Yesterday’s Bandcampus was a loud celebration of touring and music careers between over 15 bands and a mix of Houston music writers. As this was the first Bandcampus of the year people were understandably excited to share their progress with each other and it didn’t hurt that Marc Brubaker brought a keg of St. Arnold’s.
The following bands were in attendance:
- The Bottom Four
- <Insert Name Here>
- Wayside Drive
- Inner Lights
- Golden Cities
- Prairie Cadets
- Winter Wallace
- Reckless Endeavor
- Golden Narrow Holy Face
- Hollywood Floss
- Council Music
- Fat Tony
The session began late as printing of the ebooks took longer than expected (85 pages each!!!). Thanks to Jeremy Osborn of Wayside Drive for helping with the cover and the printing transport. Ebook copies went fast, the ones who came late had to share it and wait for it to be made available online (later today). We reviewed the process of booking a live show, beginning with two assumptions, 1) each band had prepared a digital toolbox of press, bio, pictures, media, stage setup to send to bookers or promoters as needed. 2) if the band had contacts or relationships with other bands or booker/promoters in desired cities, that would be the first place to start when booking a live show, aside from the following process. Then, we reviewed the planning steps for booking shows; selecting desired dates and targeting venues based on genre similarities and the size of venue. Next we talked about the phone follow-up, the importance of writing out a script and remaining to-the-point and professional. For each of these steps we highlighted the specific sections of the ebook for the bands to refer to later.
During the discussion session, before getting down and contacting venues, several points were raised by Golden Cities, I-45 and Glasnost, three bands who have set up everything from their own shows to regional and national tours.
- Lance and Marcus of Golden Cities say: the most difficult thing is getting venues to reply. You have to understand and get over the fact that not everyone is going to reply to your email ever.
- Chuck of Glasnost recommends also having a standard contract for your band as part of your digital toolbox. Glasnost compiled theirs from several different examples available online. Here is an article from Music Biz Academy with several example contracts
- All bands agreed that asking for money can be the most difficult part and that the actual rate is completely negotiable and situational. It is not recommended to play for free though.
Additionally we had several members of the media in attendance:
The most rousing portion of the entire session was the discussion that ensued when Houston Press Music Writer Craig Hlavaty stood up and let bands know that they needed to take better advantage of the musical infrastructure that exists to help them:
- Music writers love to write about local bands, local bands seem to not understand this or take advantage of this opportunity
- Craig spends a ridiculous amount of time looking at venue and band sites to find out who is playing and when, because venues don’t list it themselves
- Local Bands need to be sending information about their upcoming shows to the music writers 1.5 weeks in advance of the show (minimum)
- Bands need to send: The cost of the show, the bands on the bill, the time and venue of the show
- Bands expressed a lack of knowledge on who their local music writers actually are (I have a two-part post for tomorrow and Wednesday opening this up for musicians)
With the ebook in hand bands were ready to start booking themselves live shows in and around Houston. We will be following up with each and every band to make sure that they actually work towards this and not sink into a hole of apathy. By discussing how these bands are using the ebook and leveraging community-based support every band in the Houston Music Community can begin to practice these career building steps.
More information about the next Bandcampus: SXSW PREP coming this week.
Check out some other press on this round of Bandcampus: BOOKING PARTY