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.