Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Musicians Top 10 Career Tips

~ Here is some great advice I stumbled upon. Originally penned by Lauren Weisman. You can check out more here:
All in all though there is some really great info here and I already do my best to apply most of this in my career and business. What about you? Anything that was overlooked? Enjoy...

Ten Tips that Every Musician Should Apply to Their Career. These apply to both the music and business sides of he equation. Many apply to those who are not musicians but work in the music business.
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

Take It From a Platinum Artist

~ Like this dude and his band or not, but this is insightful... and you don't have to read a bunch of crap. Check it, let me know what you think.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The 7 Steps to SUCKcess

~ I found and ripped this from Originally penned by Bob Baker. It's funny that I actually know band members like this...

Everybody wants to know the easy, proven steps to music success. Therefore, most experts offers tips and strategies to help you reach your goals in a positive light — including me.
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

Connection Via Collection

~ 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...

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:

  1. Ease of collection. All you need is a clipboard at your show and a ‘fan collector’ (email signup form) on your websites.
  2. Anonymity. Fans are comfortable giving an email address b/c they can remain essentially ‘anonymous’.
  3. A-synchronous communication. It isn’t done in real-time like text messages. Most fans find this way more acceptable.
  4. 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.
  5. Powerful links. Artists can embed links to exclusive content, music players, music purchases, ticket sites, social nets, etc.
  6. 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.
  7. 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:


  1. Always respect a person’s desire to unsubscribe to your list. IMMEDIATELY UNSUBSCRIBE THEM IF YOUR EMAIL SERVICE DOESN’T DO IT FOR YOU.
  2. Always give before you get. Give the fans something special before you ask them to do something like vote for you in a contest.
  3. 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?
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Advanced Strategies

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:

  1. Add ‘fan collectors’ (join our mailing list) functions to all of their sites that lead back to their main list.
  2. 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.
  3. 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: