Alliance for Improvised Music

Booking Info for Musicians

Hi! We’re glad you’re interested in playing a gig in our area. Hopefully, we’ll be able to help you set that up or put you in contact with someone who can. We are very interested in presenting lesser-known musicians, musicians who have never played in the area, and musicians from outside the US. Artistic quality, not "name recognition", is what drives our decisions.

But we want to be honest up front. We’re tired of the "negotiating tango" where you ask for more money than we can afford, we make a counter-offer, we haggle back and forth, we settle on a fee. Then later maybe we find out that you played for less money elsewhere (while we lost money) or you find out we paid someone else more than you. We think that creates a needless adversarial relationship between presenter and musician. We firmly believe that much more can be accomplished if we work together to achieve our common goal of building support for this music. So, in that spirit of honesty …

We don’t have a lot of money. We are not underwritten by some large grant, backed by university money, or anything like that. We’re a small group of dedicated fans who are willing to spend some of our own money, and money raised from our members, to present music we love. We have set this up in a way that it’s not only impossible for us to personally profit, it’s impossible for the organization to profit from presenting you.

What that means is we can’t afford to offer large guarantees. When we can afford it, we’ll offer guarantees in the $300 range. If we can afford more, we’ll offer more. For any shows for which we are the primary sponsor, you will receive 100% of the door. CD sales are often quite strong, so we recommend bringing lots (and different titles) with you, and hopefully you’ll do OK financially.

When we are the primary sponsor, we can not offer hotel rooms. Since you’ll be receiving all of the door, there is no possible way for us to recoup hotel costs, which means we automatically lose hundreds of dollars per show. We simply can’t afford that. We will find you accommodations with AIM members if you want – don’t worry: good beds, maybe the occasional couch, no filthy floors. Sometimes we are able to find a co-sponsor to cover hotel and/or guarantees for smaller shows, but this is far from a sure thing.

Occasionally, we work with larger arts organizations, and in those cases we can sometimes afford larger guarantees and hotels. However, these cases are relatively rare. And in such cases, we do not have as much control over artistic decisions and "name recognition" does play a larger part in the decision-making process. In general, unless you have a pretty well-established reputation and recording history, this option won’t be available. If we are able to help you set up such a gig, we hope you are able to take advantage of the opportunity to get your music out there by playing additional lower guarantee (or door) gigs elsewhere in the region.

So the upshot of all this is that we are primarily interested in musicians who are also looking to build an audience through independent, "grass roots" means. There are a string of similar presenting organizations spread around the Southeast and a driving tour of these cities is very possible which can make the trip worthwhile. Let us know what it will honestly take to get you here and we’ll do everything possible to make that happen.

After reading our tale of woeful poverty, you might be wondering what we can do. Our primary job is education, promotion, and organization. We’ll find the venue, any equipment you might need, and places for you to sleep (and usually dinner). We’ll send out a press release, write a preview for our members, put up flyers and we do additional promotion through the website. We have strong connections to the local radio stations, which include two adventurous college stations as well as two "mainstream" jazz stations. We’ve had reasonable success so far with the local media, including previews and reviews in both the free weeklies and the major daily newspaper.

So, if you’re interested in playing here, please don’t hesitate to contact us with an offer. Send promotional materials, press kits, etc. to AIM, PO BOX 1633, Carrboro, NC 27510 USA. We’d love to have you and we’ll do everything in our power to make it happen.

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