Wednesday, January 03, 2007

20 Ways to Make it in the Music Business, Part 2

Like I said last time, I’m not a complete advocate of getting a record deal, but these suggestions will help you pretty much no matter how you want to execute your music career. How many of these you use will depend precisely on how serious you are. Now stand up and get to work, or sit down and shut up.

11. Commit and show up. Say what you’ll do, do what you say. It’s just like a job and people get pissed off when you don’t.

12. Answer your freakin’ phone messages and your email. If you’re not, you are not only rude, you are missing opportunities.

13. Eliminate impediments. A lot of things stand in your way, some that are due to your limitations or bad decisions, others are thrust upon you. Get them out of your life, if you possibly can. Bad friends reinforce your self-doubt, set up conflicts, get you into trouble, or let their problems slop into your life. You may be shy; learn to “act” past it until you’re comfortable. You may be angry or mean; learn to manage it. You may lack confidence; learn to overcome it. You may not have the proper equipment; figure out where to borrow, rent or buy it. You may not have experience; enter talent shows, open mic nights, sit in with other bands or friends—get the experience. You may lack transportation; make friends with people who have cars, find mass transportation, learn to use a cab, or focus on all the other stuff that you can while you are waiting to get transportation. Think outside of the box. No one is going to do this for you.

14. Build support teams. Enlist someone creative and high-energy to help you create your vision; where you want to be in how much time. Find friends who want to help you make the vision happen; people who can write press releases, make media contacts, or book your act for a fee. Pull the people who are just hanging around with you into street team work, like getting the word out about shows, and creating energy in the audience (loud applause, encores, etc.).

15. Be knowledgeable enough to be secure. You’re going to get offers. Learn what a good offer looks like compared to a bad one. Hire help, or be totally prepared to hire help (have them lined up) for when the offers happen. Not knowing, not being ready, means you will freeze when the opportunity comes. You’ll either sign a bad contract, or fail to sign a good one, because you won’t know the difference. Again, read The Ultimate Survival Guide to the New Music Industry: Handbook for Hell by Justin Goldberg, How I Make $100,000 in Music by David Hooper, The Gigster Textbook by Ryan Michael Galloway, This Business of Music by M. William Krasilovsky, Guerrilla Music Marketing Handbook by Bob Baker, CDBaby artists’ area.

16. Promote online. Garageband, Live365, Taxi, IdolUnderground, Myspace, YouTube.

17. Promote offline. Local newspapers, TV, radio, charity events.

18. Learn about equipment (lights and sound). The Gigster Clinics are there for ya’ :-)

19. Drive your own progress. No one wants you to make it as much as you do. Everyone is running their own lives. They get distracted, things come up. If they’re into you and your quest, they’ll be fine when you ask them if they did that thing they were going to do for you. Nag—gently—but nag. Set your own goals. Communicate them to the people on your team, especially your mentors and visionaries.

20. Be relentless. Do not stop pushing. This may take ten years, but sometimes outlasting everyone else is what gets you over the top. The Beatles didn’t happen over night.