Music Industry Success

Promoting Your Act: Part Two

Promoting Your Act: Part Two

May 5, 2014

How much do agents and managers typically charge? Both are going to ask for a cut of the “gigging action” to work with you. Agents typically charge 20% for their services, for each engagement they book for you. A manager typically charges 20% per gig. I mention the two separately, because you need to take note. If you are working with BOTH a manager and an agent, you are out of pocket 40% per gig off the top-before considering the fixed costs of musician pay, stage fee, sound man, PA system, etc. This can take a big dent out of your profits. Promoter: Promoters create entertainment events. They contact colleges and stadiums, etc. to find interest in entertainment events. After the interest is found, they organize it, coordinate the auditorium or stadium with the band, negotiate fees, find sponsors, raise money, arrange ticket dales, implement advertising, organize vendors, arrange for security, and on and on. This is a job for a professional. Do it yourself: I don’t recommend promoting a band without experience. However, if you do have some time on your hands and are willing to learn, you might dare to manage your own band. You have one advantage on your side. Regardless of how you promote your act, you will need a press kit, as mentioned before. With the press kit prepared, how you choose to promote your act depends on several factors. -Are you local? -Are you willing to travel? -Does your act cater to a specific audience as to age, race, gender or ethnicity? -Are there specific types of events where your type of entertainment is more in demand? -Are there certain types of engagements that you don’t want to work? What is public relations? How do I do this? Public relations (PR) is the process of putting your entertainment in the spotlight in a positive way that is of interest to the public. It is the process of finding or creating a story that involves or segues your music. It includes working with radio, TV, newspapers and your community. Here is the good part. It involves both people skills and labor. It does not involve a lot of physical...

Promoting Your Act: Part One

Promoting Your Act: Part One

Apr 30, 2014

After a demo and a press kit are produced, there are four ways to promote entertainment. You can: 1. Hire a manager 2. Try to attract an agent 3. Arrange to work with a promoter 4. Manage and promote yourself Manager: A manager “manages” the business. This person sells gigs; works with agents and promoters; helps coordinate musicians, musical arrangements and repertoire; arranges for travel; handles money; supports public relations events and either performs or delegates all other affairs pertaining to the business of the band. Agent: An agency books gigs on behalf of its customers. Agents work with many bands at once and choose the ones that best fit the needs of their clients. This means that, although you may be signed with an agent, that agent is looking out for his or her own interest and not necessarily yours. Also, the customers are NOT your customers but the customers of the agent, whose priority it is to satisfy those customers, while working equally with all the signed bands. So be aware that the agent is not necessarily working for you all the time. Your agent also represents other bands, and your band IS competing with all of the other bands signed for the same work. Note: Although there are pros and cons, agency representation can be prestigious. Do I need an agent? You don’t necessarily need an agent. If you know how (or are willing to learn) and if you have the time, you might want to try promoting your own act. Otherwise, you do need a manager or an agent to support the band. Remember, agency representation is prestigious and enhances your reputation. However, you need a good demo and a press kit to get an agent. What should I look for in an agent or manager? In both cases, you should look for a company that represents your needs. Are they listening to your concerns, or are they telling you what to do? You need to find people who will respect your music, your band, your interests and your direction. There are a lot of agents and managers who want to do things their way and won’t listen to the...

Finding Work: Part Three

Finding Work: Part Three

Apr 21, 2014

How do I find quality musicians? You need to create your own network! Make time to scout musicians by going to live music events. Get to know some of the bands in your area-geographically as well as musically. The visibility you get through your networking efforts will help you meet other musicians. Some general advice as you search for work The music business IS a business. This does not demean what you are doing, but the fact is that if you don’t look at it like a business, one of three things will happen: either you will get nowhere, you will find local club work only, or you will make it “big,” but will likely lose control of your music and career in the process. There are an awful lot to scams geared toward musicians. In many ways, it can be a nasty business where your talents are not appreciated, and where money is the only priority. However, as you proceed, working with new companies and new people, keep in mind some very basic common-sense advice. It may save you a lot of grief. 1. Consider the stability of the person or company with whom you are working. Will the club go out of business before it pays your gig fee? 2. Keep in mind the reliability of the person or company you are working with. Do they keep their promises? That sounds basic, but be careful. Setting up your own club Bands are always looking for ways to be “heard.” Many bands will frequent the club scene and play for tips. But, there is a more creative solution: set up your own club. I’m not talking about opening a club. What I’m talking about is organizing your own regularly scheduled event, where you can be heard and where you have some control. There are politics involved with this process, and you need to know who you are dealing with and how they will benefit from such a project before you initiate it. If you do this the right way, it can become the single most successful promotional tool you can possibly...

Finding Work: Part Two

Finding Work: Part Two

Apr 9, 2014

How do I find good quality work? Picky aren’t we? Have you already decided what type of musician you want to be? Well, let’s move on while you think about it. When I say “good quality work,” I don’t mean well-paying, I mean good music with good musicians. If you find the “good” gig and people see you playing well, they will naturally qualify you to play more of the same and will likely call on you. So, it’s not just a matter of playing, it’s a matter of being seen playing the right music at the right time. If you take the time to meet people during the gig, you will leave a lasting impression. They will remember you. If you like the performance of another musician, you should call and let them know. Create your own network. I enjoy playing one type of music. Can I make a living playing just one style? One of the issues we discuss is understanding yourself. It is not my place to tell you that you MUST learn all types and styles of music to be a “pro.” It depends what you want out of your career. If you know only one type of music, it is probably because that music is your passion. You don’t have to change, but this limits your musical opportunities. So where do you go if you just play one style? Most of these musicians work with bands that play their style of music, because it allows them to do what they enjoy the most. If you don’t have enough experience or interest with other musical styles to freelance, you need to quickly learn how to promote your band before you end up on unemployment (or work a second job). The reality is, unless you are working steadily in an established band, by knowing only one or two styles of music you probably do not have enough experience to book steady work. Many musicians choose to play only one type of music. If they don’t already know how to sell their sound, they have a tough time getting gigs. You need to identify your audience and then market to that audience....

Finding Work: Part One

Finding Work: Part One

Apr 2, 2014

How do I find gigs in my neighborhood (or anywhere else)? There are a few things to keep in mind. (This is yet another area where many professionals make mistakes.) Initially, there are three things you need to do: Decide what is more important to you: playing good gigs as a freelancer, or playing with a steady band. Your responsibilities are different with each choice. Get as much exposure as possible. Find ways to play quality gigs that allow you to shine. Create your own network of people with whom you can do business as you do both of the above.  Exposure is the key to success. No matter who you are, you need to be seen. You need to be seen at your best and make sure you meet the important people around you who can work with you in the future. But before we go further, you need to decide what type of musician you want to be. Musicians fall under two categories: freelancers and band performers. If you want to freelance, you will be expected to show up at the gig without rehearsal and play cold. There can be good money in this, but all you are doing is taking orders, playing existing charts. For many musicians this is just fine. However, there are a lot of musicians who are not satisfied with this type of work, but are interested in learning new arrangements, deciding on repertoire and arranging. These musicians want more responsibility within the band. They want a say in what they’re playing. These are band performers. A word of caution: It is difficult and hazardous to attempt to be both a freelancer and a band performer. The reason is availability. By doing both, you create the impression that you may not be available for either. It’s like working two jobs, where both require you to be there whenever necessary to do the work. If you are busy with a steady band, all of the bands that hire freelancers will automatically assume that you are not available for them, and will not call on you for their gigs. If you are busy freelancing, the steady band will not call...

Planning a Public Event

Planning a Public Event

Mar 11, 2014

Planning a public event? A lot of entertainers perform at private functions where advertising for attendance is not an issue. When you perform publicly, however, you want to make the most of the event, and this makes publicity critical. If you are planning a public event, you need to know how to promote it. There are three types of promotional aids necessary for any PR or promotional campaign. These include newspaper or magazine ads, flyers and press releases. Newspaper or Magazine Ads:  When promoting a public event, you need to plan to advertise. Regardless of your choices, you need ads that look alike and provide the same message, so that, as the public sees your ads in different publications, newspapers, magazines, posters and flyers or social media sites, it will be clear to them that all ads represent your act and your name. Social Media: Social media can be used to publicize your event and connect with your followers. You should post frequent updates about the event and engage your followers so they will be more inclined to attend your show. You can even create an event #hashtag to reach a large amount of people. Flyers: Flyers are just as important as newspaper and other print advertising. To establish and maintain an identity, it is both critical and cost saving to develop your print advertising and flyers with a common look and theme. Press Releases: This is the most misunderstood area of promotion that entertainers try to do on their own. Let’s be clear. Press releases should be used when promoting any public event. The publicity attracted from a well-written release can make the difference between a simple gig and a major public event. When writing and formatting a release, there are rules that must be followed that dictate the format, message, length and...