by Ryan Cassata
I booked my first tour, completely DIY style, when I was 15 years old. I wasn’t well-known at all in the music world and I didn’t have a big following, so there was no guarantee that I would pack out venues with screaming fans. All I had at the time were some videos of me performing live on YouTube. That was key, because venues could hear what I actually sounded like live without any vocal effects or edits.
HOW DID I BOOK THIS TOUR?
It’s important to note that I booked the tour months in advance, when venues still had tons of availability. Plan ahead because space fills up quickly!
The first thing I did was map out the distance from city to city of all the places I wanted to stop and perform in. I was doing an East Coast tour which makes things easier because major cities on the NorthEast Coast are much closer together then in the middle of the country or even in the West Coast. I made my tour map with specific dates that I wanted to play in each city, and saved it in a document on my computer so I could reference it.
I sent my short bio (you definitely don’t want to overwhelm booking agents/venues with a massive message so it’s important to keep it short and sweet), some live YouTube videos of me performing at venues and doing cover songs, a link to my music on a site that doesn’t require a download or subscription, and some press that I had gotten, to hundreds of venues, coffeeshops, community centers, across the East Coast. I copy and pasted a message to each place and changed the name of who it was addressed to and the venue name for each place. Make it personal. Look up the venue and think of why you want to play there. I also made sure to put my name, the city, and the venue and desired date, in the subject of the email. So it would look something like this:
Booking Ryan Cassata (Acoustic) @ Whisky A Go Go in LA on 10/13/2013
This makes it super clear for booking agents. If they don’t have availability or don’t want that genre on that specific night they can simply write back “That date is booked” just by looking at the subject line.
HOW DID I FIND VENUES?
Give Ryan Cassata a follow on Twitter for his willingness to help fellow independent artists!