Thanks so much for responding. He's fronted a rock band for the last 2-3 years but moved toward Country cause he loves the genre. He's played in front of 1,500 : WildHorse kinda crowds, colleges etc.. Excellent songwriter and pro attitude. If anyone needs to hear his stuff, see :http://www.myspace.com/ericholmgren.
I appreciate any recommendations you can make. Hey, and let me know when you're playing out, so I can actually catch your show!
That's a tough one especially in this economic environment these days. I'm working with one artist who has a record deal, has had a single on the radio, was on a major tour last fall, and his most recent video made the GAC Top 20 Countdown... yet his booking agent hasn't been able to secure him dates at the level we need to sustain him. Its just the nature of the animal right now.
What I've done is find a great person who has since started a booking agency for indie artists, and between this person and myself we've gone out and found a couple of interns to work the phones, do the research, and try and find gigs. It will probably be 2010 before we see the major results, but its a whole lot better than sitting around doing nothing and hoping something will come along!
Thanks so much for your thoughtful reply. You're right about the economy but it does surprise me a little that an established, successful artist is having so much trouble with bookings. But as you said, that's the nature of this "Recession" beast. Your proactive method is smart and I'm sure I'll be doing something similar soon!!
Best of luck to you and your client. A rising sea lifts all ships, so maybe we'll all see an improvement by 2010.
Thanks for the lead and your thoughtful reply. Yes, we have him on nearly all social networking sites and will promote him heavily soon. We are seeking sponsorships and a uniques touring approach through a retailer that may get us going. Working the endorsement angles too.
My hardest job is getting bookings for a guy that only has to play once to get additional bookings, but prefer an agency. Your suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thanks!!
You are experiencing something that has been going on for quite some time and is far deeper than the recession. It basically is the law of supply and demand.
When the Internet came to it's own in the mid 90's there was an explosion of people into the music industry. From basic Karaoke cowboys forming their own companies, which led to things like American Idol Nashville star, to pro tools and other computer based marketing tools, suddenly every thing changed. Along with clubs, the basic linchpin of development of artists, simply went out of business or switched formats to Karaoke or more amature or cover ventures. Suddenly every one was having to go the AI route to get any attention at all.
The result is what you are experiencing. Clubs in pretty much every area of the country are going to get locals with following and pay less than book unknown out of town acts. Supply overwhelms demand in Nashville which has been using the "free" system for many years. In New York. LA and other areas, it is common for the newer acts to be responsible for selling so many "tickets" to any show before they can even be booked.
So it is the classic conundrum of "How do you get a job without experience, how do you get experience without a job?"
It is affecting the majors in that the mid level acts with one, two or even three hits out there are having to take the opening slots or the Wildhorse size clubs. Everything has been downsized. Since booking agents only operate on percentage fees, until you can pay a sizeable percentage, it is doubtful you will have much success there.
My personal suggestion is to work with him as a single or possibly duo. The money is cheaper, cost of travel, expenses, all are somewhat reduced. Of course a lot of this would depend upon the type of venue and what music they play. Doing a country cover band might be an option.
At any rate, it is a pretty tough road these days. And has been for quite some time. It is not the current recession, although that doesn't help. The reality is it is the changing nature of the music industry.
Another very odd aspect these days are the advent of the older acts taking up a HUGE percentage of the major touring business. Aerosmith, Springsteen, Billy Joel, the Eagles, etc. groups like that are all taking up the major arenas, sports stadiums, and larger club venues. What this means is every thing gets downsized. Very few mainstream acts can even pull in enough people to fill the stadiums outside of Chesney, McGraw, etc. So that forces the higher end medium acts into large club venues, the upper mid level acts into medium venues and the lower mid level acts into smaller club venues. That squeezes new acts almost completely out of the business except in cover venues.
Just another piece of the choke puzzle.
Festivals are a good place to look although they have been booking more and more of the local acts and smaller touring acts as well. They can get medium sized acts for much less money since everyone's prices are going way down. And of course if you can list that you have a huge band from the 70's or 80's playing your event, it brings in a LOT more people than just "so and so from somewhere else..."
Colleges are VERY interesting. I call it "how to flush $5000 down before you realize it." I did it, or tried to for about 3 years a few years back. It was one of the more confusing things I ever did. First of all, to really do the colleges you have to go through a thing called NACA, National Association of Campus Activities. They have around 9 conferences a year in different regions. In order to showcase, you have to submit dozens of packages to various committees. Those committees lead to other committees, more fees, etc. Submissions alone gets VERY expensive. Then if you get accepted you have to get a booth, showcase fees, travel, etc. and dive on in with the magicians, motivational speakers, comedians, and countless other acts. And of course, they expect you to have an agent (job/experience anyone?)
When you get a showcase there are other showcases going on all the time and you are showcasing for students, who are really much more interested in picking up the opposite sex than really seeing anything. If you are lucky enough to get a good showcase, you really can do well, moneytarily wise, but some very odd shows. Lunch time next to a soft drink machine where NO ONE listens to anything you do. Of course it is $1500 for an hour and a half show, so who cares. But not exactly the career or self esteem builder,
Another problem in that these days are the lack of funds from colleges. They are having to fund so many things, and it is getting harder to do. My daughter starts Belmont Univ. next year so it is something I am seeing the other side of now.
I don't know what the answer to any of this is. I head off tomorrow eight hours to a gig in Fla, I do once a month. I have had it for about 15 years. I would hate to be starting out now. Really a tough row to hoe no matter which way you go.
Thanks for the reply. Although I am no longer managing that artist, I appreciate that you laid out what I was coming to find out myself. Sad state of affairs, but then it is a business and I can't blame local club owners for putting people on stage they KNOW will bring in business. Maybe a resurgence of Indie labels will help the problem, but I know right now, with money tight, few acts are going to get exposure unless they are a "sure thing".
I guess we are friends now. I just added you. Unfortunatly you have found out what most people find out. The Internet cut out a lot of the :middle men." There is just not a lot of money to pay managers, agents,. etc. so the artists have to do much more themselves. The same is happening with the Travel agent business, due to ORBITS, Price line dot com, Craig's list, etc. everyone just books their own, so Travel agents are going the way of the DO do.
I think the effect is that it will weed out the weak and innefective. There will be people who always do this well, generate fan base, and build things upon the Internet and personally. There are just people who do that. But there will be places where the people in the Net will go. most of them will develop their own friends and My Space sites. That will be about it.
I originally met you at a Little Rock Songwriters Symposium run by Charlie Crow, so yes, we kinda know each other. Thanks for the feedback. I'm considering what to do with my own songwriting career, instead of hauling other peoples' coal. I'll bring my own wheelbarrow!