Monday, August 24, 2009

Six Tips for Seeking Musicians Through the Internet

The Internet is now the substitute for the Yellow Pages phone book when it comes to looking for talent for your wedding day. But is it truly better? Depends on how you use it. Here are some suggestions for getting the most out of your online musician search:

1. Search engines-Make sure you are searching within the location where your wedding or event will be held. What happens if you fall in love with a band that is 300 miles away from your wedding site? Will you shell out the money to pay for their travel, food, and accommodations? Look for wedding directories in the geographical location where you are getting married by typing something like "Weddings in Tahoe" in the search engine field. Then, look within those directories for the kind of instrumentation you are seeking.

2. Online booking agencies-These websites charge a fee to musicians for their listings. Some of these, such as, are fantastic. They have a multitude of musicians listed, and you can do your homework from there to get more information. Beware of online booking agencies that charge you a fee to receive information. They should not be charging you to shop on their site (although they may want you to create a username and password so that you can save your searches when you return to their site).

3. Directories that rate musicians who are listed-How did the musicians receive those ratings? Did they pay the site owner an extra fee to receive a five star rating on their listing? And do you really want to hire a musician with less than a perfect rating? If you are looking at directories that rate musicians appearing in their listings, know exactly how they received those ratings before shopping.

4. Online booking agencies that require musicians to send bids to you-Avoid these sites, because there are usually hidden fees that are charged to the musician, and the musician may pass those fees along to you. You may save money if you phone individual musicians, after visiting their web sites, rather than going through a third party to receive bids.

5. Wedding websites-Some of the best places to find musicians online. You will find a musician who has wedding experience and will not end up hiring a band who has no idea how to behave at a wedding.

6. Booking agents online-Many are listed online. Booking agents are particularly useful if you are looking at the last minute, if you want someone else to be the point person with the musicians, or if you simply don't know where to find experienced musicians. Look for booking agents within your geographic area, then give them a call and chat. Expect to pay a commission to a booking agent, a sort of a "finder's fee", for helping you land the perfect musicians for your occasion.

A final word: Beware of comments left on blogs and directories about specific musicians. Don't believe everything you read on the Internet. Find out if your church, banquet manager, minister, event coordinator, and others at your event also recommend the musicians you are considering.