Friday, December 9, 2016

Think Outside the CD: 3 Simple Steps To Releasing Your Album on USB

Let’s face it: the game done changed. Nobody expects to pay for music anymore, and if you want
people to buy your stuff, you better offer them something great. So, unless you’re content with just your mom and Uncle Jimmy buying your new album, step it up. Offering the same old CD as every other band on the planet has become stale, but if you’re still interested in putting out a physical product in this digital world, there is an interesting hybrid: the USB thumb drive. By creating a unique packaging experience (while still providing music in a format that everyone can access), you’ll be one step ahead of the game.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

3 Ways To Tell If A Music Company Is Scamming You

While there are many reputable companies and organizations in the music industry – in fact, the vast majority are on the up and up – there are a few that like to prey on the unaware. While I can't give specific names (and even if I could, there are likely ones that haven't hit the radar yet), here are three hallmarks to watch out for to know whether or not you're about to get scammed.

Monday, December 5, 2016

6 Ways To Make Music (And Make Money) Without Being A Performer

Performing is something musicians do, but not all musicians perform. For those of us musicians who don’t like to or choose not to perform, we can be confused about our musical identities. Should we even consider ourselves musicians? (Yes, a thousand times yes.) But we don’t actually do what musicians “do.”

Maybe you’re introverted and the idea of a crowd listening and judging something that is so personal to you is a major source of anxiety. Maybe you just really prefer sleeping regularly in a bed over touring in bus to play shows. Or you decided to choose the music degree that didn’t require you to play a yearly recital because that was just “not your style.”

Whatever your reasoning, it’s totally understandable. Not everyone wants to be Taylor Swift and sell out stadiums, but we definitely still want to involve some part of our life in making music and creating content. 
So what options are out there for those of us who are just not into taking the stage? Try these worthwhile musical pursuits.

Friday, November 4, 2016

No Room For Divas: Why You Should Leave Your Ego Behind

Promoters are doing you a favor by booking you

Whether you’re a headliner or local support, promoters put a lot of effort, time, and money into getting people out to your performance. Often, this is at the risk of losing money or not breaking even. Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t be upset with promoters who do bad jobs, but respect that they’ve gone out of their way to book you.
See, most promoters I know, “big time” or not, don’t make their living off of booking, especially for bands like yours and mine. If you’re a local artist, thank everyone who allows you onto their events and try to maintain a good relationship with them. Do your best to get as many people out as you can and promote yourself to the best of your ability.
If you’re from out of town, be grateful that someone went out of his or her way to get you in front of people. Whether you have a draw or not, there’s still work that goes into setting a show up. A promoter often books artists on chance their show will be profitable, not a guarantee of it.

Everyone you play with is your equal
It’s natural to talk about other bands behind closed doors and to dislike their music or their personalities sometimes. But as a musician, a performer, and an entertainer, they're your equals. If you’re a local band, every other local you play with is part of your local scene. They're your peers whether you like it or not.
It's my belief that you should try to catch at least part of each artist’s set. You, in all honesty, are a part of their draw and their audience. If you can’t do that or are leaving early for some reason, at least try to talk to them a little bit or grab some merch.
If you’re on a touring circuit, I’d argue the same actions are good, even though they're not always essential. It can be draining to watch a local band every night for two weeks in a row, especially when they often aren’t very good. And, of course, you could have been driving for eight hours and haven’t eaten since last night, so you’ll want some food before you play. But at least thank the locals for playing and for bringing people to see your sorry self. You’re not any better than them because you’re from out of town, and they showed up to help you have an audience.

Fans and showgoers are the fuel for your career
People who watch you and buy your music are the ones who keep your career going. You could be the most talented musician ever, but without people to watch you or buy your music (i.e., no demand), you’d just be playing for your stuffed animals forever.
How many venues have shut down due to people not coming out to shows? How many tours have been unsuccessful because people weren’t buying merch or sticking around to watch the bands? Fans and showgoers are just as important as the artists they go to watch. So when they’re watching you, thank them for coming out and say it like you mean it. Showgoers being there isn’t something you deserve – it’s something you’re very lucky to have.
To the self-entitled musicians: do you see yet that there's no room for your ego in this game? Every player contributes and is essential for a win. Everyone offers the scene and industry something valuable and necessary to keep it going.

[via SonicBids]

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The #1 Mistake Bands Make Right After Gaining A New Fan

Building a dedicated fanbase is a vital part of sustaining a music career. Every person who shows that they truly believe in your music will make a difference in the long run. However, many bands often make the assumption that once they gain a fan, they’ve automatically acquired a lifetime’s worth of support. This is not the right attitude to have!
The top mistake bands make right after gaining a fan is thinking they don’t need to work to keep that fan. It takes a lot of effort to keep your fanbase consistently engaged, especially when you consider how many different artists the average music fan listens to.
It's essential to spark a potential new fan's interest at the right time in order to push them to the next level of fandom. The best way to accomplish this in the early stages is by simply interacting and showing that you care about them. A lot of nurturing must go on between the point of a fan streaming your single for free to buying your album, so get perfectly in tune with what your fans want out of you and deliver it on their behalf.
Take the time to personally thank your fans for coming to your show. Send them something special, like a free download, for joining your email list. Respond to their comments on social media. Remember that it's a two-way street – you need to deepen the relationship and give something to your fans before you ask for something from them.
No matter what stage of the creative process you're in, you need to keep your fans constantly involved in order for them to maintain interest in you as both an artist and a person. Run a special promotion on social media, do interviews with journalists who will ask the right questions, perform at well-curated showcases, collaborate with similar artists, and come up with cool concepts for merchandise.
Ultimately, do whatever it takes not only to garner that initial spark of interest, but to get fans directly involved with your art. By keeping fans engaged on a daily basis in a natural way, you will solidify the strength of the people who matter the most in helping your career progress.

[via SonicBids]

Monday, October 31, 2016

5 Rules To Book Better Gigs

Besides trying to land gigs at the best venues alongside the best bands, what else can you do to book better gigs? We've outlined five points that speak to the process of getting the show together in the first place: how, where, when, and with whom. If you follow these rules, you'll give every show optimal potential for greatness – and give a boost to your fanbase-growing efforts.

How To Deal With Haters On Social Media

Social media has given bands a tremendous way to connect with their fans. Unfortunately, it has also given those who don't like a band a place where they know their complaints and criticisms will be seen/heard.
While hiding behind a Facebook page, Twitter handle, or YouTube account, these self-styled music critics feel confident in tearing you and your bandmates a new one. Here's the real kicker – they may not have even listened to your music. Welcome to the world of internet trolls. Here's a quick guide on how to handle the haters.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Be Your Own Record Label: Everything You Need To Know About Distribution

If you want to start a label, or do a label’s functional job for your own musical project, just start doing it and figure it out as you go. Here are some things that I'm doing as a label owner that might help you and save you some time if you choose to take this path as well.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Top 4 Online Profiles Every Musician Must Have

Managing an online presence doesn't come easily to everyone. As a DIY musician, though, you don't have much choice in the matter. Keeping your pages active and updated is hugely important to the maintenance and growth of your fanbase, as well as key in getting press and booking gigs. That said, you don't have to use every single platform out there.
Unless you're a natural social media expert, consider streamlining your online presence by focusing only on the profiles that matter most. We believe these four are at the top of the totem pole of potential. We're not saying the ones we've left out aren't useful; they certainly can be. But spreading yourself too thin in your online efforts isn't hard to do, so zoning in on mastering this lot will likely do you the most good.

Monday, October 24, 2016

10 Do's and Don'ts of Contacting a Venue Owner

As you begin to book your own shows, you'll want to avoid these don'ts and adhere to these dos instead. Your relationships with talent buyers, booking agents, and venues are crucial to growing your fanbase and career – don't taint them by making mistakes from the get-go.
It's actually not as tricky as it seems. A lot of booking errors are a result of poor planning or a rushed inquiry. Be thoughtful when reaching out to whoever's in charge of the calendar. A degree of professionalism and a foundation of courtesy is your best bet at seriously being considered for gigs.
Even the established bands who've gotten in a routine of working a certain way might need a refresher, really. Check out the recommendations below.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Here Are 5 Way More Interesting Things You Can Pitch To Music Blogs

If you’re disappointed that you aren’t getting a lot of attention from blogs, magazines, and other outlets despite your pitching efforts, think about what you're trying to get. Keep in mind that these places are pitched every day with thousands of people begging for interviews, reviews, and general features.
It’s fine to ask for these, but it’s difficult to stand out. Writers and editors only have so much time, and when everyone is requesting the same things (or worse, nothing in particular, just “coverage”), it all blends together.
Why not try telling these publications that you’re willing to go out of your way to try something totally different? The effort will be appreciated, as will the options you put out there. Here are a few alternative ideas that might make you much more interesting to the outlets you’ve been reaching out to.

Monday, September 19, 2016

You want your tour to be a success, of course, and there’s plenty of things you can do to make it happen. It’s best to start promoting before you hit the road, but if you’ve already departed for the first town, you can still find ways to promote the very next show and increase your chances of a successful tour.
Here’s one secret: invite the local music industry folks to come out to your shows. 
By “industry,” I don’t mean record label A&R execs or artist managers. There’s no need to reach out to these folks; they will find you when you’re ready. You should focus on reaching out to radio show hosts, DJs, bloggers, and local promoters in each market. If you offer the right incentives, they'll not only come to your show, they’ll write about it, snap and post live photos on their blogs and social media, and spin your tracks on their radio shows.
Here’s what you do: Find an FM college station, an internet station, a blogger, and a local promoter in each town on your tour. You can search the internet, or use music companies that specialize in this work. If you go it alone on the internet, it’s more work, but it can be done. Do an online search of each town’s media outlets and put them in a spreadsheet with their contact information.
Next, you need to get their attention. Here are three ways to get industry attention and bring them to your show.

Give away VIP tickets to your shows to "industry" only

Of course there are a million other summer touring bands, but with the right strategy, you can stand apart and get noticed. 
  • Reach out via phone. If no one picks up, leave a message with your band name, venue, date, and time of your show, and offer free tickets to a specific person’s name at the station or publication. 
  • Send an email. An effective subject line is crucial. Use this format: "[Band Name] at [Venue Name] this Friday – free tickets for [Radio Station + Host Name]. For example: "Steve Law Band playing Larimer Lounge this Friday – free tickets for Dave at Rock On Colorado." Repeat the subject line in the body of the email, and include a link to your band’s music.
  • Use social media. Conveniently, the same email subject line works in a tweet or Facebook post as well. It’s always good to include a personal note regarding their show or blog in your message, or you’ll come off spammy. This is not supposed to be easy, so do your homework and be creative!

Offer the station or blog free ticket giveaways to their audiences

If your VIP invitation to the local DJ or blogger is politely declined, come back with an offer to give away tickets on their radio program. The benefits of a ticket giveaway during the radio program is two-fold: one, it works as free promotion for your show, and two, increases your chances of getting your music spun. You’ve just bought yourself radio promotion for the low, low price of a handful of tickets that you didn’t even purchase anyway, which means literally zero out-of-pocket costs.

Have hardcopy CDs and band one-sheet ready for industry VIPs

Now let’s say the DJ or blogger has taken you up on your invitation. Give them the VIP treatment. Have hardcopy CDs waiting for them, with a one-sheet bio and/or press release about your band and tour. Typed one-sheets make it easier for radio and press to talk about your band while spinning or posting your music. You can’t buy publicity like this any cheaper. 
At this point, you may be asking yourself: If I give away all these tickets to my shows, how can I make any money on my tour? After all, there are plenty of expenses on the road – gas, food, etc. Should I really be giving away all these free tickets? 
The answer: Yes, definitely. You should pack your shows, even if you have to comp every ticket. 
Keep in mind, early on you’re not trying to make money by touring. You’re actually trying to build and grow your fanbase. A packed house with only 10 paying customers is better than 10 people in the club, all of whom paid to get in. True, the door receipts are exactly the same. But consider this: 
  • A packed house is a better music experience for everyone in the room.
  • You have more opportunities for merch sales.
  • The venue is happy. In fact, everyone is happy. It’s win-win-win across the board.
And, your band has the potential for radio spins, blog reviews, more photos and social media posts, and solid contacts for the next time you blow through town.
Think of it like this: By reaching local industry folks along every stop of your tour, you’re building “connectors.” Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point, explains how “connectors” can help a new idea (your band) spread like wildfire, or, as we say in the music industry, that elusive “magic dust” your band needs to go from obscurity to ubiquity.

[via SonicBids]

Friday, September 16, 2016

5 Things To Do If You're Feeling Stuck In Your Music Career

That old adage that "it’s all about who you know" isn't nearly as powerful as how someone knows you. got to know you, though; it’s what happens before the relationship starts and how you carry it on after.
It’s deeper than just how they 
When you’re feeling stuck, turning your attention to building relationships is the single best antidote. Here are five things that you can do today to get unstuck while making your relationships stick.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

9 Secrets From Indie Artists for Selling a Ton of Merch After Their Shows

You packed the house. You had a fantastic performance. The entire crowd loved every minute of your set. Now you have to turn that enthusiasm into album and T-shirt sales. How do you go about doing that? That's a question I asked a few indie hip-hop artists who are masterful at the merch table in hopes of finding out some of their secrets to success. What I ended up learning from Jake Palumbo, Tah Phrum Duh Bush, Toussaint Morrison, Joey Batts, and N.M.E. The Illest is a little something I like to call The Nine Merch Commandments.
Like Biggie said, "There's rules to the shit," so grab your CDs, your T-shirts, and your smartphone credit card reader (if you don't already have one of those, consider it your 10th commandment), because here's your manual.

Monday, September 12, 2016

How to Set Up a Killer Merch Table at Your Next Show

As a live music fan, I spend a lot of my time between sets scouring the band's merch tables.
Sometimes I rush in knowing exactly what I want, and other times it's a kind of listless wandering, where I'm just waiting for something to jump out at me. But what about the fans who don't ever stop by, or who come by only to leave seconds later because they can't make sense of what you have to offer? How can bands attract the attention of not only new fans, but also future fans?

Friday, September 9, 2016

3 Promotional Tactics for Selling More Band Merch Online

Social media can help you boost sales of online merch, but there's more to marketing your shop than you might guess. Treating your online store more like any other online retailer by using promotional tactics could boost your profits – and the popularity of your shop in general. We've outlined three basic, tried-and-true strategies for online merch sales below. Once implemented, share them on social media. And, of course, as with any sort of discount, be sure to factor in the cost of production to make sure you're not losing money. Consider shipping, too!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

5 Band Merch Items That Were So Crazy, They Actually Worked

It's New Year's Eve and you've been standing in line for hours waiting to get into the [insert corporate name here] arena. It's been eight long months since you've bought the $500 ticket to see your favorite rock outfit, Justin Bieber and the Looney Tunes. Finally, the doors open. You, your best friend, and that one person who always tags along rush through the doors to get into yet another line, but this one is important. This line is for the merchandise.
When seeing a big-name act such as this, merchandise is overpriced, but an essential part of the experience. It's a rite of passage. It's proof that you were at this monumental event. You'll likely wear the T-shirt from this concert for years until it becomes a tattered shred of its former self. Then, it will be tossed away with minimal thought.
To the average person, merchandise may just be a souvenir of sorts. Even for big-name acts, merchandise is nothing more than a convenient way to promote their brand. For the local musician, however, merchandise means much more.
As you may or may not know, the music industry has taken a nose dive. It's no longer easy to make money selling records. There's far more competition. Plus, technology has made it easier to obtain recordings for free. If a band just starting out wants a chance at profiting, they need to hit the road. That in itself is no easy task, and the payoff isn't anything grand. To supplement income, most bands go the way of merchandise. Even then, that's usually not enough to support the operation.
According to a recent survey, merchandise only accounts for the smallest percentage of income compared to performances, sound recordings, and donations. Don't let the statistics deter you, though. As they say, you have to spend money to make money. Merchandise is a tremendous way to advertise your brand in a creative way. To stir up some wacky ideas, here are five band merchandise products that are so crazy, they actually worked.

Monday, September 5, 2016

3 Things Your Fans Will Gladly Give You Money For

Let’s talk about superfans. Most artists have that small segment of fans who are crazy about them and their music, but they don’t give their superfans the opportunity to support them on the level they want.
Let me explain. Think of your all-time favorite artist  the one that you always catch when they’re touring through town and always buy their albums. Chances are you’re probably willing to spend a lot of money on that artist. But  and here’s the real problem  for most artists, fans are only given the chance to spend $10 on an album or maybe $40 on some merch. This is fine for the casual fans, but true superfans would totally spend more on their favorite artists  if they’re given the chance.
In a sense, you’re essentially capping off your own earning potential by only allowing your fans to spend $10–$40. You can’t blame your fans for not spending enough money on your music if you’re not giving them the opportunity.
Now, I know it’s easy to feel like higher end products are more difficult and costly to make, so today I’m going to go through a few easy and relatively inexpensive things that will be really valuable to your superfans.

Friday, September 2, 2016

How To Book Gigs

You’ve spent hours and hours honing your live set to perfection, and now you’re finally ready to start the process of booking your first gig. Or maybe you’ve played a few shows
already, but it seems that your same group of friends are the only people showing up. It’s easy to stagnate in this spot for a while, so how do you take your gigs to the next level?
There’s a ton of information out there about how to promote your gigs, but none of that matters unless you’re actually booking great gigs in the first place. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through exactly what it takes to get booked, how to find great gigs, and how to pitch venues like a pro. Let’s get started!

Monday, August 29, 2016

25 Ways to Get More Fans for Your Band Using Instagram

Your fans have the attention span of a goldfish (less, actually!). So every time you engage with them, you need to hit 'em with a one-two knockout punch. The best way to do that is through consistent visual content. We process visuals 60,000 times faster than text, and since graphics evoke emotion, this connects you to your fans more quickly (if you have the right images).
The king of images and videos right now is Instagram. Since then, Instagram has exploded, so here are 25 more ways to make your Instagram (IG) account work for you:

Friday, August 26, 2016

Be Your Own Record Label: The Essentials of PR and Promotion

Pressing a record is one thing; distributing it is another. PR and promotion are the last part of this holy trinity and, like distribution, it takes a ton of time and effort. 
The following tips are based on my personal experience running a label and being in bands, trying to get the word out about music I put money and time into. Feel free to tell me your methods that have worked better in the comments below! Maybe we can help each other out.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

6 Signs Your Music Career Is on the Wrong Track (And How to Fix It)

Has your music career gone wayward? If any of these six signs apply, the answer is likely yes. Don't lose hope, though. The first step in getting back on track is identifying where you went wrong and avoiding those mistakes in the future.

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Sneaky Way to Promote Your Music Without Actually Talking About Your Music

I know it sounds completely counterintuitive to promote your music and raise awareness for yourself as an artist without actually talking about your music – or your music career, for that matter. But it’s being done more and more and has become a really powerful way to make a name for yourself by bypassing the crowded indie-musician market.
Let me explain. The key is to establish yourself as an expert in some related topic like gear, self-releasing music, or songwriting. It’s about sharing valuable information on a topic you have a lot of experience in to draw potential fans. They find you by searching for “how to write a song,” or “how to book your own gigs,” or “guitar pedal review,” and discover your music through that connection.

Friday, August 19, 2016

What Your Band Photo Says About You

Band photos can be tricky, but even if you’re camera-shy, they’re an absolute necessity for your press kit.  If you’re working with a label, they may subsidize a photo shoot with a professional photographer, which is the best way to guarantee you’ll end up with well-composed and useful band photographs. For some artists this isn’t an option though, and hiring a pro can seem like an unnecessary expenditure if you’ve got a friend with a decent eye and a DSLR. Either way, you’re going to want to make sure your photos satisfy these key  requirements:

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

5 Ways to Get Professional Band Photos Done Cheap (Or Free!)

Every band needs good photos, and it’s best if you not only have several different kinds, but if you continue to acquire new ones. You should always own high-quality images that you can use for publicity and on your social channels, but having pictures of everything from behind the scenes to playing live to just hanging around can come in handy, too.

Where are all these images supposed to come from, though? You and your bandmates can only take so many, as you need to actually be in the shots! You can always have a friend snap some, or maybe spend the money to hire a professional photographer. Those are fine ideas, but they won’t always work out. If you're looking to get some new pictures taken and you don’t have much of a budget, here are some ideas that might help you out.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Ways to Fill Awkward Silences During Your Performances

They say in radio that having too much dead air is the one of the biggest mistakes you can make, and the same is true while performing music onstage. The more time you spend standing up there with no music or crowd engagement happening, the less interested the crowd will be, and the more uncomfortable it'll get for everyone.
Awkward silences can occur during a set for any number of reasons. Most often, they're the result of one band member having technical difficulties and trying to fix the problem as the rest of the group stands around waiting for them. Or perhaps your frontman just isn't particularly comfortable onstage and has trouble finding things to say in between songs.
Regardless of the reason, any silence that occurs onstage needs to be filled as quickly as possible. Below, I've come up with a list of my four favorite methods to fill awkward silence onstage.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Dead Giveaways That You're Uncomfortable Onstage

Performing live music is a nerve-racking experience. No amount of singing in the mirror or head-banging in the garage can quite prepare you for the moment when the lights come up and you're there. The center of attention. The subject of scrutiny. "Here we are now, entertain us."

Your body language can convey a confidence in your music that's contagious to your audience, but can also betray self-doubt that will be perceived just as acutely. It's your goal to put a room at ease, whether that's them leaping into a mosh pit with selfless abandon or applauding politely at a seated jazz club. Here are six notorious "tells" that can subtly indicate that you’re actually feeling more of a Woody Allen than a Buddy Holly underneath those bright lights.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

7 Apps That Will Make Musician Life a Million Times Easier

We live in the age of convenience and efficiency, and our smartphones and tablets are probably the greatest manifestations of this cultural truth. Chatting with our friends, uploading pictures and videos, getting food delivered to our door, and much more is made infinitely easier with these gadgets – and why stop there? As a busy musician with a million different things on your plate, there are a myriad of apps that will make your life that much simpler. You'll probably be surprised to find what you can streamline or cut down on with just the touch of a button!

Monday, August 8, 2016

3 Reasons Why Comparisons Hurt Your Music Career (And How to Stop)

When she removed her entire catalog from Spotify, Taylor Swift made musicians of all types begin discussing the effects of streaming on our industry. Her exit from Spotify also resulted in articles, blog posts, and left bands and artists wondering if they should do the same thing.

"Should we still be on Spotify?"

"Should we be more careful about streaming?"

My answer: It depends – because you aren't Taylor Swift. You're a unique artist with unique marketing and business needs. Your formula for success won't be the same as anyone else's, especially not a multi-platinum recording artist's. 

Now, this article isn't about the good and evil of streaming music – that's a completely different topic on which novels can be written. This is about the self-imposed obstacles that will inevitably occur if you decide to plot your business moves solely based on what other musicians do. Comparisons are hurting your career and stunting your growth – and here's why.

Friday, August 5, 2016

How to Sing Night After Night Without Straining Your Voice

As a gigging vocalist, you’ve got a different box of tools you need to care for than the rest of the players in your act. When your schedule has you playing a couple of shows a month, your voice may easily recover in time for shows and rehearsals with no problem – even if you're yelling for high notes.

But let’s say your new record comes out and things start progressing and you become very popular. Now, more and more fans want to see you as often as possible. If you did any yelling on the record, it's going to be hard to repeat that over and over again during the multitude of weekly shows. With recording sessions, you may have the luxury (in some cases) to rest your voice and go back and record when you’ve recovered. Live performing doesn’t allow for that. And if you do start to grow your act and start amassing a crew, more and more people will depend on you to be able to perform.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Musicians, Please Stop Giving Out CDs (And What to Do Instead)

As a radio producer and host, I get a lot of CDs. Sometimes they're mailed to me, but the majority of physical albums I receive come when I'm out at a concert, at a meeting, or at a conference. People walk up and hand them to me in the hopes that I’ll listen and perhaps feature the artist in some way.

This isn’t a “bad” idea in that it makes a lot of sense to give someone music if you want them to hear it, right? Sure, but I have something I need to admit to you: I never, ever listen to your CD. I really don’t. I’m sorry you wasted a copy of it, but that’s why I’m coming clean now.

I have a few CDs sitting in my apartment, but for the most part, I end up leaving them behind in hotel rooms, conference centers, and so on. I do this because, believe it or not, I don’t actually have anywhere to conveniently play your album, even if I found the time.

The computer I use doesn’t have a drive for the medium, and I certainly don’t have a CD player at home anywhere. On top of that, if I’m traveling, there is absolutely no chance that I’ll take up space in my suitcase with an album I’ve never heard by a band I don’t know.

I've mentioned this problem to other music writers, and many of them agree. CDs are inconvenient, they take up space, and for those who listen to new music all day, they’re kind of outdated (except for the ones that we really want). Some people like CDs, but they typically ask for them specifically, while everyone else has moved into the digital age.

Now, this isn’t to say that you can’t intro yourself to someone, hand them something physical, and ask them to give your art a play. Instead of lugging around albums, there are a few other options you should consider.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The 5 Types of Musicians Who Will Slow Your Band Down

Making a band work is a balancing act. The recipe for success in a group music setting is a very delicate one that requires a good attitude from everyone involved. Unfortunately, there are plenty of musicians out there who can single-handedly drag your beloved project straight into the mud. Even a slightly abrasive habit can build into a horrible burden to your musical project and seriously threaten its success. To ensure a long, happy life for your band, it's in your best interest to avoid these five types of musicians at all costs.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

5 Free Tools Musicians Should Use To Stay Organized

Staying organized is half the battle to achieving success, and this is particularly significant
for independent musicians. Artists on labels tend to have assistants and other people on staff working to take care of typical, day to day music industry work. Not everyone has such a luxury, though, and for those who have the responsibility of handling all aspects of their career beyond making music, organizational tools are vital.

Thankfully, there are plenty of free services to utilize that will ensure all of your materials are easily accessible and organized. End the days of not knowing where a particular lyric is written or what day your important meeting is, and check out five handy organizational tools that will decrease your stress, increase productivity, and rock your world!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

How To Book Career Building Shows: What Many Bands Don't Understand

One of the most important things I've learned is the difference between opportunities and good opportunities. When you're an independent, you can't really afford to waste time playing shows that aren't doing something for you, and this boils down to focusing on one thing: playing career building shows.

When you focus on playing as many career building shows as possible you will see better crowds, better response from industry people, and faster growth. So what exactly does a career building show entail?

A great career building show has:

A captive audience
This generally means opening slots. For many bands, they need to come to terms with the fact that they shouldn't be headlining tours yet. It may seem obvious, but if you do not have a core, loyal fanbase you really are better suited to an opening slot. Headling tours sound cool, but when there are only 20 people in the room, they don't feel very cool. Start booking opening slots for local bands as much as you can and then work the crowd and make them your fans.

The attention of the right people
Playing showcases and industry events can be super valuable if you can get the right people to come. The only way to make these really count is to put in the time before the event and email a bunch of the industry pros in advance beforehand. Sometimes, at conferences, there can be literally hundreds of bands. If you can make some sort of connection before the event, you've got a huge step up on the rest of the crowd.

Fans that really count
What it boils down to is realizing that certain places and certain people matter more to your career than others. For example, play a lot of smaller towns on weekend, because it pays well and there area always a lot of people

But the truth is, no one cares if 200 people came to your show in Nowhereville, USA. People care about your draw in the major markets like LA, NY, Nashville, Portland, or wherever your state's capital is.

So get out, and play shows (opening slots, showcases, etc.) in an important city, and watch your career grow. Because in those cities, are people who could actually, genuinely influence your career.

Why many artists wait to tour
Many independent artists will simply avoid touring until they have a full tour of career building shows lined up. If you're booking your own shows, you're probably make five to 15 fans per show. (Realistically speaking, not pessimistic) That's great, but it takes a long time to build up a grassroots following that way, and the road is long and hard,. It's not for everybody.

Waiting until you have a full support tour lined up is an absolutely valid strategy, simply because it puts you in front of way more people, and it looks way better from an image perspective. I'm not saying touring is bad- in fact, I'm a big advocate for it- but there's a way to do it more efficiently.

Why "career building" doesn't usually mean "money making"
A tough reality that you'll face when making the conscious decision to focus on career building shows will be the fact you will make less money. Generally, the whole reason you will play a show that wasn't  career building is to make more money. You could do an opening slot for $50 and beer or play a small town bar for $400. The choice, should be clear.

I realize that the opening slot is a better long term investment, and that $400 is still going to be there next weekend. The truth is, sometimes you need to play just for the money. And that's fine, but never forget that if all you do is play for the money, that's probably all you'll ever do.

What it should boil down to is recognizing opportunities and deciding whether or not they're good opportunities. What are they going to do for you? Make that call, and then make some great music.
[via Sonic Bids]

Sunday, May 22, 2016

5 Tips To Increase Your Chances Of Getting Press

 Most music writers will agree, we get too many press emails to actally read every single one. In fact, some are never opened. What can yo do to make sure yours is seen? How can your band stand out in so thick a swarm?

Honestly. there are tons upon overwhelming tons of unread emails from publicists in my inbox. Between my work schedule and other obligations, I always say I'll make time to read every one- but there are days when the best I can do is skim the subject lines. It's unfortunate; a lot of music I'd pribably love is overlooked entirely or discovered too late to do a story to make sense.

There are a few ways to significantly boost your chances of cathing the eye of the writers you reach out to, though. Content isn't mapped out the same at every publication, but most ediotrs are already looking a few months out on their schedules, probably even further. That means wrtiers are pitching stories correspondingly- so if what you're trying to promote is happening in a week or two, you may have already missed your window of opportunity.

Ideally you should begin your campaign three months ahead of when you're hoping for press. That said, how can you increase the likelihood that your perfectly timed email will be read and actually considered?

Monday, May 16, 2016

6 Questions New Bands Are Too Embarassed To Ask Venues

The experience of plaing your very first show is likely to send your nerves into overdrive. Pre-gig anxiety is somewhat inevitable. Planning the show as a brand new band, though, doesn't have to be so riddled with worry. If you're fearful of looking inexperienced or unprofessional, don't be.

In terms of booking and the the relationships you develip with venues and talent buyers, it's far better to ask questions first, rather than ask forgiveness later. In fact, the folks in charge will likely appreciate your efforts to ensure a problem free show.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Band Etiquette: 5 Unspoken Rules of Contacting Press

If you don't have a publicist and you're planning on contacting the press on you own behalf as an artist/musician/band, there are some basic- and some may even say, obvious- rules to follow.  There's a code of etiquette. These give unspoken rules should help you navigate the waters of reaching out to the media.

Monday, April 11, 2016

3 Reasons You Should Regularly Email Your Fans

One of the biggest struggles of email marketing is always figuring out what to send to your fans. Sometimes it can be tempting to just say, "Screw it," and skip sending an email. While it's entirely up to you, it's important to know the risks associated with skipping a regular email campaign and the benefits of sending frequently. 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

5 Types of Visual Content To Use When Promoting Music

With the rise of social media platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat, artists must create high quality visual content to consistently engage their fans. Great visual content helps to increase your exposure among your target audience, grow your fanbase and even land major career opportunities. Here are five types of visual content you can use right now to promote your music.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Bands: Here's How to Amp Up Your Local Music Scene in 6 Steps

One thing that every scene has in common? Musicians all complain about how crappy the scene is. Whether you live in a tony town with just one hillbilly bar of a huge city where the best venues seem impenetrable, you'll hear your music playing friends griping about all the ways your local scene fails to deliver what they need.

Why gripe, though? You can just become part of the solution, even if you're not interested in buying your own nightclub.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

5 Effective Ways For Cash Strapped Musicians To Promote Their Gigs

After spending months rehearsing and getting your songs tighter than a sweat soaked shirt on a metal band's drummer, you've finally landed a decent gig. You're opening for some touring band that's coming through town and you couldn't be more excited. The only problem is that the show's on a Tuesday night, and you just know that in your hometown, it's going to be hard to convince anyone to come out and watch you rock your pants off on a work night. To add to that, you just bought that new amp, so you can't exactly rush out and drop a bunch of money on promotion for the gig. The out of town band doesn't have time to promote every individual show. Hell, that's why they asked you to open in the first place.

So how does a cash strapped musician- and let's face it that's most of us- get the word out about theses gigs? Simply creating a Facebook event and sharing it with all your friends is not enough promotion for any show. I don't care if it's happening at the nearby amphitheater or the summer barbecue for your local block party. You need to do more to get the word out about you gigs. So let's take a look at a few of the better options.


Sticking up posters for gigs is one of he oldest tried and true methods of show promotion existence. A.P. Carter (from the Carter family, duh) used to drive around to the towns he and his family were scheduled to perform in day before the gig. He'd put up flyers advertising the concert, usually held in a church or local hall, and try and drum up some anticipation. And that was in the 1920s.

Posters in general date back to the 1840s when the printing industry perfected color printing, making mass production possible. They're a relatively cheap and eye catching way to advertise an event, but they've seen synonymous with music for decades. Any joker with MS Paint can come up with some half assed design, but where you'll find the most success is by convincing your artistic friend to put together something for you on the cheap and go run off 500 copies. The better looking the thing is, the more likely people will pause to look, and that's really the trick here. People are too busy staring at their phones and bumping into strangers to look up at your posters for more than a second. So make it interesting enough for them to pause and give it a longer glance.

As far as putting up the flyers, you can go the old packing tape around a telephone route. That's probably the easiest way to get your poster out on the street. A more effective way is by wheatpasting the paper to the pole or wall. This is less likely to be torn down, but more likely to draw the ire of he local constabulary, depending on where you live. A lot of record stores, instrument stores, coffee shops, and restaurants will have some place to feature advertising for local shows, so go sweet talk the dude behind the counter and see if he can put your flyer in the window.


These are just smaller versions of the poster. You should be able to a fit stack of them into your back pocket to carry with you everywhere you go in the weeks leading up to the show. Go crash a college kegger and hand them out to all the kids who are dying to spend their student loans on band merch. Hand them out to strangers on the strangers. The point is to get them out to as many people as possible.

A really good move is to go to other concerts with bands who sound like yours. Wait outside just before the show ends and hand them to all the people exiting. 


This is probably the easiest and most cost effective way of getting the word out about your gig.  Grab some acoustic instruments and take it to the streets! Between every ripping rendition you do of one of your songs belt out to the passersby that anyone interested can come see you play this coming Tuesday at the Pig's Ear Tavern or wherever. A piece of cardboard and a Sharpie makes for some fine advertising if your music is good enough to make people stop and watch for a minute. It's also a good idea to have those trusty handbills on... er, well, hand to pass out while busking.

College radio

Depending on where you live, this isn't always easy, but a lot of college radio stations are desperate for content. It really can't hurt to fire off an email with a link to your recording, or a recording fro one of the other bands, and tell the about the show. Even better, just show up at their door with a CD and flyer and tell them in person. A firm handshake and a friendly smile always goes a long way with people, and building a relationship with any sort of local media is a good step.

Social media

Alright so, as discussed, there's a prevalence of social media event pages and invites that many people think is the epitome of concert promotion. Many bands and promoters think that creating a Facebook event and sharing it with all their friends is all it takes to get the word out about a show but, as discussed, that's half assed. Still, you can not deny that social media is a huge force in the modern world. Make a Facebook event page is the bare minimum for any show, but it's still something that must be done. If you can convince all the bands from the show to throw in a bit of their cut from the door and pay for Facebook to boost the promotion, even better.

But please don't stop at Facebook. Take to Twitter, Instagram or hell even Tinder. Whatever form of online interaction you prefer should be used to get the word out. Make a hashtag and be consistent with it. Get everyone in all the bands to use it. Take funny pictures of your drummer and throw them on Instagram. Always swipe right and tell them to come to your show. 

All of these methods are helpful in their own way, but combining the or utilizing each one is bound to increase your chances of getting a couple extra people through the door. However this is by no means a definitive list. Get creative! Try to come up with new ways to get people's attention. The zanier the better. All of these are designed to trick people into take an extra second to look at what you're offering, and then you've got to convince them to come to the show. It's an exhausting thing sometimes, but try to have fun with it!

[via SonicBids]