Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
TIP # 1:
THIS IS A GAME YOU CAN CHANGE THE RULES AS YOU GO
Musicians tend to be perfectionists – I know this because I have spent my entire adult life working with musicians. My dear musicians take note: Goals are never written in stone and they are not the word of the almighty! They should be looked at as beacons and guiding points for you to keep yourself on track along your musical journey.
I would not recommend changing them every week but the music industry is changing so rapidly it’s hard to know what goals are reachable in this landscape. So if the course of the year your goals change its OK to cross one off or modify another or start the game again and write new ones down as you go.
DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP!
You will have your days where you may get frustrated, and you may start to crucify and criticize yourself when you are not achieving goals as fast as you want them. (sound familiar?)
Self-criticism will interfere directly with achieving your goals and dreams. So, the next time you are making yourself wrong for the fact that only 20 people showed up at your last gig or railing against yourself because your couldn’t hear yourself in the monitors try to turn that around immediately, Take a step back and acknowledge the good, and instead celebrate your wins, no matter how small.
WRITE DOWN 5 SUCCESSES EACH DAY
I’m inviting you to write down five little victories a day for this entire year. I learned this powerful technique from T. Harv Eker, who says that you should write down five positive things you do every single day. Once you start getting into this habit, you are training yourself to put the focus on the positive and get your brain to stop being so self-critical.
So put a notebook in your gig bag or next to your bed.
Each day write down 5 things. Make one or two of them music or band related.
Here are some examples:
1. Went to gym.
2. Started writing lyrics to a new song
3. Called three clubs for potential booking.
4. Did laundry.
5. Reached out to a music blogger who will love my music.
6. Made dinner for my boyfriend/girlfriend/wife/husband/kids/ friends (etc).
Right now, stop what you’re doing and write down five tiny successes you had today and yesterday.
YOUR GOALS - SETTING THE STAGE:
IDENTIFY & WRITE DOWN YOUR FOCUS AREAS
Here is a list of some areas you may want your goals focus on.
Skip the areas that do not resonate with you and start by identifying what areas your goals will center around.
Think big, be unreasonable, and don’t hold yourself back.
Building Your Brand:
Honing your unique selling points
15 second pitch
Personal health so your performance is better – exercise, eating etc.
What will you do this year for your overall marketing plan?
PR – Traditional print media
PR – online media
PR – TV and videos
Have friends or family members help you
How many people should be added to your e-mail list each month?
Social Media Strategies:
MySpace page reskin
Facebook Fan page
Facebook ad campaign
Artist Data profile
Number of people at your next gig
Opening for who?
Getting a booking agent
Getting a college agent
Are you recording an album this year?
Who are you writing songs with?
Full Length vs. EP ?
Who is your dream producer?
Where are you recording?
How much money you would like to earn?
What will you spend?
Buying a new instrument?
Number of CDs you would like to sell
Film and TV placements.
Number of downloads you would like to sell
Getting a manager
~ Here are some excerpts from an article I found on the Creative Deconstruction blog. In some ways this is a good summary of 09, as well as, some positive and motivating insight into the future of the biz in '10 and beyond. Hang in there, and most importantly GOOD LUCK! You can read the full article here:
2009 may not have lived up to everyone’s expectations, but there remain so many reasons to stay positive as we enter the new year. 2009 was transitional, as every part of the music industry struggled to find new footing.
Artists appear to growing frustrated with a lack of success relative to what they feel they’ve been promised by the Music 2.0 gurus.
Where are my 1,000 True Fans? I’m killing myself on countless social networks – why am I still not making any money?
I get the frustration, and I sympathize with you. The business of extracting revenue from music is not easy, and it takes a whole lot of work. DIY promotion is not a silver bullet. Hopefully neither I nor anyone else have led you to believe that it is. Signing a lucrative record deal would possibly be a lot easier (assuming you aren’t neglected or dropped unexpectedly of course.) But independence can be much more rewarding, and even more profitable than signing your rights to the majors.
Hang in there. Success doesn’t happen over night. Independent artists are small business start-ups. Any entrepreneur will tell you that most new businesses go 5 years before leaving the red. That scenario isn’t for everyone, but fewer and fewer alternatives are left. It’s important that you know what you’ve signed up for.
The DIY movement is one of those unique opportunities that only appear every generation or so. Music is leading the charge into modern, technology powered, socially connected business. This transition will only accelerate as other related industries begin to follow down the path of creative deconstruction. It’s the perfect time to establish a new career and make something happen. There is still room on the ground floor, but space is becoming limited.
2010 is going to be the year of execution for many – whether artists, new services or start ups. My advice? Do whatever you have to do to make sure that you are one of them.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Hell, a few apply to anyone working in any business. So, New title: Ten Tips for Everyone Alive on the Planet.
Number 1. – Answer your emails.
Show a little respect and answer your emails. If you can’t respond at that moment, then acknowledge that you received it, let the sender know you’re backed up and when you hope to get back to them. Then, either list the email as unread, flag it, or mark a little notch in your calendar to respond to the sender when you promised. This is one of my biggest pet peeves. I respond to every email. Sometimes it takes a while, but I get back to everyone I can that has a direct question or is requesting something. It is a common courtesy that I am sure you would want when you send out an email, so do the same.
Number 2. - Have the guts to address concerns or questions.
Kind of attached to number one, if you have a concern or a question brought to you and you are not sure how to respond or are afraid to give a solid answer, toughen up! If you need to say no, then say no. If you want to say “Maybe, but there is an issue I need cleared up before we proceed,” then say that. But the passive-aggressive non-responses, the runaround when people just delete an email, toss away a phone message, or avoid a confrontation is much more insulting than a flat out “No way.”
And you do not want to be insulting people, even if at this particular moment in time time, they are asking for something and you are in the position to say yes or no. Things change (see below). Things always change. Next time, it may well be you doing the asking. A polite, respectful “I can’t do that” or “I am not interested” goes a long way to making that later approach easier.
Show some honor and address questions, concerns, or issues without shoving them in a drawer and hoping they’ll go away. They never do.
Number 3. – If things change, then keep everyone informed and problem solve.
Things change. They change all the time. From a club burning down and a gig being cancelled to a deadline being changed or a payment being missed. It happens, and it happens all the time. The problem is that when things change, many people are affected. Too often, discomfort over the situation leads people to delay notifying everyone who will be affected. Nobody likes delivering bad news—nobody is happy there is bad news to deliver. But other parties still need to know.
If you are supposed to pay someone by a certain date, and something comes up where you can’t do it, TELL THEM! It may mean they will now be unable to pay someone else by a given date, and that is important information for them to have.
I have no problem with someone saying they can’t make a payment when it comes to my production fees or consulting fees. In this economy, it is almost a given that out of so many clients, something will happen to someone at some point. As long as they come to me and say “this isn’t happening like I thought it was going to, I am not going to be able to make that payment on the date we agreed on, but here is what I am going to do about it…” how can I complain? They are acting with honor, treating me with respect, and in many cases, backing it up with a partial payment that lets me know they take the situation seriously. That is a person I want to go on working with. In showing me respect, they just won my respect—and that’s an artist I want to do business with.
Take the initiative to make others aware when situations change—whatever the change is. If your drummer is in three bands and has a sudden conflict, share that information asap. Right now everyone has more options than they will two weeks from now. Be the communicator, the problem solver, the responsible adult, and in 6 months no one will remember what the bad news/stumbling block was, they will just remember who rose to the occasion, who was considerate of other people’s situations, and who must have left their phone off the hook that week.
Number 4. - Be on time or give a heads up.
Just like things change, things can come up that make you late to a gig, to a session, to a meeting. Still, with practically everyone having a cell phone, it seems crazy that someone who is running late cannot make contact with those who are waiting for them.
Once again, it comes down to honor and professionalism. If you are scheduled to be somewhere or simply said you were going to be somewhere, then be there. It comes down to a simple awareness of and respect for other people. As soon as you know you are going to be late, give a call, send a text. “Running late” and your new ETA. It’s easy and it will show you in a very professional light.
Number 5. Get your gear off the stage when you are done.
I hear more bands bitch about this, and yet some of the same people that complain about other bands will leave their own instruments up on the stage while another band is waiting to load on. When your set is done, get your gear off the stage if another band is following you. There is a schedule to keep, whether the band before you loaded off fast or not, there is still a schedule. Be the better and more responsible group, and get your gear off stage so the night can continue.
Some bands say they need to promote and sell and connect immediately with the audience, and that is fine. Have one person with the least gear head to the audience while the rest of the group gets the gear off stage. Do it quickly, too. You do not need to take cymbals off stands on the stage if you are a drummer, you can take the cymbal on the cymbal stand off the stage so that next drummer can get moving on his set up.
The same thing goes if there is room in a club or venue side stage to set up some. Put together some of your set up so loading on can be faster as well. Get out of the selfish zone and consider the night, the other bands, and the club as a whole. You will get a reputation as a group that is easy to work with and professional, something that is a rarity in many places.
Number 6. - Follow up with booking agents, clubs and other bands.
A single gig can be more than a gig if you conduct yourself well. Playing one night with another band can lead to more than just that single show. Follow up with people, keep organized contacts and check in with them. Keep a spreadsheet or a file with the contact, how you connected with them, where they are and what your experience was with them. This is the real networking, and it predates the Internet, folks. This is networking in the most grassroots sense, and it can lead to many more opportunities than you realize. Send thank yous to clubs, cross link to other bands and stay in touch with people. Even if you take five minutes out of your week to keep in touch, update, or cross promote, you will create a larger more effective network that will allow you numerous opportunities instead of single one time events.
Number 7. - Stop f*%^ng over posting on Facebook and other network sites.
Stop with the stupid posts that no one cares about. Yes, maybe some larger scale stars can post, twitter and update about eating a Twinkie, but a fair amount of them have the fame and the celebrity status that draws people’s interest. For the rest of us, the technical name for that kind of post is “pointless crap.” Use quality, not quantity with your posts. While you think that all these people are reading everything you are putting up on Facebook, considert how many people have you as hidden just so they don’t have to read that stuff.
Separate your personal page from the music ones. On a music page, put up the info that will draw people to your links, your pictures, and your posts. If you are using it for a personal page, then by all means, do as you wish. But if you are trying to connect with other artists and fans, if you are trying to network and utilize the social networks as one more avenue to move yourself forward, then it is a professional tool, treat it professionally. Get away from the mafia wars, the farmer games, and anything that makes your page like a series of graffiti advertisements. As a musician, give them something that will draw them in as well as make them want more instead of giving them way too much information.
Number 8. - Be confident but not arrogant. Admit when you don’t know something.
Confidence is great, but arrogance can lock you out of opportunities and close doors that would otherwise be open for you. Too often, arrogance is clumsy camouflage for a lack of confidence or outright insecurity. Nothing is less attractive.
Lay back some on the arrogance and let your confidence shine through. Agents, venues, labels and industry executives are subjected to so much ego and arrogance-driven excesses every single day. By coming off strong, quietly confident and not over the top, you will be a breath of fresh air. You’ll be much for effective capturing the attention of whomever you’re talking to, keeping their attention longer, and being remembered afterwards in a positive light. There is simply no way to achieve that beating your chest and being an arrogant blowhard.
Number 9. - Follow the instructions when it comes to sending out packages , calling, emailing distro, etc.
File another one under “N” for “Not rocket science here”. If you are submitting music for licensing, going after a gig, a recording deal, an agent, a producer or whoever, follow the directions that are given on websites when it comes to soliciting materials. This is another one that predates the Internet. Everyone in every decision-making corner of entertainment is INUNDATED with hopefuls, wannabes, and actual legitimate applicants. They all have rules and requirements to keep this potential avalanche under control. None of them are going to toss those rules aside for you or look at your application favorably because you had to do it your way.
So, if someone has it written on their website to only send emails, then DO NOT CALL THEM. If someone has a certain format they require, then send your materials in that format. I have talked to way too many artists who send out things the way they want to send them out and ignore directions—and then wonder why they never hear back. It’s called attention to detail, and while you may still not have a response, you will at least be considered. You will not get that far if you walk in the door and announce yourself who cannot follow simple instructions.
Number 10. - Stop talking shit about other bands, people, etc.
Basically, be nice and shut your mouth. A lot of bands that rip on other bands get a reputation of being shit talkers. This is not a reputation you want to have. Be considerate. You don’t have to like everyone or everything, but as you are out there in the spotlight, in the media, and around many people who may like the person/band/thing you are tempted to bash, it is much better to keep your mouth shut. Be viewed in a positive light rather than one who is always ripping on other bands—bands which, incidentally, you may have to work with again in the future or who may be able to help (or hurt) you down the line. Be smart when it comes to opening your mouth.
This stuff is basic and yet often ignored. Try professionalism, open communication, attention to detail, and give consideration and respect to those you are working with. It can go a long way for you and your career.
© 2009 Loren Weisman
Watch out for Loren Weisman’s “Realistic Music Careers 101 Seminar” coming to a city near you and Loren’s book “The Artist’s Guide to Success in the Music Business” coming in 2010.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Well, it’s time to shake things up and serve a new audience — which explains why this post takes a tongue-in-cheek look at the dark side: How to destroy your music career in seven easy steps …
1) Give Away Your Personal Power
The first step to destroying your music career is to realize that your destiny is in the hands of other people and circumstances beyond your control. Fully embrace the fact that you need to be in the right place at the right time to get your “lucky break” and be “discovered.”
Know that industry people and music critics must deem you worthy of success for you to have value as a musician. Also, cling to the belief that all the answers are “out there” somewhere and out of your control and you will be incredibly successful at failure.
2) Turn Marketing, Promotion and Sales Into a Huge Burden
Do you really wanna fall flat fast? Then start referring to marketing as a “necessary evil” right away. Realize that you don’t have what it takes to “sell yourself” and reach more fans. In fact, there’s probably a biological reason you hate promotion: you were born without the critical marketing gene that all those “gift of gab” people have. Therefore, you are destined to live a lifetime of hardship as you struggle with having to engage in the ugly chore of self-promotion.
3) Be Fearful of Being Perceived as a Greedy, Capitalist Pig
Paranoia will go a long way to helping you fall short of a thriving music career — especially when it comes to earning money. Just know that every one of your fans is watching you and waiting to jump ship the second they smell any scent of capitalism. Therefore, if you make any sales pitches at all, they better be so low key as to be barely perceptible.
In fact, it would be best not to even make people aware that you have things for sale. Just wait till they come to you. If they’re interested, they’ll ask. And if you want to score extra points, when they do ask, tell them you left all your CDs and T-shirts at home.
4) Use a Lack of Time, Money and Connections as Your Biggest Excuse
Here’s a surefire way to go down in flames. Have convenient scapegoats based on scarcity. Tell anyone who asks (as well as a lot of people who don’t ask or care) how lousy your career is because of all the lack in your life. Frequently use phrases such as “There aren’t enough hours in the day,” “If I had that kind of money, I’d be a rock star too,” and “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” To spice things up, every now and then throw in an angry reference to “The man.”
5) Market Yourself to the Faceless Masses Using Traditional Big Media
Why spend all that time dealing one on one with fans, when someday someone could just throw a bunch of money (you know, the funds you don’t have enough of now) into a massive marketing campaign? Realize that it takes big bucks spent on radio promotion, retail placement, billboards, and paid display ads in national magazines to succeed. This mass media mindset is your ticket to success … at hitting the fast track to failure.
Bonus tip: Never answer your email from fans, and rarely — if ever — log into your Facebook, MySpace or Twitter accounts. Better yet, don’t even start these accounts, since they are time-wasting fads.
6) Promote Yourself Sporadically and Only When It’s Urgent
If you have a mailing list (and with piss-poor email delivery and open rates these days, why bother?), be sure the fans on your list don’t hear from you very often. One of the best “road to ruin” marketing tactics is blasting your fans with urgent “come to my show” or “buy my new album now” messages when they haven’t heard from you in months. Your ultimate goal is have fans read your promotions and go, “Who is this band again?”
7) Know That Everyone Owes You Something Simply Because You Exist
I’ve saved the best way to destroy your music career for last. Simply know that everyone will care as much about you and your music as you do. Understand that complete strangers will indeed listen to every note of your 70-minute concept album and read every word of your 10-page bio. Be sure to send long, in-depth emails and leave lengthy, rambling voice mail messages for the imbeciles who don’t recognize your greatness. Also, be sure to insult anyone who doesn’t get back to you within 10 minutes.
There you have it — the top seven ways to ruin your music career.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
~ If you are in a band you NEED to be collecting fans email address'. Here is an article I found on the subject written by Jed Carlson who is one of the main dudes over at Reverb Nation. You know what Reverb Nation is right? If not check it out now... www.reverbnation.com
Email is an essential part of the fan relationship equation for artists, labels, and managers. While it is difficult to say the exact value of collecting any individual email address for musicians, marketers from other industries peg the generic value of getting an email at about $1 each. But it’s all about what you do with it once you are given the great responsibility of owning it. We have seen Artists generate as much as $10 per email address on their list, when used properly.
Email has some interesting attributes going for it, like:
- Ease of collection. All you need is a clipboard at your show and a ‘fan collector’ (email signup form) on your websites.
- Anonymity. Fans are comfortable giving an email address b/c they can remain essentially ‘anonymous’.
- A-synchronous communication. It isn’t done in real-time like text messages. Most fans find this way more acceptable.
- Scheduled output. With most email programs you can set the time of when you want the message to ‘go out’. This is important if you have limited time from the road to message the fans about something that is timely for them - like a show you will be playing in their area that weekend.
- Powerful links. Artists can embed links to exclusive content, music players, music purchases, ticket sites, social nets, etc.
- Trackability. Most email services provide tracking on how many people opened the emails, how many people clicked, etc. This data can be a powerful learning tool for the Artist to figure out what ‘works’ and what doesn’t.
- Repetition. Most people don’t unsubscribe from the list once they are on it. As a result, you have a long time to prove your value to them.
But the key to using email resides squarely in how it is used, not in the attributes inherent to it. We encourage Artists to think about their mailing list as if it were full of email addresses from their relatives. Simply put, Artists should treat their fans the same way they would treat their sister or grandma. Doing so will lead to the highest open rates, highest response rates, long-term retention of fans, and growth of their brand.
Specifically, here are some ‘best practice’ tenants to consider when it comes to email marketing to a fan base:
- Always respect a person’s desire to unsubscribe to your list. IMMEDIATELY UNSUBSCRIBE THEM IF YOUR EMAIL SERVICE DOESN’T DO IT FOR YOU.
- Always give before you get. Give the fans something special before you ask them to do something like vote for you in a contest.
- Always talk to them without swearing. It may be part of your ‘persona’ as a band, but some people don’t like that language. The Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like Yahoo mail, hotmail, AOL, etc don’t like it either, and your message will go directly to the junk box. You wouldn’t talk to your grandma that way, would you?
- Always avoid ‘scam’ words in the subject line. Words like ‘Free’ and ‘Help’ will land your message in the junk box 100% of the time.
- Always message them no more than 4 times per month. Ideally it would be less than 3 times. Fans want to be kept up to date, but they don’t want to feel like they are your only fan. Messaging them all the time gives the impression that you don’t have anything more important to do.
- Always target them with messages that are RELEVANT to them. If you have a show in Seattle, don’t message your fans in Miami. Keep your powder dry for a message to them later about something else.
- Always give them the basics about the information you are conveying. Reporters call this the ‘who, what, why, when, where, how’ model. If you have a show coming up, do your fans (and yourself) the service of providing dates, times, locations, ticket links, and lineup of the show. Over 75% of Artists miss this essential piece when they email. If you want someone to respond and come to your show, for goodness sake, go so far as to give them driving directions if you can. Each ticket sold is money in your pocket.
- Always link them to some place to find out more info about the band. This could be ReverbNation or MySpace or a homepage or blog. But ALWAYS give them a way to find out more.
- Never add emails from people that haven’t given explicit permission to you to be placed on your list. It’s natural to add the editor from Pitchfork or New York Times to your list in hopes of getting them to notice your email. RESIST THIS URGE! This will ultimately count against you in terms of deliverability and credibility with your fans and those sources. Email is about permission, not spamming. Most email service providers (including ReverbNation) will turn your service off if you are adding people that haven’t opt-ed into your list. BEWARE. Instead, write those editors from your personal email, asking them to join your mailing list if they so choose. If you get them to agree, you are in good shape.
- Never buy email lists or share lists with other bands or labels. This is tantamount to spamming people that haven’t opt-ed into your list and it will be met with resistance from the fans as well as your service provider.
- Never ask Fans to take an action to help you out if you haven’t first given them something of value. Reserve some songs for use as ‘chips’ to play with your email list. Give them a link to some exclusive content from time to time, BEFORE you ask them to go to that radio station website and vote for you to get on the air. Don’t underestimate the power of reciprocity with fans. Reciprocity means giving before you get. Give away. They will remember.
- Never respond to the responses to your emails later than 3 days after they are sent. Fans are time sensitive machines. Keep good track of when responses come in and handle them immediately. You will be rewarded with loyal fans.
- Never take aggressive action against a fan that has had any problem with your message. Simply unsubscribe them. It doesn’t pay to fight with your customers, Period.
Most Artists have a MySpace page, a Facebook page, and a homepage/blog. That’s good. But the key to approaching the internet as a whole is finding a way to ‘own’ the fans from all of these different networks, rather than ‘renting’ them under the terms and conditions of each particular site. Your email list is the best possible ‘home’ for all of these fans. It gives the Artist the most flexibility to communicate, make offers, and conduct their business, regardless of which network the fans come from. As a result, we promote a philosophy of looking at each of these ‘networks’ as a lead generation source, as opposed to the home base for conducting their marketing. Why turn your marketing and promotion over to the whims of MySpace? Labels, venues, and sponsors will take much more stock in a band that has a robust email list that they ‘own’ over Artists that just have a ton of ‘Friends’ on social nets.
In order to break from the concept of ‘renting’ fans, Artists need to do a few simple things:
- Add ‘fan collectors’ (join our mailing list) functions to all of their sites that lead back to their main list.
- Provide an incentive for joining the mailing list, such as access to exclusive content like a song they can’t get anywhere else. ReverbNation provides exactly this feature when an Artist uploads a song. They can designate it as a ‘fan exclusive’ and we create a ‘download’ widget that they can add to their MySpace page. This widget will require them to join the mailing list for the Artist in exchange for receiving the content. Artists post this to their MySpace page, blog, etc. by simply providing their login to each site and we post it there for them. Artists who use this tool grow their mailing list 600% faster than those who do not use this method.
- Email your fans regularly with relevant info, and not too often. Fans who receive ‘high quality’ emails from Artists tend to stay on the list over 95% of the time.
If Artists follow this method, in addition to the best practices outlined above, they will see their emails lists grow substantially, and they will have real control over their future.
Check out original article here:
Saturday, October 31, 2009
~ Here is an excerpt from an interview I found on Music Think Tank with indie artist Matthew Ebel. I have been thinking for a while now that the subscription model for bands is going to be the future. No one has a crystal ball, so who knows, but it seems to be working for Matthew. What do you think?
AH: If you could give a band or artist any type of advice on how to start in social media, what would you advise them to do?
OK, so, six things that have made a difference for me…
1. Stop the Musical Masturbation
I wasted so much time playing open mics and writer’s nights in Nashville and Boston. The same is true of all the “hot new music sites” that spring up every 20 minutes on the Internet. The fans do not go there, you’re only entertaining yourself. Every open mic I’ve ever seen is a room full of musicians politely waiting for their turn to get on stage. These events only introduce musicians to other musicians and offer some live performance practice. Trying to sell CD’s at an open mic is like trying to sell timeshare condos at a telemarketing convention. Fans go to Facebook or iTunes, not Stereofame. I could waste all my time playing for a crowd of other broke indie artists or I can spend my efforts approaching fans where they’re already congregating.
2. Shove Yourself Into A Niche
Music fans aren’t found on sites for music fans. I’m inspired by certain things– technology, animals, politics, sci-fi/ fantasy –and so is every other artist. Whatever I’m writing about, there’s a community based around that topic. Instead of going after generic “music fan” crowds, I chose to focus on specific niches that share MY interests. Since I’m into podcasting and new media stuff, my music has been resonating particularly well with the geek crowd. That is where I focus my efforts. I’m also a big sci-fi/ fantasy nerd as well, so I hit conventions and gatherings of that nature. Not only is my music relevant to them, I can relate to them on a personal level.
3. Get Personal
I imagine this advice won’t apply to “concept bands” that have a specific theatrical act or image, but getting personal with my fans is what keeps me alive. Good music is barely enough to get fans to hand out 99¢ anymore; they have to be emotionally invested in the artist if that artist wants their loyalty. Don’t get me wrong, there can still be a “fourth wall” during a live concert or video, but real, meaningful connection with the fans is what keeps me in their heads after the show’s over (heck, even your “character” can interact with fans in-character). I chat with my fans via Twitter, Facebook, matthewebel.com and matthewebel.net, and as many other channels as possible. The more I interact with them between performances, the more I stay fresh in their minds and the more inspiration I draw from them.
4. Keep Them Screaming Your Name
In October of 2008 I started my own subscription service– www.matthewebel.net –with no clue whether the fans would like it or not. Part of the offerings were two new songs and one live concert recording every month. It seemed like a tall order to me, but something I could accomplish. Little did I realize that new releases every two weeks would be better than any good album reviews or press coverage. Giving my fans something new to talk about every two weeks meant exactly that: they talk about me every two weeks. They’re not buying an album, raving about it, and losing interest after a few months, they’re constantly spreading my name to their Twitter followers, coworkers, pets, etc. Regular delivery of quality material is damn near my one-step panacea for the whole industry.
5. Don’t Suck
No amount of marketing can make up for a total lack of talent– this is why people don’t want to spend $20 on major label CD’s anymore. 25 years of piano and a music degree doesn’t guarantee I’ll be a success, but it gives me one hell of an advantage. I try to keep myself sharp and never assume I’m good enough. Even long-time pro football players go through spring training every year. If nothing else, I find that surrounding myself with talent raises the bar for my own ambitions. I listen to Ben Folds to inspire my production and piano abilities, I follow people like Ariel Hyatt and Amanda Palmer to improve my outreach, I keep a steady stream of Pat Monahan on my Pandora list to hear what kickass vocals sound like. I always want to be on my toes.
6. Experiment In Public
Speaking of being on my toes, I try to push my comfort level in plain sight. Sometimes I’ll produce a song in a style I’ve never really attempted before and release it to my subscribers at http://matthewebel.net –sometimes it flies, sometimes it doesn’t. My first attempt at Trance, a song called “Night Train”, has become one of the most requested songs I play at live shows now. It’s the first one people have openly talked about pirating. For something I originally downplayed as “just an experiment”, it’s now one of my biggest hits. I experiment onstage as well, trying new arrangements or even lyrics. My fans love knowing that they’re part of something spontaneous, that they’ve got a hand in shaping the very future of my music. Happy fans are vocal fans.
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Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Now sometimes there are reasons why something goes wrong, why something isn’t happening or didn’t happen. There are justifications and reasons within the industry or along a musician’s path that are legitimate hurdles and roadblocks, yet what are you doing about them? And how are you going to shift things to get what you want? This goes for the artists but also for every person that is bitching, whining or complaining about anything. Your complaining is pointless. Your action taken to make real change is what it takes to succeed.
I think it comes down to these 12 key deficiencies that many artists, musicians and for that matter a great deal of people outside of the music industry share.
• We are lazy
• We are undereducated
• We do not know how to win and we certainly do not know how to lose
• We do not have the social skills
• We are afraid of confrontation
• We are spoon fed with notions that we “can be anything”, so much so that we don’t put forth the effort associated with being successful
… Then, at the first sign of hardship or challenge…
• We are ready to give up on the drop of a hat
• We think a positive attitude is all it takes
• We don’t think about the details, instead, we just believe in the best case scenario
• Our egos have been boosted but our confidence is walking on eggshells
• We want instant gratification and lack the patience required for true success
It is one thing to identify a problem, and another thing to actually take action and solve it. I do not claim to have all the answers, but I do know it takes effort and execution. It takes taking a hard cold look at yourself, your music, your band and what you are doing, while assessing those things you might need to change and those things that should remain the same.
What are you doing everyday to get you closer to what you want? If you are, keep going. If not, change it. Maybe it won’t be overnight but start with the small steps to assure a brighter future.
What has worked for you or brought small successes? Analyze it, work on it and see if you can apply it to other areas that are not working.
What has to change? If you are not sure how to change the things that need changing, then reach out, find help, educate yourself and empower yourself with knowledge instead of going for that same piece of cheese that is electrified. Hell even rats start to learn not to do the same thing if the result is negative; maybe it’s your turn.
Stay educated on the business of music just like you are staying educated on the music it self. What opportunities are presenting them selves? What new methods are being applied that you can apply to your group? Keep your finger on the pulse of the industry. Just like a lawyer needs to continually stay up to date with the changing laws, a musician needs to stay up to date in the same way to be as effective and as successful as possible.
If something is too good to be true or seems too easy to be real, it probably is. Amazing things can happen, but make sure they are amazing in the way that are good for you today, tomorrow and next year as well.
Try to look at the traits above as a whole. Maybe none of them apply to you, maybe all apply and instead of being defensive, angry or in denial, begin to address elements inside you. The better you can “know thyself”, the sooner you can work to become stronger in the areas you are weak, your dreams and your career. No one is perfect and I have to address issues above just like everyone else.
Take the assertiveness and confidence you have inside with the things you are sure of, and work that to your benefit. Watch for teaming up or pairing with others who are not ready to do the work that has to be done. Surround yourself with the hardest working, strongest communicating and best musicians you possibly can. Respect the business side just as you respect the art side, and you will have a bigger chance in an industry where the chances of success become slimmer and slimmer day by day.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
~ here is an informative article I found at the Creative Deconstruction blog. Hopefully you are already aware of the 1000 true fans concept. If not I highly suggest you google it, or read my "You Should Have Already Read This" post. The following is in relation to some of the building blocks associated with cultivating those 1000 true fans. Enjoy!
I’ve put together a series of posts with some practical tips intended to get you started in finding fans and moving them up through the pyramid. The goal of course is to cultivate as many true fans as possible so that you can eventually quite that day job (if you haven’t already) and develop a self-sustaining career in music.
The hardest part of building a fan base is often finding an audience in the first place. The best place to start looking is in your hometown. You don’t have to travel, which means you have little to no expenses. You probably have a decent idea of where bands play and what kinds of bands play there.
If you can get to the point where you can consistently sell 300 tickets in your city then chances are you’ve got a strong enough base to begin exploring the surrounding region. Find bands that are selling those same 300 tickets in neighboring cities and ask them to gig swap. You open for them in their city, they open for you in your city. You expand your reach and build your network in the process.
Utilize Online Tools
Beyond conquering your local scene you also have access to the entire world online. The internet has made it easier than ever to target the potential fans at the bottom of the pyramid. People wear their musical tastes like a badge of honor online. If you find people who listen to music similar to your own you’ve got a great place to start making inroads.
Search Twitter, join relevant Facebook groups. Set up Google alerts and TweetBeeps for not only your band name but the names of your influences as well. Figure out where these people are and go after them. Send them free tracks and if enough respond from one particular place, make sure you can set up a show nearby to invite them to.
Live Performance is Key
Notice that both of these examples revolve around live performances. Yes, you can distribute your music online and acquire new listeners and potential fans that way. And you should – maybe it will cause a few sparks to spring up in unexpected places. But the live performance is where the connection happens. Potential fans become actual fans at the show.
See original article here:
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Here is an excerpt from a more in depth article on getting and playing your first gig(s). I suggest you check it out here: http://www.creativedeconstruction.com/2009/10/think-outside-the-venue-to-get-that-first-gig/
Most new bands approach the first part of their careers like this: We need to find an audience, but in order to find an audience we have to play shows. If we want to play shows we have to get a talent buyer to book us, but talent buyers are going to want to know we can draw an audience before they’ll ever consider letting us play. It’s a frustrating catch-22.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
1. Run your career like a business, but ditch the myths: there is very little money in the music industry, there never was much to begin with and there’s less now. Record labels are not going to rescue you.
2. Quality Matters.
3. All careers take time!
The three rules generally work together: Setting appropriate expectations, focusing on your art, and connecting to your fans as you develop over a long period of time. Your career is an investment by you, and anyone who wants to pay you to be you. And for a return on your investment, your goal is to make it a desirable investment to your most beloved fans.
View original article here: