Tips From 40+ International Jazz Promoters
43 jazz festival & venue promoters around the world took part in a survey for Jazzfuel about how they discover & book artists. Here’s the super short round up…
(If you’re reading this as a promoter and have another point of view to add, please feel free to post in the comments section at the bottom of this page)
Approximately what percentage of artists you book DON’T have a booking agent?
The #1 thing I hear from musicians who are struggling to book gigs for their project is that the solution would be to get a booking agent…
You might be surprised, but on average, the promoters in this survey said they booked more than 50% of the artists at their venue or festival directly. NONE of them said they only worked with agents. 48% of promoters said that 2/3’s (or more) of their bookings were done directly with artists.
Now obviously as an agent, I’m not trying to say that it’s not good to have representation. But what this result hopefully does change is the belief that most festivals and venues are out of reach until you have an agent. So for sure keep in touch with possible agents and send them your news to get them interested. But put the majority of your efforts into actually reaching out directly to promoters.
How are jazz promoters discovering new artists?
For this question, the promoters could choose as many of the answers as they wanted, to give the fullest possible overview of how they discover emerging jazz projects.
The result? Almost 80% of promoters said they put a lot of value on personal ‘industry’ recommendations. Talking with journalists, agents, record labels and other promoters who you know personally (and whose artistic taste you trust) is very valuable.
In a similar vein, promoters also put a lot of trust in their own taste, with 72% of them saying they liked to discover bands live – either at festivals or showcases.
60% of promoters said they regularly discover potential bookings via emails. That’s actually pretty encouraging; 3 out of every 5 emails you send are going to festivals and clubs who are completely open to being introduced to your music this way.
Similarly, 60% of promoters are regularly digesting magazines and blogs to find great jazz projects for their club or festival. If you are looking to get into a specific territory, engaging a publicist is a good way to ensure that they are seeing you in these places. Or, in your home country, you might already have enough contacts to do this yourself.
Whilst Youtube/Spotify (42%) and Social Media (40%) came in last on this list, there are still enough promoters checking these places to make it worth your while dedicating some time each week to taking care of these areas.
Where’s the FIRST places that promoters go when they hear about a new project?
Almost half of promoters said that Youtube was their go-to place when checking out bands.
It certainly is mine.
Being able to see and hear a project lets a promoter know much quicker than audio or text whether it would work for their venue or festival. The quality of it also gives some idea of the tools that are available (or not!) to promote a show, if they book it…
It was also interesting that, despite the popularity of social media and Spotify for checking out music, an artist website is still the 2nd most popular place.
If you don’t have convincing, high quality video content online, you’re missing the chance to impress a huge amount of promoters. Not only that, this content needs to be showing up top on Youtube when someone searches for your name.
How important is PROFESSIONAL video content in getting gigs?
From personal experience as a booking agent, a great video has opened up so many great gigs to artists I work with.
I wanted to also see how important the promoters who took this survey felt the quality of these videos was when it came to booking bands.
THE RESULT: 60% of jazz promoters in this survey said that a high quality video was very important (4 or 5 stars) for a musician or band who were trying to get more jazz gigs.
Several of those who gave 3 stars noted that they also liked to see ‘live footage’ (regardless of quality) to get an authentic idea of how the band played live, but I think the result is emphatic enough that you should be in no doubt: in order to reach the largest possible number of promoters with your music, you need to have a professional quality video.
Thanks to the promoters who took part in this! If you want to find some more detailed answers and personal tips from them, the full and original results can be found on the Jazzfuel website.