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Expert Music Career Advice For DIY Musicians
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The Number One Mistake Bands Make Right After Booking a Gig
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15 Reality Checks Young Artists Need to Hear

Tips of the Trade

May 23, 2012 02:32 PM

Kate Myers

5 Steps to Crowdfunding

Chances are you’ve heard a fair amount about the success artists have had using crowdfunding platforms. In fact, right now artists like indie queen Amanda Palmer and fan favorite Ben Folds are both running successful campaigns. Before you get started on a campaign for your band, check out these 5 steps to a badass campaign.

Make Fans

If a tree falls in the woods, and there’s no one there to hear it, will it make a noise? Same thing goes with crowdfunding. Even if you set up a sweet campaign, you need fans to find out about it and engage or else you won’t meet your goals (aka raise funds).  Spend time building up your fan base online, whether that’s through Facebook and Twitter or through an email list that you reach regularly. These fans (and super fans) are going to make or break your next campaign.

P&B

While we can all use a bit of extra cash, crowdfunding campaigns are most successful when they are tied to specific projects and budgets. Budget out what you’re working on this year, a new record or upcoming tour. Taking into consideration the cost of a project and the size of your base, determine the project and goal for the campaign.

Exclusive Silliness

When deciding what the rewards would be for donating, keep it fun and thoughtful. Put together a list of things you can give your fans (including some fun ones – we recently came across Sonicbids’ Lovely Bad Things promising to get a tattoo on a band mates bottom for a significant donation). Do you have exclusive content (or better yet, can you create exclusive content like unreleased tracks or handwritten tabs).

Don’t skimp on the video.

Crowdfunding sites typically ask you to create a video to let fans know why you need the funds. Consider this as your elevator pitch – you have 1 minute to convince music fans from all over to support you. Make sure the video shows your bands personality. Fans want to feel connected with you and your music.

Keep it coming. 

Document both your success and your project throughout the campaign. Whether it’s posting pictures each day or creating weekly recap videos, be sure to share your reactions and your work with your fans. Chances are, creating great content will get you more fans as well! #Winning

Have you completed a crowdfunding campaign or are you thinking about creating a campaign? Leave us the dirt in the comments!

Tips of the Trade

Mar 21, 2012 04:56 PM

Nick Mendez

Guest Post: An Open Letter on the Search for the Perfect Bandmate

One of the most essential, and commonly overlooked, part of an artist's career is finding the right bandmates. We spoke to Rich Dale, creator of muso2muso.com, about how his neighbor became his drummer, and other musings on the search for the perfect compatriots.

Dear musicians,

Finding your perfect band mate? Is there such a thing?

I believe this is a combination of luck and bloody hard work! You can meet someone in the pub who is a musician, who loves the music your into, is looking for a band, dedicated to practice, has good gear and transport, and well you get the picture.

Or, you can spend months searching through classifieds in the local paper and still not find the right person.

So, my big tip is to keep an open mind and listen hard! The drummer in my band lived upstairs for over a year, and we often exchanged metal riffs while cranking our stereo’s, and talked about bands we have seen. I knew he played the drums, but he always said he was crap and he was just learning. To cut a long drunken story short, he came to the studio for a jam, and it was dynamite. He locked in hard and loved the music. Perfect band mate!

There is also a lot to say for tenacity and perseverance. Use social media sites like Facebook, MySpace and of course the site I designed, muso2muso. Check out people’s profiles, listen to their music, get an understanding of who they are and what their story is. This will give you a good insight if they might be the right fit for you. From there it’s up to you to make contact, and see if they gel with the rest of the band.

It is also a good idea to socialise by going to gigs, events, clubs, etc. Go to events in the music genre you are interested in and get out and talk to people. I have met loads of muso’s at the pub, and even jammed with a few. I have even talked to the bands who were playing that night and got on stage and jammed with them. So anything is possible.

I think the biggest thing is to get the right chemistry in band mates, and for everyone to be on the same page. If everyone’s expectations line up, then your half way there. It’s important to ask those questions early on. For example, if the band needs to rehearse three nights a week and play gigs on the weekend, and you can only rehearse one night a week and you work weekends, this probably won’t work.

Having similar background and tastes in music, style and technique also helps. A metal drummer is unlikely to want to play in a blues band!

So be positive, listen for opportunities, search online and go out and socialise. Put the word out for what you’re looking for, and it might even come to you.

Good luck,

Rich Dale
Director
muso2muso.com

Tips of the Trade

Feb 15, 2012 05:23 PM

Nick Mendez

Your Artist Dashboard is Chock Full of Apps


By now I've finished my sandwich and you've undoubtedly added a Sonicbids Artist tab to your Facebook Profile. Pretty sweet right?



Believe it or not, there are even more ways to extend the usefulness of your Sonicbids account, and get your music out in more ways than you dreamed possible. Apps, baby.



Within your Sonicbids profile, you have access to eight apps from our partners, all with their own inherent usefulness and style. Here's a rundown of what you can take advantage of right now:

  • Headliner.fm: Beyond taking avantage of your own Twitter, Facebook and MySpace followers, Headliner.fm lets you utilize other band's social media reach as well. Sonicbids members get a free 14-day free trial, allowing them to trade recommendations with other Headliner.fm members, growing your fan base with the power of friendship.


  • Jango: With more than 8 million listeners, Jango is social internet radio that puts your music in the ears of fans who'll love it. After uploading a few tunes, you'll select popular artists whose music goes well with your own. Sonicbids artists get at least 50 free plays just for signing up.


  • Bandzoogle: Without having to learn a lick of code, Bandzoogle can turn your existing EPK data into a professional looking website in just a few clicks. With built in email blasts, blog features and tools to sell your music, your new website is certain to raise your act's profile.


  • PledgeMusic: Turn your fans into an engine to drive your next album release, and raise money for charity in the process. PledgeMusic lets you crowd source funds to help pay for recording, production or marketing.


  • Songtrust: Whether you're touring, selling your music, getting played on TV/radio or streamed on the internet, you could be earning royalties. Songtrust lets you register and protect your original material, track where it's being played, and early 100% of owed royalties with no long term contract required.


  • Disc Makers: Yea digital distribution is important, but nothing leaves an impression like a fresh pressed disc accompanied by sweet, professionally printed album art. Disc Makers, true to their name, let you instantly upload tracks and images, and get a box full of store-ready CDs, DVDs or posters in just a few days.


  • Zazzle: Your fans need merch. How else are they supposed to show their love for you? Zazzle hooks you up with a personalized, online merchandise storefront to sell t-shirts, buttons, hats and way more. Sonicbids members get 15% off on-demand printing with a special promo code.


  • CD Baby: When it comes to digital distribution, you want to be everywhere your fans are. CD Baby helps you do that by offering digital distribution across iTunes, Amazon MP3, Google Music, Spotify and many, many more. The fruits of your labor (dollar dollar bill ya'll) arrive each and every week.



Holy apps Batman, that's a lot of opportunity. What are you waiting for? Get clicking!

Tips of the Trade

Feb 2, 2012 03:31 PM

Nick Mendez

Top Five Reasons to Use Your Sonicbids Facebook Artist Profile


The other day while sitting at my Sonicbids desk, a little bird landed on the window sill and told me that some of you aren't utilizing our Facebook Artist Profile feature. I was all like "no way bird that ish is free to all members, who wouldn't give it a try" and he was all like "tweet tweet tweet I'm a flipping bird don't shoot the messenger."

After naming my new winged friend Worf and demanding that he fetch me a sandwich, he flew away and vowed not to return with my freshly cut capicola until I tell you guys all the great reasons to set up an artist profile.

And I'm hungry dudes, so without further to do, here are the top five reasons you should be using the Sonicbids Facebook Artist Profile:

1. It's free with your membership:

That's right Sonicbids members, adding an artist profile to your Facebook page doesn't cost you a dime. It's a key feature of our Sonic and Supersonic memberships that we're very happy to offer and support for no additional charge.

2. All your content integrates automagically:

Don't waste any more time transferring photos, uploading MP3s or retyping your band's storied history! When you activate your artist profile, all the data you've poured into your EPK transfers right over. Then you can fine tune the appearance and features of your profile via the artist dashboard.

3. 850 million people can't all be wrong: 

Still not convinced that Facebook is a platform worth your time? Let me throw a little number your way- 850,000,000 active monthly users. That's 2000 times the total members of ASCAP. Put another way, that's roughly equal to the combined populations of the United States, the UK, Canada, Australia, Japan, Spain, Greece, Germany, France and the Ukraine. Imagine the t-shirt sales.

4. Like-lock to grow your fanbase:

As a special bonus for Supersonic members, we've built a like-lock feature directly into the profile. With this feature you can require fans to Like your profile before they can play your new single, for instance, growing your fan base and potential outreach.

5. Facebook and music are tighter than ever: 

On Facebook, music apps are the new hotness. Since the launch of music apps at last year's F8 conference, users have shared their listening activity more than 2 billion times. Streaming companies like MOG have seen a 246 percent growth in business since the launch. More than ever, tastemakers are using Facebook to find new tunes.

So what are you waiting for? Just click here to get your artist profile set up. It's that easy. Now where's my sandwich?

 

 

 

 

 

Tips of the Trade

Jan 26, 2012 05:00 AM

Kate Myers

New Year’s Resolutions From Bandzoogle & Sonicbids Part 4: Tour Tips

So here’s the final blog post of our New Year’s Resolutions series. Now that you’ve got your budget and funding together and your online presence is looking tight, it’s time to hit the road! But before you do, check out these tips from Bandzoogle and Sonicbids.

Oh the places you’ll go: Decide where you’ll play

Before you hit the road, it’s important to map out where you’d like to play. There are a couple of things to consider including your draw in certain regions or cities, how many shows you can afford to play and the location and timing specific festivals or venues that you hope to play.

Draw.

While it’s always great to explore new parts of the country, if you don’t have any fans or connections with bands on the opposite coast, it may make more sense to focus your tour on cities surrounding your hometown. Starting close to home can help build up fans in your region and it’s easier to get back out for extra shows! If you’re ready to hit the road in far off town, think about gig swapping (see below).

Budget.

Now that you have a budget together, it’s important to try to stick to it. That may mean touring in towns where you have friends to crash with (save costs on hotels) or only traveling for 10-days at a time. Get together and talk about the challenges for being on the road, where will you sleep, how much money can you spend on food each day, how will you pay for gas. Once you’ve got a plan, the tour will go much more smoothly.

Special shows.

Playing festivals or specific venues can help put your band on the map – and it’s a great excuse to build a tour around those dates. Before hitting the road this year, think about what larger gigs you are hoping to book and map out your travels with those dates and locations in mind.

Band tip: When you are looking at venues or festivals you want to play consider what level your band is at. If you haven’t played for more than 100 fans, you may not get booked for a festival like Bonnaroo but there are plenty of other festivals that you could be a great fit for. Also, before submitting to festivals, do your research and think like a booker. Will your sound fit in with the likes of the headliners? Will you be able to draw to that location?

  

Going on Tour: Tips for getting your band booked

So you’ve identified the cities and venues that you want to play and now it’s time to start booking the shows. Here are 5 tips to give yourself the best shot at getting booked:

1. Think at least 4-5 months in advance: Most venues are booked several months in advance, and the more popular a venue, the further in advance you should contact them.

2. Keep it short:  When contacting a booking agent, keep it short. Bookers get a ton of emails, so try and keep the email to a couple of paragraphs, and include the following info:

  • Your band name & date you want to book, and any other bands who will be performing



  • Link to music that they can listen to (if linking to your website, make sure yourmusiciseasytofind), or simply link to your EPK.



  • Link to a live video, if not already contained in your EPK. Band tip: Unless requested, don’t attach large files to your email. Simply include links to music, photos and videos.



  • Brief promo plan: How are you going to get people out to the show? You don’t have to write a full promo plan, but mention things like a media/publicity campaign/hiring a publicist, or if you have data of how many mailing list subscribers, Facebook fans, and Twitter followers you have in that city. Band tip: Use TweepsMap to find out where your Twitter followers are from, and for Facebook, use your page Insights to see what cities your fans are from.


3. Be honest: Whatever you do, don’t lie about your draw. You’re better off being honest with a booker about what your draw really is rather than stretching the truth and disappointing them.

4. Follow-up: Bookers are very busy people, so be patient. If you didn’t get a response right away, chances are they just haven't had time to check out your music yet. Follow-up to see if your message has been received, but whatever you do, don’t try to rush them or sound annoyed that they haven’t gotten back to you. Be persistent, but always be polite.

5. Team up with a local band: When playing in a new city, it always helps to play with a local band who is known to the venue.

Speaking of teaming up with local bands, let’s talk about gig swapping.

 

Get Swappy: Gig Swaps

Gig swapping is a fantastic way to build your fan base and help bookers build out a night of music, rather than trying to figure out where to schedule you. Here’s how it works:

Research bands: Check out bands in other cities with similar sounds to your band (aka you’d be great on a bill together).  Check out their fanbase on social media and the types of venues they regularly play.

Reach out: Connect with the band to see if they’d be interested in opening for you in your hometown in exchange for an opening slot at their next gig in their town.

Band tip: Not only are you making friends in the industry (being friends with bands is better than competing with them) but you are making it easier for a booking agent to fill their bills.

Fulfill your promise: Make sure you promote your local show so the other band has a chance to play to some new fans and make a great impression. After all, you want the same in return. Get some tips on promoting the show below!

Stay in touch:  Beyond gig swapping, you never know when you need to borrow gear or have a place to crash so keep the door open.


 


Getting the word out: Promoting your tour

Once your tour is booked, it’s time to start getting the word out. An entire blog post could be dedicated to tour promotion, but here are some key areas to focus on:

Media & Publicity: If you plan on doing your own media and publicity, start doing outreach to media as soon as shows are booked. You can use resources like the IndieBible or MusiciansAtlas to find newspapers/radio/blogs/podcasts to contact. Services like StoryAmp and StereoGrid can also help you connect with the media. And if you have a budget, you can hire local or regional publicists, but keep in mind that they can charge anywhere from $500 to over $2000 for one campaign.

Newsletter: Send an update to your whole mailing list with the full list of tour dates, then schedule reminders for each city, targeting only mailing list members from those cities.

Blogging: Keep your fans informed on your tour’s progress with stories from the road, show reviews, show previews, etc.

Video: Create video blogs, post live footage from tour, or even promo videos for each show.

Photos: Post photos on your website, Facebook page, and Twitter from shows. Photos from the road, from shows, photos of fans, fan-submitted photos, etc.

Facebook: Again, entire blog posts can be written about Facebook promotion, but be sure to cover the basics:

  • Facebook Events: Create an event for each show and encourage fans to share it with their friends for each city you’re playing on tour.

  • Regular updates on your fan page: Post photos from shows, blog posts, and videos on a regular basis to help create some buzz about your tour.

  • Facebook Ads: Facebook Ads can help create awareness about shows, but don’t blow your budget doing this. Some bands find it helpful, others not as much, so proceed with caution, it can be easy to spend a lot of money.


Twitter: Post regular updates from the road, show reminders, links to blog posts, links to any press you’ve received, photos, links to videos, etc.

Contact fans individually: Last but not least, reach out to people on your mailing list, your Facebook Fans, and Twitter followers individually with short reminders about the upcoming show in their city. Even if you just do a little bit every day, it all adds up, and this personal touch will no doubt bring a lot of those people through the door.

This is just a quick overview of some of the promo you can do for your tour, but the bottom line is that you’re going to have to hustle and work hard every day, doing whatever you can to get people out to your shows. It’s a lot of work, but the thrill of packed shows and connecting with new fans will make it all worthwhile.

Another blog series has come and gone but we hope you have found some tips and tricks to making 2012 the best year yet for you and your band. And of course, we are always looking to share more tips so leave your questions and comments below. Here’s to 2012!