• 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

  • Raising Social Media Awareness

    Statistics say that social media is increasingly influential to promote your music. Being active in social media increases traffic to your website and builds relationships with current and potential listeners of your music. It also increases more visibility on search engines and is a great way to reach a fan base or potential customers.

    1. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Tumbler etc. are all examples of excellent, ever expanding, platforms for advertising and e-mail marketing.

    Sarge Tip

    By following some simple tricks you can raise awareness of your band’s music and get fans engaged without having to pay the social media sites.

    2. Increase Sharing: If, you want to people share your post, make “public” so that your followers can share or retweet it if they like the post. In addition to that, pictures are very alluring for social media shares. Sites like Facebook, Google, Instagram, and Pinterest, usually focus on photos. It’s a fact that people are more likely to share interesting photos than just words without a visual.

    3. Know what is trending: Connecting with current events or topics that your followers might be interested in is a great way to create interesting posts and create a buzz on social media pages. Following other people and re-tweeting their posts on Twitter are also good methods to boost your posts. Also, talking about music, movies, or sports will help to engage more readers.

    Sarge Tip

    Know your followers! Avoid controversial or political issues that could cross lines or offend someone

    4. Focus on what you post: Studies say that photos on Facebook or on other social media receive more engagement than other average posts. Sharing photos of events and fun moments will engage more followers. Give a shout-out now and then to your fans as well. Share some content posted by your fans such as fan art, photos of them at your show, etc. For example, a famous coffee shop recently featured a photo by of one of their customers. Make sure the content you post pertains to your band. Avoid posting things on your fan page which are personal. And always avoid posting negative comments about people, places or other bands. Focus on your upcoming shows, CD releases, and merchandise.

    Sarge Tip

    Link your Facebook posts with Instagram and twitter to extend your reach and impact.

    5. Focus when you post: Posting content on social media has particular times to reach peaks. Study says usually Facebook posts peak around 3pm EST. Frequent posting, like once or twice a day gets more engagement. Keeping in mind the best times to post is always a good idea. And make it a habit to keep an eye on the analytics of social media providers.

    6. Blogging: Writing blogs about your music and sharing it on your social media networks influences people. Great content; including samples of your music and videos enhances your online influence.This enhanced marketing approach is an effective strategy to expose your project to new people.

    7. ReverbNation and SoundCloud:
    Using ReverbNation and SoundCloud is a necessity for musicians. You can post your music on those sites and connect them with other social networking sites like Facebook, Google Hang-Out to reach more people. Another way to enhance your profile is by taking advantage of free mailing lists that are available to everyone.

    Sarge Tip

    Using the Sound Cloud app on smart phones is a great way to carry your music in your pocket.

    8. Get creative! Host a “like” party. Get your fans and followers involved. Have them bring their laptops or tablets. Enjoy snacks and drinks while watching bad “B” movies! Encourage everyone to log in and start “liking” pages and posts to help raise awareness!

    Compiled by Nazia Adnin

  • Planning a Tour Budget

    So, let’s say you’ve got shows booked in several different cities, maybe even different nearby states…. What to do now? What is it going to cost? Planning the budget for taking your show on the road can be a daunting task; but we’ve gathered some information and good solid ideas for you to consider before hitting the highway…

    1. Transportation: Obviously you need wheels to get where you’re going. The ultimate is to have one vehicle to carry the band and all the gear. If your band is fortunate enough to already own a tour vehicle… that’s great. However, most new unsigned bands don’t have the perfect tour vehicle yet and will need to consider the expense of renting a vehicle and/or trailer.

    Sarge Tip

    Be as certain as possible that the vehicle is in good repair. Have the vehicle serviced by a good mechanic before you travel. A major motor vehicle melt-down when you’re on the road and don’t have the time or cash to fix it, can put a screeching halt on the entire tour!

    2. AAA: AAA Is a good investment for about $95.00 per year. Having a AAA card will definitely help get you back on the road if you have a flat, run out of gas, or any number of crazy unexpected little things that can happen when traveling.

    3. Insurance: Definitely be sure the vehicle’s insurance is paid and covers any potential incidents. Your instruments and gear are another story. A separate policy is advised to insure against loss, damage or theft of your equipment. Contact your insurance provider for more information on exactly what is and is not covered by the vehicle’s insurance. http://rockrevoltmagazine.com/band-aid-101-musical-instrument-gear-insurance

    Sarge Tip

    Make sure your designated driver is paying attention to the road and speed limits. Tickets are expensive!.

    4. Fuel and Mileage: Calculate your mileage and fuel costs ahead to make sure you know how much it’s going to cost you to get from point A to point B, C, D, and home again. With gas prices averaging around $3.00 per gallon, this is a hefty part of the tour budget. Using a fuel /mileage calculator site like http://www.fueleconomy.gov/ will help a lot in your planning.

    5. Tolls: Check and re-check your route…. Are there toll roads involved? While they may be the most fuel saving routes, do not forget to have toll money available. Toll cards like E-Pass or Sunpass can aslo be extremely beneficial when traveling.

    Sarge Tip

    Plan your route… carefully. Map it out so you can calculate mileage, fuel costs, toll expenses, as well as the nearest accommodations to each venue..

    6. Food: Hopefully the agreement with the venue includes some food and beverage for the band. If not, you still need to eat. Typically, the cash needed for food is about $20.00 per day, per person. We suggest packing some non-perishable groceries to take with you and finding out what’s available near the venue and hotel ahead of time.

    7. Accommodations: Chances are, you won’t have family or friends in every city that can put the band up for the night, so hotel frequent stay plans can help you save some dollars on room rates. Most hotel/motel chains have them. You just need your manager or one band member to sign up and be responsible for the reservations. Make reservations in advance so you know how much you’re spending and where you’re going to crash after the show. It’s great if you can get the frequent traveler card with a hotel chain that offers free breakfast!

    8. Parking: Check in to possible parking fees for each venue, or hotel parking lot. This can be an overlooked and unexpected expense that can really add up.

    Sarge Tip

    Consider the safety of the vehicle. Park in a well-lit area, preferably right outside of the room or at least within view from the room.If you are towing a trailer with a roll up door, park it against wall if possible..

    9. Venues: Do as much advance research on the venue as possible. You will want to know if Wi-fi is available, occupancy, stage dimensions, noise ordinances, sound technicians, and what equipment does each venue already have, and if there’s a green room for the band. Check out their websites and Facebook pages for pictures and comments. Make contact with the other bands playing, they may have good information for you and become great contacts later on.

    10. Merchandise: Don’t carry all of your merchandise with you. Leave some of it at home. If you need more while on the road, you can have someone from the home base send it out to you. Set up your merch table at each venue early.It let’s people know you are making your way along the tour by selling your stuff. And don’t be the first to take your table down at the end of the show.

    Sarge Tip

    Check out our Music Advice 101 article on Merch Sales: http://musicadvice101.com/merch-table-sales .

    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

  • Creating a Facebook Event Page

    Facebook can be a very useful resource to promote an event. As you create your “buzz,” you can have constant contact with the people in your network. You can track the daily interactions and build an RSVP list to keep a rough estimate of how many of your ‘internet friends’ plan on attending. In connection with your daily face-to-face marketing experiences, you increase the chances of having a successful event.

    1. Log into the Facebook home page with the email address and password that you are registered with (it’s better to use your artist/band page as oppose to your personal page).

    2. Select “My Events” from the navigation menu. You will be taken to a page with all the events you are currently planning to attend. – Hit the “+ Create Event” button.

    3. Fill in all the details about your event, most importantly, the time and place. You can always edit this later, but try to put in as much details in as you can initially.

    4. Choose the level of access to your event. You can choose to host an “open” event (meaning anyone can attend). This will not restrict anyone from viewing the details and adding themselves to the guest list. If closed (meaning only select individuals may attend), only the time and description is shown to uninvited guests.

    Sarge Tip

    Facebook users can request to be added to the guest list to view the complete event info. A secret event will not appear in search results and will be viewable only by those you invite.

    5. Click the “Create” button to complete your event details.

    6. Upload a photo that represents the event. Use the browse feature to find a photo on your hard drive to upload. – The flyer for the event is sufficient.

    7. Now its time to invite some guests. Select your all your friends on Facebook that you’d like to invite. You can even send emails to people not on Facebook.

    Sarge Tip

    Check back to your event page often to monitor the response of the event. This page can be a useful tool to help with other ventures such as album releases, video releases and coordinating video shoots open to the public.

    8. If you’d like to just invite all your friends at once without having to click on each one of them individually, do a search for a “mass invite plugin” cheat.

    Sarge Tip

    Try not to over-abuse these plugins. Most of their codes are frowned upon by Facebook.

    Compiled by Monty Burton