How To Approach An Entertainment Buyer

I am a former booking agent and the talent buyer for the NV State fair. I now manage and consult artists, which involves contacting venues, booking agents and promoters. As such I can attest to the hundreds of artist pitches many entertainment buyers receive on a weekly basis from both sides of the fence. I also know that 90% of what I personally received as an agent or talent buyer and now as a manager was or is poor quality, not appropriate for my venues/roster or both. That’s why it can be difficult and sometimes seemingly impossible to get their attention. Here are a few ways for reaching buyers that work for me.

  1. Build relationships. Whenever possible, meet in person. It can be difficult to get to some this way, but many are open to short meetings. Calling or emailing can work (call first so they expect what you’re emailing), but the end game should be to get one one-on-one meeting so you can build a personal relationship with them.
  2. Whenever possible, go where they are or are going to be. Conferences and after parties are a great way to meet and start building relationships with talent buyers. Most local venues belong to your Chamber of Commerce. Many agents attend major events ranging from SXSW to the IEBA (International Event Buyers Association).
  3. Get a quote. When you finish a gig that went well, ask the person who hired you for a quote for your website or EPK. It helps for one buyer to see that you were successful in a similar venue.
  4. Ask for a personal reference to another non-competing venue that you would be suitable for. That kind of introduction goes a long way towards opening doors that are normally shut.
  5. Backdoor your way in through a receptionist, bartender or anyone else who can introduce you directly to the person you’re trying to reach. This can be much more effective than cold-calling. I often connect with these people on LinkedIn. Once someone becomes a direct connection, you get their direct email address and often as phone number for them.
  6. Have great-looking marketing materials that sell your act. Nothing turns a buyer off more than a sloppy-looking website or EPK, a bad promo video, or no live video at all. If these are professional and effective, you don’t need to be a salesman. Your marketing and track record should sell your act for you.
  7. Offer to showcase for them. You can 1) invite them to a gig you already have, host your own showcase specifically for inviting buyers, or offer to come to their venue and perform a short set on an off night or during an afternoon.
  8. Ask a venue if they prefer to work through an agent instead of directly with an artist. If so, ask which agent or agency they prefer to work thought. Get the direct name and contact information.

The bottom line is this. Agents and talent buyers are deluged with people trying to get their attention and often overworked. They also prefer to work with or hire people.acts they know and trust. It eliminates the risk of working with an act that might be lying about their draw or about how good or professional they are. It also avoids personality clashes. So your job is to get them to know and trust you – at least enough to give you that one shot you need.

About The Author

Vinny Ribas

Vinny Ribas is the founder and CEO of Indie Connect, an artist management, consulting and training company. The company also hosts networking and educational events and has published an app that connects people to the Nashville Music Industry. During his 40+ year career, Vinny has been a full time musician, artist manager, booking agent, songwriter, studio owner, producer and the Entertainment Director for the NV State Fair. He has also coached over 1000 artists and songwriters. He is a sought after speaker and has authored over 400 music industry articles. Vinny is also the CEO of Top 4M Entertainment, an independent film and television production company.