The Circle of Trust
_Editors Note: for more on Allen Ostroy’s Music Biz 101, visit- Music Biz Workshops.com
Last summer I asked some friends of mine in “The Biz” questions about press kits and what to put in them (see the post from 7/13/05). It was pointed out in that column that physical press kits were becoming obsolete because of the internet and availability of information and digital downloads. Now a year later I can say that the death of the physical kit is final. However a tight electronic press kit or EPK is crucial, especially for new artists. If you’re a new artist trying to get gigs and press don’t just send people to your website or myspace page. These are necessary tools but you also want to put together a tight EPK with bio, picture, and download. Don’t just leave it in the talent buyer’s hands to search around your site for the info because most won’t spend the time searching it. Send them something tight and interesting and if that turns them on then they’ll check out your site on their own. Make sure the bio is about the music business only, the picture is a clear shot of the band, not a live shot showing off your light show, and the digital download is your best song and of good quality.
Below the Q&A are some emails from artists looking for help. If you can help these artists please contact them directly. As always keep sending me your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll do my best to answer them.
I was reading your latest installment of "The Biz" and couldn’t help
but smile when I saw your answers for the gentleman from the
Charleston band looking for a booking agent. Your advice is 100% the
way to go. How would I know? Well I AM the friend who has been
accepted into a band’s "circle of trust" – I have been able to be a
part of the process by playing a pivotal role behind the scenes. Again
I am not a pro like Allen but just trying to reiterate that the man
knows what he is talking about!
The money to me is secondary (I have a well paying 9-5) right now,
what I am looking to do is build the best possible rolodex of venues,
agents, managers, promoters … etc. so that I am armed with that in
the future. My question to you is how does one go about building a
positive relationship with the above listed people – how can an
individual who is booking gigs/promoting on the side develop
trustworthy and long lasting business relationships with today’s
musical professionals? I want to promote the band but also want the
personal exposure as well … is that something morally wrong?
Thanks for all of your advice and your assistance to all the
"hopefuls" who read your articles. Personally I would like to see your
articles more than once a month!
-Steve from Baltimore
_Thank you for the kind words. I’m glad this column has helped you. Your
questions are good ones. To answer the first question about how to build a
generic rolodex you can use resources like Pollstar, Musicians Guide to
Touring and Promotion (put out by Billboard Mag), Homegrown Music Network,
other bands websites, the internet, etc. But anyone can build a rolodex and
we both know that a generic rolodex is useless until it becomes a rolodex of
relationships which brings us to your second question, "how can an
individual who is booking gigs/promoting on the side develop trustworthy and
long lasting business relationships with today’s music professionals?"_
_Let me first say that there is no secret formula or maybe there is – you
have to be yourself and you can’t be full of shit. In other words, "keep it
real." A network of long lasting relationships is created by networking. I
know that’s profound but it’s the truth. I would focus first on creating
relationships with other agents and managers of bands in your "scene" on
your "level" and the next "level." You can learn and grow together and you
will introduce each other to other agents and managers which increases the
size of your network, and so on. One way to do this is to go to the shows
of these bands and simply introduce yourself. You are going to need some
face-to-face time to create the core of your network. I have many
friends/business associates who I have never met face-to-face but because
they know one of my buddies it was easier for us to develop a relationship.
This is what networking is all about. I think you will find that you have a
lot in common with other guys starting out in the biz. You got into it for
similar reasons and hopefully one of those is that you like music, so music
is a great place to start. Some of my best friends who are other managers I
actually met at shows where both of us were there as fans and not there for
business (which is a fine line for me anyway). Also make sure you are good
to all people. A good business relationship is about needing each other and
both succeeding because of the relationship. A relationship based on
necessity doesn’t mean that it isn’t a good relationship. Remember that just
because someone may need you more today that doesn’t mean you may
not need him more tomorrow. Hopefully in the long run it balances out._
_I’ll bet there are many out there who can add to my answer and I hope I
helped because everyone has this question when they first get into the biz.
To answer your last question, is it morally wrong to want to promote
yourself? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Your artist NEEDS you to promote yourself. So
not only is it not wrong but it is necessary._
Keep in touch and let me know if there is anything else I can do for you.
Hey Thanks for the help just recently started a new musical project could use some help on the business end manager, booking agent, whatnot interested in putting something together for this summer. Its hard to do it all myself. My website is www.myspace.com/carnivalparade some recent setlists are up on setlist.com hope to hear from ya Sincerely, Steve Urban
Hey Allen – just now found the website, and saw the article where you said to get in touch with you, so that is what I’m doing… My name is Levi Weaver, I’m a singer/songwriter, originally from Texas, but I am now based in Birmingham, England. I don’t know if you do any work over here, but I’m kicking around the idea of working with a booking agent. You can get a feel for what I do at http://www.myspace.com/leviweaver if you so desire. thanks for the informative articles – -Levi -0(+44)772 564 0535
My name is Brendon Murano (LOW B) and I am a 25 year old session bassist who is also involved, On a part time basis, w/ a number of other bands. I have recorded w/ mostly Jam/Funk/Hip-Hop bands (ie. Del Tha Funkee Homosapien, Casual, Funk Nugget, Akrobatik, Virtuoso …just to name a few) and am looking to get out of doing session work and joining a full-time band such as Strangefolk. if you ever need a full-Time bassist or a sit-in Im just droping by to do some networking. For a listen to my style check out www.lowb.com! my ph. # is (510)417-5530. Thanks for your time.
P.S.- If you know of any other professional bands looking for some nasty bass….Im willing to travel to audition and relocate to play!
Hey Allen, I manage the funk/jazz/electronic band Space Agency out of Rochester, NY and we are looking for a booking agent to help book tours/festivals. We work very hard and are looking to gig full-time. I’ve included some links below. Great articles! Thanks for your help! Shawn Drogan – Liqwid Productions – 585-256-0174 office
Great column, read every one. We are actually doing pretty darn well with just me as the bass player doing the management, but we are getting to the point where some representation would help us a great deal freeing us up to focus on the music. We already have a fantastic relationship with many festival organizers and club owners, and we have our second studio album near completion. Anyway, stop by our site and if you are inclined to pass our information on, please do so. Thanks so much, Greg McLoughlin, www.buzzuniverse.com – Cell: 917-533-8455
Hey Allen Nik here again, I read your most recent article and would love to get hooked up with a booking agent in the southeast. Our website is www.ragaband.com. Nik