Currently I am receiving all these emails from artists that have sent in applications to play at my festival, Future Echoes. Of course with the COVID situation and the fact that we closed the application on the last day of June, we are in the middle of the process of compiling the last artists for the festivals. As predictable as the sun always coming up in morning, you get the letters from artists that want to know if they were accepted or not. Actually, these letters started to come even two months before we had even closed the application process.
Most actually do make a crucial mistake though. I understand that they want to have an answer if they are playing or not but there are ways to do that. Most write a nice mail saying that they want to know because they need to plan their trip. You might think this is a good reason to send an email and kind of professional to care about their gigs and applications.
The truth is that you often see these people as not so professional. Sure, you want to have your touring schedule totally clear and planned in the next months. Don’t we all? If you are a large artist with a world tour going for two years, yes, it’s crucial. For the local artists with maybe one gig a month, it’s actually not that crucial. Especially during these Pandemic-times, you need to be patient that everything takes a bit longer. On the other hand, you should be ready to take an opportunity if it arrives on short notice. If you got another gig instead of the festival, it’s the festival's loss that they didn’t book you in time. You should be so prepared that you have your band members ready to take a gig in one week’s notice. You should be able to sort things out for a good gig in one week’s notice. I bet if you got a gig as an opening slot for your favorite artist, I could probably give you the go-ahead with forty-eight hours and you could make it happen. I expect an artist that I book to be able to have their logistics together on very short notice to be able to accept an opportunity. We try to book the artists as early as possible. The headliners usually get it very early. Someone has to be the last to be booked. This picking order is basically just part of the industry.
I guess many see this as a good way to update if they got the gig or not. A good reason to be in touch. I can just tell that every booker I met just finds these emails that the artist needs to plan their touring or that they “might” have another really good gig going on. That is a good way to tell the booker to get you off the list. Instead, if you want to update them around things, have something new to tell them. You get reminded if you send an email that you took new press photos or that you have a new lyric video or just a personalized hello. Anything is better than saying that you are so busy that you need to plan your tour. Getting other news to them is also more appealing than the booker thinks, ‘oh this artist is active I need to have them’.
This is the same with if you want to know if someone has listened to a song or send your video. Don’t come back and just ask if they have done it. It might result that they do it directly but in a bad mood. It really won’t help you. Better to update them with smaller things. They will feel guilty that they have not listened to your material and also treat it much better than when they are forced to do it. (If they do it all once you annoy them).
Instead of planning things, be prepared. Have smaller things ready to update people with. It shouldn’t be hard. If you don’t have anything then you must start thinking that you are doing too little for your career.
Editor’s Note: Peter Åstedt has been working in the music industry for over 30 years. He has started record labels, distribution systems, and publishing companies. Peter also runs several major showcase festivals and is an advisor for INES and co-founder of MusicHelp/Discover Sensation. He has worked with the Top Ten most streamed songs and had music on both the Olympics and Super Bowl. Peter has currently taken up the seat of Station Manager of Cashbox Radio, working with MD, PD and station owner, Sandy Graham. As well he recently worked as the European Consultant for Heal the Earth – An Earth Day Celebration. His latest venture is a new Showcase Festival in Sweden, Future Echoes https://futureechoes.se/ scheduled for September 16-18, 2021.