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New Year Goals

December 24, 2013

As the new year is soon upon us much like in your personal life as a musician you should take some time and review some of your goals, your current standings on those goal and other things you hope to have happen this year. A good thing to do would be to take some time and look at things like your social media growth and sales for the year so that you have a solid foundation to start with and that you can build out from for the rest of the year.

As a band you should always have goals, those don’t have to be anything extravagant or impressive such as becoming fully employed playing music or having a national tour. It can be as simple as play x number of shows or release album by x date, without having even minor goals chances are as a band you will just mindlessly float about never doing anything or playing much. If you are a more serious band then you should look at fleshing out your goals with details and projected timelines.

Keeping tack of things like shows you play, attendance, followers/likes on social media etc. are all great things to help you in measuring and progressing towards your goals. These numbers do not have to super detailed at all, a simple spread sheet with a few columns that summarizes these things is more than enough to help you at having a better ability to see how these things are changing over time.

Finally do not get too caught up in hitting your numbers perfectly at the exact times you want. Setting realistic goals can be very difficult as a band so if you don’t hit all your goals in the exact way you want do not let this discourage you. The best thing you can do in this situation is take some time, re-evaluate our goals and perhaps change them a little to be more attainable.



Frequent Mistakes

December 17, 2013

There are a few mistakes that I continue to see bands making time and time again.  Not only is it misfortunate, especially when the band is talented, but these mistakes can often be detrimental to the growth of a band’s career.

#1. Playing too often.

Unless you are the type of band doing a weekly residency at a club you do not want to be over performing in your local or regional markets.  Doing this leads your fans to get the “we can see them next time” mentality and hurts your overall draw and ability to make money.  There is no rule and various from market to market but generally speaking performing locally should likely be done no more than once every 6-8 weeks.

#2. Only talking about yourself online.

Too many bands make the mistake of only promoting themselves online (shows, merch, videos, etc…) instead of engaging their fans.  Stop going for the hard sell and build a conversation with your fan base and develop a relationship.  Then assuming you have good music and merchandise you can monetize those true fans.

#3. Refusing to accept criticism.

Although you must always consider the source, accepting criticisms from fans, peers and people in the music industry can help you better discover your fan base and ways to improve your career.

#4. Being a Foe, Instead of a Friend.

Instead of competing cut-throat with your peers (who often have very similar goals for their bands) find a way to work with them to build a scene or musical community of supporting artists. You’ll find teamwork with like-minded individuals will often get you farther than destroying your fellow peers.

#5. Becoming Complacent.

It is easier to say “this is as big as we are going to get” than it is to put forth the effort and hard work necessary to grow your career.  If you settle in the routine of only playing certain shows and certain markets and giving up on the risk factor, you can not expect to grow as a band.

*Ultimately, the artist needs to decide what is best for their career and evaluate the pros and cons of their decisions as each circumstance is unique.


Show Cancellations

December 3, 2013

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.

5 Ways to Gain More Fans

November 26, 2013

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.


Building A Useful Fanbase

November 19, 2013

For a lot of bands, the immediate goal upon forming is to increase in their fanbase. This is a legitimate goal to have but far too many bands focus solely on their online fanbase rather than their live fanbase. Twitter and Facebook can be a highly useful means to communicate with your fans, but only after you have created a solid live fanbase.

Inviting all your friends and family to like your band on social media is a good thing to do but having a high number of followers who ignore your posts does not help your band grow. Having a smaller number of followers who are more likely to read what you post and interact with you is much more useful to you.

In particular, having Facebook fans that regularly interact with you is key as even if someone does not ‘Like’ your band, you posts will show up in their feed if they are friends with your fans. This is a great way to increase your social reach to people without having a large number of dummy followers. On Twitter the key for spreading your message to new potential fans is to see retweets by your fans.

Keep in mind – try not get spammy while trying to increase your reach. Constantly posting statuses that ask for shares and favourites only makes you look desperate and deters potential new fans. You need to earn people’s trust and interaction with you by being funny, creative, and interesting. People are your fans because they like you so make sure you give them a reason to continue doing so.


Staying Focused

November 13, 2013

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.


Proper Imitation

November 5, 2013

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.