• 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

  • Event Promo Checklist

    It’s pretty disheartening to know how good your music is and you still end up playing to an empty house. So we’ve compiled a “Must Do” list for both the promoter and the band to maximize attention and get the people out to see you. And if looking at these lists looks like a lot of work, you’re right! It takes a lot of time and energy to let the world know who your band is and why people should not miss your next show.

    For the Promoter:

    1. Establish the show date with the venue making sure that your date is not conflicting with other shows or events around town that may pull your crowd away.

    2. Ensure that venue fits the band’s needs; i.e. stage requirements, lighting, sound, etc.

    3. Do a thorough walk through with the venue manager. Get the specifics on load-in / load-out, parking for the band’s vehicle(s), the location for the band’s merch table, stage dimensions, available power sources for stage, and merch table. Also, know if there is a green room for the band and if wi-fi is available.

    Sarge Tip

    Take an outlet tester and check every outlet in the venue. This will ensure that you have the correct power sources, and avoid possible equipment damage from plugging into broken sockets. Always check breaker boxes. Make sure you have enough power!

    4. Negotiate the terms with the venue; including any guaranteed dollar amount for the band, who handles the door person, does the venue have their own sound tech, are any food /beverages included for the band (if not, find out what food places are nearby). A written venue agreement is the best way to avoid complications and misunderstandings for all parties.

    5. Check out the venue’s website, Facebook, and any sources they have for promoting the shows. Scout for sponsorship opportunities for your event.

    6. Talk with the other bands to learn how they are promoting the show.

    7. Get your promotion in order by reaching out on your social media pages. Use them to promote the date, and follow up on all inquiries and comments. Get good flyers prepared and have them posted in strategic locations and at the venue itself. Do a newsletter announcing the show. Utilize e-zines and online calendars to get the word out.

    8. Make contact with local ticket outlets like music stores and Ticketfly.

    9. Team up with non-profit organizations if it fits your event. A benefit for a local charity organization can be very helpful in promoting the event.

    10. Do a promo video for YouTube. Use it in your online promotions.

    Sarge Tip

    About two weeks in advance, make contact with the venue again to be sure that they have not double-booked or forgotten to book your date.

    For the Band:

    1. A performance agreement for the band is a good idea. If the terms are in writing between you and the promoter there is be no room for misunderstandings from either side.

    2. Be mindful of your Blackout dates. Do not over saturate one area by playing too often in the same places.

    3. Be sure the entire band is informed of show dates, venue, and location. All band members need to be aware and active in promoting the show.

    4. Get your show booked far enough ahead of the date to utilize any and all promotional opportunities; social media, interviews, reviews, flyers, and word of mouth advertising. Organize press and media outlets. Read Music 101 Article on Cultivating Press for the Media.

    5. The band should also do a walk-through of any venue they have not played before. While the promoter should have already visited with the venue manager, this is your music; be responsible for knowing the stage, lighting, sound and available power sources.

    Sarge Tip

    During your walk through, think about the lighting in terms of fans taking pictures with cameras and cell phones.These days everything is shared instantly on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. and you want the pictures to look good!

    6. Find out in no uncertain terms if there are comp tickets for family & friends, and exactly how many.Know how many people you are allowed to invite and avoid embarrassment to yourself, your band, the promoter, and the buddy who didn’t bring enough cash to pay the cover.

    7. Utilize some of those comp tickets to offer some kind of press pass for potential reviewers, blog writers, photographers, magazine and radio people. The more of those folks at the show, the more coverage you will get afterward. It’s important to know who they are and follow up with them.

    8. Pay attention to the other bands that are booked for the show, and make contact with them. If they have played the venue before, they may have some valuable insight about the place that the venue manager may have left out during the walk-through. Ask the other bands what they are getting out of doing a show here.

    Sarge Tip

    Promote, Promote, Promote! Make sure people know you are playing and get them excited about the show! Coordinate a contest in conjunction with the show….where the winner must be present at the show to claim their prize.

    9. Make the show a happening by promoting a birthday, anniversary, EP release, holiday, or other event that draws a crowd. Arrange a flyer for your band; remember to include sponsors, promotor, and the other bands. Get their logos. Be sure the promoter has these materials as well. Organize your street team to drop flyers in the weeks before the show.

    10. Create an event page on Facebook, make sure it is in line with the show. It needs to be as good or better than the promoter’s event page. The page must include show date, times, age restrictions, and other artists with web links for all bands on the bill. Select an official administrator for the page. The administrator is responsible for answering all messages, texts and posts generated on the page, in addition to keeping the page updated with the most current information on the show.

    Sarge Tip

    Do Talk to Strangers! Respond to all e-mails, comments, phone calls, etc. within a few days before the show.

    11. Take advantage of networking at the venue in the weeks before the show. Get a feel for the crowd that the venue itself attracts. Introduce yourself with flyers and pre-sale tickets.

    12. Organize a photo and video shoot for the event.

    Sarge Tip

    Pictures are worth a thousand words, but sound is sooooo much better. Do a video for YouTube, your event page, band page, and anywhere else you can post it.

    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