Out with the old and in with the new. Listen: if your career wasn’t working the way it was suppose to last year, perhaps it is time to double down with a few New Year resolutions.
1. Market your band every day. There are tons of opportunities to get your band’s name out there, but first you have to recognize them and be prepared. When someone asks you what you do at the New Years Eve party tonight (and why are you playing??), you’ll tell them you’re in a band. You’ll tell them the name. You’ll tell them where your next gig is out. You’ll invite them out.
And when the conversation is over and they walk away, they’ll promptly forget.
It would be better to pass them off a card that promotes the next gig, or at the least a business card. That way there is the small chance that they’ll look you hope…and that small chance is a hell of a lot bigger than if you don’t pass a card off.
My band, the Podunk Poets, just had cards made that have a QR code on the back (the same QR code that is on our fliers and merch booth at the gigs). The point being, that business cards don’t have to be flat 2-dimentional object, but rather a key to a more interactive presentation to your band.
2. Take the plunge on merchandise. You’ve thought about it; you’ve put it off. Now, realize it for the opportunity it is. First, if you have a cool design (and not just something you think is cool, but something everyone thinks is cool), people will want it and wear it…regardless of whether they like your band or not. Hire a professional artist if no one in the band posses the skill to do professional grade work.
T-shirts are cool, but so are dog-tags. People like trinkets, such as bottle opens, beer koosies and even fake backstage laminates. I has seen beer koozies that look like shirts, but I haven’t yet seen them in a band shirt…just saying.
Many bands are able to make more money off of merch that they sell at a gig than they make off the gig itself. And it doesn’t hurt to have people walking around with cool stuff that promotes your band.
The Nashville Hound Dogs’ band logo. Would you wear this on a shirt?
3. Make rehearsals more productive. This goes beyond just trying to get there on time, which is one of those things where leading by example is a good course of action. Make it clear what is to be covered for rehearsal: new songs, running the set, constructing a set, vocals…
Have charts ready and copies for everyone. This is the internet age, so these charts and demos of the songs can also be emailed. But still, bring charts for everyone. Should everyone make their own charts? Sure. Will they? One can only hope. But, it is better to have yourself prepared and to be able to reach down and pull someone up than to let them drag the entire band down.
Rehearse before you rehearse. Go over what is to be covered and be ready with new ideas to try out. Encourage others to come to rehearsal prepared as well, but remember…how can you expect something of them unless you’re willing to do it yourself?
4. Set up a band meeting for the New Year. This shouldn’t be during a rehearsal, and don’t allow a rehearsal become a band meeting. This should be away from the gear and someplace that has minimal, if any, distractions. Have everyone shut their phones off. Someone should take notes, which will be copied and emailed to everyone within 24 hours.
Just as with a rehearsal, have everyone prepared for what will be covered in the meeting: This may be the long term goals of the band, the short term goals, merch selection, gig scheduling, selecting an agent or agency, strategies for social media, selecting artwork, pre-production for recording or doing a video, delegation of duties…and the list goes on.
5. Have fun. This kinda goes without saying, and I’m certain it has a large aspect of why you’re doing this already. But the other part of this is that the band is a business. You and your band mates may not be capitol venturists (after all, who among us has any capitol to invest), but you all are investing our time, talent, creativity and resources to make something out of nothing.
And, it certainly isn’t any fun when your working your ass off to make something happen for the band, and others are goofing off, contributing little or nothing, and show little appreciation for your efforts.
So, make sure that you have fun, too. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
Happy New Year to you, and all the best to you and your band for 2013!
Originally posted 2012-12-31 19:54:05.