July Features:

There is no music business fairy anymore. There are no record deals to be had, no advances to quit your job, no sexual experience after the show that is going to make you want to make music. These days, you are an artist...that's it....you make music because you have to make music to be a happy and fulfilled person. People will feel that, you will make fans, you will go viral and then you will generate revenue

Unlike a lot of music marketing tactics you hear about, this stuff is going to work fast and should be used as part of a healthy balanced music promotions diet. If you just send them to your blog homepage, then you might get maybe 1.8% of the people signing up for your mailing list. But if you send them to a simple page with one goal, then you might get 30% of those people if you are lucky.

Dear Guy Who Owns a Bar in Tampa and wrote this letter to musicians on Craigslist,
I've been playing music for over 25 years. I've worked in a lot of different places from absolute ratholes to really wonderful venues. I've seen all sorts of bad behavior on the part of musicians, fans, sound guys, bartenders, bouncers, managers and, yes, even bar owners.

I know you’re trying to be nice by putting me in good company, but musicians want to feel original. We don’t want to hear we sound like everyone else. That we’re unoriginal. It’s fine for you to sell your friends on listening to someone new by comparing them to well known artists, but when talking to a musician, the best compliment is “you sound like YOU and it’s awesome.” Unless you’re talking to a pop producer, then yeah, “it sounds like Katy Perry” is probably the best compliment you could give.

“Do you feel like the live entertainment adds value to what your establishment is doing?” It might be direct, but it will help a booker to take a second look at you the musician. If they feel live entertainment encourages an increase in patrons, or encourages patrons to stick around longer, then it is only fair that they pay artists who are contributing to their spaces success. If they don’t feel it adds value, then why book live music?

As musicians who get all the glory, we feel it’s time to thank those whom we rely upon for the opportunity to showcase our talent and express our creative faculty to the local community. Because, as everyone knows, musicians don’t really need the money. We do it all for beer and blow jobs. We’re artists. We have no time for such trivialities as kids, mortgages, or car payments.

Sometimes, the stars align and a gig goes just perfectly. You arrive early at the venue, there’s time for an extensive soundcheck, the crew is top notch, and the room sounds just right. Your rig is totally dialed in and the band is ready to fire on all cylinders. During the gig, you’ve got the packed, enthusiastic crowd in the palm of your hand, there are no equipment or musical mishaps, and you leave the stage feeling awesome.

I've been looking for gigs lately, I’ve never seen so many free and low paying gigs. Well the economy is bad, so I can understand that a little bit. However, it is no longer good enough for the musician to be willing to perform for little compensation. Now we are expected to also be the venue promoter? The expectations are that the band will not only provide great music, but also bring lots of people to their venue. It is now the band’s responsibility to make this happen, not the club owner.

In The Biz:

Those of us who have been around for over 40 years know a little bit more about the evolution of the music industry than our younger counterparts. Remember the 45? You know back when the Jackson 5 was a group and Michael Jackson had an afro? You had an A side and a B side. Then there was the LP and the 8 tracks. Most of us bought singles in those days because it was all we could afford. However, we got the music we wanted and record labels made money. Even when the tape recorder came out and we started recording our favorite songs off of the radio the industry still made money.

A band is a unique and complex relationship, and with so many different personalities and goals among band members, things can sometimes get tricky. Some people are direct, some are passive, some are more organized than others. "Musicians are sensitive and odd creatures," says songwriter/guitarist Paul Hansen of indie folk band The Grownup Noise. "So inevitably, it will be a dysfunctional, but hopefully loving, family."

Mental illness and music isn't a subject that is often discussed, but it is one that affects a disproportionate number of musicians. Many, probably most of us, can think of a time that music listening to it, playing guitar, writing and performing songs helped us through a difficult time in our lives. I know I can. Playing music is a way of achieving catharsis, to deal with our emotions by expressing them. I'm a long way from the troubled teenager I once was, but even now, there's nothing like grabbing an axe and rocking out to lift my mood if I get low.

These are some of the worst and most common hoaxes because they seem so benign but they can easily cost you a lot of money without getting you anywhere. They tend to disguise themselves in the form of some sort of legitimate opportunity from a legitimate business whether it be getting your song played on the radio, getting you a record deal, or letting you play a showcase in front of a big time A&R rep. The common thread though is that they will all ask you for money to get access. With the exception of membership-based organizations like ASCAP or The Recording Academy, press, marketing, or radio promotion agencies, or a qualified professional industry consultant (determining that requires research though), there are hardly any legitimate music businesses that will charge you in order to get access to a career opportunity (and honestly the aforementioned companies aren't charging you for access, they're charging for their services- but I didn't want to confuse anyone into thinking they are not legitimate businesses because they cost money).

Congratulations, your album is finally finished and you are ready to share your masterpiece with the world! You have already read "The Secret to Using Social Media to Build a Massive Base" and you are eager to implement those ideas and promote your project. You have gathered a list of websites, DJs, booking agents, A&R's and promoters to begin networking. Well... on that list is a sketchy promoter, an unethical booking agent and a commercial DJ waiting to take your money. There are members of the music community who prey on unsigned musicians. "The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side."-Hunter S. Thompson.


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