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We all know how disheartening it can be to spend hours sending out booking emails to venues, and then… c r i c k e t s. Ugh. What the heck?!

Most likely, it’s not that they hate your music — it’s that you need to give them a compelling reason to listen to your music at all, because they just receive so much day in and day out. So, before you hit “send” on that next email — which could easily make or break your reputation with a talent buyer before you even know it — make sure you’ve got these essentials covered.

And if you’re sending out booking requests for an upcoming tour, we have tons of in-depth tips and advice for you in our free online course, Touring on a Shoestring.

Here’s What to Include

1. Who You Are
Unless you personally know the booker, always introduce yourself within the first couple of sentences so that they have some context. Here’s a good example of what that should look like.

2. Why You’re Writing — and Why Them
The more specific you are, the better chance you’ll have of getting a response. Show that you’ve done your research on the venue, and that you’re not just blindly sending out a mass BCC’d email to every talent buyer in the city.

Make it clear that your band is a good fit for this specific venue or promoter (what kind of music do they typically book?) by providing a brief description of your sound, along with a link to where they can easily stream your music. Also, don't forget to take a look at the venue’s website and make sure you’re not requesting dates that already have a full lineup listed.

3. Why They Should Care
Having great music is an obvious requirement, but you’re not going to get booked on that alone.

There are venues that outwardly express interest in providing a space for young, up-and-coming bands, and there are promoters who are always in search of the next big thing. It's not necessarily a bad thing to be just starting out, but it is bad to lie about your experience or exaggerate your draw — that's a surefire way to never play a venue again.

That being said, do share any relevant (and accurate) info you have about your draw at previous shows, your social media following, your Spotify listener demographics, local press coverage, or any other accomplishments that would help the talent buyer take a chance on you.

4. Past Shows in the Area or Recent Tour Dates
Bookers definitely want to know this info, but they also don't want to have to search for it themselves. If you've played their venue before, or other spots in the same city, go ahead and mention that! You can also list your recent tour dates at the bottom of the email, if you think it speaks to your marketability and buzz. If your email is already getting long, though, you may want to keep this section brief.

Here’s What to Leave Out

1. Unsolicited Attachments
This has got to be the number-one gripe I’ve heard among bookers. With so many nice public and private options for linking to tracks nowadays (like SoundCloud, Bandcamp, or even YouTube, if you have quality live recordings), there’s no excuse to make someone download a bulky file attachment that eats up megabytes and wastes time. Spoiler alert: they’re not going to download it, and it’s going to leave a permanent bad taste in their mouth.

2. Spelling and Grammar Mistakes
It's easier said than done, but nothing screams “unprofessional” like a booking email riddled with spelling and grammar mistakes. Proofread it at least twice before you send! If grammar isn’t your forte, ask a friend to give it a read.

3. Long Bios or Explanations
If there’s one thing all busy bookers appreciate, it’s when musicians get to the point as soon as possible. Put yourself in their shoes: Would you take the time to read a seven-paragraph essay from a band you’ve never heard of, when you have dozens of other emails that you need to sift through every day?

You can link to a longer website bio if you’d like, but leave out the long-winded explanations in the email itself. Try to pack a persuasive punch as succinctly as possible. If you do it right and grab their attention, you can be sure that they’ll email you back.

Lisa Occhino, Director of Marketing & Communications at Soundfly

Here's what we're talking about on Flypaper this week.
On this day...

In 1990, Madonna's official music video for "Justify My Love" was preemptively banned from airing on MTV for being too racy. Even for the youth-culture-driven network it was, MTV had to pull the plug on Madonna's overtly erotic suggestiveness.

However, she ended up releasing the video on VHS as a single, and it went on to sell over 1 million copies. 
Advice from the Pros: How to Learn a New Skill Faster

Let's switch things up a bit!

If you're a regular reader of our humble digest, you'd probably be expecting a musical challenge in this section. Well, since it's almost 2019, we think your next challenge should be to pick a musical skill you'd like to learn next year, and add it to your New Year's resolutions.

To help you out, here are four tips for learning a new skill faster, courtesy of best-selling author Tim Ferriss' "DiSSS" framework:
  1. Deconstruction: What are the minimal learnable units you can break your goal down into? In other words, don't tell yourself to just "learn guitar." Break the goal down into manageable parts, like: "learn where the octaves are," "memorize common chord shapes," or "learn common scales."
  2. Selection: Which 20% of the units can you focus on in order to get 80% of the outcome you desire? This is known as the Pareto Principle, and it basically means that not everything you master is going to lead to success — it's usually only 20% of your activities. So learning early on which activities take you the farthest in your career will help you focus and set more advanced priorities. 
  3. Sequencing: In what order should you be learning each unit? This one's simple. If you want to learn a new skill fast, it's all about putting things into a timeline, and figuring out what needs to come first so you don't end up wasting your time. 
  4. Stakes: What are the stakes holding you to your goals so you don't bail? Think of all the reasons you're likely to give up on your dreams. Now, make a bet with yourself that you're going to take this goal so deep that it'll eventually be easier just to keep striving for mastery than to give up and walk back. Those are stakes. 
When you decide what musical skill you'd like to improve upon, we'll be here to help. What are your goals?
Our penultimate Mainstage session of the year is moving swiftly along, so we wanted to take a moment to share some amazing student works in progress from week two of The Creative Power of Advanced Harmony. 

Take a listen to Emily McCullough's sombre, cinematic miniature for wurlitzer and clarinet. It meanders around a melodic theme, responding to a prompt to resolve inner turmoil in the lead character.

Attacking the same prompt, Garren Smith uses digital cellos and violins to 
open the film scene with some fearful, moody lingering, only to be led to a resounding and uplifting progression by the dogged flight of the first violin. 

Take me to a random article in the archives, please. Okay!

Anything you'd like to learn in an upcoming Soundfly Weekly issue? Send us an email and let us know!

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