We conducted a short interview with a seasoned talent buyer. He was kind enough to share some incredible pointers to help you book more gigs. Check out the interview below.

Tell us a bit about your background and experience.

My name is Aaron Ameen, I am a music industry professional with experience in talent buying, marketing, promotion, and event production. The majority of my career has been spent at Live Nation (and its subsidiary House of Blues), although I am also a performer myself and have experience in tour managing and as an independent booking agent. My experience prior to Live Nation was in the DIY space for booking & marketing emerging artists.

1) How does receiving an EPK from a potential act make your job easier?

As a booker I received 100+ unsolicited booking inquiries per week. While a well crafted and polite introduction email is an important part of a pitch I always looked for an EPK so I could view all the artist's information in one place. In other words an EPK made the reviewing process easy for me rather than making me search on my own.

2) Are there any common mistakes you see artists make when reaching out for a gig?

Yes, I think that the tone of an artist's pitch email is very important. While I understand that working with bands and musicians are creative types I think it's important for the correspondence to remain professional. ALL CAPS or informal, misspelled emails are frustrating to read, and oftentimes indicate to me that the artist may be difficult to work with.

3) What advice would you give an act who emailed a venue to inquire about booking a show, and never received a reply?

My advice on this matter is twofold:

- Don't take it personally! As I mentioned above I would receive an average of 100+ cold emails per week. That's in addition to the other day to day responsibilities I had to manage. That said, I always take note when an artist goes out of their way to note that they are respectful and appreciative of my time. Sometimes I would not reply to things even though I've reviewed them just because I got busy.

- If you have followed up multiple times at respectful intervals and haven't received a response, consider one last follow up with a message along these lines: "I appreciate your consideration and understand you receive many inquiries daily. If you could permit me the courtesy of a response if you are not interested I will take you off of my follow up list. Thank you for your time either way."

4) Do you have any advice for artists looking to open for established acts, with a tour stop in their city?

One of my pet peeves is when people who I'd never spoken to before would reach out to me and ask to open for a national touring act. That said my best suggestion is to try and develop a relationship with the local bookers at the venues that your favorite artists play at. See if there's a way you can join a local showcase or play another show at that venue that can demonstrate your ability to draw a crowd and sell tickets.

If you can bring hard numbers to your pitch it will be much more effective.

For example: "Aaron, I saw that Eric B & Rakim are coming to House of Blues on July 30th and I was wondering if you'd consider a local opener. I've played at X venue and Y venue as a headliner, selling 200 tickets at $10 and 250 tickets at $15 respectively. I have a mailing list of 2,000 local fans and would make this my only show for 30 days before and after. Here is a link to my EPK for reference (www.exampleepk.com/exampleartist)

5) For an artist or band trying to book their first headlining show, what is a good show deal to present the venue with?

I'd familiarize yourself with what it means to take "a door deal". This type of deal is unpopular with artists and is often viewed as unfair or skewed towards the venue's favor. I'd challenge that the venue has production, operating, and marketing costs and is also looking to make a profit of their own. A door deal, which allows the artist to take a percentage of the ticket sales after an agreed-upon amount of expenses allows both parties to profit IF there are enough ticket sales.

The reason this type of deal can be good for an artist looking to headline their first show is because it allows you to show up and prove to the booker & promoter that you can sell tickets while still making sure you make money. It's a "prove it" deal of sorts.

Without diving into too many details I think it's important to make sure that the size room you're playing and the amount of tickets you expect you can sell is calibrated correctly. If you think you can sell 200 tickets at $10 then playing the 1,800 capacity House of Blues is probably not the right play for you. That said, you could take that to a 200 capacity room and sell it out and then approach House of Blues about joining a show with other bands who have a big draw and playing the bigger room. Once you have a track record and some history you can negotiate for better terms.

Some other general advice:

Always always always keep track of your data. Keep a log of ticket prices, # of sold tickets, gross revenue, what you were paid, what your % split was, how much merchandise you sold. Without prying too much I think it's always a great idea to ask the on-site venue manager "So how did it go tonight for the venue?" - Showing an interest in how the venue did implies that you are interested in building a partnership and goes a long way to getting booked again in the future.

Connect with Aaron on LinkedIn by clicking HERE.