• 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

  • Cultivating Press & Media Outlets

    Sarge_jokersPAYattention As an entertainer, the press and media are a big source for getting the word out on your project. Think about where you normally go to discover new artists; on local newspapers, radio shows, blogs, podcast, etc. These outlets are here to serve you in the same way you are here to serve them. Without entertainers they have no content and without them you could never reach your full potential as an artist. Knowing how to collect and use these outlets to your advantage is a vital key to your success.

    1. Reach out to local press, which includes college radio stations, online magazines, bloggers, forums and industry related news.

    2. Politely introduce yourself and ask the proper way of submitting information about your project and if they wouldn’t mind sharing that information with their program.

    3. Develop a template that you can send out every month with your updates. Keep it separate from newsletters. You should make it sound personal so they think it is being sent just to them from you.

    4. Be sure to include personal contact information of who and how to get in contact with someone in charge of your project.

    5. Ask them if they know of any other outlets that you can benefit from so that you can expand your reach.

    6. Make sure to sincerely thank them. Develop a monthly newsletter and send them out to all of your press friends. 

     

    Sarge Tip

    Make sure you are extremely polite. Use proper grammar and signature lines.

     

    Compiled by Monty Burton

  • Top 5 Social Media Sites

     

    Sarge_jokersPAYattention In this day in age of ever-expanding social media, many sites seem to gain popularity at an exponential rate, and then become unpopular just as fast. It’s hard to keep up with what your fans might be using to keep updated on their favorite bands. Below, is a list of some of the top most popular sites with a little description and tips for each.

    1. Facebook – Currently commands the lead of popularity with with 900,000,000 monthly active users, you can create a artist/band page that tracks your popularity progress and gives you the option to buy add space to help get the word out about your project. Unfortunately, with growing restrictions and reduction of the view ability of your posts by users, facebook’s trendiness is on the decline.

    2. Twitter – The second most popular site with 310,000,000 monthly active users. It is a simplified version of social media that limits your message (or “tweet”) to 140 characters or less making for a rapid and strait-to-the-point form of communication.

    3. LinkedIn – This site holds the third most popular with 250,000,000 active users. Originally created as a professional networking site, it is very business oriented. It can be a great tool for musicians and those seeking to connect with industry professionals. 

    4. Pinterest – Next on the list with 150,000,000 active users, Pinterest is a more “artsy” kind of social media where you can share collections of ideas through visual bookmarks (or “boards”). Bands can take advantage of this site by helping brand themselves, their merch, and creating funny GIFs that can be shared.

    5. Google Plus+ – Finally, with 120,000,000 active users, Google+ is self described as a “social-layer” that is not simply just another social networking site, but a authorship tool that associates web-content directly with its user. Google+ can be useful to your project because it can organize your following very thoroughly as well as allowing you to live chat with members of your fan base.

    Runner-up sites: There are many other sites out there that can help get the word out to masses of people all around the world. Make sure you take full advantage of what social media has to offer. Some other popular sites are Instagram, Tumblr, and Myspace


    Sarge Tip

    Want to secure your brand on the internet? Check out www.knowem.com. This site allows you to search over 500 popular social media networks, over 150 domain names, and the entire USPTO database to check for the use of your brand, product, or name.

     

    Compiled by Chris Erwin

  • Build An Email List

    Email blasts can be a very valuable tool that a band/artist can use to keep their fans updated with pertinent information such as upcoming shows, promotions, or just to say “hey.” But how do you begin to gather these email addresses in the first place? Have no fear! There are a ton of ways! Below are 27 easy tips you can use to grab this marketing info.

    1. Put an offer on the back of your business cards to get people to sign up for your newsletter.

    2. Tradeshows – Bring a clipboard or sign-up book with you to tradeshows and ask for permission to send email to those who sign up.

    3. Include a newsletter sign-up link in your signature of all of your emails.

    4.  Send an opt-in email to your address book asking them to join your list.

    5. Join your local chamber of commerce, email the member list (if it’s opt-in) about your services with a link to sign up to your newsletter.

    6. Host your own event – Art galleries, retail shops, consultants (lunch & learn) can all host an event or party and request attendees to sign up.

    7. Offer a birthday club where you give something special to people who sign up.

    8. Incentivize your employees and street team – Give them $ for collecting VALID email addresses.

    9. Giving something for free like a song download. Make visitors sign up to your opt-in form before you let them download it.

    10. Referrals – Ask you customers and fans to refer you, and in exchange you’ll give them a discount or incentive.

    11. Bouncebacks – Get them back! – Send a postcard or call them asking for their updated email address.

    12. Trade newsletter space with a neighboring business or bands, include a link for their opt-in form and ask them to include yours in their newsletter.

    13. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Make sure you optimize your site for your keywords. You need to be at the top of the natural search when people are looking for your products or services.

    14. Giveaways – Send people something physical and ask for their email address as well as their postal address.

    15. Do you have a postal list without emails? Send them a direct mail offer they can only get if they sign up to your email list.

    16. Include opt-in forms on every page on your site.

    17. Popup windows – When someone attempts to leave your site, pop up a window and ask for the email address.

    18. Include a forward-to-a-friend link in your emails just in case your recipient wants to forward your content to someone they think will find it interesting.

    19. Include a forward-to-a-friend on every page of your site.

    20. Offer a community – Use social media platforms to host them.

    21. Offer “Email only” discounts and don’t use those offers anywhere but email.

    22. Telemarketing and phone networking – If you’ve got people on the phone, don’t hang up until you ask if you can add them to your newsletter.

    23. Put a fishbowl on your merch booth or the local music store and do a weekly prize giveaway of your product – then announce it to your newsletter. Add everyone who put their card in on to your newsletter list.

    24. Include an opt-in form inside your emails for those people who get your email forwarded to them.

    25. Use Facebook – Host your own group and invite people to it, then post new links often. From time to time, post a link to sign up for your newsletter.

    26. Use Facebook and Twitter – Post the hosted link from your newsletter into Linked Items to spread the word.

    27. Use Facebook – Include an opt-in form on your Facebook Fan page.

    Sarge Tip

    For a great email marketing tool, check out MailChimp.com.

    Now get out there and make some connections!

     

    Compiled by Chris Erwin