I wrote a blog on this before, but it seems to be something that needs to be addressed again. Hope you enjoy!
I wrote a blog on this before, but it seems to be something that needs to be addressed again. Hope you enjoy!
I have written a couple blogs about the need and responsibility for promotion in an artists career, “Self Promotion – Why It’s Must” and “Creating A Buzz – It’s Your Responsibility,” but even with local artists that have read the blog, it seams to have fallen on deaf ears. When an artist builds a team around them to try and make things happen (especially if there is no money behind them), it is absolutely critical than the artist/band have an amazing handle on promotion.
I had a couple meetings recently with an artist that completely and totally gets it. It was so refreshing, but after talking about our pasts, we grew up in exactly the same camp so it was no wonder. I want to talk about the need for a committed, determined and long-term plan. If you are an artist with no history of success in the business, no name recognition and a very small fan base, there is no getting around this, and almost no team can make things happen for you with out it. Independent artists can do this for themselves and should as it is their responsibility, but many rely on others on their team to do it and don’t pay them at all for the work being done.
This isn’t the same scene it was 20 years ago for your team to gets big commissions on label deals and teams of people who are paid to do this once you get signed. Be prepared to do it yourself or be prepared to pay someone to do it for you. Most managers today are charging a retainer for small bands for all this extra work as this is a lot of work to break an unknown band. They are consultants like any PR or legal team and they deserve to get paid for their work just as much as any other consultant. Your team should be free to focus on the big deals based on your marketing, promotion and buzz, they should not doing all this little stuff they don’t make money on. You and your band should have this in hand especially if you can’t afford a team to develop your buzz for you. Trust me a small percentage of a bands door guarantee or $250 gig, is NOT getting paid for all this extra work. This band is YOUR business; you should be taking it on the chin for the extra work not your team.
So what is good promotion? I can tell you what it’s not. It’s not a couple Facebook posts or tweets. That is almost no promotion what so ever. Promotion covers so many things. It’s the art of branding your band, name and artistry. It’s a 24/7 job and it takes form in all media, merchandise sales and performance. You have social media, print media, radio/tv and live touring. All these have to be covered all the time. Let’s take some time with each.
Social Media: Having a consistent online presence is absolutely critical but is only a part of your overall media campaign. Unfortunately too many artists use this as their only or main promotion and even then do it very poorly. They only post a show a couple times or post it to late for it to matter. They don’t promote their interviews often enough before and after the fact. This goes for their press releases, newsletters, articles etc… Remember the latest statistic on Facebook is that only 7% of your audience sees your post so to post it once is very poor marketing and if you have a small fan base which means under say 100,000 followers you aren’t hitting many people. Promotion is all about the number impressions you can make for your band name. A social media strategy is necessary and it must have great content, be creative and be consistent without the artist getting trapped at the computer all day.
Print Media: Print media is everything from posters, flyers, table tents, cards, business cards, signs, pamphlets, brochures, one pages, advertising in the local rags, articles, basically anything on paper. This is VERY necessary still today. You name needs to be everywhere at every gig, on your merch table with signs, cards etc…. You should have contacted all the local media about your upcoming shows in print media to make sure it’s listed. With ArtistData.com this is much easier to make happen now and not time consuming at all. All of your interviews and articles should be reposted many times and printed out and left out for people to find and read about you. This isn’t rocket science kids, those that want it bad enough will do what it takes.
Radio promotion is another huge part of promotion whether it be having a single on the radio, touring stations in the cities you are playing to get them to play your single, promote the show, interview the band and talk about you over the airwaves. Radio is still relevant enough as their audience is much bigger than most of the bands will ever have on their own. Learn to utilize this tool and work it for all it’s worth. Create great relationships with Program Directors and always be very respectful and thankful that anyone cares enough to say anything about your band.
TV is the same thing. What is your story? Can you utilize that to get press coverage on TV? Are their local shows or shows in the cities you will be playing that your story makes sense for them to air?
When most bands tell me they are working their ass off, all I have to do is take a couple minutes to look at this and then I know the truth. Most artists have no idea what that really means and usually if a band or artist is doing all this, it is almost always to left one person in the group while the rest sit around with their thumbs up their butt expecting things to change for them. Then they find everyone else to blame their lack of buzz instead of realizing they simply didn’t do or have what it takes from a drive level to make things happen.
You have to understand what promotion, marketing, branding and buzz truly is. Branding is having your name or logo everywhere. People should be thinking that all they see is your name everywhere so this band must be doing something. If you do everything you can, you will see an uptick in your bookings and ability to get more yeses then no’s, which is what it is all about.
If you tell me that print media is irrelevant or nobody does this anymore, then I know you don’t understand anything about promotion, branding or marketing. Your fliers most of the time probably aren’t going to bring people to the show that first time they see it, but after seeing your name everywhere enough times, people will start to come check you out. It’s a process, sometimes a large arduous one, but it’s the way most things happens.
So here is my challenge to you. Quit blaming everyone else for what you are not doing. Quit making excuses as to why you can’t do it. Quit expecting people to work for you for free and thinking that a tiny percentage of your door is going to pay a manager, promoter or booking agent enough to do what you are unwilling to do for yourself. Build a budget, find a way to fund the budget so you can afford your promotional campaign and actually go work you ass off to make things happen. Remember, you can’t control or rely on what other people do to promote your band whether it be a venue, promoter or local rag for your shows or events. It’s up to you to really drive this. You will drive yourself crazy and blaming others is never going to change things. Take it upon yourself to run your business and promote as much as you can to ensure greater success.
It’s a brave new world out there for those that are willing to take control of their business and future. Respect the work ethic, make it happen and give your team something to work with otherwise quit complaining about what every other band is making happen and get out of the way of those who actually give it everything they got. You are just watering down the field and making it harder for everyone else with real drive to achieve the success they are looking for.
By David Lowry
Many times when we read about money in the entertainment business, it’s from the perspective of what the artist makes. Most articles center on how artists are taken advantage of and that the “business” people are just greedy jack asses who do nothing for their money. Well for this blog we are flipping this point of view to that of the business that is putting everything on the line for the small artists that have no money, no fan base, have been gone so long that you have to basically start over or not enough tour dates to pay anyone for their time.
When an artist brings on a team member such as a manager, booking agent or PR consultant the artists considers it “hiring” this particular team member or members. Well if you aren’t paying the team member what his or her hourly fee or retainer is and your average show guarantee is say less that $2,500 per, then you haven’t “hired” anyone. What has happened, is the team member believes that artist is worth the extra work and lesser amount of pay at least for a short while unless the artist isn’t building up their business. If the artist isn’t building their business, then the team member will look elsewhere for it’s cash flow so it can stay in business. Making a small percentage of a tiny door deal where the artist can’t get 30 people into a room let alone sell it out is not enough money for anyone to survive on. Now most of the time, an artist like this doesn’t need any team members, but let’s say that an artist was lucky enough to find someone to help them in spite of the lack of fan base, gigs or cash flow behind them.
First off, if the artist is tiny and not established, then the artist needs to be realistic and know they are not going to get the bulk of the team member’s time. If the team member is working as hard as they can with what they have, then they expect the artist to do the same. That means everyone who gets on that stage and plays is responsible to work as hard as they can. Not just one of the band members. I know with my business, we make it abundantly clear before anything is signed, that if the artist doesn’t work as hard as we do then we will let them go. There are no guarantees in this business and we don’t want to waste time with artists that don’t work every inch of their career to the max.
What does this mean for the artist? It means that the artist needs to promote every show as much as possible in every form of media possible as much as they can. It means that they need to make sure that they sell as many tickets as possible so that everyone is making more money for the amount of work the artist isn’t already paying them. That means texting if no shows up, it means emailing last minute, it means having a superior social media campaign etc… this especially important for your booking agent to make money but also to be more effective in getting you better gigs. It means making sure you sell more merchandise at every show by being proactive and manning your merch booth, walking the venue with your product to sell. Engaging the crowd the whole time you are there. It means that understanding your job isn’t done until the bar is closing down. Once you get off the stage, you don’t head to the bar and drink. You work the crowd the whole night. These are your working hours. This is your opportunity to make the money you are complaining about that you don’t make. Your team can’t do this for you but it is why they work so hard to get you in this position. This is your time to shine.
This also means making sure your merch is in good shape. No crappy stickers, no broken plexi-glass holders, no pens that don’t work. Your merch area should be professional, clean and able to showcase your products and band to it’s utmost. It means always having a cash box with cash for your shows after we have told you a million times. It means having a checklist for your shows so you don’t forget anything after we have told you a million times. This is common sense stuff that for some reason has to be repeated over and over again. Eventually, we just quit telling those artists that just don’t care enough to make it happen.
I can’t tell you how many times an artist hasn’t paid our commission or fees to us but still expect us to work on their career. Has asked us to take less then our fee so they could make more. Has complained that because they knew someone at the venue they shouldn’t have to pay us what the contract states even though we booked the gig and the artist had nothing to do with it. Have made us push dates back time after time so we work three times as hard to just get paid way down the road. Has demanded we pay them the day of the gig but is always late paying us. If you aren’t paying us what the contract states, if you haven’t busted your ass for every second trying to get as many tickets sold or sell as much merch as you can, then you we don’t work for you. You haven’t hired us, you lied to us about how hard you were going to work and that you were going to do whatever it takes. Do you go to your day job and let them tell you they don’t want to pay you as much because they can’t afford it? Do you go to work everyday expecting to not receive a check? Do you go to work every day to work for free? Don’t you go to work every day expecting the company that “hired” you to be able to grow their revenue to pay you your salary? Well guess what, we expect the same from you.
We aren’t going to babysit artists anymore that can’t get their business together. This isn’t the old days when contracts were huge and everyone had money to throw at an artist so the team actually made good money. It’s a new day, a new age in the music business and it’s harder than ever for your team members to make things happen for you. They aren’t going to do it for free, they aren’t going to “just believe in you,” especially since we see how most artists don’t have the work ethic needed to make this happen today we aren’t going to do it for a discount and we aren’t going to spend vast amounts of time on an artist that can’t sell 10 tickets on average per show.
You see, businesses like ours project how much income they see coming based on what the artists have coming in from bookings, deals, retainers and the like. If the artist arbitrarily decides it doesn’t want to pay, wants to pay less (which happens all the time) or constantly cancels dates or pushes them back, then it puts the team members in a very bad position and they aren’t going to work as hard on you and it makes you unprofessional. You are now an untrustworthy client on which you can’t be relied on and so your team members will find clients that can. You are messing with peoples livelihoods.
If the artist can’t commit to bring the absolute best work ethic, product and show to the table to make sure they are making as much money for their team as possible, they should never expect it from the team that is getting paid nothing to almost nothing. If you don’t want it bad enough to work your ass off, pay the people you “hire” and make sure you have a fighting chance at making this career, then don’t ever “hire” a team member. You can’t afford it and you shouldn’t ever treat your team like that. They are expecting you to bring it every show so they can make as much money as possible just like you are trying to do for your career. Remember, this is a team. A team works together to make it happen, not just the team members making the artist more money. If you want your team to make you as much money as possible, you should be doing the same for them as well especially in your beginning stages.
I hope this helps you see it from our perspective a bit. It’s not meant to be an harsh blog, it’s meant to point out that this is a business and we all have bills to pay and we can’t work with people who won’t do everything possible to make the team they “hired” as much money as possible to survive just like they expect the team to do for them.
Best of luck!
By David Lowry
One of the major issues that we deal with booking whether it be as a talent buyer, booking agent or manager is a band that just doesn’t get it. As a band you have to understand your worth (not what you think you are worth, but actual worth) or whether or not you are relative to the area based on where you are playing. So many bands think they are worth more than they really are which can make it much harder for them to book themselves. This can be a big problem with an act that has success in the past, but hasn’t done much in the last 10 – 20 years. In a perfect world, we would all get paid to play but this isn’t a perfect world and everyone in this business is only as good as the last show or deal. If you aren’t producing the kind of numbers that determine what you think you should be getting paid you won’t. Never out price yourself because you make money in certain markets. What you make at a rally or festival is not what you are going to make at a club.
I think most of us have seen the picture of world-class violin virtuoso Joshua Bell playing at a subway for hours and only making $40. As sad as that is, that was his worth to the people walking by in that area. Why, because people don’t know who he is, they don’t understand his level of talent and he wasn’t entertaining as a spectacle. Was he brilliant in his performance of the music? Absolutely. Did the public care? Absolutely no, they did not. I have told this to many of my bands or friends in bands. Go stand on the street corner and perform to the best of your ability and what you walk away with is what you are worth. Because that is the level of value you brought to the public. If you did great, captured and audience that really stayed and watched you performing and threw money your way then you are on to something. If you only made $40 bucks after hours of street performing well then guess what, you haven’t found the formula that draws people in to actually pay you money because they loved your music and they were entertained. If can’t capture the crowd on your own merits without all the lights, venue and hoopla then the venue is right to not really pay you. All that stuff is just there to enhance your performance. There is no truer test than being without all the lights, speakers and comfort zone standing in front of a crowd and seeing the response to your music.
Please understand this is rarely if ever about how good a musician you are. It’s about how well you perform, entertain, write music, promote and how smart and shrewd a businessperson you are. If it was about talent almost all of would never make a dime compared to the classical, jazz and opera singers out there. They are the most brilliant musicians in reality. The rest of us are just well, musicians.
This is what venues are looking for. They are looking for you to entertain the public and crowd you bring in. This is really effective with a frontman or woman that really knows how to work the crowd. When you do, people have a great time, spend more money and talk about what an awesome time they had listening to your band at that particular venue. That means the venue can now expect this to happen more often and then the price they pay you will go up. It looks good for you, the venue and the crowd now have another place to hang out and spend their money for entertainment. If you don’t wow the crowd that reflects on you, the venue and the public is left wanting more. This would preclude the venue to not book you again or if they do, not pay you well or at all until you can bring what they are looking for.
When it comes to booking yourself, make sure you can do the above better than anyone else. When you start talking to new markets about your band, don’t assume because you get $1,500 in one market, you will in another. Some venues will pay this, most won’t because they don’t know you, they don’t have any experience with you and if you have never played in the area before, well then you won’t be bringing a crowd either so why should they pay you what you make elsewhere where the opposite is true.
Most often when breaking into a new market you have to take your lumps and work up to your normal fee for performance. You might get your rate, or a bit below or maybe just a door deal because the venue doesn’t want to take a chance on you. This may not be fair to you but it is to them. Please leave all the venue is ripping me off talk out of the equation. All you can worry about is what you can do, bring to the table and make sure you promote very, very well. Don’t assume the venue or promoter will. You worry about you. When you are big enough, in your contracts you can put promotion guidelines other then that, the venue is paying for advertising in their local rags across the country. Most bands don’t pay to promote at all, so don’t say they aren’t promoting. Could it be done better? Yes, but usually by everyone involved not just the venue.
Out pricing yourself because you think you are worth more then you are is the quickest way to lose the gig. This is also very hard on whoever might be booking you and eventually they will just let you go if you don’t get it as it reflects on them and they are putting in so much work to help build you a business just to constantly here you say no. You have to warm up a new market like everyone else when you don’t have radio play or some other major thing happening in your career on a national level to draw attention to you. Learn to be flexible with your pricing and prove to the owner/talent buyer your worth and you will get paid as soon as you knock it out of the park.
Sidenote: If a couple people tell you how great you are, that isn’t enough. Sales must be up, attendance must grow and everyone must be all over you. Don’t let the hype of a couple fans let you think you are doing better than you are or make bad decisions. Be honest with your performance that night and do you best to track your market by getting the numbers on the night if the venue will give you the information.
By David Lowry
“If you don’t think what I do is the best show on Earth, let’s see what you’ve got!” — Gene Simmons
You could learn just about everything you need to know about the music business from this statement alone. As a manager in this crazy business, I constantly hear things like “If someone would just give us a chance, they would see how great we are. We blow everyone else off the stage.” I have to admit I very rarely ever see something like this. Most of the time it’s just another band with very little stage presence, a set and show that never changes, improves or really entertains. Why is this, I constantly wonder? Is it because people don’t have enough time? They don’t have enough drive? Well it’s a little bit of everything really but mainly, they don’t know how to prepare and use their time wisely or efficiently. Many bands say “well the music scene has changed and it’s harder to get noticed” honestly that is just an excuse period.
The reality is that at the level most of the people reading this are at, it hasn’t changed at all. You still had to do everything I will talk about here just to get noticed and get offered that big record deal in the past. Today you have to do this, and at many stages in your career you may now have to do it all by yourself unless you can pay a team to help you, but the good thing is today you can keep control of your own music career, which may or may not be a good thing depending on the artist.
When I was younger and recruited as a tennis player to play for the Navy sports team, my coach once told me after I was getting frustrated with my inconsistency “Look kid, you may have got here on your own without lessons, but you can’t get down on yourself for not being able to pull of what you haven’t trained and prepared for. Unless you are Chris Evert the number one player in the world, you have absolutely no right to.” Okay I just dated myself I could have said Tiger Woods but the point is made. Bands that haven’t achieved the level they want shouldn’t get mad at themselves, the scene or the music business when they haven’t ever even learned to prepare properly for this business. If after years of serious effort, practice, planning and execution you still aren’t achieving the results you wanted, then you can get mad and frustrated. Until then you are swimming upstream. So turn yourself around and start swimming with the flow so you can get to your destination faster.
In order to get to the next level that every band seems to think they are ready for takes usually a lot more work than they are putting in and truthfully until you get the very basics down like I have posted in past blogs you aren’t ready for the next level. There are obviously many things to be covered here but for the sake of this blog let’s just talk about live performance.
Live performance is the proof in the pudding. If you don’t have the best show at least in your neck of the woods, then you really have nothing. You need to practice, prepare and plan your lives shows. From everything on how to talk to a crowd to how to prepare the right set list and how to put on an energetic entertaining performance. Your practice time should include all of these things and you should never practice with out playing like you would on stage. Why? Because, it takes practice to put on the best show on Earth! You have to practice moving like you would live so you are used to performing that way which leads to making fewer mistakes, check out what does looks good vs. what doesn’t and just as importantly keeping yourself in shape for your live performances so you don’t get tired or worn out. Live performance takes an extraordinary amount of energy and you should be in shape for it just like any athlete prepares for their performance.
You need to find a way to bring a live show or performance that blows people away. What does that mean? I don’t know for your band and can’t tell you until I see it, but the problem is no one is even trying to figure it out. Besides great songs, this is the most important part of your career. This is what creates viral social media marketing. It makes people buy your merchandise at your shows because it creates the emotional bond between fan and the band. It is wins over the skeptics and the industry people you need to help your career. Bands seem to be very unoriginal when it comes to live performance and it can be very hard to tell one band from the other.
To put it bluntly, “No one cares about your career, until you do.” This means until you are willing to truly focus, get together as a band, start acting like a business and a band that can actually blow people away, you are just another band taking up space and spamming every ones Facebook wall trying to get attention the wrong way.
I ask you this; can you beat Gene Simmons at his own game? Learn from the very best at what they do. Quit posing and acting like you are the next big thing when you aren’t because you really haven’t done what you need to do. Become the next big thing because you want it more than anything, because you have put in the time, effort, planning, practice and execution and then let the crowds decide who puts on the best show on Earth. Actions speak louder than words folks. If you are going to talk about how great your band is don’t you think you better deliver on that statement?
Remember you are only as good as your last show.
Till the next time. Get it together and good Luck!
David Lowry is the President of The Lowry Agency, a full service artist management agency that works with musicians, speakers, entertainers, actors and models based in Nashville, TN. David manages and or books the musical careers of Brother Cane, Damon Johnson (Brother Cane, Thin Lizzy, Alice Cooper), Rob Balducci, Dave Weiner, Jon Finn, Kris Bell and Mindset Defect. For more information please contact The Lowry Agency at http://www.thelowryagency.com.
By David Lowry
Now I am writing this and I am most definitely sometimes guilty of this myself because I have no patience personally for smart ass musicians on social media that think they have a need to post negative or what they deem to be “funny” comments but really just come across as arrogant or ignorant comments. This also applies to many different situations such as hitting on people who are married especially if you are married yourself, or ripping down someone’s career or event.
When on social media, the most important thing you should always think about is how you would in act in front of the people you are talking with if you were all there in person. If you wouldn’t do this in front of the person whom you are trashing, your wife or husband, friends, quittances or any other person, don’t do it at all. Never treat social media any different than if it were in public.
If you are in a crowd and I am talking with a friend who is promoting something for me to someone standing there with me, are you just going to walk up and say “oh what a waste of time and money, you don’t need that!” Of course you wouldn’t, but we seem to have no problem doing it on social media. When someone is posting about a seminar I am giving, it never fails that someone will get on there and say, “Don’t waste your money!” Who are you to say that and what compels you to? You don’t know me or my work so what experience do you have to give that makes you feel like you need to say that when you wouldn’t in public. In public if you did that, I’d fix you in a hurry. On social media we are much braver and feel invulnerable so we say what we want. Just because something is an open forum doesn’t mean that you “should,” say something just because you “can.”
On my blogs, I usually get very positive responses and feed back is ok even if I don’t agree with it, but post feedback on the blogs message board, not on the link of the person promoting it for me or whomever. It just makes you look like an ass when you have something smart to say. If you have a negative comment about something post it in YOUR own timeline. Not in the timeline of the person who is trying to do something nice.
Recently an article was written about one of my artists, and a former member of the original band started a negative rant on my clients article for no reason what so ever. It was completely and utterly ridiculous. A person’s need to take the spotlight away from someone else to showcase him or herself is so narcissistic it’s not even funny. It was a very well written article that a journalist put a lot of time and attention into writing and some “very nice person” decides to start a rant on it. Not only is it an insult to the person in the article, it is to the writer as well. As a professional or wannabe professional, keep your negative comments to yourself. There is no room for it in this business. You need to separate yourselves from the rest of the flotsam and jetsam out there.
One last thing, when someone on Facebook is showcasing another person’s link on THEIR timeline, don’t ruin it by posting your link on it too. That link wasn’t for you. I don’t care if you know the person, think its funny or for what ever lame reason you are going to give. That is the equivalent of you putting your concert poster over their concert poster. All of you in bands know how much that angers us and it is childish. You wouldn’t do it in front of me so don’t do it on Facebook either. If you want someone to post for you or get your name out there for you, develop a relationship with that person and if they like you and your music, movie (insert form of entertainment here) then maybe they will do it for you.
Quit all the stupid comments, bashing, trashing or anything else you may be thinking that is negative towards someone. Unless you are the greatest thing on the planet with a ton of success, you have no right, experience or clout to trash anyone else.
P.S. It’s usually the ones who have no success or success from WAY back in the day who do this.
By David Lowry
One of the great frustrations in being a manager for bands is the lack of drive or work ethic that come from certain members. They think they can just sit back and do basically nothing and everyone else does it for them. And then they complain when nothing is happening for them. They don’t realize that all they are doing is showing everyone how un-dedicated they are, how the band will never get anywhere and how the team around them will just quit trying to help them if they can’t even handle simple things like self-promotion.
I hear the most ridiculous things from local bands all the time, that it’s a new music business so they aren’t going to do things the old way. They think they don’t have to be professional anymore, that if they did things the old way, they wouldn’t be where they are now, which is still basically nowhere. They don’t get that professionalism and hard work never change no matter what state the music industry is in.
Without buzz about your band, you really have nothing. You are only as good as good as your last show and if you aren’t gigging at least four times a month you are in trouble. The buzz is what gets you noticed by anyone with the clout or money that can truly help you achieve your dream and it grows your fan base faster than anything else. Your branding campaign is a big part of this, so if you don’t have one, you should spend some time planning and implementing one.
Anyone who is in the business for more than 6 months knows it’s all about the buzz for a band and yet band members would rather post about football then their latest interview or show. Creating a buzz takes time and hard work, but if a band does it all together, it will be much easier for them and will go so much faster. Too many members of bands leave it up to one member of the band to do all the work, especially if the band is named after one person. But once you committed to a band, you committed to all of it no matter whose name is on the logo.
If you have time to post about sports, someone else’s music videos, what you had for dinner or what you are doing with your family, then you have time to post about your band. If you can’t handle that, get out of the band. If you are too busy to post and create a “buzz” about your band, you don’t have time to be in a band in the first place. Quit taking up space on someone’s roster or taking gigs you aren’t going to promote and let the people who really want it have the spot. By not doing this you are simply destroying all opportunities for your band. This is simply the most pathetic thing I see from bands.
If you spend any time studying social media marketing, you will know that only 7% of your audience sees your posts on Facebook. So if you think posting once is enough, especially right before a gig is enough you are fooling yourself. It takes a strategy and consistency to create a “buzz” about you from everything like your live performances to your social media campaign.
As an artist or a band member, when someone posts your music on a site or does an interview about your band, it is YOUR responsibility to promote it and keep the buzz going about you. Many of these people who write interviews for you spend hours transcribing and editing and many members of bands can’t take 10 seconds to post it. These interviewers get paid based on the amount of clicks that come from these articles. So basically, the interview busted their butts to give you some PR for free and you didn’t do a thing to help them or recognize them or their effort on your behalf and worse you did nothing for yourself. You shoot your self and your band’s name in the foot with these people who will never cover you again because of your unprofessionalism and laziness. You can’t just rely on someone else’s fan or viewer base to spread the word about you. It takes everyone and a very concerted effort to make this buzz happen.
Creating buzz is huge part of your musical career. Every thing you do should be a part of your campaign. Every gig, radio show, interview, site you are added too should be promoted for weeks before the event if possible and after the fact. Every form of media of media should be used to brand your band and create buzz. Most of the bands reading this at their stage of the game in their career, nothing should be left out from posting flyers, to radio, both internet and terrestrial and social media…. Everything.
Bands have to realize that their fans are reading their teams stream to find the latest news on you. They have to understand the amount of “white noise” that get’s tuned out by people on social media because they know what pages are posting in general and it doesn’t interest them. Fans want to find out from the band and it’s members not their business people.
Think of it like this: statistically every person knows at 220 people in their lives. If you are a band member or businessperson you will know way more than this number. If you ignore your warm market so to speak, you are ignoring your greatest potential to gain new fans. For every person in your circle, they have at least 220 people in theirs that could find out about you, but won’t if you don’t promote. Your snow ball/viral effect starts here, not on the bands page. Most bands only have a few hundred to a few thousand fans. How is that going to be enough to promote especially if something is only being posted once? Utilize your power, your strength and make it happen. Most bands are missing out on this because certain people can’t be bothered long enough to put down the “vice” of the week and work.
When you are at a gig and you have only 20 or fewer people there, you and your band mates should be texting, calling and reminding people to show up. It is your responsibility to create buzz about your band until you can PAY someone else to do it and even then you still have to promote. Bands should be doing whatever they can to get people at their show. This is priority #1 in their career.
The band and its members should be “liking” all posts related to their careers. They should be doing it on their pages, their teams pages and any others they see in their streams. They should thank everyone who posts for them. The more attention a post gets, the more other people see it, especially by people who have never heard of them before. This is the most basic concept that has been social media for years now and everyone knows it, but they ignore it. Not only that but again, it just shows disrespect to all the people posting for them. Of course you won’t catch everything, but you can catch most of it and people notice that.
There is no point whatsoever for anyone to help your band with your dream if you can’t even do the minimal promoting of yourself on Facebook, Twitter or whatever social media platforms you are using as a bare minimum. Your band should be let go from any contract to make room for the ones that are serious and working as hard as they can to make it. When a band or it’s members refuse to create buzz, promote or try and get people to a show, it’s a very bad reflection on their management, booking agents or what ever team members they have. No company has to or should put up with that. It’s not their teams responsibility to get people to the shows, it’s the bands.
So put down the beer, get off Facebook except to promote quickly, turn of Skyrim and then have a band meeting to get bands act together. Make it abundantly clear what is expected of them and what the consequences will be if they don’t help and then put together a campaign. Come up with goals, time frames, standard operating procedures or whatever you have to do to make it happen.
This business is hard enough as it is without people giving 100%. It’s not the same as it used to be with management or agents, everyone has to work even harder to separate their clients out of the clutter of other bands and the money isn’t there like it used to be to make it worth it if the band can’t commit to the dream. Local bands had better realize this and get it together or their will be nobody their to help them at all. Nobody is obligated to help some one for free, for the small percentage of the $150 gig a band is doing or who doesn’t want it bad enough to work as hard as they possibly can to achieve their dream they said they wanted.
It’s your dream, only you are responsible for making it happen. No one else will care until you show them that you do. Not your team, not your fans, and evidently not even some of your band.
By David Lowry
One of the most exciting things about being a musician is getting that endorsement deal! Playing that guitar or amp you love or maybe banging that drum kit you have been salivating over for years and it’s finally in your hands. It’s a great feeling! The questions are how do you get one? Who deserves one? What are you going to do with it once you get it? What are your responsibilities once you get one?
I find that like most aspects of the music business the artist completely doesn’t get it when it comes to endorsement deals. They all want them when they have absolutely nothing to offer the endorsement company. Bands want everything handed to them. They want someone to book all their shows because they don’t want to do it. They want management to make things happen because they don’t know how and they want free gear, clothes or what ever else they can get for free and giving nothing in return.
Endorsement deals have to be a win-win situation for both parties involved. Sometimes as musicians we forget that it takes money to make anything happen and that these companies need to make money for them to be able to endorse or sponsor artists. Ninety-nine percent of the time, the artist asking for the endorsement has nothing to offer the company whose product they are asking an endorsement for. Granted there are always exceptions to the rule in any given situation but for the most part this is the way it is and you would do well to act professional and always give yourselves the best chance possible.
So what does an artist need to bring to the table before asking for an endorsement deal? Well number one it’s all about the exposure for the endorsee. How many shows are you playing a year? How many people per average show? How good is your social media campaign? How good are your photos and videos? How influential are you among your peers and people who look up to you as a musician? Do you understand marketing and branding? Usually these questions are answered within the first 30 seconds of reading the artists email and looking at their press kits.
Company’s really only want artists or bands that love and use their product, not people looking for any deal they can get. You should be passionate about what you are playing or using before you approach a company for an endorsement deal. Send an email and ask what information they would like to see but most importantly why you think you are a good fit for this company. Highlight to your prospective endorsement company with the appropriate information such as your fan base size, social media coverage and plan, professional electronic press kit with professional photography and not just a one-line email with your Reverbnation link. The key here is to make sure the company is seeing how many fans you have. Facebook fan pages are great because then they can also see what your fans are saying about you. Make sure you state how many shows a year you play on average and average crowd size per show as well. Mention your touring and media plans for the upcoming year this why having a marketing plan is imperative. Have past calendars available if possible to prove you how busy you are. You need to make sure that your exposure coverage is worth it to a company before they give you any of their gear. It’s also good sometimes to mention what products of theirs you may have purchased in the past and are currently using. Remember here that not every artist-relations person is the same so this may alter slightly.
Make sure you understand that if you get a deal you will have to put their logos on all you concert posters, your websites with hyperlinks attached and you should mention and thank them regularly in your social media campaign. You have a responsibility to growing their brand. That is why they gave you the deal in first place. Most musicians are horrible about doing this. Also please realize that just because you get a deal doesn’t mean you are going to get a ton of exposure from them. You may or may not be listed on their website or at least not prominently until you are a big enough artist to really influence the average buyer. You really want to be building a long-term business relationship with these companies so work hard at giving this the proper attention.
Most companies are not giving full endorsement deals anymore so please don’t ask for a deal if you have no money to at least pay cost on the equipment you are asking for. Make sure you are prepared to be professional with them at all times and represent them to the best of your ability.
Last but not least please don’t be “Horshack” from “Welcome Back Kotter” with your arm up squealing ooh! Ooh! Me! Me! Me! Especially after a friend or a band you know gets a deal so you run to Facebook and spam their page asking for a deal too. Remember there is a reason they got the deal. It wasn’t just handed to them.
Remember these blogs are here to help you become more professional and help you stand out from the crowd. Head the advice and you should see greater results.
One of the biggest and most important things in live performance is the strength of the person fronting your band. This is a major area where lots of bands trying to make it need the most help. Take a look at the most popular front men/women of all time and ask yourself, “What is it about them that the audience connects with?”
Legendary front men or women like David Lee Roth (arguably the best front man ever), Mick Jagger, David Coverdale, Anne Wilson, Paul Stanley or Steven Tyler can give you great insight into what it takes to get your band to the next level. Doing your research into the greats and implementing what you learn can help make your band “larger than life” and allow you to capture the attention of the crowd you are playing too. Not all front men are electrifying or great looking but are still incredibly successful, just look at Ozzy Osbourne. Some front men/women are quirky or odd like Mick Jagger but there are two things they all have in common, they all have a very distinct style and presence and they all live for being on that stage. They revel in it. There is no doubt in their mind that they are where they belong. This allows them to own the stage like no one else. This is critical for successfully drawing in a crowd, creating unforgettable live shows and growing your fan base. It also means they work like dogs to keep their music out their and in front of peoples faces. Depending on the genre of music you are in, the front man or woman attributes my need to vary to certain style, but one thing always is constant, they always command the stage.
Let’s take a look at a very talented front man as an example. Gary Cherone has fronted the hit rock band Extreme and the legendary Van Halen. He is also currently fronting a band called Hurtsmile with his brother Mark. Gary has a very theatrical, animated and energetic stage presence. Gary’s style isn’t for everybody but it doesn’t have to be, as a matter of fact not one front mans is. Gary owns the stage and because of that, he has been able to front two major bands, one of the biggest rock bands of all time actually. Some people may not think Gary was a good fit for Van Halen but I completely disagree. Gary did his job and he did it well. Go back with an open mind (forget David and Sammy) and watch the live videos from the Van Halen 3 tour concert clips or any Extreme show. Trust me, he wouldn’t have gotten the most coveted front man job in the world if he wasn’t very good at what he did. Gary has captured audiences for years and has a strong fan base having sold over 10 million albums and a #1 hit single with “More Than Words” in Extreme alone. He has an incredibly compelling style and if you listen to the many different genres of songs he did with Extreme or on his solo album you can see how much a of a provocative singer and front man he is.
That charisma that Gary brings to the table is high energy, raw at times very intimate with the slower songs. You can see his theatrical background (he was in “Jesus Christ Superstar”) with his over the top stage presence, which always gives the audience something to look at. He allows them to see that he is completely into and lost in his “zone” during his performance. There is no doubt as to where Gary belongs when he is on stage. You know how much he loves his job every minute of every performance. Watch closely what he does when he isn’t singing such as during guitar solos. Notice how he doesn’t distract from or sing over the other musicians but yet he either adds to the moment or keeps the energy up while waiting for his spot to sing again. Watch how Gary interacts with the crowd and keeps them involved and how he makes them feel each performance is just for them. Watch what he says at the start of the show, in between songs and the end of the night as well. Gary gives it everything he’s got every performance and isn’t worried about the people in the crowd with their arms crossed. By the time the show is over Gary has left everything on the stage and he wins them over with a very honest and real performance. He doesn’t worry about the audience members who are negative. He let’s the people who love the show spread the word. He let’s the system work for him. Gary gives the audience what they want, a real powerful, energetic and professional show. He is a thankful performer and in return, he and the band develop a devoted international fan base and Gary is able to create opportunities very few front men have been able to do.
To many times front men or women don’t really take their jobs seriously or maybe are unfamiliar with everything it really takes to “bring it” to the show. Many are just lazy about preparing for a show. Don’t let this happen to you ever. Take a cue from Firehouse front man C. J. Snare and always be professional and prepared. Treat every show like it’s the most important show you have ever done. You have to learn how to own that stage and work the crowd. You have to “flip the switch” when you get on stage and become that “rock star.” Know what city or venue you are playing in. You should know the names of the bands playing with you that night. Engage your crowd and invite them to your party. You are the host. Bring them in and entertain them. Learn to lead them especially on a night that is tough or there are not very many people in the room and there is not an “energetic” atmosphere. You have to bring the crowd that energy and get them “into” the show.
Go back and do a study of not only your favorite front men or women, but also the ones who are very successful at being that leader. Your job is to constantly improve not only your singing skills but also your stage presence, charisma and speaking skills. Don’t let genres or eras prevent you from learning from the best. You can learn as much from a classical/pop artist like Lara Fabian as you can from a rock star like Brett Michaels.
Just remember that being a great front man or woman continues when you are off the stage as well. It is a 24 hour a day job. We will dive into that next time so stay tuned.
I am posting a list of 20 things to do to not get noticed by entertainment pros or endorsement companies. It’s a sad thing that I am having to post this because it’s common sense but this what we get hit with all day everyday and it is the quickest way to make sure you get no attention from us even if you do it correctly later because you have already put a bad taste in our mouth. There are of course many more things that could be listed but this should open your eyes enough to “get it” and start thinking about what you are doing or how you are damaging your career by not being professional.