9 Tips You Should Be Doing With Your Music Career - But Probably Aren't
Is touring your current goal?
Think about how many shows you have been playing locally. How often do you play? 1, 2, 5, 8 times per month? How many people come to your shows outside of your friends? If you're just starting you may want to make sure your home audience is strong so make sure you are playing as often as you can and let people know who you are! Once you've got that down then branch out to the town over and then another city, then another state and soon you'll be touring!
It's a great feeling doing what you love, performing in front of audiences and cranking out the best music you possibly can but if you want to keep that going, there are a few things you need to consider.
Decide right now exactly what you want for yourself. Do you want to be a touring artist? Do you only want to put out one really great project? Do you want to give music away for free? Is singing in the studio or writing for other artists the path you want to take? Does creating the best cover band in your state or region have your name written all over it? Is being a commercially worldwide known superstar your ultimate goal? Whatever you want, think about it and how it will fulfill you and write it down.
Once you've written down your goal start figuring out exactly what steps you need to take to achieve it. What other milestones might you pass along the way? Break everything down, one step at a time from your end goal all the way to where you are right now. Then get to work and execute your plan. Nothing that lasts and is worth having is just going to come to you without you first opening the door and moving toward it. Even Michael Jackson worked his butt off!
2. GIVE IT AWAY!
Yes, giving is always a good thing to do whether in business or in your personal life. Give some of your music away to some deserving fans. What usually will happen is they will not only be grateful but because your music is actually good and they already love you, they'll tell other people.
Allow your street team or another small group to pick a design for your merchandise. Let people your dedicated supporters become a part of your team. No they don't have to be on stage with you, although you could do that during a show too, but give them some shine in some way! You'll reap rewards you never thought possible just by letting go and giving.
3. MIND YOUR BUSINESS
No, I'm talking about being nosy but be mindful of every dollar you spend, where you are spending it and most importantly what type of return you are getting for it! Know how much money you are spending for each recording session, every rehearsal, outfits/costumes, gear, all of it so you can be aware if you need to pull be in one area of another. It will help keep your overall spending under control and make you count the dollars that come in more carefully.
If you are in a group, you can break up responsibilities among members. Have one person in charge of money - bank trips, debit/credit card, etc. Have one person in charge of your merchandise display or table and that includes having only one secure place to put your money while selling. Give the money person all of the proceeds for the merchandise at the end of the night. Keeping track of it all now will save you headache come tax time!
Plus, the more you are able to keep track of things while your operation is small and you have minimal help and staff, the more equipt you will be if your hard works pays off to be a much bigger nationally known or commercial artist making more money.
Do you sell merchandise at your shows?
4. THE MERCHANDISE SETUP
Your merchandise is a great way to make money at shows and online and is also an extension of your music and your brand so it should look like it. Take care of how you present it. do not just have your t-shirts in a box and hand it to people when they come up to your table. For one, you want it to be so busy, you won't be able to look for a size in a box.
Get to the venue early so you have enough time to take your merchandise out of storage and place it on your table or mannequin or any other display item you have. Other merchandise you may want are obviously your music, maybe coffee mugs, bags, phone cases and more.
5. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
Your body is your instrument but unlike a guitar or piano it can never be replaced. Be conscious of what your body needs are. Do you need more rest? Try to sleep a get to sleep a little earlier on a non performance night. Get on a schedule. Do you drink enough water? Maybe you should be using a humidifier every once in a while. I love my vicks humidifier and it really comes in handy when I'm trying to fight off a cold, congestion or anything else before a gig.
Exercise regularly. Your body needs more movement than what you give it on stage, unless of course you are doing cirque du soleil every night then you might be excused. If you're like the rest of us, go out for a sprint every once in a while. Get some light weights or resistance bands to workout with on tour. Pack some skates with you. Get in exercise where you can. Not only will it make your body feel go because your blood will be going as well as have your adrenaline and endorphins pumping, it will also help you with breathe control and overall endurance.
6. YOU CAN'T DO IT ALL YOURSELF!
When you are on stage you may feel like superman or superwoman; however, in real life you are a simple human who can not be everywhere at every minute. It is simply impossible to do it all so learn and practice the art of delegating. This does not mean you need to go out and get a manager today if you are not ready. It does however mean there will be moments when you will need to ask your friends, family, band members, producers, and others around you for help.
Can your best friend order or pick up those posters for you while you go and check on the venue? Is another band member great with organizing spaces? Let them setup the merchandise table. Play to your strengths and handle things that only you can handle yourself. Ask for help with smaller or slightly less important tasks.
7. BE AWARE OF THE BRAND
Once your music is up and kicking, your merchandise is available and at least one person outside of your personal circle will recognize you in photos or in person from your music or merchandise, you are a brand! Make sure your brand is an accurate representation of your art. You are a brand marketing a product or products, make sure your marketing is in line with what you are selling.
Can you imagine Disney making a public alignment with a horror film? Even if the flick is great, that will probably never happen because we all know Disney is about fairytales and happy endings, not gore and horror. Make sure you are not doing the same thing with your brand. Make it so apparent what your entire package represents that anyone in or outside of the industry will immediately know what it is. The industry is always open to new things so if your package is different than anything that has been seen before or better put together, let it be known!
Social media is not the only place you need to connect with people, go out and meet people in person. Things are different when you see another artist, a journalist, an a&r, a producer or other music industry person in person. It is the best way to form a relationship because of the sense of intimacy and connection that you can only get from see someone and really feeling their energy.
Talk to people and introduce yourself. Find out what other people's interests are and tell them some of yours. This is a great way to see if you can work with someone on a common project or direct them to someone else you may already know who is just looking for exactly what this new person has to offer and vice versa. Then baam! A business relationship has been formed! You now are connected to someone who knows from experience that you are a good person and great to work with, who will then tell their friends and colleagues your name when you fit in the equation, and vice versa. Just remember this is a two way street so you have to give a little when you are connecting with people and not just take.
9. HAVE FUN
You work hard on stage, in the studio, at the merchandise table, managing and everything else you do so don't leave out the fun! After all you do this because it's fun! Let go of your fears and anything that is holding you back, but don't go crazy lol. Enjoy the moments that you have with your talents, your friends, your band and your supporters! Congratulate yourself on your successes and lessons learned.