Elevator Pitches and Networking Events
Delivering an effective Elevator Pitch at networking at industry events such as at jazzahead! and the Jazz Promotion Network Conference, and even informally elsewhere, is a great way for musicians to make lasting impressions, forge partnerships, and secure valuable opportunities.
Mock Elevator Pitch:
"Hey, I'm X, the driving force behind powerhouse band Y. Picture HazelScott cranking out Irish funk in 2024—that's the vibe we bring. With our unique blend of vocals, FX, trombone, keys, bass, and drums, we create an irresistible groove that turns every venue into a dance floor. Thanks to our electrifying performances we've clinched some major accolades, including [mention specific accolades, achievements, festivals]. Our secret sauce, Z, is the magic behind our genre-defying sound. This year, we're hitting the road with our critically acclaimed EP, XYZ. Praised for its innovation, soulful vocals, and unwavering energy, our music is a force to be reckoned with. We look forward to seeing you on the dance floor!"
Pitching Top Tips:
● Be Punctual and Well-Prepped:
Have your all your ducks in a row (see below) and research the programmers and what they programme - tailor your pitch to their style and needs.
● Introduce Yourself with Clarity and Intrigue:
Begin with a concise yet engaging introduction/ elevator pitch, mentioning your name, instrumentation, and perhaps a brief overview of your musical background. Try to stick to discussing one act/project (as opposed to numerous bands you might be in). If visual branding plays a significant role in your act (e.g. stage costumes) - then consider
presenting in this way in your meeting.
● Highlight Your Style and Influences:
Clearly articulate your style within the genre. Mention key influences to give directors an idea of your artistic direction and marketability. What does your music sound-like? How is your voice unique? What is your USP? (e.g. “dreamy punk jazz”). Why is this music timely?
● Mention Past Performances and Achievements:
Briefly mention relevant significant performances, collaborations, or awards that highlight your experience, credibility and track as a musician.
● Emphasise Audience Engagement:
Who is your target audience? It’s important to understand the festival or venue's audience and how you align with that. Describe how you connect with audiences during live performances, including any interactive elements if applicable. Consider mentioning stage presence and how you engage visually with the audience.
● Provide a Sample of Your Music:
Consider presenting a brief snippet (the dynamic and most engaging section) of your music on your phone/iPad/laptop with headphones (not earbuds) to share in the session. You could also bring business cards, CDs, download codes. And/or offer to follow-up via email with a
●Aim to Establish Mutually Beneficial Relationships:
How are you meeting their programming needs, what are you bringing to the table, and what are you looking for from them - what is the ask? Why should they book you at this time (it co-incides with a tour, album release etc.)? Leverage common ground - artists they have programmed that you have worked with, or who are similar to your music - ‘your music is similar to XYZ artist who sold-out a show at their festival/venue’ (balancing budgets/selling tickets is often a significant priority for programmers).
● Remember it’s a Two-Way Conversation:
Not a lecture! Practise active listening, mirroring etc. Listen curiously, ask questions about their artistic vision/process, what sort of artists they like to work with etc. Build rapport. Crack a joke if it feels natural. Leverage common ground - artists they have programmed that you have worked with, or who are similar to your music, as well as other things you might have in common.
● Address Logistics and Technical Needs:
Be prepared to discuss any logistical, financial or technical requirements you may have for your performances. This includes the number of band members, equipment needs, and any special arrangements. Have a clear plan, but show flexibility and adaptability. Consider mentioning that you have the capacity to/track record of sourcing your own funding for travel costs, e.g. from Culture Ireland.
● Prepare for Questions:
Anticipate potential questions directors may have and prepare thoughtful responses. This could include enquiries about your availability, willingness to collaborate, or any upcoming projects.
● Take Notes:
Especially if the programmer is mentioning submission windows for festivals, or you are asking for advise on other venues and festivals to contact etc.
●Follow-Up and Make Peace with Rejection:
It is unlikely to get booked on the spot - the majority of gigs are booked through follow-ups, and relationships are usually built over several meetings over many years. Do send a friendly and professional follow-up email. But prepare to be patient, to give the programmer time and space before respectfully following-up again. Bear in mind that pitching is also a numbers game. Not all matches will be a good fit. “No” often means “not at this time”.
● Practice Your Pitch:
Rehearse your pitch within the time constraints to ensure it's polished, engaging, and covers all essential points. If possible, practice with afriend to receive feedback, unexpected questions and to iron out any creases (especially given the time constraints). Alternatively, record yourself and listen back.
Your goal is to leave a lasting impression and create interest in your music.Keep your pitch focused, energetic, and tailored to the preferences of the specific festival or venue you're pitching to.