Post-Show Procedures: 8 Things Every Band Should Do After the Performance A Guest Post by Simon Tam

Post-Show Procedures: 8 Things Every Band Should Do After the Performance

A Guest Post by Simon Tam

Post-Show Plan

Do you have a post-show plan? Is there a set of procedures that you work on after each performance? Or, does your band simply work on the next upcoming event – the next show, the next rehearsal, time in the studio, etc.?

In almost every professional endeavor, there is some kind of routine or review period to measure performance or follow-up with customers:

In sports, the coach diligently sits down with the entire team to review footage of the previous game. Team member celebrate successes and most importantly, look for areas of improvement.

In corporate business, the board of directors and executive staff look over stock performance and make decisions to keep their shareholders satisfied.

In the arts, performers carefully review each element of the show to see what delighted audiences and what could use work.

In retail, after Black Friday, stores do a quick inventory and review of the schedule to make sure that they are prepared for the rest of the season.
Of course, in any situation involving customers, there should also be some kind of follow-up as well. Customers should be thanked and shown deep appreciation. They need to be properly thanked! Coupons and surveys are sent out, appreciative messages are broadcasted across social media, some even take ads out just to show their gratitude towards supporters.

With your music career, you should thoughtfully be thinking about how you can make the most of each show, which includes a post-show plan that you follow. It should have some routine elements that have details of what will happen, when it will happen, and also why it should happen.

Here are 8 suggestions on what you could do after each show:

Share Gratitude: Thank the promoter, venue, sound engineer, fans who attended, other bands – basically, anyone who was involved with your show. This can be through social media, email, or even physical thank you notes. Whatever the method, it should be sent within 24 hours of the show.

Review the Performance: You should record each performance (especially with something that has decent audio) so that you can highlight good and bad moments from the show. Review the show as a band and look for areas of improvement: stage banter, certain moves, flow of the set, audience involvement, lighting, set design, etc. Even if you have nothing to improve, you’ll still have some good footage that you can share online.

Update Your Contacts: If you have new contacts to add to the mailing list, try adding them within 48 hours of the show. Thank the people for coming to the show.

Social Media/Blog: Share any highlights from the show – photos, videos, quotes, funny moments, etc. across your social media channels and/or band blog. You could send out quick updates or a full write-up/video review.

Contact the Press: Did something newsworthy happen at the show? It could be positive (your band got signed) or negative (your band got banned), but either way, you might have more opportunities to get some press coverage.

Order Merchandise: If you noticed that certain items were running low or high in demand, it’s best to place orders in as soon as possible so that you’ll be completely restocked before the next show.

Equipment Maintenance: Frequent playing can really wear down your gear. From old strings to action resetting, missing bolts to dying batteries…it’s better to take care of issues offstage rathern to deal with problems on stage. Doing a spot check can make sure everything is ready to go for the next performance or rehearsal.

Proof of Performance: If you have sponsors or investors, consider delivering a “proof of performance.” In other words, provide a recap specific to their interests: where their logo was displayed, what the attendance was like, how your brands were connected or marketed to the audience. You can also show web visits, social media engagement, or any other statistics related to the show that would continue to show value for their investment.
Whatever you decide to do, just make sure it’s done with consistency and purpose. You might spread the responsibilities around and charge certain members or road crew with certain tasks. By building these regular habits into your routine, your band will have greater professionalism, be working towards tangible goals, and you’ll be able to leverage the benefits of performing live to a much greater degree than just playing show after show with no post-show procedures at all.

Simon Tam is owner of Last Stop Booking, founder of dance/rock band The Slants, and author of Music Business Hacks and How to Get Sponsorships and Endorsements. Simon has booked thousands of shows for artists around the world, in addition to performing over 1,200 events himself across North America, Europe, and Asia.

Simon’s writing on music and marketing can be found at http://www.laststopbooking.com.

Check out Music Clout’s list of Gigs and Music Festivals currently looking for artists to book.

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How to Prevent Vocal Cord Damage

How to Prevent Vocal Cord Damage

A Guest Post by Linda Septien of Septien Entertainment

Vocal StrainWhat does Adele, John Mayor, Keith Urban, and Stephen Tyler all have in common! All their careers came to HALT from serious vocal problems. Singing is a sport and the demands we put on our voices can be similar to a serious marathon runner and the stresses caused from daily grind of muscles. Adele who sold more than 10 million copies of “21” cancelled 17 US dates in the middle of tour to have laser surgery because of two hemorrhages on her vocal cords.

In my practice, this is usually caused by pressing the cords night after night until they explode!  The cords become SO fatigued from either pushing the voice or illness or doing both at the same time that the tiny blood vessels are at risk of breakage.

Steven Tyler ScreamingStephen Tyler had the same reported problem. After Keith Urban discovered a vocal polyp on his cords, he cancelled his 2011-12 “Get Closer” tour and has been asked to remain quite for 3 months.  Three months? Wow…when was the last time anyone could do that?  ……much less a singer who makes money with the instrument inside our bodies.  John Mayor condition pre surgery was diagnosed as granuloma…trauma to the vocal fold due to incorrect singing over and over and over…He has now quit singing until later this year.

In my recent tour with Demi Lovato, I was amazed at how much she had to sing night after night.  ………. songs, that required vocal dexterity with extensive range and loudness.  My comment to her was that there was no way that any singer can sing night after night after night without resting every two days to regenerate vocal health.  But since singers do NOT make money on recordings any more, one of their only revenue streams are tour support.  Concerts are scheduled back-to-back to minimize costs but the golden goose is killed.

As I have told my students many times…rock and pop singers have LESS problems than our fellow opera singers…they are shocked by this! As an opera singer, you are singing with a 400 piece orchestra behind you with NO microphone and after 3 hours of singing…well…the cords begin swelling, and then begin fighting the singer and then start beefing up for the next marathon. This can be good and bad…There are singers who can sing night after night and if they remain in good health they seem to have minimal problems with their cords.  There are others in good health but two nights in a row and they are gone…gone …gone….You have to follow your body…some of it is just genetic and you are not going to change that. “I was finding myself working harder and harder to do what was once effortless, and having passed through puberty, I was surprised to hear my voice cracking.” Paul Stanley of KISS

Like ALL medical issues, prevention is KEY….and less expensive than surgery. 

Ten Top Causes of Vocal Cord Problems

  1.   Repeated singing with no rests

  2.   Improper Nutrition

  3.   Smoking

  4.   Drug Use

  5.   Speaking over Noisy Environments

  6.   Improper voice training

  7.   Not enough lubrication before, during and after performance (the key is after!!!)

  8.   Throat Clearing

  9.   Yelling

10.  Bad Monitors (singer tries to hear himself)

The main consideration in vocal cord problems is that the post surgery time can KILL a career.  In this fast back and forth one-off world of songs, your fans are saying, “Next? “  So what are the most important factors in keeping a healthy voice? 

Tips for Keeping Your Vocal Cords Healthy

Finding a good coach is the best thing you can do for yourself.  Be sure that your vocal coach has worked with ENT’s , trained artists who previously have had vocal nodes and understand the traumas of tours. 

If there is a change in your voice, whether gradual or sudden, get a strobovideolaryngoscopic examination, which will give an accurate assessment of your vocal cords. 

Just resolve that your instrument is INSIDE your body and you are going to have to live with the fact that you can’t do ANYTHING that will hurt it or pay the price.

Smoking is just stupid period. unless you want a three note range.

Drugs eat into your cords like acid..that’s stupid too.

Eating dairy before singing is mainly like swallowing a ball of snot.  Ew…….

Talking before a gig is really dumb….no meet and greets unless you plan to not talk…much better AFTER the show not before…your mind should be on your show….

What do Demi Lovato, Forever The Sickest Kids, Beyonce, Jessica Simpson, Selena Gomez,Cody Lindley and Nick Lachey have in common?  All of these performers, along with stars from Glee, Disney and well-known movies and tv shows, have studied with Linda Septien at Septien Entertainment’s School of Contemporary Music.  For 25 years they’ve helped countless artists define their style and perfect their craft. 

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Maximum RocknRoll

Check out the magazine and the blog at http://maximumrocknroll.com

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A Quick & Dirty Guide to Branding By Robin Yukiko

A Quick & Dirty Guide to Branding
By Robin Yukiko – March 8, 2013

As a textbook Gemini, I struggled with branding for a long time. It was frustrating to me because I would see beginning artists nail this aspect without realizing it simply by being who they are (matching their inner self with their outer self). But when you feel like two (or more) different people, it’s tough to reconcile these pieces.

The trick is finding cohesive elements within yourself that are slow to change. I have broken down the topic into elements I feel are important when branding yourself.

Message (or Mission Statement)
What do you sing about?
What do you strongly believe?
What are you trying to tell the world?
Can you incorporate your other interests?

Personality
Are you a hoot? Melancholy? What’s your default state? (Note: Your persona does not necessarily have to be your real personality. You can create a “character”, but it has to be solid.)
How do you get your point across? Through shouting, pondering lightly, with pure, ice cold logic?

Image – Make your look match your sound
I never understood the point of designer labels until I started shopping consignment and really got to know designers. Clothing brands have a style, a favored cut, a personality. That’s not to say they don’t branch out, but most of the time I can tell who the label is without even checking. It’s called good branding. That’s why you need to know how to dress yourself so your look matches your sound. Things to consider:
Cuts you wear (flattering for your body shape)
Colors (be mindful of the following:)
Skin tone
Color scheme connotations (e.g. black/red = goth, hot pink = pop, earth tones = folky, etc.)
Accessories (tough? dainty?)
Makeup (if applicable)

It’s also important to have an everyday look that you can level up to a gig look.

Peruse some magazines and find brands that you gravitate toward. They don’t have to be big labels, but their style should be clearly defined. Then copy-cat the look for cheap, or shop thrift/consignment.

Platforms
This is the easiest, but most tedious. Make sure that, once you have your message and your look down, you can make these things visible and streamline on your website. Then match every social media platform you use to the best of your abilities.

When you brand yourself successfully, you empower yourself. You are fortifying your self-awareness, confidence, and taking control of people’s perception of you (to a point).

Those who are afraid to label themselves are afraid to commit.

Commit to yourself! Do it by branding.

Robin Yukiko is a Berklee College of Music grad, singer-songwriter, pianist, and music educator in San Francisco. She performs regularly and hosts the SF Singer-Songwriters’ Workshop at the Musicians Union Local 6. Robin is currently producing her second album and enjoying nerdly pursuits. Join Robin’s mailing list at http://www.robinyukiko.com/conta

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Superfans: The Key to a Sustainable Music Career A Guest Post by MARQUEE

Superfans: The Key to a Sustainable Music Career
A Guest Post by MARQUEE

Superfans are the Key to a Sustainable Career

In the truest and most basic sense fan engagement is about building deep, long lasting relationships with your audience.

In our first content series we’ll explore this idea and how independent artists and their teams can:

Create sustainable careers based on the support of an inner-circle of superfans
Craft a genuine dialogue with your audience to earn the support of fans
Nurture fan support into a life-long relationships
The artists who are thriving in this uncertain digital music industry are the ones who have earned the continued support of an “inner-circle” of committed and passionate fans.

These fans don’t just love your music – they love your band and crave personal connections with you as individuals. Superfans have a personal investment in your career and feel they play an active role in your artistic journey.

Superfans form the core of your audience and will directly support you by purchasing content, merchandise and concert tickets.

A recent Nielsen study confirms that fans are willing to pay for content – and that is great news if you’re an independent musician. While superfans make up only 14% of the total population of music consumers, they are responsible for a mind-blowing 34% of all music purchases – the most of any supporter.

Face it: all fans are not created equal.

The majority of your support comes from a small segment of fans.

This small segment represents the highest-value to you as an artist. Recognize the importance of their loyalty and reward those fans with unexpected value.

Enhance the live music experience by offering upgraded ticket packages that could include meet-and-greets or merchandise bundles. Digital content, like unreleased tracks or behind the scenes videos also help to grow a community of superfans.

Nielsen has found that the superfan spends more than $422 each year on music, concerts and merch. Artists can earn a share of that annual spend by creating content and experiences for an inner-circle of superfans.

Create exclusive content and experiences for your passionate fans.

Name your fanbase and provide content just for those fans. The more value you offer in upgrades and incentives, the more your core fans will be willing to purchase.

Consider that the Nielsen study found that over half (53%) of (superfans) said they would be willing to pay to get exclusive content from their favorite band.

This is huge considering your fans, especially younger ones, feel they shouldn’t have to pay for your music. Interestingly, most fans understand and expect that in order to get free music, artists will have to make their money elsewhere and are willing to spend on high-value experiences and content.

There is no such thing as “selling-out” anymore.

Once you realize this, you’ll be free to apply as much creativity to your marketing efforts as your recording efforts. Start releasing content (behind the scene videos from the tour bus or the recording studio) or creating interactive experiences (private shows, backstage passes) which fit your overall brand image you’ll be fine.

In our next post we will focus on how your messaging and presentation of this content is crucial when developing the inner-circle of your audience.

MARQUEE a New Orleans based mobile tech company with an addiction to live music and a talent for finding the groove. We develop innovative solutions that enhance the connection between fans and artists.

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Conspiracy-EP

GET IT TODAY! AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE
http://open.spotify.com/user/1284916349/playlist/6xs7g5KUr8ucuBazqp3ISu

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Are You Making These 9 Band Rehearsal Mistakes? A Guest Post by Crowd Audio

Are You Making These 9 Band Rehearsal Mistakes?
A Guest Post by Crowd Audio

A ragtag group of musicians doesn’t just become a band because it thought it was a good idea to practice together.

A band becomes a band when they click and play together as a well-oiled machine.

For instance, I’ve played in a band with a few different line-ups.

The core group has always been the “band.” New musicians that audition don’t become a part of the band until they click with us musically. Until we can groove together and play off each other.

That doesn’t happen overnight. And sometimes it doesn’t happen at all. Sometimes you need to get rid of that one band member that doesn’t click, because it’s for the greater good of “the band.”

But the most important places you will ever have is your rehearsal space. The rehearsal space is the place where your unlikely group of musicians you found on Craigslist becomes something more than the sum of their musical parts.

But if you just screw around during rehearsals, you’re not gonna become greater than before. Cherish the time you spend with your band mates while you rehearse. Have fun, but make no mistake, there is work to be done.

If you don’t think you’re progressing as fast as you could be, maybe you’re making some of these mistakes?

1. You Have No Plan

Being business minded and obsessed with efficiency can have its advantages. Think about your rehearsals like a business meeting, except that you can wear what you want, you’ll be playing music and there’s probably empty beers cans on the floor.

So maybe nothing like a business meeting, but it still needs to be efficient. Have a plan of action when you go to practice. This is the underlying mistake that most of the following 6 mistakes will build upon. Without a plan, it’s easy to get wrapped up in stories, not working on challenging song sections or even trying to write new ones.

If you have an hour to practice, schedule 5 minutes for chit-chat, 5 minutes for warmup(just play an easy song you all know to get in the groove.) and then devote the rest to actually rehearsing to get better.

Make a plan of what you’re gonna work on before you waste all that time telling stories about last week’s awesome drinking session/concert.

2. You Don’t Want to Do the Work

Work. It’s a word that has a nasty ring to it.

But just because it’s work can’t mean it’s not fun. It’s very liberating to overcome the challenge of a hard song part, nailing that solo or finding that perfect vocal harmony.

Think of it like work, just way cooler and more artistic. That’s what your job is when you’re in your rehearsal space.

3. You Play the Same Songs Over and Over Again

Sure, it’s good to play your set-list over and over to make it as smooth as possible. However, if your setlist sounds as smooth as possible then it’s pointless to keep rehearsing something that doesn’t need work.

Instead, focus on your underdeveloped songs, your song ideas and melodies that you’ve toyed with at home. It’s much more productive to work on a short idea for 30 minutes and end up with a template for a new song than to play the same 6 songs over again.

You won’t end up with anything new, and you’ll have wasted an entire rehearsal because you’re not challenging yourself.

4. You Don’t Challenge Each Other

This is in a similar vein to #3. It’s OK to be honest with each other about your parts. If your guitar part doesn’t really work for you, then say it. Being in a band is (usually) a collaborative effort.

Unless there’s one head songwriter that also writes all the parts then you should communicate what works and what doesn’t. It’s challenging to try to come up with new parts, and it’s annoying if you’ve worked for long on a part that nobody likes. But if taking some more time to work on an even better part contributes to the greater good of the song, then that’s something you should be willing to do.

The opposite is also true. Sometimes musicians think their part is no good because it’s too simple or they don’t like it for some reason. If it sounds perfect to the rest of the band then it’s their job to encourage the musician to keep doing what he’s doing.

Sometimes simple is best for the song.

5. You Don’t Focus On the Problem Parts

When the bridge of your ballad is the only part of the song that needs work, don’t play the song over and over. That’s simply inefficient.

Focus only on the part of the song that needs work. Otherwise you’ll waste a lot of time going through the motions of what you already know instead of focusing on the actual problem.

It’s like a chef who doesn’t know how to make gravy makes the whole roast turkey again because he keeps screwing up the gravy. It’s simply not productive.

Play that part over and over again until you nail. Then play it a few more times to make it groove. Then you can play the song from start to end.

6. You Don’t Record Your Practices

One of the best things for my band practices wasn’t a new instrument or an effects pedal. It wasthis little portable recorder. By recording all our practices, my band and I were ready to gig within a month of ever starting to play together.

We just recorded all of our practices, I sent the recordings to all of the band members when I got home and we all listened and did our homework before next practice. Everyone could work on their own mistakes on their own time so that when it came time to practice we could work on making the songs groove.

Nobody was struggling with their parts and we could focus on playing like a whole.

Absolutely the best band investment I’ve made.

7. You Don’t Do Your Homework

Of course, recording the whole session is pointless if you’re not going to do anything with it.

It’s supposed to help you with your parts that you can do on your own time. It’s a great way to write solos or practice your backing vocals or harmonies.

But all that stuff is pointless if you don’t do anything outside of practice. And let me tell you, it’s annoying for everyone else if you’re the only one screwing up the songs for next week’s gig.

8. You Don’t Plan for the Next Practice

Just like you need a plan for each practice, planning in advance for the next can be very productive.

Problems are more fresh in your mind so if you jot them down before you leave it can jog your memory the next time you come in. You might forget about fresh song ideas that you just came up with so by planning ahead for next week’s practice is important to keep a good workflow going.

9. You Don’t Love Your Music!

This isn’t really a part of the mistakes per say, but if you don’t love the music you’re making you’re wasting your time.

Sometimes you love the music but the band members are in the way. If the drummer isn’t doing it for you and they are your songs, then find another drummer.

It might sound harsh but would you rather have an awkward conversation and an awesome group of musicians or would you rather dread going to practice each week just to put up with bad drumming and uninspiring music?

I don’t know about you but the former sound an awful lot better.

Conclusion

Some of these tips might be relevant to you, some might not work for your particular situation, but I really hope you gained something from reading this article.

If you’ve recorded your music in your rehearsal space and want to take it to the next level, check out Crowd Audio’s mixing services today. Have your music mixed by dozens of engineers and pay for only the mix you like the most.

Start your competition here right now.

Crowd Audio helps you take your music to the next level. They connect independent bands and musicians with excited audio engineers eager to help them with their music.

If you’re a musician, Crowd Audio gives you access to a community of audio engineers eager to mix and master your music, giving it that professional sound.

If you’re an audio engineer, Crowd Audio creates a community of like minded individuals looking to gain experience by doing the audio work they love.

Through community and crowdsourced competition, bands get a professionally produced sound while audio engineers get exposure and experience.

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Enhancing Your Music Marketing: The Ultimate Guide to Creating Press Kits for Musicians A Guest Post by Crowd Audio

Enhancing Your Music Marketing: The Ultimate Guide to Creating Press Kits for Musicians
A Guest Post by Crowd Audio

As a musician, you wear many hats.

I would argue that one of the most important hats you wear isn’t your musicianship hat. Even though playing live is probably the most fun you will do, that’s not the most important hat you wear.

It’s your marketing hat.

You see, marketing your music has become such an important part of this new music business we’ve found ourselves in that anyone gigging regularly and working as a successful musician must become amazing at promoting themselves.

And at the center of your marketing process is your press kit.

The Musician’s Press Kit

A press kit is the musician’s résumé. It is a quick summary of everything you are about. And just like a résumé, make it simple and to the point. Busy bar owners and bookers aren’t interested in your life story. They’re interested in whether your music fits their atmosphere, if you will draw a crowd and how much beer you can get your fans to buy at their bar.

They might love your music later down the line, but everybody is always thinking:

“What’s In It For Me?”

Your Press Kit needs to answer this question. Let’s break it down into two different press kits: the old physical press kit you hand to someone, and the electronic press kit you can create online.

The Physical Press Kit

The physical press kit is a little trickier than the electronic one. You only have so much room for your information so everything needs to be super concise. You can add more “stuff” to your electronic press kit(EPK), but a physical press kit needs only the most relevant information.

Bio

Think of your biography like your elevator pitch. It needs to be short and interesting while still selling the reader on the idea of who you are.

Don’t tell your origin story unless it’s amazingly original. And believe me, it probably isn’t. You guys probably got together and decided to make music. Nothing to see there.

No, what’s interesting to the booker is what’s in it for them. Have you sold records? How long have you played? How big is your following and do you have any press?

If you’ve sold 100 records of your EP that means that the music is probably pretty decent since nobody has 100 friends and family willing to buy your album. To the venue-booker, that means 100 people thought your music was good enough to buy.

How long you’ve played tells the promoters that you probably won’t go up on stage and play like you just bought your guitar. If a band has been together for over 6 months with regular practice it is safe to assume that they play well together. It says nothing of the quality of music, but at least they can get a well rehearsed band onto their stage.

If you have a track record of bringing 80 people on average to your show, TELL THEM THAT. If half of those people come in and buy one beer that’s about $200 in revenue with no extra work on the promoter’s part.

Bars like that.

This article has a pretty good explanation on how to write your bio with the reader in mind. Obviously, as the article states, it’s hard to come up with something juicy if you’re just starting out. But try to put all of your musical qualities into benefits for the venue booker.

Just make sure that whatever you do, keep it short and simple and tailored to what’s in it for the reader.

Your Music

music
Image by: thomselomsen
Your product is your music. And since your press kit is basically the same as a demo of a software, a coffee sample or one of those perfume pages inside a magazine, you need to include a sample of your product.

How much music you include is up to you, but most people don’t have time to listen to a full album or even a 4 song EP. Think of it like a single, with your strongest, catchiest song to capture the listener and a B-side that shows a different side of your music.

Say, if you have a really catchy pop song you can include a ballad. If you’re a metal band that is very aggressive, consider adding one of your more melodic songs to show your different musical identity.

I would even point out the fact that people don’t listen for longer than about 30 seconds if they have a lot of press kits to consider. So if your awesome sounding single with the catchy chorus takes a long time to start, consider creating a radio edit that showcases that catchy chorus immediately.

Your Contact Information

This is the most important part of your whole press kit. Do not screw this up. Even if your bio sucked and the promoter didn’t have time to listen to your music they might still contact you if they have an opening they can’t fill in time.

Email is easiest, but be sure to include your phone number and website address as well. It’s easier for a promoter to send out a bunch of emails to bands instead of doing a bunch of phone calls, but if the venue needs to book somebody right now a phone number can get you on the ticket immediately.

Recent Press & Reviews

If you have space to spare, 3rd party, unbiased press or reviews are always great to include. If you had an awesome show or somebody wrote about you in a magazine, take the most favorable snippet from the article and include it like a testimonial. Nothing sells a product like a favorable review, and your music is no different.

Packaging

Now, people keep advising that you should use manila folders or some crap like that and I think that’s ridiculous advice.

I think a manila folder looks very unprofessional for a band because it’s simply not cool enough. It looks like something an intern working for a Fortune 500 company needs to bring to his boss, not a package from an awesome sounding band that wants to rock out at the new concert venue.

So what’s my advice?

The typical DVD case. Think about it, it’s large enough so that you can print out and include an insert or a small brochure inside with all the information we’ve talked about above. It also stands out and allows you to create a consistent design throughout your press kit, from the cover to the insert.

And best of all, the convenient CD holder for your music.

BandMusicianPressKits1

As in the example to the right, taken fromAdhesis’s article on creating press kits, you can set up your DVD case with the name of your band on the front,  a picture of your members on the back along with any contact info.

On the inside you can include your biography and relevant press(if any) along with your music.

Business Cards

Business cards can also work in a pinch if you don’t have any press kits. They should include your band name, type of music, contact info and website address.

The downside is the lack of music and biography information inherent in the small size of a business card, but if you design your website well enough, both your bio and available music should be easily available on the first page of your website.

And that’s where your EPK comes in.

The Electronic Press Kit

An EPK is simple to think about. It is simply the electronic equivalent of your physical press kit. The advantages of an EPK is that you’re not constrained by space and can include more information and media to showcase your music.

Think of it like a landing page where everything should be readily available.

Just like your DVD case should have the band name, contact and music right there at their fingertips, all the information on your EPK should only be a click away.

Reverbnation can create a great EPK for you after you’ve created an account and filled out a profile.

Screen Shot 2013-07-23 at 12.44.28 PM
Click the image to see it enlarged.
It takes all the stats from your Reverbnation profile and creates a handy landing page with all the relevant information on the first page, along with additional media such as videos, photos, extra songs and a longer biography tucked away for those who have more time.

Notice how the contact button is highlighted? It’s designed to call attention to itself because you want people to contact you.

And that’s the great thing about your EPK and/or website. You can modify the landing page towards a specific action.

Some things are more important to you than others so customize your EPK to highlight what’s so special about your band.

For instance:

Your music – If you think your music is the most important part of your band, focus on making the music player the most prominent part of your EPK/website.
Your performance – If your live performance are awesome and you can really get the fans going on the floor then a video should be the first thing the visitor watches.
Your picture or bio – If you really do have an interesting back story, or you all dress up like Slipknot or Kiss, then a picture of the band in full garb should be up front and center.
All these things are attention grabbers. They’re designed to keep the visitor engaged. Whether the visitor is a potential fan or a booking agent, the most interesting part of your band needs to be the first thing they see.

After you’ve captured their interest, the next thing to do is get them to take action.

For a fan, this could be signing up for an email list to be notified of concerts. For a booking agent or bar owner, this could be a “Book Us” contact form.

Whatever it is, don’t make the visitor leave without making them take action.

Of course, automatic systems and music networks don’t allow you to customize your EPK so extensively, which is why a dedicated band website should always be a big priority.

But that’s a topic for another day.

Conclusion

Think of your band as your brand, and treat your press kits as a crucial part of your marketing efforts. Take the time to create a good press kit and you’ll come off as more professional than a good portion of other bands in your area.

Lastly, if you want to enhance the sound of the music that you put on your EPK, use your recordings and start a competition between our community of engineers. With our competition model you can choose from a variety of mixes of your song from engineers all over the world.

Start your competition right here: http://www.crowdaudio.com/start-a-competition/

Crowd Audio helps you take your music to the next level. They connect independent bands and musicians with excited audio engineers eager to help them with their music.

If you’re a musician, Crowd Audio gives you access to a community of audio engineers eager to mix and master your music, giving it that professional sound.

If you’re an audio engineer, Crowd Audio creates a community of like minded individuals looking to gain experience by doing the audio work they love.

Through community and crowdsourced competition, bands get a professionally produced sound while audio engineers get exposure and experience

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Why Your Most Important Tool In Being A Successful Indie Musician Might Actually Be Your Day Job

Why Your Most Important Tool In Being A Successful Indie Musician Might Actually Be Your Day Job

Why Your Most Important Tool In Being A Successful Indie Musician Might Actually Be Your Day Job

Hello everybody! Normandie Wilson here. I’ve been busy this year getting settled back in my hometown, San Diego, and recording two new albums. (Learn more over on my website: normandiewilson.com) The big announcement that you guys will care about though, is the fact that I’m writing a book. It’s called Misadventures, Mistakes, and Miscalculations in Independent Music, and it details every single stupid choice and every bad decision I’ve ever made in the process of being a musician. I am looking forward to humiliating myself for your educational benefit. My heart is in the right place now. Instead of giving “advice,” I’m focusing on sharing my own personal experiences. The truth is, I certainly don’t have it all together. All I can do is share with you things that have worked for me, and things that haven’t. You can draw your own conclusions from there. To celebrate, I decided to rerun this article. This particular article is being reprinted in the fabulous Martin Atkins’ new book, Band:Smart. It’s the prequel to his best-selling DIY tour guide, Tour:Smart (And Break The Band.) I’m happy to be involved with the book and looking forward to ordering it on December 1st! Hope you are all doing well. Stay tuned for some excerpts from the book. 🙂

Why Your Most Important Tool In Being A Successful Indie Musician Might Actually Be Your Day Job

Last week, I was on a flight making my way back from Sweden to Paris. I was extremely thirsty, but didn’t have any cash on me to buy a Perrier (2 euro). The flight attendant told me about the minimum purchase for cards (7 euros) and so I gathered what I thought was that amount of food so I could put the transaction on my card. Turns out I had picked a combination of items that cost 6 euros, so I told him to just go ahead and charge my card the extra amount. (I was really, really thirsty.)

To my surprise, the flight attendant waved it off and said, “You know something, I’m not going to charge you for this. Just keep it between us.” I was totally shocked. It also made my day. You see, my flight started in Copenhagen, so despite having three different currencies on me, I didn’t have Danish krona in order to get a drink at the airport. I was so touched, that I wrote a little thank you note on the back of one of my business cards and handed it to him. Nothing fancy, just a very simple “Thanks for your kindness, please let me know if there’s any way I can repay it in the future.”

It’s been a week since I was on that flight, and this morning I woke up to an e-mail in my inbox from the flight attendant. He thanked me for my kindness, and had a question for me. He has a British friend in Paris who teaches English lessons, but whose real passion is composing and making music. He said his friend was having a hard time finding paying work, and if I had any suggestions for him.

I’m going to eventually pass this on to the both of them, but that little spark was all I needed to write my next article.

In the world of musicians, the “day job” is usually seen as a curse. An endless slog. Something that wastes your time that you could be spending touring, playing music, and doing nothing but music all the time, right? This article is about the advantages of having a day job, and some ways to make it work for you.

#1. Let’s Be Serious – This Economy Totally Sucks. A Regular Paycheck Is Your Best Friend

First of all, this conversation was a lot different before evil madmen conspired to destroy the economy. Six, seven years ago, talking about your day job as a temporary thing was a lot more feasible. Now? Ha! If you actually have a day job in the United States or elsewhere, and you’re thinking about leaving it NOW to become a full-time indie musician, there is no way I would ever tell you to do that. In fact, I’d probably give you a friendly knock upside the head and ask what the hell you’re thinking. Only 54% of young people between the ages of 18-24 even have jobs to begin with, and the total US unemployment rate right now, according to Gallup, “officially” stands at 8%, with people who are underemployed making up another 18%. The article that I should be writing next should be focusing on these young people, many of whom are probably in bands, and helping them find ways to make money since they’re not going to have jobs for a long, long time.

These statistics are dismal, and unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past five years, you know that it’s been pretty bad in the US and elsewhere. A regular paycheck in this economy is your best friend. It’s expensive to buy gear and instruments; everybody knows that. Have you thought about some of those “perks” that maybe you don’t have right now as an indie artist, but you’d like to have? I just found a publicist. They do great work for me. And they cost money. I have a wonderful assistant in San Diego who helps me when I’m not there. I need to pay her to work for me. Then there’s other, more practical things related to releasing your music in the first place: I don’t have a record label so I have to pay for my CDs and vinyl to be pressed. I have to pay my graphic design firm to make posters and CDs for me. I have to pay a photographer to do some pictures for my new album. I had to pay to do some recording. It costs money to submit to festivals. It costs money to pay your cell phone bill and internet bill so you can be in touch with people. A lot of memberships to services that will help you (TAXI, MusicClout, etc) cost money.

I’m not going to go on. You get it. But while you’re slogging away, doing whatever it is that your day job is, remember the end result: a paycheck on a regular basis. Despite what you may hear about how awesome it is to be a full-time musician, I can tell you from experience that a regular paycheck isn’t something a lot of us get. Use this wisely! Save some of it! For example, if you get a bonus once a year, maybe time your record release to match up with it. Money is definitely the most obvious perk from a day job, but it’s surprising to me how many people still overlook it. That’s why it’s… #1!

#2. Social Connections

Full disclosure: I haven’t had a traditional day job since 2009, when I worked as an accounting assistant in a guitar shop. And even that can barely count as traditional as I was fairly free with my hours and if I needed a break, I could hang out and play guitar. I worked part-time in a coffee shop from the end of 2009 – beginning of 2011. Since then, I’ve been doing music and freelancing. One of the things I miss most about having a job to go to is the human interaction factor.

When I freelance, most of the time I don’t even ever meet my clients. I had a client in Arizona I worked with for almost 10 months and never once met her. Your co-workers are among a very powerful group of people who will often support your music, possibly even if they don’t like it. Your music is also one of those GREAT things to talk about to people that isn’t too personal, yet is a good way to get to know someone. We all know that stage of “getting to know your co-workers,” where you’re not sure if you should ask about the pictures of the 4 Dachshunds in Santa outfits on their desk or not. Take this stage and run with it. When you’re interacting with your co-workers, make sure you’re talking about your music! You’re going to be really surprised how many of them support you, will come to your shows, and perhaps you might find that you work with a great jazz saxophonist who would love to play (for free) for you on your next album.

If you work in a customer-service oriented business/retail establishment, this can also work in your favor. I used to work at Lush Cosmetics for a long time. This was before I got really serious about my music, but I still met a ton of interesting people. And this ties into something else: Make sure you have business cards! Order them now! I wouldn’t even have had the inspiration to write this article if it wasn’t for the fact that I had a business card to hand out to someone. When I worked at the coffee shop, I met a lot of people who I gave a card to. Some of them regularly read my e-mails now, and some of them, well, I don’t know if they keep in touch at all. But the more people you tell about your music, the better. Don’t overlook this opportunity at your place of employment.

One last thing is promotion of your shows. Make sure your flyers are work friendly if you’re trying to do this. A lot of places of employment have some sort of bulletin board. Ask if it’s okay to put up a flyer for your latest show. If it’s not, make smaller flyers and pass them out to your co-workers. Word will get around. The main point: don’t underestimate the people you work with. They may annoy you. They may not even like you. But most of the time, you’ll be surprised at the support you can garner among them.

#3. Perks Of The Job – Use Wisely!

Every job has its perks. For example, since I’m a freelance writer I’m working in my pajamas right now. One of the best parts about having a job are these perks. Do research, find out what they are, and use them to your advantage!

The most obvious one is a copier or a printer. Again, use wisely. I am not in favor of any of you getting fired for abusing these privileges, but let’s face it, it’s something that all of you do anyways. Basically what I’m saying, is don’t blame me. Maybe your job has a copier or printer that you can use to print some press materials, or black & white flyers, or letters or labels. I may or may not have mailed press kits using an old employer’s discounted rate on the postal machine and I may or may not have paid them back in cash, saving about $1 per press kit vs. USPS rates. I cannot say if this happened or did not happen, but it might have.

There are other perks that can be equally helpful to you. Does your employer offer a free lunch every now and again? Take advantage of it, and save the money towards something else. (That $8 can mail out several CDs to fans or press kits). Is there a program where you can get things like discounted car insurance, house insurance, or renter’s insurance? Go for it! Save that money. If you work at a retail establishment and it’s feasible for you to save money on a discount (for food or perhaps clothes) take advantage of it.

There are often a lot of employee discount programs that your employer won’t even TELL you about unless you ask. So make sure you ask! You could save a couple hundred dollars a year on this stuff and use that money for your music.

Special Perk – Internet Usage – Use Wisely!

If you have internet access at your job, use it wisely. It will eventually get around/out if you’re just going to ReverbNation, Facebook, Bandcamp every single day. Be careful and again – don’t get fired over this stuff! If you have a computer with internet, and it’s feasible, spend a small portion of your day doing a bit of research. Even 15 minutes a day of research on blogs, venues, etc., can be incredibly helpful. Let’s face it, we all goof off on the internet from time to time at work. Just be careful.

#4. Paid and Unpaid Vacation Days

This is usually the biggest sticking point I hear from most people with a day job. “But I want to go on tour!” Okay. Even after reading my last article, you still want to go on tour. Well, you still CAN go on tour. Most jobs offer some kinds of vacation, whether they’re paid or unpaid. The standard in the US is from 1 week to 2 weeks. If you get more than this, good for you! I also want to make a distinction here between people who have unpaid vacation. If all you have is unpaid vacation days, do whatever you want, just remember to budget for when you come back from tour. I have made the mistake too often of going on tour and not having money when I returned. So much so that I started to put a $50 bill under my pillow so that I’d have money when I came back.

These days can be your best friend for a lot of reasons. Let’s say you’re in a band that gets asked to play a couple showcases at SXSW. Well, since you have a day job and you have perk #1 (a regular paycheck) and you also have perk #4 (vacation days) do it wisely! You don’t have to tour for 6 weeks at a time to be successful. In fact, the most fun I have ever had on tour was on the ones that lasted 10 days or under. If you budget wisely, you can fly to Austin and play those shows, maybe take only 2 days off from work, and stumble back in on Monday morning. Or New York, or wherever.

If you book a tour wisely around your vacation days, you can play 10 shows in a row while only having to take 5 days off from work. Start playing your shows on Friday night, take Monday-Friday off, play shows on Saturday and Sunday and again, drag yourself back to work on Monday morning. Another tip that I haven’t utilized too often is what I like to call “the long weekend” tour. This is where you take 2 days off instead of a whole week and tour for the weekend. My recommendation is to take Thursday-Friday off and tour Wednesday-Sunday. Also make sure you’re tuned into the days when you don’t have to work anyways. Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, President’s Day, 4th of July, etc.

This is also part of a bigger booking strategy utilizing concentric circles around your hometown. The secret to successful touring mostly involves playing the same places over and over and over again. This is one way to get attention. It’s not going straight to NYC and expecting anyone to give a shit about your band: hint: they won’t. It’s about getting yourself known in your local region. Look at a map of your hometown area and plot a route that brings you back in 2 days, 4 days, 10 days. Then make sure you’re playing those cities every three months or so. Eventually, people will start to pay attention.

If you want to do a longer tour say, in the summer, and you want to exceed your paid vacation, just ask your boss if you can use some unpaid days. If your boss likes you, you might be able to get away with it. Just make sure you’ve budgeted well before you leave so you’re not broke when you come back! (See above)

#5. Hometown Reconnaissance

It should go without say that the best place to get attention/press/etc. is in your hometown, but it doesn’t seem obvious to a lot of bands. The best and easiest place to get reviews of your music and attention for your band is in your hometown. If I’m being halfway logical here, I’ll assume that since you have a day job, you live somewhere, and you’re in a community somewhere. Use all this, plus the above, to put focus on your hometown shows.

I’ve been bouncing around the world for the past couple years, and my hometown seems to change monthly. It’s an exciting life of adventure, but there are few places that feel like home anymore. And having a big show where a lot of your friends come out to support you is one of the major perks of even having a hometown. It’s a huge advantage to you, utilize it and combine it with all the perks above.

If your job is in a different location than where you live, get out on your lunch break and pass out flyers in that area. Bam! You’re promoting in a different part of town and you didn’t even have to go out of your way to do it. Utilize the other members of your band, too. Share the information with everyone you play with. If you have three or four people in your band you have that much more help with your mission. Maybe your drummer works right next to the big venue in town that you’ve been dying to play. Send him over on his lunch break or after work to give the venue a press kit. Take a different way to work one day, if you have the time, and explore the new hip neighborhood you’ve been hearing a lot about. Maybe there’s a place you can promote yourself or a cool new venue there.

The most powerful resources are often the ones we have right in front of us every day. Instead of being bored that you’re in your day job, or tired of being stuck in the same city, get to know your city and your neighborhood better than you ever thought possible and mine it for information. Also, if you pass this information along to other touring bands, they’re more likely to help you when you come through their town.

In conclusion, I hope that this particular article helps you to balance out your perspective. Whenever you see interviews with musicians that you really like, keep in mind that the average salary for a musician in America (who’s SUCCESSFUL) is $35k per year, without benefits. I lived in 2011 on less than $12k, and still owed $1000 in taxes at the end of the year because I was working independently. Keep in mind that a lot of those musicians spend a lot of time struggling financially and looking for more regular (paid) work, despite how popular they might be. Even more sobering and heartbreaking are the musicians who are well-known and admired who have taken their own lives in part because of financial distress (Vic Chesnutt, among others.)

I’m not one to sugar-coat stuff; in this economy, if you are honestly complaining about your day job because you want to be an indie musician, you’re delusional. No further comment. Remember that your perspective is everything. You’re only “stuck” somewhere if that’s what your perception of it is. And take it from me; it’s hard to write songs and make good music when you’re worrying whether or not you can afford to put gas in your car or food in your belly. Take the perks of your job and use them to your advantage, and always focus on the positives in your particular situation.

——
Normandie Wilson is a jazz/lounge singer, pianist and composer who lives in San Diego, California. You can catch her performing around town by herself, on marimba with indie-mariachi sensations Red Pony Clock, or with her new vocal harmony cabaret group, Blue Velvet. She has a book coming out in 2014, titled “Misadventures, Mistakes, and Miscalculations in Independent Music,” in which she will detail every dumb thing she’s ever done in her career, so that you don’t have to. Visit http://www.normandiewilson.com to learn more.

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The Third Power

http://open.spotify.com/album/0FARtSGqdF7FfCGFJeXZfH

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