young man in a green suit, no moneyThe entertainment industry is not what it used to be 20 years ago, or even 10 years ago for that matter. The world has changed and the old way of doing things have been chucked out the window. Going door to door with a “hard press kit” in a nice little folder with your bio, pics and a burnt CD is a way of the past. This may frustrate many and excite others, as many artists may not be down with the craft of door-to-door selling (especially those younger ones who hate face to face interaction!)

On the flip-side, it’s become increasingly competitive to keep up in the new world of digital marketing, and some will never catch up. This may seem like old news to the fresh, young faces on the scene, but the baby boomers still gigging out to make a living may think otherwise. As a “somewhat” fresh performer on the scene myself, (and I use “fresh” loosely because I’ve been performing professionally for the past 16 years.. but I still think I’m fresh and young!) I find that the younger generations tend to have a better handle on how to represent themselves in a way that is intriguing to agents or venues looking to book their acts. Therefore, I would like to provide you with my list of the Top 10 Ways to Boost Your Booking Potential.

 10. Have a Good Product
First and foremost, make sure you have a good product to sell. You can only sugarcoat something so much. Get your show solid. This may require lots and lots of preparation and practice. Have good chemistry with the other people you will be sharing the stage with.

9. Get it Right the First Time
Do not market or promote yourself before you are finished building your brand and have a nice solid image to showcase. Sometimes the door is only open once, and just like a job interview, if they aren’t impressed from the get-go—that door won’t open again. Have you ever heard, “good things come to those who wait?”— Don’t be hasty in marketing yourself. Take the time you need to “get it tight and get it right”.

8. Speaking of Solid Image
This is where professional photos, Photographer at worka solid product and great marketing material come into play. Yes, this article is about doing it on a shoestring budget and it is possible to do so. Delineate where you want that small amount of money to go and be realistic. Perhaps if you’re not the most attractive bunch of people on the planet, you skip the high-end photos and hire someone to create for you a kick ass logo or a kick ass online graphic image of yourself. Focus on what will SELL YOU, not on what will prevent you from getting gigs. On the other hand, if you have a smokin’ hot male or female leader singer… you may want to invest in those photos. It’s superficial out there people, and that is the entertainment business. Audio demos are important, but no longer the most important element. Booking agents and potential clients want to see VIDEO. This means recording your favorite few tunes or best acts and routines and investing in a high quality video. All this CAN be done for a reasonable cost—make use of family professionals and friends that are willing to share their talents to help you out. Hire a videographer for a few hours, get the video footage and ask 14-year-old Timmy next door (the tech savvy genius) to help you out. I’m sure he’d love $50 or a way to showcase his talents.

7. Be Social
That’s right, be a social as you can be. This business is all about making sure you have an online presence. Obviously, make use of Facebook, Twitter, and Reverbnation (among many others out there… but these seem to be the most pertinent for entertainers). If you don’t know these online platforms, take the time to learn them, or have someone help you out and show you the ropes. Venues and booking agents want to see a following, interest and an effort on your part when it comes to marketing what you do.

 Put Together a Nice Website
You don’t have to dish up big bucks any longer for a solid website. There are many options out there for putting together a solid (and cool!) website costing you near to nothing, and GoDaddy are great options for this. Even if you aren’t tech savvy, these online website creation sites are so user friendly that a 4 year old could do it. You can even take advantage of their additional services like SEO to boost your online presence and to get you at the top of search engines.

5. Dress to Impress
Basically, don’t show up to perform looking like the average Joe. You don’t want to look like you just woke up from a nap and threw on a ball cap. It is important to stand out. Take the extra effort to impress and wow the people you are performing for. A lot can be said for a planned outfit and appearance. This small element can be the deciding factor on whether someone wants to book you or not. If your band name is “The Average Joe’s” well, by all means dress like the average Joe, because this is your image, but have fun playing the local dive bar.

4. Put On a Solid Performance.. Every Time. concert band shadows
Put personal issues aside, and focus on the task at hand. Sometimes the crowd isn’t what you were expecting, but that is not an excuse to put on half of the performance you normally would. This means trying even harder. The sign of a great act and a great performer is being able to put on a good show no matter what is thrown your way. This will certainly boost your booking potential. Talent buyers, booking agents and venues want to know that you can keep the crowd engaged no matter what.

3. Play the Right Venues
You would be doing yourself a great disservice playing in a venue that doesn’t appreciate what you do. I have a personal story to share about a booking I had with a former 80’s cover band I was a member of. A local agent booked the show and we were to play for a private party at the local country club for their annual “lobster-fest”. Little did we know or take into consideration that the age demographic of the party was about 30 to 90 years old. An 80’s cover band plays exactly that… music of the 1980’s. We were not a jazz band or a variety band. Needless to say, not many liked what we did and it was the longest night in history. I even had guests threaten to leave if we didn’t do something more up to date. Now, I would like to blame someone else for the horrible show but it was really on us because we didn’t do our homework. Were we the best option for the agent to choose? Probably not, but we said yes. (On a side note, we did pull a jazz set out of mid air— so we did what we could). This is also a sure fire way to get really bummed out about what you do. Not everyone appreciates your craft or your style. Play and perform to those who DO appreciate it. Find the venues that you belong in and where you can grow a following.

2. Find an Agent
Having an agent can help get you work you might not otherwise get on your own. It’s great to be all “gung ho” to do the whole booking aspect on your own, but don’t discredit the clients agents have coming to them daily. Find an agent you can work with and provide them with solid material. Remember the whole “get it right the first time” thing? Make sure when you present yourself to a new agent you have your ducks in a row. If your image is top notch, most likely they will like you and take you on to their roster. It can only help you to have someone else on your team pushing your product.

Friends In Cafe1. Networking, Networking, Networking
The single MOST IMPORTANT element about this business is connecting with other players within’ it. Connecting to one new person can open many doors that would otherwise be closed; this isn’t the time to be an introvert. It is important to smile, shake hands and make a good impression. Find other performers that share your interests, play the same venues, use the same agent, share the same friends and build a relationship with them. You’ll be amazed how they can help you out and create new opportunities for you.


Katie Robinette

Business Development & Mulitmedia Design at Talent Provider Network
She has been called "ubiquitous" and there could be no better word. Katie Robinette enjoys all aspects of the music business and likes to keep active in as many avenues as possible. This includes actively singing Jazz, Blues, & Mo-town to 80s Pop/Rock and Dance covers and actively works behind the scenes in the industry with the Talent Provider Network.

During the boy band era she sang and danced her way in front of Universal and Virgin Record Execs and performed in front of thousands for the famed Showtime at The Apollo.

Meanwhile, Katie discovered another love; the love of writing music. Katie attended the famed Musician Institute in Hollywood, California for Commercial Recording and finished out her college years at York College of Pennsylvania with her Bachelors in Music Industry & Recording Technology all while improving her vocal chops with diverse and innovative training in the Classical, Jazz Blues & Pop arenas.

Katie has been a member of outstanding corporate bands and entertainment entities from Philly to LA and Dallas to Chicago.

She is currently working on writing, recording & producing her first full-length solo album.