Regardless of pay or expected turnout for a show the commitment you make as an artist to play it is not something that should easily be broken. Playing a show should be an agreement that you take seriously as not only is it made between the promoter and yourself but with your fans and the other show goers as well.
If you plan to cancel on playing a show or if you will be late let the promoter know as soon as possible to give them time to either find a replacement or deal with scheduling. Even something as simple as being delayed by weather can be something important to communicate with whoever is charge of a show especially if there is gear sharing or an important soundcheck.
If you plan to cancel on a show make sure to let the promoter know ASAP even if you have not confirmed that will need to cancel so that they do not spend money on things such as ads or posters with your information on them before finding out. While it might not cost you anything to cancel on a show for a promoter there are both time and real physical costs to cancelling.
Cancelling a show should always be a last resort measure thing like being sick or personal issues should not prevent you from playing a show unless they are extremely serious.
In the current musical climate, building a real, worthwhile fan base is at the forefront of any successful band; especially those with longevity. That is why it is extremely important to value your fans and always be finding new ways to build your legion of adoring fans. Here’s 5 quick tips to help you gain a few new fans and followers.
#1. Don’t Suck
Seriously. Be good at your instruments, play in tune, and have good songs. Practice, practice, practice. Without this there is no amount of marketing that can save you.
#2. Know Your Fan Base
You need to know who to target if you want to attract the right fans. Do you know similar bands in your genre or bands whose fans would like your bands too? Do your fans also like similar movies/tv shows or extra curricular activities (sports, tattoos, etc…)? Knowing the demographics or your target audience will help you market to them specifically.
#3. Be Engaging
Once you have an idea of your fan base you need to ENGAGE them. Strike up conversation, ask topical questions on social media, etc. You will not only need to start the conversation but you’ll have to keep it going.
#4. Cross Promote
Find a band or an independent record label with a similar fan base and share their news/posts occasionally in hopes they’ll reciprocate. (Please note, do NOT over do this as it will look desperate and also as a general rule don’t ask them to share or retweet your news/posts).
#5. Reward Your True/Super Fans
If you see a fan is always sharing your content, shoot them a message to say thanks. Also depending on their level of involvement hook them up with some CDs or merchandise and they will continue to champion your brand for you.
Motivation can mean different things for different artists. To some, writing one new riff can be seen as a good day whereas to others that might be viewed as a slow, unmotivated day. The important thing is to stay motivated and always be pushing your career forward so with that said here’s a few tips to help when it comes to setting goals for your career:
1. Write down your goals.
Yes, you MUST do this. Trying to remember what you want to accomplish will often take as much time as trying to accomplish it, so either put a pen to paper or open up notes in your smart phone and make a list.
2. Break your goals down as small as possible.
Instead of making broad strokes of things you hope to achieve break down your goals into the smallest increments you can. For example “book a tour” is not an easily achievable goal. Each date on your tour could (and should) be broken down into small goals like “locate appropriate venue/promoter”, “find good local support” etc… Also by making smaller goals you’ll be checking things of more frequently and feeling more of a sense of accomplishment to keep you motivated.
3. Prioritize your goals.
However you do it, a scale of 1-5, or simply a high and low priority marking, it’s important you know what needs to be done soon and what can wait.
4. Dedicate specific time to work on achieving your goals.
Even one hour a day dedicated solely to pushing your career forward can make a substantial difference in helping you achieve your goals. Getting in a routine of sorts will often help you stay focused as well.
5. Don’t be scared to take a day off.
Sometimes you get overwhelmed and it seems like you’re adding more new tasks than crossing off goals you’ve achieved. If you’re not properly focused your work can suffer so don’t be afraid to take some downtime for rest and relaxation and get back to the drawing board the next day.
Although no one can force your motivation by following these tips you’ll be better able to keep your focus and hopefully continue to push your career forward each and every day.
Something key to the success of any musician or career is the study of other individuals and the application of what you can learn from them to yourself. As a musician this can extend to almost any thing you do however one part where it can be difficult on deciding what to use is your live Show. Countless people will tell you exactly what you must do have a live show but something that is important to this experience is having a natural and fitting atmosphere.
Trying to force things that other bands do into your live show can ruin the interaction and rapport that your band has built up. Some people will say things “you should always have something being said in between songs” or “you should always have a break in between songs” but for some bands this simply does not work. Plenty of bands work best without breaks while running one song into the next or without saying anything and acting mysterious.
Figuring out what kind of live show you want to create will probably take some time and there is no harm is studying other bands and adopting things they do to your show as long as it properly fits. Music and entertainment are not created in a vacuum and imitation is unavoidable but the key to it is imitating things that align with your image and style.
Creating a live atmosphere that properly represents your music and gives people a good experience is far more important than making sure you market yourself correctly.
Instead of my normal music solutions blog where I am a little vague on specifics, I have decided I’m going to get a little more personal on this one because frankly it needs to be said and you and/or your band needs to hear it.
This past weekend was the Halifax Pop Explosion Pop!Talks Music & Culture conference. Over two days there was 20 or so presentations including ones from Managers, Booking Agents, Publicists, Lawyers, Photographers, Journalists and a swell of others who can help your band (or independent music business) grow your career. Yet despite this wealth of information you chose not to attend? Is it because you’re lazy? (Probable) Is it because you don’t care about growing your career? (Unlikely) Is it because you are satisfied with where your career has plateaued? (Doubtful) Or some other arbitrary excuse you’ll make up to justify missing out. (Also probable)
Now it’s not to say the conferences were poorly attended because most had rooms that were at least half filled. But the truth is the rooms should have been overflowing and had a line up down the hallways. Especially because if you had a wristband or festival pass they were FREE to attend! Where else can you hear from so many industry professionals, not to mention ask them questions and shake their hands afterwards and introduce yourself for free? Hell even if the panels cost a nominal fee you should have paid it and invested in your career! Many of the panelists and presenters who attended travelled great distances for the fest and you passed up on gaining their knowledge and experience by not attending.
Bottom line, if you missed out, you fucked up! And you waive all future rights to complain about your mediocre career in the music business.
P.S. The original title for this blog was “SHUT THE FUCK UP” so consider yourself getting off easy.
I’ve added this after the fact as this blog seems to be generating a little controversy amongst people on social media. So perhaps I should have been a bit more clear in my original post but since I don’t believe in editing previously posted stuff I will make these notes/clarifications in an effort to help be a little more clear on what I was trying to say.
- This was not meant as a specific attack at any band or person.
- I’m also not saying that ALL band members need to attend but if you’re a local 3-5 piece band and not one single person could take off a Friday or Saturday…
- I’m not complaining at all bands that didn’t attend, merely stating that bands who complain about the success (or lack of) and miss out on these opportunities should waive the right to complain.
- If your band is already making waves, touring, releasing quality music, than much of this can be redundant (although I’d still argue most bands can always learn something new and helpful).
- A few folks have pointed out that often conference topics are wasteful (i.e. how to make a Facebook fan page) or can be too corporate (here’s how you sign up for our service), etc… however in the case of this years Pop!Talks I honestly believe the speakers and topics were incredibly well curated and programmed and avoid these issues.
- Lastly I realize a lot of our readers don’t live in Halifax so it isn’t feasible for all people to travel to attend but often (in Canada at least) many provinces have regional conferences and workshops which can help and should be better attended.
Thanks again for everyone who’s read this, shared it or commented on it on Facebook or Twitter.
A lot of new bands will often want to be added to as many shows as possible without having any idea of how to do this. The easiest and most important thing to do to make this happen is to attend shows your band is not playing and build up a rapport with other bands and promoters. While your band may play great music if you do not show a support for other bands and the music scene it is unlikely anyone will want to play with you.
This is also a great way to help build up a fanbase as some of the most frequent attendees of concerts are musicians. Another advantage is that it can be a great way to meet people within the industry in particular promoters. If you want to meet people who might help your band along then attending shows is one of the best ways to do this and show to these people that you are committed to music.
Chances are no promoter will want to put you on a show without having seen your band before so attending other shows is a great way to invite them to see your band. Attending other shows can also help you meet bands you might not otherwise play with or know of.
It might seem unfair that bands would choose to play with friends over perhaps more qualified bands but the reality is that if you support other bands they will likely support yours. As we are prone to say “No One Owes You Shit” and this holds true even to playing shows.