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A talent buyer is someone who hires musicians to play concerts at the venue(s) they represent.

When you establish a good working relationship with a talent buyer, you could be invited back again and again.

But that means you’ve got to impress them before, during, and after the show.

I asked talent buyer Jeff Tuohy what he expects from artists once they’ve confirmed the gig.

Here’s his advice:


No matter what, promote!

A venue will appreciate you getting the word out. Even if you’re playing for free and there’s a built-in crowd, a little promotion goes a long way. It shows you appreciate the venue taking a chance on you, and you’ll help them get their brand out there.

Obviously, ad-driven sales can work well for ticketed shows. But even if you’re playing for free, you’ll want to pull all the free levers: social posts, Facebook event, etc.

Be chill

Divas are exhausting.

If there’s a problem, be a problem solver.

Complainers don’t get hired again. There are too many other artists looking to take your gig.

Be reliable

Show up on time. Don’t take long breaks. But don’t milk your set times either.

If there’s another band waiting to play after you, get off stage!

Be well-rehearsed, and make sure your gear works.

Know your point-of-contact

It might not be the talent buyer. They can’t attend every show.

So make sure you know who to communicate with on the night of the gig.

Often it’ll be the general manager or bartender. And remember, these aren’t just the people helping you get oriented (and paid), they’re also the ones reporting back to the talent buyer about how the night went.

Read the room

Don’t bludgeon the audience with what you WANT the night to be; meet people where they’re at.

“You attract flies with honey, not vinegar.”

Don’t cancel

Try your best not to cancel on the gig, unless it’s something serious like illness.

Flakes don’t get hired again.

If you DO have to cancel, suggest another artist who is willing and able to take the gig in your place. The talent buyer might not hire that artist, but they’ll appreciate you trying to make their job easier.

Don’t give any excuse to choose another act

All the above tips can be summed up like this: BE EASY TO WORK WITH — and make the night a success.

There are always other musicians who’d be happy to take your gig. And Jeff’s inbox is full of hundreds of those artists at a time.

Don’t give him a reason to go back to his inbox.

For more advice on booking gigs and working with a talent buyer, watch or listen to this episode of the DIY Musician Podcast: