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Standing Out & Piquing interest: Email Pitching

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To increase your chances of success when pitching to venues, understanding bookers as problem solvers is key. They aim to solve issues like filling seats, keeping the venue lights on and on reaching Equity, Diversity and Inclusion targets in their programming. Your pitch should address these needs directly, offering (financially viable) solutions to assist them in their goals.

If you can, get to know the booker in real life - introduce yourself at a gig or industry event. This avoids cold-calling when pitching. Before diving into the pitch, it's essential to research your prospective venues thoroughly. Consider their musical preferences, audience demographics, and booking procedures including especially timelines. Research how far out certain venues are booking gigs, it varies wildly, but usually at least a few months, and up to 18 months in advance.

Pitching a double bill with an act that has a track record of doing well at that venue/in that city can be helpful for drawing a crowd (though note this is more typically for door-split scenarios, or those with bigger budgets such as festivals). And even if your music is quite different to what’s been there before, there may be a strand you can put together for the promoter, which is similar bands, doing a similar thing that could be folded into some sort of evening or festival or a regular weekly or monthly activity that you could pitch something with a theme that works for you and also works for them - e.g. The Art of Piano; Hammond Night etc.

Tailoring your pitch to fit the venue and programmer’s vibe, and instilling confidence in ticket sales, will significantly increase your chances of success.

Crafting the Perfect Pitch:

A successful pitch is concise, compelling, and tailored to the venue's needs. Here's a breakdown of essential elements to include:

  • Subject Line: Don’t underestimate an intriguing one-liner that stands out in a flooded inbox.
  • Introduction: Make sure you have the right (up-to-date) name for the venue booker (wrong ones often get sent to trash without a reply)! Start with a brief greeting and introduce yourself or your band. Keep it concise but personable.
  • Highlight Your Unique Sound: Showcase what sets your act apart. Whether it's your innovative compositions, mix of genres, exceptional improvisation skills, or dynamic stage presence, make sure to emphasise what makes you stand out.
  • Relevant Experience: Mention any notable venues/festivals you've played at, collaborations with renowned artists, or accolades you've received. This builds credibility and reassures the venue of your professionalism.
  • Audience Engagement/Venue-fit: Mention similar acts who did well (sold-out?) at their venue. If appropriate (e.g. for a bar or restaurant), highlight how your music can enhance the venue's atmosphere and captivate their audience. Emphasise the entertainment value you bring and how it aligns with their patrons' interests. Bums on seats and ticket sales are key.
  • If you have funding, a publicist etc. - mention it.
  • Link to your online press kit for easy reference.
  • Call to Action: Conclude your pitch with a clear call to action, such as scheduling a meeting to discuss further details.
  • Always follow-up. The vast majority of gigs are booked through follow-ups, and not from the initial email.

Mock Pitch Example:

Subject Line E.g. 1: Electric Folk Jazz for [Insert Venue Name]

Subject Line E.g. 2: Winners of X Prize set to sell-out Dublin

Dear [Venue Contact - double check this!],

Great seeing you recently at X event. We loved your programming at Z venue this year, and saw that X [insert band] had a full house, that’s fantastic! We have a similar audience base and some artistic similarities your audience might enjoy.

Gender-balanced band XYZ [your act] are known for infectious grooves and moody lyricism. Think Weather Report meets Joni Mitchell, with a Hiberno twist. We will be launching our album in November and [insert venue name] would be the perfect fit in terms of capacity and vibe.

[Insert media Outlet/Reviewer] described our [insert prestigious venue/festival] performance as “XYZ”. You can find out more in our EPK [insert hyperlink] which includes live performances such as this one [insert high quality youtube hyperlink]

Based on current social media engagement on our album teaser (5000+ views), we know Dublin audiences won’t wanna miss out on this electric gig.

I would love the opportunity to discuss this further with you. Please let me know if there’s a convenient time for a meeting in the coming weeks.

Thanks for your consideration. We look forward to the possibility of sharing our trailblazing music with Dublin audiences.

All the best,

[Your Name]

[Your Contact Information]


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