**Guest post from Jordan Gaw of Final Drive, a Metal band from St. Louis, MO.
As an independent band, we all play countless shows in small venues and DIY spots with local promoters and club owners. Communication, respect and networking are essential for getting the most out of every gig. Gaining new fans, establishing relationships and executing an amazing show, that not only sounds, but runs smoothly, is your mission (should you choose to accept it).
A community of music lovers, all escaping to a picturesque spot to immerse themselves in a concert that lasts for days...there is just something magical about a music festival. Whatever your genre, from jazz to rock to alternative to bluegrass, there is a festival out there for you. If you're booked for an upcoming festival, follow these tips to make the most of what can be an amazing experience.
Everyone wants to know how to get in front of the eyes and ears of A&R, managers, agents, etc. Each of those individuals are foundational members of the team around the band, but getting any or all to join your team is always the big challenge for any artist. But, before you convince them to join your team, you got to get them in the room with you first! This is exactly what one of our RMB callers asked about: how to best draw the attention of booking agents at festivals like SXSW, or even just locally in the artist’s hometown. There is no one answer to that question, but Kyle offers his advice on how to best get in front of a booking agent!
Troy Carter blew Lady GaGa up into the biggest pop sensation in recent memory, but people tend to forget that she didn’t start out that way. Stardom was not automatic. She had to grind away just like everyone else, and she played more than her fair share of small gigs as a support slot for bigger acts. Through developing her career, Troy certainly has picked up pearls of wisdom that can help bridge a support slot on a tour into being a headliner eventually. Often to do that, the support slot needs to connect with the fans of the bands they open for. A RenmanMB member asked Troy what his thoughts were on how to best establish that connection in order to create new fans, and Troy obliges with his thoughts here!
The internet has effectively leveled the playing field in the world of music. Music lovers no longer have to rely on radio djs at a handful of stations for exposure to new music; there is a seemingly limitless stream of great music available online all the time. The internet radio powerhouse Pandora, for example, played 1.39 billion hours of music for its listeners in December alone. And as most of you know, the great thing about Pandora is that it recognizes the user's taste in music and suggests new songs and artists they are likely to love, making it an ideal platform for exposing new listeners to your work.
A big issue for anyone starting out in the music world is building your audience. Driving traffic to your website, YouTube page, or social media like Facebook and Twitter is of paramount importance. But, how exactly can you do that? Wonder no more, as Jamplify is here to rescue you! Moses Soyoola, co-founder of Jamplify, skypes in to chat with Ren about the benefits of using Jamplify and how this can help broaden your fanbase by putting all your followers to work to promote your website, social media, or content. Essentially, you create a digital street team through this fantastic service!
Sure, we all know that releasing a CD allows you to take your music from the stage to the hands, homes, and ears of your fans. And having a cd with your best work on hand is also crucial when meeting and networking with a talent buyer, producer, or agent. But what if you don't have the budget to print a large run of your album, or even a place to store the inventory? Well you've got options...check out these on demand printing outlets so you can print just the number of cds you need, when you need them.
**Guest post from bandzoogle.com.
During the last few years, musician website and marketing platform Bandzoogle have reviewed thousands of musician websites, and often, the same issues come up over and over again. So they've released a free eBook called "Quick Fix! 12 Ways to Instantly Improve Your Band Website".
**Guest post written by Chris "Seth" Jackson, a bass guitarist and composer, and founder of HowToRunABand.com.
Twitter for Musicians is a 30 day guide to kick ass and take names using Twitter for your band.
Troy Carter is a new breed of manager, who is taking the Music Industry by storm. He currently reps artists like Lady Gaga and John Legend and heads multiple companies, many on the tech front. Troy likes to keep ahead of the game, and if the game does not suit his interests, he invents a new technology or collaborates with individuals who can reinvent how the game is played. When asked about his mindset of breaking down the Status Quo, he attributes that facet of his personality to growing up immersed in the hip-hop culture. Listen to Troy tell it best as he encourages you to keep challenging the norm and disrupt the Status Quo!
As a Manager, a lot of responsibility falls on you to help get your band out there. If you want your band to break, that band needs as much as exposure as possible. A lot of that exposure comes from touring. Putting together a proper touring plan for your band is key. But how do you strategize the tour for your band? What are the right venues and size capacity for your band to play in front of? If your band is unknown, how do you pair them with someone who already has good exposure? Dalton Sim, Manager of Fun., knows how to break a band, and in this segment, talks about how he put together a touring strategy for Fun. which ultimately helped to break the band!
Social media sites are great places to spread the word about your music, interact with your fans, and promote your tours and recordings. But what do you do when you're ready to move beyond your friends, family, friends of friends, and real life acquaintances? Facebook Advertising can be an effective and inexpensive way to help you expand your social network, but it needs to be done the right way to truly be effective.
Lady GaGa did not start out as the Pop Powerhouse Machine that she currently is. Before she was Lady GaGa, she was Stefani Germanotta. She started from the same humble beginnings as all artists do. She hustled and played her ass off live in New York on Bleecker Street and the Lower East Side where she caught the eyes of producers. After recording her songs with the backing of connected producers, she still could not break in to get a publishing deal. Jody Gerson, Co-President of Sony/ATV Music Publishing, tells the story of how GaGa came to her office and how this influenced her decision to sign her!
RenmanMB begins “Breaking Bands” Week by welcoming Drew Simmons, the manager for Young the Giant, which has become a recent success making waves touring, on radio, and even having songs placed on TV shows and in commercials. But, how did they get to that point? First, they needed to get management on board who believed in them and their music. Drew recounts how he first noticed Young the Giant (at the time known as The Jakes) and what led to his decision to represent them. If you are a hot young band looking to get representation, Drew has some words of wisdom for you!
**Guest post written by Ari Herstand, a DIY singer-songwriter from Los Angeles, CA with 500+ shows under his belt, as featured in his blog Ari's Take.
When you're on tour, merch is your #1 income generator. This can't be stressed enough. Believe it. Bands stress over their guarantees and door splits and turnouts. If you want to survive financially with your music you must understand the importance of merch sales and approach it as such. I've played shows where 10 people showed up, but they had such an amazing time and I stressed the merch to them that all 10 people bought something averaging about $15. That's $150 in merch sales. That's good for any night.
Back in the 1980s, Tom Kelly formed one half of a formidable songwriting tandem with Billy Steinberg. For several years running, they wrote #1 hit songs for artists like Cyndi Lauper, Whitney Houston, Heart, and Madonna. In this Renman Live segment, Tom recounts writing “Like a Virgin” and how he and Billy overcame a small case of writer’s block to pen one of the biggest (and at the time most taboo) pop songs of our time! Watch on to hear Tom tell the story behind “Like a Virgin.”
Hitting the road and playing directly in front of your fans is one of the best ways to spread the word about your music, and is one of the most exciting aspects of the music business for many artists. Of course, it can also be downright expensive. The tour budget has to include transportation, lodging, food, and promotion. But a tour on a budget doesn't have to mean sleeping in the van or sneaking ten people into a two person room. At the same time, if you want to maximize the amount of money with which you arrive home, don’t just plan on staying in a hotel every night. Check out the following tips for low cost lodging options...
You sold the talent buyer, booked the gig, and are fine tuning the perfect set to blow the minds of a packed house full of soon to be die-hard fans. The last thing you want is to play your hearts out to a half empty room. Sure, the venue marketers will promote the show and do their best to fill the space, but don't just sit back and hope the space is filled with warm bodies...get out there and make it happen!
"Major labels didn't start showing up, really, until they smelled money, and that’s all they're ever going to be attracted to is money – that's the business they're in – making money. My idea was: Enjoy baking, sell your bread, people like it, sell more. Keep the bakery going because you're making good food and people are happy.” – Ian MacKaye (Fugazi, Minor Threat, etc.)
When Indie on the Move launched (www.indieonthemove.com) in late 2008, the site was fairly simple: a free online database of music venues and booking information for DIY (“do it yourself”) touring musicians. Add the ability for the users themselves to not only rate and review a venue’s reputation, but to add other venues not already in the system, and suddenly you have an exciting new player in a tired old game.
As most of our regular visitors have seen, we have made a bunch of updates to the site since launching on the new platform in October 2011. I would like to take this opportunity to outline some of the new features, so that we can ensure that all of you are getting the most out of your Indie on the Move experience...
Life is full of unrealistic expectations. Just ask Toronto-based rapper, Prolific. Today he is the archetype of the modern DIY musician: active in the local scene, nurturing collaborations on his own and other artist’s releases, and energetically investing in the power of social media. But, like many, he started with nothing but the youthful fantasy of being discovered, and whisked to notoriety based on the most menial of effort.
While new indie bands are happy if the venue offers a couple of beers on top of the few dollars for performing, they live in awe of the divas who have made the big time and make ridiculous requests for extras in their private room. Just how silly can those contractual conditions become?
Three years ago we set out to strengthen the relationship between venues and musicians in the world of independent touring. We had a few aces up our sleeves, and changed the way many bands approach their business. Now it is time to up the ante, again. Welcome to the new Indie on the Move!