music bars do!
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