As long as people want music and see it as something of inherent value, the industry as well as the band will continue to exist. However, Bands get it wrong from the word “go”. Like in anything; the foundation determines the outcome.
So where is your Band getting it wrong? Let me break it down in 25 reasons!
1. There should be an internal band agreement between ALL band members regardless of the relationship. If things go sour, each member must be able to stand their ground. Full stop.
2. Internal agreements can contain various clauses but the most recommended ones include; ownership of band name, ownership and control of copyrights, division of the bands assets and income, responsibility of each member in the band, consequences and negotiations of a band member quitting.
3. Research your band’s name. Do you want to spend a decade on creating amazing shit for 3 bands with the same name in another country? I didn’t think so.
4. Trademark is the asset of assets to a band. Consider legal trademark status for merchandise purposes. This makes 50% of your income.
5. Another word on trademark is the protection of a domain name. It is professional, classy and makes any band look more established than they really are.
6. If you want to be professional – hire an artist/band manager. A manager is the grape of the wine. Enough said.
7. Finding a band manager is no pie. Let me express the difference between a good manager and an effective manager. A good manager can promote, plan, manage the team around the band, and develop sales and products. An effective manager believes in the band. An effective manager has short-term and long-term goals for a band. An effective manager employs artistic manipulation of people on behalf of the band.
8. Do the band and the possible manager need separate contracts? Absolutely. Employ separate attorneys where possible.
9. Last word on a band manager: the there must be a high level of trust between band and manager.
10. So, the Artist and Repertoire (A&R) at Roadrunner threw your demo in the bin. Shame. There are more labels out there than you think. If you have not sent a demo to 70 different labels than you are in the wrong industry.
11. Facebook and twitter are not the only social media. Remember MySpace and Youtube? How about college radio stations? Underground webzines? Even traditional local print? There are people looking for music news every day. That is 365 days of public attention per year.
12. Besides being able to network on the World Wide Web –its time to get out of the jam room and into the live music scene. 1 gig is worth 10 rehearsals.
13. And nothing beats a full house and real fans as opposed to 3000 “Likes” on Facebook.
14. A band will need to explore funding opportunities continuously. Get ready to beg, borrow, steal and recycle until the band obtains the money needed to get a kick up and about. How a band does it – that’s up to them. Just remember that there are a number of humble tarts out there willing to place money on something inherently valuable. So make sure your band is the hot shit!
15. Press kit please? A press kit contains the band’s essentials. These include:
a) Band Biography: These explain the Who? What? Where? When? of the band. It observes a brief history of the band.
b) Band Press releases and press clippings: The idea is to grab the attention of the reader as they read about the band written from another source.
c) Band Photographs: A visual stimuli is of utmost importance. A picture is 1000 words. A Cliché that runs blood true.
d) Band Gig List: Where has the band been jamming?
e) Demo CD with corresponding song list: Give the listener an ear orgasm of 3-4 of the bands best songs. Cannot decide which track? It should be the track that seizes the listener in 15 seconds or less.
f) Band Website/s: An internet presence is highly reputable.
g) Band Contact information: How can we get hold of you?
16. Note that the Press Kit needs to be in KISS format. In other words Keep It Simple, Stupid!
17. At number 12, I mentioned 1 gig is worth 10 rehearsals. Let me delve into performing. Performing is an art and the band is the artist. The artist needs to sell, sell, sell!
18. At sound check DO NOT work on band music rather work on sound.
19. At sound check DO NOT play your best licks in an idle moment.
20. If you change instruments a lot – sound check those songs
21. If there are a number of detailed changes, please write it down and hand a copy to the sound engineer. It should be common courtesy.
22. A band that has done 3 really awesome gigs cannot demand the attention of the industry gatekeepers. Here is the thing: If you went to play football with your friends and scored several times – you won’t be calling Manchester United!
23. With the above in mind, it is safe to say that at least 50 gigs get accumulated interest from the industry.
24. General musician etiquette both on-stage and off-stage is a must. Without that any band can kiss their dreams goodbye. Here is a quick run through of the P’s and Q’s:
a) Be punctual to the venue.
b) Be aware of the other bands on the billing and DO NOT badmouth them. Nobody likes a band who thinks their super high on their self esteem.
c) Be prepared for the gig; going beforehand to check the venue is an ideal. Know what the stage looks like and adjust your band accordingly.
d) Never play past your time.
e) Remember fans go to shows to see their favourite band. Make a point of meeting those who support your band. DO NOT sit in VIP the entire night swigging beer – go mingle and swig beer with the band supporters.
25. Lastly, your band sucks because you don’t have a back–up plan! The golden rule to any band is to ALWAYS have a back-up plan!