Matt Early

I am currently dedicating this space to thinking out loud

Tag Archive: Musicians

  1. Does FREE mean Priceless

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    I am trying to encourage musicians to start giving away their music for free.

    Convincing them that the best way to generate buzz for the music, for the band or artist, is by using the music, not as a product to sell, but as the advert that sells them.

    I guess the fact that what the artist sees as their art, they value more than anything, and more than the value of a fan.

    I can kinda see where they are coming from, but I guess this is why it is so hard to convince them to say, you know what, lets break down the wall, and give the consumer what they want.

    NOW, I of course am not saying that they should make their music FREE to everyone, but what I am saying is “Give it away for free to consumers”

    What do I mean by this?

    I propose that on an artists website (if they have one) they should do the following:
    Have the ability to play all songs written and recorded by the musician.
    Have the ability to download all the songs (together or individually) for free.
    Have the ability to download all the songs (together or individually) for a fee.

    Therefore, we have the try before you buy method of I’ll listen to that first, do I like it, yes I do.

    SO, you are giving the consumer the ability to decide on whether or not they would pay for it.

    BUT I am also not saying, don’t sell your music at shows.

    The artists I speak to have this first impression that I don’t want the musician to make money, but that’s not the case.

    MY view is that the music industry online has become so over saturated that there is very little point to trying to establish yourself ONLINE first.

    I personally think that the modern musician, to become a success, should focus MAINLY OFFLINE.

    Why do I think that?

    WELL, when you go to a gig, or you are playing a show with a couple of other acts, how big is the music industry then? It’s basically 5 musical acts.

    A self contained music industry within four walls.

    It’s mad when you think about it.

    You are not competing with the major acts, the twitter stars, the ones that can produce a good music video, not even a compilation of kitten videos.

    At that moment, you are one of the biggest musical acts in the industry, your own personal music industry that has been created and invited you to the dance.

    This is where you can sell your music, as physical products, to the people who will link the product with the experience, and remember you as an artist.

    Digital strategists are forever saying they don’t want the web to be just a marketing tool, and I agree, but for this instance I would suggest you use your website as a way to get people to know who you are.

  2. Online Service: Do they deserve their fee?

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    I’ve been wondering what to do with this blog, and I think I have come up with the perfect idea…

    Exposing shit things about the attitudes towards the music industry in 2014.

    I had an evening causing a little bit of a ruckus to a tweet chat for a company that charges musicians a yearly fee for what… this:

    • Surrounding yourself with like-minded, fellow indie musicians
    • Eligible to apply to our cool events
    • Be on an email list
    • Get featured on the web site
    • “Members Only” Facebook Group
    • Weekly Group Chat (I think this is what I gatecrashed, for free… on Twitter)
    • Get Your Music Reviewed
    • Get Retweeted (RT) on Twitter
    • Get your video featured on YouTube (On the websites own channel, not actually a YouTube feature)
    • Get promoted on ReverbNation (once again, on the website own channel)
    • Submission to our Compilation CDs
    • Industry discounts and resources (Free trials on distribution sites mainly)

    People were defending it…

    But is there anything on here worth paying anything at all for?

    Now, I didnt just go searching this thing out, they invited me to the chat.. I thought I’d tag along…

    Asked some of the questions I posted on the “UK Musician Forums” and got asked to stop because there was a Q&A going on about Twitter Lists…

    I mean… COME ON!

    Are any of you guys interested in apply for this service, designed for musicians… If so… Give me the money instead.

    But honestly… If you want any of those things above, FOR FREE, get in contact with me, and I’ll put you in touch with all the right people.

  3. What Is Merchandise?

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    Merchandise is additional items and products to be sold, and is very common in the music industry.

    When it comes to artists selling merchandise, they either do it through their website or when they play live shows.

    The most common forms of merchandise would be clothing, posters and badges, but can stretch as far as the imagination allows.

    Merchandise is a great way for musicians to earn extra revenue when they are touring, and can sometimes be their main source of income when starting out.

  4. What If My Band Shares The Name Of Another Band?

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    It is always suggested to choose a unique band name to stop any confusion you may cause by using a name that may have already been taken by a more established act.

    There have been many cases where popular acts have used name which later get called into question by older but perhaps not as successful acts such as McFly or One Direction, and in some cases they try to sue for damages.

    There are a few tools online than can help you discover if a band name has been taken before, but its easier enough just to Google “BAND NAME music band” and see if anything comes up.

  5. How Do I Get More Performance Experience?

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    If you are struggling to find gigs because the band booker or the promoters feel you do have enough experience, there are a few ways a musician can do.

    Always offer to open the show for promoters
    The opening act tends to be more of a warm up for the main show, and has to compete with people not wanting to see them, and also late comers walking into the venue whilst they are playing.

    Say you will play for free, or at most expenses only
    If a booker or promoter is unaware of what an artist can bring to the party, they would be reluctant to pay a regular fee to play. If an act is happy to get just their expenses paid off (agree an amount when initially booking), then the promoter may just be persuaded to give you a shot.

    Play on the streets
    If all else fails (and even if it doesn’t) it does nobody any harm to get out into the cold and play to the public. Obviously this doesn’t work with every musician, but if you are able to, busking may give you the vital yard of experience you need to win over any doubters.

  6. How Can I Keep My Band Fresh?

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    The best way, in my experience, to build up a following is to attack the same people again and again.

    Now when I say attack, I mean put yourself in front of and impress them, not literally pounce on them.

    But the thing is, if you have to do this, the same thing over and over, the public will vote with their feet and leave.

    So how can this be remedied?

    Acts have to keep things fresh, and interesting.

    This not only encouraging for the audience, but it keeps things spontaneous for the artists too.

    It can be as simple as re-ordering the set list every gig, putting a random cover song in the set list, even telling a joke, or wearing a different hat.

    The key is to keep the audience engaged, and keeping it fresh is the best way to do that.

    Artists should consider creating an imaginary character (we’ll call him Bill), a typical audience member, who always comes to the show.

    Whenever the acts is rehearsing for the gig, or coming up with a set list, they should ask themselves, “How can we impress Bill tonight?”.

    If they can impress and surprise Bill, and the act will be continuing fresh, unique and never rotten or stale.

  7. What Is A Fanbase?

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    In the literal sense of a fanbase, it is a collection of people who are fans of a particular interest. But when it comes to music, it can be defined as so much more.

    Within the fanbase of an artist, there is a number of sub-groups.

    Sub-Group 1 : The Casuals

    These are people who have an interest in an artist, enough to say they like them, but perhaps not likely to join their mailing list.

    If they do don’t read it unless it contains something they are particually interested in.

    Sub-Group 2 : The Fans

    The fans are the ones who show up to shows whenever the act are in the area, and try to spread the word to all of their friends and family about your act.

    Sub-Group 3 : The Hardcore Super Fans

    The hardcore super fans are the artists bread and butter.

    They are likely to follow the band wherever the act play, and buy everything the artist produces, may it be music releases, new merchandise, or even anything they endorse.

    These fans spread the word about the artists to whoever they meet, and want them to love them as much as they do (BUT NOT MORE!!!!).

    The importance of a fanbase is that, although an act is always wanting to gain more fans, the fans from the casuals to the hardcore are “the most important” as they are the ones who are likely to keep coming
    back for more.

    If the fanbase gets ingnored, they’ll start ignoring you.

  8. How Can I Build My Bands Fanbase Online?

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    There are many social platforms for an artist to build their online fanbase. (I could list them all here, but by the end of the week it will be out of date)

    The key thing to remember is to work out who the artists typical fan is, and go where they go.

    The artist may songs about “World of Warcraft” so perhaps the first place to look isn’t at Facebook or Twitter, but to consider “WOW Forums”.

    Think outside the box, and go to them. Be responsive, and don’t you dare spam.

    Encourage them to visit the official website, and eventually they’ll sign up to the mailing list.

    At first, the act will have a cult following, and as the word spreads, and as people are engaged more, the online fanbase will grow.

    Do be warned though, an online fanbase may cover the world.

    So when sending out mailing lists, consider Little Stevie not being able to travel half the globe to come watch you at a pub on a Tuesday night.

  9. How Can I Always Get My Expenses Paid?

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    It is not a requirement from any venue or promoter to get expenses paid.

    The only way you can ensure expenses are covered is by coming to an agreement, when initially booking the show.

    Generally it can be a “gentleman’s agreement”, but some acts insist on having a contract signed.

    This is not unusual, but if an artist and act is unheard of, or new to the area, the promoters do not always agree to this.

    This is why it must be agreed upon initial booking and not just expected when the act turns up to play.

  10. What Is The Best Practice When Approaching Promoters?

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    When approaching a promoter, especially for the first time, it is best to come across as professional and as eager as possible.

    Considering that the promoter is the person between the gig and an artist, from the get go they want to be only dealing with hard working people, who treat themselves seriously and with respect.

    When contacting them, the promoter should be given as much information about the artist, as well as links to all online propaganda, should they want to research further into the act.

    The promoters are usually busy people and talking with many artists at one moment, so give them all the information they require without them having to go out and research it themselves.

    Things typical promoters would like to know from artists:
    Act Name, Location, Genre(s), Experience, Upcoming Shows, Following, Members, Ages (can be quite important, especially for younger acts), Equipment, Set Length. As well as the links to all online media.

    Also, the general rule is to not send attachments to emails unless asked.

    Promoters are generally good at responding to messages, but its always good to follow up a week or two later should you have to.