Tuesday, January 19, 2016

“Food for Thought for Artists”

“Food for Thought for Artist”
by: Jim Thorpe - DVT Entertainment
Contributors: Ron Bauman (Connie's Ric Rac), Kurt Schmel (SSA Music)

Happy New Year to all Music Makers,
I thought a good way to start off the year would be with a “Food for Thought for artists in 2016”. As we all know, the music industry is constantly changing in all aspects, locally and internationally. The one constant means of success in this business today is “NETWORKING”. It’s the key to the majority of any artists’ success today. Artists should immediately set their goals for 2016. The easiest way to do this is to plan out 3, 6, 9 & 12 months. Each month should have a checklist on what needs to be accomplished in that time frame. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t meet you goals on time, it’s as long as you don’t lose focus on the tasks at hand. As part of the tasks, a majority of them should revolve around “NETWORKING”.  There will be other aspects from Industry professionals in the blog along with my pet peeve that bands drop the ball on.

Building you plan around “NETWORKING”
What usually happens is that bands do their due diligence to “NETWORK” but usually falls away from the waist side. This is where artists really need to sit down and devise a “NETWORKING” game plan. My advice would be to gather as much information about events that are coming up in your area and also the surrounding areas (Ex. Philly/DC/NJ/NY are all within 2hrs of each other). The events could be club shows, music networking events, conferences, festivals, etc. It’s tough for all members to make it, so divide responsibility between band members and schedule of who is going to attend which events. Also, be sure to determine in advance what you want to accomplish when you go, whether it’s to meet a band, industry professional or possible future fans. Don’t limit your “NETWORKING” to just music related events, it can be just going out to Art Shows, Non-Music Festivals, Beer Tasting, etc. You have to remember everyone loves music and these other events could result in opportunities. Every band I have seen in the past 15+ yrs. that have succeeded have made “NETWORKING” their main focus.

Here are some of their keys:
Local Tactics

- Be seen in the scene. Meet artists that you don’t know.
- Attended area conferences, industry-related speaking events, Grammy Seminars
- Meet and constantly talk “music” with promoters and booking agents. Don’t just talk about getting shows.
- Ask for help! As artists, bookers and managers, we at DVT Entertainment strive to help as many bands as possible. You be surprised who can help you in some form or another.

Regional/Touring Tactics:
- Before playing a show in another city or town, be sure up to research the area around the venue. Find locations that could get you exposure from an impromptu acoustic performance ( in stores, on the street etc.).
- Arrive as early as possible and go out and meet people. Have a story that intrigues people. Go to college campuses, retail areas, tattoo shops, record stores, etc.
- Hook up with other bands in the market, either on the bill or not on the bill.
- Go to the venue a few times leading up to your show if possible. I’ve seen numerous artists who have done this and it really paid off. The tactic here would be to draw a circle based on miles or miles away. Determine if a two to four hour drive is worth building a relationship. Before you go I would talk to promoter/agent to see what would be the best shows to attend.

Social Media Tactics:
- Be consistent across all forms of social media. Be creative and engaging and keep it fresh.
- Don’t rely on Facebook solely for all promotion. Use Twitter, Instagram, Soundcloud, Youtube, Periscope, etc. As we see the trends, people like to get their information on different platforms.
- Post frequently and not just about the band. If you’re a beer lover - post about a great craft beer. Any topics from sports, movies, clothing, art, tattoos, that you feel passionate about. I would avoid politics or controversial topics and keep it minimal, unless you’re a band that is based in political and social issues. All these things help build the brand for the band.

Jim’s Pet Peeve
Professional Photos/Logos.
 This is real big one for me. When putting together posters or promos, it sucks when artists don’t have great photos and/or logos. Artists need to get on the ball and have quality photos and logos. This represents you as an artist and creating your brand. Not having these really risks you to further your career. I know it’s about the music, but if the phots are garbage it looks like you don’t care about your project to a newcomer. The photo should represent the band, so be creative! Standing against the brick wall with shitty lighting or sitting at a table drinking beer doesn’t cut it.

Kurt Schmel – SSA Music
It may be a bit late for resolutions, but 2016 should be your year to make every penny count. Literally.  If you are not registered with a PRO, now is the time. Stop putting it off.  It is a quick process to join; and fairly easy to register each of your songs.  If you are registered, great; make sure all of your info is correct. They can’t pay you if they can’t find you.  While you’re in a registering mindset, make sure you’re registered with SoundExchange to get your digital pennies as well.  Be sure to check their database of unclaimed $$ while you’re on their site, they may already have a little something something for you.  Once you’re registered with a PRO, make sure that you are reporting every performance.  It is a quick and easy process to do online, and those pennies can add up to some nice dollars if you’re playing out regularly!
Be smart with your money this year too!  Stop throwing money at people who talk a big game about getting you in the express lane to the top.  That lane doesn’t exist. Your money is taking a quick trip to their bank account.  There are definitely good advisors out there who are well worth the investment; they’re usually the folks who start out by telling you there are no shortcuts to success.  Do your homework on the people you’re thinking of working with. Are they actually active in the business, or are they still riding the success they had in 1987 or even earlier?  Today’s business is nowhere like it used to be, people living in the past will take you there with them. People living in today’s business will navigate the changes with you.

RonBomb Rhetoric
In 2016, dying seems to be the hot trend. In all seriousness, it should give you some insight into the psychology of what makes certain topics go viral. It comes down to emotion, deep feeling and what people are passionate about. If you can connect with someone on an emotional level, than you have a much better chance of acquiring that person as a loyal fan of your band. And on our level, it goes back to networking, as Jim Thorpe stated earlier. Meeting people face to face and engaging the audience is a very effective way of getting people to pay attention to your music. I know I am much more likely to listen to a CD from an artist who I happen to have a positive conversation with while receiving it, as opposed to someone who just handed it to me in passing as the loaded out from the show.
The other suggestion, or observation I will make is that the most successful events are just that, they are events. Albeit, events that are orchestrated and promoted properly. It’s one thing to play on a bill that is 3-5 bands, and that’s all that’s going on.  However, a new album release, art show, or even birthday celebration are all great ways to incorporate a “theme” to the event, which makes it easier to promote and more attention getting to the public. And if you want to do some civic good, helping out by playing for free at a charity event is a great way to show what type of things you care about as a band.

Area Networking Events:
Last Wednesday of Every Month:
Ron Bomb’s Philly Music Scene Happy Hour
7pm-9pm followed by Open Mic

Networking, music scene discussions, guest speakers and live performances
Connie's Ric Rac
1132 S 9th St, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19147

DVT Entertainments Industry Thursday’s
Get Booked, Talk Music, Network, Artists Consultations
The Grape Room / 2nd Floor
105 Grape St., Philadelphia, PA. 19127

4th Annual South Street Spring Festival 2016
Date: May 7th – 11am to 9pm
2 Main Stages, 8 Street Performer Stages, 40+ Artists
Styles: Jam, Funk, Alternative, Indie, Rock, Progressive, Singer Songwriter, Bluegrass ( no hard rock/metal)
To submit for  this year go to : www.dvtevents.com
S. 9th Street Italian Market festival
Dates: May 21st and 22nd
Rain or shine
Two days of food, music and family fun.
Connie’s Ric Rac presents two stages of local original music from Philly’s top artists.
South 9th Street from Wharton to Fitzwater Streets

5th Annual Liberty Musicfest 2016
Dates: Aug. 18th, 19th, 20th, 30th.
4 Stages, 50+ artists, Industry Panels
Styles: All
To Submit for this year go to: www.dvtevents.com

Dewey Beach Music Conference 2016
15yr. Anniversary
Dates: Sept. 22nd, 23rd and 24th
8 Stages, 8 Venues 60+ artists – Industry Panels
Style: All except (no band Hip Hop/R&B or Metal)
to Submit for this go to: www.deweybeachfest.com/dbmc

2nd Street Festival
Date: Sunday Aug 2nd 2016
3 Stages, 24+ artists
Styles: Varies
The Ladybug Festival
Wilmington, DE
Dates: July 2016
Style: Dedicated to Female Artists

Elm City Musicfest
New Haven, CT.
Dates: October 2016
6 Venues, 40+ artists
Styles: All

Mount Holly, NJ.
Dates: August 2016
4 Stages
Styles: Alt rock, Jam, Singer Songwriter

Jersey Shore Music Festival
Seaside Heights, NJ
Dates: May 20th-24th 2016
350 artists perform
Styles: All

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