June 1, 2022

Jazz music venues: how to research before booking gigs

I've been lucky enough in my career to be involved in many aspects of the music business. There's no “music business for dummies”, and everybody's journey is different.

However, I've seen a lot of musicians falling into pitfalls. It's mostly young musicians who are just starting out.

Let’s talk about those pitfalls.

Don’t let your venue booking emails get deleted

There's a plethora of information available on the internet. It's at your fingertips. It takes seconds to go online and research the place that you want to play, to learn what's going on there.

But I get these booking inquiries, and my finger hovers over the delete button – because the person emailing me has done zero research.

Jazz musicians: do your research

If you visit the website for Frankie's, you’ll see when we program music. And you’ll see quickly that we don't program music on Mondays.

But I can't tell you how many times I get a call or an email from somebody that says, “Hey, our band is in town, we've got Monday available, and we’d love to play at Frankie's.”
It frustrates me. Did they not go to the website and see that we don't present on Mondays?

Jazz club owners, theatre presenters, jazz festivals: we get a lot of solicitations. We're kind of looking for an excuse to hit the delete button just so we can get through the volume of emails that we have.

And that's the first thing that always gets me: the times when people have done no research on the place where they’re trying to play.

I don't want to hit the delete button. I want to give the person as much of a chance to make their pitch and tell me about who they are, and why I should book them.

A better approach to booking specific dates

If you’re touring and you really need to book a Monday night, I’d still encourage you to email me, but your approach might be a little bit different.

You could say, “Hey, I see that the venue doesn’t have anything on Mondays, but I'm just curious if you're open to presenting special events on that day.” That shows me you've done research on where you want to play.