The Profitable Musician | Drew Schroeder | Booking Secrets

 

Calling all hustlers! This episode cracks the code on gig booking and networking in the music industry. We welcome Drew Schroeder, a former Las Vegas performer who leveraged his hustle to climb the music industry ladder. Learn how Drew went from singing his heart out to mastering digital platforms and cold calling like a pro. Discover his secrets to landing gigs and building a successful music career. Tune in and unlock your earning potential!

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Score More Gigs: Booking Secrets & Networking Hacks With Drew Schroeder

The LasVegas Nightclub Scene

Hello everyone, and welcome to the show. My name is Bree Noble, and I am thankful to be here with Drew Schroeder from Schroeder Productions. We’re going to be talking about his experience working in the Las Vegas nightclub scene and how he has taken that knowledge and experience and started helping other musicians with bookings. I’m sure he’s got a ton of cool stories that he can share with us. Drew, you want to start, go back in time. How did you get involved in music, and how did you get involved starting out in the Las Vegas nightclub scene?

It was a comic book story almost. I grew up in Sterling Heights, Michigan, which is where I am now, hanging out with my family and hanging out with old friends from back in the day. I saw the movie Project X back in 2012. I was like, “I’ve always wanted to throw a party like that.” I used to go to the nightclubs in Pontiac, Michigan over here every single night except for Wednesday because nothing was open on Wednesday.

One of my Facebook pages went viral, and then people kept on showing up at my house, and. I actually did have a Project X party. It was like 400 to 500 people, and it was a huge mess. The cops showed up twice. People were up on my roof, and it was like Project X. That’s exactly what I asked for and that’s what I got. Luckily, the whole neighborhood didn’t catch on fire, but after that, I moved to Las Vegas, and I joined a meet-up group. Some people took me under their wing, some pickup artists and dating coaches, and then they introduced me to the nightlife scene over there. I was like, “Wow.” They got me into promoting nightclubs and strip clubs and that’s what I did.

I have cold approached over 250,000 people. I sold VIP tables at various nightclubs. I’ve worked at every single nightclub and strip club in Las Vegas. Even the ones today, I still want to go to the new ones. I haven’t been there, but I send them to still talk to friends, podcasts over there, and stuff. I decided to come back after COVID, and now I decided I wanted to start booking musicians. I had a lot of bad experiences with coaches in general, in 2023, specifically. Instead of having just coaching, I started booking musicians on top of that. I threw in coaching for free because after I started getting all of these ads up on my Facebook, it was coaches coaching coaches to coach coaches. I was like, “I can’t stand this.”

“How do you make $50,000 a month? I’ll show you and you’ll make $50,000 a month in your first nine days.” It’s like, “This is terrible.” I don’t want to associate myself and my brand with that. I might as well give it away for free. I decided I would teach business for free to musicians. I started Stage Masterclass, which is my newsletter. I teach musicians how to book their own gigs. I teach them how to network. I teach them how to attend red-carpet events for free. I teach them how to get a yacht for their music video and stuff like that.

Just get a yacht for your music video.

It’s pretty simple once you know all of the little tricks. I’m just spilling the beans. That’s the whole thing about it. On top of that, when someone doesn’t know what to do and they want their music heard, what do you do? Join Stage Masterclass. By the way, I don’t sell courses. I don’t sell how-tos or anything. It’s all free. When they join, they get their feet wet. When they’re established musicians, they come back to me and then I book them.

The Art Of Gig Booking

Got it. It’s a model where you’re training them up, and you’re educating them. When they’re in a position where they can be valuable to you because they already have what it takes, then you can book them. I’ve seen other people do things like that, which is very noble. I appreciate that, assuming that you can get people that are going to be the right fit for you eventually, and you can book them out of that. Everyone still has to make money. We’re not saying we can do everything for free and we’re all good. We still need to make money in some way. Your model for making money is booking the artists.

Everyone still has to make money. Click To Tweet

That’s it. Stage Masterclass might have some affiliate links to it, but it’s not to any courses or anything. It’s maybe a book or something like that or something off of Amazon. It’s not an affiliate link to a course or anything. They’re all simple things like Podcast Studio. There you go. I will show you what gear you need for a Podcast Studio, and stuff like that. I showcase all of my stuff and I put it on my YouTube channel.

That’s smart. I like that. Let’s talk about the Las Vegas scene because that’s interesting to me. It’s something that I know nothing about. I live in Southern California. Most of my career is booking church gigs and women’s groups. This is completely outside of what I’m used to. I would love to get more information on how you got your feet wet in that, and how the people that you met helped you to know the right things to say or the right people to talk to to get into that scene.

After I moved to Michigan, I figured it out on my own. I’ve found this one app called Atmosfy. What people could do if they want to start booking their own gigs right now is go to that app and sign up. It’s easy. You scroll down or you go to the filter. You go to live events, whatever city you’re in. It shows you whatever venue has live events, and then you can start booking from there. It’s simple stuff like that.

It’s not completely that easy. You have to get in touch with the person who makes the decisions, and you have to showcase yourself in the right way.

Emailing And Calling

That’s how you get leads. What’s good is if you have a demo reel or an EPK. Ideally, you want a demo reel that you can showcase around and a website. Also, having an email list will help as well because. Let’s say you’re on Instagram or Facebook and they get shut off, then you don’t have anything. If TikTok gets banned because of politicians, then you don’t have that. Email list is the best business asset that you can have. You can build up a fan base from there and then spoil your fans.

The Profitable Musician | Drew Schroeder | Booking Secrets

Booking Secrets: Email is the best business asset that you can have.

 

You’re speaking my language around the email list for sure. I’m curious, if you’re playing Las Vegas clubs and things, how do you build up your email list from there? What are some ways that you can make it easy to get people on your email list from there?

For one, going on people’s podcasts like yours and also networking. I’m big when it comes to networking and going out to the actual venues that you want to be around. There are two types of different ways that you can start getting a name for yourself. There are two psychological triggers. One is called the mere exposure effect, and that is exposing yourself enough times. If you think about it if you hear a song on the radio for the first time and you’re like, “That song’s pretty okay.” You hear it over and over again. All of a sudden, for some reason, you’re like, “I like this song. I don’t know why. At first, I didn’t like it.” That’s the mere exposure effect.

There’s also the propinquity effect, putting yourself in proximity to the people that you want to be around. When you put yourself in proximity to the people that you want to be around, if you want to hang around with musicians, then you go to places where musicians hang out. If you want to build that network, go to clubs where people listen to music and specific genres too. There’s one specific way that I like to say when it comes to going out and networking. People like to be wallflowers. One of the things I like to say is to go around and cheer everybody.

No one’s going to tell you to screw off when you’re cheering people. If you go around and you cheer everyone once, then everyone’s like, “Who is this Drew guy?” You go back around, and you talk to all the fun people. Those are the people that you want as a network. That’s all the people that are like, “Welcome back into the conversation.”

Those are good tips. Do you find that the fun people, the people who maybe might know the owner or might have come and they’re in the club a lot, can get you introduced to the people who make the decisions on who plays the venue?

One of the things that I like to do is go to the venue very early. When you go to the venue early, there’s not a lot of people there. That’s when you can talk to the staff members, be friends with the staff, and maybe even date a bartender, whatever you want to do. Once you have that in, then you can start hanging around their friends, and then they have friends from there. Have everyone follow you on social media and then grow your following from there. That’s one of them.

What is the app that you mentioned where you find leads again?

Atmosfy. It’s got a little martini icon. It’s almost like a TikTok of restaurants and stuff.

I’m going to check that out. If you want to get bookings, you need to go there in person. Is there any way to get good bookings online?

One way is going out to the venues, but that’s a good way to build a fan base. What I’d recommend is cold email or cold calling the venues. What I’ve noticed is cold emailing isn’t as effective, but you feel less rejected when you get that no, but when you call the place up, you’ll get the answer a lot quicker. You just have to make sure that you’re not talking to a hostess or you’re talking to a concierge. You have to find that like, “Can I speak to the manager? I want to be booking a gig. Can you lead me to the person that will get me to that spot?” There you go.

It is much easier to email and less painful, but as you said, “You could be following up forever and ever.” You have no idea if the person is reading or it’s getting to the right person and it would be so much easier to call.

There is a good way to check to see if they’re reading your email. For one, I don’t use email checkers, but you can use spam checkers to make sure that your email isn’t sending off into the spam folder.

How do you do that? I don’t know how to do it from the end of my end. Is my email going into someone’s spam folder?

There are two different websites that you can use. I don’t know them off the top of my head, but if you look up spam checker or spam folder checker, email, and stuff like that, you can find them. They’re all over the place and they’re all free too.

That’s awesome. I’ve never thought to do that, but that makes a lot of sense. Also, what I’ve noticed is I believe it was February 1st or February 3rd, somewhere around there. It was early February when this came out that if you use Gmail or Yahoo or Hotmail, a free account, you’re more likely to end up in the spam folder as opposed to using a business email address. That’s why having a website is super important now if you’re going to establish yourself as a business. You could have the best email script, swipe file, and copy and paste all you want. If you end up in the spam folder, you won’t get booked.

The Profitable Musician | Drew Schroeder | Booking Secrets

Booking Secrets: If you end up in the spam folder, you won’t get booked.

 

I agree. It’s so easy now to use your own web domain. You can use something like Google Workspace or whatever, Google Suite, and then you’re protected. Your email is going to get to the top of the list. I did want to talk about those old-school ways of networking that we all did in the past where we passed out business cards or gave out CDs. Do you think that that’s still successful?

You have to define successful. If you do it enough times, you’ll get enough. I have a card sometimes when I’m out club promoting, but the thing is, instead of giving someone your card, it’s better to ask them first. That way you have it, and then you can text them.

That’s a good idea.

Even on top of that, rather than just asking for their phone number, you can say, “What’s the best way of staying in touch?” Those words are specific because maybe they don’t answer Instagram DMs. Maybe they answer phone calls, text messages, or emails.

That makes a lot of sense. If you ask them that way and they want to talk to you, they’re not going to give you some way that they’re not even going to look at. If someone asked me, I would not say, “Send me a message on Facebook,” because I never look there. I would say, “Go to my website. Here’s my email address.”

Nowadays, people have appointment setters for their Facebook and Instagram and stuff like that. If you want to contact someone directly, it’s better to text them.

That’s true. What do you think about digital business cards? Are those useful?

Digital business cards, like e-cards?

Where you can use a QR code or something like that.

QR code, not so much because then you have to pull out your phone. Sometimes, people don’t have the app. I would say, “What’s your phone number?” Text them the link to whatever social media.

That is not as fancy, but it’s easy and straightforward. That makes sense. I know that recently, Universal Music Group pulled out of TikTok and then there’s all this stuff in the Congress about TikTok and all of that stuff. Do you think that there’s a void that independent artists can fill right now on TikTok?

Leveraging Digital Platforms

I do. You can establish yourself on any social media. Right now, aside from the Congress trying to pull TikTok, one way is to live stream on TikTok and then perform or do your thing. I was cold calling, cold emailing on the phone, doing work stuff, or practicing as a musician. Over time, the longer that you stay on, the more people that show up on your feed. Right now, after TikTok did that, YouTube started doing that. Even if TikTok goes away, people can still do this on YouTube as well.

You can really establish yourself on any social media. Click To Tweet

You’re saying go about what you do in a day. You’re doing booking calls. You’re practicing for gigs and you’re live.

People like to watch live streams and as long as you don’t say anything ridiculous on the stream or do anything outrageous, even if you go outrageous, you can probably go viral, and there you go. People start booking you.

Surely, if that’s part of your brand, it makes sense.

If you want to be infamous, that is.

I think it’s interesting because I am not a person who wants to go on and watch someone else live streaming. Why do you think people would want to do that?

I don’t know. I’m not someone who watches live streams too much, but Twitch and Kik are big. All they do is livestream.

That’s true. You’re saying there’s an audience for that on TikTok.

I want to know how you’re practicing. If you’re practicing in your room, you’re pretty much putting on a show, especially if people start liking how well you’re playing. That’s building an audience, and then people will start following you from there.

The Profitable Musician | Drew Schroeder | Booking Secrets

Booking Secrets: Even practicing in your room is a form of performance, especially if people enjoy your music. That’s how audiences begin to build.

 

It’s certainly multitasking. That’s for sure because you got to practice anyway. When Facebook Live was new, I remember I started practicing on there once a week and I would use it to advertise for an upcoming gig. I thought, “This is great. I have to practice anyway. I may as well use this.” I love that you’re helping so many musicians, especially with booking. I know that a lot of people I work with struggle with that and need all the help they can get and the confidence tips and things like that. Is there anything else you’d like to say to up-and-coming musicians right now to encourage them that it’s not as hard as they might think it is?

It’s difficult to build a business. It’s difficult building a brand, but I promise you it’s worth it. If that’s what you want to do, that’s what you need to do. Once you get going, you’ll know. Does that make sense?

It totally does. For me, when I was doing my booking, it took about a year, but at some point, I had more incoming bookings than I had to make outgoing calls. That’s when I’m like, “This is working.”

The thing is that you have to pace yourself and the fact that we’re all chasing happiness. You have to learn to enjoy the moment, but you still have to put in the work. Many people get burnt out all the time. They quit. You have to learn how to surf the waves of life. Otherwise, you’ll swim out to the middle of the ocean, get a cramp in your leg, and sink to the bottom.

You have to enjoy the process as well as the reward. Otherwise, you’ll burn out. I love that you said anything worth doing is going to be hard. It is. It’s going to be hard. If it’s easy, then everyone would do it.

The Hedonic Treadmill

If you want to have your own business, it’s going to be hard forever. That’s the part, and that’s the fun part. That’s what I love about it. I love chasing fires. In positive psychology, it’s called the hedonic treadmill. We’re always chasing happiness. There are two different types of happiness. There’s hedonic, and then there’s eudaimonia. Hedonic is chocolates, caressing, and pleasure. Eudaimonia is what we need. That is feeling grateful for yourself. Be grateful and appreciative for the people that you love, the people around you, and everything that you can focus on. People miss that part. They’re like, “I’ll be grateful once I get to this point and once I start booking those gigs.” That’s not the case.

Be happy right now, and then you enjoy the process going forward. You can ask yourself right now, “If I wanted to be happy, if I wanted to be grateful for something, what could I be grateful for in this moment?”

I would also add purpose. People need to feel what they’re doing has a purpose. That’s going to give them that deep sense of happiness.

That’s the why. Why am I doing this? You have to think of the carrot and the stick. On the other side, you also have to learn how to get there by being grateful in the moment and by asking yourself quality questions. It’s not, “Why does this always happen to me?” Instead, you say something like, “When I get this done, how great will I feel? How much better will I feel? How much will this change my life?” It’s the quality of questions that we ask ourselves that change our destiny.

It's the quality of questions that we ask ourselves that changes our destiny. Click To Tweet

Mic drop, that’s great, I love that. Why don’t you let our audience know how they can connect with you and how they can get on your newsletter?

My newsletter is StageMasterclass.com. My booking website is SchroederProductions.com. People can find me on Instagram or Facebook. I have TikTok, but I don’t use it that much, at least not for that purpose. I have another brand that’s a side project brand that I use it for.

I know you have some exciting news, so I’d love to have you let people know about a booking client that you got.

You said that this was going up in May. By the time this is out, I should be booking for Jamal Knight. Before this show, I got off the phone and he said that he wanted to work with me. He’s a big R&B singer. Hopefully, by now, people will see his shows on my website. I’m super excited to be working for him.

That’s fantastic.

Also, over the last few months, I’ve had the privilege of meeting so many nice musicians. I’ve been working with Massimo Sims, and he’s sung for David Foster. I helped him get to that point. He’s grateful to me and he’s a good friend of mine. There’s also Dr. Lovebeats. He started a band called Who I Am, and he’s booking gigs now. I only had three phone calls with the guy, and he’s going to international soon. Also, I’ve been working with Daren Joseph, and he made The Whistle Song by Dipset. The people that I’ve been working with, I’m friends with all of them. I only work with the musicians directly. Otherwise, if I speak to the manager, then they could be another booking agent too. It’s agent to agent to agent. It’s the same thing on Facebook. When I see those ads, there are coaches coaching coaches to coach coaches. I don’t like that either.

Cut out the middleman.

I go straight to the musician, and that’s who I talk to.

Thank you so much, Drew. This is great. You guys go check out StagemMasterclass.com.

They can follow me on Instagram @DrewClubPromoter.

Thanks so much, Drew, for giving us all of your insight and your experience over the years.

Bree, you’re amazing. Thank you so much for letting me on your show.

 

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