photo credit: Randolph Infinger
Every young band or artist wants to grab a great slot opening for a bigger band. It’s perfect - you get exposure to a bunch of potential new fans, there isn’t a ton of risk involved, and you can probably play in a bunch of venues or cities that you wouldn't be able to play in yet since you’re still a growing project. It’s a fabulous plan! It’s not an easy plan, though.
Actually landing that opening slot is a tough sell. Multiple artists are vying for the same spot and you need to check off a whole bunch of items to even be considered.
Here’s your cheat sheet of what you need and what you need to be able to do:
Have tour history. Even if it’s not in every market, some basis of touring is very helpful. If you’ve opened for another band, include that as well. If you have never played shows before, do that first. I won’t even entertain an artist that says the tour will be their first real shows.
Be able to put on a great show. Self explanatory.
Have shit going on. Having new music released during or right before the tour is key.
Show your promo muscle. Will you have a publicist during the tour? Include that in your pitch. For the love of God, be active on your socials so it looks like you’ll be active if you’re asked to go on tour.
Flex your press. Send 1-2 links of the very best press you’ve gotten.
Make sure the music matches. Your music should line up with what the headliner plays (without being a direct duplication). Don’t pitch for a slot just because it’s a big band. It has to make sense sonically.
As with anything in the music industry, having a team behind you helps
Now, who do you reach out to?
Do you have any sort of in with the band? In most cases, the artist/band has a ton of say in who they bring on the road. If not, start with management. Agents generally work best with other agents.
Keep your pitch SHORT. Do not write a book about how you love whatever band is touring and how you’d just DIE to open for them. Be professional and get to the point - a little tour history, some links to music & press, and 1-2 sentences on why you’d be the best fit. For example: “I plan on releasing 2 new singles leading up to the tour and will have my publicist on board for the entire run.”
Best of luck out there! Happy pitching!