Musicians have to wear many hats in order to have a successful career in the current music industry. Even going on a small, five-city tour requires an artist to become a booking agent, a PR manager, an interviewee, and obviously, a musician. But there are also roles we don't think of – a mechanic, chef, hotel booker, peace keeper, and an accountant.
And this is just for a small tour – what about a regional one? Or what about when you start bringing in album sales, royalties, and merch money? Or the footwork to start those projects? It can get rough for one guy or girl, even if you're the "band leader." So sometimes, it's necessary and essential to begin delegating your work.
Now, this delegation could very well be to to another member of your band, but let's just face it – sometimes your bandmates are great at music but not necessarily at business. The below responsibilities, however, are some you can hand off today, whether it's to a professional or to a bandmate.
PR can be a bit expensive, but it's surely worth it. Even if you can only afford one solid campaign, you'll usually be left with some great media contacts, some new fans, and great quotes for your EPK. Those media contacts you've made throughout your campaign can be lifelong contacts which you can use each time you release new work, tour their area, and so forth. Instead of balancing writing, touring, and PR, look into hiring a small publicity firm to build buzz around your upcoming project. Most PR groups will work within your budget and give you the most results they can around your cash flow.
Generating media lists, and even PR writing, is something that you can pick up, but most publicists already have journalistic connections. Creating those media relationships is something that can take years, so by pairing with a publicist, you can easily get hooked up with people who would likely be unreachable on your own.
Your bassist has some free time?
If another band member has some free time, there are some small things they can do to until your band saves up that cash to hire a PR group. Have a bandmate look up media contacts that are relevant for your campaign. For a small tour, get some local press contact info, or for a review or release, get some blog and media outlet info. Keep this list in a Google Sheet or another recurring collaborative document, and keep adding onto it. Once you have a project ready for release, look up some PR writing articles, brush up on that grammar, and send out some releases.
Now, PR writing is certainly a learned art that people (like me) have gone to college to study. I do recommend you at least hire someone with writing experience for these (it's less expensive than hiring someone to manage an entire campaign), but if you want to give it a shot, there are plenty resources out there that will help you write a formal and effective press release. This can be a great way to keep your name in the press until you can afford a wider-spread campaign from a firm.
2. Social media
When I first got into music marketing, I served almost solely as a social media manager for artists and labels. It was my main service, and the reasoning was simple: labels, managers, and artists saw a rise in productivity when they handed off their social media marketing to someone else. When not focusing on online marketing, artists could get back into the studio, focus more on writing, and were able to tour without worrying about promos from their channels.
My team, along with plenty others, gladly assists musicians in their social media marketing. It saves artists lots of time and allows them to operate much more efficiently. Of course, artists are still in control of their channels – posting shots of crowds, pics while on tour, and them in the studio. But having another set of eyes ensuring everything is running smoothly is incredibly helpful.
Social media marketing is very strategic. You have to ensure your posts are dynamic, engaging, and meeting reach. While most think it's easy to just post stuff daily, the quality of your content speaks volumes. Having someone post for you, make graphics, edit videos, and prepare photos makes your life a lot easier.
Your drummer is bored?
If another bandmate wants to handle social media, I recommend reading up on what makes a post good or bad. Go ahead and invest in (or use a free version of) a scheduler such as Hootsuite or Buffer. Make some simple graphics and posts, and then schedule them to go live in the next few weeks. This way, you have posts scheduled and ready to launch, and you just have to focus on upkeep.
Yo, tax time sucks for artists. This is doubly true when you're collecting royalties and licensing money – it gets hectic and crazy. Balancing a tour budget, a recording budget, and much more is incredibly daunting. So get someone else to do it! Accountants will gladly work with you to balance your budget, ensure your taxes are done correctly, and some will even oversee your royalties and other residual income and ensure everything is flowing properly.
Skip the bandmate
I actually don't recommend you hand this one off to a bandmate. If you're making minimal income, then sure, maybe a bandmate who's good with numbers and spreadsheets can keep up, but if you're bringing in some cash, you need to ensure it's all budgeted correctly. It's worth the extra costs. Better to spend a little money to upkeep your finances than to overlook a key element of your career!
As a music marketing strategist, Tyler Allen works with an extensive array of artists, labels, music tech, and music retail entities. Tyler began his music industry career with Sony Music Entertainment and RED Distribution, as well as the advertising industry. He is dedicated to giving veteran artists the tools to preserve their legacy, and new artists the tools to begin theirs (as well as everything in between). Learn more at wtylerconsulting.com.