Archive for the ‘Promotion’ Category

Band of The Week: Mojo Kick

Genre: Blues Rock, Grunge Rock, Punk Blues

Listen If You Like: Jack White, The Black keys, Crash Kings
 
 
 
 
 
 

You may (or maybe not) remember from when I first started blogging that I love going to shows. If I can find a good show for every night of the week, it’s been a fucking fantastic week. There was a blizzard (snowpocalypse? yay sensationalism) this past weekend and the worst part wasn’t that every place to get food was closed or that I could barely walk anywhere, it was that the shows I was excited for were canceled.

Pictured: not me

That being said, there are so many shows each week that I have to pick and choose. And I’ve noticed some patterns in the shows that get the shaft. So here are some reasons I won’t be going to your band’s next show:

1. You Had A Show A Week Ago

And have one next week too. Even if I haven’t been to any of your shows, I’m more likely to see the band who plays, at MOST, every two weeks than someone I know I can just wait to see next week.

If I have seen your show, playing so often provides no distinction between each performance. It’s better to play a show, then take the time to develop your songs, performance, or stage presence, and THEN play a show. That way it feels completely new and interesting and I’ll actually be interested to see what you have planned for next time.

2. I Have No Idea What You Sound Like

This baffles me. Fans don’t become fans by finding you on Facebook and waiting until they can go to a show to hear your music. Fans are formed with the least effort (for them) possible. Put up at least one song before you start playing out – unless you’re playing open mic nights where there’s a guaranteed audience.

3. It’s In Another State

Facebook has ways to sort your friends for a reason. If I’m in Boston and your show is in Rhode Island, there’s no way I’ll be coming…just don’t even invite me. I’ll get all excited for it and then realize it’s definitely not walking distance. If you want to offer me a ride and place to stay, that’s a different story…I’m always down for a good adventure 😉

4. You’re strategy consists of PLEASE PLEASE COME TO OUR AWESOME SHOW WE’LL LOVE YOU FOREVER!

You cannot annoy me into attending your show. And for the love of god, don’t send me a personal message unless we are close enough that we’ve shared a fork.

 

Now here are some tips from my favorite Internet places:

http://www.hypebot.com/hypebot/2012/11/how-do-bands-promote-custom-tabs-on-facebook.html

http://howtorunaband.com/10-ideas-to-promote-a-show-in-a-different-city/

http://www.hypebot.com/hypebot/2011/10/how-to-promote-a-show-you-may-not-like-what-youre-about-to-read.html

http://schiffblog.com/2012/03/18/the-aar-cycle/

I don’t need to tell you that networking is one of the most important aspects of success in the music industry – I’m sure it’s been rammed down your throat sufficiently without my help. At Berklee, the first pieces of advice given to incoming students include the mantra “network, network, network,” and it comes back time and again in every panel and Q&A session available.

As a more introverted person, it’s difficult to keep up with the amount of networking I feel I should be doing. I’ve spent the past three years pushing myself out of my comfort zone and learning, through trial and error, what does and doesn’t work when networking as a non-extrovert. It’s been rough, but completely worth it. Now I bring to you, networking advice for the introvert:


Baby Steps

All the networking advice out there says to work a room, give out (and collect) cards out the wazoo, send follow up emails, and potentially meet with your new contacts.

I know that this was overwhelming for me. At functions, I’m the wallflower, the one standing near the food or drinks to have an excuse to not be talking to anyone, so striking up conversations with multiple people was incredibly daunting at first.

Instead of feeling like it’s all or nothing, find one person to talk to – you are building your network one person at a time after all. It could be a fellow wallflower, or someone who seems extremely friendly and easy to talk to. If the conversation is going well, definitely exchange information! BUT don’t feel like it’s a requirement. If you don’t find a natural opening, don’t stress about making one.

Also, choose events that interest you or that you feel will yield good results. Instead of attending EVERY event, which will cause networking burnout, you’ll only go to the amount you can handle, and will get much more out of each event.

Common Interests

I rarely strike up conversations with people I don’t feel I can connect with. Luckily, in this industry, if you’re at an event you automatically have something to talk about! Ask them what their involvement is or what they love to do (I find asking people what they do often leads to awkward answers – many people in this industry aren’t doing what they really love just yet). If you can get someone talking about their passion, most of the time you can just sit back and let them lead the conversation.

Utilize Social Media

Social media is a godsend for those with social aversion. A quick Tweet or message on Facebook is so much easier than approaching someone in person. It takes away the fear of stumbling over words and appearing confident. It’s much easier to craft a confident message than a confident demeanor.

Don’t be afraid to talk to people who are at a much higher level than you either! Social media has helped tremendously to level the playing field, and oftentimes musicians and industry professionals respond to every message they receive.

You Don’t Have To Use The Phone

Well, mostly. Luckily, the majority of people today view phone conversations as a time-consuming interruption instead of a necessary way to communicate. If given an option, always email. The only reason I ever use the phone is if the other person insists on a phone call, and that only happens very rarely.

Of course, if it does seem like the better course of action, definitely use the phone.

If I had advice for making it a better experience, I’d share it with you, but phone conversations still vex me.

Bring A Friend

Have an extroverted friend? Bring them to events! I’ve had friends that have essentially been networking wingmen, and it works extremely well. Have your friend start the conversation and chime in when you feel comfortable. If they’re good friends, you can share your trepidations and hopefully they’ll be willing to turn the conversation towards you and what you do in the industry.

Don’t forget that friends ARE your network. Ask them for favors (as long as you reciprocate) and find out if they know people who you may be interested in getting to know.

Push Yourself

Finally, the most difficult part – you have to push yourself. Create an atmosphere where you feel comfortable, and then use that support to push outside of your comfort zone.

The best way to do this is to REFUSE to think about how it could go wrong. People generally like meeting new contacts, and if you show a passion for the industry they’ll see that and appreciate it.


Your network is your way into the industry, whether you like it or not, but there are ways of growing that network with minimal stress.

Links:

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/career-transitions/201010/networking-101-introverts

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/self-promotion-introverts/201007/networking-isnt-about-using-and-getting-used

http://www.inc.com/karl-and-bill/networking-for-introverts-3-tips-for-success.html

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-introverts-corner

When I announced that I’m now managing a band in NYC on Sunday, some people (okay one person, I’m not exactly big time here) were curious about the events that led to that decision. Here I’ll tell the tale of how I came to manage them, from first meeting to now, with a sprinkle of advice thrown in (you know how I do).

NMS and Determined Networking

A few weeks ago, I attended the New Music Seminar at Webster Hall and posted about it here. What I didn’t mention was the band from Mexico that I met on the first night, the opening concert.

Before the show, there was a “red carpet” of sorts for all the media to take pictures and do quick interviews. I only had my iPhone so I was mostly there to see who was at the concert and hopefully learn a little more about the seminar. There were a couple bands that walked through that had the potential to play my preferred genre of music, one of which was The Oats.

I am not the most social person. Every outing takes a good deal of energy from me and I have to force myself to walk up to new people and start a conversation. But that’s exactly what I did. The first band did NOT seem interested in what I had to say…they replied with obligation and gave me their card, but they clearly had better people to talk to. Refusing to be deterred, I walked up to the next band in the hopes of, at the very least, getting their information and finding some new music. I didn’t realize I was starting a friendship and a partnership.

The Oats were very enthusiastic about meeting new people (my friend was with me) and we talked for a bit about their sound (The Pixies, The Strokes, The Libertines), their story, and my aspirations in the music business. We exchanged information and went our separate ways.

Networking Tips (Trust me, I know this shit. Thanks Google!):

  • Be Confident – If you don’t believe you’re an interesting person to talk to, no one else will either, and they’ll quickly run the other way
  • Have A Conversation Starter – With those bands, I opened by confirming their band name and inquiring about the genre of music they play. It can be anything from complimenting an article of clothing to asking about their position in the music industry.
  • Focus On Them – People love talking about themselves
  • Get Their Contact Info – Ask for a card, a number, or an email, and make sure not to lose it!
  • Follow Up – Send a quick email saying how great it was to meet them and include an open-ended suggestion to meet or work together

Follow-Up and A Show At Public Assembly

After the New Music Seminar ended, and I actually had some free time again, I sent out a follow-up email saying I liked their music and asking for a list of show dates. Of course, they added me to their mailing list (good move guys) and sent me a free download (and again!) along with their calendar. Naturally, I went to their next show, which was at Public Assembly in Brooklyn. At 8pm on a Sunday. What I’m saying is there weren’t many people there.

Despite the small crowd, The Oats rocked it and made the perfect self-deprecating joke, without making it awkward. They also enlisted the help of a rubber chicken to ask for emails from the audience. I was really starting to like this band.

After the show, my friends and I invited them to hang out back at our place, have a beer, and play some music (as we’re wont to do..). Even with their Mexican accents (meaning language barrier), they fit in with us Berklee kids. Musicians gotta stick together, you know?

The Rest Is History

But I’ll tell you about it anyway. We started hanging out more regularly, talking about their time in Toronto and how the radio stations in Mexico don’t like bands that sing in English, and I just became determined to help them build a fan base here in NYC. I checked out their online presence, gave them a few tips, and promoted shows through my social media profiles. Then, I got them a gig in Boston (THIS FRIDAY AT MACHINE). Occasionally, they’d mention they were looking for a manager, but, seeing as I don’t have any experience, I was resistant to offering my services (I was scared shitless that I’d mess it up).

But, after talking about my experiences with my internships and previous concert planning and promotion, along with all the help I’d offered them and my enthusiasm for their music, they asked me to be their manager. And, as you know, I said yes.

Sign Your First Band (Advice For Aspiring Managers)

  • Go to ALL THE SHOWS
  • Find a small band or two that you really believe in, based on their music and their dedication
  • Introduce yourself as a person interested in music business – and their band (don’t mention management yet!)
  • Prove Yourself – Because you lack the experience, you have to help them before bringing up management…give advice, help with promotion, book them a gig, whatever is in your capabilities to do
  • Mention that you’re interested in managing bands, if they seem interested, talk about how you would help them and let them know that if they need a manager, you would be glad to help
  • Wait – there isn’t much you can do after this without the risk of seeming desperate, so let them think it over and if they bring it up again, you’re golden

So now we’re in the development stages of this collaboration. We made a contract (always do this – ALWAYS), set some goals and guidelines, and are working non-stop to make it all happen.

Sometimes it all feels like a dream. Two years ago, I never would have believed I would be where I am now, or would have gained so much knowledge and so many connections. It’s a surreal feeling living your dream (forgive the expression). I wish everyone had the chance to be in my position, and that’s why I write this blog. I want to share my experiences from my pursuit of success in the music business, and I want those experiences to help as many people as possible, although even just one would make me happy.

If you want to see The Oats play live today at 4pm, check them out via uStream on Rew & Who!

Have a wonderful 4th of July everyone!

I know pretty much everyone says this, but good lord this summer is going by too quickly. I’m almost halfway through and I feel like there’s still way too much I want to do. Looks like I’ll have to cut back to NO sleep. That’s feasible right?

Here are some snapshots of my 4th week:

Went to see a band who are here all the way from Mexico called The Oats in Williamsburg and noticed this brilliant number marking system. Dominoes. Who would have thought?

Saw my boy Evan play at Googie’s Lounge! 4 weeks in NYC and he’s already had two gigs. This kid’s going places.

Saw this and got very confused…Kind of dark for subway art, don’t you think??

Found a FREE SHOW (two best words ever) for White Rabbits (<3) in Williamsburg with openers We Barbarians. It was awesome to go to a bigger show like that, I’ve been going to too many open mics.

But the best part of my week had to be enjoying the sweet chewiness of a Now and Later. Like a cool kid from the 90s.

Does anyone remember these things?? I used to eat them by the handful.


I HAVE AN ANNOUNCEMENT

So pay attention (please).

The band I mentioned at the beginning of the post (The Oats) will now be managed by yours truly! Get ready to hear a lot more about them, because it’s about to take over my life and I really believe in them as a band. I promise they won’t be the band of the week ALL the time (I guess). If you like The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys, or The Pixies, you should probably check them out and come to a show or two. If you like them, email spreadtheoats@gmail.com to be added to the mailing list!


I’m also adding a new feature to my Sunday updates. I’ve been going to so many shows every week, I decided to start keeping track. So here’s to introducing the show counter! (try to contain your excitement)

SHOW COUNT: 7

 

So, in conclusion, stay away from alligators and please, feed a Mexican.

Facebook’s been annoying people lately, but it’s still an important way to promote yourself and your music. These do’s and don’ts of Facebook marketing are geared towards musicians, but they really can apply to any business or product.

DON’T tell your fans what to do

Have you ever been solicited with “Vote for us to be the #1 band on (insert site here)!!!” or “Listen to our new EP and follow us on Twitter!” It gets annoying. Many bands and musicians make this mistake because they believe that the best way to get people to listen is to advertise like it’s the 1950s. Unfortunately, that won’t work anymore, and the most successful bands find ways to connect to their audiences FIRST, and then use those connections to promote more effectively.

DO Share Your Journey With Your Fans

The better way to promote is to present information similar to how you would your life to a friend. Let your fans know what you’re up to (writing, recording, music video, etc), don’t shout it at them. Provide content they will enjoy and make them want to be active in promoting your music. If you want them to vote for you on some blog or magazine competition, make a request, not a demand, and make it seem like they would be contributing to your success and ability to make more awesome music.

Ideas For Content:

Marketing Plan Tactics For Independent Musicians Part 3: Content Is King

DON’T Require “Likes” To Unlock Your Songs

Of all the sins committed on Facebook, this one irks me the most. At best you have a “like” that may or may not be attached to an actual fan (they won’t know until they listen to your music) and at worst, you lost a potential fan because they decided it wasn’t worth the “like.” It may seem like a good idea on the surface, but requiring someone who isn’t yet a fan to do something is likely to end up in fewer fans. If they like your music, they’ll like your page.

DO Request Emails For Track Downloads

If someone is looking to download your music, they’re already a fan. You have something they want and you can use that leverage to get something valuable from them. Emails are incredibly important, especially for bands who are taking the DIY approach. They allow you to target your fans specifically for shows or promotions or even exclusive content. By all means, still put a price on your music – someone may prefer to pay $1 rather than give out their email – but make sure there is at least one song available for download in exchange for an email (make it a single, not an album cut).

Platforms:

Bandcamp is great for this. As is Topspin.

DON’T Rely On Likes Alone

Likes are not a great representation of how many fans a band actually has. For example, a percentage are likely from friends and family of the band (who may not actually listen to the music), from people who listened to a song and then forgot about you, or from people who are interested in the music, but don’t take initiative when it comes to spreading the word.

DO Look At Stats

Facebook did a great thing for bands and businesses when they added the “reach” and other stats to pages. If you can get people talking about you, that’s a sign you are gaining popularity and a fan base. Try to get as high a ratio of “talking about this” to “likes” as possible. Those are your true fans. You can count on these people to share your content and reach people who might not have heard of you yet. Facebook keeps track of both the people talking about you and how far their posts reach.

Get Started:

Understanding “Talking About This”

100 Ways To Promote Your Band

Seth Godin Agrees

What do you do to keep your presence on Facebook interesting?