Thoughts On How To Approach Music Bloggers

[Editors Note: This article is derived from the “Question and Answer” format found over at MusicPreneurHub.com, a site that connects artists and music industry experts. It was written by Jack Ought, a musician, freelance writer and digital artist from the UK.]

 

1. Start With Empathy

I’d say start with empathy. Empathy is a vital skill for dealing with other humans, whether they blog or not. Try to put yourself into the head of the music blogger before you contact one. What do they want out of life and how can you help them get it with your music? Put another way, ‘what’s in it for them’?

It’s a bit like submitting to A&Rs at major labels. If they’re really big, they’re getting more submissions than they can possibly deal with. They’re getting generic/irrelevant pitches all the time, and they might have grown to resent ‘bad pitches’. They don’t want to read War and Peace, even if your content is relevant to them – instead, they’re looking for short, informative, and ’to the point’ releases that allow them to learn more, if they want to. And they are always looking to uncover music that they feel has real value, why else would they do what they do?

If it’s a commercial blog (i.e they have ads), understand their revenue model – they want more page views, which generate more ad revenue. How can you help them generate more page views? One of the things that always gets my interest as a journalist or blogger is an exclusive – I’m not interested in posting content that a bunch of other people have put out before me. Do you have something new to announce that they can post first? A new tour perhaps, or a new single? Perhaps consider: “if it’s not new, it’s not news”

2. Your Mindset

Perhaps consider your mindset too; in the sense that you are here to serve and provide value. You are here to give them something very exciting to show to their readership. You have something genuinely valuable to share with them in the form of your art.

What to do when you pitch a blogger:

Have a strong headline: It’s worth bearing in mind that your email subject is a bit like your headline – you really have to get it right, because if they don’t like the title they won’t even read your email.

Do your homework on the blog: Some blogs ask you to do certain things in your email to help them better process your submission. If you don’t, the blogger will likely reject your message outright.

Personalize your pitch: Make sure the salutation references them by name, if you can. If not, name of the blog that they write for. Don’t start an email with something like ‘Dear Blogger’, please. Tailor it to the blogger in question, ideally in the first paragraph by referencing something they have written about in the past: And why what you have to OFFER them is RELEVANT. I speak from experience when I say that if someone shows that they have taken the time to research what I am writing, I am much more inclined to respond. It’s not flattery per se, more an example that you’re a professional who has taken the time and thought to do their research.

Expect a low hit rate: Sad but true, even the best crafted, most targetted pitches will often evaporate into nothing. This is very often the case and not something to take personally. People are busy, people forget stuff, sometime spam filters get excited, there are many reasons. Which leads us to the next bit… Follow up: 3-5 days later, politely. A short, friendly follow up email to remind them. There’s a trade off between emailing indefinitely until they get back to you or tell you to stop, or not. I think it’s like a lot of stuff in life in that persistence pays. Remember, you have something useful for them to see. An optional step – you could pick up the phone and call them (or try to get them onto Skype). If you are the kind of person who is good on the phone, this may be better for you.

Provide easily accessible links to your content: Either download links to music and imagery on a site like 4shared, or your EPK. Say thank you at the end: Everyone is busy, the fact that the blogger has taken the time to read all the way to the end is great. Politeness will get you around. Here’s an example of an email title (first introduction) that could work for you: “Hi [NAME OF JOURNALIST], I read your piece on [SOMETHING THEY WROTE] & thought you may like this…”

3. On Bloggers (Big and Small)

Please don’t rule out smaller bloggers. Just because they’re ‘small’ doesn’t mean they’re not important – even though a blogger may not have the following of a bigger publication, they often have a highly engaged and super niche following of the kind of people you want to get in front of. For example, they can be followed by journalists at bigger publications looking to catch new bands before they take off. Big outlets often get their ideas from smaller ones.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that bloggers are, on the main part, fanatical about what they like and they can be some of your biggest champions, if they like you. Most of the time, the ones who went into it purely for the money were quickly weeded out when they realized that they’re probably not going to get rich and famous overnight.

Content Marketing – Why It’s One of the Best Ways to Promote Your Music

[Editors Note: This article was written by Chelsea Ira of New Artist Model.]

 

 

It’s the big question all musicians ask: How do I promote my music?

So today I’m going to key you in on the best strategy to promote your music, grow your fanbase, and make more money – and it’s something that can work for any musician and any career path.

We’re talking about content marketing.

Content marketing isn’t some big, intimidating strategy that you need to build from scratch. Chances are, you’re already using elements of a content marketing strategy. So today, let’s focus on optimizing and perfecting.

To get started, I have two great resources you can checkout:

But for now, let’s focus on what content marketing is and why it’s so important.

What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is a more strategic approach to promoting your music where you create valuable and interesting content to attract and retain an audience, and, ultimately, to create fans who financially support your career.

Essentially, your goal is to pull fans into your world with awesome content and make them want to hear from you. (Instead of pushing your music in their face.)

That means instead of just posting “buy my new album” on Facebook, you first provide truly relevant and interesting content to your fans.

Let’s take a look at a great example that has become pretty popular these days: making-of videos.

In this strategy, you film the writing and recording process of your new album and release the videos leading up to the official album release date. The videos bring fans into your world, they get them excited and emotionally invested in the album, AND they can be used to drive pre-orders.

Why is Content Marketing Important?

In today’s music industry, it’s almost impossible to shout louder than everyone else. This push marketing tactic worked well in the past when labels had big bucks to throw into promotion, but it’s just not feasible on today’s indie budget. (And to be quite honest, fans are starting to get fed up with being shouted at.)

So let’s go through a few reasons why content marketing is so powerful.

1. Content Marketing Turns the Process into a Marketing Tool

Content marketing is all about selling the process.

What do I mean by that?

For a lot of musicians, the promotion cycle looks a little like this: release an album, promote the crap out of it, go comparatively dark to work on the next album.

But with content marketing, you start sharing before you have anything ready. You let your fans in on the album-creation process with blog posts, Instagram stories, and vlogs. You bring fans into rehearsals with Facebook Live sessions. You let email subscribers vote on merch designs.

This accomplishes three things:

  1. It gets fans invested in your work (both from an emotional and time perspective). Fans are much more likely to buy a shirt if they feel like their vote helped create it. Fans are much more excited about buying an album if they’ve seen the process and the stories that went into the songs. In short, it fosters trust and relationships.
  2. It keeps you present in fans’ minds. Especially with many social channels being driven by some form of algorithm, going dark will only hurt your relationship with your fans.
  3. More impressions = more sales. Sometimes it takes a fan being exposed to your offers a few times before they actually buy. So the more you can link to your website, blog, videos, and email list, the more fans will be exposed to your offers. The key is to be authentic and relevant about it.

2. Content Marketing is Long Term

A lot of musicians get really focused on the short term – you know, promoting the new single, building up hype for the tour, getting fans to watch the new music video – and wind up completely losing sight of the bigger picture.

In other words, the short-term goals completely overshadow the long-term goals.

Of course, having short-term goals is important – they help you see progress and stay motivated. BUT, the problem arises when they take over. Without a long-term goal you’re running blind. You’re taking a bunch of steps but there’s no guarantee they’re all in the same direction. And that leads to discouragement and burnout.

A good content marketing strategy blends the short term and the long term together seamlessly. Ideally, most pieces of content you share have a purpose, or some larger agenda.

Here’s an example:

  • You share a short video clip of the recording process for an acoustic track.
  • You link to your email list where fans can get that exclusive track for free in exchange for an email.
  • You use that email list to promote all your upcoming projects in the future.

And another:

  • You create a new cover video for YouTube.
  • You link to your Patreon where fans can support you and get early access to all new videos and can vote on the songs you cover next.
  • You use Patreon as a place to build a superfan community that will support you for years to come.

You see? It’s all concentric circles with the small things like Twitter posts leading into larger career goals and objectives.

 

The 3 Steps to Your Content Marketing Strategy

1. Know Your Audience

The first step is to really know and understand your audience. You want the content you create and share to be really relevant to your fanbase and their interests.

You can find some basic demographic information like age, gender, and location on social media analytics. Beyond that, you can use polls and surveys to learn more about your fanbase. Even posting a simple question on social media getting fans to vote on the kind of content they would like to see will be immensely helpful.

Some bands have found that a good portion of their audience is also musicians and release tutorials, gear reviews, and sound sheets. Others will find that their fans prefer longer-form vlogs to short music videos. Every fanbase is different. Know yours.

2. Know Your Goals

The next step is to know exactly where you want your music career to take you long term. Because quite honestly, there are more ways to be successful as a musician today than ever before.

If making most of your money from YouTube and Patreon is a goal of yours and you have no interest in going on the road, all the content you release should encourage fans to engage with you on those platforms. You might even consider dropping the traditional “album” for singles (which may be more relevant to those platforms).

3. Use Relevant Call to Actions

Once you know what kind of content to create, you need to tie in a relevant call to action.

In marketing, a “call to action” is just asking your fans to take some further step – like clicking a link or supporting your Pledge Music campaign.

Like we talked about earlier, each piece of content you release should have a purpose.

  • You’re not just releasing a studio vlog, you’re using that vlog to link to your pre-sale campaign where fans can buy the album early.
  • You’re not just sharing a live recording from your last house concert. You’re using that video to show fans how awesome house concerts are and give them a link to volunteer as a host.

Conclusion

Hopefully this article has given you some new ideas to promote your music. Remember, content marketing doesn’t have to be overwhelming. It’s not a completely new approach, it’s just OPTIMIZING content you’re already making.

That being said, it will be a bit of a transition. If you want some guidance, click here and take the short quiz. We’ll send you a series of free content marketing lessons.

We also have a content marketing checklist for you right here. Click to download it for free.

Interview: 18th & Addison – Pop Punk Power Duo Discuss New Album, Label, & More

18th & Addison are two-piece pop-punk group based in Toms River, NJ. Made up of Kait DiBenedetto and Tom Kunzman (they play live with a drummer and bassist), the duo met after leading respective musical careers and combined their talents for writing punchy, emotional and energetic rock cuts during a time where the genre is undergoing a revival in the indie limelight.

Kait and Tom joined TuneCore for our first-ever TUneCore Live: Brooklyn event last August, and we got the chance to catch up with them to talk about their new album Makeshift Monster, (dropping tomorrow, July 15th), their beginnings as a group and what it takes to start and maintain your own label:

Coming from the pop and punk backgrounds, what kind of influences did you two share right out of the gate? How did you learn from each other in this regard?

Kait: Regardless of my pop background, I was still very much into punk, pop punk, and all that stuff as well, but I think the first band that initially brought the two of us together musically was Mest. We got together to record a cover of one of our favorite songs by them and realized really early on we worked well together and brought the best out in each other musically. Besides that, once Tom and I started hanging out more, he really got me more into The Clash, the Rolling Stones, The Replacements, Rancid. Just a bunch of stuff I always respected but never listened to too much and now I love it

Tom: When I was younger I was kinda stuck in my ways. I hated pop music for a long time. At this point though, I’ve grown to love and respect the production of pop music from the 80’s and 90’s that I ignored as a kid because all I cared about was Green Day, Blink-182 and whoever they listened to (laughs). I love punk rock more than anything, but I’ve learned, from writing with Kait that it’s okay to have the high energy and “f*ck you” attitude of punk rock with a good pop melody and beautiful harmonies that really get stuck in your head.

That’s pretty much all I was doing in my old band anyway just without realizing where it was all coming from. I guess I was just a really ignorant kid or something but now, I get the biggest kick out of writing the heaviest song ever (to me) and throwing in this poppy chorus with all these harmonies and soaring guitars and synths like we do on Makeshift Monster. There’s a song on there called ‘Knives’ that will make you wanna punch somebody then pick them up to sing along immediately after. It’s exciting.

Describe the initial collaborative process between the two of you. Was there instant songwriting chemistry?

Kait: There was definitely instant chemistry, at least in my opinion. When we really started taking 18th & Addison more serious and began the songwriting process together, we wrote separately more often than we do now, but we’d still bring the ideas of those songs to each other for the other to add onto.

Then it gradually turned into to us collaborating more on songs/ideas and writing more collectively which is why I think throughout the few years we’ve been a band, the songs have progressively gotten better. We learned each other’s strengths and weaknesses as songwriters and fed off of each other to each get better in different areas

Tom: Yeah, and we were writing A LOT. We could’ve put out a full length record right out the gate if we wanted to, but that wouldn’t have been a smart idea for a new and independent band in 2016 but the chemistry was there real early on. The writing process always changes, but over time, it’s gotten more and more collaborative which has proven to only make our music stronger which I think has made our live show even better and more fun as well.

How did you parlay your respective experiences in bands when it came to getting 18th & Addison off the ground? 

Kait: For me, I think the biggest thing I took from my past experiences is to wanting to be more involved. Right now I love being an independent band putting in the work and getting the pay off in the end. In the past, a lot of what I experienced were amazing opportunities but I didn’t have to put in as much work to get to the point where I was because I had a team of people doing it for me. Learning the in’s and outs of promotion and starting over from scratch is something I really took seriously from the start of this band and something I take a lot of pride in now considering we’re seeing a lot of our hard work pay off. It’s much more rewarding.

Tom: Pretty much the same for me. I got screwed over so many times. I was literally robbed by one of my drummers several times while on tour. I was literally left on my own the day of shows to play acoustically by myself which I had never done at that point in time. The list is endless! Anyway, I toughed it out because I felt stuck since I had a contract with a heavily involved investor who I was terrified to let down. Not that he would have sued me if the band broke up or anything, but because I had so much admiration and respect for him and his family for taking such a big chance on my band. I’m not one to ask for favors. Neither is Kait.

I’m thankful for those moments though nowadays and have no hard feelings because it really toughened me up. I took every idea that those guys ignored, or turned down for whatever dumb reason, and I put it all into 18th & Addison. Kait was feeling the same way and equally as excited to really grab the wolf by its ears and take it all on just the two of us and so far, so good! It’s liberating.

18thAddison6

What kind of tips can you offer to an indie artist who might be stepping away from a project to pursue another in terms of marketing and engaging new/old fans?

Kait: I think consistency is the key. A lot of people want the results right away or want to ride the coattails of old projects but don’t want to put the work that’s needed to start over. Social media is one of the best outlets to continue the communication between old fans, and a great way to connect with new ones so having a good online social presence goes a long way. But again, if you’re not consistent, it doesn’t matter.

Tom: Exactly. We’re definitely stuck in the age of instant gratification which Kait and I never subscribed to. Yes, let those fans of your last band know you’re doing something brand new, but don’t count on all of them follow along. Like Kait said, that consistency in 2016 is vital. My last band was terrible at that. We were so slow moving and we really hurt ourselves that way. It honestly killed the band and its drive, but 18th & Addison is a whole different animal!

Set goals for your new project that will catapult you to a new level, and do whatever it takes to achieve those goals. It might flop, it might not but that’s how you learn. Any band or creative endeavor is like a relationship. Plan for the future so you have something to look forward to and keep you in and if the passion and love is there, it’ll all work out.

Pop-punk has had a resurgence recently – I attributed some of it to former fans (like myself) finding a new value in the style and writing later in life.  What do you think?

Kait: Tom and I say this all the time but “pop-punk” never really went away. I think more recently bands of that genre are trying too hard to be too much like each other and it gets boring. A perfect example is putting on any pop-punk playlist on Spotify, it’s hard to identify any difference between some of the bands. No one has their own identity anymore and it’s nice when there’s a new band here and there that surprises you and gives you a little more faith in the genre again. But in my opinion, that’s few and far between these days

Tom: I’ve always paid attention to it so for me, it never went away. I also agree with Kait though. Sometimes, I can’t even tell it’s a different band with some of the newer ones in the “scene”. It’s like any genre though in my opinion. It goes through the motions and sometimes it’s popular, sometimes it’s not. One wave of it is great, the next isn’t so great, but I’d rather see young kids support a new, working band who can introduce them to older bands who started it all. As for the older crowd who grew up with it then stopped caring, I’m happy to see they’re starting to come back around as well even though it’s not this massive thing.

18thAddison4

You played one of our TuneCore Live events in Brooklyn last year and tore it up! What steps do you take to continually improve your live performances?

Tom: Thank you! We don’t really overthink the live show honestly. We just practice as much as we can and have a blast with our live band mates and try to think of things to add to the songs to get the crowds involved. Especially for people who have never seen or heard us before. We want everyone singing along and having fun. That’s why we started doing this as kids and that’s what I love to see a band do at shows. It’s just always a blast and we try to just be in the moment the whole time.

Kait: Yeah, we consistently practice even when we don’t have to just to stay fresh. We like to play out our actual set list all the way through at least three or four times just so we can work out all the kinks but in the same token, we make sure we still have fun with it. The energy of the crowd plays a HUGE role in the vibe of our live performance and it’s something we really feed off of so we make sure we get them involved as much as we can.

The first single off Makeshift Monster, “War”, deals with aging and the risk of losing your passion. Is this something you think a lot of independent artists go through?

Kait: I don’t think it’s something independent artists go through as much as I think it’s something literally EVERYONE goes through at one point or another. Sometimes you unintentionally lose sight of what’s important and you let what holds you back consume you and it doesn’t have to be that way. Whether it’s a passion you let go of, or anxiety holding you back in anyway, it’s something that we all experience and sometimes it’s nice to know you’re not the only one going through it.

Tom: Definitely. It’s something everyone goes through at all ages. I think that’s just life and I don’t know if it ever really changes. Everyone’s different. Times get tough whether we like it or not and some people run from their dreams in hopes for security because their parents raised them to think that they need to. The world we live in is tricky, but you can’t let ignorant people who have never truly followed a passion in their lives tell you how to live yours or what you need to be doing by a certain age.

That’s really where this new record is based. It’s a brutally honest album and ‘War’ is just the tip of the iceberg, but I overcame it because I love this shit and I know I can do it for the rest of my life so long as I’m not an idiot about it. Anyone can do it for any passion they have. Just need to commit yourself and enjoy the ride.  

What other themes and topics do you cover on the new album?

Kait: We definitely cover a lot of ground on this album. We write a lot about self-doubt, personal demons we’ve each had to deal with in our past, and also society and all the inhumanity that surrounds us. There’s a song on there that we wrote after we went through a hard time and our relationship was tested a little bit so there’s definitely a song for every emotion.

Tom: Definitely something for everyone and every emotion but it somehow became really cohesive at the same time. Unintentionally though. I think ‘Disaster by Design’ is the only real left turn on the record in terms of lyrical content, but it still fits the album. We were just being honest as usual, and this is what came out of the both of us because that’s what was going on in our lives at that time. We do try and write it in a way that people can take it and make it their own though.

What urged you to start your own label? What kind of partners – beyond TuneCore – have you found helpful in this venture?

Tom: Like I mentioned earlier, it was just the determination to be self-sufficient and not have to rely on anybody but ourselves. We know how we want to be perceived, we know how we want to promote our music, and we know where we want to go better than anybody else. Period.

You guys have been amazing in distributing our music digitally. We’ve loved working with you since the beginning. We get to pick our release dates, host pre-orders, decide how much we sell our music for so our fans can afford it easily and of course being added to the showcase was amazing! We had so much fun.

As for other partners, we hired a very hard working and extremely supportive manager/publicist who we’ve been with since we got the ball rolling in 2015 and put out our first release. He’s the man. There’s also our good friend and beyond driven videographer/photographer, Jarred Weskrna. His work is awesome and we just recently teamed up with a booking agency (Ashley Talent International) so we’re starting to work with them this summer! Then there’s obviously Skywire Studios where we recorded the album and our engineer, Charlie Berezansky also tracked drums for every song.

Kait: I couldn’t agree more. We like to be in control of what we do, what we write, the decisions we make regarding our music, how we present ourselves and everything else in between and these days, the only way to do that is to do it yourself.

We LOVE working hard knowing we got ourselves there. It’s also a great way to be involved in music outside of our own. We love collaborating and finding new music and figuring out new ways to make music that is refreshing so starting our own label is something we felt would help us do that long term. And all the people Tom mentioned are a HUGE part of why we’ve been able to be so successful thus far.

For an independent artist who might be interested in setting up their own label, what are some pitfalls to avoid or underrated advice you could’ve used?

Kait: I would avoid listening to people who try to put their two cents in who have no idea what they’re talking about. They THINK they do but they haven’t put in half the work to know or understand. Being able to identify the people who are really supportive and the people who say they are for the sake of getting something out of it is something you learn to be really cautious of. We’ve had our fair share of people doubt us or make comments about what we do but as far as we’re concerned, it only adds fuel to the fire for us to want to keep building this more and more.  

Tom: I agree. That’s a big part of it. The doubters are always people who have no f**king clue how much work and dedication goes into being your own boss. We never really felt like we’ve come across anything we couldn’t handle, to be honest. It just takes a lot of discipline which is tough for some musicians.

Just be smart and willing to learn as you grow. If you’re a member of a PRO, I suggest reading their newsletters daily and be up to date on the business side of things so you can really stay on top of the new ways to get the music heard. Also, always keep your music first. Without the music, the business doesn’t exist, so don’t forget what’s most important. Pitfalls and failures will happen but that’s what success consists of. Learn from your mistakes. Don’t run from them.

How To Book A Gig Yourself…and Be Invited Back

[Editors Note: This blog was written by Rich Nardo. Rich is a freelance writer and editor, and is the Director of Public Relations and Creative at NGAGE.]

No matter what anyone tells you, we have yet to figure out a digital musical experience that can equal the fan connections a band can conjure through their live show. There is something in our DNA that is profoundly impacted by live music. Maybe it’s the shared experience with those in attendance or the nostalgia a concert can create for a certain time in our lives.

Or maybe it’s something more primal; the process of syncing our natural rhythm to live drum and bass as it pulse through our bones. Either way, performing is still undoubtedly the best way to create loyal fans and combat the current “musical-flavor-of-the-week” culture we live in.

Still, developing a live following is no walk in the park. You’re going to need to dedicate hours-upon-hours of time to tightening your set and tirelessly promoting your shows. It’ll get tedious, and success won’t happen overnight, but if you work hard you’ll eventually graduate from dingy bars and VFWs to better rooms. On top of that, I can honestly say nothing can match the indescribable feeling you’ll get from performing in front of a room full of people and, if you’re lucky, the dedicated following you’ll gain from gigging out.

Here are some tips on how to book that first gig, and how to get invited back!

1. Be Professional In Your Pitch

Yes, the promoter knows that you’re self-booking. They still want the comfort of knowing you will take the night seriously. Keep in mind that they’ve probably gotten a few hundred other “booking inquiries” that week. Ask yourself what’s going to make them offer you a slot on one of their nights over those other bands? Some ways to be professional include:

  • A succinct, clear subject line (i.e: Booking Inquiry – The Beatles October Date @ MSG?).
  • Be informative in the body of the email. You should include a description of your music, where you’re from and any performance history. It is also necessary to include a link to where the talent buyer can listen to your music and check out your socials.
  • Don’t have typos!
  • Follow up approximately 3-5 days after reaching out if you don’t hear back. Also don’t hesitate to pick up the phone. Sometimes that’s the best way to cut through the clutter of acts hitting up a promoter.

2. Stay In Touch with The Promoter Ahead Of Your Show

Nothing makes promoters more nervous than booking a band and not hearing from them again until they show up at the venue night of. Give the promoter updates on what you’re doing to get people to come see your band. Also share any promotional assets such as Facebook events or flyers with the promoter as well. This way they can take comfort in the fact you’re promoting and maybe even help get the word out as well.

3. Promote On Socials and Ask Your Friends

Actually promote, don’t just show up! Be active on both yours and the band’s social media accounts. Also don’t discount the value of hanging flyers (particularly in the venue) and calling/texting your friends. Sometimes those IRL invites are more memorable than a Facebook invite.

4. Help Book The Bill

This isn’t as important as a lot of the other points on this list but it’s definitely a plus. Promoters are usually booking a bunch of dates at once. If you can book the rest of the band’s on your bill it takes the work off of the promoter’s plate and gives a better chance of the bill being cohesive.

5. Bring Your A-Game

Put in the work before the show to have a great performance. At the end of the day that’s what’s going to ensure people want to see you again and get your band invited back to play on better bills.

6. Communicate With The Promoter Night Of

Introduce yourself to the promoter when you get there and thank him/her for having you. Thank him/her again at the end of the night and let them know you’ll reach out about subsequent dates.

7. Follow Up After You Performance

Give it a couple of days after the show and then email the promoter. Thank him/her again for having you and then see what upcoming dates he/she has available. If you can get in this routine with a few different promoters, you can put a nice little circuit together for yourself.

8. Don’t Overbook

Space out your dates in any given market! If you play too much in the same area, you’re going to most likely divide your draw. Obviously when you first start playing, do as many low profile gigs as possible to find yourself as a performer, but once you’ve achieved a level of confidence in yourself that you care about draw, try not to play your own market more than once per month.

Promoters will not be happy if they find out you’re playing next door in a week. Neither will your friends and fans be as inclined to come out and support if you’re ALWAYS playing out.


Keep these eight things in mind and you’ll be well on your way to building your live career!

3 Reasons You Shouldn’t Quit Your Day Job Just Yet

[Editors Note:  This article was written by Hugh McIntyre. Hugh writes about music and the music industry and regularly contributes to Forbes, Sonicbids, and more.]

 

The vast majority of people creating music also need to find another way to pay the bills, at least at first. Making a living from any form of art, be it acting, dancing, singing, playing an instrument, etc., is incredibly difficult, and as the economy stands at the moment, only a certain number of people can be supported. There are plenty of ways to work your way into the biz as a musician, but doing so at the right time, when you’re prepared and truly ready, is an important part of ensuring this is correct for you.

There could be millions of people who want to do nothing but write, record, and tour all day long, and that means quitting the “day job,” which may or may not actually take place during the day. That sounds wonderful, but before you give your two weeks, keep these warnings in mind.

You Haven’t Saved Enough

No matter how hard you try, chances are you’re never going to have a huge nest egg sitting in a bank account somewhere collecting interest, even though we all wish we had one. Even those who are incredibly careful with their money have a difficult time making their savings grow substantially, so don’t feel too bad.

When you’re on your own as a working musician, the money doesn’t come to you in the same way it did when you had a “regular” job. Paychecks aren’t guaranteed, and sometimes you’ll wind up going long periods without earning a dime. You need to have as much cash on hand as possible, budget carefully, be diligent about your savings, and think like a business owner.

You’ll be planning for tours months in advance and spending a lot out of pocket for things like studio time and video shoots, but you also can’t run out of dinero before you actually start making any of it back.

Having said all this, don’t get too insane when it comes to saving money. As I said, it’s hard for everybody, and there’s a good chance that you may have overestimated how thrifty you’d be able to force yourself to be, and that whatever amount you set down in stone as a minimum that must be met in order to leave the working world behind might have been too optimistic.

Be smart and think many times over before you make the leap and quit your job, but don’t wait forever. If you hold off for the day when you have everything perfectly aligned and money to burn, you will likely be disappointed at how long you’ll be waiting.

The Hours

Many musicians complain at length about the hours they need to work between their regular jobs, whether that’s a 9-to-5 or a part-time gig doing anything other than creating music and building their careers in the field they desire to succeed in. It’s a completely fair gripe, and I don’t blame any artist for being less than thrilled about spending copious amounts of time away from what they love doing just to be able to pay the bills. That’s not how things should be, but of course we all know better.

Having said that, it needs to be said that just because you give up the position you took just to afford to live and eat, that doesn’t mean the hours are going to lessen and free time will suddenly become abundant. In fact, many working musicians will tell you that they put in truly insane hours just to make it all work.

Any artist knows it takes a very long time to craft something worthy of sending out into the world—whether that be a song, a painting, a film, a story or any other format—but many working towards doing music full-time don’t realize how much else goes into the career.

Musicians that support themselves based solely on their art only spend some of their time actually crafting tunes. Hour upon hour upon grueling hour can be devoted to a myriad of other tasks that need to be done and done well if the money is going to continue to flow in the right direction. Booking, accounting, all things social, merchandise creating, correspondence with fans and keeping in touch with members of the team (a manager, those in charge of syncs and licenses, lawyers, etc.) is necessary and time-consuming.

Don’t start thinking that just because you’re not reporting to a different boss you’ll have all the time in the world!

Structure

Being entrepreneurial sounds sexy and it’s made to seem glamorous by startup founders and those that brag about how they travel the world while still making ends meet, but at the end of the day, it requires an incredible amount of self-discipline and motivation, and the sad fact is that many people either don’t understand that, or they don’t have what it takes to run their own careers successfully.

The image of the rockstar that sleeps all day and parties all night may sound like a lot of fun, but it couldn’t be farther from what is actually required to survive. Before you can go out on your own and make a go at being your own boss, you need to both understand and respect how important structure is in your everyday life.

Waking up early to make it into a job may suck more mornings than not, but the musicians doing the best stick to the same type of schedule. They have a routine and they stick to it as much as is possible, and many indie acts at the top of their game will tell you that they have dedicated work spaces, hours set aside for this task or that, and enviable organizational skills. That may not be the portrait often painted of a rocker, rapper or pop star, but it’s the truth for many of those who have the career you wish you could.

TuneCore Artists Close In On Earning One Billion Dollars In Revenue

When TuneCore launched in 2006, our mission was simple and clear: to help independent artists sell their music online, without sacrificing sales revenue or giving up their rights. At that time, there was only a fraction of the digital platforms by which artists can have their music streamed, downloaded and discovered in 2017. iTunes ruled, Amazon was cracking into the market, and artists that created music outside of the label system needed a way to get it distributed.

Since then, TuneCore has gone on to grow as a company exponentially in terms of what we offer artists in the way of features and services – and independent artists have acquired more and more power when it comes to controlling and advancing their careers. Services like Music Publishing Administration, Fan Reviews, Professional Mastering, YouTube Sound Recording revenue collection and others have made TuneCore a staple in the indie community across all genres.

All the while, whether they continued grinding it out DIY-style, got signed to a label, or achieved mainstream success, TuneCore Artists carried on receiving 100% of their sales revenue using our platform.

Today, we’re excited to announce that TuneCore is approaching the $1 BILLION mark of revenue earned by artists from their download sales and streams!

That’s one billion as in the number one, and NINE zeros after it. These are McDonald’s-esque numbers, people. Dr. Evil-from-Austin-Powers-ransom-request numbers, even. No matter the non-music-related monetary figure reference: we think it’s a pretty big deal.

Collectively, that money helped artists do things like:

  • Eat
  • Pay rent
  • Record more projects
  • Create and sell merch
  • Sign up for Publishing Administration
  • Build PR and radio campaign plans
  • Afford new equipment and gear
  • Go on tour

Maybe you’re reading this as a TuneCore Artist who just joined or hasn’t seen tons of money from their release since distributing and you’re thinking, “Wait, what? Me?” Yes, you. As you hustle and write and record and tour to build a fanbase, and focus on earning more revenue from your music, the money you’ve earned so far – whether you’re still working on that first dollar, or you’ve out the other side as a superstar – contributes to a major figure that would have baffled music industry pundits over ten years ago.

Your contribution to this major milestone, no matter what the size, plays an undeniable role in the further expansion of independent music and supports the idea that artists can do it their way and still get paid.

To celebrate, for a limited time you can join the Tunecore Artists already in the ‘Billion Dollar Club’ by distributing a FREE SINGLE using the promo code BILLION at check out (offer expires 7/2/17).

Distribute your free single today!

As we count down to the big earning moment, join us for the journey by following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram where you can get in on the fun. And be sure to follow our official TuneCore Spotify playlist!