• 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Write A Press Release

    Press releases are an important part of corresponding with your audience. They provide an informational and informal advertisement of your product. Written correctly, press releases advertise to your audience without being dubbed as an advertisement.

    1. Use a document editor (Microsoft Word or equivalent).

    2. Create a headline for your press release. These headlines should be short and catchy while explaining why the reader should read your release.

    3. Explain the 5 “W’s” (Who, What, When, Where and Why). Include details such as address, age limit, special guest appearances, parking information, drink specials, sponsors of the event and the name of other bands performing.

    4. Keep it clear and concise. Hit key points, but don’t over do it. Generally, around 300 words should do the trick.

    5. CHECK YOUR SPELLING AND GRAMMAR! – If you’re not a good writer, find someone who is.

    Sarge Tip

    Always provide the date of the event on your press release. Many people will spend most of their time making it sound nice and eloquent, but forget the main goal: to inform your audience on the happenings of your brand.

    6. Release to press outlets. Some good ones to reach out to would be your local college radio stations, online radio, weekly magazines and online blogs.

    7. Create incentives for the press. Free entry, press passes and special VIP privilages are great ways to motivate the press to show up to your event. 

    Compiled by Monty Burton