Not everyone is an emerging artist. You might be starting a new phase of your career with new band members, a new release and a whole new outlook on the business. In the past, your band had some success, achieved some recognition and toured extensively. Don’t just bury the past; use it to boost your new efforts. As you begin to promote your new release and book the release tour, tap into the good will you developed earlier in your career. Your inclination might be to launch this new act without any reference to the past, a clean, new start. That’s fine, but why reinvent the wheel? If you had any amount of success in the past, play on that notoriety to open doors, even just a crack. Work smarter, not harder.
Here are four things that you can do:
List past clubs and venues – Make a list of as many clubs as you can remember playing. Try to find old contracts. If you can’t remember the venue, list the cities then check some directories to jar your memory. If you had an agent booking the act, contact them and ask for back contracts. These past venues should be the very first places to get re-booked. Before you actually start booking the tour, make some preliminary calls to reconnect with the booking person or to get information on a new contact. When you re-introduce yourself to the booker who hired you before, remind them of your last incarnation, how well the last date went and give them a heads-up about your new project and an approximate touring time frame. If you know the exact dates, attempt to place a hold right then. If you connect with a new booking person, introduce yourself and let them know about your previous group. Inform them about the last date you played at the venue and some significant details about the date such as your audience draw, your guarantee and percentage and what you actually walked away with in fees and merchandise sales. Tell them you still have a good mailing list for the area and intend to use it to promote the new venture. Give them an idea about the intended promotion that you will be employing for the release tour. And finally, tell them the intended tour dates.
List past media contacts – Look through old reviews. This will give you a list of reviewers, papers, and cities. Pay attention to these reviews since they will clue you to the markets that paid attention to you. Hit those markets first, and that is where you will find old fans. Contact these papers (or have your publicity person make contact) and remind them of the previous review they did and what the new group is up to. You can do this by phone, a faxed press release or email press release. Here, it is very important to use the term “formerly of the XYZ band,” or “formerly a member of…” or “formerly leader of…” or “formerly known as…” in order to force the connection and rattle their memories. This preliminary media step is very important because it serves to ignite a flicker of a “buzz.” If you had some media support previously, those writers will be anxious to see what the new group is like and they’ll write about you. They’ll refer back to the old band, again reminding your old fans about you and getting them excited to see the new act. You might remember how difficult it was to get the media hooked on the first go round. Why start from scratch and let them think they don’t already know you. Give them a helping hand and remind them they knew you when and liked you.
List past industry contacts – Send out a press release to all of those industry folks with whom you did business as the old group. Don’t edit the list based on the type of relationship you had in the past. Time heals old wounds. Just send everyone notification that you are back and better than ever. Again, igniting the “buzz,” some of the old contacts may want to join the new team and some may just wish you luck and offer support and some you may never hear from. The point is to make them all aware of your new act and start them talking. Return to old contacts that may assist with marketing booking, management or publishing. Although you may not want to work with these folks directly again, they might be able to open new doors and make an introductory phone call for you. In the entertainment business, our contacts are our treasures in the chest. Dig yours up and break the lock.
Refer to the old act in new promotion – All of the initial promotion should prominently mention the old act using the “formerly” phrase. This will only have to be incorporated through the first new release tour. After that, your new name ought to smoothly transition, taking its place of recognition among your fans, the media and the bookers, old and new. Once the new act is firmly established in its own right, drop the reference to the past and move on. Before that time, do yourself a favor and benefit from the hard work you originally did, during the first go round. Each experience we have leads us to the next. Hopefully, we are able to build one upon the other enhancing each new project. Give yourself an edge, after all, it’s one that you honed for yourself in the first place. Good luck.
And, I invite you to learn more about this and other topics important to your career development and to sign up for free weekly audio Biz Booster Hot Tip! Every Monday you’ll get another valuable strategy and technique that you can put to use immediately. You’ll find helpful books, career development seminars, Booking & Touring Success Strategies & Secrets online course and information on booking tours, the music business and performing arts. It’s all waiting for you at http://www.performingbiz.com. Jeri Goldstein is the author of, How To Be Your Own Booking Agent The Musician’s & Performing Artist’s Guide To Successful Touring, 3rd Edition.
* If you would like to reprint any of these articles, please contact Jeri Goldstein for permission.