Welcome to Band 101, this topic should grab some people attention..
What the f*** are we doing wrong as an artist/band!!
We are giging, writing great music, but don't see anything progressing as far as fans, exposure, opportunities and more...
by: Jim Thorpe Legendary Dobbs/DVT Entertainment/DBMC/LMF
1 out 3 bands approach us DVT Entertaintment about helping their band or manage them. We try our best to do what we can but it seems that so many artists still think of the good old label days. My recommendation is to forget everything you know or think you know about the music industry because its a new day.
They say it's the time of the independent artist because of the changing music industry, it's true in theory. The problem is the majority of artists today need to be Manager, Promoter, Social Medi Guru, Videographer, Public Relations, Marketer, Savy in Networking, Booking Agent, Merchant, Accountant, Publisher/Licenser and then get to be a Songwriter, Music Maker and Live Performer. Thats a lot of jobs for an artist or band but in todays world it has to get done.
They key word that I have used in all the Band 101 topics is Networking. The main goal for the serious artist is to build a team and not just trying to get that "hot name person" to help but to find and build a team that has the same passion in your music as you do. Because the money is scarce at any level in your career, a person who has passion will help you get you where you need to go with hopes of something done the line.
Lets get started:
How do we build our fans, we play shows and seem to get a great response but nobody buys our merch or follows us?
Here are some questions you need to ruthfully ask yourself. Some sound like no brainers but do not happen regularly.
1. Do you show up early and hang out before and after your performance are do show up and leave.
*** I see numerous bands do this nightly which boggles my mind,***
2. Do you engage with the crowd while onstage?
*** this is huge, if you stand onstage do you look like a cardboard cutout and are shy to engage the crowd, people want interaction so put all the passion into your perfomance and leave your heart on stage. you can do as a singer songwriter to and MC or metal band and all inbetween.
3. After your performance do you go out into the crowd and meet your potential fans or do you go right to the merch table?
*** you need to delegate each member of the band, have one at the merch table and the rest talking to the crowd. Fans are stubborn, so it takes a little one on one with building new fans. Some of the most successful acts try and talk to everyone that saw their performance and guess what it works***
4. Do you offer anything for a new fan?
***Okay you have new fans, maybe offer them a free swag item, download of a song or something along those lines to may them feel appricated that they are now fans of the band.
To engage your fans to gain new ones and keep the loyal ones you need to keep up on your social media outlets that you use. Make sure its not always about the band and music, be human, talk about movies, games, sports, arts, current events. Treat fans as you new best friend. If you went on a cool trip to Vegas and it turnsout to be a Hangover type weekend, spill your beans.
We want to get more exposure and better opportunities, we see other bands breaking how come not us?
A lot of its hard work, who they know/networked with, have fans that love & spread their music and luck. A lot of times its being in the right place at the right time.
Network, Network, Network and when your done Network more..
1. You have to make yourself known in the scene by being seen.
***There are several bands over the years where I met them first, talked to them and hung with them way before I heard their music. This hasn't changed since music started the more visable you are the more people recognize you both fans, bands and industry.
Also you never know who you meet that can lead to something else.
2. You mentioned above Passion Industry People, where can I met thess people?
*** Honesty its networking, attending events and join organizations. Attend Music conferences, industry people come and speak at these events on their on time and you have a great chance of a one on one with industry people who have passion in what they do. I am a part of two major conferences the Dewey Beach Music Festival (www.deweybeachfest.com) and The Liberty Music Fest (www.libertymusicfest.com) both of these conferences are setup so that you the artist can talk directly to industry people who can help you right now. I speak at various conferences and music schools on a regular basis and I always try and talk to everyone and when I organize the panels for these events I bring in people who do the same. So get off your asses and attend these events. Other great conferences are LAUNCH in Lancaster, PA, SXSW is great more for meeting other regional bands.
***also If your a serious artist I recommend joining you local chapter of The Recording Academy (www.grammy.com). I joined back in 2000 and honestly say was a major factor into where I am today in the music business and a major accomplishment is that I was elected to sit on the Board of Govenors of the Philadelphia Chapter for the past 2 years and hopefully 2 more =). It's not just about the awards, we are about education, artis rights and help you with your musical needs. The Chapter hosts an impressive variety of events for the music community, including a GRAMMY Professional Development Event series and the In The Mix GRAMMY Professional Networking Event series. In addition, the Chapter provides opportunities for its members to network at can't-miss events such as its exclusive Annual Membership Celebration & Holiday Reception, a celebration of local achievements that year, and the annual GRAMMY Awards Telecast Viewing Party, where the local musical community gathers to cheer on the nominee along with a new event in it's 2nd year Independent’s Day Annual Music Entrepreneurship Conference
click here for upcoming events. If you want to join contact is on this page
3. Do you utilize every option to get you music heard or you videos seen?
*** with the internet there are so many outlets to get your music heard. It comes down to researching BY ALL MEANS NECESSARY. The more visable you are the better chance you have in expanding your fanbase. It sounds simple right?? just like you ever other serious band is doing the same thing. So you have to stand out musically and having your business/image in order.
I would attack as many blogs, internet radio stations, podcasts, video channels, etc. there is no map for success it's just hardwork. Just don't send stuff blindly and hope something happens. Contact the person running the site directly, be engaging but not overbearing or winey. A lot is luck but it takes one ore two people to catch on and hopefully it spreads like a virus.
4. You content. is it new and always updated?
*** keep your music relevant by keeping it out there. Youtube is the #1 source for people finding new music. You don't have to be Spielberg, Keep thinking out of the box with creative video content. A great band that does this effectively is Beyond Dishonor (www.beyonddishonor.com) other than pro videos, the band has done several parody videos from an info commercial, a puppet singing a song, to a metcore cover of a Katy Perry Song and many more. Check out their videos on youtube and you will get the idea. Bands usually unleash all their content at once which is a big mistake, you make a game plan for each milestone whether is likes on facebook, attendance at show, downloads, etc. The make an event or contest about releasing it the public. Once you have your fans you want to continue to keep them excited about you. Cater to them.
This is all basic information but bands always tend to make it harder than it actually is.
In today's world one person can't make this happen, you need to build a team or delegate throughout
There isn't a golden key that will unlock the music riches to you. Artist that succeed worjk there asses off and lots of times it takes years to acheive a little success in this business.
Here are a few artists to checkout that I have seen being seen....
Rowboat Casino (http://www.rowboatcasino.com) new video "FlameThrower"
The High Five - (http://Reverbnation.com/thehighfivern) new video "Scars"