Tips for Managing Your Own Band
- Never be the first one to get your own band’s name tattooed on your body.
- Always wear black socks to business meetings…… just trust me.
- Make sure introduction to all songs are less then 30 seconds and the song does not exceed 3:30 minutes.
- NEVER bring your girlfriend or even wife on tour with your band. That should be a universal rule in the band. Girls tend to take on band problems as their own and create hostility or hold that member back from fully bonding with the band on tour.
- Don't trust anyone, especially when it comes to money, always keep track of your money, and keep records of everything that comes in and out, save receipts. This will help you in the long run.
- No one JUST wants to be your friend. Everyone in the industry who shows interest in you, in one way or another, wants something from you... and it's NOT friendship. Financial compensation is always the bottom line. Watch your back.
- Have your bands fliers and stickers on you at all times, and place them everywhere, on a table in a Starbucks, book store, record store, etc.
- Ask the local skateboard or music shop to place your stickers and fliers on the check out counter, or in the bags with every purchase.
- Utilize the internet for publicity, e-mail and blog on sites like: Absolutepunk.net, Myspace.com, indie-music.com, indieupdate.com, musicforte.com, myoriginalmusic.com, etc.
- Use the internet to get your band a cheap website and a free merchandise store. Have an e-mail list and send mass e-mails to the mailing list with band updates monthly, to stay connected with your fans.
- Do podcasts of your band, www.garageband.com. The more fans understand your personalities and little quarks the more they feel connected to you like you are friends.
- Sign your band up on this websites www.music.podshow.com/ internet DJ’s will find your band, play your songs and spread your music for you, not to mention the website notifies you every time your music is played.
- Find an independent licensing company (www.PumpAudio.com, www.Optic-Noise.com, etc.) who will pitch your songs to TV and film.
- Self Release a demo / EP (Not to exceed 5 tracks, that’s means even if you want some dumb secret song or long introduction, that’s counted as a track).
- Before recording a demo meet with a lot of producers and see who you mesh with well. If you are recording and the producer has a different opinion then you do it could cause huge problems. If you are a signed band do not let the record label assign you a producer, tell them you will find your own.
- Any press is good press, I once managed a band that burned a fall out Boy poster on stage, some kid went nuts on blog sites and it began a firestorm of press that even money couldn't’t buy. FOB themselves were calling the band to work things out and trying to reach the band through PR and blog sites.
- E-mail people! E-mail managers, other bands, booking agents, producers, etc. Just ask them questions, this is an industry of uneducated bands, ask questions, learn and in the process you will make connections who will benefit your career.
- Always write “Requested Material” on the outside of the homemade press kits with a black sharpie
- When mailing the press kits find an actual person to attention the envelope to; example: Attn: XXXX (Record Label, Manager, Booking agent)
- Your band needs a business license along with a “Band Membership Agreement” which is a contract for the members of the band that in detail discuss income division between members, how things should be resolved or decided, who has what authorities or responsibilities behind the band name, insurance, copyrights, etc.
- Things you should have before thinking you need a manager;
a) Doing well with merchandise and making profits.
b) Doing well with drawing a crowd while on tour.
c) Signed to a record label that is willing to put money into your band through promotion, tour support, and has good distribution. Trust me it isn't worth it until you have those three things.
- Never sign with any management company requesting more than 15 percent of the contract value.
- Never sign to a management company or booking agent that has a flat rate fee always opt for percentage based income, which means when you make money they make money, so they HAVE to do their job.If you are signing to a management company or booking agent always ask before hand if they will provide a 30 day trail period to let you see their capabilities.
- Never sign a contract with an artist management company if it exceeds a time length of 2 years.
- Do Not search for a band management company before you DESPERATELY need it, and by that time you will have already been approached by management firms who are interested, take your time.
- When shopping for artist management firms, enjoy the free dinners and drinks and take your time making a decision, if they rush you, ditch them.
- Do not book your own tour, attempt to get an agent to do it for you, if that fails trade shows, or just continue to play locally, it’s not worth it if you can not get a guarantee.
- Before signing any contract have a lawyer look over it, if you don’t have time to find and establish your own lawyer, look up the business law professor at a local community college and e-mail him and ask him to help you out, 9 times out of 10 they are retired lawyers who are still craving a bit of action and will be glad to do it.
- If you think your band can't afford a lawyer find a good firm and e-mail them asking if they will (just like with management) take a monthly percentage of the bands income.
- Make sure to ask the lawyer reviewing your contact if the contract includes a "sunset clause" (this means even after you part ways with your manager they still get a percentage of your income, obviously bad).
- If there is a local venue near you, go to as many shows as possible and scope out the people who work there. Hangout, chances are they, or someone they know books the bands for the venue, be friends, have business cards, shmooze!
- Play anywhere and everywhere there is no venue too crappy, no audience too small, even if you get one person to listen, you are on your way!
- If you know any booking agents at a venue that’s local to you, e-mail bigger bands and ask them to trade shows, you hook them up local to you and they will hook you up local to them. You both benefit
- Support other bands, always go to other bands shows, and try to meet them at the show, compliment them and pass along an EP, Shmooze!
- Take music lessons, from the singer to the tambourine player, every member need to take lesions for at least 2 months, you will always learn something new.
- Work hard on your live show, be tight musically, have energy, lots of crowd interaction. Your band could suck but if you can grab the crowd, your on the right track.
- NEVER underestimate face to face time with your fans. Sure it might be easier to use a "Bot" on Myspace.com to send thousands of adds to your target market, but THEY WON'T CARE ABOUT YOU. Get out there and show them who you are. CONNECT with people, RELATE with people, give them something to believe in.
- Put work into your songs; don’t pump out as many songs as possible in the least amount of time. Write a song and keeping adding and making it more complex and catchy; make it a work of art.
- Make sure everyone in your band has the same passion and drive as you do.
- Give the main song writers in the band projects to write songs about. Too many bands write about drinking or chicks, give projects like “feeling of a haunting” or “ice cream”, learning to write lyrics about anything and make it sound relatable to the listener is an art and practice makes perfect.
- Be a big fish in a small pond, do not move to a bigger pond. If the music scene in your area is lacking, find creative ways to make your band the hometown rock stars, that way your hometown will come see you play even when you do move to a bigger pond. Be creative, play public parks, local colleges, local festivals, market nights, coffee shops, etc.
- Always practice 3 times a week, even if your band sucks you will be tight musically.
- Be Unique.
- Make sure you are ready for success with the band and be prepared to give up everything. You have to tour to be a successful band and the more you are on the road the better.
- None of the members of your band should have any drug or any substance abuse problems, if they do, get them out of your band.
- Playing music is supposed to be fun but being in a band is a job. Your band is your business and should never be looked at as anything else.