Are you a musician looking to make it big in the industry? Then the reality of the situation is, you need to know the right people. Getting in touch and working with a talent buyer can be the key to unlocking amazing live performance opportunities. (Even in our digital age, touring is still a huge revenue stream for artists!) Talent buyers are the behind-the-scenes masterminds who are responsible for creating unforgettable festival lineups and putting new talent on the map. Their job is more than just booking acts – they also have to understand their audience and tailor their choices accordingly. Ready to learn more about this crucial role in the music business? We’ve got you covered with everything you need to know about connecting with talent buyers and making your musical dreams a reality.
What Is A Talent Buyer, Anyway?
A talent buyer is like a matchmaker between performers and venues or events. They work hard to find the perfect act for each occasion, whether it's a music festival or a concert hall. Some of the biggest entertainment companies have their own talent buyers, who spend their days searching for talented performers and negotiating contracts. Although they might not be on stage themselves, they are a crucial part of making any show a success. And while they do spend a lot of time on the computer, (who doesn't these days, honestly), their job is all about connecting people and creating unforgettable experiences.
Are you tired of sending cold emails to talent buyers and getting no response? If you're an artist looking to book more gigs, it's important to understand the world that these people are coming from. These gatekeepers can be the key to your success or the cause of your frustration. Want to learn how to impress talent buyers and get booked for the gigs of your dreams? Keep reading for a few tips to help you out in the talent buying process.
The Difference Between Talent Buyers and Booking Agents
Word to the wise... these two folks are not the same, nor do they provide the same services! Talent buyers work directly for a venue, while booking agents work for specific artists or bands. In earlier stages, when an artist is just starting out, their manager might take on the role of a booking agent. In this situation, each venue's individual talent buyer will be working directly with the artist's manager in order to hammer out details for each show.
These People Are Busy... Really Busy!
Similar to many professionals in the music industry, talent buyers are often slammed and have too much work on their plates for a normal human to reasonably keep up with. Because of this, they will more often than not, ghost your emails. (It's probably more realistic to say that 90% of the time you won't hear back from them. Don't take it personally!) This is not because they hate you, or because they think your music is trash, it's just because they have too much going on. If they don't have a personal connection with you, or haven't been connected to you through a vetted source, they are much less likely to prioritize getting back to you. (This brings us back to an earlier point... the importance of knowing the right people in the industry in order to get ahead!)
Tips for Sending An Effective Cold Email
OK, here's the meat of it! Our first tip is to send your email from a professional email address, if you have one. Not from your Gmail. It might seem like a good idea, but talent buyers really appreciate professionalism, and want to know that if they take a chance on working with you that you're not going to drop the ball.
• You should also make sure to take the time to make sure that your email is well written and not too long. There is nothing worse than making a stranger read your personal essay before you get to the point of why you are reaching out! When in doubt, shorter is always better.
• Be specific when writing your subject line. Don't try and be cute or funny. If you're inquiring about a specific date, include it in the subject so that it's easy for the talent buyer to search their emails to find your request.
• Always include links to your social media sites, along with a few links for streaming. Don't assume they use Spotify over Apple Music or vice versa... just include links to both! You should be willing to put in the work on your end rather than making the professional you are trying to impress lift a finger.
• Including an Electronic Press Kit (EPK) and/or an Artist One Sheet is always a good idea if you have these assets readily available.
• If you've put on shows in the past that went well, sold a lot of tickets, and/or received positive reviews online, be sure to include this info. Don't waste the talent buyer's time chatting about the house party you played at that was epic, but if you performed at a reputable venue that has some clout, name dropping it is not a bad idea.
• If you have a manager and/or a booking agent, it's always a better call to have them reach out on your behalf rather than sending the email yourself. These people are used to doing business with professional middlemen, and there's a higher chance that they will respond to you if it comes from a representative on your team.
• If you're in super early stages and have neither a personal manager nor a booking agent, here's a pro tip: create a fake email address along the lines of, "ArtistNameBooking@whateveriseasiest.com". Then, pretend you are your own booking agent and email them. Talent buyers prefer dealing with middlemen rather than with the artists themselves, since as creatives, some artists can give off the vibe of being unreliable. Again, this is nothing personal, just common sense. There wouldn't be so many liaisons in industry if everything could get done just by working with you as the artist.
That's what we have for you! Good luck getting out there, don't forget to be creative and persistent. You should always cast a wide net when reaching out and don't get discouraged if you don't find immediate success. Sooner or later, the right opportunity will land in you (or your rep's) email inbox.
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