• Set Change Over

    When rock stars stroll out on stage there isn’t an eye in the crowd that isn’t glued on them, and when they ask their audience to scream with them, there isn’t a soul that doesn’t scream ‘til their throats bleed.  One thing that all musicians have in common is a larger-than-life stage presence. Another thing is that no stage performance happens without the artists and their team adhering to the general rules pertaining to set changeovers. Everyone’s time is of equal value; the promoters, the venue owners, and your fellow artists, included. In this article we will offer several tips that will help you to master the art of the “set changeover”.

    1. Preparation: As noted in our recent article, “Event Promo Checklist” (http://musicadvice101.com/eventpromochecklist/), if the band is not already familiar with the venue, a thorough walk-through of the venue and a meeting with the sound tech is recommended as part of the preparation for an efficient set changeover and a great show. The band should have as much information as possible in advance; i.e. stage diagram, direction the stage faces, pre-staging area, load-in area, etc. Having a stage plot for your band’s set up to share with the sound tech and venue manager can be a valuable tool in getting set up quickly.

    2. Organization: Every band should be ready at least 15 minutes before their set time. Make sure band members are not hanging out at the bar, in the parking lot, or in the bathroom.

    Sarge Tip

     

    Before going on stage make sure all instruments are tuned and have all outboard gear pre-wired and functioning. Also, be sure to change out all batteries.

    It is a wise idea for the drummer to have as much of the drum kit assembled as possible in the pre-staging area. The drummer should get all gear on stage first. If any of the band members have extra equipment or if the band has their own props or lighting, make sure there are extra hands to help.

    Sarge Tip

     

    Sometimes the backline is provided or is rented. If so, do not assume all is working properly. Make sure you allow time to test the equipment.

    3. Pre-wire all equipment and outboard gear, so they can be plugged into one outlet. This not only saves time, but it eliminates loose wires and gives the artists more room to move around on stage.

    Do not overload outlets, most are 20 amp. Know how many amps your equipment requires. This is especially important if you have additional lighting. Be sure to check with the sound tech before adding equipment that may be unnecessary. You definitely don’t want to be popping breakers in the middle of you set.

    Sarge Tip

     

    It also saves a lot of time if you have used the restroom, applied your make up and have your drinks ready and waiting for set up along with your equipment.

    4. Have a game plan for moving everything off the stage in a timely manner so you don’t hold up the band behind you. Make it a habit to show your professionalism and courtesy by offering to assist the band before and after you in moving their gear.

    Toward the end of your set invite your fans to meet you at your merch table after you have finished striking your equipment. This will encourage them not to rush the stage to talk with you, and it also feels more like a personal invitation to meet you and buy some merch.

    5. So now that you have mastered the art of the changeover, you’ve got more time for the critical sound check, and more time to pay attention to the sound guy, leading up to a lot better set all the way around.

    Compiled by Rose’s Damned Opinion

  • Successful Presales

    Like it or not, every band is responsible to help bring the crowd to the show; however, not every band participates in presale shows.  For those who do, understand that the presales help support the expenses that may include venue rental, sound technician, door person, security; pre show production costs like flyers, ticket printing, fees for advertising and promotion, ads in local publications and radio, booking fees, insurance costs, production costs for staging, equipment rentals, labor, port-o-lets, perimeter fencing, city permits, photographers; and post show costs including video editing, attorney fees, licensing for cover music, and any additional production costs. 

    1. Know Your Sales Goals: Be sure you know up front (and don’t be shy about asking) just how many tickets your band is expected to sell to fulfill your commitment to the show. Work out the details among your bandmates, set goals for each member to achieve on a weekly basis, and an overall total. Keep in mind that it gets easier to sell tickets closer to the show date, but don’t let that keep you from selling from the start.

    And it may hurt, but be honest in assessing the number of tickets you can actually sell at this stage of your band’s career. Do not commit to selling more tickets (just to get booked) than you can realistically sell. New bands often have to buy their way into a show by bringing in a set number of people; and the promoter will expect that you can bring in the number of people that you say you can. It’s just bad all the way around if you promise what you cannot deliver.

    Don’t be afraid to ask the promoter for tools to help you sell your tickets. They should be happy to provide you with fliers or other materials to assist you in getting tickets sold.

    2. Facebook Marketing: Encourage online sales and use all social media outlets available to you. Event pages on Facebook, promote it on your own Facebook page, blog about it on the band’s website, and Tweet it to the world. Just be sure to always include your contact information; email, telephone numbers, etc. Find out how many they need? Encourage them to bring friends by offering a special for multiple ticket purchases. And don’t forget to ask to be added to the official event page so you can send invitations from there.

    3. E Mail Marketing: Send direct messages to the fans that come out to your shows. You want them to come back and bring more people with them. The personal touch makes them feel appreciated for the time and money they spend to see you. Send them an email, text, or personal facebook message. This definitely helps you build that loyal fan base…. People want to be appreciated for their loyalty to you and your music. 

    Sarge Tip

    For tips on creating a good email list, check out our article “ Build an E-Mail List” – http://musicadvice101.com/buildanemaillist/.

    4. In Person: Reach out to family, friends, and everyone else you know. DO talk to strangers! Talk about your show! Offer tickets to people you encounter at school, work, parties, and people around your neighborhood. 

    Go check out the venue one weekend in advance. Mingle with the crowd that night. Convince them to come back again the next weekend for your show. Offer them a special price or a premium price that includes a free CD or merchandise item if they purchase tickets on the spot. People are more likely to buy while they are having a good time.
    Go to open mic nights and other shows in the area to show your support for other local artists. Networking at other people’s shows is cool as long as you are also supporting their music. Talk to the other bands and invite them out to your show as your guest.

    5. Make it Easy for People to Pay and Receive Them

    Have the option to accept credit cards. Use a reader or app on your phone to make it easy for them to pay on the spot. Pay Pal is another good way to make it easy for them to purchase. Do some research on Eventbrite or Ticketfly; using an outside source can help people buy online a lot easier.

    Remember it is your responsibility to get the tickets to them! It’s true that mailing the tickets to everyone who pre purchases will take a little time and some money for postage; but, snail mail still makes people feel special. And you have the opportunity to include something extra in the envelope; flyers for your next show, a postcard picture promoting your album, maybe even a drink ticket to be redeemed at the bar the night of the show. Be creative with what you can do to promote future shows within that envelope that you are taking the time to mail out.

    Another way to get the tickets out to the people ahead of the show; is to call arrange a meeting place to pick up tickets. Make it a mini-event at a centrally located coffee shop, music store, or pizza place. Your fans will appreciate the face time with the band. It’s a way to get tickets delivered to a number of people at one time and it makes them feel like a part of something bigger than just one show. Work with the shop ahead of time; give them the opportunity to offer something to the folks that gather to pick up their tickets. They may want to have some kind of special or discount coupons ready for them.

    6. Make it Fun, Give Them A Reason to Want to Purchase in Advance

    Make it about the crowd, not just about seeing your band. Find out if anyone has a birthday or special event coming up. Promise (and deliver) a birthday song, or VIP seating/area, bring a cake with their name on it. If you make it a party for them, they will bring friends and people that don’t know your band yet giving you the opportunity to reach new ears.

    Sarge Tip

    Utilize Facebook to find out your friends birthdays, anniversaries, or other occasions that can be turned into a happening at the show.

    Offer VIP passes that have extra value to them… sometimes a limo ride to and from the show, dinner or drinks with the band, autographed CD or t-shirt.
    Make it an event. Connect with a non-profit organization or a fundraiser; whereby a percentage of each ticket sold goes to the cause. This also opens up the conversation when you are talking to people at school, work, etc. about your upcoming show. Connecting with a non-profit or fundraiser can also be really good promo for the band. Often, the organization will send out newsletters, Facebook messages, website ads, etc. promoting your upcoming event.

    Connect with the sponsors… they may possibly foot the bill and pay for the tickets, then you can offer them for free.

    If you are the one producing the show, align with a financial sponsor who may assist in footing the bill for tickets and in exchange you will put them on your website, social media blasts, Facebook and any where else they may be promoted.

    Keep an eye on what other bands are doing. Learn what is working for them to sell and distribute their tickets.

    http://www.thundertix.com/ticket-trends/how-to-sell-presale-tickets-metallicas-orion-music-and-more/
    http://www.grassrootsy.com/2011/03/09/how-do-i-get-my-fans-to-buy-pre-sale-tickets/

    Compiled by Rose’s DamnedOpinion

  • Street Team

     

    Having a street team to help you promote is one of the most effective ways to make people aware for your band and upcoming events. Many think that you have to be a record label or a huge promotions company in order to start up a street. In reality anyone can start a street team. All you really need is a little bit effort, creativity, and a lot of patience.

    1. Recruit, Recruit, Recruit.
    Start small and then expand gradually. A good place to start is by going to the ones who are most interested in helping you out such as family members and friends.

    Sarge Tip

    Don’t prejudge anyone. Consider everyone as a potential member of your street team. You may be surprised that your most loyal fan can turn out to be the most valuable member of your team.

    2. Have Strong Incentives To Participate
    Always have incentives to ensure your team members stay motivated and feel appreciated. You can offer members free merchandise, show tickets, backstage pass, VIP access, or maybe even pay them.

    Sarge Tip

    Get creative, have competitions, make some custom T-shirts, and most importantly ask your team members for their input on what they might want.

    3. Give Members Clear Instructions and Guidance. Be hands on and give team members clear task and instructions on what they are expected to do. Require members to generate reports (with pictures) as proof of what promotional materials they delivered, and which locations they covered.

    Sarge Tip

    Create a newsletter designated exclusively for team members. Remember you want to be as detailed and in-depth as possible when assigning task and responsibilities.

    4. Communication is Key.
    Communicate with the team on a regular basis and try to have face-to-face meetings whenever possible.

    Sarge Tip

    Make things simple and use technology to your advantage. Google Drive, online meeting software, and text message reminders, can all be very useful when communicating with your team.

    5. Incorporate Social Media Promotion.
    Have your street team help with online promotion as well. Have them share events and pages with their Facebook friends, and Twitter Followers.

    Sarge Tip

    Make sure you have a public Facebook and Twitter page dedicated to your street team. This will make it easier to attract new members, and to gain the interest of promoters.

    Author's Note

    You don’t want to overwork anyone on your street team. Understanding that even if there are strong incentives, if you have team members who are “burned out” they won’t be as enthusiastic or productive. It’s also important to remember that some people may be seasonal and members are going to come and go. That’s why it’s important to always be recruiting for new members, and to not stress too much over losing old ones. Lastly, never make anyone on your team feel uncomfortable. Different people have different strengths find out where the members fit best within the team, and avoid forcing someone to do anything they don’t feel comfortable doing.

     

    Compiled by Ernest Sallee

  • The Job of a Manager for an Unsigned Band

    In general, the band manager’s job is to take care of the business side of things allowing the artists’ to create and perform their music. The duties of the manager for an “unsigned” band vary depending on the stage of the artists’ career. Typical responsibilities include promoting the band and marketing materials like EP’s and assuring distribution to the proper press and media outlets. But, a manager may wear many other hats working for the band in a multitude of ways.

    Sarge Tip

    Whether signed to a record label or not, you need to have a written contract outlining the responsibilities and role the manager will play in your career. A formal agreement will keep miscommunications and surprises from happening later.

    1. Financial Management.
    The manager is responsible for handling the financial affairs of the band they represent; this may include everything from ensuring correct payment is received from the venue to paying the bills for promotional materials and hotel rooms. Another large portion of the financial management aspect is to actively pursue funding opportunities for their artists, such as a kick starter or fundraising for tours.

    2. Networking.
    This is nearly a 24/7 responsibility of a good manager. They should always be on the lookout for networking opportunities to meet new contacts and introduce their band to a broader listener base. In one word the manager is the mouthpiece of the band and an integral part of the band’s success.

    Sarge Tip

    The manager should have business cards and press kits with them at all times as well as have their “elevator pitch” prepared.

    3. Promotion.
    A manager should be an active participant in exploring potential promotional opportunities as well as determining the best activities for the band to participate in. Should they play a “free” show or be booked for a fundraising event? Should they stick with playing only events booked by a well-known local promoter?

    Sarge Tip

    In some situations, the band manager’s role is to oversee and delegate promotional tasks to the band members or others in their camp. For example, the lead singer may have the duty of keeping up with Facebook, the bass player may be in charge of distributing flyers, etc.

    4. Booking Gigs.
    The manager can help reduce pressure on the artists by ensuring that they are getting in to the right venues at the right time. For instance, booking venues where they are ready and able to play, and with shows that suit the genre of their music. Over-playing in the same place to the same crowd should be avoided. The manager should play a large part in getting the band good exposure in as large an area as they can penetrate. However, the band manager is not always the one to book the dates in conjunction with a large tour. Most large tours with headlining national acts have touring managers and promoters taking care of the dates and bookings. In this case, the band manager is only in charge of the needs of their own band.

    5. Negotiating.
    Acting as a liaison between the band and the venue and / or the promoters; some of the manager’s responsibilities may be to ensure that the band is playing for a fair percentage of the door revenue or a guaranteed flat rate for the show; and that there is water, beverages, or food provided; as well as proper recognition on the flyers and advertising pieces for the event(s).
    The manager is also responsible for signing all performance agreements on the band’s behalf.

    6. Coordinating / Scheduling.
      A manager should be the glue that holds the band together, staying in contact with each member and scheduling rehearsals and studio time that make sense for everyone.  Solidifying load-in and load-out times, making sure everyone and all equipment arrive on time for every show.  Scheduling promotional photo shoots and other public appearances is also an important part of the coordinating duties. Like a show or rehearsal, this will include making sure everyone can get to the location. The manager will probably also have a say in the photographer being hired for the shoot, as well as the overall look and theme of the shots.

    7. Technical Assistance.
    Depending on their own background, some managers have more skill and knowledge than others in this area. But every manager needs to have a full understanding of their band’s technical requirements. At times, this may require them to be in contact pre-show with the venue, the sound and lighting technicians, etc.

    8. Media.
    While social media has taken the world by storm, and most artists have their own pages with thousands of opportunities for self-promotion. The manager should definitely oversee all media outlets to ensure that the right message is being sent out across the internet, radio and publications relating to the music scene. A manager should always be working to get the band featured in local print media, online magazines, and radio stations; maintaining social media sites and keeping the fans updated about the shows is a very important task of a manager.

    Sarge Tip

    In some cases, the manager works directly with a publicist who is hired to handle all media relations.

    9. Coach.
    Although it is business, a supportive manager can make a huge difference to band members when a little life coaching is needed to keep them on the right track; the manager needs to be prepared to take on the role of counselor and therapist when needed.
    A manager must possess the skills to handle everything from diffusing quarrels between band members; to step in when band members need help to overcome drug and alcohol addictions; to give support during personal family crisis; or to be a shoulder during a bad break-up with a girl friend or boyfriend. Other coaching roles include always seeking out new outlets to get the music out there, like Spotify, Sound Cloud and I-Tunes. And also to give coaching advice on the band’s stage presence ensuring that they look as good as they sound, and are projecting the correct image to suit the band’s style.

    10. Send out demos to labels.
    When the time is right, and the music is ready, one of the most important jobs a manager does is to get those demos out to radio personalities and record labels. This will help increase the probability that the demo will actually get a listen! When assisting with the business side of an emerging band, the first priority of the manager is to get the band heard by the masses.

    Sarge Tip

    With a band manager… you get what you pay for. While it might be financially easier to have a family member or buddy in charge; they may not have the skills and know-how to take you outside your own backyard. At some point, you will need to hire a professional manager

    Compiled by Rose’s DamnedOpinion

  • The Different Types of Record Deals

     

    Every musician dreams of the day they are offered a record deal. It’s the golden ticket to a life of fame, fortune, and luxury, right? Well, not always, but getting a record deal is an important step in advancing your music career. However, It’s important to know, that there are many different types of deals out there, and the key is finding the one that best fit’s with your current needs and long-term goals. Here are a few of the most common record deals that you see being offered today.

    1.The Major Label Deal- This is the big one! A major label gives you a lot of money up front (known as an advance), to cover all the cost of creating an awesome album. The major labels have all the tools to promote your album and make you the next superstar. Be careful though, these major labels don’t have much patience. If your album doesn’t do well they won’t hesitate to drop your contract.

    Sarge Tip

    It’s important to know that all royalties you earn from album sales will go towards paying back the advance, until you’ve paid the label back fully. So be sure to spend your advance money wisely!.

    2. The Independent Label Deal- This deal is very similar to the major label deal. The difference is that independent labels are smaller so they give their artist less advance money than a major label would. The good thing about and indie label is that they work very closely with the artist and you will have more creative control over your albums. There are tons of indie labels out there, and the chances of getting a deal with one is much higher than trying to get signed by a major label.

    Sarge Tip

    Just because you’re signed to an independent label, don’t think you can’t still make it big. If Adele, Taylor Swift, and Macklemore can become stars while signed to an indie label you certainly can too! .

    3.The distribution Deal- Also known as a P&D Deal (pressing and distribution), this deal is most common for artists who have had success on their own and want to stay independent. You agree to let a record label help you manufacture, distribute, and promote your album, and in return the label gets a percentage of the sales profits (normally around 25%). Remember, that in this type of deal you don’t get an advance so you’ll have to come up with the money to produce, record, and market the album yourself.

    4. 360 Deals- Also known as equity deals, participation deal, or multiple rights deal, this is the most common deal artists are offered today. In a 360 deal the label makes money not just from music sales, but from almost everything the artist does. The label gets a portion of profits generated from touring, merchandise, books, movie/TV appearances, basically anything the artist makes money from, the label gets a piece of it. This seems like a bad deal for the artists, but it does give the label even more incentive to support your career and to push you to make lots of money in every way possible.

    Sarge Tip

    Everything in a record agreement can be negotiated, depending on how much you bring to the table, and how bad the label wants to sign you. Lastly, before you sign anything make sure you have an entertainment attorney look it over first!.

    Compiled by Ernest Sallee

  • Copyrights

    Sarge_jokersPAYattention Your band is a business and the product is your music. Protecting both from being used by other parties who could make money on your creativity and hard work is a serious part of the business. Registering for a copyright on your music provides protection from having it used by others without your permission.

    1.What is a copyright anyway?
    A copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States for the original works of authors and artists, giving them the rights to their published and unpublished music and other intellectual works. What that means is that as the creators and writers of their original music, a band can keep exclusive rights to their work, including how and where it is distributed, who can distribute it, and who they allow to use it for other purposes. For more details on the purpose of the copyright, see http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ01.pdf.

    2. Who started the idea of the copyright?
    Actually the first copyright laws were passed in England way back in 1710 with the Statute of Anne. The statute was created to encourage writers to continue their literary contributions by protecting them from others who would steal their works for their own financial gain. England had the good sense to see that by protecting the author’s rights, these talented people would be able to make a living as writers and contribute more works to society.

    Sarge Tip

    If you are interested in the history of the copyright process, check out this link for more info: http://www.copyrighthistory.com/anne.html.

    3.How does a copyright happen?
    Here’s the easy part; you actually have a copyright as soon as you or your band documents original work. The means of documentation can be as simple as writing down the lyrics on a napkin, recording the music in the garage, or the combination of both. Registering your copyright is what proves ownership of the material.

     Here’s where it gets tricky; determining who actually owns the songs. Are they owned by the band as a single entity? Are they owned by the individual contributing band members? Is the recording owned by the producer? What about the sound engineer and the session musicians can they claim ownership in the creative process?


    Sarge Tip

    The band members need to have some conversation and agreement early on in the creative process to decide who will have ownership of the songs. Understand that there are typically two types of copyright that may apply; one for the original music and one for the sound recording. In this article, we are generally referring to sound recordings..

    4. Get prepared for the copyright process


    1. The band determines amongst themselves the ownership (author) of the songs and the recordings.

    2. Establish the “creation” date with the recording process. A “creation” date will be required for your copyright applications.

    3. Be sure to have two master copies for submission to the U.S. Copyright Office. Keep the original master in a safe, secure location. Do not send the original with your copyright application documents.

    Sarge Tip

    Do NOT rely on the “Poor Man’s Copyright”. This is the method that some people believe is as good as actually registering with the U.S. Copyright Office; whereby you mail a copy of the CD to yourself. Remember you already have a copyright once you document your music, but the formal registration is what proves you have the copyright and gives you statutory benefit in case of a dispute.

    5. How to register for a copyright:


    1. The most common way is to register on line at http://www.copyright.gov/.

    2. Complete the Form SR, which can be used to register one song or the entire CD

    3. Pay the registration fee of $35.00

    4. Submit two copies of the recording

    5. Be patient; generally the processing time is 3 to 5 months

    6. Use the copyright symbol, i.e. “copyright © 2002 John Doe”. You do not have to wait until the registration is confirmed by the Copyright Office

    7. Store Copyright paper work in a safe, secure location with your master copy of the recording.

    Read more about the process here: http://diymusician.cdbaby.com/2013/05/how-to-copyright-your-music/
    If you are serious about your music, and of course you are or you wouldn’t have read this far; you don’t want to wait until your music takes off making money and then find that there are a multitude of entities that can claim rights to the creation of the music and subsequent album sales.  Please note, this article should not be taken as legal advice. This is meant to give you the basics on why copyrighting is so relevant to your band and some resources to find out more about it. We recommend that you seek professional legal counsel before entering into the copyright process.

    Compiled by Rose’s DamnedOpinion