A few reasons why promoters may not be calling you: (not necessarily specific to your band, just in general – if you think they apply, well, they probably do)
Promoters put on a limited number of shows. A well-done show takes weeks of advertising, getting media attention, and general coordination on top of a lot of money upfront (some of which we never get back). This means we can only do a limited amount each month. (Be wary of promoters who do more than 4 a month because chances are, they aren’t doing fuck all to actually promote the show). Most of these gigs involve a touring band with three or less slots for locals. In a month, I have 9 or less spots for locals out of a pool of 100+ bands that are on my list. So, if you’re not one of the bands being asked it could be because:
- Your band isn’t good enough. Sorry, but some bands aren’t ready for a lucrative gig. Stage presence, sound, professionalism. I want really good bands that the crowds love (and not just your friends that could care less about the other bands). I want bands people are excited to see. You should be doing your own shows while you are in this stage. Promoters typically deal with touring bands that don’t know the city and build shows for them. There is no reason you should be paying me to put on a show you can do yourself. You need to learn the business.
- Your crowd doesn’t stick around. I’m not going to book you if I know you and your friends are going to leave right after you play.
- You don’t go to local shows/festivals. If you don’t support your scene, it won’t support you.
- You play too much. If you play your market more than 4 times a year, you’re probably overplaying and an overplayed band doesn’t draw. Not only will you burn out your friends by getting them to come to a show every month, but it’s not fair to the venue, or the other bands to be taking up space and providing nothing. Don’t be a dick.
- You’ve pissed someone off. Promoters talk. Chances are if you fucked up with one promoter, every other promoter and venue knows and they don’t want to deal with you either.
- You have shit affliations. If you (or your girlfriend) is a piece of work and has been rude me or someone I know, chances are you’ve been blacklisted. Don’t let the asshole be your Facebook contact and keep your girlfriend on a leash when I tell her there is no guest list. All band members and their affiliations should be kept in check because you never know how that’s going to affect you down the road. It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you. So be wary about who you work with.
We care about underground bands, we love getting local bands on big shows. We love exposing the bands that we are proud of. We loving sending bands on tour and reading about them in the papers. I love sending random merch to random people around the world and seeing that band’s page explode with likes from other countries. We love the underground, or else why would we practically pay to be promoters?
If you take your band seriously, so will other people. But you’re one band. Among hundreds. Make a point to set yourselves apart and be a really good band. Then the promoters will come to you.