How To Write An Email To Book A Show Or A Tour
This article is for you if you are acting as your own agent and booking your own shows (or for the band you manage) and would like to see an example of an artist booking email template. Below you’ll find out how to contact a venue booker or talent buyer to get yourself booked on a show. To start, we’ll assume you’ve already found the right contacts (venue booker, promoter, festival buyer) and drafted your tour routing.
In this article, you will learn:
- 5 things to keep in mind before you begin writing your email
- 5 points to include in your email
- Writing your subject line
- What to do if you’re totally new to a market (or a new act entirely)
- What to do after you’ve sent your email, and
- What NOT to do
5 Things To Keep In Mind Before You Begin Writing Your Email
- Always check the venue’s website for any submission specifics. They may have some listed or they may not. Just make sure you check first to avoid frustrating the venue buyer.
- Understand that you’re SELLING a live show! Paint a picture in their mind about your music and your amazing live performance (we’ll go over this more later)
- Look at it from a business standpoint and think about what’s in it for them. What do they want and what are they looking for? Aside from the music and the awesome live show you put on, a booker also pays attention to your image and your branding; how much money you’re potentially going to make their venue; and/or sometimes it can honestly come down to whether you are a good person or not or have a good reputation or not. But in general, think about what the buyers want before reaching out.
- Sometimes it comes down to who you know. People like doing business with familiar people, so if you can, try to get connected through other people. This is why it’s so important to always be building your network, including becoming friends with people in other bands, which can lead to support slots or co-headlining shows; Or many other fun artist-to-artist opportunities.
- Don’t undersell yourself, but don’t oversell yourself. Just be completely truthful.
5-Points to Include in Your Email
Firstly, keep it short. Select only the best information to put forward and be professional.
1. Desired Date(s) & Tour Routing
Mention what date you’d like to play there. First check their website to make sure that night isn’t already booked. If there’s already a show that night, you could ask if you could be added to the bill or ask to open for that artist. Only do this if you believe you fit the bill or would make a good opening act. What is a bill, you might be wondering? Generally, that’s what we call the lineup of artists performing a show. Additionally, note your tour routing if this is a tour (so that they know your plan, and know that you have a plan). It can also help them suggest a surrounding date if the date you’ve requested doesn’t work.
You want to explain what your “package” is or what your live performance consists of. How long is the show, what’s the genre, the vibe, and make sure your show suits their venue.
3. Live Performance Video
You can explain to them all you want about how great your performance is, but your best bet is to back up your description and send them a link to a well-done, good-sounding, live performance video so that they can get the idea of how you perform live. Send your best possible footage, and don’t send actual files, just 1 link.
4. Bio + Noteworthy Section
Include a short, point form bio. Also include a point form list of the most noteworthy things about your band such as recent tours, awards, radio or sales stats, or artists you’ve been DIRECT support for. You can include your website link or EPK that has all this information instead or write it all out as well as link to your EPK. And on that note, either way you want to link to your website and social media.
5. Audience Proof
Show your history of performing in that particular market and how many fans you expect. I’ll talk about if you don’t have proof or stats in a moment. But you can start by telling them about previous or recent show turnouts, your average merchandise sales, and tell them about your Google, Facebook, Twitter or Mailing List analytics (for example, you can say, we have 200 Facebook fans that are from your city). You may not have many, but you should be relatively aware of how many fans you can bring out in a certain market.
What if I’m a totally new band, or new to that market?
Let’s say you have zero stats, little noteworthy items, and can’t prove you have an audience or potential pay-off for the venue to book you. Then you can send them a link to your best possible song or live video, stating what you’re up to in a professional manner, and that you’d like to play at their venue to build your audience. The music will dictate whether they add you to someone else’s bill or not. If they decide to book you when you’re that new, expect to earn no money.
If you’re just new to that market and don’t have stats, but have played shows before, you can simply say:
“We played __ venue recently, we had __ fans show up, and we sold $___ in CD’s and T-shirts”.
Writing the Subject Line
Give as much information in the subject line as possible. Some bookers get SO MANY emails that they request long subject lines to help them figure out if they should urgently read your email, or not. However, do not put the word “urgent” in your subject line.
A simple suggestion is to put ARTIST NAME in CITY on DATE. You can also consider adding a tiny super noteworthy attention-grabbing point in there as well.
After You’ve Sent Your Email
Put a reminder in your calendar to follow up in 7 days or so. If they haven’t replied to you in 7 days, then email again and say “I just wanted to make sure you received this email”. Or “Hey so and so just following up on my email”. Every so often, email them to update them on any new bookings along your tour routing to show them that your tour is coming together, and you’d really like to nail down their venue on that date, sort of thing.
Stay in touch, but don’t harass them. Consider getting in touch once every week to 2 weeks, and if they never reply to you after 3-4 emails, consider moving on to another venue.
What NOT to do…
Do not get the persons’ name wrong. If you don’t know their name, just say hello. Do not get the venue, showcase, or festival name wrong. Do not be unprofessional or too casual. And since you’ll be sending essentially the same email to all venues and promoters, you’ll be doing a lot of copy and pasting and forwarding, so MAKE SURE you change the email subject, and the names of venues and dates within the email. You’ll look pretty stupid if you don’t and could result in a quick DELETE on their end.
Thanks for reading! Feel free to copy and paste an email pitch to a buyer that worked successfully for you!