Have you ever written an ad looking to play with a band and been disappointed with your results? Perhaps you could have gotten better results with a better-written post.
Looking for a band to join or looking for band members to join your band is the same as looking for a job. If you’re looking for band members you are playing the role of employer. If you are looking to join a band, you are playing the role of job seeker. Yet many of the musician ads that run online fall far short.
Before you write your next Craigslist or Backpage ad, consider reading the “help wanted” ads in your local paper for guidance on how to write your ad. Can you imagine an ad that reads:
“I am looking for the real deal if it’s still out there. Established company. Pro employee with pro equipment looking for full time job. I have reliable equipment and transportation. Looking for something permanent. I’ll do part time work but I charge a ton to do it. I have a passport and can travel. Please respond by email with your schedule, pay, (and task list). I’ll respond with my photo’s (yes, incorrect use of punctuation) and links to samples of my work. Professional experience for about 15 years. Worked in all kinds of companies both large and small.”
This was an ad that ran on Craigslist, with music-related words replaced with generic work words. Consider this from the employer’s (or band’s) perspective. Here is someone asking you how much you are going to pay them to do a job without allowing you to see examples of their work or even speak with them. Can you imagine a company responding to this ad with something like,
“Wow! You sound really qualified to do a job we have. We’ve been in business 15 years; is that “established” enough for you? We have a full time job available that we’ll pay you $25 an hour to do because we don’t want to pay you “a ton” to do it on a part time basis. If that’s enough money for you please send us links to your work samples.”
If you are a musician looking to join a band, the best way to get response is to write your ad in a way that answers the questions the band will want to know in order to consider you. By answering these questions you’ll get more responses from more bands that are much more aligned with what you’re actually looking for.
1. What instrument do you play?
2. How long have you played or what level do you consider yourself?
3. What is your experience playing live, in the recording studio, touring?
4. What bands or musicians are you influenced by? If you’re a metal bass player you don’t want to hear from a jazz band. And just putting “rock” is really misleading. Is it “The Eagles” or is it “Green Day” or is it “Metallica.” All three bands are classified as rock, but they are all very different.
5. If you live in a large city (like L.A. or NYC) you’ll want to include the part of town you live in. Yes, many musicians will “drive anywhere if it’s worth it.” But driving three hours each way to rehearsal gets old after a while and everyone knows it.
6. Your age. Bands in their 20s may not want to play with a 45 year old. Bands over 21 might not be willing to accept someone under 21 since it limits the clubs the band can play in when band members are under 21. You may think you’ll be able to overcome this once they hear how amazing you are. But that’s very unlikely. Just like if you’re in 40s you may not want to play with a bunch of “kids” who don’t know what they’re doing.
7. Your photo. Every band has its own image and the band members need to fit that image. (The ad above was followed by a picture of the musical instrument that this person played. Is he/she so ugly that the musician didn’t want to be seen? Do they really think that bands looking at this ad don’t wonder this. What benefit does showing a picture of the musical instrument offer? )
All of the above information is intended to tell the band what you can do for them. Only after sharing that should you say what you are looking for.
8. What kind of commitment are you looking for: nights and weekends, full time
9. What your long term goal is: play locally, tour nationally, become a rock star
10. How would you like a band to contact you? Give a way other than responding through the ad to contact you. Someone may save your ad, come back to it later and then it’s expired. That’s a missed opportunity for you.
Finally, you will get better results if you include a link to your music and pictures. If you cannot provide a link to your music, explain why. Maybe your current band mates don’t know you’re looking for a new band. Maybe you don’t have anything online; in which case you’ll want to offer to send a CD in the mail or offer to come in and jam with the band.
Here’s an example of a professionally written ad:
“I’m a 35 year old bass player, having played professionally for 15 years. I also sing back-up vocals. I’ve played local gigs three nights a week, toured throughout the Midwest U.S. and recorded three CD’s that have been sold on CD Baby. My influences include Guns N Roses, Motley Crue, Skid Row, Alice In Chains.
I recently moved to L.A. and am looking to join an established band as a full time member. I have reliable gear and transportation. I currently live in Pasadena. I’d eventually like to tour nationally and internationally but understand if you’re band isn’t there yet. If that’s your goal too we can get there together. I have a passport and can travel on a moment’s notice.
Here’s a link to my music:” and then provide a direct link to your MySpace profile or a website where they can see your picture and hear your music. “And I’d be happy to come in and jam with you. Please contact me via my MySpace and reference this Craigslist ad.” (Or however you would prefer the band contact you.) It’s important to share your preferred method of communication. It makes you sound more professional.
Lastly, include a photo of yourself at the end of your ad. Yes, a band is interested in people with a “look” that fits their style.
Follow these basic guidelines to writing your ad and watch your responses improve.
Source by S. Marmolejo