Booking Strategies for Musicians & Performing Artists - Establish Your Market Value for Better Gigs

Booking better gigs requires that you establish your value in the market. Creating a record of all previously played dates is one of the most important things you can do.

Keep track of the following information and review it before making your booking calls:

a. The venue seating or standing capacity

b. The number of tickets you sold at the venue, what you got paid and the type of deal contracted

c. The ticket-price or cover charge

d. The weather that night (it may influence audience turnout)

e. How much merchandise you sold

f. What kind of promotion was done? (Press releases; advertising; posters/flyers; media coverage)

g. Was there any other major event in town that night? (Large cities will always have many events occurring on the same night, small towns may only have one other event which could influence the outcome of your date.)

As you call new venues in a town where you have previously played, have the above information close at hand to help you negotiate a better deal. If you have previously sold out a 150-seat venue at $10 per ticket and now you are attempting to book a 200-seat venue, the promoter has something they can reference. This establishes your value. This information places you on equal footing with other acts that are able to sell 150 tickets. Now you can begin to command fees according to your established track record in that area.

When booking dates in a new area where you have never played, you can still use the above information for comparison and to demonstrate what you have been able to accomplish. Don't expect to get the same kind of fees in an untested market, but the information lets the promoter know something about your professionalism and methods you use to develop your audience.

Once you get in the habit of keeping the above records, you will begin to refer to the information automatically. Booking calls will become more conversational and you'll find yourself using these pertinent facts which continually boost your act's value. Your negotiations will be based on factual information rather than emotion. As you become more adept at this, you will find that you have some leverage in many of the venues where you regularly perform. As you establish your value in each new market, demand for your act will increase and booking the act will become easier.


  • The Analog Cafe in Portland asked me play an after hours set for them and they asked me how much money I wanted to do the gig and I said $800 and they said they could get big named acts for that price and I told them I am a big named act I’m so big that I don’t have to play gigs if I do not want to. If they wanted to come to my house load up all my gear pack it down a flight of stairs set it all up then return it set it all up again would have done it for free… So…

    Karl Miller
  • Great information and the information is helpful in helping with landing,comparisons,and how to become a valuable performer and artist.

    E J Rhodes

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