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ARTIST

MANAGEMENT
MANUAL
2010 Edition

by
JEREMY RWAKAARA

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Copyrigh t 2010 Jeremy Rwakaara. All righ ts res erved. No


port ions of this manual may be reproduced in any f orm wit hout
permission from the author.
Dis tributed by MBSTIA, Inc.
Mailing address:
Jeremy Rwakaara
C/o MBSTIA, Inc.
554 N. Frederick Avenue #218
Gait hersburg, MD 2087
E-m ail: inf o@indiem anagers.com
Web: http://www.indiemanagers. com

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Contents
INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................................................................... 6
ARTIST MANAGEMENT ........................................................................................................................................ 8
The Personal Manager ..................................................................................................................................... 8
The Business Manager ..................................................................................................................................... 8
The Road Manager........................................................................................................................................... 9
The Tour Manager ........................................................................................................................................... 9
The Production Manager ................................................................................................................................. 9
The Technical Manager .................................................................................................................................. 10
M A N A G E M E N T R E Q U I R E M E N T S .............................................................................................. 11
ARTIST MANAGEMENT CODE OF ETHICS ............................................................................................................ 15
SETTING UP YOUR MANAGEMENT BUSINESS ..................................................................................................... 17
Sole Proprietorships....................................................................................................................................... 17
Co-Sole Proprietorships ................................................................................................................................. 19
Partnerships .................................................................................................................................................. 19
Choosing a Corporate Entity........................................................................................................................... 21
Loan-out Corporations ................................................................................................................................... 22
General Corporations..................................................................................................................................... 22
Close Corporation .......................................................................................................................................... 22
Subchapter S Corporation .............................................................................................................................. 23
Limited Liability Company (LLC)...................................................................................................................... 23
FINDING ARTISTS ............................................................................................................................................... 25
THE MANAGEMENT CONTRACT ......................................................................................................................... 28
CAREER PLANNING FOR YOUR ARTIST ................................................................................................................ 40
UNDERSTANDING DIFFERENT TYPES OF DEALS .................................................................................................. 45
UNDERSTANDING THE ROLES OF THE DIFFERENT INDUSTRY PLAYERS .............................................................. 56
SOLUTIONS TO COMMON MANAGEMENT CHALLENGES .................................................................................... 70
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COPYRIGHT BASICS ............................................................................................................................................ 90
THE CURRENT STATE OF MAJOR RECORD LABELS............................................................................................... 96
The role of the major label A&R rep ............................................................................................................... 98
How major record labels evaluate and sign talent ........................................................................................ 100
OPTIONS FOR THE WAY FORWARD IN TODAYS MUSIC BUSINESS .................................................................... 105
Positioning yourself to sign a deal with a major record label. ....................................................................... 105
Pursuing a deal with an independent record label (with major label distribution) ........................................ 108
Pursuing a brand-and-band / strategic partnership deal............................................................................ 110
With funding from an investor, recording your products and outsourcing all essential label services ........... 113
Recording and releasing your own products (DIY) ........................................................................................ 116
GETTING YOUR BAND BUSINESS AFFAIRS IN ORDER ......................................................................................... 117
GETTING THE BAND TOGETHER AND READY FOR GIGS..................................................................................... 120
RECORDING YOUR MUSIC AND MAKING IT AVAILABLE FOR SALE ..................................................................... 133
MATERIALS FOR YOUR PHYSICAL KIT................................................................................................................ 149
PUBLICIZING AND PROMOTING YOUR RECORDINGS ........................................................................................ 156
USING PUBLICITY TO BUILD YOUR FAN BASE .................................................................................................... 175
DISTRIBUTION FOR YOUR RECORDINGS ........................................................................................................... 178
Consignment ............................................................................................................................................... 179
The Distributor ............................................................................................................................................ 185
Pressing & Distribution (P&D) Deals ............................................................................................................. 187
Qualifying for Distribution............................................................................................................................ 188
The Distribution Process .............................................................................................................................. 195
Changing Distributors .................................................................................................................................. 200
RADIO PROMOTION CAMPAIGNS .................................................................................................................... 202
Podcasts, Satellite and Internet radio ........................................................................................................... 202
Non-commercial / College Stations .............................................................................................................. 203
Specialty / Mix show Radio .......................................................................................................................... 208
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Commercial Radio Airplay ............................................................................................................................ 208
Promoting to commercial radio.................................................................................................................... 211
DEALING WITH VENUE BOOKERS AND BOOKING AGENTS ................................................................................ 216
The approach ............................................................................................................................................... 222
The package................................................................................................................................................. 224
The follow-up .............................................................................................................................................. 225
The negotiation ........................................................................................................................................... 227
The venue / band contract ........................................................................................................................... 230
DIFFERENT TYPES OF GIGS YOU CAN BOOK FOR YOUR BAND ........................................................................... 233
PROMOTING SHOWS AND ANNOUNCING PRODUCT AVAILABILITY .................................................................. 248
THINGS TO DO BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER YOUR GIG.................................................................................. 265
Before The Gig ............................................................................................................................................. 265
During The Gig ............................................................................................................................................. 277
After The Gig ............................................................................................................................................... 286
SPONSORSHIPS AND MERCHANDISING ............................................................................................................ 289
GOING ON TOUR ............................................................................................................................................. 294
Things to keep in mind when planning and embarking on a tour .................................................................. 295
TIPS FOR WHAT TO DO ON THE ROAD ............................................................................................................. 304
TIPS FOR KEEPING YOUR BAND TOGETHER ...................................................................................................... 307
IN CLOSING...................................................................................................................................................... 310

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INTRODUCTION
What are d reams? Dreams are what keep the fires bu rning so that
you can see you r way throu gh the night. Dreams inspire u s to aspire to
greater things. Bew are of the people arou nd you that conspire to kill you r
dreams. They are ou t there! They lu rk within the mu sic industry its elf,
among the field of exp erts, in you r circ le of friends, and ev en in you r
fami ly. Hold fas t to you r d ream, becau se if you lose the grasp you will
have only you rself to blame. Stay confident and fight the moments of selfdou bt and insecu rity; bec au se there will be many.
By reading this manu al you will be taking a step tow ards fu lfi llin g or
continu ing you r dre am to b e an a rtist mana ge r (aka - talent manag er,
music manager, band manager). Some of you have been doing this for a
while, and others of you are ju st starting ou t. In either cas e, you will be
able to find a lot of valuable information con tained within this manual. I
wou ld encou rage y ou to try ou t some other things in addition to what y ou
learn in this manu al. Some of the things we discu ss will w ork better for
you than others, or even not at all, depending on what style of mu sic or
artist you represent.
Also, b ecau se of th e speed wi th wh ich th ings ch ange in th is bu siness,
there is always something new that makes another thing obsolete, so keep
researching and learnin g in order to stay ahead of the cu rve. Read all the
books you can get you r hands on; attend as many class es, seminars,
workshops and conferences as you can afford; and u se the Internet (mu sic
blogs,

foru ms, socia l networks,

research and netw orkin g tool.

and

search engines)

as

a powerful

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A very important thing to remember, thou gh, is that THERE IS NO


SUCH THING AS A MAGIC BULLE T! There is no single way to achieve
s u c c e s s i n t h e m u s i c bu s i n e s s . T r y s o m e t h i n g o u t , a n d i f i t d o e s n t w o r k ,
analy ze why it didnt work. Note down all the things that worked ou t
perfectly and analy ze why they worked. The bottom line is that there are
many ways to get to where you are going, and no single way is the ri ght
way. The worst thing you can do, however, is to give u p bec au se things
seem di fficult or because you dont achieve success immediately.
Every mu sic bu siness book, manu al, blog, o r resou rce is written from
the perspec tive of the au thor, takin g into accou nt their own perspectiv es,
analysis, opinions, observations, research, and person al experiences . E ach
of these books or resou rces excel in one way or another, and are as similar
in some areas of discu ssion as they are dissimilar in others; and yet none
of them can possibly c over all areas of the mu sic bu siness with the degree
of detail requ ired to be THE defin itive resou rce. The idea is to read as
mu ch material from as many repu table and knowled geable sou rces as you
can, and pu t the pieces together to c reate the big pictu re.
Best of lu ck in all you r endeavors and I hope you mak e good u se of
this manual.
"He

has

th e

deed

half

done

wh o

has

made

beginnin g."

- Horace

ARTIST MANAGEMENT MANUAL | 2010 Edition

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ARTIST MANAGEMENT
First

and

foremost,

let

us

begin

by

discu ssing

what

artis t

management is. There are generally six types of managers that play a
role in the c areers of recordin g arti sts, record produ cers, songw riters, and
mu sicians/instru mentalis ts. Followi ng is a bri ef d escrip tion of what each
one does.
The Personal Manager
The Personal manager has the most interac tion with the artis t and is
generally the most important person in the artists mu sical life. They are
involved (in coordinati on with the artist) in crafting a master career p lan
for the artis t and working dili gen tly to see i t execu ted. Man agers act as
b u f f e r s p r o t e c t i n g t h e a r t i s t a g a i n s t u n s c ru p u l o u s c h a r a c t e r s i n t h e m u s i c
bu siness. They are involved in cou nseling and advisin g the artis t on all
matters related to thei r mu sical c areers. The person al manager shou ld
research the mu sic indu stry and kn ow all abou t record labels , pu blishing
companies, produ cers , booking agents, promoters, pu blicists , sty lis ts,
photographers , recordin g engineers, graphic designers , mu sic licensees,
etc ., as well as u nderstand how and when (or if at all) they integrate
themselves into the overall plan .
The Business Manager
The Business Manager, u su ally an accou ntant by trade, manages the
income and expenses o f the c lient. Bu siness managers u su ally take c are of
making

payments

to

musicians,

backgrou nd

singers,

roadies,

tour

managers, etc ., on behalf of the artist. They also ad vise the artis t on
assets and investments , savings and taxes (loca l, state , federal, a nd
International).

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Most artists are u naware that they have tax obli gations that relate to
their performance and licensing income, CD and merchandise sales ,
equ ipment pu rchases, sponsorship cash, other miscellaneou s income, etc .
Bu siness managers also try to get clients to inv est in their fu tu re and s ave
for a rainy day since even the most su ccessfu l artists even tu ally s top
earning regu lar income as their careers fad e.
The Road Manager
The Road manager normally tak es care of logistics while the artist is
on tou r (or on the road) . Du ties in clu de making su re that everything on
the road is provided for as spelled ou t in the contract and all monies are
paid on time. The artis t is then left free to conc entrate on performing and
not wondering

whether

the p romoter, venu e book er,

bookin g agent,

sponsor or brand partner has met their obli gations. The road manager
also follows u p on items that were promised as part of the contract su ch
as accommod ations, per diems , adv ances/dep osits, rentals , commissions,
and so on.
The Tour Manager
The Tour manager on larger tou rs c oordinates all the Road managers
alon g

with

the

details

and

logis tics

of

the

tour

itself.

Sometimes,

particu larly on smaller tou rs, the road manager and the tou r manager
are the same person. The Tou r man ager is in charge of all the details that
relate to the enti re tou r inclu ding commu nications, merchandising, tou r
rou ting, catering, hospitality , etc .
The Production Manager
Production managers can be fou nd on larger tou rs involving major
record

label

artists.

P rodu ction

managers

work

closely

with

tour

managers, helping with certain details having to do wi th the produ ction of


the show; like renting sou nd, video and lighting equ ipment, dealin g with
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tru cking issu es, etc. Produ ction managers also d eal wi th the pu blicity for
the show, as well as assist with schedu ling and coordinating both the
tou ring crew and the local venu e crew (stagehands, carpenters , ri ggers ,
etc .).

The Technical Manager


The Technical Manager (or Technic al Director) is u su ally the person
in charge of set design , constru ction, and control du ring the performance.
They work c losely wi th the produ ction manager.

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MANAGEMENT REQUIREMENTS
Most peop le can be managers simply by finding an artis t, mu sician,
grou p or band they love and decidin g to handle the management du ties for
them. If you are on e of those people, there are, however, some basic
requ irements that you will need to have in ord er to be an effec tive
manager.
As

personal

man ager,

you

will

need

to

be

extremely

knowledgeable abou t EVERY as pect of the mu sic and entertainment


b u s i n e s s . T h e m u s i c bu s i n e s s i s c u r r e n t l y u n d e r g o i n g t r e m e n d o u s c h a n g e ,
and you will need to know the basi cs abou t everything since you will be
the

one

potentially

communicating

pu blishing

companies,

booking

promoters,

merchandising

with

agents,

companies,

rec ord
talen t

brands,

labels,

p rodu cers,

bu yers ,

publicists,

sponsors ,

licensees,

attorn eys, media personnel, equ ipment manu factu rers, etc . You will have
to

read

p len ty

of

books,

attend

as

many

seminars ,

workshops

and

conferences as you can afford , and u se the Internet as a powerfu l res earch
and netw orkin g tool.
You will need to be patient. It can take a lon g time for your client
to make money and therefore for you to make money (since your income
will be based on a 10% - 15% commission). Extreme patience is requ ired
to stick to the game plan ov er the long hau l. Most artis ts will not make
mu ch money on their fi rst recording or tou r. Mos t often than not the firs t
albu m or tou r wi ll serv e as a mean s to create a bu zz arou nd the arti st,
increase the fan base and raise the artis ts p rofi le for the next albu m or
signing.

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You will need to be very realist ic abou t you and you r artists
expec tations. If you are u nrealisti c abou t how things work and what is
achievable at you r level, you will end u p gettin g extremely fru strated and
giving u p before things can prop erly materialize. For examp le, it is
u nrealistic to think that you r artist will get offered fiv e-fi gu re gu arantees
to headline shows in major cities when all you have is a three-son g demo
of you r artis t and no albu m/single/download sales, regional/national
bu zz, intern et p rofile, tou ring history , media c overage, radi o ai rplay ,
pu blicity, etc . Do not indu lge in th e fan tasies c reated by you r artist. You
will have to keep them realistic and not promise to d eliver the impossible.
As a manager you will need to be flexible. Even the bes t-laid and
devised plans can u nravel at a moments notice. Set lon g-term goals , bu t
be

prep ared

to

change

and

fine-tune

things

in

order

to

adjust

to

conditions on the grou nd. There is nothing wrong with changing y ou r


mind abou t something if indeed there is a better, cheaper, smarter, more
cu rrent or more convenien t solu tion readily at hand. It will be u p to you
to inform your client that being flexible doesnt mean that you cant keep
you r word or that you are losing foc u s.
You

will

need

to

tru ly

like

and /or

love

the

client

and

their

mu sic/talent. You will need to be v ery passionate abou t the mu sic that
you r artist or band is performing and/or w ritin g. Don t si gn an artist i f
you cant visu alize you rself listeni ng to their mu sic a lot and thorou ghly
enjoying it. Anything short of that will leave you stru ggling to find the
energy to do all that is requ ired on a day-to-d ay basis. It is easier to sell
somebody on an artist you are passionate abou t.
As a manager, you need to be pers istent and aggressive , s topping
ju st short of annoying. Dont easily take no for an answer if you believe in
the stren gth of you r argu ment or the viabi lity of you r p rojec t. Develop
ways to pu sh really hard when you need to, while s till remainin g on
speaking terms wi th someon e you ve ju st pushed really hard .
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You will need to have plenty of people skills . Your job will involve
a lot of one-on-one contact and communication with other p eople. You
will need to be able to commu nicate you r needs withou t irri tating the
people you are negoti ating wi th or talking to. You will need to be able to
separate you r personal feelings from the conv ers ation at hand and focu s
on the goals ahead as well as the desired ou tcome.
You will need to have lots of appropriate contacts. The more
contacts you have, the easier it wi ll be to get things accomplished. Y ou
need to have a contact in as many different areas as possible depending on
the genre of mu sic you r client performs , inclu ding influ enti al v oices and
tastemak ers

within

social

networking

circ les ,

record

produ cers,

pu blicists/PR specialists , bookin g agents, v enu e bookers, talent bu yers,


promoters, pu blishers, choreographers , photographers , graphic designers,
stylists , make-u p artists, dancers, voice coaches , recording engin eers,
stu dios, attorn eys, media personnel, etc. Y ou will have to pu rchase some
mu sic bu siness directori es, ask f or reco mmenda tions f rom mu sic indu stry
foru ms, o r access online direct ori es to selec t peopl e with in you r genre of
interest to contac t. Some of the better directories are av ailable from
Pollstar

(http://www.pollstar.com),

(http://www.mu sicregis try .com) ,

Music

Business

and

Registry
Billboard

(http://www.ord erbillboard .com) . Find the contacts that are well known
and respected in you r area and begin to d evelop a relationship with them.
Attend

conferences

and

exchan ge

business

cards

with

indu stry

professionals for you r database. In trodu ce you rself to everyone bec au se


you never know when you might need them. Network frequ ently and get
you r own name ou t there. Wri te a blog and/or offer to speak at seminars,
conferences and conventions to get you r name ou t and make new and
additional contac ts. Most importan tly , if you create enou gh of a bu zz
with you r artist(s) , con tacts will start coming to you .

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You will need to be extremely well-organized. The more organized


you are, the more effec tive a manager you will be. Services like Ban dize
(http://bandize.com/mu lti) and others enable you to k eep you r artist
roster in formation organized and in one place. You will n eed to have all
your contacts in an easy to access database and be able to find all the
information y ou need at a moments notice. You cannot afford to let a few
days go by withou t retu rning somebodys call or e-mai l simply becau se
you cou ldnt find his or her phone nu mber or e- mai l add ress in the mess
on your desk or desktop . Amazingly, it on ly takes a couple of days to sit
down and get everything in order in some type of databas e, and once
everything is in place it is easier to maintain or u pdate the information .
You will need to h ave a lit tle bi t of money to do you r job wh ile you
wait for you r commissions to materialize. Some artists work for years
before making enou gh of an income to su stain them, leavin g very little on
the table for a managers commission. In the meantime you as a manage r
will

have

to

pu rchase

music

bu s i n e s s

books,

pay

for

conference

registrations, acc ess industry resou rces, book ai rline tick ets , etc ., and
will mos t like ly h ave to pay fo r al l t h ese th ings you rsel f. You can recou p a
certain percentage back from you r cli ents income (depending on the
terms of you r contract) . From time to time you may have to help pay for
some stu dio time or equ ipment purchases, or help pay for ou tstandi ng
bills , tick ets , insu rance, etc . Be carefu l not to get taken adv antage of,
however, and keep good rec ords of you r expenses. You r contrac t shou ld
s p e l l o u t h o w m u c h y o u c a n r e c o u p f r o m t h e c l i e n t s i n c o m e i f y o u s p en d
some of you r own money on things related to their career.
Finally , i t always helps to have a bi t of good , old- fashioned luck on
you r side from time to ti me! As the saying goes , luc k is wha t happens
when prepara tion meets opportunity. Therefore, do you r bes t to be
prepared to take advan tage of opportu nities that p resen t themselves to
you and/or y ou r clien t.

ARTIST MANAGEMENT MANUAL | 2010 Edition

Page 14

ARTIST MANAGEMENT CODE OF ETHICS


The

Indie

Managers

Association

(which

no

longer

accepts

membership registra tions) has a code of ethics that all its man ager
members mu st abide by . The cod e of ethics agreemen t contains some
items that are positive elements for all managers to abid e by whether they
are members or not. H ere is a copy of the text of the c ode:
Indie Managers Association Code of Ethics
For the privi lege of membership in the Indie Man agers Association
(herein referred to as the IMA) , a mu sic manager (he rein referred to as
member) agrees to:
1. Deal fai rly and honestly in ALL matters relatin g to their c lient(s);
2. Always look ou t for the interes ts of their c lient(s) alongside
members own interes t;
3. Treat all bu siness matters related to their clien t(s) as c onfidenti al;
4. Make an effort to avoid sc enarios where a conflict of interes t is
likely to occu r;
5. Encou rage c lien ts to seek legal advi ce prior to si gning con tracts;
6. Keep du rations of man agemen t contrac ts of reason able len gth;
7. Condu ct research, stay involved in and be w ell -informed abou t
m a t t e r s r e l a t i n g t o t h e m u s i c b u s i n es s ;
8. Avoid collu sion with other managers that resu lt in ac tions against
the interes t of the clien t(s);
9. Refrain from black listing c lients or en gaging in any other similar
behavior;
10.

Not receiv e an u nreasonably or u njustifiably high commission;

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11.

Not take c redi t for another managers work;

12.

Not exaggerate his or her credenti als or affili ations in an effort

to woo a clien t into a c ontractu al relationship;


13.

Not encou rage clien ts to breach exis ting con tracts with other
managers; and

14.

Not to en gage in libel or sland er against other members of the

independent mu sic management commu nity.

ARTIST MANAGEMENT MANUAL | 2010 Edition

Page 16

SETTING UP YOUR MANAGEMENT BUSINESS


There

are

many

ways

to

s tru ctu re

your

management

business,

depending on whether you are a one-person operation or plan to hire


employ ees . The information contain ed in the followin g sec tion shou ld not
be tak en as legal or accou nting adv ice or cou nsel, and pertains mainly to
bu sinesses condu cted in th e United States . Th erefo re, b efo re you set u p
you r bu siness you sh ou ld make su re you consu lt a qu alified bu siness
accountant

and /or

attorney

for

advice

thats

relev ant

to

startin g

bu siness in you r cou ntry of residenc e.


Following is a discussion of some of the ways that you can set up
you r management bu siness.
Sole Proprietorships
A sole proprietorship is an u nincorporated bu siness owned and
operated by one person. In some states , a sole p ropri etorship is referred
to as a DBA (doing business as), as in Billy Bob, doing bu siness as Billy
Bob Management . Sole proprietors hips, despite having the advantages of
being quick and inexpensive to set up, have some distinct disadvantages.
Sole p ropri etors are su bject to u nlimited pers onal li abili ty for bu siness
debt

or

law

suits

against

their

company.

Creditors

of

the

sole

propri etorship (or anyone else, for that matter) can su e the owners of the
bu siness and, if they win a ju dgment, can move to sei ze the owners
homes, c ars , savin gs or other personal assets .

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Unlike

corporation ,

sole

p roprietorship

is

not

considered

separate from its owner for tax pu rposes. This means that the sole
propri etorship itself does not pay i ncome tax. Instead, the owner reports
bu siness income or losses on his or her individu al income tax retu rn. A s a
sole p rop rietor, you 'll have to take responsibility for wi thholding and
paying all income taxes , which an employ er wou ld normally do for you .
This

means

paying

"self-employment"

tax,

which

consists

of

contribu tions to Soci al Secu rity an d Medicare, and makin g paymen ts of


estimated taxes throu ghou t the year.
Some citi es and many cou nties requ ire bu sinesses -- even tiny homebased sole p ropri etorships -- to register with them and pay at leas t a
minimu m tax. In retu rn, you r bu siness will receiv e a bu siness license or
tax regis tration certificate. You can also have to obtain an employer
identification

number

from

the

IRS

(if

you

have

or

plan

to

have

employees), a seller's permit from you r state and a zoning permit from
you r local planning board.
If you do bu siness u nder a name different fro m you r own (e.g., u sing
Big Blue Man agemen t instead of y our name Nancy Jones) you usually must
register that name, known as a fic titiou s business name, with you r county .
In practice, lots of bu sinesses are small enou gh to get away with ignori ng
these requ irements . Bu t if you are cau ght, you may be su bject to back
taxes and other penalties.

ARTIST MANAGEMENT MANUAL | 2010 Edition

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Co-Sole Proprietorships
There is one excepti on to the "s ole" owner ru le. You can share
ownersh ip of you r bu siness with you r legal spou se and still main tain it as
a sole p rop rietorsh ip. If you do th is, th e IRS wi ll conside r you "co-sole
proprietors ." You can ei ther split bu siness profits and losses on s eparate
retu rns, or pu t them on you r joint Schedu le C retu rn.
This arrangemen t, sometimes referred to as a hu sband/wife sole
propri etorship, allows you r spou se to help with the bu siness (witho ut
pay) without having to classify him or her as an emp loyee (which would
cause you to have to pay payroll ta xes). Simi larly, by not classifying your
spou se as a partne r or an independ ent contract or, h e or sh e won't h ave to
pay

self-employmen t taxes, and

your business

won't have to

file

partn ership tax retu rn.


Partnerships
A partnership is a ven tu re or acti vity involvin g two or more p eople
or grou ps who share, to some degree, responsibili ties, liabi liti es, and
rew ards of the ven tu res su ccess or failu re. As we shall discu ss below,
there are a c ou ple of different ways to form a partnership.
General Partnerships
In

general

partn ership,

all

partn ers

share

profits ,

assets,

liabi lities , and responsibili ties . Assets belong to partners collec tively .
Each general partner has au thority to enter into contracts on behalf of the
partn ership. Each partner is accou ntable for acti ons by any other p artn er,
and is responsible for the partn erships debts and losses . A general
partn ership itself pays no taxes. Partners mu st individu ally accou nt for
their shares of p rofi ts or losses on their personal tax retu rns.

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When a gen eral p artnership is disbanded, assets are liqu idated and
proceeds are u sed to (1) pay credi tors , (2) repay loans to the partners hip
by any of the partners, and (3) compensate partn ers who have contribu ted
fu nds or assets . Money left over is distribu ted between partners in
proportion

to

their

shares

in

the

bu siness

(as

spelled

out

in

the

partnership agreement).
Limited Partnerships
A Limited Pa rtne rsh ip is a partne rs h ip in wh ich some of th e partne rs
have limited li abili ty for the bu sinesss obligations . At leas t one partner
acts as general partner, assu ming total responsibili ty for managing the
ventu re. The remaining, limited partner(s) mu st not have any say or role
in managing the ven tu re. Whereas gen eral partnerships are formed by
like-minded

individuals

who

collectively

con tri bu te

assets,

capital,

expertis e and /o r ti me to the comp any, limi ted partnerships u su ally ari se
where one party seeks to raise money from investors to pu rsu e a speci fic
ventu re. The fu nction of the limi ted partners is to p rovide operating
capital.
Limited p artners are rep aid a percentage of the v entu res profits .
Normally a limi ted partnership has a finite life. Limi ted partn erships may
be formed to finance sp ecific p rojec ts (i.e. fu nds
for s tu dio time or recordin g equ ipment, pu rchase of copy right c atalog,
lau nch of a management or record company, fu nding of a tou r, etc).
Shou ld the ventu re fai l, limi ted partners lose on ly their inv estment; th ey
are not liab le for losses or damages beyond what they pu t into the
ventu re.

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Choosing a Corporate Entity


Anyone
incorporate.

who
Under

operates
the

right

bu siness,

alone

circumstances,

or

the

with
owner

others ,

may

of

size

any

bu siness can benefit. While the argu ment for incorporatin g is strong,
maintaining

your

corporation

comes

with

set

of

responsibiliti es .

Maintaining a corporation requ ires more paperwork and record keeping


than

sole

p rop rietorships.

Each

individu al

state

has

its

own

legal

procedu res and regu lations for forming and main taining a corporation in
good s tanding.
A fu ll desc ription of all the differences betw een an S-Corporation, a
C-Corporation , and a limi ted liabi li ty company ( LLC) wou ld be beyond the
scope of this manu al. Besides, the distinctions are often altered (or
blu rred) by changes in the Intern al Revenu e Code and local laws. Ev en
by the time this manu al is read, fu rther changes to relev ant tax laws may
have been made, affectin g the en tity choice. The bottom line is that a
choice of entity shou ld be made u pon cu rrent information only, with the
assistance of a lawyer and an accountant. To do it any other way is to risk
making a bad choice that one will later regret, esp ecially when the first or
su ccessive company tax retu rns are filed .
Bu sinesses may choose from a variety of co rpo rate entiti es, based on
their needs. Below are u sefu l des criptions, bu t you r legal or finan cial
advisors can help you decide which type of stru ctu re best su its you r
business needs.

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Loan-out Corporations
A Loan-out Corpora tion is primarily a tax-saving device u sed by a
recording artist to shelter income from a recording contract. Instead of
signing directly with a record comp any, the artist signs to his or her own
corporation. The corporation then loans the artists servic es via an
agreemen t

with

the

record

company,

and

the

rec ord

company

pays

royalti es to the corporation . The c orporation, in tu rn, pays the artis t a


salary or some other type of compensation s tru ctu red to minimize tax
liabi lities for the artist. The corporation may also provide other benefits
to the artis t, su ch as insu rance, pen sion fu nd contribu tions, etc .
General Corporations
A general corporation, also known as a C corporation, is the
most common corporate stru ctu re. A general corporation may have an
u nlimited nu mber of stockholders. Since a corporation is a separate legal
entity , a stockholder's personal liability is u su ally li mited to the amo u nt
of inves tmen t in the c orporation and no more.
Close Corporation
A close corporation is most appropriate for the individu al starting
a company alon e or wi th a small nu mber of peop le. There are a few
significant

differences

between

general

corporation

and

close

corporation. A clos e corporation li mits stockholders to a maximu m of 30.


In addition, many close corporation statu tes requ ire that the direc tors of
a clos e corporation mu st firs t offer the shares to existin g stockhold ers
before sellin g to new stockholders. However, not all states recognize close
corporations.

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Subchapter S Corporation
A Subc hapter S Corporation is a gen eral corporation that has
elec ted a speci al tax statu s with the IRS after the corporation has been
formed.

Subchapter

corporations

are

most

app ropri ate

for

small

bu siness owners and entrep reneu rs who prefer to be taxed as if they were
still sole prop rietors or partn ers . For many small bu sinesses, the S
Corporation offers the bes t of both worlds , combining the tax adv antages
of a sole p ropri etorship or p artn ership with the limited li abili ty and
endu ring li fe of a corporate s tru ctu re.
Limited Liability Company (LLC)
A Limited Liabi lity Com pany (LLC) is not a corporation, bu t it
offers many of the same advantages. Many small bu siness owners and
entrepreneu rs prefer LLCs bec au se they combine the limi ted liabi lity
protection of a corporation with the "pass throu gh"" taxation of a s ole
propri etorship or p artnership. While LLC owners enjoy limited personal
liabi lity for many of thei r bu siness transactions , it is important to realize
that this protection is not absolu te. This draw back is not u niqu e to LLCs,
however - the same exc eptions apply to corporations. An LLC owner c an
be held personally liable i f he or sh e:

Personally and directly injures someone;

Personally guarantees a bank loan or a business debt on which the

LLC defaults;

Fails to deposit ta xes withhe ld from employees' wages;

Intentiona lly does something fraud ulent, illegal, or clearly wrong-

headed tha t causes harm to the company or to someone else; or

Treats the LLC as an extension of his or her personal a ffairs, rather

than as a separa te legal entity.

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This last excep tion is the mos t imp ortant. In some circu mstances , a
cou rt mi ght say that the LLC doesn't really exis t and find that its owners
are rea lly doing bu siness as individu als, wh o are pe rsona lly liab le for
their acts.
Becau se of the expense and formaliti es involv ed in setting u p a
corporation and issu ing stock (shares in the corporation) , you shou ld
form a corporati on only if you hav e good reason to do so. If you merely
want to limit you r personal liabi lity for bu siness debts, formin g a li mi ted
liabi lity company (LLC) is probably smarter, becau se LLCs are both less
expensive to form and less comp lex to ru n.

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Page 24

FINDING ARTISTS
Today, it is fai rly easy for a manager to find artists to si gn. Before
you start lookin g for artists, however, you shou ld take stock of what
exactly you have to offer. What style of music do you enjoy listening to
and have a good u nderstanding of? What contac ts do you have in the
entertainment indu stry? How mu ch money do you have available to k eep
you afloat du ring the difficu lt fi rst phase of managemen t? How mu ch do
y o u k n o w a b o u t t h e m u s i c bu s i n e s s ? H o w m a n y a r t i s t s a r e y o u a l r e a d y
managing at this point; and will you have enou gh time and resou rces
al loca ted to t ake on ano th er one? T h ese and many oth er qu estions sh ou ld
be answ ered before you start lookin g for artis ts to sign .
Once you are comfortable wi th the answers to you r qu estions and are
ready to start looking for artists , you can begin by visiting mu sic-related
sites and blogs , and/or asking clu b owners / book ers , p romoters , op en mic
/ karaoke hosts , c lu b DJs, mu sic retai l store managers, entertainmen t
attorn eys, record produ cers / en gi neers , pu blicists, etc ., if they know of
any artis ts that need managemen t. There are tens of thou sands of arti sts
with Twitter accou nts; MySpace, imeem, and Fac ebook p rofi les; Electronic
Press Kits (EPKs); You Tu be channels; and official web sites that you can
revi ew online. This allows you to narrow down you r search and make a list
of bands to go and s ee p erforming live. You can also start going ou t to
clubs and other venues to see if you can find bands that you like.
It always helps to see a band performing liv e becau se you get a
chance to see how well they perform. It gives you a chance to see if you
can indeed improv e u pon what they are already doing. You can also see
how the audience is reacting to the band.

P a g e | 26

In this age of dwindling CD/dow nload sales, mos t of the money


artists

will

make

will

be

from

tou ring

or

performin g

live,

selling

merchandise and si gning merchandise deals , licensing their mu sic for u se


in Film & TV etc ., partnering wi th brands, ali gning themselves with
sponsors, signing endorsement deals, and so on. Live performances will
play an integral part in the overall scheme of things. A band /artist that
cannot (or w il l not) pe rf orm liv e will limit th e ways in wh ich you can
generate income from mu ltiple sou rces.
Once you find a band or a rtis t th at you th ink you migh t be inte rest ed
in, you sh ou ld att empt to s ee or h ea r th em seve ra l times u nder s eve ra l
differen t ci rcu mstances before you approach them or commi t to a meeti ng.
Go to several shows and watch how people react to them, as well as h ow
they interact wi th people. Ask arou nd to see if you can find ou t anything
abou t thei r repu tation. Once you are su re abou t the pers on (or people)
that you are interested in signin g, you shou ld set u p a p relimin ary
meeting. Do not make any promises or offers at that point, and keep the
meeting casual.
Following are some of the things you might wish to cover at the
preliminary meetin g.

What

is

the

talent

level

of

the

potential

client?

Are

they

at

the

beginni ng, interme diate or advanced stages of their musical career?


What work will be required to get them ready to market or to continue
the trajectory o f their ascent?

What

primary

market

demo graphic

are

they

trying

to

reach?

For

example; 8 12 year olds? 34 54 year olds? Mai nly females? An


International market? An ethnic market? A regional market? A social or
political market?

What are their go als? Are their go als re alistic? Will yo u be able to
achieve those goals with them in a timely manner or are you in over
your head?
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Do they absolutely love what they do ? Are they doing what they do for
the love of it, or do they want to make a million dollars and live on a
beachfront p roperty? Either way , will you be able to achieve what they
want?

Do they have any existi ng deals (e.g., manageme nt, pro duction, spec,
recording, publishing, licensi ng, sponsorship, endorsement, etc.)? Will
any of these deals be co mplicate d by y our involvement? Will any of these
deals present a conflict of interest? Can they legally sign with you, or do
you have to buy somebo dy out of a contract, co-manage with somebo dy
else, or help them get o ut o f an existing contract, and so on?

Do they operate as a co mpany o r corporation, or do they own any othe r


companies (p roduction, publishing, label, etc.)?

Where do they live, and can you manage them co mpetently even i f you
live in another area (or country)?

Do they belong to any unions , organi zations , associ ations or guilds? Do


they have any contracts that conflict with or affect your involvement
with them?

What assets do they have (copyrights, trademarks, pate nts, licenses,


real estate , investments, etc.)? Can you separate pre-existing assets and
income they own fro m future inco me that is co mmissionable?

What

debts

have

they

incurred?

Debts

and

liens

can

affect

commissionable income .

Do they have lots of friends o r ene mies in the music busi ness? It is better
to know soone r than later since yo u may bump into some o f these people
(good or bad) alo ng the way .

Have they had a manager previously ? If so , what is the status of that


relationship , and are they unencumbe red and free to sign with yo u?

Have they previously recorded any s ongs or been on tour before? If so ,


what is their sales history?

These are ju st some of the topics you will need to discu ss at the
preliminary meeting. You will probably be able to add some more to this
list. If everything is answered to y ou r satisfac tion at this meetin g you can
then move to the next s tage and begin negoti atin g a management con tract.

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Page 27

THE MANAGEMENT CONTRACT


It is extremely importan t to have a written management contrac t
with you r client. It is u su ally advi sable to offer a six/nine month trial
period before c ommitting to a lon g-term managemen t relationship. This
will give both of you time to fi gu re ou t if the relati onship is a proper
match before agreein g to a long- term commi tmen t.
It is impo rtant to rememb er that there is no su ch thing as a
s t a n d a r d c o n t r a c t ! E a c h c o n t r a c t i s u n i qu e t o t h e c i r c u m s t a n c e s a n d
wishes

of

the individuals

involved.

contrac t is

legally

binding

agreemen t between two or more parti es, which may be oral bu t is more
often w ritten. In ord er for a con trac t to be legally binding,

The party that agrees to d o, or refrain from doing, a particu lar thing

mu st receiv e adequ ate consideration,

The u ndertaking mu st be lawfu l,

The agreement mu st be mu tu al and volu ntary ,

Obli gations mu st be reciproc al, and

The parties mu st be legally competent.


You sh ou ld alw ays h ave an at torn ey dra ft and revi ew you r cont rac t to

make su re everything is legal and n othing important has been overlook ed.
You can find contact information for entertainment attorneys in (among
other places) the Music Attorney, Legal and Business Affairs Guide
available at the Mu sic Regis try web site (http: //w ww.mu sicregis try .com).

P a g e | 29

The Mu sic Registry also has a book of Contrac ts for the Mu sic
Indu stry (http://www.mu sicregis try .com/contrac tprod.html) that inclu des
a contract for A rtist Managers , bu t as they (and I) su ggest, it is always
better to have an attorn ey draft one for you ; or at the very least cu stomize
the one in the book to you r particu lar situ ation. Another resou rce is the
Volunteer Lawye rs for the Arts (http://ww w.v lany .org) . You can also
search fo r atto rneys on th e internet or ask oth er artists o r mu sic indu stry
professionals who they wou ld recommend . It is always wise to have
separate attorneys for each side ( the manager and the artis t).
Following are some of the important items that are usually
i n c l u d e d i n a m a n a g e m e n t c o n t ra c t :
Definitions.
Most management contracts have definitions of important words that
need to be clearly defined . Having vagu e terms in a contrac t allows for
some mischief when one party or the other needs to find a way out of the
contract. E xamp les of important words that cou ld have different meanings
to different people and n eed to be defined are gross, net , income,
expenses, rec ou pable , commiss ion, bu dget , and a host of others.
Term.
The term refers to a fi xed period of time du ring which the contract is
in force. Many managers and artis ts set u p a tri al p eriod of six / nine
months before committing to a fu ll-len gth contract. This trial period is
u sed to see if the manager and arti st are comp atible with each other or if
the manager is c apable of being of any valu e to the artist. If all goes w ell,
a term of one to two years with options to renew for addi tional one-y ear
terms can be set. Some states have a limi t to the nu mber of years an artist
can be si gned to a personal servic es contract.

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In any event, it is advisable to keep you r management contrac t term


no more than 5 to 7 years in total length. If you havent managed to get
anything of si gnificanc e done in 5 y ears, you mi ght need to reevalu ate the
relationship anyway.
Territory.
It is important for the contract to determine the terri tory within
w h i c h th e m a n a g e r s p o w e r s a n d d u t i e s e x t e n d . S o m e a r t i s t s h a v e o n e
manager for the U .S.A and other managers in other territori es arou nd the
world inclu ding Can ada, Eu rope, A sia, Au stralia, A fric a, Sou th Ameri ca,
etc.
Scope of duties.
You r contrac t will have to spell ou t the obligations and du ties of
each individu al. Fo r example, m anagers will o ffer to render adv ice,
provide c areer gu idance and cou nsel, and perform other relev ant s ervic es
that the artist may requ ire in ord er to fu rther his or her career. The artist
will p romis e to mak e him or herself av ailable exclu sively to the manager ,
be prompt for all engagements , refer all approaches and offers mad e by
third parties to the manager, reveal all income that is commissionable
within the contrac t to the manager, etc . The scope of du ties is an
important part of the agreement becau se if one party fails to perform his
or her du ties there may be cau se for a c laim of breach of contract.
Consideration.
You r contrac t will have to spell ou t what each side is expected to
rec eive. The parti es can receiv e advice, income, c redit, commission,
career developmen t, pow er of attorney or any thing else that has been
negotiated at the table. The bottom line is that each side mu st rec eive
something (considera tion) in order for the con tract to be valid.
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P a g e | 31

Scope of Exc lusivity.


Almost all management con tracts will grant the manager exclu sive
rights of representati on. That means that the cli ent or artist cannot hire
another personal man ager to represent them at the s ame time. This,
however, does not stop the manager from rep resen ting more than one
client. Sometimes the manager hires another manager to co- manage or
rep resen t the artis t in other parts of the world . The man agers exclu sive
rep resen tation shou ld only apply to specific areas or closely related
activiti es. This means that the man ager does not exc lu sively rep res ent the
client if the cli ent is also, for example, a plu mber or an architec t or a
graphic designer, etc .
Power of Attorney.
Some con tracts wi ll give the manager the power of attorney . This
essentially

means

that

the

manager

can

sign

and

accept

contrac ts ,

agreemen ts and other related documents on behalf of their clien ts. The
contract wi ll have to spell ou t which contracts , agreemen ts and related
d o c u m e n t s t h e m a n a g e r c a n s i g n a n d w h i c h o n e s th e m a n a g e r c a n n o t s i g n .
The pu rpose of this power of attorney is to allow the manager to cond u ct
business on their clients behalf even if the client is unavailable at the
time. However, the client may wi sh to limit the power of attorney to
contracts that arent exclu sive, d ont bind the cli ent to a lon g-term
commitment, or dont assign clients ri ghts to sou nd recordin gs and
copyrights , for example. Clients may feel okay abou t managers signi ng
contracts on thei r behalf for short-term commitments that have p reviou sly
been discu ssed and agreed u pon. Many artis ts and thei r attorneys are
skeptical abou t giving power of attorney to the manager, so dont be
su rprised if this clau se ends u p bei ng one that is heavily c ontes ted . K eep
in mind that you can s till do you r j ob as a manager wi thou t having power
of attorn ey, s o dont let this be a deal break er.

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Commission.
This area of the contrac t can get extremely complicated and is
u su ally where the mos t conflict arises. Pers onal managers get paid a
commission, which is u su ally arou nd 10%-15% o f the c lients gross (or
net) earnings; not to be confu sed w ith bu siness managers, road man agers,
and tou r managers that get paid a s alary .
The problem most managers and clients encou nter is defining what
the term gross earnings or net earnings means , and deciding what
income sou rces are commissionable (e.g., CD/down load sales, gig a nd
touring income , advances, roya lties, sponsorship fees , endorsements ,
merchandise sales, brand partne r payments, income generated from
artist-branded products, e tc).

A client would rather pay a commission

from a li mited nu mber of income sou rces based on the net receipts (i .e.
deduct expenses from the gross income before paying ou t a commission to
the manager) . A manager, on the other hand, w ou ld rather get pai d a
commission on the gross rec eipts (i.e. a commission paid prior to artist
expenses being deducted) from all sou rces of income from contracts
negotiated du ring the term of the managemen t con tract.
A sticky issu e is deciding what income the manager can receiv e a
commission on. Clien ts can rec eive income (in one form or anothe r) from
record deal advances , record sales (physical and digital), merchandisi ng
sales /deals , pu blishing advances and royalties , liv e performances fees,
sponsorship

fees,

appearances ,

speaking

en gagements ,

endorsements,

mu sic licensing, royalti es, ac ting or mod eling s alari es, band & brand
payments , cosmetic or clothing deals, artis t-branded produ cts, etc. W hat
income sh ou ld th e manager rec eive a commission on? Wh en sh ou ld th is
commission be paid (monthly, quarterly, when each check arrives)? Who
sh ou ld receiv e th e m oney initia lly? Wh en and h ow will paymen ts to o th e r
vendors and creditors be made?

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Shou ld the manager start with a high commission (e.g. 20%) to


compensate for early losses and th en redu ce it gradu ally over time (e .g.
down to 15% or even 10%) once c ertain thresholds are met, or do the
rev ers e? Shou ld the manager get a bonu s commission if certain income
thresholds are met? Every thing depends on the negoti ations between the
two parties and what each side is comfortable with . As you can see, this
can get v ery complic ated very qu ickly and there is no single answer to the
commission question.
Sunset clause.
A su nset clau se is a c ontrac tu al provision settin g a cu t-off d ate to
the rights of one party . For instance, a personal man agers contrac t with
an artist mi ght provid e for the manager to rec eive a perc entage of the
artists income from all con tracts n egotiated and entered into du ring the
term of the management agreement even after the agreemen t terminates.
A su nset clau se wou ld limit su ch income participation to , say, three years
after the termination of the management contract. Alternatively, a su nset
clau se cou ld allow the manager to receive 100% of his or her commission
for 2 years after termin ation , 50% of the commission for another 2 years ,
25% for the fifth year, and none thereafter. Any nu mber of variations can
be negotiated betw een the parti es.
Reduction on commission in the event of managers
death/disability.
Another area of in terest, especially from an artis ts poin t of view is
what happens to the commission in the event that the manager dies or
becomes disabled . Shou ld there be a redu ction in the commission paid to
the managers estate? For how long shou ld this commission be paid?
Shou ld the commission payments be terminated altogether immediately ? A
clear interpretation will avoid some of the legal w ran glin g that c an tak e
place in the event of the managers u ntimely death or disabi lity .
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Expenses.
Most con tracts wi ll call for the manager to be rei mbu rsed for all
reasonable exp enses incu rred by the man ager on behalf of the cli ent. The
manager may mak e long-distance or internation al phone calls , travel for
meetings , attend conven tions, pu t together showcases , etc ., on behalf of
the

client.

In

the

event

that

the

manager

needs

to

make

certain

expenditu res , most con tracts will specify a set amou nt of money that the
manager cannot spend withou t the clients prior app roval. For example,
the manager may have to ask for approval to spend anything above $ 500
on the cli ents behalf each mon th.
Some of the things that cou ld be deemed as exp enses inclu de:

Phone calls (lon g distance on behalf of the artist)

Postage

Cou rier fees

Photo sessions

Recording s essions or recording equ ipment pu rchases / rentals

Pu blicity or p romotion cos ts (on behalf of the artis t)

Related Air/Bu s/Rail fares (for trips on behalf of the artist to, for
example, bu siness meetin gs or conferences/conventions)

Artwork or graphic design fees

Hotel room charges

Car rental charges

Taxi /Cab fares

Gas (if managers vehicle is u sed on long distance trips on behalf of


the artis t)

Miscellaneou s loans given to c lient by manager

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Audits.
Contracts shou ld allow the rec eiving party to au dit the books of the
paying party. For example, if the manager collec ts all the money and
makes paymen ts to the client, the client should be able to audit the
managers

books

to

check

the

accu racy

of

the

payments.

In

many

instances, the c lient receives the money and pays the commission to the
manager, in which case the manager wou ld need to have the ri ght to au dit
the clien ts books. This right to au dit is u su ally restricted to within a set
amou nt of time after the transac ti ons have taken plac e (e.g. within two
years). Usually the p arty conducting the audit will pay for the audit
services u nless some discrepancy is fou nd, u pon wh ich time th e party wi th
the discrep ancy will pay for the au dit.
Manager is not a licensed talent agent.
Most management con tracts wi ll in clu de a clau se that says that the
manager is not ac ting as a talent agent. Some s tates requ ire a s eparation
between the two. For example, the labor commissioner in New York and
Cali fornia mu st lic ense a talen t agent. A talent agent is defined as a
person who engages in the occu pation of procu ring, offerin g, p romisi ng,
or attemptin g to p rocu re employ ment or engagements for an artist. It
remains to be seen how 360 deals (aka multiple-rig hts deals) will work
arou nd this issu e, since many of the deals bein g stru ctu red nowadays
provide mana gemen t and bookin g d u ties in-h ou se. Even ou tside of th e 360
deal stru ctu res, many man agers are involv ed with occasionally help ing
their artists secu re gi gs and other live performance opportu nities and
wish to avoid (if they liv e in cities forbidding managers from being talen t
agents) being fou nd to be operating as an agent withou t a licens e in
those states. By indicating in their contrac t that they are not a licens ed
talent agen t, any booking- like acti vity on their part cou ld be considered
incidental.

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This is importan t bec au se an artis t cou ld essentially get ou t of his or


her contrac t by showing the cou rt that the manager acted as a talent agen t
without having a license issued by the labor commissioner.
Breaches and Disputes.
The contrac t shou ld clearly spell ou t exactly what constitu tes a
breach of contract (e.g . manager fails to get a dea l in the speci fi ed
amount of time or client become s unavailable to perform his or her
duties, e tc.) . The contract shou ld also determine the exac t manner in
which the breach (or potentia l bre ach) is commu nicated to the breaching
party as well as give the breaching party ad equ ate time to correc t the
breach. If those corrections aren t made (if indeed they can be made at all
in the allotted time) then the breached party can make a claim using the
process desc ribed in the c ontract.
Warranties and Representations.
The contract shou ld ask the parti es to w arran t and represent that
they are of legal age, have not been pressu red to sign to contract (i .e. are
not under du ress), are free to enter into the agreemen t, are u nder no
disability wi th respec t to thei r right to execu te the agreement, have
consu lted an attorney , have told the tru th abou t ownership of copyright
materi als u nder contrac t, are not vi olating any laws, etc.
Group Members.
The contract shou ld spell ou t whether the manager repres ents all
memb ers of a grou p even if they individu ally leave the grou p to pu rsu e
solo careers . This is important bec au se a leaving member may still benefit
from the hard work that a man ager did as part of managin g the grou p.

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The contrac t shou ld spell ou t the limits and parameters of the


continu ing management relationship and the commission arrangement
betw een the manager and the leavin g grou p member(s) .
Minors.
A minor is a p erson who is u nder the age of (lega l) maj ori ty. It is
important to know that a con tract with a minor is invalid u nless a parent
or legal gu ardian co-signs the agreement and /or signs a s eparate letter of
consent. As a manager y ou mu st do you r best to find ou t the tru e age of
you r client(s) or els e risk having the enti re contract rendered nu ll and
void.
Severability.
A severabi lity c lau se is a provision in a contrac t s tatin g that, in the
event of a ju dicial determination th at parts of the contract are invalid and
u nenforceable, the v alid portions of the contrac t wi ll remain in force.
Renewals and Extensions.
It is extremely important to spell ou t when and how the con tract gets
renew ed

or

extended.

You

s h o u ld

decide

whether

such

renewal

or

extension is made at the sole discretion of the manager, the artis t, or by


mu tu al consent. How many d ays before the end of the term shou ld notice
be given renewing or extending the contract? Is renewal or extens ion
au tomatic if no notice is giv en? Make su re that these very i mportant
issu es are addressed in you r contrac t.

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Assignments.
Most contracts will allow the man ager to assign thei r du ties and
responsibili ties to an associate, affiliate, licensee or other c ompany that
may bu y the managers company o u t. This is usu ally done to allow the
manager the flexibili ty to join or partner with other companies

or

investors y et s till be able to perform the du ties u nder their con tract w ith
the artist. Managers may also wan t to be able to assign the contract to
another member of a management firm shou ld they have to leave the
company.
Key Man Clause.
This is a provision in the contract that protects a recording artist or
songwri ter who signs to a company specifically bec au se of a particula r
person (the key man even though this pe rson might be a woma n),
withou t whose presence the artist or son gwri ter wou ld not w ant to be
bou nd to the company. A key-man clau se provides that if the named
individu al sh ou ld leave th e comp any du ring th e term o f th e artis t or
songwri ters contrac t, the artis t or songwri ter may have the option to
terminate the contract withou t legal or financial rep ercu ssions. To be fair
to the company , su ch a clau se may also requ ire that the artist or
songwri ter

repay

any

outstanding

advances

and /or

fulfill

any

commitments u nder the contract in order to terminate the con tract early.
Performance Clause.
This is a contrac tu al provision requ iring a party to perform some
service or achieve some goal. For examp le, a manager may be requ ired to
get their artist signed to a record c ompany within a specified time peri od;
or an artist may be requ ired to be available for tou ring commi tmen ts as
agreed to in a band & brand agreement, etc.

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General.
Most contrac ts inclu de some other general c lau ses that fu rther
clarify the complete u nderstanding betw een the parties . For examp le, the
contract sh ou ld identify th e state in th e country th at h as ju risdiction ove r
all matters related to the c ontract. Another clau se will iden tify the
contract as a complete u nderstandi ng between the parties and compel any
changes to be made in writin g in order to be enforceable. Another clau se
will show that the manager has advised the artist to s eek legal c ou nsel
before signing the con tract, and so on.
Signatures.
Of cou rse, a wri tten contract cannot be valid withou t the signatu res
of all the parties u nder obli gation. You do not necessari ly need to have
the contract notarized , bu t mak e su re that the signatu res are in blu e ink
s o t h a t i t i s o b v i o u s w h i c h d o c u me n t s a r e o r i g i n a l s a n d w h i c h o n e s a r e
copies.

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CAREER PLANNING FOR YOUR ARTIST


Establish goals
You shou ld create a bu siness plan (or at leas t a game plan) that
address es both you r short- and long-term goals . Not all cli ents hav e the
same goals. Some cli ents may simply want to record an albu m or a seri es
of singles to mak e av ailable for download . Others may wan t to es tablish
an independent label to release thei r own recordings, or perform in larger
venu es th an th ey cu rrently do, o r go on a national/intern ational tou r, or
sign a deal with a record label wi th national distribu tion and marketi ng,
or sign a pu blishing contrac t, or get into actin g, or ali gn themselves w ith
a brand, or get an endorsement deal, or partn er wi th a sponsor, and so on.
These will be the lon g-term goals . Y ou can then break the lon g-term goals
into several short- term goals , each with a defined set of benchmarks that
can be tracked and measu red. It i s very important to set dead lines for
each goal. This will enable y ou to keep track of you r progress and make
changes accordingly .
Define the image
It

is

very

important

to

have

good

u nderstanding

of

and

appreciation for the clien ts image. Make su re that they are comfortable
with not on ly who they are, bu t als o who the pu blic perc eives them to be.
You may find it necess ary to fine-tu ne some things in ord er to p res ent a
more accu rate image to the pu blic. You may be able to do this on you r own
or hire a sty list to help with imagi ng. It is mu ch better to do this earlier
on in the process than to p roceed and try to change the image later.

P a g e | 41

Once you ve made an impression wi th the pu blic (or the artists fan
base) it becomes mu ch more difficu lt to change it later on . Dont c onfu se
this with the normal strategy of p resen ting differen t sides of the same
person to the pu blic or gradu ally u pdating the image of the artist to fit
the cu rren t release.
Evaluate the name
In this age of social n etworkin g, it is importan t to avoid con fu sion
and mak e su re that you r cli ent d oes not have the same name is another
artist. The process

of evaluating

your clients

professional name

is

sometimes a bi t more complicated than appears at fi rst glance. In ord er to


be memorable and cu t throu gh the clu tter, shou ld the artist u se their real
name, or come up with a stage name or ps eudonym? What would be the
benefi ts or drawbacks of each decisi on? Some artists hav e a di fficu lt name
to read or pronou nce, and choose to change i t, while others u se the
difficu lty of the name as a promoti on gimmick . Another thing to consider
is what you would do if your client has the same name as another artist
who is already well-known to the pu blic (e.g. George Mic hael, James
Taylor, Sarah McLac hlan, etc .)? It is possible that you r c lien t may be
challen ged if they u se the name, ev en if i t is their real n ame. In any event,
it is always a good idea to check to see if the chosen name is being u sed
elsewhere before you embark on the res t of you r c ampai gn.
Define the sound (or style)
Most artists have a very difficu lt ti me defining their s tyle of mu sic.
Even thou gh most artists want to resist being pigeon-holed s tylistic ally , it
wou ld be to thei r ben efit to be able to desc ribe thei r sty le to a stran ger in
10-15 words or less . This is cru cial if only from a mark eting standpoi nt.
Almost everything we read or h ear abou t in the mu sic business is
described according to genre/s tyle.

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E v e n i f y o u f e e l l i k e y o u r c l i e n t s m u s i c f i t s i n mu l t i p l e g e n r e s , i t i s
still a good id ea to abbrevi ate th e desc ription when talkin g to oth er
members of the mu sic commu nity as well as fans.
Get your clients house in order
The beginning of you r relationship is a good time to sit down and
help to get you r cli ents hou se in order. This can be tricky someti mes
since most clients have inad equ ate fu nds to take care of some of thei r
more p ressing legal and accou nting issu es. You shou ld tak e this time to
talk to you r client abou t establishing a corporation to separate personal
and bu siness assets; registerin g copyrights; applying for servic e marks (i f
applicable); signing u p for variou s insu rance policies; tax planning /
bookkeeping;

etc.

You

may

have

to

sch edu le

consultations

with

an

attorn ey and an accou ntant or financial advisor to help with some of th ese
issu es. Use this time to add ress an y back taxes owed or legal issu es that
are u nresolved .
Identify the artists demographi c
It is extremely important to identi fy the demographic that you will
be mark eting you r mu sic produ cts and services to. You will u ltimately be
sellin g produ cts and services to this demographic, so the more you know
abou t them the more su ccessfu l you r campai gns will be. This data will
also be u sefu l to a poten tial brand partner, sponsor or record label. The
sooner y ou start doin g you r researc h the better. To find this informati on
you will have to start wi thin the inner ci rcle of you r fan base and w ork
ou twards . Begin by pollin g the people on you r mai ling list or in you r fan
base and you will soon begin to d evelop a p rofile (or a set o f profi le s).
Th e most effectiv e and effici ent way to do th is is condu ct a su rvey
(questionnaire)

on

your website

in

exchan ge

for something free

or

discou nted, like son g down loads , concert tickets , band merchandise,
au tographed or exc lu sive produ cts, access to you r artist, etc.
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Build your support team


In tod ays mu sic bu siness environment it is a good idea to bu ild a
stron g, compet ent t eam o f pro fess ionals a rou nd you r client . You as a
manager wi ll be the coordinator of that team. It wi ll be u p to you to fi nd
the right members of the team and help to coordinate the activities
between them and your client. The team, at the end of the day, should
consist of you the manager, alon g with an entertainment attorney , a
booking agent, a pu blicist and a p romoter. You can always hire ou t most
of the other servic es (e.g. produ ction, graphic design, photog raphy,
recording, etc .) . Besides the fac t that a su pport team will keep the
machine ru nning smoothly , it is als o a v ery attrac tive pack age in the eyes
of record labels, sponsors, and brand partners (as long as you have the
right team) . The objec t is to find people that are good at what they do, are
respec ted in the indu stry, and are available to commi t some time to you r
client.

Ask

for

rec ommend ations

or

utilize

the

variou s

direc tories

mentioned th rou gh ou t th is manu al to pu t you r tea m to ge th er. You migh t


n e e d t o c o m e u p w i t h a bu d g e t t o h e l p p a y f o r t h i s t e a m . T h a t c o u l d c o m e
ou t of you r pocket (to be deducted as an expense) or taken fro m a fu nd set
aside by the c lient. These s trategic alliances wi ll help you achieve su ccess
in the lon g ru n.
Develop a plan for surviving during the lean periods
It often tak es a while for you r cli ent, and therefore you , to start
making mon ey. Even when there is income, i t is often difficu lt to maintain
a consistent flow over a lon g period of ti me. There will inevitably be
periods of time when things slow down, especially du ring the record ing
stages

where

there

is

little

income

coming

in

from

performi ng,

merchandise, endorsements , or other sou rces. The remedy is to have


differen t c lients in di fferent gen res all at different stages of their c areer.

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For example, you might have a Roc k band and a Pop/R&B band . The
R o c k b a n d c a n b e o n t o u r w h i l e t h e P o p / R & B b a n d i s i n t h e s tu d i o
recording. This way, in addition to royalti es from p reviou s recordings or
Film/TV licensing, you can have income coming in from the Rock ban ds
tou r while the Pop/R&B band finalizes their rec ordin gs, and then switch
schedu les. It is also a good idea to think abou t ancillary income from you r
bands songs , inclu ding licensing, merchandise sales , etc . The plan is to
arran ge it so that the lean periods do not all happen at the same time for
all you r c lients . You shou ld also take advantage of aftermark et, which
essentially means addi tional sou rces of income from you r clien ts records
after the initi al release. This cou ld be anything from compilations and remixes to releases in di fferent formats, c over v ersions , etc.

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Page 44

UNDERSTANDING DIFFERENT TYPES OF DEALS


Some of you r clien ts may be interested in you finding some type of
deal for them. In these ins tances i t wou ld help for you to know what ty pes
of deals are av ailable for artis ts, p rodu cers and songw riters. K eep in mind
th at since th e mu sic indu stry is constantly ch anging, it is impossible to
predict all the types of deals that may be avai lable in the fu tu re. It is also
worth noting that i t is significantly more difficu lt to work ou t a deal w ith
a major record label, pu blisher, sponsor, merchandising company , etc.,
than it is with an independent company.
Most o f th ese definitions a re b asic, bu t sh ou ld be good enou gh to
give you some idea of the different types of deals avai lable. In additi on,
there are some deals that I hav e left ou t only becau se of how irrelev ant
they are to the independent artist, and inclu ded some deals that are
slowly

bu t su rely

fallin g ou t of u se. In

all cases, consult with an

experienced entertainmen t attorney when presented with a contrac t of any


kind.
Following are some of the deals that you may encou nter:

Demo Deal
In this rare scenario a record label will give an artis t some money to

record a demo. The demo fu nd ranges from, for example, $1,500 to $5,000
for three songs. The label will have, for example, a 60-d ay period in which
to decid e whether to si gn the artist or not.

P a g e | 46

If they do not lik e what they hear and choose not to si gn the artist
they will have a 6- 9 month matching ri ght (or right o f fi rst re fusal).
This means that if any other label offers the artist a d eal in that time
frame, they will have the ri ght to match the other labels offer before the
artist can mov e on. The artis t will normally keep the demo once they move
on,

and

in

some

instances

may

even

be

allowed

to

release

it

independently.

Development Deal
A develop ment deal is somewhat like a demo deal, excep t that the

terms and options last for a little bit longer and the pu rpose is sli ghtly
differen t. In this scenario the rec ord label and the A&R rep wi ll sp end
some ti me, normally abou t six months, workin g with all aspects of the
artists package to try and bring it u p to the level where they can commit
to spending more money on a fu ll release. Bu dgets for developmen t deals
ran ge from $10 ,000 to $35,000. If the artist fails to matu re to the
approp riate level they can be let go, again savin g the label the money
associated with a full-scale release. These types of deals are happening
less and less now as labels seek to redu ce their risk exposu re by sign ing
artists that are already well-d evelop ed.

Recording Deals (Contracts)


These are con tracts si gned betw een record labels and artis ts u su ally

with a mu lti-year, mu lti- albu m commitment from the record label to


provide the rec ordin g bu dget, approve the proc ess of hirin g produ cers and
selec ting son gs, oversee the grap hic design process , manu fac tu re the
record , distribu te and mark et the record to retai l ou tlets , pu t in place
promotion to help sell the record , c ollect mon ey and mak e payments , and
in some cases provid e tou r su pport. There is a bi g difference in the lev els
of financi al and proc edu ral commitments mad e between maj or record
labels and independen t labels.
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Independen t labels generally have less of a bu dget to spend, sign


shorter deals with less commitment, bu t offer higher royalty rates with
shorter accou nting periods.

360 or Multiple Rights Deals


360 (or Multiple Rights) Deals are basically recording contrac ts in

which artists share not ju st revenu e from thei r albu m sales bu t concert ,
merchandise and other earnings w ith their label in exchan ge for more
comprehensive c areer su pport. Trad itionally, record labels participated in
royalti es main ly from sales of the artists recordin gs, and sometimes from
other d eals stru ctu red arou nd the sale of recordin gs. 360 deals allow the
label to receive royalties from a wi de range of income sou rces related to
the

artist,

including

ticket

and

merchandise

sales

from

tou rs/performances , pu blishing income, artist branded p rodu cts, etc .

Singles Deals
A Singles Deal is a contract betw een a record company and an artist

or p rodu cer p roviding for on e single to be recorded and releas ed, bu t


u su ally containing options fo r add itional sin gles and/or albu ms in the
event the firs t single achieves commercial su ccess. Singles are often
released in the form or rin gton es or some other digi tal repres entati on.
These types of d eals are stru ctu red as a way for the label to tes t the
viabili ty of an artist before committing more fu nds to a wider release.

Upstream Deals
Major record labels have begu n to arran ge u pstream deals as a way

to eliminate the risk of spending millions of dollars on artists wi th no


gu aran tee of a retu rn on investment. They accomp lish this by signing
distribu tion deals wi th su ccessfu l independent rec ord labels.

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In some instances, the indep enden t labels receive operating capital


for si gning and developing artists. The independent labels get th eir
records

distribu ted

and

marketed

throu gh

the

major

record

label

distribu tion system, and once sales of the independent record reach a
certain plateau , the reco rd is u pstreamed into the maj or label system.
The assets of the independent label can also transferred to the major label
in exchange for sharing of the royalties.

Option Deals
Option deals (also ca lled s tep dea ls) are arran gements where, for

example, a songw riter rec eives a partial payment towards a creativ e fee
for wri ting a song for a film prod u ction, commercial, or other p roject.
Upon completion of the song, the w riter su bmits a d emo to the comp any.
If the company approv es the song, a fu rther payment is made and the song
is recorded for synchronization . Fi nal payment is mad e if and when the
song is actu ally synchronized or otherwise u sed in the completed p roj ect.
If the song is not u sed, the songw riter keeps the initial payment(s) , and
u su ally retains fu ll ri ghts to

the work, thou gh there may

be some

conditions.

Distribution Deal
A distribu tion deal is an arrangement betw een an independent label

or p rodu ction company and a major (or larger) label whereby the latter
distribu tes the formers produ ct to retai lers. In this arrangement the
independent

label

or

production

manu factu ring,

packagin g,

distribu tor.

distribu tion

In

and

company

delivering

deals

where

is

finished
the

responsible

for

produ ct

the

independent

to
label

or

produ ction company does all its own mark etin g and promotion, the
distribu tor typically retains 20% to 30% of the produ cts wholesale s elli ng
price.

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When the distribu tor provides marketing services , it either charges


direct cos ts of advertisin g and promotion back to the label, dedu cts the
expenses from the labels share of sales rev enu e, or retains a higher
royalty on sales to cov er marketi ng costs . These deals are generally
offered to labels and produ ction companies with provable sales histori es .
The types of distribu tion deals that independent artists have available to
them are mainly those of di gital dis tribu tion v ari eti es to on line s tores like
iTunes, Amazon, etc.

Pressing & Distribution Deals (P&D)


A Pressing & Distribu tion (P&D) deal is a type of distribu tion deal in

which an independent label d elivers finished masters and artwork to the


distribu tor,

and

the

distribu tor

then

assumes

responsibility

for

manu factu ring, packaging, and distribu ting the finished produ ct. In some
cases, P&D d eals also p rovide that the distribu tor handle all mark etin g of
the produ ct, and the independent label is paid a royalty ( typically 15% to
20% of the products re tail price)
.

Production Deals
These are contrac ts either between record companies and record

produ cers, or record produ cers and recording artis ts. Sometimes a rec ord
company signs an artist and then hires a produ cer to p rodu ce the albu m.
In other instances a record produ cer finds an artist and si gns them to his
or her produ ction company in ord er to produ ce an albu m that can be
shopped to a record label. An independent artist is more likely to
encou nter a p rodu ction contrac t than a recording contrac t early on in
their careers. If the produ cer has major label (hi t song) produ ction
credits , then an u nsigned artis t can use this as a vehicle to get on the
rad ar screen of the major label A&R reps .

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Master Lease Deals


A Master Leas e Deal is an agreement betw een a record comp any and

produ cer (generally, one with maj or label production credits) whereby
the record comp any obtains exclu sive ri ghts to rep rodu ce, distribu te, and
sell a recordin g for a s tated period of time, after which those rights
terminate and rev ert back to the produ cer. The produ cer fu rnishes a
completed mas ter recording. In some cases , the produ cer also fu rnis hes
camera- ready artwork for albu m covers . The record company assu mes the
responsibili ty

and

expenses

of

manu factu ring,

mark etin g,

and

distribu tion, p aying the p rodu cer a percentage of each u nit sale. The
produ cer is generally responsible for paying artis t roy alties from the
gross income received from the record comp any. The record company
typically assu mes responsibility for paying mechanical royalti es to mu sic
pu blishers that con trol the song cop yrights on the recording.

Licensing Deals
A license is a grant of permission for a comp any or individu al

(licensee) to u se a son g or an albu m in a p rojec t. In exchange for


payment, copyri ght owners give permission in the form of a w ritten
agreemen t known as a licens e. The legal copyri ght owner k eeps all
copyright ownership of that son g or albu m even while the licensee u ses it.
Copyri ght owners earn money when people pay for the ri ght to u se the
song, su ch as inclu ding a song in a movie or a compi lation recordi ng.
Owners of the master recording ( generally the reco rd labe l on ma jor
recordings, but o ften the perfo rmers on independent recordings) can also
i s s u e l i c e n s e s f o r t h e u s e ( o r s yn c h r o n i z a t i o n ) o f t h e i r m a s t e r s i n a
produ ction.

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Foreign Licensing Deals


Foreign lic ensing deals are an ideal way for mu sicians to get their

albu ms released overseas . In these instances, the copyri ght of the albu m
remains

with

the

original

copyri ght

owner.

The

deal

is

more

of

manu factu ring/distribu ting/marketi ng deal where the licensee (compa ny


licensing the product ove rseas) pays for the costs of releasing the album
in their terri tory in exchange for a percen tage of s ales after expenses are
recou ped. These deals u su ally apply only to a specific albu m and not to
the artists en tire catalog. The contract will u su ally requ ire the licensee to
release the albu m within a specific time frame or else lose the license and
retu rn the produ ct to the lic ensor. The licensee is normally allow ed to sell
off all remaining produ ct at the end of the term.

Merchandising Deals
Major rec ord labels are committing less and less money to the area

of tou r su pport for thei r artists. Merchandising deals hav e become a


significant factor rec ently in helpi ng to offset the hu ge cost of tou ri ng,
and can enable bands to make tou ri ng a reli able sou rce of income. The two
main

areas

for

merchandising

are

retail/mail

order,

and

tour

merchandising. Wi th retail merchandising, it is qu ite common to license


rights to a company , either in general or on an item-by-i tem basis, in
retu rn for a roy alty per i tem (e.g ., shirt, jac ket, baseball cap, e tc). Wi th
mail order, mos t of the response from the pu blic comes from inserts
within albu ms artwork or on band w ebsites / MySp ace p rofiles adv ertisi ng
a range of p rodu cts that fans can bu y.

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Single Song Deals


Single song deals are agreemen ts between the w ri ter and the mu sic

pu blish er in wh ich th e writer grants certain ri gh ts to a pu blish er fo r o ne


or more son gs. In single son g d eals, the wri ter is often p aid a one-ti me
recou pable advance for each song.

Exclusi ve Song Writer (or staff writer) Deals


Under

these

deals,

the

songw ri ter

generally

grants

all

their

pu blishers share of income to a mu sic pu blisher. The w riters services are


exclu sive to the mu sic pu blishers for a speci fied period of time. Thu s, any
compositions wri tten within that p eriod belong to the mu sic pu blisher.
These deals are u su ally offered to writers with some degree of su ccess.
Becau se the w riter has a track record of w ritin g hits , the pu blisher feels
confident that it will rec ou p its investment. In retu rn for signing aw ay
exclu sive ri ghts to some or all of the writers songs , the w riter gets p aid
by the pu blisher a negotiated advance against fu tu re roy alties . The
advance amou nt natu rally depends on the wri ters bargaining pow er and
on the competiti on in mark etplace, if any. Under a staff wri ter deal, the
writer is often paid on a week ly or qu arterly basis. This agreemen t can be
either tied to, or independent of, a record contrac t.

Co-publishing Deals
Under these d eals, the son gwri ter and the mu sic pu blisher are "co-

owners"

of

the

copyrights

in

the

musical

compositions.

The

wri ter

becomes the "co-pu blisher" (i.e . co- owner) with the mu sic pu blisher based
on an agreed split of the royalties. The songwri ter assigns an agreed
percen tage to the pu blisher, u su ally (but not always), a 50 /50 split. Thu s,
the w riter conveys of the pu blisher's share to the pu blisher, bu t retains
the wri ters enti re share.

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In a typical "75/25 co-pu b deal," the w riter gets 100% of the


songwri ters share, and 50% of the pu blishers share, or 75% of the en tire
copyrights , with the remaining 25% goin g to the pu blisher. Thu s, when
royalti es are du e and payable, the writer/co-pu blisher will rec eive 75% of
the income, while the pu blisher will retain 25% .

Administration Deals
Administration deals are made between songw ri ters/pu blishers and

independent ad ministrators , or between songwri ters/pu blishers and other


mu sic pu blishers. In an " admin deal," the son gw riter self-pu blishes and
merely licenses son gs to the mu sic pu blisher for a speci fied term and an
agreed-u pon royalty spli t. Under this arrangemen t, the mu sic pu blisher
simply

administers

and

exp loits

the

c opyri ghts

for

another

songwri ter/copyri ght owner. Under this coveted arrangement, ownership


of the copyright is u su ally not tran sferred to the administrato r. Instead,
the administrator

gets

10-20%

of the

gross

royalties

rec eived

from

administering and exploiting the songs for a certain period of time and
for a c ertain territory .

Collection Agreements
Collection

agreements

are

like

administration

deals

where

the

songwri ter retains the copyri ghts, excep t that the pu blisher does not
perform exp loitation fu nctions. Lik e an accou ntant or bu siness manager,
the pu blisher merely collects and di sbu rses avai lable royalty income.

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Sub-publishing Deals
Su b-pu blishing deals are basically mu sic pu blishing deals in forei gn

terri tories between a US pu blisher and a pu blisher in a forei gn territory.


They are like admin or collec tion deals (wi th no ownership o f the
copyrights being transferred to the sub publisher), bu t limi ted to one or
more cou ntri es ou tside the US. Under this pu blishing deal, the pu blis her
allows the su b-pu blisher to ac t on i ts behalf in c ertain forei gn terri tori es.
Often, they are limited to a grou p of cou ntri es, su ch as Eu ropean Uni on
(EU), GA S (Ge rmany, Austria , and Switzerland) , Latin A merica, etc .

Purchase Agreements
Under these agreemen ts, one mu sic pu blisher acqu ires in whole or in

part the c atalogu e of another mu sic pu blisher, sort of lik e a merger of


companies.

In

this

case,

"due

diligenc e"

investi gation

is

done

to

determine the v alu e of the catalogu e bein g pu rchased.

Collateral Contracts
These are contrac ts that are entered into simu ltaneou sly by the same

parti es to d eal with separate, bu t related , issu es. For example, a singersongwri ter mi ght enter into a recording contract wi th a rec ord label an d a
pu blishing contract with the reco rd companys mu sic pu blishing division
at the same time. Careful attention must be paid to potential conflicts of
interest arising ou t of su ch arrangements .

Endorsement Deals
Mu sical equ ipment comp anies hav e a financial interes t in having

high

profile

musicians

with

album

or

tou ring/p erforming

c redits

endorsing their produ cts. The hope is that fellow mu sicians will bu y
produ cts endors ed by mu sicians they respec t and/or admi re.
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Mu sical equ ipment manu factu rers p refer to app roach mu sicians who
have sold a lot of produ ct or have c redits on major record label releas es or
tou rs,

achieved

signi ficant

radio

airp lay ,

and /or

attrac ted

lot

of

attention on television, the internet, and in the print media. How ever, it
is

possible

to

land

an

endors ement

deal

with

smaller

equipment

manu factu rers that are tryin g to expand their reach into other terri tories
or achieve more sales than thei r regional competi tors.
Endorsement deals u su ally requ ire the mu sician to endorse the
produ ct by mentioning the p rodu ct in ads and in terviews; inclu ding the
produ ct name, image and/or logo in albu m lin er notes; condu cting c linics
or teaching seminars; and /or endorsing the produ ct at trade shows. In
exchange fo r this added exposu re, the manu factu rer will u su ally pay the
mu sician a fee, give them free produ ct, and/or offer them a su bstantial
discou nt on equ ipment pu rchases. As one wou ld expec t, endorsement fees
u su ally go to the high profile mu sicians, while the discou nted or free
produ cts

go

to

the

independent

artis ts.

Endorsement

deals

for

i n d e p e n d e n t m u s i c i a n s d e p e n d o n th e m u s i c a l p r o f i c i e n c y o r s k i l l o f t h e
mu sician, how well the mu sician is known/ad mired, the nu mber of ti mes
the mu sician performs , the nu mber of albu ms or down loads sold, the s ize
and demographic mak eu p of the fan base, and the type of instru ment the
mu sician plays. Some equ ipment manu factu rers have informati on on their
websites regarding su bmission polic ies for endors emen t deals .
These are ju st some of the deals you or you r client might encou nter
alon g the way. As menti oned earlier, mak e su re you consu lt with an
experienced entertainment attorney (and accountant where applicab le)
when presented wi th a contract of any kind (and particularly one that
requires the transfer or assignment of rights).

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UNDERSTANDING THE ROLES OF THE DIFFERENT


INDUSTRY PLAYERS
In ord er to be an effective manager you will need to u nderstand how
t h e m u s i c bu s i n e s s w o r k s . T h i s b a s i c a l l y m e a n s t h a t y o u w i l l n e e d t o
u nderstand th e ro les o f som e o f th e oth er mu sic indu stry pro fessio nals
you may encounter. You will need to know what each of them does and
u nderstand how and when to u se them in the cou rse of condu cting y ou r
business.
Contac t information for many of these people can be fou nd in some
of th e mo re repu table mu sic indu stry direc to ries avai lab le from compan ies
like

(http://www.polls tar.c om/),

Pollstar

Billboard

(http://www.ord erbillboard .com/) , and the Music Business Registry


(http://www.mu sicregis try .com) an d others .
Following is a d escription of some of the di fferent p lay ers you mi ght
encou nter in the cou rse of performi ng you r du ties:

Artists & Repertoire (A&R) reps


A&R

reps

work

for

record

labels

and

are

charged

with

the

responsibili ty of scou ting and signing artists , selec ting material for them
to

record ,

assi gning

p rodu cers,

overseein g

recording

sessions,

and

developing mark etin g camp aigns for recorded releases in coop eration wi th
artist

man agers

and

other

rec ord

company

departments ,

mark etin g, pu blicity, promotion , international, etc.

such

as

P a g e | 57

Backline Techs
Backline techs are individu als, u su ally mu sicians as well, who s et u p,

tu ne, fi x, and break down equ ipment (drums , guitars, keyboards , e tc.) for
the band members on tou r. They sometimes play a role in the show itself
by operatin g gu itar effec ts pedals, p rogrammin g keyboard sequ encers, and
rep lacing broken s trin gs, dru m stick s, gu itar picks , etc .

Booking Agents

Booking

agen ts

performances

generally

and/or

work

tou rs.

In

with

artists

to

other

words

they

book

and

find

arrange

employment

opportu nities for artists . They n egotiate fees wi th venu es and other
interested parties and rec eive a c ommission (usually around 10%) for
their work. Bookin g agents u su ally have solid contac ts with venues,
bookers, fes tival organizers , p romoters and other presenters , and c an
u su ally get them on the phone when you cannot.
Booking agents can be invalu able when it comes time to organize a
t o u r . B o o k i n g a g e n t s a l s o d e t e r m i n e h o w mu c h t h e b a n d g e t s p a i d , t h e
pricing of tickets, what day the tick ets go on sale, which venu es the artist
plays in, which cities the tou r is rou ted to, etc. The agent also d eci des
which radio stations will do ticket promotions (free giveaways) . Keep in
mind that the larger booking agen ts tend to be interested in workin g with
artists who are si gned to a label and have financial tou r su pport, or a
tou ring

history,

loyal

fan

base,

great

reviews

and

media

coverage,

industry and /or pu blic bu zz, su bstanti al radio ai rplay , etc . That means
that it is better for a beginning artist to play and fill smaller venu es,
develop a loyal p aying fan base, organize street teams to help with s how
p r o m o t i o n , d e v e l o p u n i qu e p u b l i c i t y a n d p r o m o t i o n c a m p a i g n s , g e t s o m e
college or commercial radio ai rplay , and garner solid media cov erage and
industry bu zz before approaching booking agents .

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Camera Operators
The du ty of the Camera Operator is to tak e video footage and provide

shots that end u p on the large sc reens visible du ring stadiu m (or la rge
arena) shows.

Carpenters
Like the name su ggests , the role of the carpenter is to bu ild and

maintain the stage s et (e .g . dru m ri sers, pro ps, specia l e ffec ts and custom
stage pieces, etc .) .

Distributors
The distribu tor is essen tially a middleman between the record

label and retail stores (or anywhere the general public purchases music
from) . Dis tri bu tors attempt to convince retail stores to bu y and stock
label

products.

They

provide

management systems, and

ship

the

warehou se

produ cts

to

space

their

and

inventory

retail acc ou nts as

ordered . An additional fu nction for the distribu tor is to invoice the retail
stores and collec t money for p rodu ct sold . They then pay the record label
any money owed according to the terms of the distribu tion contrac t. It is
the record labels job to produ ce and provide the finished produ ct as well
as to promote the record to the general pu blic and make them aware of
where they can make pu rchases. On some occasions distribu tors will offer
to

manufacture

and

distribu te

the

records

in

retu rn

for

large r

percen tage of the sales p rice. These types of deals only get offered to
labels or artists that hav e a track record of solid sales and a relatively
large c atalog of releases .

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The major label distribu tion system involves some other indu stry
players as part of the network . These inclu de one stops, rack jobbers , and
record c lu bs. One stops are midd lemen who bu y records from labels and
then

make

them

available

to

local

rec ord

s tores

that

p refer

the

convenience of one stop shopping. Rack jobbers are middleman that bu y


records from labels and then stock them in the racks that they operate
within retail stores . Record c lu bs bu y recordin gs from labels and th en
resell to thei r members at discou nt prices.

Event Service Representatives (ESR)


Event

Service

Reps

work

as

liaison

between

the

variou s

departments of the venu e and the show promoter. Thei r du ties inclu de
tracking and docu menting v enu e expenses, enforcin g the venu e/p romoter
contract, and makin g su re the venue gets paid. Thei r jobs become criti cal
du ring events

where the promoter is

ru nning the show

(where

the

promote r rents the venue, books the talent, signs sponsors, coordin ates
the publicity and promotion, and collects the money).

Front-of-House Engineers (FOH)


The Front of Hou se Engineer is the person that mi xes the bands live

show and controls how the au dience hears it. A ll the ou tpu t signals from
the mu sicians microphones and instru ments ( DI ou tputs , microphone
outputs) are fed into the main console (mixing board) . The fron t of hou se
engineer

applies

and

controls

the

volume

and

effects

(e .g.,

EQ,

compression, ga te, reverb , cho rus, etc.) before feeding the ov erall sou nd
to the main monitors (speake rs) in the venu e.

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Lighting Designers
The Lighting Desi gner designs the lighting sequ ence that takes place

du ring a live performance . Li gh ting designers a re u su ally brou gh t in wel l


before the show takes place, and they select the movemen t, p lacement,
nu mber, and color of lights for the show. The lighting designer does not
always tou r with the show, sometimes leavin g that u p to the lighti ng
director (although they some times double as such).

Lighting Directors
The Lighting Di rec tor operates the lighting system on the day of the

show

and

executes

the

li ghting

sequence

desi gned

by

the

ligh ting

designer. The li ghting di rec tor u ses a li ghting desi gn ( plan) c reated by
the li ghting desi gner to gu ide them throu gh the show. Sometimes the
lighting design er and lightin g director is the s ame p erson . The li ghting
director also tells the spot op erators where to shine the spotli ght and
what cues to look for.

Lighting Techs
The Lighting Tech, also referred to as an elec trician , sets u p,

focu ses, and maintains the bands li ghting system.

Mechanical Right Societies


A Mechanical Right Society is an organization formed to license

mechanical rights to record manu factu rers (e .g. record labels) and others
on behalf o f affi liated son g copy right owners, mu sic pu blishers and
songwri ters . Mechanical right societies collec t mechanical royalti es from
licensees and periodically distribu te the earnings to members. They
charge

their

affiliates

commission

of

gross

mechanical

roy alties

collected.
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The main mechanical ri ght society in the United States is the Harry
Fox

Agency

(HFA),

division

of

the

National

Music

Pu blishers

Association (NMPA). They can be reached online at http://www .nmpa.org.

Merchandisers
Merchandisers are comp anies that pay bands and singers for the

right to sell their merchandise (T-shirts , ha ts, etc .) at concerts , retail


stores or on the Internet.

Monitor Engineer
The Monitor Engineer con trols the sou nd that the mu sicians hear on

stage throu gh the stage or earphone monitors. They operate a sep arate
mixing board that feeds the sou nd from the equ ipment and microphones
back to th e stage o r earpiec e th ro u gh monitors th at th e mu sicians can
h ear. In comp lex monitor setu ps, each mu sician can h ear a s eparate mix.

Music Directors
Th ere are generally fou r different types of mu sic directo rs you may

encou nter wo rking wi thin the mu sic bu siness. Mu sic Directo rs (or MDs)
can be fou nd at radio stations sc reening and selec ting rec ordin gs for
airplay. At commercial radio stati ons, this job is being don e more and
more

by

consultan ts

and

grou p

Program

Directors

than

by

Music

Directors . The second type of Mu sic Director is a person hired by an artist


to au dition, rehearse and lead a backing band on tou r or du ring select
performances . The third type of Mu sic Direc tor scores and arran ges mu sic
for fi lms , television p rograms , commerci als , or library services, and who
u su ally also condu cts th e orch estra reco rding th e mu sic for su ch u sages .
Hotels, res orts, theaters, chu rches, arts centers, commu nity centers, etc.,
employ the fou rth type of Mu sic Director to organize mu sical events , book
mu sicians, lead in-hou se orchestras, etc .
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Music Publishers
A mu sic pu blisher attempts to exp loit mu sical copyrights on behalf

of themselves and the songw riters they rep resen t. They take c are of the
administrative

duties

involved

with

finding

uses

for

the

copyri ghts

(songs), negotiating lic enses, c ollecting fees and distribu ting money to
the wri ter(s) or other pu blisher(s) involved . Songs can hav e many u ses
besides being recorded on an albu m. Songs provide the mood for movie
scenes

and

set

the

vibe

for

TV

commercials

and

host

of

other

produ ctions. Pu blishing, like copyri ght, is a very comp lex topic that goes
beyond the scope of this e-Book . Lik e almos t everything els e related to the
b u s i n e s s o f mu s i c , y o u m u s t m a k e s u r e y o u h a v e a n e n t e r t a i n m e n t
attorn ey look ov er any paperwork presented to you by a pu blisher (or
anyone else for tha t ma tter).

Music Supervisors
Mu sic su pervisors are the peop le responsible fo r secu ring mu sic for

u se in films, TV shows, video games, etc . They participate by find ing,


su ggesting and negoti atin g for the rights to u se record ed mu sic in films
and other p rojec ts. They are in constant commu nication with music
libraries, mu sic pu blishers, record labels, songw riters and c ompos ers ,
etc .,

and

help

to

manage

the

music

bu d g e t s

approp riated

by

the

produ ction companies responsible for the projects .

Performing Rights Societies


There are fou r main performing ri ghts societies in the United States:

The Americ an Society of Composers , Au thors & Pu blishers (ASCAP) ,


Broadc ast Mu sic, Inc. (B MI) , SESA C (formerly the Socie ty of Europe an
Stage Authors & Composers, bu t now simply SESAC) , and Sound
Exchange.

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Three of these organizations (ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC) collect


payments for licensed pu blic works on behalf of their member copy right
owners . They negotiate fees , monitor and collec t royalty payments from
establishments and venu es (e.g . re staurants, nightc lubs, bo wling a lle ys,
radio stations, e tc.) and mak e payments to thei r writer and pu blisher
members . Sou nd Exchange compen sates rec ordin g comp anies and arti sts
for the u se of thei r mu sic by digi tal mu sic service providers.
You can join ASCAP and BMI as a songw riter and /or a pu blisher
member, and Sou nd Exchange as an artist or sou nd recording copyri ght
owner. Entry into SESAC is by selection. Each organization has different
criteri a for accep ting or rejec ting applicants. They can be fou nd online at
http://www.ascap .com, http: //ww w .bmi .com, http: //www .sesac .com, and
http://www.s ou ndexchange.com.

Product Managers
Produ ct Managers are the p eople at major labels in charge of

coordinating, overseein g, and /or di rec ting the manu factu re and release of
produ ct. A record company p rodu ct managers du ties inclu de the assembly
of master tap es, label copy, copyri ght information , c redits , liner notes ,
graphics, artwork ,

etc., which

are forw ard ed

to

the p ressin g plant,

masterin g lab, and printers . P rod u ct managers work closely with other
departments

to

schedule

release

dates

and

coordinate

marketing

activities.

Professional Managers
Professional

Managers

manage

and

mark et

songs

for

music

pu blishers. Other names for professional managers inclu de song plu ggers,
catalog managers , or c reative managers. In addition to plu ggin g son gs, the
position sometimes also inclu des other du ties , su ch as scou ting, signi ng,
and developing talent, producing demos, and interacting with licensees.
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Program Consultants
Program Consu ltants are independent exp erts hired by radio s tations

to assist in increasing au dience share. Program consu ltants may d evise or


revise a radio station s format, play list, image, mark eting strategy, etc.

Program Directors
At radio stati ons, the Program Director is the person in charge of

planning and schedu ling programs , and has the u ltimate responsibili ty for
the materi al and personnel selec ted for programs. The Program Di rec tor
(PD) decides what the ov erall programming for the radio station shou ld
be.

At

commercial

radio

stations

the

PD

performs

the

function

of

generating au dience share and rati ngs with inpu t from consu ltan ts, grou p
PDs , brand managers , and Indie promoters .

Publicists and PR Firms


Pu blicists and PR fi rms (many times the same thing) attemp t to

generate pu blicity throu gh the media for thei r clients . They normally get
paid a week ly, monthly , or per-p roj ect fee for their efforts . The pu blicity
efforts can help artists to attrac t in du stry and pu blic attention, pu blicize
a releas e or tou r, and increase the fan-base. Pu blicists assist in getti ng
articles , in terviews , revi ews, featu res and news items w ritten abou t thei r
clients , as w ell as responding to inqu iries from medi a personnel and other
individu als. PR fi rms can also be instru mental in secu ring sponso rsh ip
deals for tou rs.

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Pyrotechnicians
Pyrotechnicians

are

responsible

for

assembling

and

i gniting

pyrotechnic effec ts at conc erts or other performance events . Pyrotechnics


are among the most d angerou s effec ts u sed on stage, and many states and
cities requ ire that Pyrotechnicians be licensed before they can legally u se
pyrotechnics on stage.

Quarterbacks
In the area of radio promotion, qu arterbacks are people that are

consulted

to

ru n

you r overall

mark etin g camp aign . They

coordin ate

activiti es between the radio p romoter, booking agent, pu blicist, retail


promo te r, etc . Wh en you h ave a comple x campai gn u nder way, it h elps to
have a sin gle point p erson that all i ndividu als can report to.

Radio Promoters
Independen t radio promoters (often called Indies) attemp t to

achieve radio ai rplay for their cli en ts. After records are sen t to the radio
stations , the Indies make follow-u p calls in an attemp t to convince the
program directors (PD) to add thei r clien ts son gs to the play lists . They
feed PDs information abou t the mark etin g and promotion campai gn , the
artists performances and/or tou r schedu le, ai rplay on other influ ential
stations , retai l ac tivity , media coverage, distribu tion plans, pu blic ity
efforts, radio trad e ads , u nit sales information , etc. The radio campaign
can ru n anywh ere f rom a f ew w eeks to a f ew month s and can cost
anywhere from a few thou sand to tens of thou sands of dollars.

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Record Producers
A good record produ cer is lik e a good film di rec tor. Thei r job is to

get the best performances ou t of all the mu sicians and singers , k eep the
stu dio sessions ru nning on time, act as a li aison between the band and the
recording engineer, commu nicate with the record label A&R rep , file all
the necessary talent releas es and related paperwork , and keep the proj ect
within the allotted bu dget. A good produ cer wi ll help keep the artists
inspired and motivated , and prev ent them from reaching for the same
predictable riffs ov er and over agai n. Many ti mes p rodu cers p lay the role
of talent scou ts and are the ears of the record labels in their area. As a
manager you will w ant to make relationships with as many good p rodu cers
with contac ts and c red entials as possible.

Riggers
The Rigger is the person respon sible for safely setting u p and

hanging

the

light

and

sound

points

in

the

arena.

They

work

in

coordination with the grou nd rigger, who assists in measu ring ou t the
points, as well as setting u p the chain-driven motors that su spend the
points. The grou nd riggers also prepare cable for bridle and d ead hangs .

Route Persons
A Rou te Person is a salesperson as signed to service retail c lien ts in

specific sales territories . Record distribu tors hire rou te peop le to sell and
deliver

product

to

retailers ,

set

up

merchandising

displays,

mount

posters, arrange flats , etc.

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Selling Agents
Selling A gen ts (also called music jobbers) are appointed to sell

printed mu sic to retailers on behalf of mu sic pu blishers. The sellin g agent


is

u su ally

p rint

publisher

with

expertise

in

designin g,

printi ng,

distribu ting, and selling sheet mu sic.

Stewards
A steward (also known as a shop steward) is a u nion official or a

union

contractor

who

hires

and

supervises

musicians

and

insures

enforcement of terms in u nion agreements with produ cers. Stewards are


also the people hired to help su pervise or manage a concert or other
event.

Talent Buyers
Unlike Booking A gents , who work for thems elv es, Talent Bu yers are

employed by hotels, clubs, casinos, and other venues to book talent.


Talent Bu yers do not rec eive a commission on the artists p erformance
fees , bu t instead receive a s alary from the v enu e that hires them.

Talent Scouts
Talent Scou ts u su ally work u nder the direction of A&R reps . Talent

scou ts assist the A&R reps by seeking ou t, evalu ating and rec ru iting new
talent and materi al. They are the ones that c an often be fou nd in clu bs
and on the streets listening and looking ou t for u p-and-coming talen t, and
more commonly now searching the intern et for talented artists that are
creating a bu zz .

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Technical Directors
Technical Directors are people in c harge of set d esign , constru ction,

and contro l du ring a live perfo rmance. They can u su ally be fou nd on
larger tou rs and shows where major label artists are performin g.

Trackers
Track ers

are

people

assi gned

to

check

radio

stations,

trade

magazines , record stores , distribu tors, etc., in order to moni tor the
progress of mark etin g efforts for a commerci al record release, maki ng
note

of

weekly

radio

adds,

chart

entri es,

chart

movement,

ai rplay

rotation , sales , etc. Now adays , companies can u tilize s olu tions like Big
Champagn e (http://www.bi gchampagne.com) and others to track all this
data.

Traffic Managers
In large rec ordin g stu dios, traffic managers are the people in charge

of schedu ling stu dio time for clients. These large stu dios u su ally hav e
betw een three and sev en differen t stu dios in one complex with mu lti ple
recording/mi xing/mastering/editin g p rojects taking p lace at one time.

Unions
T h e t w o m a i n m u s i c i a n u n i o n s i n th e U n i t e d S t a t e s a r e t h e A m e r i c a n

Federation
Television

of
&

Musicians
Radio

(AFM)

Artists

and

the

American

Federation

(AF TRA). The AFM n egotiates

terms

of
of

employment for s ession mu sicians with record companies , setting u nion


scale and pension con tribu tions for rec ordin g sessions. AFTRA is also an
A F L - C I O a f f i l i a t e d u n i o n , bu t i s g e a r e d m o r e t o p r o t e c t a n d p r o m o t e
interests of actors and other p rofes sional performers, and broadcas ters in
television,

radio,

sound

recordings ,

non-broadc ast/indu strial

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programmin g and n ew technologies ; thou gh some mu sicians and vocali sts


affi liate with AFTRA rather than the AFM. AFTRA negoti ates terms of
employment for actors and annou ncers with broadcas ting networks, local
stations , and produ ction compani es, settin g u nion scale and pension
contribu tions for broadc ast w ork .

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Page 69

SOLUTIONS TO COMMON MANAGEMENT CHALLENGES


As a new manager, it is temptin g to think that the li fe of a manager
is going to be fu ll of glitz and glamou r, celebri ty parties and awards show
appearances , sold-ou t performances and frenzi ed p ress conferences , w ith
large amou nts of money rollin g in from commissions and constant praise
heaped on you from you r clien t, y ou r peers and the mu sic indu stry in
general. In the beginning, nothing cou ld be fu rther from the tru th. You
sh ou ld serv e you rse lf a l a rge dos e of re ali ty b efo re you ventu re ou t i nto
the field of artist managemen t.
There is

no

dou bt that there are many

rewards

to

be had

if

everything is p lanned ou t well, you r clien ts are talented and as committed


to

workin g

as

hard

as

you

are,

you

create

and

take

advantage

of

opportu nities as they arise, and y ou have some lu ck on you r side. The
smart manager is the one who is willing to consider many of the problems
that may occu r in the cou rse of doin g their job.
Even thou gh some solu tions are offered, you shou ld spend some ti me
thinking abou t the p roblems p resented in this chapter and then try to
come

up

with

other

challenges

and

solutions

that

best

fit

your

circu mstances. In addition , you s hou ld attempt to envision additional


scenarios that c ou ld prov e to be problematic so that you dont get cau ght
flat-footed when they occu r.

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Fol lowing a re ju st some of th e many ch allen ges th at you cou ld


encou nter in the field of artist management, wi th su ggested solu tions.
One

of

the

group

members

is

not

interested

in

signing

the

management deal.
As

you

approach

grou p

with

management

offer,

you

may

encou nter a situ ation where one of the members is not interested in
signing with you . Th e firs t th ing yo u sh ou ld do is att empt to find ou t w h at
th e individu al band memb ers objections are. Th e person may th ink th at
you are u nqu alified . They may hav e had a bad exp eri ence wi th anoth er
manager previou sly, or some indu stry person may hav e warned them
against signing with you . Something you did in the past may have been
brou ght to their atten tion. They may simply be nervou s abou t signing
anything with anyone. They may think that they dont need management
or that they can and shou ld handle management du ties themselves.
Whatever the cas e may be, try and address their conc erns if you are
interested in signing the grou p. You may need to convince the person that
you are safe to si gn with, that the ru mors are u ntru e, that they really do
need management, and so on. If there really is something negative in you r
past that they have been made aware of, you should come clean and
explain you r side of the story and how you have recti fied the situ ation .
If something negativ e has taken place in the past, do not try and
pretend

that

nothing

happened

if

there

is

rec ord

somewhere

of

something negative you did. How do you expect the band to tru st you if
you start the relationship off with a lie? The manager-artist relations hip
mu st be based on mu tu al tru st. Do not try to sign the grou p withou t the
signatu re of the obj ecting member, or get the objectin g member kicked
ou t of the grou p.

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All members of the grou p have to agree to and sign the management
contract in order to be bou nd to it. As temptin g as it is , do not try and get
the objectin g grou p member fi red , u nless they are indeed a li abili ty to the
grou p and the rest of the grou p agrees that they shou ld go. If you fail to
convince the grou p to sign with you , the best op tion is to wi thdraw y ou r
offer and move on to another grou p. They may see the li ght at some point
in the fu tu re and approach you again abou t managin g them.
Lack of (or bad) communication between you and your c lient.
This is a very common problem th at occu rs betw een man agers and
their cli ents , and if not worked ou t early on, c an lead to the end of the
relationship before anything good can happen. Commu nication skills are
absolutely

vital

in

the

field

of

artis t

management,

since

bad

commu nication creates a vacu u m in wh ich oth ers can spread negative
propaganda and misinformation. Not on ly do you have to be able to
commu nicate well wi th you r clien t, bu t also with all the other indu stry
professionals as well (e .g. producers, label A&R reps, publishe rs, booki ng
agents, concert promoters , publicists, licensees, hired musicians, etc .).
Y o u a n d th e c l i e n t w i l l h a v e t o b e o n t h e s a m e p a g e a t a l l t i m e s i n o r d e r t o
avoid misu nderstandings.
Band members or artists shou ld feel comfortable talking to you
abou t anything that concerns or i nterests them at any time, and y ou
sh ou ld do you r part to main tain an open-door policy with th em. You r
clients shou ld know that all corres pondence mu st go throu gh you and be
discu ssed befo re being acted u pon. Besides talking on the phone, texting,
twit te ring, or sendin g emai ls back and forth , you sh ou ld try to sch edu le
regu lar meetin gs with you r cli ents to review progress reports and disc u ss
ideas and concerns the clien t may have. A ll id eas and concerns shou ld be
address ed as s oon as possible.

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Keep in mind that the cli ent is looking to you for career advice as
well as ideas and su ggestions, so make su re you remain u p-to-date with
industry news before s etting u p your meetin gs. The more c redible you are
with information, the more likely the band will take your communication
with them seriou sly, and the more theyll look to you for commu nicati on
instead of bringin g in ou tside sou rc es. An absolu te mu st-read is Billboard
(h ttp://www.bil lbo ard .bi z); al th ough you sh ou ld also ch eck ou t oth er
sou rces like the New York Ti mes ( entertainment sec tion online) or even
occasionally

the

Wall

Street

Jou rnal

and

Forbes

for

in-depth

entertainment news and an alysis. Keep u p with the local mu sic industry
news and newsmak ers in you r area, since the loc al area is where y ou r
artists are most likely to get their i ndu stry news from or encou nter other
industry players.
One member is (or more members are) not interested in a deal
youve worked hard to line up.
As a manager, you will spend mu ch of you r time trying to fi gu re ou t
how to get deals for you r clien ts. These may inclu de record deals,
pu blishing

deals,

licensing

deals

(domestic

and

internation al),

merchandising d eals, sponsorship deals , dis tribu tion d eals, endorsement


deals , band & brand deals , cosmetic deals , actin g roles, modeling gigs,
and more. It is not u nu su al to find resistanc e to the deal that is on the
table from one or more members of the grou p. You can avoid (or limit)
mu ch of this resistance by commu nicating w ell with the grou p or artist
BEFORE spending time trying to line u p the deals . You shou ld know how
the grou p or artist feels abou t each type of d eal, and have a s ense of
whether or not they wou ld even be interes ted in signing the deal if it
m a t e r i a l i z e d . I f y o u f e e l s t r o n g l y a b o u t a d e a l , y o u s h o u l d d i s c u s s th i s
with the grou p or artist beforehand and explain to them the advan tages of
the deal as it relates to thei r long- term p lans.

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Do not w aste valu able time talking to indu stry professionals and
having an attorney negotiate a deal ju st to have the grou p or artist refu se
to

sign

it.

This

will

not

only

cause

stress

between

you

and

the

grou p/artist, bu t will also ru in your repu tation among th e mu sic indu stry
community.
Some group membe rs working harder than others in the group.
It is not u nu su al to find that in a grou p, one of the members is
working harder than all the res t; or one of the members is lazy and hardly
does anything other than play thei r instru ment or sing. If not add res sed
qu ickly, this can lead to s eriou s morale issu es or even the breaku p of the
grou p. The bes t way to handle this situ ation is to design ate tasks to each
member so that all members feel li ke they are con tribu ting to the overall
su ccess of the grou p, and each of th e members are pu llin g their fai r share
of the load . If some members feel that they are contribu ting more to the
grou p than they shou ld be, they will start to insist on a larger percen tage
of the profi ts, which cou ld lead to other members complaining, some
members qu itting, or the grou p breaking u p. It is possible that s ome
members perceiv e their contribu tion to be greater even when it isnt, so
this has to be dealt with delicately yet decisively.
Besides rehearsing and performing, tasks that can be design ated to
grou p members inclu de: sending newsletters

to people on the band

mailin g list, condu cting social netw orking c ampai gn, s ending materials to
street

team

members ,

respondin g

to

emails,

creating

or

updating

elec tronic press kits (EPKs) , organizing artic les and materials for band
meetings ,

making

follow-up

phone

calls,

d esigning

and

ord ering

promotional materi als , u pdating the band website or social network ing
profi le, u ploading materials to sites for promotion , main taining the band
tou r van , passin g ou t flyers / pos tcards / samplers , sending press releas es
abou t the band to the media, preparin g for band rehearsals, au ditioning
mu sicians, and mu ch more.
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Whatever you do, make su re that the tasks are spread ou t so that
each member feels that the rest of the members are doing the same
amou nt of work , and that the valu e plac ed on the w ork each member is
doing is similar. If a p articular member seems to be the weak link in the
chain, and the enti re proj ect is bei ng held back bec au se of thei r lack of
focu s or contribu tion, then you might want to consider discu ssing getti ng
rid of them. Su ch a decision wou ld have to be voted on by the whole grou p
or dealt wi th in the manner detai led in the band partnership agreement.
This decision can be complicated if that member also happens to be the
lead singer, songw ri ter, or mos t talented member of the grou p. In the end,
you will have to c onsider d oing what is best for the grou p as a whole.
Band members refuse to sign a band partnership agreement.
One of th e fi rst th ings you sh ou ld do as a man age r is to get th e band
to sign a b and partne rsh ip agree ment . Th e reason wh y you sh ou ld get
this done immediately is becau se it is mu ch easier to get the band
members to agree to terms of an agreement while they are s till fri ends and
before a deal wi th su bstantial amou nts of money is on the table. If y ou
dont get this done early , chances are that there wi ll be problems trying to
get it done later on .
This agreement is c ru cial becau se it spells ou t the rights and
responsibili ties of each band member, indicates how assets are divid ed,
detai ls the procedu res that mu st be followed and principles that mu st be
adhered to, and a whole lot more.
Topics covered in the band partners hip agreement may inclu de:

Ownership of the band name and logo. Names and logos cou ld belon g

to a single band member, sev eral band members that might have come u p
with the name and/or c reated the logo design , or to the band as a whole if
the name and logo was a grou p deci sion.
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Band member hiring and fi ring. Who will have the ri ght to hire and

fire band members, and how will th at p rocedu re be c arried ou t? This will
have to be spelled ou t in the agreement.

All band partn ership services shou ld be d etailed in the agreement.

Band sharing of p rofi ts and losses . The band members wi ll have to

decide what shou ld be considered a profi t or a loss, and what percen tage
of p rofi t and loss each member shou ld take or be responsible for.

Ownership of band sou nd recordings and pu blishing. This issu e is

the single most complicated issu e and the most con tentiou s one to d eal
with, especially if the band partnership agreemen t is left u ntil later on to
sign. Chances are that the sou nd recording wi ll belong to the whole band,
u nless some members are the band and others are ju st hired gu ns, or
the band assigns the rights to the s ou nd recordin g to a record label. The
pu blishing will belon g to the writer(s) of the songs the band reco rds,
u nless they sign pu blishing deals . Often , there will be con fu sion as to who
exactly

wrote

the

songs

or

whether

or

not

all

the

band

members

contribu ted to the w ritin g in the cou rse of rec ordin g.

Band termination . The band will have to determine what even ts will

constitu te the dissolu tion of the band (e.g. death of a lead member,
initiation o f a lawsui t against the band, etc.) , and what shou ld happen to
profi ts, taxes , p roperty , d ebts , etc ., once the band is dissolved

The agreement shou ld determine the manner in which band dispu tes

will be handled (e.g . counseling , mediation , arbi tration, through the


courts, etc .) .
Th ese are ju st some of th e main iss u es th at sh ou ld be inclu ded in th e
agreemen t, and no dou bt you will need legal assistance in drafting the
partn ership agreement. Most importantly, get i t done early , and if one or
more of the members dont wan t to sign it, insist that problems will only
be compounded if they wait until later.

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The band or an artist breaches the management contract.


You may find that, at some point in you r management career, a band
member or artis t will intentionally or u nintentionally breach the con tract.
If the breach is minor, you may ju st want to talk to the artis t and brin g u p
you r concerns. If it is a m ajor b re ach , th e firs t th ing you sh ou ld do is
bring that breach to their attention in the manner spelled ou t in you r
contract (e .g. via registe red mail, email, phone call, band meeting, e tc).
The contract shou ld also indicate th e amou nt of time the member or artist
has to attempt to remedy the situation , and what you shou ld do if the
deadline passes wi th no resolu tion. You sh ou ld att empt to work th ings ou t
intern ally and get the situ ation resolved early . Try to keep ou t of the
cou rt system as mu ch as possible, u nless the breach involves large su ms of
money

or

potential

damage

to

your

repu tati on.

substantial

and

intentional breach of the contract i s u su ally a sign that the marri age is
in trou ble, and often , ev en with the intervention of attorneys , this leads
to the complete breakdown of the relationship. If all the parti es involved
follow the spirit and word of the contrac t and commu nicate clearly and in
good fai th at ev ery opportu nity, breaches can u su ally be avoided .
As a manager, youre in over your head.
It often takes a while to find a band or artis t that meets all you r
expec tations of what a band / artis t shou ld be, and when you find one i ts
qu ite easy to get lost in the magic al moments and move in to offer them a
management con tract before taking stock of y ou r resou rces. Initi ally, you
may think that great songs and good looks are all you need to get the band
to the next lev el. The band you sign may be extremely talented and exp ect
you to walk them ri ght into the Sr. VP or A&Rs office at a major label and
get th em a mu lti-million do llar d eal. Y ou may even believe th at m u ch
you rself, u ntil you find that there is more to the game than that and its
all taking mu ch longer than you exp ected .

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At that poin t, you may start to feel like youre in over y our head and
have bitten off more than you can c hew. The best way to avoid this in the
first p lace is to not promise what you cant deliver. Talk to the band abou t
a realistic game plan before you sign them and let them know that you will
all need to do a lot of work before su ccess can be attained . You shou ld
take

the

time

influential

to

voices

build
and

your

d at a b a s e

tastemakers

of

within

contacts,
social

which

i n c lu d e s

networking

ci rcles ,

attorn eys with mu sic indu stry contacts , rec ord produ cers with credi ts,
booking

agents ,

publicists,

music

pu blishers,

venue

bookers

and

promoters, media con tac ts, indu stry gatekeepers, and independen t label
A&R reps for when the time is ri ght to p res ent you r band / artis t for
revi ew. It will take you a while to gain the tru st of the people that you
need to have relationships with, so the sooner you start, the better. In
addition, the band / artist will be looking to you for career advice, so the
more you

know

abou t every mu sic bu siness-related

topic, the more

confident y ou will be abou t the answers you giv e. Bein g know led geable
abou t all aspec ts of the mu sic bu siness and having lots of indu stry
contacts wi ll help you feel in control of you r situ ation , and p reven t y ou
from feeling lik e you re in ov er you r head.
Somebody is trying to cut-in on your management duties.
Every once in a while you will come across somebody who is trying to
cu t-in on you r mana gem ent du ties. So me times th is is u nintentional ,
while at other times it is inten tional and maliciou s. It cou ld be a fri end of
the bands, a clu b booker, a pu blicist, a radio promoter, a record label
proposing a 3 60 deal with in-hou se management, or even an A&R rep; bu t
most of the ti me it will be an attorney. Many attorneys fail to reali ze that
their job, i f a band or artist already has a manager, is to give legal
advice, not c areer advic e. Many attorneys have been known to overs tep
t h e i r b o u n d a r i e s a n d c u t - i n o n ma n a g e m e n t d u t i e s , s o y o u s h o u l d b e
aware of this as you retain an attorney to draft or n egotiate con tracts for
you.
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Ideally, an attorney shou ld advise you on the wisdom of asking for a


large cash advance when the contrac t doesnt provid e for an ad equ ate
promotion and tou ring bu dget, or the legalities of the 360 deal being
offered; and bu t not whether the bass player shou ld be replac ed or not. An
a t t o r n e y s h o u l d a d v i c e y o u o n th e c o r r e c t l a n g u a g e n e e d e d t o a d d r e s s a n
assignmen t of ri ghts; bu t not whether the gi g in Grand Rapids mak es
sense as part of the tou r rou te.
Even while maintaining you r management du ties, dont be closed to
ou tside ideas , and always address issu es that have been introdu ced by
ou tside sou rces. Howeve r, you sh ou ld commu nicate to you r clients very
early on that you will not tolerate other parties ac ting in the capaci ty of
personal manager, and remind them of the reasons they sign ed with you in
the firs t plac e. If things start to get ou t of hand, try to talk to the c lient
abou t why they tru st somebody els es opinions over you rs and attempt to
correct the situ ation; then gen tly remind them that they signed an
exc lu sive deal with you for man agement. Mos t problems can be avoid ed
with a policy of c lear, frequ ent and open commu nication.
People

attempting

to

bypass

the

manager

in

order

to

communicate directly with the artist.


Every once in a while somebody wi ll offer something di rec tly to you r
client wi thou t going throu gh you . A lot of p eople in the mu sic bu siness
with no clu e of how things work think that a manager is only necessary for
artists signed to major labels . When you r client instru cts the individu al to
contact or meet wi th you , they disappear in to thin ai r. Even worse, some
of them continu e to commu nicate with you r client and ignore you or
refu se to talk to you at all. Any legitimate bu siness professional shou ld
have no problems whatsoev er talki ng to you abou t anything pertainin g to
your clients music career.

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To prevent this kind of behavior, instru ct you r cli ents that all
commu nication mu st go th rou gh you for revi ew and discu ssion before any
action is taken. As a manager, you will need to act as a bu ffer agai nst
these types of individuals and approaches.
Somebody spreading rumors about the manager in order to get
the artist to leave .
Th e h igh er u p you rise in th e mu sic bu siness th e more like ly it is
that you will bec ome a casu alty of industry politics . It is fairly easy to
m a k e e n e m i e s i n t h e m u s i c bu s i n es s , e v e n w i t h o u t k n o w i n g i t . E n e m i e s
can appear in the form of a dis gru ntled ex- employ ee, an artis t wh ose
demo you didnt like, a former band member you fired , a jealou s manager ,
an angry jou rnalist, an arrogant A &R rep , and so on . The main thing for
you to u nderstand is that sooner or later, it wi ll happen to you . The best
way to handle this situ ation is to c onfron t it head on and add ress i t early
with your client. If you deal with people honestly and do what you
promise to do , you sh ou ld be abl e to minimiz e th e da ma ge th at co u ld
resu lt from nasty ru mors spreading fas ter than you can stop them. If y ou
have a good repu tation within industry ci rcles, you shou ld be able to find
people to help defend you from attacks.
Major labe l recommends that ba nd artist finds new management.
It is not u nu su al (and actually quite normal) for a majo r label to ask
the band to sign with an A-level managemen t firm before offering them a
recording contrac t. This is often bec au se the label wants to mak e su re that
the band is rep resen ted by a manager that is able to properly manage the
artist at that level. A-level man agers know how the game is played and
u nderstand how the wheels are greased, and therefore dont make a big
stink abou t things that might appear somewhat ou t of the ordinary to an
inexperienced manager.

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In addi tion, things at the major label level c an mov e v ery fast, and
windows of opportu nity can close before a manager with no clou t or
connections can take advan tage of them. A- lev el managers c an get thei r
calls retu rned by top booking agen ts, sponsors , brand partners, pu blicists,
attorn eys, media personnel, pu blis hers, c oncert p romoters , tastemak ers,
ga tek eepe rs, and so on. An u nknown manage r, e ven with a band on a
major record label, may wait hou rs before their calls or emails are
retu rned,

often

at

the

cost

of

major

financial

or

p romoti onal

opportu nity. Major labels also know that it is easier to commu nicate with
an A-level management fi rm that theyve done bu siness with before. Th ese
managers have repu tations arou nd the world and know what to tu rn down
and when to take advan tage of opportu nities. A new man ager may be
temp ted to go after ev ery offer, often dilu ting the pres tige of the artist
and the major label. A new, inexperienced man ager may also acc ept offers
that shou ld be d eclined , or d ecline offers that shou ld be acc epted .
Complicating matters is the fact that even independen t labels are
starting to offer artis ts 360 deals that provide for in-hou se management
as part of th e de al . Be p repa red to deal wi th th ese situ ations. Y ou sh ou ld
h ave a clau se in you r contract th at describes wh at sh ou ld h appen if (or
more li kely, when) these si tu ations arise. It is often better to release you r
artist or band for a bu y-ou t fee an d limited fu tu re commission (provi ded
for in you r su nset clau se) from the major label or independent deal than
to hold the band or artist back and have them resen t you for it. You can
u se the fact that you got the band signed (along with some of the money
you made from the deal) to si gn other artists to you r management
company. If you play ball and go along with this, you will even have some
good connections wi thin the major or mini-major label system that y ou
can u se to shop materi al to in the fu tu re. Make su re that you recou p any
money that you might have spen t on the band in the early days and ask
the band if they can thank you in their album credits, on the band
biography, and in interviews.

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Of cou rse, if y ou feel strongly abou t keeping the band si gned to you r
management company and feel that there are better ways for the band to
achieve lon g-term su ccess withou t takin g adv antage of the opportu nity
presen ted to them, then you shou ld make you r feelings known and exp lain
the way forward to the band.
Manager lacks contacts.
As a new manager, you may find you rself wi th very few seriou s mu sic
industry connections in the beginning. If you intend to be in the bu siness
for a while and retain artists on you r roster, you will need to remedy this
situ ation as soon as possible. Start in you r local region and attempt to get
t o k n o w e v e r y b o d y w h o i s i n t h e m u s i c bu s i n e s s , i n c l u d i n g l o c a l c l u b a n d
venue

owners ,

engineers ,

club

p romoters ,
DJs ,

record

other

p rodu cers,

managers,

record

recording/masteri ng
labels,

publishing

companies, mu sic editors from local pu blications, radio station person nel
(especially college radio), mu sic indu stry media, and so on. Attend all
local mu sic seminars, w orkshops or conferences that co me throu gh you r
area, and join any local mu sic associations and organi zati ons that are
available. Uti lize the internet and follow (and be-friend) influ ential mu sic
industry voices and tastemakers within social netw orkin g ci rcles .
Once you ve tack led th e loca l sc ene, you sh ou ld spread ou t t o th e
regional, n ational and internation al scenes . You will have to do some
research in order to find the names of and contact information for
industry people ou tside of you r region, bu t there are p lenty of directori es
a v a i l a b l e t h a t y o u c a n p u r c h a s e , i n c l u d i n g t h o s e f r o m T h e M u s i c B u s i n es s
Regis try

(http://www .mu sicregistry.com),

(http://www.ord erbillboard .com) ,

and

the

series

Bi llboard
of

directories

from

Pollstar (http: //www.polls tar.com) .

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Making de ep connections takes a w h ile to accomplish , so you sh ou ld


start ev en before you sign you r first act. If you ve already si gned an act,
you need to move fast. You will need to bu ild tru st between you and a
contact before they start taking or retu rning you r calls, or responding to
you r emai ls or s ocial networking p robes. K eep in mind the principle that
people will w ant to w ork with you if there is money to be mad e (i .e., i f
there is some thing in it for them). Nobody is interested in simply doing
you a favor. Dont make c ontac t with somebody and immediately start
shoving demo tapes in their faces or spamming their inbox with mp3
attachments or links. Begin by wis hing them a happy birthday (amazing
how muc h you can discover from social networking sites), telling them
you r enjoyed th eir pane l discu ssion, congra tu latin g th em on th ei r la t est
release, etc .; and then work from th ere by keeping them in the loop abou t
the small su ccesses that you r artist has. Eventu ally you will have a large
database of contacts from which to selec t for you r shopping or partn eri ng
pu rposes.
Keeping the record label focused.
Most artists (and some managers) think that getting signed to a
major label (or to any label, for that matter) is the pot of gold at the end
of the rainbow where they c an ju st relax, let the label do all the work , and
watch the checks come rollin g in. The bottom line is that i f you dont take
steps to keep everybody at the label exci ted and motivated , you may soon
find you r band at the bottom of the priori ty lis t and even tu ally d rop ped
from the label altogether. As a manager, you will have to make su re the
label

is

paying

adequate

attention

to

your

band

and

spending

the

necessary resou rces as promised in the contract. There may ev en be ti mes


wh en you and you r band h ave to spend you r own money to p ay fo r an
independent pu blicist, tou r promoter, radio promoter, or retai l marketing
rep to help with you r record .

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You will have to spend time on th e internet bu ilding you r mai ling
list and workin g on pu tting together an independent street team for
additional help . Dont c ou nt on the label to d o ev erything for you , and
keep in mind that any addition al in vestment you make should pay off for
you and the band in the lon g-term in terms of CD, download and
merchandise

sales,

gig

attendance,

licensing

fees,

sponsors hip

opportu nities, and so on.


Decent progress has been made , but you seem to have reached a
plateau.
Another common p roblem that you may encou nter is one where you
feel that, even thou gh decent progress has been made, you r artists c areer
seems to have reached a plateau . Y ou might find that the indu stry bu zz is
fading, the social networking campaign isnt gaining any more momentu m,
you

arent

getting

any

new

gigs,

CD/down load

sales

have

peaked,

intervi ew requ ests are down , radio airp lay has stopped , and in general
th ings a re ju st som ewh at fl at . A t th at point , y ou sh ou ld take stock of w h at
you have accomplished so far and try and get you r hands arou nd what the
problem might be. There cou ld be any nu mber of things that cou ld be
h a p p e n i n g . Y o u r c o n t a c t s m a y n o l o n g e r b e a v a i l a b l e t o h e l p y o u ; th e
industry may be done with you r artists sou nd (or not ready ye t for your
artists sound); you r bu dget may n ot be su fficient for the tasks that n eed
to be done; the bu siness models for si gning or booking artis ts may have
changed; the indu stry may be flooded with artists that sou nd ju st like
you rs; you may be h aving a h ard ti me makin g enou gh of a bu zz t o sta nd
above the crowd; you or you r clients are losing fai th in the project; youre
u nable to allocate enou gh time to the projec t to get i t to the next lev el;
you are having a hard time fi gu ring ou t new ways to sell CDs /down loads
and merchandise; you are u nable to formu late creativ e ways to mark et and
promote the grou p or the shows; you r client isn t ready to take advantage
of new revenu e streams avai lable in the mu sic bu siness; and so on.

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The firs t thing you shou ld do is analyze everything you v e done u p to


date. Obviou sly, some things aren t workin g as well as they shou ld, and
you need to take a look at what needs to be added, removed or adjusted.
You will need to come u p with fresh ideas to move the p rojec t forward.
Depending on the natu re of the ban d, either a short break or an aggressive
re-start wi ll be requ ired. Focu s on creativ e ways to do the things you ve
been doing all alon g, and find ways to add some fresh things to the mix.
Find different incen tives to get people to come to your shows, buy your
CDs/down loads , and si gn u p to you r mailin g list. You r ideas will be
shaped by the type of music you do and the typ es of peop le that make up
you r fan bas e. There are no one-si ze-fi ts-all solu tions available, so y ou
will have to do some creative thinking with your client.
You may have to come up with some additional money to execute
you r new ideas, or alloc ate lots more time to the proj ect. You r band might
need a differen t long- term strategy, a new sou nd/style, a replac ement
singer o r mu sician, creativ e mu sical produ ction, ou tside songw riters, a
fresh look or style, new photos and /or videos , an u pdate to their webs ite
or social networking profile, more entertaining conten t for their You Tu be
channel, a story that can garner media atten tion and c overage, and so on.
Perhaps you might need to play less often in you r town, or more
often in other areas , or release a CD/DVD of the live show. Maybe you
need to chan ge the nu mber of people in the band, or replac e the lead
singer. Perhaps you r area is satu rated with bands ju st like you rs an d a
change of scen ery is whats requ ired . Maybe the A&R reps you knew all got
fired and you need to make new contacts at the labels who will listen to
your

demos.

Perhaps

you

need

some

unique

items

to

add

to

your

merchandise list besides the same T-shirts and mu gs you ve been selling
all alon g. Mayb e you need to work on bu ying on to a tou r as an opening
act wi th an artist on a major label in ord er to inc rease you r exposu re.
Perhaps you need a more aggressive pu blicity campai gn or different
remi xes of you r s ongs for radio/internet ai rplay.
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Maybe you

need

to

do

more intervi ews

to

display

your bands

personality to the pu blic. Perhaps you have to w ait u ntil you r ban ds
sou nd cycles back in to the pu blics tas te. Perhaps you need to find some
sponsors or brand partners to help fu nd a more exp ansive tou r in order to
reach a larger fan base. Perhaps your social networking c ampai gn needs to
be re-energized . Maybe you need to invite and pay some high-profi le gu est
mu sicians/artis ts to perform on you r tracks.
The bottom line is, dont keep doing the same thing youve been
doing and exp ect different resu lts. If you try a bu nch of new things and
nothing seems to be working a cou ple of years later, it may be time for
you and the band to move on to other things. They may need a new
manager, and you mi ght need a n ew band.
The band or artist is spending too much of the budget recording
the album.
This section pertains mainly to managers with bands signed to
(major) labels with a large recordi ng bu dget. B ands have been known to
spend too mu ch time and money on the recording p rocess and on bu ying
equ ipment for thei r personal u se. It is you r job as the manager to inform
them abou t the lack of wisdom of being produ ction rich and promotion
poor. It doesn t matter how good you r recording is i f there isnt any
money left over for promotion or ou treach. P romotion costs a ridicu lou sly
large amou nt of mon ey, and wi thout ad equ ate exposu re, you r record w ill
be a n eedle in a musical haystack unable to be found among the thousands
of records being released every mon th.
A great song does not hav e to take two years and $3,000,000 to
produ ce. Some bands are known to record never- ending albu ms, claiming
to be perfectionists and endeavori ng to get i t ju st right. Work with a
good produ cer that can help you get the record finished on time and u nder
bu dget, then spend the rest of the money on pu blicity, promotion and tou r
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su pport. Remind the band that there comes a point when an extra hou r in
the stu dio wont necessarily sell an extra CD or conc ert ticket. Besides , all
that money is being charged back to the band and will very likely leave
them u n-recou ped (and u n-wanted by anybody els e) at the end of
contract term.
Manager

has

problems

with

another

member

of

the

team

(publicist, promoter, agent, attorney, producer, etc .).


From time to time, you may find you rself having p roblems with other
members of the team that have been hired or retain ed to help wi th the
project. You shou ld first take s tock of what the problems are. If the
problems or issu es are personal an d the team member is valu able to the
project, then you will hav e to find a way to w ork with the team member
u ntil they can be replaced by somebody of equ al valu e.
Personal p roblems inclu de things like the attorney you retained is
you r ex-fi anc and you cant stand her new hu sband; you overheard the
booking agent sayin g he preferred the opening act to you r band; the
record p rodu cer you hired has bad breath; you r concert promoter is
hitting on you r gi rlfriend; and so on. Most of these types of personal
problems c an be i gnored u ntil the end of the tou r, d eal negoti ation , show,
studio

session,

etc.

If,

however,

the

problems

relate

to

the

job

performance of the person you hired or retained , then you will have to u se
you r clou t as manager to rec tify the situ ation.
Part of you r management du ties i nvolve working wi th the band to
hire or retain peop le to help with the project. If the p roblems inclu de
things like the attorney missing deadlines to hand in drafts or contracts ,
the accou ntant embezzlin g fu nds from the band accou nt, the produ cer
losing master files or recordings , or the agent not paying you whats owed
fro m the tou r advance, then you will have to talk to the people you hired
and, i f necess ary , fire them if they d ont fix the p roblems .
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Whatever you do, you mu st act d ecisively and qu ickly in ord er to


avoid damage to both the project and you r repu tation. H ere you will be
requ ired to pu t emotions aside and deal with the situ ati ons strictly from a
business standpoint.
Band / artist wants out of the management deal.
There may come a time when, for one reason or another, the band or
an artist wan ts to get ou t of the management deal. As a man ager, you c an
u su ally prevent this from happening by no t p romising things you cant
deliver, by doin g everything you said you wou ld do, by keeping the band
bu sy and progressing, and by commu nicating well wi th the band or artist
at all ti mes (especially when the going gets tough and they start to get
disillusioned).
The most common reason why bands or artists want out of the deal is
that the manager has breached a clause in the contract, or hasnt managed
to get them where they w anted to go. It is c ru cial that you periodically
revi ew you r con tract to mak e su re that you arent breaching any of the
clau ses contain ed within. It is very easy to forget abou t a contract after
you ve signed it, especi ally if you pu t it away in a file cabinet somewhere
and never take i t ou t. It is you r responsibility to spend some time
e d u c a t i n g t h e b a n d o r a r t i s t a b o u t t h e r e a l i t i e s o f t h e m u s i c bu s i n e s s
before you r sign them. You shou ld stress the importance of formu latin g a
game plan that cu lminates in the band or artist bein g able to earn a livi ng
throu gh mu sic; with or wi thou t a major label con tract. If, despite all y ou r
efforts, they still wan t ou t of the deal, you shou ld probably consider
partin g ways amicably since it wi ll be almos t impossible to get th em
maintain f aith in you or to tru st you and participat e in th e plans you have
set ou t for th em if th ey are u nh appy with you and/or th e situ ation. Of
cou rse, you wou ld need to add res s issu es related to you r co mmission
owed,

deals

signed

under

your

management

su pervision,

fu tu re

commissions, etc.
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These are ju st some of the challenges you may encou nter as a


manager. No o th er posi tion in th e mu sic indu stry requ ires as m u ch
flexibi lity as that of artist management. Despite the challen ges , however,
no other posi tion in the mu sic bu siness presen ts you with the opportu nity
to positively affect the lives (and livelihoods) of band and musicians that
you love.

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Page 89

COPYRIGHT BASICS
It is extremely important for managers to u nderstand the natu re of
copyright law and how it relates to the material that is bein g recorded
and/or performed by thei r clients . Having a general u nderstanding of
copyright basics will allow you to explain certain things to you r clients
and h elp th em avoid th e types of scenarios we o ften see played ou t in th e
cou rt system.
Another thing to keep in mind is that en tire books have been written
on the topic of copyri ght, and an in-depth discussion of copyright law is
beyond the scope of this e-Book. It is highly advisable to retain the
services of an experienc ed entertain ment attorney to revi ew all paperwork
relating

to

particu larly

the

copyri ght

if contracts

and

p ublishing

interests

of

your

clien ts,

are exclu sive or involve the assignment

or

relinqu ishing of ri ghts.


Generally speakin g (and in very simple, plain English terms) ,
there are two copy rights involved w hen a song is w ritten and recorded (in
the United Sta tes; since copyrig ht laws are different in other parts of the
world).
1. One copyri ght is that of the musi cal work. The copyri ght in the
mu sical work initially belongs to the auth ors of the mu sic and/or
lyrics (i.e ., write rs of the lyrics and/or composers of the music; or a
company if the song is a work- for- hire) .

P a g e | 91

2. The

other

copyright

is

that

of

the

sound

recording/performance of a mu sical work. The au thors of the


sou nd recording are initi ally the performers or pro ducer (i.e.,
musicians and/or singers performing on the recording, or the
producer of the recording). Particu larly in the major label system
(and often even wi th indie labels) , ownership in the sou nd rec ordin g
is transferred to the labels by w ritten assignmen t.
Among mu sicians and songw riters , there is often a lot of con fu sion
s u r r o u n d i n g t h e au t h o r s h i p s t a t u s o f s o n g s ( i . e . , w h o e x a c t l y w r o t e
what?) . Mu ch of this has to do with a combination of s trong egos and a
lack of knowledge abou t copyright law. In the know led ge v acu u m, a few
myths have been allowed to become fact, including the most famous one of
all

that

the

lyrics

make

the

song,

everything

else

is

simply

arrangement. In fact, this is what the copyri ght law s tates regard ing
su bject matter ( with some important elements bolded for effect):
102. Su bject matter of copyri ght: In gen eral
a)

Copyri ght

original

protec tion

works

of

subsists,

authorship

in

accordance

fixed

in

any

with

this

tan gible

title,

in

medium

of

expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be


perceiv ed, reprodu ced, or otherwise commu nicated , ei ther di rec tly or w ith
the aid of a machine or device.
Works of au thorship inclu de the following categories:
1. literary works;
2. musical works, including any accompanying words;
3. dramatic works, inc lu ding any accompanying mu sic;
4. pantomimes and choreographic works;
5. pictorial, graphic, and scu lptu ral w orks;
6. motion pictu res and other au diovisual w orks;
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P a g e | 92

7. sou nd recordings; and


8. architec tu ral works.
Note that the phrase original works of authorship places emphasis
o n t h e f a c t t h a t t h e a u t h o r s h i p ( w r i t i n g a n d c o m p o s i n g ) mu s t b e o r i g i n a l
(i.e., no t copied from someone els e) to qu alify for c opyright p rotecti on.
When mention is made of the categories of au thorship, musical works ,
including any accompanying words is u sed to describe the category of
what we wou ld consider songs today. In no place does the law ever
mention the fact that only the ly rics make the song. In fact, on the
copyright Form CO u sed to regis ter works with the c opyri ght offi ce
(http://www.c opyri ght.gov/forms/formco2d.pdf) , the au thor information
section

allows

for

the

selection

of

Music

or

Lyrics

to

indicate

au thorship of the mu sical work (and Sou nd Recording to indicate


au thorship of the sou nd recordin g). Therefore, both the mu sicians who
w r i t e / c o m p o s e t h e m u s i c a n d th e l y r i c i s t s t h a t w r i t e t h e w o r d s c a n
register as au thors.
Most of the p roblems arise du ring the w riting or recording sessions
when the ly ricist tri es to determin e whether or not mu sicians shou ld get
writin g credi ts. The answers arent always so clear, and each situ ation is
u niqu e. To avoid prob lems it is a lwa ys best to discu ss, prior to w ritin g t h e
songs, who exac tly shou ld (or will) get writin g credi ts when all is said and
done. It is easy enou gh to determine that whoever w rites the lyrics shou ld
be a (co-)wri ter. In terms of the mu sic composition, however, the solu ti on
i s m o r e c o m p l e x , a n d g e n e r a l l y i n v o l v e s w h o e v e r c o m e s u p w i t h th e
chords for the whole song being given wri ting c redits as well.
Keep in mind that ev en when the lyrics are w ri tten (including a
vocal melody) 10 different mu sicians will come u p with 10 differen t chord
progressions (i.e., even wi th lyrics present, the music doesnt just write
itself),

thereby

making

the

music

an

origin al

work

of

au thorship

(assuming the chords arent copied from another song).


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A lot of lyricis ts like to take sole songw riting credit of a song by


classifying

the

arran gement.

musicians

Arran gement

as

arran gers

may

apply

and
to,

the
for

music
example,

as

simply

strin g

arran gement composed arou nd the chords . The bass line, howev er, is
probably based on (no pun intend ed) the root of the chords that h ave
already been wri tten, and therefore normally wou ldnt be considered an
ori ginal work of au thorship u nless they were so ori ginal and recognizable
in their own ri ght to cons titu te au thorship. Once again, av oid problems by
deciding ahead of time who will be giv en songwritin g c redi ts once the
songs are completed.
You can u se the eCO system or fill ou t the Form CO to register you r
works

onlin e

by

visiting

the

Library

of

Congress

website

at

http://www.c opyri ght.gov. On the Form CO (if you choose to use it),
selec t Performing arts work to register the mu sical work , and Sou nd
Recording to register the sou nd rec ording. Paper forms (e.g . Form PA for
the musical work and Fo rm SR for the sound record ing) are being phased
ou t, bu t you can order th em online at th e websit e if, fo r e xamp le , you
dont hav e a credit card to u se onli ne or dont tru st the online system of
making paymen ts. For all options, y ou will need to a) properly fill ou t the
form, b) inclu de a sample of the s ong or sou nd recording as instru cted,
and c) pay the fee.
Technically speaking, y ou r song or ori ginal work of au thorship is
copyrighted the moment i t is red u ced to a fixed mediu m that can be
perceiv ed, rep rodu ced, or otherwise commu nicated for a period of more
than transitory du rati on. The main reason for registering you r works at
the library of congress Copyri ght office is that is provides a formal record
of the date you r work was regis tered. This certific ate of regis tration cou ld
be u sed in a c ou rt of law to help you recover money d amages in the ev ent
that somebody in frin ges on you r copyright.

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You can signal you r copyri ght own ership on paper wi th the symbol
and/or the word copyri ght along with you r name and the year of creati on
(e.g., copyrig ht 2009 Jo hn Phillips). If you record you r words and /or
mu sic onto a CD or as a file (e.g ., .wav, .mp3, e tc), you can signal you r
copyright ownership with the symbol alon g with you r name and the year

of fi rst pu blication (e.g ., 2009 John Phillips) on the CD or in the

metadata of the song file.

Using Other Peoples Copyrighted Material


On occasion, you or you r client may find it desirable or nec essary to
cover someone elses song on a recording. If you intend to record y ou r
own version of someone elses copyrighted w ork , you will need to get a
mechanical license from them. This will gran t you permission for the
mechanical rep rodu ction, distribu tion and sale of a song copy right in
au dio-only format. If the song has previou sly been released to the pu blic
you may reprodu ce it by taking ad vantage of the compu lsory mechanical
license p rovision of the copy right law. This can be exercised by s ervin g a
notice o f intention on the copy right owner, u su ally the mu sic pu blisher.
You can find ou t wh o th e pu blish er is for any given son g by
contactin g ASCAP, B MI, or SESA C or ev en the Harry Fox Agency. They c an
be reached online at http://www .ascap .com, http: //ww w.bmi.c om and
http://www.s esac .com.

The

Harry

Fox

Agency

can

be

reached

at

http://www.n mpa.org. If, however, the song has not been p reviou sly
released to the pu blic, you will have to negotiate di rectly with the
copyright owner for the ri ght to rep rodu ce the son g.
If you intend to u se a sample from a song or albu m you will have to
obtain

master

use

license

directly

from

the

owner

of

the

sound

recording. For major label recordin gs, the owner of the sou nd recording is
almos t always the rec ord label.

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The owner o f the sou nd reco rdin g is u su ally iden tified somewhere on
the recordin g itself, along wi th contact information in the form of a
mailin g add ress and/or a w ebsite. In addi tion, you will also have to get
permission

from

the

owner

of

the

u nderlying

song;

normally

the

pu blisher. That means that you will have to get two permissions to u se a
sample that has been lifted straight off of a previou sly released recordi ng.
Failing to do so will constitu te an infringemen t of the copyri ght owners
exclu sive ri ghts. It is recommended to u se a mu sic clearance specialist to
assist with obtaining the ri ghts to u se samp les wi thin you r composition s.
As mentioned earlier, there is a lot more to copyright law than we
can cover in this e-book , and this is ju st su pposed to give you an ov ervi ew
of some of the importan t items. It is alw ays advisable to retain an
experienced

entertainment

attorn ey

to

d raft

and/or

look

over

any

paperw ork you may be presented w ith concerning copyri ght, particu larly
as it relates to an assignmen t of rights or w ork- for-hire.

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THE CURRENT STATE OF MAJOR RECORD LABELS


Now that weve c overed some of th e fou ndational aspec ts of artist
management, lets tu rn ou r atten tion to the state of the mu sic bu siness;
and in particu lar, the state of the major record labels within the mu sic
bu siness. The phrase major labels refers mainly to the fou r major labels
that dominate recorded mu sic; EMI, Sony Mu sic Entertainment, Universal
Mu sic Grou p, and W arner Mu sic Grou p.
Th e mu sic industry is cu rrently goi ng th rou gh a tremendou s amou nt
of change and tu rmoi l. The redu ction of profits ( largely due to recorded
sales declines, rapid advances in technology, the negative effects of a
global recession, restruc turing costs, the impact o f fi le sharing on peerto-peer networks , music streaming , and a perception tha t major lab els
release mediocre music wrapped around single hits) has forced the major
labels to think abou t ways to deliv er content to consu mers in ways that
produ ce fai r and predictable retu rns.
As mu sic consu mption moves away from the CD model and towards
downloadin g, s treaming, su bscripti ons, mobi le technology and apps, and
cloud models, major labels have had to start thinking of ways to share
rev enu e from mu ltiple income streams with their artists (via 360 or
multiple-rights deals) in ways they never did before. This (wanting a
share of income derived from multiple sou rces) is cau sing artists w ith
contracts

up

for

re-negotiation

to

leave

the

labels

and

cou rt

non-

traditional investors , partner with brands and sponsors , or release their


projects themselves directly to thei r fans .

P a g e | 97

With shrinking profits and a redu ced nu mber of artist signin gs, the
major lab els h ave laid of f sta ff (i ncluding some A&R reps), ou tsou rced
some work done by their own departments (li ke lega l and marke ting), and
sold off some real es tate (includin g office space and recording studios);
fu eling specu lation that the labels are goin g ou t of bu siness.
Bu t, the major labels , far from goin g ou t of bu siness, have something
working in their favor that few people realize or even app reciate. That
something is woven deep into the fabric of ou r society in general, and in
the American psyche in particu lar.

That something is the fact that we,

as a society , n eed heroes and su pers tars. Ind eed , w e can t liv e wi thou t
them. Think of all the su perstars (singers, athletes , acto rs, dance rs,
comedians, magicians, reality TV stars, authors, poe ts, philosophe rs,
etc) that have brou ght joy and inspiration to you r li fe. If some governi ng
body decreed that startin g tomorrow, it wou ld be forbidd en to have heroes
and su perstars, we as a people wou ld rev olt. That d ecree wou ld not s tand.
Throu ghou t history, we have always embrac ed heroes. And, as a fai rly
rec ent

phenomenon,

we

have

d esired

su perstars .

In

the

world

of

entertainment and in mu sic in particu lar the major record labels are
(and have been) responsible for delivering those global su perstars to u s.
As yet, no independ ent record label or investment grou p has managed to
produ ce an international mu sical su perstar completely ou tside of the
major label s tru ctu re (a lthough, i n this age of social networking a nd
globaliza tion , that may soon change).
As it cu rrently stands th ou gh , only th e major labels h ave th e vast
financial resou rces and de ep su pport inf ras tru ctu re necess ary t o deve l op
su perstars and deliver them to the people. The labels also have a lot of
experience and expertise in the bu siness of creating mu sical su perstars
that are cap able of havin g great influ ence on the general pu blic. And the
reason why there will continu e to be a need for major labels (even i f they
consolidate, downsize , outsou rce tasks, go under different names, or
otherwise restructu re), is that there is a constant need for fresh
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P a g e | 98

su perstars . The standards of cool shift with the times, and the stars of
today mu st make w ay for the su perstars of tomorrow; therefore there is a
need to dev elop new on es ev ery few years to replace the older ones .
Even th ou gh th e cu rrent conu ndrum is one of h ow to get people to
pay for the mu sic they are listening to, once a new su perstar is created
(figuratively and li terally speaking ), then the majors can look to cash in
on income sou rces other than CD sales . Consider that su perstars like
Celine Di on, Madonna, Beyonce, etc, are generating hu ndreds of millions
of dollars from fragrance collec ti ons, fashion collections , endorsement
and

sponsorship

opportu nities,

artist- branded

p rodu cts,

etc;

income

sou rces from which the major labels hope to tap into in the fu tu re w ith
artists they sign now.
The role of the major label A&R rep
Even thou gh there are few er A&R reps at the major labels , thei r
expertis e is still something that the labels rely on to help them figu re ou t
who to sign . Althou gh the process i s now very s tatistics- and d ata-d riven,
the signing process generally begins by the A&R rep finding (or bei ng
presented with) an artist that they think has that certain x-fac tor that
is necessary to develop into a su pers tar artist. Artis ts or bands almost
alw ays come to the attention of maj or label A&R reps from solicited ( i .e.
known or well- respected) sou rces. Even when an A&R rep discovers talent
that they find promising, it almos t alw ays takes a second or third opinion
from a respec ted and tru sted sou rce, along with some du e diligence,
before the rep considers making a move towards si gning. Solicited sou rces
inclu de upstream deals from independent labels, talent scou ts, other A &R
reps , attorneys, produ cers, managers , pu blishers, bookin g agents , song
writers , si gned artists or mu sicians, and now more frequ ently from
contest winners or artis ts benefiting from high lev els of TV/in ternet
exposu re.

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A&R reps also spend a lot of ti me d oing thei r own research. As far as
most

A&R

reps

are

concerned ,

except

for

the

occasional

internet

sensation, news head liner, or reali ty TV break ou t star, no artist worth


signing today ev er comes completely ou t of nowhere. Ind eed , most major
lab els already h ave a go od idea ab o u t wh ich artists th ey want to sign, yet
they keep an ey e open for talen t that pops u p on thei r radar. Every
active artis t leaves a trail of some kind , and emerging talent always
appears on th e indu stry radar in s u ch a way th at th e reps begin to take
notice.
The A&R reps check ou t data and statistics abou t artists on line
activiti es, soci al n etworkin g profiles, information gathered from mu sic
industry data aggregators, feed back from respec ted indu stry sou rces,
tastemak er reviews , influ ential bloggers rec ommendations , sales d ata ,
artists performance and tou ring history , college/in ternet/satellite radio
station playlists , bu zz on the street and on the internet, repu table mixtapes , and on occasion (though ra rely) live shows or artist showcases .
A&R reps also tak e notic e of artists that other A&R reps at major labels
are interested in.
The A&R rep must tru ly believ e that the artis t is going to be a
su perstar for the label and be able to perform hit son gs, become a brand
ambass ador, and positively i mpact the comp anys fin ancial bottom line
immediately. In ord er to minimize the risk, an A&R rep will condu ct
research and take into accou nt the age of the artist, the presence of the
X-factor, the abi lity of the arti st to hav e an imp act at radio, the
brandin g potential of the artist, the writin g and performing abi lities of
the artist, sales from any independent releases , any existing radio ai rplay ,
revi ews and articles in major regi onal or nation al mu sic pu blications,
show attendance figu res , television and/or intern et exposu re, word- ofmouth

in

attorney,

the clubs,
agent,

etc),

mailing

list

p reviou s

size,

deals

artists

and

their

team (e .g.
outcomes,

manager,
past

and

potenti al merchandise sales , past and potential sponsorships deals, p ast


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P a g e | 100

and potential movie roles, pas t and potential mod elin g gi gs, past and
potenti al endorsemen t deals , p reviou s or pending lawsu its, etc .
Armed wi th a Profi t and Loss statement (P&L) , the A&R rep at a
major label wi ll attempt to convince the appropriate peop le that the artist
is worth investin g money in and can provide the label with a solid retu rn
on the investment ( ROI). Most often, thou gh, A&R reps dont have to go
very far to find talent. Most of the talent is already p res ent in the
industry pipeline from solicited sou rces (e.g., friends of artis ts already
signed

to

the

label,

writers

already

signed

to

major

publishing

companies, bands opening up for acts already on the label, artists


upstreamed from indie labels, friends or re latives of industry b igwigs, backup singers or musicians on major label recording projects or
tours , artists discovered by hit producers or songwriters , re ferra ls from
attorneys who have rela tionships with the label, etc) . Talent is rarely
ever discovered from a demo tape s ent in to the comp any. The on ly chance
a complete u nknown has in getting major label A&R atten tion is if, as
mentioned

earlier, they

exp lode

on

the scene by

being an

internet

sensation, news head liner, or reali ty TV breakou t star.


How major record labels evaluate and sign talent
Becau se of the redu ction in profi ts from CD sales , major record
labels have started signin g new artists (and increasingly artists still at
the label) to 360 deals (or multiple rights deals) that give the labels a
share in the income generated from mu ltiple revenu e sou rces, inc lu ding
concerts,

sponsorships,

su bscriptions,

licensing

endorsements ,

deals,

artist-branded

merchandising
products

and

deals,
services ,

clothing and fragrance lines , and more. A ll the major record labels - and
increasingly independ ent labels - have s tarted to inclu de mu ltip le ri ghts
langu age in their contrac ts with newly signed artis ts.

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In ord er to faci litate this arran gement, some labels have hired
people

to

ru n

management,

tou ring,

merchandising,

sponsorship,

brandin g, etc, divisions in their offi ces or ou tsou rced some of the work to
ou tside label s ervic es companies .
A mere fraction of the artists that pu rsu e major label d eals ev er
achieve

the

objective,

and

it

is

mathematical

certainty

that

the

overwhelmin g majori ty of artists wi ll n ever si gn a deal of any kind with a


major label. Pu rsu ing a major label deal to fu nd an artists recordin g and
tou r today is akin to p laying the lottery. You cou ld chase the deal for
many years yet nev er get within a hu ndred miles of si gning a deal; all the
while

squ andering

countless

opportu nities

to

get

things

done

independently . In addi tion, most d eals that get don e at the major label
level are deals with artists who are already in the pipeline (e.g. ,
upstream deals from independent labels, sources with connections to
people in the major labe l system, signed songwriters with publishing
deals,

producer-signed

singers/instrumenta lists

or
on

recommended

major

label

projects,

acts,
etc)

backg round
or

otherwise

appear on the major labels radar (from music sales figures, fan base size,
touring history, merchandise sales, social network sta ts, industry buzz,
television contest positions , etc) . Taking all this u nder consideration,
you r efforts as an independen t artis t are mu ch better sp ent setting things
u p to release rec ordin gs and fu nd tou rs on you r own.
But, as mentioned earlier, major labels are always lookin g out for
the next rou nd of su perstars that can replace the cu rrent ones once the
fans ti re of them. They look for arti sts that can be dev eloped into a brand
that can be monetized; for example, branded magazines, ni ghtclu bs,
artist-branded ad-su pported video c hannels, recorded produ cts, electronic
gad gets, c lothes, footwear, cosmeti cs, etc. Wi th the introdu ction of 3 60
deals , the major labels are looki ng forward to sharing in the inc ome
generated by the artis t from mu ltip le sou rces.

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P a g e | 102

Consider

the fact

that in

2008

2009 (according

to

Forbes

Celebrity Valua tions), B eyonce Knowles earned $87 mi lli on from starri ng
roles in two fi lms; an expanded fashion collec tion that inc lu des jewelry
and eyeglass es; sponsorships with Nintendo, Crystal Geyser, and General
Mills; and Endorsements with LOreal, Giorgio Armani, and Samantha
Thavasa handbags. From the labels perspec tive, these artis ts have been
developed into brands and are only able to get these deals and generate
this income becau se of the efforts and resou rces the labels provid ed to the
artists as part of their recording d eals . Therefore lookin g forward , major
labels can position themselves as brandin g companies and sign 10 20
artists

per

year

and

build

them

into

fu tu re

Beyonces

under

360

(multi ple rights) contrac ts obli gati ng them to spli t a percen tage of the
income generated from mu ltiple sou rces .
While considering an artists poten tial, it can also be of interest to a
label i f an artist receiv es a lot of exposu re (in the fo rm o f hundreds of
thousands of hits , impressions, or views) on the internet (e.g., You Tube)
or from a popu lar television or i ntern et competi tion, con tes t or sh ow.
This exposu re provides the artis t with an instant fan base of sev eral
hu ndred thou sand or even a few

million peop le that the label can

immediately exploi t. Since the arti st has already been exposed to those
people, promotion and pu blicity costs can be signific antly less than wou ld
be if the artis t was an u nknown entity. The label can also c ou nt on a
percen tage of these p eople to pu rc hase tickets , mu sic, or artist- bran ded
merchandise and other p rodu cts/services from the label.
Most labels (and in particula r, ma jor record labels) have a p re-s et
bu dget allocated to going after artists they have already expressed an
interest in signin g. For those artis ts, P rofi t and Loss (P&L) statements
will have already been created indic ating the level of retu rn on inves tment
(ROI) that wi ll be provided by the v ariou s income sou rces associ ated wi th
signing the artist.

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P a g e | 103

The P&L will give the label an idea of the amou nt of money they can
make signing the artis t as well as where to draw the line once negotiati ons
begin . If a bidding w ar ensu es with other labels , or the artists attorn eys
ask for too much money, the label (unless they REALLY want to sign the
artist) will know when to back ou t and look to si gn another artis t instead.
The fou r major labels are cu rren tly not good at ( or interes ted in)
artist dev elopment; i .e. workin g wi th artists in the early stages of their
careers (as well as artists in most genres with sa les under 10 ,000 un its
or so), yet they are the only ones that can tak e an artist wi th some
exposu re,

buzz

and/or

sales

and

break

them

on

national

and

intern ational lev el at radio, on TV, in print, on the internet and at retail.
Some of the labels u nder the u mbrellas of the majors (particu larly those
with ups tream deals in place) do a better j ob of artis t dev elopment than
their corporate parents . Bu t, bec au se of the enormou s expenses involv ed
in the endeavor, the music the major labels release must appeal to the
largest s egment of the mu sic-bu ying popu lation in order to c reate a large
enou gh fan bas e to provide a good retu rn on the labels inves tmen t. Nic he
projects do not work well in the major label sys tem, and therefore ideally
sh ou ld be re le ased independ ently , o r m atch ed u p with a b rand , connec t ed
to a sponsor, or shopped to an independent label with major label
distribu tion.
In addition to not being good wi th artist dev elopment, major labels
are generally not very interested in signing u nknown/u ntested and/or
older artists . Indeed, the fou r maj or labels seem to be highly obs essed
with the you th mark et and you nger artists . This is becau se you nger fans
(even

though

downloading

they

seem

activities)

to

be

are

responsible
typically

for
most

most

of

the

passionate

illegal
about

entertainment in gen eral. Research shows that you nger fans are the most
influ ential d rivers of new mu sic, new media, new platforms, new devic es,
and hardware; and have the pow er to mak e or break new mu sic and other
entertainment- related releas es.
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You ng fans are i mpu lsive and respond very qu ickly and p assionately
when they feel emotionally connected to someone in the entertainment
field . Bec au se they are most su sceptible to peer-pressu re, you ng people in
large nu mbers follow the trends of what is considered cool in terms of
mu sic and entertainment at any giv en moment and wou ld rather ju mp on
the bandwagon of what everybody els e is listening to than be left ou t.
They are also most likely to pu rc hase artist-brand ed produ cts that the
label c an generate additional income from. You ng people in gen eral spend
most of their money on entertain ment (including music, sports, video
games and movies), since their parents are responsible for their welfare
(food and c lothing needs, not to me ntion a place to live) .
Since

major

responsibili ties
investors ,

and

labels

are

fi rst

are

part

and

shareholders.

of

large

foremost
Generating

to

corporate

entities,

their

c orporate

massive

profits

their

paren ts,
to

fund

acqu isitions, maintaining high stock prices (so that their inves tors do nt
take their money elsewhe re), and paying ou t dividends that sharehold ers
rely on for thei r spending and investing needs are p riori ties to all
corporations; inclu ding major record labels . So, exc ept for some of the socalled mini-majors that work wi th niche and older artists (e.g ., B lue
Note with Ja zz, Def Ja m wi th Neo-Soul, etc .), major labels tend to plac e a
high priority on you nger artis ts; or artists that c an appeal to a you nger
demographic (13 25 year olds) .

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Page 104

OPTIONS FOR THE WAY FORWARD IN TODAYS MUSIC BUSINESS


As an artis t (or artist representative), there are several options that
you can look into in terms o f a w ay fo rward in today s mu sic bu siness .
Some (although not all) of the op tions include:
1. Positioning you rself to si gn a d eal w ith a major record label.
2. Pu rsu ing a deal with an independent reco rd label (with majo r label
distribu tion).
3. Pu rsu ing a brand and band / strategic p artnership deal.
4. With

funding

from

an

investor,

recording

your

produ cts

and

ou tsou rcing essential label services .


5. Recording and releasin g you r own p rodu cts (DIY) .
Lets briefly discu ss each option.
Positioning yourself to sign a deal with a major record label.
The

consensus

now

is

that

the

major

labels

are

u ndergoing

fu ndamental stru ctu ral chan ges , and that in this difficu lt transition
period artis ts and their managers are wise to stay clear of the major label
system. For the vast majori ty of artists , bu ilding a fan base, produ cing
recordings independ ently , and tou ring will be the only options av ailable
to them i f they wish to pu rsu e a career in mu sic. However, there are a
cou ple of things to k eep in mind if you represent a you ng artist wi th
brandin g poten tial and wish to pu rsu e a major label contrac t. Fi rstly, the
artist mu st fit the major label profi le (as discussed earlier in this
section). Second ly, u nless the artist is already in the major label pipeli ne,
they mu st create enou gh of a bu zz that they show u p on the labels
radar screen (or get the attention of someone who can present the m to
the people with signing authority a t the label).

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While Pop/Rock artists can gain attention and create bu zz by playing


live shows to au diences of respectable size (e .g., 500 people consistently),
garnering college radio airp lay , and selling p rodu cts and merchandise,
and Hip-hop artists c an get the attention of the majors by getting songs
placed on repu table mix- tapes or being attached to produ cer camp s;
other artis ts can create a bu zz by generating en tertaining content on line
and developing a large fan bas e and sales track record u tilizin g soc ial
networking tools. Gen erally speak ing, onc e you generate enou gh bu zz
and/or have some proof of sales to get the attention of a major label A &R
rep (or somebody whose opinion they respect); someone connec ted to a
major label wi ll app roach you if you fit the p rofi le.
In addition to generating bu zz, some other rou ndabou t ways you can
go abou t getting in the back door at major labels inc lu de:

Getting the atten tion of solicited sou rces with connections to


people in the major label sys tem. Solicited sou rces inclu de attorneys
who have negotiated d eals with or been responsible for signin g
artists

to

major

labels,

influential

indu stry

tastemakers

whose

opinion is respected by A&R reps at major labels , established


produ cers and son gwriters , etc .

Approaching and befriending baby bands already signed to major


labels . You can find information abou t major label artist rosters in
directori es

like

Pollstars

Record

Company

Di rec tory

(http://www.pollstar.com) . They also have an A rtist Man agemen t


Directory that you can u se to find information on the artists
management companies and approach them wi th offers to p rovide
backgrou nd vocals or backin g instru mentals for recordin gs or tou rs .
You can also discuss the possibilities of opening for the band on
tou r.

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Approaching produ cers who have major labels credits . You can find
contact information for Record Produ cers from directories lik e the
one available

at Hi tQu arters

(http://www .hitqu arters .com/)

and

others . You can offer you r services as a demo singer, backgrou nd


vocalist or instru mentalist/mu sician, or ask (or p ay/hire) them to
produ ce you and/or forw ard a demo to their contac ts.

Approaching

published

songwri ters

(w riters

si gned

to

major

pu blishing companies) . A gain , approach them and o ffer them you r


services as a demo singer or back grou nd vocalist/instru mentalist.
Signed son gwri ters are a little more difficu lt to locate, so you will
have to do a little digging arou nd in order to get contac t information
for them. Try the Mu sic Pu blisher Regis try from the Mu sic Registry
(http://www.mu sicregis try .com) as a starting poin t. Many artis ts on
major labels began thei r careers as signed son gw riters fi rst, and
then work ed thei r way in as artis ts once a few songs they w rote
became hits.

Shopping

your

demo

to

independent

record

labels

that

have

u pstream deals wi th major labels (a situ ation where artists on


independent

labels

get

u pstreamed

to

their

major

label

distribu tion partner once certain sales thresholds are met at the
indie level). Pollstars Record Company Directory also lists the
independent labels that have dis tri bu tion throu gh major labels that
you can approach.
If you are interested in getting the atten tion of major labels and
cant ge t in th rou gh th e back door, t h en you can u tilize t ech niqu es th at we
will discu ss later on in this man u al and elsewhere to c reate the bu zz
necessary to appear on major labels rad ar.

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Pursuing a deal with an independent record label (with major label distribution)
If you lack the resou rces and (wo)manpower to release you r own
records , then you might want to look into the option of signing wi th a
major label-distribu ted independ ent label. If y ou opt to take this rou te, it
is in you r best in teres t to seek ou t i ndependent record labels that have the
necessary resou rces avai lable to ad equ ately promote you r records to the
general pu blic, as w ell as the maj or label distribu tion deals in plac e to
enable people to find you r produ cts both at retail and in all the major
digital s tores . If the label can on ly offer you digital dis tribu tion (e .g. CD
Baby, Orchard , Tunecore, etc) , then you are better off rec ordin g and
releasing you r produ cts you rself throu gh those same digital distribu tion
channels.
In this age of mu sic streaming and digital d eliv ery (and considering
that both retail s tores and CDs themselves a re predic ted to become
obsolete), taking into accou nt retai l distribu tion may seem like a waste of
time. However, i t is worth considerin g the fact that labels with major
label distribu tion in plac e have the financial resou rces necessary to fu nd
your

tou rs

and

promotion al

campaigns

that

their

non-distribu ted

cou nterparts do not, and even if retail s tores and CDs become obsolete,
can re-di rec t the money that wou ld have gone to retai l mark etin g tow ards
tou ring and branding efforts instead.
If you are interested in approaching independen t labels that hav e
major label distribu tion deals in place, you can begin you r search by
pu rchasing a copy of the Record Company Di rec tory from the Polls tar
s t o r e ( h t t p : / / w w w . p o l l s t a r . c o m / ) w h i c h i n c lu d e s c o n t a c t i n f o r m a t i o n f o r
independent labels with major label distribu tion .

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You can also check the w eb si tes of the main distribu tors in the
United

States

information

here

for

the

and

locate

contact

independent

and

record

demo

labels

submission

whose

p rodu ct

policy
they

distribu te:
- ADA (http: //www.ada-mu sic.com/) (recently me rged into WEA)
- Bu rnside Distribu tion (http://ww w.bdcdistribu tion.com/)
- E1 Entertainment Distribu tion U .S. (http: //www.kochdistribu tion.com/)
- EMI Mu sic Mark etin g (http: //ww w .carolineb2b.com/)
- EMI Label Services & Carolin e Distribu tion
(http://www.c arolinedis t.c om/)
- Harmonia Mu ndi USA (http://ww w.harmoniamu ndi.com/)
- The Mountain Apple Company
(http://www.mou ntainapplec ompan y.com/)
- MVD En tertainment Grou p (http://mvdb2b.c om/)
- Naxos of Americ a (http: //www.n axos.com/)
- RED Distribu tion (http: //www.red b2b.c om/)
- Redey e Distribu tion (http://www .red eyeu sa.com/)
- Sony Mu sic Entertainment (http://www .sonymu siccentral.com/login.j sp)
- Su per D Independent Dis tri bu tion (http://www.sdcd .com/)
- Tate Mu sic Grou p (http://www .tatemu sicgrou p.com/)
- The Orchard (http://www.theorchard .com/)
- TravelVideoStore.com (http://ww w.travelvideostore.com/)
- TVT Records (http://www.tv trecords.com/)
- Univers al Mu sic Grou p Distribu tion (http://www .u mgdb2b.com/)
- WEA Corp (https://new.wea.com/login/)
Combined , the mu sic released by these companies accou nt for an
estimated 90 p erc ent of the U .S. mu sic mark et.

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Pursuing a brand-and-band / strategic partnership deal


Brands

(companies)

are

constantly

tryin g

to

reach

potential

cu stomers in ord er to tu rn them into consu mers. Seekin g an altern ativ e to


advertising, c ompanies

sponsor events

like c onferenc es, conventions,

sporting events , galas , and concerts that have the potential to attract
potenti al cu stomers . While many brands continu e to sponsor ev ents,
others have decided to bypass the middleman and began pu tting together
their own branded ev ents in order to reach cu stomers directly. In the
process , companies have discovered that bands/mu sicians have a way of
connecting with fans on a mu ch more emotion al level th an can be done
throu gh

interru ptive

advertisi ng.

B rands

therefore

look

for

bands/mu sicians that can act as brand ambassad ors on their behalf and
connect with the desired target au dience.
So, what exactly attracts your band to a brand? The most importan t
thing to a brand is a stron g pers onality fi t betw een the artist and the
brand

that enables

them to

c reate impactfu l, integrated

multimedia

campai gns that connect and resonate with their target au dience. To avoid
a back lash from the brands cu stomers and the artists fans , there need s to
be a beli ef that the brand and the band / artist cou ld be friends in real
life. A brand will take their bu siness objectives in to consideration, along
with an u nderstanding of how their cu stomers relate to mu sic, when
deciding on what type of band (or artist) to work / p artner wi th.
Something else of importance that brands fac tor into the equ ation is how
easy or difficu lt it is to get all the ri ghts and permissions from the variou s
stakehold ers (music pub lishers , re cord labels , artis ts, e tc) nec essary to
m a k e a l a u n c h s u c c e s s fu l a n d p r o f i t a b l e . H o w a v a i l a b l e a n d a c c e s s i b l e a n
artist is (for performances, inte rvie ws, recordings , appearances, etc) and
how mu ch it costs for the artists to render their services also matters .

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P a g e | 111

Brands also look for ways that they can measu re the resu lts of the
partn ership and calcu late the retu rn on investment in a reliable way . If
you r band is attractin g a demographic (of considerable size) that a brand
is also trying to reach, then that mi ght also mak e a good fi t in their ey es.
An interes ted brand wi ll w ant to k now the artists au dience profile and
ensu re that it matches wi th the brands campaign objec tives . Identi fying
the demographic

to

a brand

requ ires

bands

and

their managers

to

proac tively su rvey th eir fan base i n order to get some demo graph ic data
(e.g., age , gender, geographical location, annual household income,
hobbies, spending pre ferences, etc) .
Many bands are unable or unwilli ng to do this since it can scare
away poten tial fans and requ ires existing fans to tak e time ou t to fi ll ou t
su rveys. Bu t, if offered as an opti on along wi th a gift or discou nt offer
(like an exclusive song down loa d or a discount on tic kets or b and
merchandise), then the data you c ollect will p rove to be invalu able to
direct y ou r marketing activiti es as well as to influ ence or influ ence a
potential

brand

partner.

You

can

utilize

services

like

mozes

(http://www.mozes.c om/go/mu sic) to ru n real- time fan polls and get


information from you r fans in a fu n and interac tive manner.
As with most other p artnering scenarios , the more clearly defined
you r image is , the more bu zz you have abou t you r band, and the larger
and more loyal y ou r fan base, the more brands will wan t to p artner with
you and make you a brand ambassador for their c ampai gns. And ju st like
the three bears in the childrens story , most mediu m-sized brands like
artists and bands to be ju st ri ght not too cold (i .e ., not a comple tely
unknown artis t/band), bu t not too hot either (i.e ., no t a major la bel
artist/band). This is becau se they like bands that have a loyal and sizable
followin g yet are u nencu mbered by many of the legal and accou nti ng
entan glemen ts inherent in the major label system. Of cou rse, major
corporate brands generally associate with major label artists becau se they
are interested in the global reach that comes wi th that association.
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Some brands have gotten into the game of artis t dev elopment,
creating a new kind of record company that fu nds bands recordin gs and
tou rs.

Some

have

even

set

up

recordin g

studios

where

their

artist

p a r t n e r s c a n r e c o r d . I n t h e s e i n s t a n c e s , t h e r e l a t i o n s h i p i s mu t u al l y
beneficial,

with

bands

contribu ting

the

hip

factor

and

emotional

connection and brands providing large amou nts of money no lon ger
readily avai lable from tradi tional record companies.
The band-and-brand relationship also has some considerable p erks
for bands. Unlike what typically comes with signing to a label, bands in
band-and-brand relationships do not often give u p any of thei r ri ghts
(sound recording ownership, writing & publishing) since the brand is
mainly interested in reaching the audience and selling them their own
produ cts

and/or

servic es.

Except

for

occasions

where

the

brand

commissions the band to w rite a cu stom song as a work-for-hire, the band


gets to k eep the copy rights on their ori ginal songs , as w ell as their
trademarks / servic e marks, logos, etc, and they main tain their c reative
freedom

in

terms

of

recordin gs,

logos ,

videos,

tour

p rodu ction,

merchandise d esign, and so on . A nother perk is that mid- to large- size


brands have a tremendou s amou nt of reach in terms of distribu tion since
their

produ cts

already

have

pipeline

into

the

marketp lace,

thus

streamlining the proc ess of getti ng the bands CDs, down loads and
merchandise to the fans. B rands also have a lot of marketing exp ertise
and know how to get the atten tion of fans as well as the media.
Over time, most fans have come to u nderstand that brands and
sponsors are an importan t part of the equ ation when it comes to pu tting a
tou r together, and have come to tolerate a certain amou nt of brand
exposu re as lon g as the messaging and interaction isnt too heavy hand ed.
This

is

helping

to

create

new

model

where

some

companies

are

considering coming u p with a particu lar sou nd for thei r brand ( like a
soundtrack to thei r product) , which cou ld work in you r favor i f the sou nd
they are lookin g for happens to be w hat you r band is already doin g.
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So, if you re interested in partnering with a brand, define you r image


clearly and keep on increasing your fan base. Utilize solutions like
RockDex

(http: //www.rockd ex.com/),

Band

Metrics

(http://www.bandmetrics.com/) an d others to p rovide brand partn ers


w i t h q u a n t i f i a b l e d a t a a b o u t y o u r b a n d . M a k e s u r e y o u s h o w u p i n c h ar t s
that measu re ac tivity on social n etworking si tes like You Tu be, Twi tter,
last.fm,

imeem,

iLike,

Facebook,

MySpace,

Pu reVolu me,

etc.

Create

entertaining You Tu be videos with keywords / k ey phrases that attrac t a


lot of eyeballs ( views) and su bscribers to you r You Tu be channel. Bu ild
genu ine friendsh ip and loyalty wit h you r fans so th at th ey follow y ou r
movements and sp read the w ord ou t to thei r friends . Videotape y ou r
shows and captu re the emoti onal connection you have with you r fans.
Condu ct demographic su rveys and keep a tally o f the nu mber of fans on
you r mailin g list. Create as mu ch bu zz as possible wherev er you can and
you will eventu ally appear on a brands rad ar when the fit is ri ght. Even
thou gh most of thes e deals are cu rrently s tru ctu red betw een major brands
and major (or ex-major) label arti sts, we c an look forward to mediu msized

brands

getting

more

active

in

the

game

and

partnering

with

independent artists and bands in order to reach consu mers on a more


emotion al level.
With funding from an investor, recording your products and outsourcing all essential label
services
If you r artist has a track record (sales, buzz, touring, fan base, etc)
and you have an investor with adequ ate resou rces to fu nd a project, then
you migh t consider th e option of reco rding p rodu cts in-h ou se and th en
ou tsou rcing all the essenti al label services to another company to do the
necessary

marketing,

p romotion,

publicity,

distribu tion,

radio,

and

booking legwork . If this is an op ti on you wish to pu rsu e, make su re you


u ndertake the necessary du e diligen ce efforts nec essary to insu re that y ou
make the ri ght decisions in terms of the stru ctu re of the comp any, the
artists you sign, the investors you partn er with, the legal and accou nting
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procedu res y ou employ , and the label services company you hire. Make
su re

that

everybodys

expectations

are

not

on ly

realistic ,

but

also

a c h i e v a b l e . A t t h i s p a r t i c u l a r t i m e i n t h e e v o l u t i o n o f t h e m u s i c b u s i n es s ,
it is extremely difficu lt to p rovide su bstantial retu rns on an inv estors
investmen t outside of the major label system.
The most c ru cial aspec t affec ting the su ccess of this endeavor will be
the artis t ( talent) that you sign. For this option to work su ccessfu lly, you
mu st have an artist that is not only very talen ted v ocally ( for recording s),
bu t mu st also be able to play w ell liv e, comfortably embrace soc ial
networking, w rite songs that have great lic ensing potential, and perform
songs that are in genres that are radio ( terrestria l, internet, sa telli te)
fri endly. In other words , the id eal artist candidate wi ll be one that is
similar to an artist that wou ld be si gned to a major label.
This model will requ ire the starting of a company (most like ly an
LLC) that provid es the stak eholders (artist, manager and investor) with
shares of all profits from all sou rces; similar to the 360 (multiple rights)
deals seen at the major label level. In that event, income will need to be
generated

from

CD/download

sales,

tickets,

merchandise,

licensi ng,

su bscriptions, sponsorships, endorsements , branding deals , etc . You will


need to be able to mark et, pu blicize and promote the proj ects u sing all
means nec essary (social ne tworkin g, radio airplay, media cove rage, live
shows, videos on the inte rnet, etc).
If you are goin g to bring an investor on board , it is of extreme
importance that the artists you sign to the company roster have a great
vibe/attitu de (enabling them to attract fans and build a large mailing
list through social netwo rking efforts) are able to record great songs
(providing

income

from

CD/download

sales),

perform

well

live

(providing income fro m ticke t and merchandise sales), w ri te mu sic that is


licensable (provid ing income from licensing music to Film, TV, Games,
etc), have a marketable image/brand (providing income from fees from
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sponsors and/or brand partners) and fit in mu sic genres that can receive
radio ai rplay (pro viding bo th promotion from airplay as well as income
from ro yalties collected by performing rights organizations). A rtists that
dont have the abi lity to generate i ncome from mu ltiple sou rces will not
be a good fi t fo r a situ ation that involves investo rs . If you have a niche
project that you beli eve in that doesnt fit the mold of a mu ltiple sou rce
income gene ra to r, th en you sh ou ld consider st arting a rost er th at inc lu des
at least one major label type artist that c an generate enou gh income
from mu ltip le sou rce to provid e the necessary fu nding to bank roll the
other smaller proj ects on the roster.
If you choose to tak e this rou te, you will need to be able to p rovide
an investor with a bu siness plan th at sh ows th em wh at type of proje cts
will be fu nded, how mu ch fu nding is requ ired , where the money wi ll be
spent, what the risks are, what the competi tion is, and how profi ts will be
made. Bu siness plans for mu sic projects are difficu lt to wri te bec au se the
inner workings of a mu sic company are qu ite u nlike those of most other
bu sinesses. With valu able advice provided by a qu alified acc ou ntant and
experienced entertainment attorney , however, you shou ld be able to pu t a
decent plan to geth er. In addition to oth er resou rc es, th e Mu sic Bu siness
Regis try (http: //www.mu sicregis try .com) pu blishes a Music Attorn ey,
Legal and Business Affairs Guide that lists mu sic bu siness attorneys
you can consult with.
With fu nding or inves tors onboard , some label services / consu lting
companies you can look into include companies like My Rocket Sci ence
(http://www.myrocketsci ence.c om/) , Fahrenheit Medi a Grou p
(http://www.fahrenheitmediagrou p.com/) , Neu rotic Media
(http://www.n eu roticmedia.com/), EMI Label Servic es
(http://www.c arolinedis t.c om/) , A& R Worldwide
(http://www.anrworldwide.com/) , and other similar services. As they
become increasingly available in the fu tu re, companies simi lar to these
will be s tarted and/or s taffed with p ersonnel from the major label system
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who have been laid off due to downsizing and consolidation. Some of them
will ( and some cu rrently do) op erate with the no u nsolicited materi als
accepted policies simi lar to those of the major labels , so prepare to
approach them from the back door as explained earlier.
Recording and releasing your own products (DIY)
If you r artist doesn t fit the major label p rofi le or you dont wish to
shop to an independent lab el o r partner with an investor, then you can
look to release the proj ect independently and realize income for you r
artist from mu ltip le sou rces inclu ding tou ring; licensing mu sic to film,
TV, etc; selling CDs /downloads/merchandise; negotiating endorsemen t
deals; and /or connecting with a sponsor or brand that valu es the arti sts
sou nd/look/fan base . You sh ou ld also look fo r ways to moneti ze any ot h er
talents /skills that the artist poss esses inclu ding, for example, ac ti ng,
painting, produ cing, d ancing, wri ti ng books or poems, or some other s kill
like martial arts , etc .

The rest of this manual is geared towards providing you with the
information necessary to successfully record an d promote your
own products.

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Page 116

NOTE: In the fo llowing sections we will be addressing the reader as the


artist. This text was originally written for artis ts and keeping it this
way will help you to see things from the artists poin t of vie w.

GETTING YOUR BAND BUSINESS AFFAIRS IN ORDER


Naming the Band
If you are a s olo artis t, then you will p robably be u sing you r real
name or makin g u p a stage name. Sometimes solo artis ts hire mu sicians
with whom they want to perform (e.g. Sarah Jones & The Professionals).
In other instances mu sicians will get together and mak e u p a grou p name.
If that is the case, the name shou ld be something memorable and catc hy,
since it will be u sed on all adv ertising materials and in ev ery promotional
campai gn.
Before you decide on a band name (if youre not using your rea l
name), check on-line to see if the n ame c omes u p in a search, or if anyone
is u sing th e name in a U RL , h as a You Tu be ch annel u sing th e name, o r is
otherwise condu cting social networking camp aigns u sing the name. If
somebody els e is u sing that name, then try the name wi th a different
spellin g or try a di fferent variation of the name. A better su ggestion is to
u se another name altogether, otherwise peop le wi ll s earch for you and
keep coming u p with resu lts of the other person instead . This is important
since social networking is a v ery cost-effec tive w ay to p romote you r
mu sic, expand you r fan base, and keep people informed of what is going
on with the band. Also, don t name your band something popular that will
bring u p thou sands of search resu lts ahead of you rs; like New York , or
something.

P a g e | 118

It may also be a good idea to go to you r local city hall or relevan t


venu e and regis te r th e band as a b u siness. You can search online fo r th e
relev ant bu siness license offic e or Offic e of the Treasu rer where you can
get information on fi llin g ou t you r bu siness license and all associated
costs. A t this stage, you shou ld also be able to get a Tax ID nu mber
assigned to you r bu siness so that y ou can open u p a band bank accou nt in
you r bu siness name. You will also b e ab le to check if anybody els e is u sing
you r proposed name as a bu siness, and if not, register it so that nobody
else can.
Most p eople bypass the step of checking with a Trademark attorn ey
to inqu ire abou t the likelihood of confu sion between their name and
another companys name because of the costs involved. The least you
cou ld do is requ est assistance from the United States Patent & Trademark
Offic e at http: //www.u spto.gov. Y ou can also try visiting http ASCAP
(http://www.ascap .com) and B MI (http://www .bmi .com) to see i f the
name you want to u se is already bei ng u sed by another artist / band .
Keep in mind that this will not necessarily p rotect you from someone
who has been u sing a name for a period of time withou t regis tering it.
What it will prove in the event that somebody challenges you r u se of the
name is that you at leas t attempted to condu ct res earch abou t the name.
Even if you are u sing you r real n ame, it is not au tomatic that you will be
free of any trou ble. Su ppose, for example, you r name was Michael Jackson
and

you

were a mu sician. Su rely

there wou ld

be the

likelihood

of

confu sion if you pu t ou t ads anno u ncing you r gig as a Mich ae l Jack son
performance, or released a CD u sing the same name, ev en if it really was
your name.

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The Band Bank Account


Once you have regis tered you r band as a business, as well as applied
for a Ta x ID nu mber, you will be able to open u p you r bank account.
Having a band bank accou nt will enable you to rec eive checks or other
payments in you r bands name and write off band expenses . You can also
open u p a PayPal bu siness account attached to the bank accou nt and
collect pay ments on line for su bscrip tions, au tographed CDs , tick ets , band
merchandise, don ations , pre-orders , etc . You wou ld also be able to w rite
checks from the bu siness accou nt for equ ipment pu rchases and rentals,
su pplies, rehearsals , band member payments , etc ., and keep the recei pts
for you r tax records.
Keep in mind that any income you make is su bject to taxation . Work
first wi th an accou ntant to establish the correc t legal stru ctu re for you r
band bu siness (e.g., sole proprieto rship, partnership, corpo ration , etc),
and then set u p a rou tine for k eeping track of all you r income and
expenses. Rather than wait until the end of the year to come up with the
fu nds to pay you r taxes, it is advisable to pu t aside a certain percen tage of
all you r income in a band accou nt as you earn it. If you keep all you r
rec eipts for pu rchases, expenses , etc, you can work with an accountant to
figu re ou t what i tems are dedu ctable. U tili ze softw are solu tions like
Bandize (http://bandize.com/), or Qu icken (http://qu icken.intu it.com/)
and others to help you keep you r bands financial information organized.

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GETTING THE BAND TOGETHER AND READY FOR GIGS


Pre-booking Gigs
Even if you dont have y ou r band together, now wou ld be the time to
try and pre-book some gigs i f you can. Doing this will provide the
incentive to take au ditions, rehears als and gi g p romotion seriou sly from
the beginning. Pick u p a copy of the Indie Venue Bible
(http://www.indievenu ebible.com), the Musicians At las
(http://www.mu siciansatlas .com) , B illboards Musicians Gui de, or
Billboards International Ta lent & Touring Gui de
(http://www.ord erbillboard .com) , or simi lar di rectori es in you r cou ntry
of residence to find c lu bs/venu es with a cap acity of 150 300 that wou ld
be happy to have you brin g 40 80 people on a slow Mond ay, Tu esday, or
Wednesday night.
Ask the venu e booker if they cou ld let you play there on an off night
and retain 100% of the $5 - $ 15 cov er charge to pay the band members and
any equ ipment ren tal costs (and the venue can make money from drink
sales). You can cou nt on each band member to brin g at least 5 10 p eople
to the fi rst gi g, and the rest wi ll be people that respond to you r social
networking camp aign , mailin g list ou treach, and s treet team promotional
efforts. Book at least 2-3 gi gs if you can, bu t dont schedu le them too
closely together (or at least not closely toge ther in the same town) sin ce
fans may opt to go to one show or another, bu t not both (or all thre e),
thereby redu cing the nu mbers that you are cou nting on to both pay the
band members and impress the venu e book er.
Another op tion is to visi t you r favorite clu bs or v enu e and see i f you
can find a grou p th at comple ments you r sou nd to talk to abou t an open ing
slot. Call u p a local charity or non- profi t organization to s ee if they need
a band to p lay for a fu ndrais er or chari ty ben efi t.

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If you dont have a band, p re- booki ng gi gs is a good strategy at this


point becau se it is easier to find seriou s mu sicians when you have a gig
pending than when you do not. Get the gi g fi rst - any gig you can
especially at a venu e on an off night (Su nday - Wednesday) - and then hire
the mu sicians or pu t together the band for it. Band rehearsals will be
condu cted in a much more seriou s manner i f you do it this way. Offer to
pay band members the typical going rate for mu sicians in you r c ity
(usually $75 - $150 each). You r options for gi gs at this point will be qu ite
limited since you may not have promotion al materials ju st yet, bu t take
what you can get and u se that to both gain experience and dev elop content
of your venue EPK (electronic press kit).
Hiring Musicians
With a few gigs on the calend ar, the next step wou ld be to hire the
mu sicians for th e perfo rm ances. Yo u sh ou ld care fu lly conside r th e nu mber
of mu sicians you need to accomplish you r goa l. Don t get to o ma ny
musicians under the assumption that a fuller sound will be achieved. The
more peopl e you h ave in you r grou p, th e mo re pe rsona lities th e re wi ll be
to deal with, the hard er it wi ll be to coordinate schedu les, and the more
expensive it wi ll be to book. You want things to go as smoothly as possi ble
in the b eginning, so the fewer mu sicians there are to referee, the better.
You can always get more mu sicians for bi gger gigs later on or when the
pay justifies it.
Ways to find musicians
The single bes t way to find mu sicians is by asking arou nd and
gettin g referrals from friends , other band members , v enu e or talent
bookers, open-mic /karaok e hosts , event promoters, recordin g stu dios,
rehearsal s tu dios, local bo oking agents, o r even reco rd sto res . Mu sicians
repu tati ons travel far.

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You will be able to find ou t i f somebody is a flake or hard to deal


with befo re you select th em to b e in you r grou p or be a backin g mu sician .
If s omebody is a great mu sician, the word wi ll spread arou nd qu ickly as
well. Don t be afraid to app roach a band du ring a break in thei r set to ask
them if they cou ld ei ther p lay i n you r band or recommend another
mu sician wh o cou ld. Oft en times , mu sicians will be willing to do e x tra
gigs to make some extra mon ey.
You cou ld search fo r bands and mu sicians in you r local area via
online classifieds like Band Mi x (http://www .bandmix.com) , Band &
Crew (http: //www.bandandc rew .com), C raigslist
(http://www.c raigs list.org/abou t/si tes), or on MySpac e and others, and
emai l them to see if they are interested in p laying in you r band or know
somebody who might be. On some social n etworkin g sites , you can search
by city and s tate, or even n arrow it down to a particu lar zip code. If you
find somebody you think you might be interested in, i t is always a good
idea to go to a gig and actu ally watc h them perform before offering them a
position in your band.
A n o t h e r w a y t o f i n d m u s i c i a n s i s to l o o k t h r o u g h t h e c l a s s i f i e d s o f
you r local free week ly pu blications and/or thei r associated web si tes . In
the music section of the classifieds you will find musicians who are
available and seeking gi gs . You can call them u p or email them and ask
them to send you a link where you can hear thei r performance alon g w ith
information on what gi gs theyve done (if any) . Once you ve n arrowed
down you r selection to a few can didates , try to set u p a meetin g (or
audition) where you actually talk to them face-to-face as well as hear
them play. Never tru st a recording of a mu sician withou t actu ally hearing
them play live in fron t of you or at a gi g.

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You cou ld also place an ad in you r local free weekly or on Crai gslist,
etc ., looking for mu sicians. You can find these free weekli es in newspaper
stands and some coffeehou ses/cafes located arou nd town. Many of these
p u b l i c a t i o n s w i l l n o t c h a r g e y o u t o r u n a mu s i c i a n s w a n t e d a d . I f y o u
ru n one, be VERY specific as to wh at exac tly you are lookin g for. Exp lain
what type of mu sic you will be play ing and what type of instru mentali sts
or voc alis ts you need, as well as what you r bu dget is and the fact that y ou
are ju st setting u p th e band. Th is will na rrow down th e nu mber of peo pl e
who will respond.
You cou ld also s earch on-line for mu sicians referral services. Once
again, make su re you get p ackages or websi te links from mu sicians and
meet with them before you decide to hire them for you r band. Many of
these services wi ll be free to post and view classi fieds, bu t some of them
charge a fee. You cou ld also try calling recording s tu dios or placing fly ers
in mu sic stores, rehearsal stu dios, and other places where mu sicians hang
out.

Descri be what you are looking for in terms of mu sical instru ments,

mu sicians style, and so on . Inclu de you r hotline nu mber or web site U RL


where mu sicians can find ou t more information abou t au ditions, positi ons
yet to be filled , di recti ons, etc .
Auditions
As people contac t you abou t au ditioning fo r the band , you shou ld
give th em a list o f cove r songs th a t you wou ld like th em to pe rf orm, or
provide mp3s of some songs you ve already recorded (i f you have some).
Set u p au ditions where you have di fferent mu sicians show u p at different
times to perform. If you hear a mu sician that impresses you , note down
their name and ask them to come back the following d ay in ord er to play
with a grou p of other mu sicians that you may be considering hirin g. Ev en
if you think, for example, a bass player sou nds great alone, it is important
to hear how they sou nd in a grou p since that is how you r band will be
made up.
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Take detailed notes at the auditions and when possible, tape each
mu sician (audio and video). You shou ld also make su re you ask a lot of
qu estions du ring the au dition.
Questions to ask include:

What styles of mu sic do they enjoy performing?

Do they cu rren tly p lay in any other bands?

What other mu sic-related commi tments do they have (recording,

tou ring, etc)?

Who are thei r mu sical influ ences?

What is thei r general w eek ly schedule (w ork , school, etc) ?

How many d ays a week can they rehearse?

How lon g have they been p erformin g?

W h a t t y p e s o f p e r f o r m a n c e s h a v e t h e y d o n e i n th e p a s t ( e . g . o p e n

mics, showcases , c lu bs, aren as, s tad iu ms, etc)?

What instru ments do they play?

Do they wri te mu sic?

Can they sin g (backgrou nds, leads)?

Have they recorded any mu sic before (stu dio, live)?

Do they have reliable transportation ?

Do they have a place that can be u sed as a rehearsal space?

If you are c reatin g a band as oppos ed to hiring mu sicians to back a

recording artis t, are they willing to help pay for things that can help the
bands p rogress (e.g. s tu dio/rehearsal time, promoti onal i tems, tou ring
costs, etc .)?

D o t h e y h a v e a n y c o n n e c t i o n s i n t h e m u s i c bu s i n e s s th a t c a n h e l p t h e

band (e.g. manager, produ cer, agen t, attorney , label A&R, promoter, clu b
owner, publisher, studio owner, etc.)?
Use these qu estions and any others you can think of to help you pick
the ri ght members for you r band .

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Once you h ave th e band membe rs picked, you sh ou ld set up a


meeting to w elc ome everybody and go ov er the band ru les .
The first band meeting
A good way to save you rself some time after the au dition is to have
everybody c all a voicemai l hotline or visi t you r web site a week after the
audition for updates on who got selected. There you will have the n ames
and band positions of all the people who made it. You can then call only
the ones who made i t in ord er to giv e them in formation abou t the
meeting. That will save you from having to call or email all the other
people that didnt mak e it. If thei r names are not on the list, they will
know they didnt make i t and won t expec t any commu nication from you .
Another option is to create a rejection email template to send to
everyone th at didnt m ake th e cu t. Wh ich ever op tion you ch oose, make
su re you keep ALL th e names on file fo r fu tu re refe rence . You cou ld
always u se them in an emergency if one of you r mu sicians gets sick, qu its
the band , or c ant make i t to a gi g.
After you ve taken a look at and a listen to all the members that you
wou ld like t o h ave in you r band , yo u sh ou ld set u p a band m eetin g. Th is is
where everybody gets to meet all the other members of the band and
where you tell everybody what you r goals are.
Following are so me things you can d iscu ss:

Goals You shou ld tell peop le what you r short and long- term goals

are. For examp le, you r short- term goal may be to record some material
and get good paying gi gs arou nd town to create a bu zz. You r lon g-term
goal may be to either get a record deal or su ccessfu lly releas e you r own
record and tou r arou nd the cou ntry (or internationally). It is also cru cial
that you ask each of the band members what their short and long term
goals are.
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If you have a seriou s conflic t in goals, now wou ld be the time to take
care of the issu es and either get on the same page or let the person go.

Expectations

This

meeting

is

the

place

to

discuss

your

expec tations. If, for examp le, a band member is expectin g to get p aid
$100,000 for thei r first show, then it is safe to say that thei r expectati ons
are rather u nrealistic and dont match either with you r expec tations or
with

what

is

realistic ally

achievable

at

this

stage

in

the

ban ds

development. Once again, taking care of this now is better than waiting
u ntil later.

Schedules You

will need to know what everybodys gen eral

schedu le is. This is necessary in order for y ou to set the bes t rehearsal
schedu le and estimate how many nights a week you will be able to
rehearse and how many days a month you will be able to perform.
Discu ssing sch edu ling also lets you know if i t wi ll be possible to tou r w ith
all of these mu sicians. Having to wait to verify each band members
schedu le while trying to book a gi g can often cos t you the gi g. Try and set
the schedu le so that ev erybody knows when the fi rst rehearsal is at the
end of the meetin g. If someone is having major problems with the general
schedu le, you are better off letti ng them go ri ght now. If schedu ling
conflicts develop , i t will be mu ch easier to replace a band member at this
stage than to wai t u ntil you are half way throu gh you r tou r.

Band partnership agreement Most bands do not have this, but I

wou ld su gges t th at ev ery se riou s band sh ou ld h ave one. Th is sh ou ld be


discu ssed at the fi rst meetin g. This agreemen t wi ll c larify issu es like band
ownership, band name and trademark(s) , band member responsibili ties ,
profi t and loss sharing betw een members , fi ring and hiring decisi ons,
ru les of condu ct, pen alties for break ing ru les , and so on .

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This agreement isnt w ri tten for what happens when every thing goes
rightit is wri tten for what happens when everything goes w ron g! It is
mu ch better to w rite this while ev erybody is s till respec tfu l and on good
terms than to try and figu re things ou t in the middle of a major band fi ght
or lawsuit.
A band partnership agreement c an be anything from a v ery simp le
one-page docu ment, to a complex, mu lti-page con tract with dozens of
attach ments and add endu ms. How you ch oose to set you rs u p will depend
on how seri ou s you are abou t you r bu siness and how many issu es there are
to address among the band members. If you plan to do this for the long
term, then there are a lot of things that you may want to consider in you r
agreemen t.
You r band partn ership agreement may inclu de things lik e:

The name of the band partnership (which can be the band name);

Each band members contribu tion ( money, equipmen t, expertise,

rehearsal space, recording space , web/graphic design, photography,


etc);

What each band member shou ld rec eive as a resu lt of su ch

contribu tion;

The natu re of the band ac tivities ( performances, merchandise, etc);

What other activiti es each band member can engage in ou tside of

this partn ership;

Who owns the band n ame and logo ( trademark/service mark)?

What happens to the band name and logo shou ld the band

partn ership dissolve?

Who owns the recordings of the band (the master sound recordings);

How are the son gwri ting du ties shared, and how are the son gw riting

and pu blishing royalties assign ed?

How do the mu sicians share in the bands profi ts and losses?


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How are band meetings arranged?

How will the band vote on issues?

Who will k eep the bands banking books and records?

What ev ents wi ll trigger the dissolu tion of the band partnership?

What will happen to the band assets after dissolution of the band

partn ership?

How will the band d eal wi th leaving members or the additi on of new

members?

How will leaving members be paid?

What will happen in the even t of a d ispu te (e.g. settled internally,

mediation, arbitration , court)?


As you can see, things can get comp licated if you want to s et things
u p properly . You can tak e the abov e issu es and write u p a contrac t in you r
own words , and as lon g as you all agree with the terms and si gn the
docu ment, you will have a bindin g agreement.
It is highly recommended , howev er, that you retain the services of an
experienced entertainment attorney to d raft the con tract and make su re
that everything con tained in the con tract is legal. The Mu sic Bu siness
Regis try (http://www.mu sicregistry .com) has a Music Attorney, Lega l,
and Business Affairs Guide that you can u se to loc ate attorneys in y ou r
area. If you need assistance locating an afford able attorney, you can try
contactin g the Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts in your city at
http://www.vlany.org/legalservices /vladirectory .php (or simi lar
organization in your coun try of res idence), where you can get very
useful, low or no-cost legal / accounting assistance.

Equipment issues This is where you ev alu ate the condi tion of

each members equ ipment. For example, what type of d ru m kit does the
dru mmer have? What is the condi tion of the bass p layers ri g? Do you
have a mixing board , monitors , ou tboard gear, microphones, and speak ers
to use at venues that dont have sound?
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Th ese types of issu es sh ou ld be h andled now so th at you can


establish the best sou nd for you r band and develop a necessary bu dget for
repai rs or equ ipment u pgrades .

Song list This is where you discu ss and hopefu lly set the band

song list. A song list is literally a list of all the songs that you will be
playing as a band. A long with this song lis t shou ld be recordings of all the
songs so that each band member can listen to ( and even learn and chart)
their parts before the firs t rehearsal. If possible, have chord charts
available for mu sicians that can read them. If you are doing cover songs,
you sh ou ld h ave made a compil ati on of a ll th e songs f rom th e va ri ou s
sou rces for all the band members . If you are doing ori ginal songs , th en
you sh ou ld eith er h av e th em al re ad y writ ten o r be prep ared t o wri te th em
togeth e r as a band f rom sc ratch . If you are writin g from scratch you wou ld
need to set asid e the n ecessary time to w ri te.

Contact information You sh ou ld exch ange al l necessa ry contac t

information wi th each band member. Make su re you get ev erybodys phone


nu mber, e-mail address, mai ling ad dress , and emergency con tac ts.
Writing Sessions
If the band has been pu t together as a grou p (as opposed to a singer
with a g roup o f suppor ting hired guns), th en you sh ou ld set u p a series
of w ritin g sessions. Us e this time to actu ally w rite the son gs, and not for
rehearsing. Once you v e w ritten enou gh songs for both an albu m (or a
selection of singles for download) and at leas t a 1 hou r live show, th en
you sh ou ld sch edu le th e reh earsals . If you are a solo artis t and are h iri ng
mu sicians to support you live, th en you sh ou ld write you r songs and have
them charted (or at leas t be ab le to commu nicate the mu sic to the hired
mu sicians) before settin g u p the rehearsals .

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As soon as you have finished the writin g proc ess, copy right the
materi al. This is bec au se many manu factu ring plants requ ire that y ou
provide p roof of son g / master ownership before they can agree to
manu factu re any CDs for you . Copyrightin g you r material is a good thing
to do anyway , ev en if you will on ly be recording son gs as singles for
downloadin g and dont ev er intend to manu fac tu re any CDs . Sometimes
bands break u p before ever getting a chance to releas e any produ ct, and if
the breaku p is messy it may not be possible to get everyone to agree as to
who wrote what and who qu alifies as a writer or pu blisher. The time to
deal wi th th is is now, wh en you are not only stil l on good te rms , bu t wh en
the songwri ting p rocess is still fresh and everyone can agree as to who
the wri ters on each of the songs are (even if its on ly one pe rson). Revi ew
the earlier chapter on Copyright basics, and then fill ou t the necessary
copyright

forms

online

at

the

copyright

office

web

site

at

http://www.c opyri ght.gov.


Setting up Rehearsals
Rehearsals are best u sed to w ork ou t performance ideas and pu t the
show together. Rehearsals shou ld cover the son g order, instru mentati on,
solos,

segu es,

activities

between

songs,

back grou nd

vocal

parts ,

choreography, stage plot and design, li ghting, and so on. Ideally, you
sh ou ld not u se th is time to LEARN th e songs th emselv es, since eve rybo dy
sh ou ld h ave le arned th e songs f rom th e w riting sessions o r f rom th e
recordings you gav e them previou sly.
Before you set u p you r rehearsals, consider (depending on the s tyle
of music you perform) pu rchasing one (or all) of the DVDs av ailable from
Tom Jacksons Onstage Success website (http://onstagesu ccess.com/).
These DVDs can help you set you r band apart from all the others at you r
level.

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In today s age of dwindling mu sic sales , most mu sicians will make


their money from live shows (tic ket sales) and merchandise sold at the
live shows, in addi tion to licensing mu sic for u se in Film/TV p rodu ctions
and sponsorship/endorsement d eals. Havin g you r band sou nd (and lo ok)
great will increase you r fan base an d enable you to get better paying gi gs
and brin g you to the attention of potenti al brand partn ers and sponsors .
Rehearsing
You can find rehears al spac es by looking throu gh the classifieds
section of you r loc al free weekly and/or its related w ebsite. You can also
ask other loc al mu sicians for recommendations, in addition to searc hing
on-line (e .g., on Craigslist, e tc) for rehears al space. Don t ru le ou t a
garage or bas emen t as an option for rehearsals, if you can find a way to do
so withou t distu rbing the nei ghbors .
Many rehearsal spac es rent ou t space by the hou r or by the month.
Some spaces have blocks of time for one pric e - like a 3-4 hou r block for
$65 , fo r ex amp le . You sh ou ld be able to find space fo r $15 - $4 5 an h ou r
or $ 500 - $1200 a month. Some p laces are ev en less, while others mi ght
be a little more. It is sometimes possible to find bands to share a mon thly
space with. If you choose this option, be su re to w ri te ou t a li ttle contract
spellin g ou t the exac t d ays or times that you will be sharing the sp ace,
h ow mu ch each of you

will be paying per month, and under what

conditions you can get kicked ou t. Also discu ss what happens if somebody
damages equ ipment belon ging to an other band while rehearsing.
Try and book space a few w eeks ahead of time so that all the band
members

know

the schedu le. Keep in mind the traffic

and parki ng

conditions and dont schedule times that will prove to be inconvenien t for
some of the band members . Mos t rehears al spaces have cancellation
policies that you should find out about ahead of time.

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Usu ally, you will h ave 24 - 48 h ours to cancel a time slo t th at you
previou sly booked or else get charged the rehears al fee. If you book time a
cou ple of weeks in advance, you will have time to coordinate the schedu le
with all the band members and still have the flexibili ty to c ancel the
session if you are u nable to get everyone together for a rehearsal. If,
however, you are having too mu ch trou ble c oordin ating the mu sicians
schedu les, book the date that most people can attend , and then fi gu re ou t
an extra rehearsal to get everybody else u p to speed. If you take the
advice offered earli er, you will have spoken to potenti al band members
about

their

schedules

before

hiring

them,

thereby

minimizing

the

frequency of scheduling conflicts.


Try and record you r rehears als , and then review the rec ordin g or
footage later in order to evalu ate how the rehearsals are progressi ng.
Sometimes magic al things happen du ring rehearsals that are u nplanned.
Once recorded , it is possible to add it into the repertoire at fu tu re
rehearsals. If you have a sou nd engineer who will be doin g most of you r
live mi xing (and/or recording), con sider inviting them to a few rehears als
so that they can familiarize themselves wi th you r sou nd and song ord er,
mu sical sections, instru mentation , etc. Once you feel that you have the
show pretty w ell rehearsed , ask th e engineer to come by and record one
full shows worth of music that y ou can mix down and make a mas ter
recording from. You can u se this to make copies or create EPKs to send to
promoters, venu es, bookin g agents , etc ., or even create a fu ll len gth live
CD/DVD for sale at gi gs or as downloads on you r web site.

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RECORDING YOUR MUSIC AND MAKING IT AVAILABLE FOR SALE

As mentioned earlier, it makes no sense to plan a performance or


tou r if you dont have a recording, or at least some singles /downloads in
addition to merchandise av ailable for p romotional and sales pu rposes . If
you are going to go throu gh the effort of recording and su bsequ ently
promoting and pu blicizing you rself to the gen eral pu blic , you might as
well attempt to receiv e remu neration from mu ltip le sou rc es.
Thinking
proposition

about

the

(althou gh

fu t u r e

of

the

music

bu s i n e s s

most find it excitin g). The mu sic

is

scary

indu stry

is

cu rrently u ndergoing a tremendou s amou nt of tu rmoi l and change, and


nobody knows exactly what the fu tu re holds. Indu stry professionals are
contemp latin g all the w ays in which mu sic might be listened to and /o r
paid for, what types of devices peop le will use, how music will be found in
the vast ocean of conten t, and on and on. No matter what happens,
thou gh, the important thing is that people WILL still n eed mu sic to listen
to. Whether they access it from a c lou d or get it piped direc tly into their
brains , it will sti ll be mu sic they are lis tening to.
Writin g great songs is what you mu st concentrate you r energy on .
Write the best mu sic you can write (and then re-wri te i t to make i t e ven
better) , and then perform it to the best of you r abili ty. Make su re you are
totally in lov e with you r mu sic first, and then spend time s trategi zing the
promotional

efforts

that

will

resu lt

in

people

finding

your

music,

becoming you r fans , and pu rchasing downloads and merchandise. If y ou r


mu sic cant tou ch peoples s ou ls, you might as well s top ri ght now and do
something else.

P a g e | 134

More so th an ever before, th e q uality of your music (i.e. th e


writing and per formin g of it) is going to determine your future
in the music business.
Think abou t that phrase as you continu e throu gh the res t of the
manu al. Mu sic is the sou ndtrack of peoples lives, and i f you can w rite and
perform son gs that c onnect with people emotionally, they wi ll wan t to
listen to y ou r songs frequ ently an d mak e the mu sic part of thei r lives.
Once that happens, y ou can fu rther moneti ze that relationship throu gh
live performances and merchandise sales, and partner with sponsors and
brands to reach consu mers throu gh mu sic.
Recording Your Music
You will have several options available to you as you consider
recording you r materi al. Y ou can record you rself or y ou r band du ring a
rehearsal or liv e p erformanc e; bu ild you r own s tu dio to record in; or book
some stu dio time at one of you r local stu dios. If you intend to rec ord
materi al merely for the sake of sen ding packages to venu es, talen t bu yers ,
booking agents and promoters, then a recording of a rehearsal or live
performance is fine. If you want to release a CD and /or mak e downloads
available for sale on your website or iTunes, Amazon, etc., or want to
su bmit material for radio airp lay , Film/TV licensing, and as part of you r
promotional campai gn, then record ing in a stu dio (yours or o the rwis e)
u nder more con trolled condi tions w ill be more approp riate.
If you need assistance raising fu nds for you r recordin g (or bu ilding
you r own stu dio), consider resou rces like Power Am p Music
(http://www.powerampmusic.com/), K ickstarter
(http://www.kickstarter.com), Slicethepie (http://www.sliceth epie.com/),
feed the muse (http://www.feedthem use.net/ ), ArtistShare
(http://www.artistshare.com), SellaB and (http://www.sellaband.com/), an d

others .
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Most

studios

advertise

their

services

in

local

free

weekly

pu blications (and on their associated web sites). You can u su ally fi nd


these pu blications in mu sic retai l stores, s ome c offeehou ses/cafes , or in
street boxes/n ewsstands . You can also brows e internet classifieds sec tions
(like Craigslist, etc) or ask fellow mu sicians for information on where
they record ed their p rojec ts.
If you are interes ted in pu rchasing you r own gear to enable you to
record you r own projec ts, the learn ing cu rve is pretty steep (and beyond
the scope of this manual) , bu t doing so will allow you to record new
materi al any time you feel like. Keep in mind that u sing equ ipment and
softw are isnt something that ev eryone can do instinctively , and if it
doesnt come natu rally to you , you might be better off coming u p with a
bu dget each time you need to rec ord something or teaming u p with a
produ cer or somebody else who has access to a stu dio.
Wh ich ever way you ch oose t o go, yo u sh ou ld reh ea rse w el l b efo re th e
recording session and not w aste time at the session practicing material or
wonderin g wh at you sh ou ld be doin g wh ile th e c lock is ru nning. O f cou rse ,
if you are ru nning you r own stu dio, you can waste as mu ch time as you
wish. Otherwise, you shou ld know exactly which songs you are going to
record and in what ord er. You can alw ays tes t d emos of you r son gs on
sites lik e thesi xtyone (http: //www .thesixtyone.com) , SoundOu t
(h ttp://www.s ou ndou t.com /) , o r Ou rStage (h t tp://www .ou rsta ge.co m/)
and others for listener feed back /comments before committing time and
resou rces to a fu ll recordin g.
Also, you mi ght consider letting you r fans hear some of you r d emos
and gather feedback from them regarding which songs to record .
Providing a two-way conversati on abou t you r mu sic with them can help
cement the artist- fan relationship and bu ild a solid base of virtu al s treet
team members that you can activ ate later to sp read the w ord abou t you r
music.
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P a g e | 136

While you are in recordin g mode, you might also want to consider
taking the time to record volu mes of ori ginal mu sic for sale on spec ial
(e.g.,

occasions

Valentines

day,

Mothers /Fathers

day,

Birthda ys,

W e d d i n g s , e t c ) a n d P u b l i c D o m a i n ( P D ) C h r i s t m a s / H o l i d a y m u s i c fo r
Film/TV produ ction licensing pu rposes.
Companies are always in need of mu sic that can complemen t a
produ ct or servic e du ring holidays or on special occasions, and having
mu sic that fi ts the bill c an p rovide you with additional income long after
the recording i tself is finished. H av ing this mu sic avai lable also offers you
the potenti al to earn extra income by performin g the materi al at ev ents on
special occasions , or generatin g extra income by licensing the songs along
with you r original recordings to Film/TV/Games , etc . produ ctions. Y ou
can

send

your

recordi ngs

to

music

libraries

(http://www.mu siclibrary report.com) that can get the songs p lac ed in


Film/TV p rodu ctions or even with companies that add mu sic to products
sold to cu stomers on speci al occasions.
Make su re that the mu sic you record is ori ginal, or is in the pu blic
domain; and doesnt contain any un-cleared samples. Beginning you r
licensing efforts early is important becau se it generally takes s ev eral
months

to

rec eive

royalty

checks

from

your

Performin g

Rights

Organization after y ou r songs hav e been u sed in a p rodu ction.


If you dont hav e a produ cer assi gned to you r p rojec t, it can be
benefici al to have somebody els e presen t at the recordin g session who
knows the bands sou nd and can act as that third ear to help p rodu ce the
recording. This is becau se it is difficu lt to be su bjective abou t you r own
performances while you are in the process of recording. It is important to
have somebody whose opinion you respect ( like a co mpetent reco rd
producer or ano ther trus ted music ian) otherwise you will merely end u p
argu ing with each other over takes and wasting a lot of ti me in the stu dio.
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Mixing Your Music


Once

youre

done

recording,

it

will

be

time

to

mix

all

the

individu ally reco rd ed tracks onto a tw o-track mas ter ( .wav or .ai f file,
CD-R, tape , e tc). While mi xing, keep in mind the English idiom that
too many cooks spoil the broth! When all the band members are
involved in the mixin g session , c haos u su ally ensu es. Individu al band
members invariably will want to hear thems elv es increasingly lou der and
more p rominent in the mix, and eventu ally what you have left is one lou d
mess. It is advisable to k eep the overall nu mber of p eople in the con trol
room du ring the mixing session to a minimu m; consisting preferably only
of the en gineer, the design ated produ cer, and one or tw o members of the
band who know most what the finished produ ct shou ld sound like. Ru n the
mix by the other band members after the session, and control the u rge to
want to re- mix the songs over and over again .
In addi tion to a fu ll mixes of eac h song, mak e su re you also mi x
versions of the songs withou t the lead vocals (TV mixes) as well as
versions of the songs withou t any vocals at all ( instrumenta l mixes). It is
easiest to do these 3 mixes as you go throu gh each song. These mixes c an
come in handy for live performanc e pu rposes as well as for licensing to
Film/TV/Games, etc .
Mastering Your Music
The next step in the proc ess is mastering . This is where you
arran ge the songs into thei r correc t albu m order, apply final equ alizati on
and compression, perform any additional processing that is necessary to
achieve a p rofessional sou nd, remove excess noise from the recordi ng,
perform fade-ins and fade- ou ts, check for au dio anomalies , create a
u niform sou nd and volu me level from one song to the next, in sert
copyright, ISRC and UPC information into the son g files, and so on.

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Wh eth er you ch oose to master you r songs after you mix th em will
depend largely on what you intend to do wi th the finished produ ct. If all
you are doin g is making a recordin g to send ou t to talent bu yers , book ing
agents, promoters, etc., then you can ju st make copi es after you r mi x and
send them ou t. If, as is rec ommended, you want to ac tu ally sell y ou r
produ ct or of fe r m aste rs fo r Fi lm /T V licensing pu rposes, th en you sh ou ld
go ahead and spend a little extra money mas tering you r recordings afte r
you mix them (even thoug h it is de batable whethe r or not a lis tener can
appreciate the mastering e fforts in ear buds, on laptop speakers , or out
of a smart phone).
If you wish to have an ISRC for you r songs (unique numbers that
identify each individua l song) , then you can do so by requ esting the
necessary info rm ation f rom th e agency in you r cou ntry of residen ce
(http://www.i fpi.org/conten t/s ection_resou rces /isrc _agencies .html).
Mastering is u su ally done at a sep arate facili ty, althou gh it is also
often offered at the same facility wh ere the recordings are mi xed . For best
resu lts , I wou ld su ggest takin g you r mixed recording to a sep arate facility
that

specializes

in

masterin g.

You

can

search

on line

for

masteri ng

facili ties . You can also ask recordi ng en gineers at loc al recording s tu dios
to recommend a mastering facili ty. Talkin g to bands in you r area is yet
another option . The hou rly fee fo r masterin g is u su ally mo re than that for
mixing; between $3 5/hr - $300/hr (and in some instances even more).
However, it takes less time to mas ter a rec ordin g than it does to mix it,
and you can u su ally maste r a 13-song al bu m in 6-8 h ou rs if th ere isn t t oo
mu ch fixing to be done to th e mix . If you write mu sic th at you conside r
mainstream , then an option wou ld be to test the son gs hit poten ti al
u sing services like u Playa (http: //u playa.com) and others in ord er to get
feed back on the hit poten tial of songs before you master them and
manu factu re a minimu m ru n of CDs .

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Hiring Publicists and radio promoters


Pu blicists and radio promoters c an be assets to you r team i f you can
afford them. Un fortu nately, most i ndependent artists c annot afford the
$10,000+ i t wou ld cos t to hire a pu blicist for a six to fou rteen w eek
campai gn (and multiple times mo re for a radio pro mote r). In additi on,
the sheer volu me of p rodu cts and services that requ ire pu blicity make it
extremely difficu lt for u nknown independent artis ts to gen erate any
meaningful coverage in the mainstream medi a arena. Nonetheless , doing a
minimu m amou nt of carefu lly planned pu blicity (even DIY) is worth the
effort as p art of an on- going long- term strategy involving talent bu yers,
booking agen ts, venu e bookers an d promoters for you r shows and/or
tou rs. Pu blicists work with bands and artists to connect wi th fans , get the
attention of indu stry players, as well attempt to get the medi a (ra dio,
television , internet, and print) to write artic les abou t them, cond u ct
intervi ews with them, and /or review their CDs or live shows.
If you have the money , now wou ld be the time to call arou nd and
decide which pu blicist and/or rad io promoter you want on you r team.
Some radio promoters also provid e pu blicity services. The reason you
sh ou ld contac t th em now (if you c h oose to pursue t his op tion) is th at t h ey
are u su ally interested in working with you on deciding wh ich songs to
service to radio (co llege , internet, satelli te), what promotional materi als
to manu factu re, where to rou te you r tou r, which distribu tion channels to
pu rsu e, etc. They u su ally prefer to consu lt with you before you pu t you r
package together so that they can make s ome su gges tions and allow you
time to make any changes . If you waited to contac t them u ntil afte r
designing you r artwork and record ing and manu factu ring you CD/DVD,
merchandise and p romotional materials, it w ou ld be too late to mak e any
correcti ons that are deemed nec essary . Of cou rse, you always have the
option to do things the w ay you want to, regard less of what a pu blicist or
promoter thinks.

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P a g e | 140

You

can

find

publicists

and

p romoters

online,

as

well

as

in

directori es like The Mu sicians Atlas, the variou s Billboard direc tories ,
and the Indie Con tac t Bible, to name a few . Don t d espair i f you cant
afford to hire a pu blicist or radio promoter and have to handle pu blicity
and

radio

p romotion

duties

on

your

own.

For

most

independent

mu sicians, do-it-you rself (DIY) is the only realistic opti on avai lable
today.

After

utilizing

resou rc es

like

The

(http://www.thevirtu alpu blicist.c om/) ,

the

Virtual

Publicist

Indie

Bible

(http://www.indiebible.c om/), and others , you can si gn u p to si tes li ke


ArtistData

(http://www .artis tdata.com)

(http://www.mu sicarsenal.c om/)

to

help

or
keep

Music
your

Arsenal

publicity

and

promotion ac tivities streamlin ed an d organized .


Graphic design & photography
If you intend to manu factu re you r p rodu cts, try and get a good
photographer to take some pictu res for y ou , as well as somebody who
knows abou t graphic design to desi gn you r CD and merchandise artwork
a n d l o g o s . A t t h i s s t a g e , y o u s h o u ld c o n s i d e r h a v i n g a l l t h e p h o t o g r a p h y
and graphic design work done for n ot only you r CD/DVD cover (or digital
e-cover),

but

also

for

your

website

gallery

images,

posters/postc ards/flyers images , and merchandise images (logo desi gn,


photog raphy, and graphic design for T-shirts , etc). The best way to fi nd
photographers is also to ask loc ally (other musicians, record stores,
recording

studios,

publicists ,

modeling

agencies,

local

photography

schools, etc) , or search onlin e c lass ifieds like Craigs list and others . Make
su re you see the photographers p reviou s work and talk to them abou t
you r vision before hiring them for a shoot. Once again, make su re you
discu ss wh o owns th e copyrigh t on th e design or ph otograph ic mat eri als
produ ced.

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No matter who you get to do you r graphic design , make su re you


inclu de you r contact inf orma tion on all you r produ cts or me rch andise t h at
is avai lable for sale. Mak e su re you pu t you r web si te or social n etworki ng
URLs on the artwork as well. When adding credits , make su re you inclu de
all the n ecessary and correct copy ri ght notic es on the artw ork .
Examples of copy right notices inclu de:
For the photographer A ll photographs copyri ght 20 10 John Major
For the lyrics c opyri ght 20 10 Sarah Jones Pu blishing, B MI. Ly rics
re-p rinted by permission
For general copyright notices (websites, song me tadata , etc)
copyright 20 10 Sarah Jones Rec ords
For the physical CD 20 10 Sarah Jones Records All ri ghts reserved
Make su re you get all the necessary releases or permissions to u se
the

photos,

as

well

as

define

clearly

who

owns

what

(e.g .,

the

photog rapher generally owns the photos unless you ag ree othe rwise in
writing, etc) . You r CD graphic designer shou ld work clos ely wi th you r CD
manu factu rer. If you r manu factu rer offers graphic design templates, make
su re you r graphic designer u ses them. The templates can u su ally be
download ed from the manu fac tu rers web site. These temp lates inclu de
exac t measu rements to ensu re that you r artwork is su bmitted accordin g to
t h e i r s p e c s . I f y o u u s e y o u r o w n d es i g n t e m p l a t e s , y o u c o u l d e n d u p w i t h
artwork that doesnt fit thei r specs, cau sing a delay in the process and
possibly costing more money .

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CD Manufacturing
In this era of mp3 players, smart phones, streaming intern et radio,
social

networkin g,

and

the

impending

cloud,

the

physical

CD

is

practic ally a dying breed. Howev er, some consu mers who, whether th ey
are less tech-savvy than other consu mers or simp ly prefer to hold a
shrink-wrapped

CD

in

their

hands,

still

p refer

physical

CDs

over

downloads . In addition, premiu m produ cts (li ke enhanced CDs /DVDs


with glorious artwork, exclusive songs, artists autograph, hidden
tracks , extra video foo tage, VIP pas ses and ticke ts, video games, etc) may
still

have

the

potential

to

be

sold

on

your

website

and

alongs ide

merchandise at live shows and concerts, so dont ru le them ou t of you r


inventory enti rely if you wish to have more produ ct op tions av ailable for
you r fans. In

addition , many college radio s tations and

even some

revi ewers still p refer mu sic su bmissions to be made in the form of a


physical CD.
If you intend to manu factu re CDs or DVDs and plan on doing so for
a while (even though many artists and labels today are recording and
releasing single downloads only), you might consider getting a bar c ode
for you r comp any. Most distribu tors will requ ire you r produ cts to have
UPC codes on them, so keep that in mind as well if you intend to
distribu te you r CDs to retail (as opposed to only selling down loads on
your own site).
If interested, you can begin the process by visiting the GS1 US site
and

applying

for

bar

code

for

your

company

here

(http://www.gs 1u s.org/joinpc). There is an annu al membership fee that


you will need to pay , which is determined by the nu mber of u niqu e
produ cts you need to identi fy an d you r companys gross annu al sales
rev enu e, so on ly get one if you plan on manu factu ring several releases .

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When it comes to manu factu ring you r finished produ ct, you will have
to shop arou nd and allow plenty of time before schedu ling a release /
listening party or annou ncing a street (release) date for you r produ ct. Its
not u nu su al fo r problems to occu r du ring the manu factu rin g proc ess and
you ll need extra ti me to correct problems that mi ght occu r. P roblems
ran ge anywhere from the company taking longer than promis ed to d eliv er
the produ ct, to them prin ting th e wron g materials or qu antities and
shipping packages to the wrong ad dress . Make su re you shop arou nd for
differen t manu factu rers and, when possible, ask other people who h ave
worked with the manu factu rer how their proj ect tu rned ou t.
Since most people now adays prefer to pu rchase (if at a ll) down loads
i n s t e a d o f C D s , y o u m i g h t c o n s i d er o f f e r i n g m u s i c d o w n l o a d c a r d s f r o m
companies lik e FizzKicks (http://w ww.fizzkicks.com), or Dropca rds
(http://www.d ropc ards .com) and others; or consider c reating delu xe
produ cts

(like

custom

http://www.cu stomu sb.com/mu sic.html)

USB
out

of

produ cts
the

materials

you

are

manu factu ring. Delu xe p rodu cts cou ld also inclu de bonu s material in the
form of addi tional songs and/or videos, enhanced packaging/artwork,
bonu s merchandise (e.g. pos ter, t-s hirt) , exclu sive recordings , or CD/DVD
combos. Thinking abou t these items now will enable you to manu factu re
all the produ cts at the same time and inclu de them all as part of you r
initial release. You can also take these items with you to sell at shows and
earn extra income.
You can search on line for manu fac tu rers or pick u p a con tact
directory from Billboard (http://www.orderbillboard.com). Your local free
weekly sometimes co ntains advertising from manufacturing plants. The
Musician s Atlas (http://www.musiciansatlas.com) is also a source for
contact information that includes manufacturers. Some popular manufacturing
options include Disc Makers (http:// www.discmakers.com/), Oasis Disc
Manufacturing (http://www.oas isc d.com/), Crystal Clear Media Group
(http://www.crystalclearcds.com/), and others.
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Dont nec essarily make a d ecision based en tirely on the p rices you
see, bec au se some of these p rices dont inclu de everything that you migh t
need. Manu factu rers sometimes pu t low p rices in their advertisin g in
order to get you to commi t, and then hit you with extras. Asking arou nd
and getting referrals is sti ll the best way to go abou t finding a su itable
vendor. You mi ght also consider making a short ru n ord er (of perhaps 100
or so CDs) and printin g you r inserts and j-cards from a manu factu rer,
and then pu rchasing CD cas es separately.
Some manu fac tu rers also offer graphic design services. This can be
of help in terms of one-s top shopping. They can also offer lower costs for
the desi gn in consideration of y ou using them to manu factu re. This
u su ally works ou t ok ay, so i f you dont have too mu ch time or mon ey, you
can look into this option.
Most
Media

manu factu rers

Associations

participate

(IRMA)

in

Anti-Piracy

the

Intern ation al

Compliance

Recording

Program.

This

program requ ires them to obtain and maintain proof of intellec tu al


property ri ghts and trademark au thorization from you . This, in plain
English, means that you have to p rove that the recording mas ters that
have sent to your manufacturer belong to you.
If you do indeed manu factu re physical CDs, make su re you fill ou t
the online copyri ght forms and su bmit the necessary nu mber of sou nd
recordings to the copy right office for copy right pu rposes . You can find all
the information at their websi te at http://www.c opyri ght.gov. You should
also register with a Performance Rights Organization (PRO)
responsible for collec ting performin g royalti es in the region where you
reside
(http://en.wikipedi a.org/wiki/List_of_copy right_c ollec tion_societies) .
You sh ou ld also look in to re gist erin g wi th Sound E xchange
(http://www.s ou ndexchange.com/) for collection of digi tal performance
royalti es.
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Once you rec eive y ou r CDs from the manu factu ring plan t and
release them for sale, you may also want to track you r s ales by registeri ng
you r titles wi th Nielsen SoundScan (http://enu s.nielsen.com/tab/indu stries /medi a/entertainmen t).
Merchandise
Even thou gh most experts advise y ou to wait u ntil later on (when
you go on tour) to manu fac tu re you r merchandise, you may consider
manu factu ring s ome t-shirts at this stage since you can sell the items on
you r website ev en before you go on tou r. In addi tion, merchandise can be
sold to fan clu b members that sign u p for you r su bscriptions, or given to
street team members as app reciati on for them helping to promote y ou r
band.
You can manu factu re a minimu m set of i tems (e.g. t-shirts) from
companies lik e Sell Merch (http://www.sellmerch.com/) , Zazzle
(http://www.zazzle.com) , or Extra Mile Merch
(http://www.extrami lemerch.com/) and others. You cou ld also u se
services like CafePress (http: //w w w.cafep ress .com) to c reate and sell tshirts with li ttle u pfront cos t, althou gh the qu ality of the merchandise
may be of sli ghtly low er caliber than those offered by some of the other
vendors .
Setting a Release Date for Your Recordings
The battle rages on abou t when exactly CDs will become obsolete,
with some s aying they already hav e become so and others s aying that it
will happen wi thin the next 3-5 years. In the meantime, many people are
still bu ying CDs , even if at lower levels than in the past. The choice is
you rs as to whether or not you want to manu fac tu re CDs at all or j u st
stick

to

recording

individual

songs

(singles)

for

di gital

down load

pu rposes.
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With some fans fi rmly in the dow nload camp while others stick to
the old school world of physical CDs, i t mi ght be wise (a t leas t for the
time

being

and

depending

on

the

style

of

music

you

write /record /perform) to offer as many options as financially possible for


you r fans of all ages to pu rchase you r mu sic. Another thing to k eep in
mind is that many college radio stations (for those of you pursuing ra dio
airplay)

still

p refer

physical

CDs

to

be

submitted

for

airplay

consideration over mp3s and dow nload links . This may change in the
fu tu re, bu t is gen erally sti ll the c as e as of this writin g.
If you are manu factu ring CDs/DV Ds , you sh ou ld set a re le ase da te
at this time. Release dates don t work for down load-on ly rec ordi ngs
becau se fans will want acc ess to the singles immediately as you rec ord
them. For physical recordings , however, a release d ate is essentially the
date that you will mak e you r record ings avai lable to the gen eral pu blic for
sale. Any

p ackages

you

send

out to

talent

bu yers , booking

agents,

promoters, pu blications, radio stations, etc., shou ld mention the release


date.
Do not set you r release date u ntil AFTER you have receiv ed you r
produ ct from the manu fac tu rer. Once you have the produ ct actu ally in
you r hands, you need to give you rself enou gh time to effectiv ely pro mote
th e releas e, plan and sch edu le you r release / lis tening party , send ou t
packages to you r radio / medi a / retai l / indu stry contac ts, and book
sh ows for you r band . Th is u su ally me ans you sh ou ld set a re le ase d ate
abou t six to ei ght weeks after you r CDs arriv e at you r door. In that time,
you sh ou ld h ave all th e ite ms you need fo r you r packages alon g with al l
the directories you need for you r contact in formation.

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Creating Your Mailing List


Now th at you h ave you r band togeth er, you sh ou ld immediate ly be gin
t o p u t t o g e t h e r y o u r m a i l i n g l i s t . I n f o r m a t i o n y o u c o l l e c t s h o u l d i n c lu d e
at least the persons name and e-mail add ress . It is sometimes a good id ea
to also inclu de a phone nu mber and a space for commen ts. If you can
collect a zip code as well, that wou ld be helpfu l in terms of gig or tou r
promo tion since you can target fans within specific geo graphical loc atio ns
for each show. Get each of the band members to contact all the p eople
they know and add them to the mailing list.
Remember that even you r fri ends, family members, co-workers,
acqu aintances, and neighbors shou ld be on you r mailing list bec au se they
cou ld all potentially bu y you r CDs and merchandise and come to y ou r
shows; as well as tell their friend s, acqu aintanc es and fami ly members
abou t you , who in tu rn cou ld tell their friends and family members abou t
you , and so on. At a minimu m, mak e su re you get peoples emai l add res ses
so you can send them newsletters, u pdates, p rodu ct information, gig
calend ar reminders, etc.
Once you have the beginnings of you r mailing list started , you
sh ou ld make an on-goin g ef fo rt t o add names to it . Use socia l netwo rk ing
campai gns to expand you r circ le of fri ends and fans . Everywhere you go
offline, mention to peop le the fact that you have a band and a CD coming
ou t. If they exp ress any interes t whatsoever, offer to add their names to
the mailing list so that you can keep them updated about shows and
merchandise and CD avai labi lity . This applies whether you are at the
grocery store, coffee shop, office bu ilding, ball game, or anywhere else.
C r e a t e a m e t h o d w h e r e y o u c a n qu i c k l y a n d e a s i l y a d d s o m e o n e s n a m e
and emai l add ress to the lis t. If you have the capabi liti es to do so on you r
website, offer you r fans some of you r songs (streamed or downloaded) in
exchange for their email add ress .

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It is gen erally easier to get an e-mail add ress from someone you ve
ju st met than a phone nu mber. Most peop le feel that e- mails are less
intru sive on their privacy than phone calls. H aving a lot of names on y ou r
mailin g list is not only imp ressive to talent bu yers, v enu e bookers, labels,
etc ., bu t is also the easiest way for you to promote you r firs t show and get
people to attend . If all the band members make this an ongoing effort, you
sh ou ld be a bl e to add two o r th re e names to you r m ailing list eve ry d ay.
Th is wou ld amou nt to sixty to eigh ty new names a month , even if you
arent doing any gigs .
If you dont have a system of you r own for collecting fan data and
sending ou t emails , you cou ld try solu tions like FanReach
(http://www.reverbnation.c om/fan reach), FanBridge
(http://www.fanbrid ge.com/) , Ban d Letter
(http://www.bandletter.com/) , and others .

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MATERIALS FOR YOUR PHYSICAL KIT


You sh ou ld pu t togeth e r th e prom otiona l ma te ria ls th at you migh t
need for booking gi gs and getting media cov erage or radio airp lay . Ju st
like any good bu siness plan, you r media package or press kit should
constantly be evaluated and updated. The kit should never stay the same
and shou ld never be p res ented the same w ay to different peop le. For
example, a package that you send to a venu e booker or talent bu yer isnt
necessari ly the same as on e you wou ld send to a college radio station
mu sic director or a freelance w riter at a pu blication. A photo that works
well for a websi te gallery may not necessarily work w ell for an artic le i n a
magazine, and so on.
Media Area on your Website
Before you begin you r ou treach campai gn, mak e su re that you ve
created a Media area on you r site that provides access to a di gital media
kit or electronic press kit (EPK). E ven thou gh this area is designated as a
media a rea , you sh ou ld make it ac cessible to oth e r peop le th a t mi gh t be
interested in the information , inclu ding potential sponsors and brand
partn ers , concert promoters and talen t bu yers , etc. Alternativ ely , y ou
cou ld create sev eral differen t areas for each interes ted p arty to enter, bu t
have

them

access

the

assets

(e.g.,

informa tion, etc) from a common area.

music,

photos ,

biographical

P a g e | 150

In

the

downloads,

media

area,

interested

high-resolu tion

parties

headshots

should

and

be

able

images,

to

find

biographical

information , tou r dates , rec ent press releases , band logos , pictu res and
video footage from recen t events , i nterview requ est forms , notable qu otes
or testim onials from influ ential m u sic indu stry pro fessionals , etc . Offer
both

h igh -qu ality

u n-compressed

(.wav,

.aif)

and

lower

quality

compress ed (.mp3) versions of you r songs for review .


Physical Kits
For the occasions where a physical kit is requ ested , there are some
basic items that you should have available at all times for presentation.
As we go ov er this list, reali ze that not all of these items go into every kit,
or are app ropri ate for every occasion. Generally speaking, less is more; so
c a r e f u l l y c u s t o m i z e y o u r k i t f o r e a c h r e c i p i e n t w i t h t h e m i n i m u m n u mb e r
of items p rovided that are necessary to s atisfy the needs of the recipient.
In the case of an Electronic Press Kit, many of the i tems desc ribed
below can be presented in a section of you r website or generated in the
form of a PDF docu ment. If you plan to send physical packages , here are
some of the items you might inclu de, depending on the circu mstan ces
(and

carefully

following

the

in structions

provided

to

you

by

the

recipient):

Cover letter For occasions where a cov er letter is requ ired, make

you rself some band stationary (le tterhead, business cards, envelopes)
u tilizing you r band logo that can be u sed for bu siness corresponden ce.
When requ ired, you r cover letter will basic ally describe what you have
sent, why you have sent it (e .g. fo r booking considerati on, for a possi ble
review, for money from a sponsor, etc) , a brief breakdown of any
important informati on (e.g. u pcomi ng release party, i mportant showcase,
etc), you r contac t information (where you can be reached), and a notice
of when you will follow up.
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You sh ou ld also mention any convers ation or co rrespondence you


may have had wi th the recipient; for examp le, As a follow up to the
conversation we had last Thursday.. You r cover letter shou ld be short,
no longer than two or th ree p aragraphs, and fit on one p age. The res t of
you r package will inclu de addition al information that the recipient c an
u se to formu late a response.

M u s i c W h e n s e n d i n g mu s i c i n a p h y s i c a l p r e s s k i t , c a r e f u l l y f o l l o w

the instru ctions provided by the recipient. If the recipient requ ests a
manu factu red CD complete with artwork and liner notes , dont send in a
CD-R d emo or links to mp3s; and vice vers a. In addition , you r best 3
songs from the CD shou ld also be u ploaded to you r EPK for revi ew or
download.

Photo If you are sending someone a kit in the mai l, the indu stry

standard for photographs is 8 x 10, black & white, glossy photographs. Of


cou rse, i f you have an on line EPK , the pictu res will be in the form of highresolu tion JPEGs. If you are a band, you will need a photo of the entire
band. If you are a solo artist with band members / mu sicians that are
h ired gu ns, th en you sh ou ld h ave a pictu re of ju st you rself . It is alw a ys
a good idea to have two types of photos taken that cater to the needs of
the recipient. One type is the studio or location shot, which is basically a
set of posed photos of the band in a photo studio or out at some location
(indoors or outdoors). The other type is the live shot, which is a set of
photos of the band perfo rmin g liv e, p referably in front of enthu siastic
fans. Regard less of the type of photo you create and send, mak e su re that
the personali ty of the band or artist comes throu gh in the pictu re.

Biography You r biography is a su mmary of interestin g and

import ant th ings abou t you r band . You sh ou ld att emp t to k eep it no
longer than one page in len gth.

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Topics that indu stry people find interesting in you r bio inclu de
famou s produ cers you ve worked wi th, gu est appearanc es or du ets on the
recording, famou s family members you might have, major deals you ve
signed, tou rs that you ve been on , college or commerci al radio airp lay
you ve receiv ed, artic les that hav e been wri tten abou t you in major
publications,

famous

songwriters

involved

in

the

recordin g,

film

sou ndtracks to you r credit, intern et bu zz you ve receiv ed, sponsors or


brand partn ers you ve sign ed with, etc . If you dont have a lot of c redi ts,
you sh ou ld inclu de informa tion ab ou t th e stre et d at e and /or avai la bilit y
of you r produ cts, where you re from, what sty le of mu sic you perform,
you r backgrou nd or the back grou nd of the band members, etc . The bio
that you send to industry people need not be the same as the one you
pu t on you r website for you r fans to read .
You may write the bio you rself i f you have a way with words. If not,
there are several op tions you can look into. You can pay someone ( like
Dan Kimp el - http://www.dankimp el.com/) to wri te a bio for you . Another
option is to call y ou r local college radio s tation, newsp aper, or televis ion
station and ask if they can recommend a writer. Many of these individuals
are making their w ay u p the ladd er and may be wi llin g to w rite artic les or
biographies for little or no money . Dont bother c alling a major radio
station or newspaper, thou gh. They barely have time to respond to
legitimate news articles and are bu sy trying to meet d ead lines. Y ou cou ld
also try talking to a stu dent who is attending some type of jou rnali sm
cou rse. Of cou rse, you cou ld also ask other mu sicians who they wou ld
recommend .

Fact sheet Not every mu sician has enou gh impressive information

for a fu ll-page biography. B esides that, i t is sometimes n ecessary to send


condensed information to someone who doesnt have mu ch time to read a
lot of information . For this type of occasion, you can pu t together a fact
sheet. This is a one-page sheet of information wi th bu lleted facts abou t
you and what you have done.
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Info rm ation you wou ld inclu de would be simil a r to wh at w ou ld be in


a b i o g r a p h y . A s u s u a l , y o u w o u l d h av e a l l y o u r c o n t a c t i n f o r m a t i o n o n t h i s
sheet as well as a small photo.

Quote sheet Not ev ery mu sician has a qu ote sheet, bu t if you can

put one together it would add to the package. This is basically a collection
of qu otes from revi ewers, editors , promoters, radio personnel, w riters,
etc ., which are collected and condensed onto one page. If you dont hav e
revi ews o r qu otes , you shou ld consider u sing resou rces like Re view Y ou
(http://www.reviewyou .com/) ,

the

Indie

Contact

Bible

(http://www.indiebible.c om/), and others to get a few qu otes together for


media kit pu rposes . If you get a revi ew or qu ote, you dont hav e to inclu de
the entire qu ote. Ju st tak e the best part of the qu ote and credi t the person
who made it. For example:
Unlike similarly fashioned recordings, this project doesnt get los t in
preachy rheto ric.
Larry Flick Bi llboard Magazine.
If you can manage to get 5-7 of these together you cou ld pu t them all
on one 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper. As with every thing else, you shou ld
inclu de you r band name. Pu t Qu ote sh eet as th e h eading, and inclu de
you r mailing add ress, con tact name, phone nu mber, fax nu mber, e-mail
address , and web page URL ac ross the bottom.

Press clippings P ress clippin gs are newspaper or magazine

articles / featu res that are taped on to a page and photoc opied (in the c ase
of a physical press kit) or scanned and uploaded to your website (in the
case of an EPK). Once again , not every mu sician is fortu nate enou gh to
have articles wri tten abou t them i n print pu blications. If you can pu ll
together a few articles or reviews w ritten abou t you from any pu blication,
you sh ou ld cu t ou t a section th at inclu des th e pu blications nam e and
issue date.
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Y o u c a n th e n g l u e o r s c o t c h - t a p e t h e s e c l i p p i n g s o n t o a s h e e t o f
plain white paper. Ti tle the page press c lippings. A t that poin t, you can
make ph otocopies f rom th e mas t er and inclu de th e copies in you r
package or sc an them for you r EP K. Dont pu t too many clippings on a
sheet, and dont pu t too many sheets in you r package ei ther. If at all
possible, try and fit them all on one page, and inclu de only the most
impressive featu res . Ju st like qu ote sheets, if you dont have any fabu lou s
fea tu res , don t inclu de any at a l l. Bu t if you do, inclu de you r mail ing
address , con tac t name, phone nu mber, e-mail add ress, and web site URL
across the bottom.

References & Testimonials It is often very helpfu l to get clu b

managers, booking agen ts, promoters , or other bands to say someth ing
positive abou t thei r w orkin g experiences with you . You cou ld also u se
references

from

music

editors ,

radio

station

personnel,

festival

presen ters, mu sic store managers, etc.

Lyric sheets Only include these if specifically asked for them. For

example, you may be asked to prov ide lyric sheets for you r songs if y ou
are sending a pack age ou t to a mu sic pu blisher or a talen t bu yer for a
charity ev ent; or even i f you are sending a mu sic video ou t to a television
or intern et s tation for potenti al ai rplay. It is possible that a venu e might
ask for lyric sheets to see if they are interested in booking you r type of
band or not. In any case, hav e them handy in the even t you are asked . Y ou
cou ld also h ave you r lyrics av aila bl e on you r web site wh ere you can point
people to.

DVD Mos t bands cannot afford to pu t together a dec ent DVD.

However, when done well, having a DVD can increase the odds of sign ing
with a bookin g agen t, landin g an opening slot on a tou r, getting a gig at
an important v enu e, or getting a w riter from a pu blication to attend and
revi ew one of you r shows. Y ou cou ld also u pload you r footage on to
You Tu be or into th e EPK sec tion of you r own web site .
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If

the

cost

of

hiring

company

to

shoot

footage

for

you

is

prohibitive, then having stu dents from a fi lm school shoot and edit y ou r
DVD is a good way to s ave money and works as a benefi t for both parti es .
More often

than not, you

will be left wi th a fai rly

good

DVD for

promo tional u se. Another good opti on is u sing equ ipment from you r lo cal
public access television station . Most of these offer training on their
equ ipment as well as volu nteers that you can u se to help shoot you r DVD.
Search on-line for pu blic access television stations in you r area. An
alternativ e opti on is to rent some vi deo equ ipment ( mainly cameras , lens,
and lighting) to videotap e your live shows and then editing the footage on
you r compu ter u sing readi ly available vid eo editing software.

Folder If mailin g ou t a pack age, all these materi als shou ld be

placed inside a fold er. You can pick u p folders from you r loc al office
s u p p l y s t o r e . P i c k u p t h e o n e s t h at h a v e a s l o t f o r y o u r b u s i n e s s c ar d s
inside, and inclu de a business card with you r contact info rma tion a nd
address . Inclu de a band sticker on the fron t of the folder. If you have a
band logo, inclu de it as part of th e artwork. Also, pu t the name of the
band, the contact person, address, phone nu mber, fax nu mber, w eb site or
MySpace URL, and a pictu re of the band on the ou tside of the folder.

Tri-fold brochure This is a cost-effective way to send out

information in a small p acket. Y ou can send a tri-fold brochu re instead of


sending ou t you r en tire press kit in certain situ ations . The brochu re
sh ou ld inclu de you r band nam e & lo go , som e b and pictu res , a sh ort bio ,
some desc riptiv e qu otes abou t you r band and mu sic, some qu otes and
testimonials , a short lis t of acc omplishments or awards , and you r contact
inform ation . You sh ou ld also inc lu de a link to you r EPK. Th e b roch u re c an
be m ass produ ced and mai led fo r m u ch less th an an enti re package. If th e
recipient is interested they wi ll ask you to send the whole pack age, or y ou
can point them to the media area you r web site or to another location
where you r EPK is avai lable.

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Page 155

PUBLICIZING AND PROMOTING YOUR RECORDINGS


The enti re p rocess of getting people to pu rchase you r p rodu cts
involves a specific formu la. Ev ery thing you do from this point forward
sh ou ld be to move peopl e th rou gh th e process and eventu ally to th e pl ace
where pu rchases happen. The formu la is as follows:
1. First s omeon e has to FIND you , or be told abou t you .
2. Th en th ey h ave to HEAR you (your music), see you (your photos),
and/or both hear and s ee you (your videos).
3. Then they have to LIKE you (if they dont, they move on).
4. If they like you , they then have to decide whether to go along for a
free

(s treaming,

ride

(CDs ,

produ cts

paid

free

downloads,

downloads,

etc)

or

PAY

subscriptions,

FOR

show

your

tic kets ,

merchandise, donations, e tc).


5. Once they decide to pay for you r produ cts online, the process mu st
be qu ick, easy, conv enient, and p ainless (i.e . music purchases must
be completed in as few mouse clicks as possible while offering
delivery as fast as possible in as many forma ts as possible to be
listened

to

at

the

buyers

convenience

in

as

many

places

as

possible).
Getting the maximu m nu mber of people to find you is ju st the
beginning o f th e process , and you will need a m assive amou nt of e xposu re ,
views and lis tens to translate to even modes t sales . Therefore, you will
need to employ as many promotion al and pu blicity-related techniqu es as
are

financially

possible

(or

as

relate

to

your

type

of

music)

simu ltaneou sly in order to generate the income you desire. Dont ju st pick
one techniqu e and pu t all you r eggs in that one basket.

P a g e | 157

You will also need to be consistent and persistent with you r efforts
over a pe riod of time t o ach ieve resu lts. With all th is in mind, you sh ou ld
begin promoting you r band and rec ordings long before you r firs t gi g and
even before any official release d ate. This is becau se it takes people a
while to warm u p to something they ve never heard before.
Pre-promotion is nec essary to make people aware of you r songs , the
release date, and the name of you r band. People are mu ch more lik ely to
a t t e n d y o u r s h o w s w h e n th e y k n o w w h a t y o u s o u n d l i k e a n d a r e f a m i l i a r
with some or all of you r son gs. H av ing videos , pictu res and song samp les
on you r web site or social networking profile offers visitors a glimpse of
what

you

have

(including

to

media,

offer.
talent

Pre-promotion
buyers,

also

labels,

makes

indu stry

publishers,

people

dis tributors,

promote rs, booking agents , etc) aware of who you are.


Mainstream radio is sti ll the nu mber one way in which most people
find ou t abou t mu sic, and it influ ences them to then go on line to find ou t
more abou t what they ve heard, wh at that artist is u p to, and what other
people are s aying abou t the mu sic they have heard. People also respond to
mu sic recommendations made to them by people that they lik e, know,
respec t,

or

tru st

(i .e.,

friends ,

family

members,

associa tes

and

acquaintances, and people within their networking circles).


Anoth er way th at mos t people h ear abou t (new) mu sic is by ch ance
encou nter (e.g., someone stu mbl es u pon you r profil e wh ile looking on l ine
for something else, someone hap pens to walk by a poster of you rs
somewh ere, a social netw orkin g f ri end or fo llow e r h as you r song in their
playlist, you r song gets rec ommended online becau se it sou nds like
another song, someone gets handed a samp ler by a street teamer, someone
happens to be at a or p ass by a c lu b where you are performing, someone
hears one of you r songs u sed by someone in a You Tu be video, etc).

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Since you will most lik ely not ac hieve the airp lay satu ration on
mainstream radio thats necessary to make y ou rself well-known to the
general pu blic, encou raging word- of-mou th recommendations from you r
fans and positioning you rself to benefi t from chance encou nters will be
the way that most peop le find out about you. That means that you will
have to be in as many places as possible in ord er to increase that
likelihood that somebody bu mps into you or you r profi le somewhere, and
then ends up tellin g someon e else about you

and pu rchasing CDs ,

downloads , show tick ets , and merchandise.


Utilize some of the following techniques in this manual, as well as
any other strategies you may think abou t, to increase the likelihood of a
fans chance encounter with your music.
Social Networking
Major record labels still have at their disposal commercial radio
(airplay) , network and cable television (music videos and talk show/late
night appearances), the internet (YouTube and Yahoo/MSN etc . ho me
pages), movies (artist ro les), and mainstream print media (celebrity and
gossip publications, e tc) to in fluence and reach fans. But for independent
artists , chance encou nters on the intern et, offline street team mark eti ng,
and social networkin g are the ways that fans wi ll be reached and nu rtu red.
Social networking sites play an important role in promotin g and
pu blicizing you r mu sic to the gen eral pu blic . We c annot cover all the
social networking si tes in this e-book bec au se there will always be new
social networking sites-of-the-moment, so you mu st do the legwork of
keeping abreast of which of the latest ones are most popular, active and
eff ectiv e. Wh en you begin you r campai gn, inste ad of ju st networki ng
within the typical ci rcles of friend s, mu sicians, and people in the mu sic
industry th at eve ryone els e do es, yo u sh ou ld make an e ff ort to visi t soc ial
networks that are based on p articu lar in teres ts other than mu sic.
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Consider hobbies or speci al in terests that you may have, and then
find networks that allow you to soci alize with like- minded people to wh om
you can display you r mu sical skills and tal ents. Th e re a re doz ens of
special interest social networks you can find . For examp le, Acti on Profi les
(http://www.actionp rofi les .com/) is a social networking commu nity for
action

sports

enthusiasts.

PatientsLikeMe

(http://www.p ati entslik eme.com/) is a commu nity of patients, doctors


and organizations to inspire and empower persons with life-changing
diseases, and so on. Use services like Simler (http://simler.com/) , Ni ng
(http://www.nin g.com/) or Twine ( http://www.twine.com/) and others to
discover in formation arou nd you r interests , and then connect with lik em i n d e d p e o p l e t h a t c a n b e c o m e f a n s a n d bu y e r s o f y o u r mu s i c , t i c k e t s ,
and merchandise.
You sh ou ld at th e very le ast regis te r Twitter , imeem, Facebook
(Artist P age), and MySpace accou nts, in addi tion to c reatin g you r own
personal websi te or blog that will su rvive the comings-and-goin gs of all
th e lat est socia l netwo rking sit es. You sh ou ld also re gist er a YouTu be
channel and frequ ently post interesting, en tertaining, and comp elli ng
content that gives peop le insight into you r personality and mu sic, as well
as a reason to retu rn for more vi ewings. Viewers that su bscribe to y ou r
You Tu be ch annel get noti fied wh en you post new content, so th is is a
great way to introdu ce new songs to you r fans and give them a sneak-peek
into you r liv e shows o r rehearsals. There are literally do zens o f su ch sites
you can set u p as part of you r fan bu ilding strategy , dependin g on the
demographic you are trying to reach.
Startin g you r soci al n etworkin g campaign early wi ll be of ben efit to
you down the road when you r social networking s tatistics show u p on sites
like Ne xt Big Sound (http://www .nextbi gsou nd.com/) RockDex
(http://www.rockd ex.com) , Band Metrics
(http://www.bandmetrics.com/) , an d others .

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Y o u c a n u s e t h e d a t a c o l l e c t e d b y t h e s e s i t e s i n f u tu r e n e g o t i a t i o n s
and

dealings

with

venu e/talen t

bookers,

promoters,

brand

p artn ers ,

labels , sponsors, etc .


Consider social netw orkin g a discovery mechanism as opposed to a
sales mechanism. Us e i t (and encourage your fans to use it) as a way for
people to discover your music and decide if they like it or not, and then
seek to monetize that relationship down the line on your (or your
distributors) website store as well as at you r liv e shows. Its important to
u tilize the sites correctly and target people in you r area for promotion for
live shows and regional tou rs; people within 100 miles of you r home base
or city . Once you ve bu ilt a s olid base of friends and follow ers in the
region, you can then begin to expand ou twards to other citi es, states and
cou ntries with the idea that some of these fans wi ll end u p coming to you r
shows and/or pu rchasing CDs , dow nloads , or merchandise.
Of cou rse, i t doesnt hu rt to hav e fans in cities beyond you r home
base, so even while you concentrate on you r local area (for increased gig
attendance) , continu e to reach ou t beyond you r home base for fans that
c a n p u r c h a s e mu s i c p r o d u c t s a n d m e r c h a n d i s e o n l i n e . W h i l e p r o m o t i n g ,
you can u pdate all y ou r different s ocial n etworkin g sites simu ltan eou sly
using

services

like

HootSuite

(http://hootsu ite.com/),

Ping.fm

(http://www.pin g.fm) and others .


Begin you r mu sic social network ing campai gn by searching for
tastemak ers,

bloggers,

and

interesting/entertaining

people

(including

other musicians) who already have a large following or are an influ ential
voice in you r area of interest. Y ou can also choose to follow peop le who
follow major label bands on Twitter that you think you sound like, or
search for people who have bou ght mu sic from iTu nes from artis ts w ho
sound like you (or whose music is similar to yours).

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If y ou specialize in a p articu lar ty pe of mu sic, or have a hobby or


interest that has a soci al network online, try and find w ays to become
fri ends with or follow the leaders. Listen to the convers ations for tone
and conten t before ju mping in an d being p art of a social netw orki ng
grou p.
You

can

use

services

like

Twitter

Search

(http://s earch.twi tter.com/) , Co lle cta (http://c ollecta.com) , or twen dz


(http://twend z.waggeneredstrom.com/) and others to search for and k eep
tabs of twitter conversations abou t particu lar people or su bjects you are
interested in, or services like wefo llow (http: //w efollow .com/) to search
for and follow different hash tags and search terms; and then begin
followin g and interactin g with people once you are comfortable with the
tone

of

c onversation .

You

can

also

join

networks

like

Ning

(http://www.nin g.com/) and others to (as the site su gges ts) create and
join new social netw orks for you r i nterests and passions. Follow people
who have had conversations abou t pu rchasing mu sic from major label
artists that are similar to you , and then find ways to communicate with
them and in trodu ce you r mu sic to them over time.
Keep in mind that social networki ng, done effec tively, is not abou t
sellin g. The ri ght cou rse of acti on is to spend time investin g in the
re la tionsh ip between you and you r potenti al f ans so th at th e re la tionsh ip
can be moneti zed later. Treat people in social networkin g circles they
same way you wou ld treat them if you met them at a bar, restau rant,
nightclu b,

library ,

caf,

groc ery

store,

etc.

In

those

instances,

you

wou ldnt lau nch into a high-pressu re produ ct sales pitch, so dont do that
while in social networking ci rcles. If you do, you ll tu rn people off and
end u p with few follow ers or fri ends. Instead , paint a pictu re of you rself
by being interesting, en tertaining, inspiring, or edu cational (depending
on your personality); contribu tin g meaningfu lly to conversations; and
providing something for other peop le in the network to gravi tate to.

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While netw orkin g, you can occasionally mak e reference to the fac t
that something interes ting happened at a show, or offer some other
conversation-generating tit-bi t that will tu rn the conversation towards
you r mu sic. Keep in mind that w hile you are conv ersin g you are also
mark etin g

and

branding

you rself.

networking ci rcles in ways

Interact

with

people

in

social

that make them feel part of a two-way

conversation and action (like running contests or suggesting meet-ups at


interesting
services

places).

like

Show

Twitpic

your

p ersonality

by

sharing

(http://www.twitpic.c om/)

photos

or

u sing

DailyBooth

(http://www.d ailybooth.c om/) and others; and images and video u sing
services like yfrog (http: //www.y frog.com/) and others .

Once you begin

to attrac t a bas e of fri ends and followers , open u p a two-way dialogu e and
interact with them frequ ently.
Once you get you r soci al netw orkin g campai gn u nder w ay, research
variou s methods of s treamlining you r campai gn by u tilizin g resou rces like
the Involver Social Marketing Suite
(http://involver.com/gallery .html) and others.
Word-of-mouth
Engage you r fans to p lay leading roles in you r virtu al street team.
Encou rage them to spread the word abou t you r mu sic to their circ le of
fri ends, fami ly members , and associ ates . Remember that each one of these
fri ends, fami ly members and assoc iates hav e thei r own larger circ le of
fri ends,

family

members

and

associates,

all

of

whom

tru st

recommendations made from within the circ le. This effort can generate a
more loyal fo llowing than can be do ne fro m simply pu shing propaganda on
foru ms, blogs , social networks, etc . Give you r fans instru ctions on what to
say abou t you r produ ct availabi lity and shows, while at the same ti me
listening to what they have to say and collectin g feedback on what they
are hearin g from people in terms of fav ori te son gs, opinions of liv e show
performances , su ggestions for new recordin gs or p rodu cts, etc .
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Have a two-way convers ation with you r fans and u se them as focu s
grou ps. Withou t being too pu shy, try to get some demo graphic data from
them (e.g., age, loca tion by zip co de, gender, etc) in order to cu stomize
you r mailin g list ou treach.
YouTube AudioID & VideoID
Consider

utilizing

YouTube s

AudioID

and

VideoID

p rodu cts

(http://www.y ou tu be.com/t/contentid) to track the viewin g metrics of


You Tu be users th at a re u sing you r songs in th eir videos. Unless th e u sers
are u sing you r songs to att empt t o cau se damage to you r image and/o r
r e p u t a t i o n , y o u s h o u l d a l l o w t h e m t o u s e y o u r m u s i c bu t c o n t a c t t h e m t o
requ est that they ac t as part o f your virtu al street team. If they are u sing
your music, it means that they like it. You can have them direct th eir
enthu siasm of you r mu sic to their v iewers, fans, friends, family members,
neighbors , and associ ates. If the v ideos are generating a lot of traffic,
offer the u ser some of you r other songs that they can u se in any other
videos they p rodu ce, as well as free tickets to shows or merchandise.
Blogs
Even thou gh most of you r ou treac h efforts shou ld be targeted to
potenti al f ans, you sh ou ldnt entire ly overlook th e import ance of som e of
the influ ential tastemak ers on the intern et. Gettin g an influ ential or
respec ted blogger to fall in lov e with you r mu sic and recommend i t to
people c an pay dividends, and c an make an impac t on hu ndreds or
thou sands of people immediately. In addition to u sing resou rces like The
Virtual
lists

Publicist
like

the

(http://w ww.thevirtu alpu blicist.c om) ,


one

available

at

The

you

Hype

can

use

Machine

(http://hypem.com/list) and others to search for mu sic bloggers that


might find an interest in you r mu sic. You can also create an accou nt on
Blogger (https://www.blogger.com/start) in order to find and comment
on other blogs.
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As with everything else, read some of the blog archives to get a sense
of an individu al bloggers likes an d dislikes before reaching ou t to them
about your music. If they live in your area, invite them to a show and
offer to pu t them on the gu est list and p rovide them wi th some d ri nk
tickets.
Song down loads
Consider offering you r fans, in add ition to s treamin g, the opti on of
downloadin g some of you r son gs ( in 128 k mp3 fo rmat) from you r site.
Doing this is not so much more different than handing ou t CD samplers on
the street; excep t for the fac t th at you are d oing i t onlin e with no
manu factu ring cos ts. Make su re th at when you do this, thou gh, any mp3
tracks you have for sale are of higher qu ality; like 320k mp3s and/or one
or more of the loss less fi le formats (e.g. Apple Lossless or FLAC) . Si tes
like Bandcamp (http://bandcamp .com/) and others allow you to offer
you r songs to fans in mu ltiple fi le formats . Re verbnation also has a
widget that you can u tilize to give people free downloads of you r mu sic
(http://www.reverbnation.c om/mai n/widgets_overview) .
Allowin g some free low er qu ali ty downloads offers the listener the
opportu nity to enjoy you r mu sic anywhere they have the ability to p lay
mp3s even when they dont have access to the internet to hear the
streams on y ou r site. You dont nec essari ly have to offer them all of y ou r
songs, bu t the offer shou ld allow you r fans (for a limited time) the ability
to down load mp3s from you r site, not ju st to listen to free son g s treams
or hear 30 sec ond song samples . If possible, c reate a system where you
collect p eoples email addresses in exchange for access to the s ong
downloads area of you r website so that you can send ou t gig informati on
and other news (Bandcamp, men tioned above, allows you to do this).

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Online Strategic Partnerships


Locate websi tes of charities , individu als and companies that have
produ cts or services that cater to p eople that are of similar d emographics
to you r fans. When you find a site that is su itable, contact the owner and
inqu ire as to whether they wou ld be interested in incorporatin g a mu sic
player into their si te that will allow visitors to play (and/o r e ven
download) you r song (or some songs). Inform the owner that doing this
will not cos t them or thei r visitors anything, and that the mu sic will be a
nice fit for the type of people that visit the site. You can then have them
(or their webmas ter) add a player similar to one of the Reverbnation
widget players (http://www .reverbn ation .com/main /widgets _overview) to
their site. Dont worry abou t moneti zing the mu sic directly from thei r web
site. If peop le lik e the mu sic, they will have all the necess ary information
from the song description metatags to get to you r site and make a
pu rchase or sign u p to you r mai ling list. Make su re that the son gs have
the correc t tags (artis t name, song name, album title , keywords , U RL)
and inclu de you r pictu re. Y ou can allow p eople to ju st stream the s ong
from the play er, or enable them to d ownload the son g.
Record pools (DJ Pools / Music Pools)
You may be in terested in u tilizin g record pools also known as
Mu sic Pools or DJ Pools - if you r mu sic is Dance (and its rela ted subgenres), Urban (e .g. R&B, Rap) , or Crossov er (e.g . To p 40 , Pop, CHR) .
Other sty les of mu sic dont work so well in the nightclu bs and therefore
wou ld not benefi t from the u tilizati on of rec ord pools . For a listin g of
record pools in you r area, you can v isit TJs DJs
(http://www.tjsdjs.com/rpd.php) or Music Pools
(http://mu sicpools.nwdma.org/index.htm) , or u se you r preferred s earch
engine to locate a listin g of record p ools .

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Some of the listed music pools are no longer in business, but once
you ve located a u seable list you shou ld gather the addresses and phone
nu mbers of all the record pools in you r promotion region. The preferred
approach is to send a copy of the song (CD, vinyl, or mp3, depending on
the pool) alon g with a response / bou nce back card to the record p ool
director to see i f you r mu sic is something that wou ld be app rop riate for
their record pool. If it is su itable, they wou ld then send back the response
card (o r call / e mail you back) and instru ct you to send enou gh prod u ct
for all their members to be serviced. Each pool may have anywhere from
50 to 200 members, so you wou ld have to have enou gh promotional
produ ct to service all the pools in you r area. If you r songs are not su itable
or i f you r produ ct isnt avai lable i n their preferred format, they wou ld
send back the response c ard or c all/emai l you to let you know that you r
mu sic is not a good fit for their pool.
If someone at a rec ord pool is interested and you send ou t a
shipment, try and remind the pool director of you r releas e date and have
the DJs play the mu sic right arou nd that d ate. You can also ask the p ool
direct or if th e DJs can giv e you some fe edback on th e crowd response in
the clu b when they play you r song( s). This feedback cou ld be u sed (with
permission) in you r qu ote sheets as part of you r promotion materi als .
Submit your songs for licensing to Film/TV, etc.
Now that you have material that is recorded (and more i mportantly,
mixed and mastered), you shou ld pu t aside some time to res earch places
to su bmit you r material for licensi ng in Film, TV, Advertising agenci es,
Games, etc . It tak es many months for the resu lts of you r licensing efforts
to pay off, so the sooner you begin the process, the soon er you will s tart
to see the checks. The details of music licensing are beyond the scope of
this e-book, bu t you can find ou t mu ch of the information from man y of
the mu sic library websi tes as you condu ct you r research.

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If you have the right material, you stand to potentially earn tens of
t h o u s a n d s o f d o l l a r s a y e a r f r o m t h e u s e o f y o u r mu s i c i n a v a r i e t y o f
produ ctions and formats . A good place to begin researching places to
submit

you r

material

is

the

Music

Library

Report

(http://mu siclibrary report.com/) . There you can find u sers revi ews of the
differen t mu sic libraries before deciding where to su bmit you r material.
You can also pick up a copy of the F ilm & Tele vision Music Guide from
the Mu sic Registry (http: //ww w.mu sicregistry.com/) .
You can also license mu sic to u sers directly from you r own websi te
u sing services like LicenseQuote (http://www.licensequ ote.c om/) and
others , or p rogram you r own solu tion that enables you to do so. Before
you su bmit you r material to mu sic li braries , howev er, dont forget to
copyright all you r material (http: //www.copy right.gov) and affili ate wi th
a performing rights organization of your choice (e.g.,
http://www.bmi .com, http: //www .ascap.com, etc) as both a w ri ter and a
pu blisher member, as w ell as Sou nd Exchange
(http://www.s ou ndexchange.com) as a recording artis t / sou nd recordi ng
copyright owner.
Create Video Content for Publicity Purposes
Consider c reatin g video con tent to u pload to sites like YouTube
(http://www.y ou tu be.com) , Dailym otion (http://www .d ailymotion.c om),
Vimeo (http://www.vimeo.com/) , etc . Many potenti al fans like mu sic to
have a visu al compon ent to i t. In other words , the experience of listeni ng
t o m u s i c i s e n h a n c e d w h e n y o u ad d a v i s u a l e l e m e n t t o i t . A n y v i d e o
content you create shou ld serve two pu rposes. One pu rpose of creating
videos, in additi on to heightening the au ditory experience of you r mu sic,
is to give you r fans some insight into you and you r mu sic, inclu ding
behind-the-scenes, making- of, live shows, rehearsals , in-stu dio, backs tage
access, sneak-peek , demos in p rogress , and things you might wan t to
know about me footage.
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The

second

pu rpose

is

to

create

entertaining,

compellin g,

and

captivating footage that can be u sed to generate n ew fans and keep


cu rrent

fans

interested

and

coming

back.

Your

footage

should

be

interesting and entertaining enou gh to get people to not on ly watch it and


come back , bu t also to share it with their fri ends and increase the nu mber
of people su bscribing to you r video channel and mailing lis t. In additi on
to

footage abou t you

and you r mu sic, encou rage peop le to

provide

feed back , mak e comments, and spread the videos virally. Increas e the
chances

of

this

happening

by

making

the

content

entertain ing,

interesting, u sefu l, inspiring, edu cational, encou ragin g, insightfu l, etc.,


depending on you r personality . As you shoot footage, consider asking y ou r
fans for feedback on what they want to s ee you rec ord and offer in y ou r
videos.
You sh ou ld begin by setting u p a You Tu be ch annel in you or you r
bands name, and then continue by uploading content to it consistently in
order to get people to come back . Make su re you add videos to you r
channel regu larly so that you r fan s have something interesting to talk
abou t and share wi th their friends . You will need to c reate and u pload a
lot of footage to your channel not only because people will expect and
a p p r e c i a t e t h e m a t e r i a l , b u t a l s o b e c a u s e y o u r p r o d u c t i o n qu a l i t y w i l l g e t
better

over

time

as

you

learn

from

early

mistakes

and

make

improvements . Make su re to chec k on the comments and commu nicate


with you r fans so that they feel relevant and appreciated .
Create Extra Materials for Promotion and Sale
It is imperative to set aside some money for the pu rchase of
promotional items for you r release. These p romotion al i tems inclu de
things like mu sic cards / digi tal download cards , t-shirts , postc ards,
posters, fli ers , s tickers, etc.

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Consider asking you r fans what merchandising items they wou ld be


interested in pu rchasing or recei ving for free at a gig, as part of a
su bscription, etc . Some of these p romotion al items can be very u sefu l in
enablin g people on the street (who cant find you online) to become
fami liar with who you are and what you r projec t is abou t. Many of these
promotional items can be sold or given away at gi gs as well as from y ou r
website. In addition, retai l stores that sell you r CDs on consignment may
be wi lling to pu t u p some of y ou r posters or fli ers , thereby increasi ng
you r profi le and sales .
You dont have to pu rchase all these items for you r camp aign , or
even all of them ri ght away, d epending on what type of mu sic you
write/rec ord and what bu dget you have available. The thing to keep in
mind, however, is that if nobody knows about you or your product, how
can they possibly decid e i f they li ke it enou gh to bu y it? You mu st find
ways to promote you r i mage and you r produ ct to the p eople on the street
as well as online. A lso, retail stores like to know that you are finding
differen t ways to promote the CDs that you are asking them to carry on
consignment.
There are many places that offer these items and the fi rst place you
sh ou ld ch eck is on-line . Si tes like D ropcards
(http://www.d ropc ards .com/) , FizzKicks (http://ww w.fizzkicks.com/)
and DiscRevolt (http://www.discrevolt.com/) offer mu sic download
cards that you can u se ei ther as p romotional giveaways or as w ays to sell
downloads . Services like CustomU SB
(http://www.cu stomu sb.com/mu sic.html) en able you to create cu stom
USB mu sic produ cts that you can sell to you r fans or u se as p romotional
giveaways to vi rtu al street team members and /or su bscription members .

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You can also manu factu re a minimu m set of merchandise items ( e.g.
t-shirts, etc.) from companies like Sell Merch
(http://www.s ellmerch.com/) , Za zzle (http://www .zazzle.c om) , or Extra
Mile Merch (http://www.extramilemerch.c om/) that can be u sed for
promotional giveaways as well as made avai lable for s ale at you r website
or merchandise tables at you r gi g. Y ou cou ld also u se servic es lik e
CafePress (http://www.cafep ress.c om) to create and sell t-shirts with
little u pfront cost in ord er to fi gu re ou t which designs sell before ord ering
a minimu m ru n from the other si tes for sale from you r website or at gi gs .
Subscription Area
Cre at e a su bscription are a on you r website in wh ich you offer f ans,
for a mon thly and/or annu al fee, premiu m or exclu sive produ cts, con tent
and services inclu ding things lik e free songs; monthly live performanc es;
custom compositions; a lbum sneak-peek listening sessions; discounted
music, tic kets , and merchandise; exclusive photos; behind- the-scenes
footage ; pre-sales; live chats ; vid eos; special edition and/or premium
products; collectors items , limited edition vinyl, bac kstage access; me etand-greets; members only after-parties; VIP sta tus; entries to monthly
raffles; custom ring tones; member goodie bags; custom artwork; annual
get-togethers; and anything else you can think of.
Be creativ e with what you offer, and make su re by asking for
feed back that the su bscriptions inc lu de items of v alu e that you r fans will
appreciate. A fter all, fans wont w ant to pay a monthly su bscription fee
for things that have no valu e, or that can be had wi thou t signing u p for
the

su bscription.

You

can

use

solutions

like

Caribou

CMS

(http://www.c aribou cms.com/) and others to offer su bscription conten t to


your fans.

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Sending Packages to the Media


If y ou dont have a pu blicist w ork ing for you , now is the time to
contact or send ou t press packages to the medi a in order to attemp t to get
some revi ews, intervi ews, or articles. The reason to s tart early is that the
media operates on set schedu les and deadlines . You cant ju st send a
package and expec t to have an article w ritten the same day it arri ves
there. Ev en if you get one w ritten, it will tak e a while before a review or
article appears in print. So start the media ou treach process early and
attempt to have a bu zz c reated by the time you r performances begin and
you release y ou r CD/DVD.
If you are handling pu blicity you rself, you can u tilize services lik e
The Virtu al Pu blicist (http://www .thevirtu alpu blicist.com) or resou rc es
like the Indie Contact Bible (http: //w ww.indiebible.c om/) and others to
make the job of finding indie-frien dly medi a ou tlets and contacts easi er.
The main pu rpose of s ending you r packages to the media is to pu blicize
you r reco rd rel ease / st re et da te , alon g with any sh ows you may have
coming u p. You sh ou ld h ave already set th e rel eas e date by now (if you are
releasing physical CDs/DVDs).
Initially , dont bother sendin g you r packages to the bi g-name
media ou tlets (e.g . Billboa rd, Ro lli ng Stone, MTV, VH-1, BET, e tc). These
pu blications and TV ou tlets only care to w rite abou t, revi ew , or intervi ew
major label artis ts that their readership and viewership are already
fami liar with (or who the major la bels are pushing). In other w ords , the
people who read these magazines and watch these TV stations wan t to
read abou t and look at famou s people they recogni ze, identi fy with , are
inspired by, etc . The few exc epti ons to this ru le are if you have an
incredible s tory or wei rd angle that the p ress c an talk abou t in order to
interest their audience.

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P a g e | 172

The mainstream, commercial medi a ou tlets operate to make money ,


and not necessarily to break new bands. You r best bet wou ld be to send
you r press packets and releases to local pu blicati ons, loc al television and
college radi o stations , and all mu sic related websites . If you are handling
publicity

duties

you rself,

you

can

(http://www.artistd ata.c om)


You

services

or

(http://www.mu sicarsenal.c om)


streamlined.

use

can

to

ArtistData

Music

help

use

like

keep

Arsenal

things

Billboards

organized

Publicity

(http://www.billboardpu blicitywi re.com/) and /or the Music

and
wire

Industry

News Network (http: //www.mi2n.com/) and others to send newsworthy


press releases abou t you r proj ect to the medi a.
The trick to d ealing wi th the medi a is to think abou t everything from
their point of view. Think about what the medi a NEEDS, and not what you
want. Its obviou s what you want. You want exposu re. Bu t what do the
variou s media ou tlets need ? They need information and stories that will
keep thei r listeners, vi ewers, and / or readers interes ted , entertain ed, and
informed. The media like stori es that are cu rrent, relevan t, informative,
inspirational, controversial, shock ing, timely, etc . Look for the an gle
within you r story to pi tch.
Put

together

list

of

media

people

that

you

think

would

be

interested in you r story . Condu ct research to find the places that w rite
revi ews

or

artic les

about

independent

bands.

Consider

non-music

pu blications and websi tes as w ell. In terms of p rint pu blications, start


your

search

locally,

then

region ally,

and

then

work

your

way

out

nationally and intern ationally. Tak e a look arou nd you r city, and pick u p
copies of all the pu blications , particu larly the ones that inclu de a lot of
independent mu sic-related articles . Watch television and see which shows
featu re local bands. Search on-lin e for places that revi ew or showcase
independent

artists.

In

every

instance,

attempt

to

find

contact

information of the person you shou ld send you r packages or links to.

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P a g e | 173

Always check what the submission policies are, and to whom you
sh ou ld send you r media packet . N ot ice if a pu blication w rit es revi ews, a nd
if so, who gen erally w rites these reviews. If you send a package ou t to an
entertainment editor, for examp le, you may have to follow u p before any
revi ew or artic le is w ritten. The thing to remember is that the bigger the
publication, the less likely it is that you will actually get a review or
article w ritten . Start with the smaller, more independent pu blications and
web

sites

where

your

response

will

be

better.

In

addition,

most

pu blications fill thei r space wi th advertising fi rst, and then fill the leftover space with news , articles , revi ews, etc .
Putting Together a Marketing Book
At this point you shou ld pu t together a marketing book that
contains all you r marketing and p romotion plans and efforts . It does nt
have to li terally be a book , bu t does need to be a solu tion that en ables you
to enter d ata and mak e u pdates and corrections as nec essary. This is what
you will u se to keep track of you r p romotion p lans as well as to chroni cle
how well or how poorly the plans are working. It shou ld be as detailed as
you can possibly make it. Each time you have an idea or concep t that you
want to try , you shou ld write i t d own in the book or enter it into the
data base and docu ment th e pro gress or l ack th ereof . You sh ou ld be abl e to
inpu t information into the book or database each week or sometimes d aily
depending on the volume and type of activity takin g place.
If you signed u p for Mu sic Arsenal, Artist Data, or some other
similar service, you can u se that as a working solu tion to inpu t and u pdate
you r data. This marketing book / database serv es two distinct pu rposes.
One, as men tioned above, is so th at you can document how effectively
you r plans are working and mak e adju stments as necess ary . The other
pu rpose for you r mark etin g book is that the data can come in handy if it
becomes necessary to shop you r band to brand partners, record labels ,
pu blishers, distribu tors , inves tors, licensees, or sponsors .
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Sponsors and brand partn ers in particu lar like to know what type of
mark etin g and promotion efforts you have u ndertaken previou sly, and
what strategies worked or didnt work so that they know how to move
forward with you r p rojec t if they choose to sign you .

ARTIST MANAGEMENT MANUAL | 2010 Edition

Page 174

USING PUBLICITY TO BUILD YOUR FAN BASE


If you ve paid attenti on to the mu sic scene in you r region (or any
other region , for that ma tte r), you ve no dou bt noticed the abu ndance of
m u s i c i a n s i n t h e mu s i c a l j u n g l e o u t t h e r e . C h a n c e s a r e , w i t h a c o m p u t e r , a
microphone and s ome cracked softw are, you r next d oor nei ghbor is
probably w orkin g on a hit record i n their bed room ri ght now .
With all the ac tivity going on , how does one break throu gh the
clu tter and bu ild a large enou gh fan base to mak e a mu sic career
w o r t h w h i l e ? I n o u r z e a l t o e m b r a c e t h e m u s i c bu s i n e s s 2 . 0 m o d e l s , w e
have lost app reciation for some of the old-school pu blicity methods that
worked so w ell fo r so m any mu sicians for so long. Good , old- fash ioned
articles and interviews seem like old dinosau rs to tod ays independ ent
musician community, yet even with the gloomy economy and the scuttling
of some once- venerable pu blications, there has n ever been a time w hen
su ch a variety o f pu blications (bo th in print and on the web) existed in
su ch large nu mbers .
With read ership and viewership ranging in nu mbers from a few
thou sand to several hu ndred thousand, a well-placed series of artic les or
perfectly-timed set of stori es can go a long way towards exposing an
artist, building a fan base, packing venues full of enthusiastic fans,
attracting

indu stry

attention,

and

sellin g

large

quantities

of

CDs ,

downloads and merchandise.


So, the qu estion on most mu sicians minds is: how exactly do I get
an article or s tory written about me?

P a g e | 176

Following are some steps for you

to follow in your quest for

coverage:

The firs t s tep is to find a story an gle of in terest abou t you rself
(if you are a self-managed artist) or you r clien t (if you are a
manager). Consider something other than your music for an
angle. For example, aside from bei ng a mu sician, perhaps you
are also an exp eri enced diver, or have su rvived a hu nting
accident, or operate a graphic design bu siness from a tree
house, or are seekin g financin g in an economic d owntu rn, or
are an expert in a specific area, or have overcome a medic al
condition, or have been the victi m of a work-at-home sc am, or
traveled to 40 cou ntries in 40 d ays, or any other angle you can
think of.

The next step is to si gn u p for servic es lik e epresspass


(http://epresspass.com/) ,

or

Help-a-Reporter-Out

(http://www.helpareporter.com/) , and others that alert you to


Jou rnalis t Requ ests. In the s ame way that compani es pu t ou t
classified

ads

looking

for

employees,

jou rnalists

put

out

requ ests for su bjects for stories they are working on for thei r
newspaper, publication , website, TV station , or Radio station .
These requ ests inclu de a description of the type of person they
are interested in as a su bject, th e type of artic le they are
writin g

or

information ,

in terview
and

the

they

are

deadline

condu cting,
for

receivin g

their
the

contact

n ecessary

inform ation . Th is is wh ere you h ave a ch ance to match u p you r


story with a jou rnalist looking to wri te abou t i t. Remember,
thou gh, that ju st like James Frey discovered on the Oprah
Winfrey show, it doesn t p ay to li e abou t you r story.

While

peru sing

the

listings ,

look

for

as

many

jou rnalist

requ ests as specific ally apply to you r story, and then carefu lly
follow the di recti ons as requ ested by the jou rnalis t.

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What is important is for you to make su re that, along wi th the


requ ested

information;

you

insert

references

to

your

artist/band name along with the fact that you are a mu sician.
Withou t these references the article may be a good read, yet be
of no benefi t to you r mu sic career since the readers , lis teners
or vi ewers wi ll not know that you are a mu sician or be able to
search for you in order to pu rchase CDs or downloads or come
to you r show. Think abou t how imp ressive it w ou ld be to get 1
percen t of 275,000 readers or viewers to you r next gi g.

Continue

fulfilling

jou rnalist

requ ests

even

if/after

youve

rec eived coverage. A t a minimu m, y ou can u se these plac ements


in you r bio and as part of you r one -sh eet, wh ich in tu rn cou ld
lead to you r fans taking you r mu sic career mo re seriou sly and
pu rchasing CDs /down loads and merchandise.
The logic behind this strategy is that if people c an relate to or
otherwise emp athize with or be in spired by you r s tory , there is a good
chance that they will probably also relate to you r mu sic. People w ith
similar tastes and of similar back grou nd are likely to relate to each other
and

have

certain

preferences

(like

in

food ,

music,

clothing,

entertainment, e tc) in common.


Even thou gh you or you r client has a lot in common with other
mu sicians, th e re ason wh y you sh ou ld th ink of angl es u nrel at ed to y ou r
mu sic is that mu sic pu blications are largely interested in w ri ting abou t
major label artists and mu sicians, so you r chances of gettin g articles or
s t o r i e s w r i t t e n i n m a j o r m u s i c p u b li c a t i o n s a r e s l i m t o n o n e . T h i s d o e s n t
mean,

however,

that

you

s h o u ld

ignore

jou rnalist

requests

that

s p e c i f i c a l l y a s k f o r m u s i c i a n s u b j ec t s , s i n c e t h e s e p r e s e n t o p p o r t u n i t i e s
for the exc eptions to the ru les .

ARTIST MANAGEMENT MANUAL | 2010 Edition

Page 177

DISTRIBUTION FOR YOUR RECORDINGS


As with most musicians, your music sales will take place initially and
mainly at gigs and/or from you r w ebsite and other sites s erviced by you r
distribu tor. As an immediate solu ti on, you can arran ge it so that people
c a n b u y au t o g r a p h e d p r o d u c t s d i r e c t l y f r o m y o u r w e b s i t e u s i n g s e r v i c e s
like PayPa l (http: //www.paypal.com) and others for a low er price

than

from other sites ( for example, $8 -$10).


If you have an acc ou nt registered , y ou can also s ell mu sic direc tly
from you r Facebook accou nt u sing Nimbits Mystore
(http://www.nimbit.com/mystore). In addi tion to offerin g mu sic for sale
on your website, you should look into companies like TuneCore
(http://www.tu necore.com), The Orchard (http://www .theorchard .com),
ioda (http://www.iod alliance.com) , CD Baby (http://www .cdbaby.c om) ,
RouteNote (http://rou tenote.com/), and others for digi tal distribu tion
since most p eople prefer to make pu rchases from iTu nes and Amazon , etc.,
than from an individu al artis ts w ebsite.
Other options for di gital dis tribu tion inclu de Universal Moto wn
Republic Groups http://www .u nimodigitaldis tri bu tion.com/ and
http://www.repu blicdd.com/, Is land Def Jam Music Groups
http://www.idj firs tlook.com/, and Interscope/Geffen/A&Ms
http://www.in terscopedi gitaldistribu tion.com/ (all powered by
TuneCore).

P a g e | 179

These distribu tors wi ll handle all the secu red c redi t card order
taking and fu lfi llment for y ou . They will issu e checks for CDs and
downloads bi-mon thly, monthly or qu arterly (depending on who you sign
up with) for all sales that tak e place in the previou s month or qu arter.
Make su re you read the contracts c arefu lly beforehand since some of the
abovemention ed sites offer exclu sive services , which means that you can
only sign wi th them for all of you r online mu sic distribu tion.
Consignment
As discu ssed earlier, th e fu tu re of mu sic consu mption is projected to
be mainly via down loads , streaming, mobile devices , clou d technology,
and/or su bscriptions . In this scenario, most (if not all) mu sic retail stores
are predic ted to go ou t of bu siness. In the mean time, however, some
mu sic consu mers still pu rchase their mu sic from retail sto res becau se
they either a) dont have access to the internet, or b) dont tru st making
pu rchases online or dont have a credi t card to u se for online shopping.
Some peop le may also not be able to attend one of you r gi gs in order to
pu rch ase you r mu sic. In th at re gard, some mu sicians sh ou ld consider th e
option of making their mu sic avai lable to fans at retai l s tores for a limi ted
time.
If you choose to pu rsu e a consignment deal, make su re that you limit
you r manu factu ring to a minimu m nu mber of physical CDs and mak e su re
th at th e ret ail sto res you select are with in you r promotion a re a (i.e ., t he
area where you live and can perform live , put up poste rs, dis trib ute
flye rs, get coverage in local public ations, receive airplay on area college
or non-commercial radio s tations , conduct social networking with people
in the area , have interviews on local radio and TV stations, e tc).

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P a g e | 180

As an independent artist withou t a distri bu tor, a large bu dget, an


albu m catalog, or a p reviou s sales record , the on ly way to get you r CDs
into regu lar retail s tores is by a method called consignment . This is a
scenario where a store agrees to s tock a few of you r CDs for a few mon ths
and then pays you for any items sold at the end of the consignment
period . If there are any u nsold CDs left at the end of the consignment
period , they wi ll retu rn those to you or agree to carry them for another
period . The store retains a percen tage of the sales price based on you r
consignment agreement. If you r CDs sell before the end of the term they
will ord er more from you u nder the same arrangemen t.
Not all record s tores accep t independent produ cts for consi gnment.
Most mom-and-pop stores wi ll acc ommodate this arrangemen t, bu t most
of the larger chain stores on ly acc ept produ ct from real dis tri bu tors . The
normal way to get you r CDs in national chain stores is to go throu gh a
distribu to r wh o h as an accou nt with th e store . Som e ch ain stores o nly
order p rodu ct from thei r corporate headqu arters . It d oesnt hu rt to try
asking a manager at a major retai l chain ou tlet (e .g., Barnes & Nob le,
Borders Books & Music, etc) abou t consignment, as some stores in you r
area mi ght be wi llin g to take a chance. Most likely , however, you will be
told that thei r corporate policy is to not accept consi gnmen t produ ct from
independent artists . Getting real distribu tion is bes t left to labels that
have mu ltiple artists on their ros ter, a su bstantial marketing bu dget,
retai l exp eri ence, predic table s ales, and a sales track record . One way to
get you r produ ct distribu ted nationally even withou t a track record is to
find an independent rec ord label that has national distribu tion and shop
your

CD

to

them.

If

interested,

they

will

license

your

record

and

distribu te i t throu gh their distri bu tor to the retail stores. In these


instances it still helps if you have some mon ey to contribu te to the
mark etin g since this will help your projec t gain traction amon g all the
other labels releases .

ARTIST MANAGEMENT MANUAL | 2010 Edition

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P a g e | 181

If in terested in pu rsu ing the consignment option , you shou ld stick to


stores that are located within an area that you can effec tively promote in,
which is u su ally you r hometown region. It makes no sense to have CDs
sitting in a s tore in another s tate for mon ths that nobody wi ll bu y becau se
theyve n ever heard of you and dont know you r produ ct exists . If you pu t
you r CDs in a store and fai l to do any promotion , you will hav e a hard
time c onvincing the s tore to c arry you r produ cts again at the end of y ou r
consignment period . Only pu t produ cts in stores loc ated in other areas if
you are going on tou r and have fans or s treet team members that can
promote in that area.
Start off by pu tting together a lis t of retai l accou nts that you wou ld
like to h ave you r produ ct in. You can u se a directo ry like Th e Mu sicians
Atlas

(http://www .mu siciansatlas.com/)

and

The

Musicians

Guide

to

Tou ring and Promotion (http://w ww.orderbi llboard .com/) or resou rces
like Mu sic Arsenal (http://www .mu sicarsenal.com/) and others for a list
of stores that take p rodu ct on consignment. You shou ld also consider n onmu sic retail stores for consignment consideration (depending on the style
of mu sic you write/perform) , inclu ding, for example, new age stores
(http://www.n ewagedi rec tory.com/) , tattoo parlors
(http://www.everytattoo.com/tattooparlors .shtml),

su rf

(http://www.su rfline.com/su rfology /su rfshops.cfm) ,

art

shops
galleri es,

chu rches and Christian bookstores , etc . You can also driv e arou nd you r
local area and stop by every mom and pop record store (or sp ecialty
store th at p lays o r wou ld be inte rested in playin g mu sic in you r gen re)
that you come ac ross and ask them i f they tak e CDs on consignment.
If you are getting any radio airp lay (particularly co llege and noncommercial) , ask the radio stations that are su pporting y ou r mu sic to
recommend retai l s tores where you can pu t you r CDs in . You can also ask
them for the name of the parti cular buyer (independent buyer or
consignment rep) so that you can as k for them di rectly when you call.

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P a g e | 182

The stores wou ld love to hear that a radio station thats playing you r
mu sic recommended them to you , and that cou ld help with the highvisibility positionin g of you r CDs w ithin the store.
Keep in mind the fac t that you dont want you r CDs /DVDs sitting in
stores f or month s with ou t sel ling, so you sh ou ld only h ave a f ew sto re s
stocking you r p rodu ct. Select s tores in you r area in su ch a way that each
store is no closer than fifteen minu tes or so from the next one selling you r
CD. Call ah ead o f time to set u p an appointment with th e bu yer in ch arge
of consignment p rodu cts. You cou ld also go by the store and ask for the
person in charge of acceptin g con signments . They will u su ally tell you
whether or not they are acceptin g c onsignments , who to talk to, what ti me
to come in, and what to bring with you (i.e., CDs , posters , samplers , onesheets, etc .) . Th ey u su ally work b y appointment so you sh ou ld be very
flexible and able to accommodate th eir schedule.
Retail s tores are taking a risk stocking you r CDs /DVDs becau se
those produ cts wi ll be takin g u p li mited shelf spac e wi th no gu arantees
that any will be sold . It is you r job to let them know how you are
promo ting you r produ cts and wh at sh ows you h ave coming u p. Th e more
they know abou t you r promotion and mark etin g efforts, the more lik ely
they are to s tock you r p rodu ct. A lways brin g an extra p romotion al c opy
for in-store airp lay . Some stores wi ll also accep t posters i f they have the
wall space, and samplers , stickers and postcards for you to leave at a
designated cou nter. Each store has differen t policies on consignment, so
work wi th each one to find ou t the mos t effectiv e way to promote y ou r
produ cts. You shou ld also take this time to ask the store manager i f y ou
can perform in the store, or even i n the store p arkin g lot, as part of y ou r
promotional campai gn . Not all s tores will be open to this, bu t it does nt
hu rt to ask . You can offer to share the cost of a local ad in the newspaper
promo ting you r CDs avai la bility a t th e store . Do as mu ch as you can
afford to show the lev el of c ommitment you have to you r p rojec t.

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P a g e | 183

It on ly takes a few minu tes to fi ll ou t a consignment c ontract i f the


store is interested. It is importan t to make su re that you r produ ct is
placed alphabetic ally in the right section of the store. You dont want you r
independent Folk/B lu egrass CD placed in the Hip-Hop section of the store
since no potenti al bu yers wil l ev er find it th e re . Mak e su re you pu t you r
retai l information on you r website, social networking profi le, samp ler
artwork, fly ers , posters , and band hotline after you have all you r retail
accounts set up.

You shou ld have all the stores c ontac t information on

the consignment contrac t that yo u sign. You shou ld u se this contact


information to email or fax gig information to the store. That means that
every store wi thin a certain radiu s of where you r gi gs are shou ld recei ve
an emai l or fax annou ncing the gig a cou ple of weeks before each gig. The
stores will then be able to make su re they have you r CDs stock ed on the
shelves or posters pu t u p in anticipation of sales . Of cou rse, you will have
to mak e su re you annou nce th e CD availa bili ty at you r gigs and on you r
gig promotional items (flyers , posters, postca rds, samplers) so that
people know where to go to make a pu rchase. If you have a merchandise
table at you r gigs, give fans cou pons that they can take to the store to get
a cou ple of dollars off the pric e of a CD (coo rdinate this with the stores
firs t, and make sure the couple of dollars comes out of your cut and not
the s tores).
You sh ou ld u se th e retail con tact inform ation to k eep th e sto res
informed of any and all of you r pu blicity and promotion efforts , inclu ding
radio airp lay , pu blic appearances , revi ews, interviews and artic les . This
will often increase the chances of you gettin g better posi tioning with in
the store, as w ell as encou rage the s tores to ord er more p rodu cts from y ou
now or in the fu tu re. Also, major record labels keep in tou ch with retail
stores to see which artists have s u bstantial regional sales; so the more
they hear you r name, the more interested they will be in offerin g you
some type of d eal (e .g., recordin g, pressing & dis tribu tion, licensi ng,
etc.) i f that is something you are interested in pu rsu ing.

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P a g e | 184

Make su re you read the consi gnmen t contrac ts very carefu lly. In the
contract, you will have all the information regarding how mu ch you will
rec eive fo r each u nit sold, wh en you will receive th e mon ey, h ow long th e
consignment term is, and who is res ponsible for checking the produ ct. Y ou
sh ou ld ask th e store fo r somewh e re betw een $7 and $10 for you r CDs. T h e
store will add on a certain amou nt, usu ally $5 to $8. As a new artis t, you
sh ou ld not expect peop le to pay $17 .9 9 fo r you r CDs , so keep th at in m ind
a s y o u c o n s i d e r y o u r p r i c i n g o p t i o n s . Y o u w i l l b e a b l e t o s e l l m o r e u n i ts i f
you price you r CDs low, and the fans you make now wi ll bu y you r next CD
for mo re money , as w el l as go t o y ou r sh ows and bu y you r me rch andise.
Some stores will pu rchase a few u nits from you u pfront for c ash.

Since

you are s elling di rec tly to the s tore and not going throu gh a distribu tor,
all th e money from s ales wi ll go d irectly to you . Retai l sto res are m u ch
more repu table than distribu tors when it comes to getting paid, bu t mak e
su re you hold onto you r contrac t an d tak e it in to the store with you when
it comes time to collect.
Remember to keep track of which stores you have you r p rodu ct in.
Periodically check to s ee i f you r produ ct has sold ou t and if y ou need to
re-stock. Some s tores don t wan t you to pester them by coming by too
often, bu t be p rofessional and let them know that you simply want to
help them to help you . Check if they wou ld like more posters , or i f you
can pu t some s amplers at the c ou nter for free giveaways. Also, notice
which stores people are bu ying a lot of CDs from and which stores s till
h ave all th e u nits you left th em with . Th is will allo w you to decide
whether it is worth it to k eep you r produ ct in certain stores, or where you
need to spend more ti me p romoting.
Make su re you do not rely enti rely on consignmen t sales from retail
stores. It takes a lo t of promotion for people to go to a store and bu y you r
CDs, and it takes a while to get pai d from the retail stores .

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Make su re that, in addition to digital distribu tion (e.g., CD Baby,


Orchard, Tunecore, IO DA, etc) y ou also sell produ ct di rectly from y ou r
web site and /or Social Networking profi les . Mos t stores dont like the idea
of you selling you r mu sic online, s o dont brag abou t selling produ ct on
you r web page when you re visitin g retai l accou nts.
The Distributor
Since some people sti ll pu rchase mu sic from retai l stores, we wi ll
discu ss the ways in which the produ cts arriv e there. Keep in mi nd,
however, that mu sic retail stores wi ll not be the place where the majority
of mu sic pu rchasing activiti es happen in the fu tu re. Most peop le are going
to be acc essing thei r mu sic play lists online and throu gh mobile devi ces
and the clou d; and both distribu tors (o f physical products) and mu sic
r e t a i l s t o r e s w i l l b e o u t o f b u s i n e s s i n th e n e w m o d e l . I n t h e m e a n t i m e ,
h owever, lets discu ss th e cu rren t ro le o f distribu tors in th e mu sic
business.
The distribu tor is the midd leman betw een the record label and the
retai l stores. Distribu tors provide the network to place you r produ ct into
retai l ou tlets . They will attemp t to convince the retai l stores to bu y and
stock you r produ ct. They provide the warehou se space and inventory
management, and ship produ cts to the retai l accou nts that place orders.
An additional distribu tor fu nction is to invoice the retai l stores and
collect money for p rodu ct sold. Distribu tors proc ess retu rns (unsold
products) from the retailers, generate sales reports, and pay money owed
you according to the terms of you r distribu tion contract. It is you r job to
produ ce and provide the finished p rodu ct, as w ell as promote you r rec ord
to the general pu blic to make them aware of where they can make
pu rchases.

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Most independ ent artis ts and rec ord labels will not qu ali fy for
distribu tion u ntil they have pu t ou t several su ccessfu l (i.e., mone ymaking) releases, have a 2 3 year operational history, and have good
management in place. For those that dont qu alify for direct distribu tion ,
the su gges tion wou ld be to approach other independ ent labels that have
major label distribu tion deals in place and pi tch you r recording to them
for dis tribu tion . If you have some money to contribu te to the marketin g of
you r projec t, that cou ld help move the deal forw ard .
If you are interested in approaching independen t labels that have
major label distribu tion deals in place, you can begin you r search by
pu rchasing a copy of the Record C ompany Directory from the Polls tar
s t o r e ( h t t p : / / w w w . p o l l s t a r . c o m / ) w h i c h i n c lu d e s c o n t a c t i n f o r m a t i o n f o r
independent labels with major label distribu tion. You can also check the
web sites of the main distri bu tors in the United States here (and locate
contact information for the independent record labels whose product
they dis tribute).
The main distribu tors in the United States inc lu de:
- ADA (http: //www.ada-mu sic.com/) (recently me rged into WEA)
- Bu rnside Distribu tion (http://ww w.bdcdistribu tion.com/)
- E1 Entertainment Distribu tion U .S. (http: //www.kochdistribu tion.com/)
- EMI Mu sic Mark etin g (http: //ww w .carolineb2b.com/)
- EMI Label Services & Carolin e Distribu tion
(http://www.c arolinedis t.c om/)
- Harmonia Mu ndi USA (http://ww w.harmoniamu ndi.com/)
- The Mountain Apple Company
(http://www.mou ntainapplec ompan y.com/)
- MVD En tertainment Grou p (http://mvdb2b.c om/)
- Naxos of Americ a (http: //www.n axos.com/)
- RED Distribu tion (http: //www.red b2b.c om/)
- Redey e Distribu tion (http://www .red eyeu sa.com/)
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- Sony Mu sic Entertainment (http://www .sonymu siccentral.com/login.j sp)


- Su per D Independent Dis tri bu tion (http://www.sdcd .com/)
- Tate Mu sic Grou p (http://www .tatemu sicgrou p.com/)
- The Orchard (http://www.theorchard .com/)
- TravelVideoStore.com (http://ww w.travelvideostore.com/)
- TVT Records (http://www.tv trecords.com/)
- Univers al Mu sic Grou p Distribu tion (http://www .u mgdb2b.com/)
- WEA Corp (https://new.wea.com/login/)
Combined , the mu sic released by these companies accou nt for an
estimated 90 p erc ent of the U .S. mu sic mark et.
When thinking abou t dis tribu tion , you shou ld alw ays keep you r
street date (or re lease date) in min d. The s treet date is the day (as close
as you are able to predict) that your CDs will be made available to the
pu blic. Since i t tak es a lon g time to set u p distribu tion (anywhere from
two to si x mon ths) , you shou ld start the p rocess lon g before you r street
date in order to give the distribu tor enou gh time to have the produ ct
available at retail.
Pressing & Distribution (P&D) Deals
A Pressing & Distribu tion deal is a type of distribu tion deal in which
an independent label delivers fini shed masters and artwork to a larger
label / distribu tor, and the label / distribu tor then assu mes responsibility
for manu fac tu ring, packagin g, an d distribu ting the finished produ ct.
Generally , P&D deals also provide that the major label / distribu tor
handle all marketin g of the produ ct, and the independent label is paid a
royalty (typically 15% to 20% o f the produc ts re tail price) . These d eals
are typically ou t of ran ge for mos t independent artists / labels with no
previou s sales or distribu tion track record .

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Qualifying for Distribution


As

mentioned

earlier,

most

of

the

larger

(national

chain

and

international) record stores only accept material from a distribu tor, or


order

p rodu ct

from

their

corp orate

headqu arters.

Most

national

distribu tors prefer to work wi th a label that has mu ltiple artis ts on its
roster, a commitment to releasin g several projec ts ev ery year, an ad equ ate
bu dget allocated for mark eting, and a sales track record. If you are u nable
to qu alify for nation al (or even regional) distribu tion on you r own, a good
option is to research distribu tion companies that place p rodu cts in the
types of stores that you wou ld like to have you r CDs in and find ou t the
names of the labels on their ros ter. You can then contact the labels
directly to s ee if they wou ld be interes ted in signing you to a distribu tion
deal so that you r records c an be dis tribu ted throu gh them. You wou ld s till
have to record and possibly manu factu re you r own records , bu t at least
you

cou ld

get them distribu ted

to

the retail accounts

throu gh

this

arran gement.
If you have an investor or otherwi se have a sales track record and
access to a large bu dget you can c onsider tryin g to get distribu tion for
you r label or releas e. H owev er, before you consider distribu tion, there are
some things you will need to be aware of. An importan t consideration is
the fac t that the fu tu re of mu sic consu mption will not be in the form of
physical CD p rodu cts, bu t more in the form of down loads , streami ng,
mobile devic es, and clou d technology . B efore you consider u ndertak ing
the considerable cos ts of distribu tion (number of CDs to manufactu re ,
shipping costs, costs of distribution-related marketing and promotion,
impact

of

returns ,

etc),

keep

in

mind

that

the

fu tu re

of

music

consu mption is heading in another directi on.

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If you indeed choose to pu rsu e physical distribu tion , following are


ju st some of th e th ings you sh ou ld consider, a long with some of th e th ings
a distribu tor will w ant to know from you .
1.

You r CDs wi ll need to be bar coded. You can get a bar cod e by

becoming a member of the GS1 U S, formerly the Uniform Code Cou ncil
(http://www.u c-cou ncil.org) . When you become a member, you r comp any
will

be

assigned

an

identification

number

for

your

company's

use

(company prefix). You will need this number to create your own bar
codes. Th e nu mber of u niqu e produ cts you need to identify , alon g w ith
you r companys gross sales revenu e will determine the fee you will pay for
your

bar

code.

Even

thou gh

you

can

get

bar

codes

from

some

manu factu ring comp anies, pay the cost of getting you r own bar cod es if
you are goin g for real dis tri bu tion. It is possible that you have already
manu factu red you r CDs withou t the bar codes on them. In that even t, y ou
can remedy the situ ation by prin ting stickers (or deca ls) with the codes
on them and sticking them to the back of your CDs .
2.

You will need to have a su ggested price list for all you r p rodu cts.

3.

You will need a mark etin g plan and proposed bu dget for you r

u pcoming releas es. The distri bu tor will n eed to see that you u nderstand
the tru e costs of distribu tion and that you have the n ecessary bu dget
committed for all the tasks. Y ou will n eed to show that you are able to
create a demand for you r artists CDs.
4.

You will need to have a p lanned release schedu le, wi th projected

sales and initial ship out on each title for the upcoming year.
5.

As mentioned earlier, most nati onal distribu tors will requ ire you to

have a sales track record for mu ltip le artists . To p rove that, you will need
a sales report for at least the previ ou s two years. You will need to lis t in
the report each ti tle (account) individually, and lis t sales by account.
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You will need to show the retu rn ratio by title as well as gross sales
per ti tle. The retu rn ratio wi ll id entify how many of you r u nits shipped
were retu rned to the distribu tor by the retai ler. Retailers (stores) acc ept
produ ct on a 100% retu rn privilege basis. This means that if a retailer
orders 75 CDs from you (via your distributor) bu t is u nable to sell th em,
they can ship them back to you for fu ll c redit or a refu nd of the p rice it
paid for the records. Records sent back to the distribu tor as u nsold from
the retai ler are known as retu rns . Since the rec ords are bein g bou ght
from and retu rned to the distribu tor, i t is the distribu tor who will have to
refu nd the money or offer the c redit, which comes ou t of you r accou nt
u ltimately bu t means that the distribu tor has not made any mon ey on
those u nits. Having too many CDs retu rned is a bad sign, and a good
reason for the distribu tor to be c au tious abou t signing you . In order to
deal effectiv ely wi th retu rns, distribu tors will hold a certain percentage of
the money paid by the retai ler in reserv e (on hold) u ntil su ch time as
they are confident that the stores will not retu rn any more produ cts for
credit. Only at that point wi ll you get paid on records sold at retai l.
6.

Most national distribu tors wi ll w ant to s ee marketin g plans and

Sou ndScan reports for you r last 3 or 4 releas es, as well as the marketing
plans for you r next 3 or 4 releases . The plans shou ld indicate the bu dgets
for consu mer advertising, retai l advertising / co-op , pu blicity, radio
promotion, tou ring plans, and mark eting efforts .
7.

Most national distribu to rs will wan t to know h ow mu ch produ ct you

have on hand for each title. It wi ll not be a good si gn if you only have a
few or no CDs av ailable, or are u nable to qu ickly manu fac tu re more as
needed.
8.

Some dis tribu tors wi ll ask you for a bio / history of the label and i ts

k e y p e r s o n n e l . I t h e l p s i f y o u h av e p e o p l e o n y o u r t e a m w i t h r e t a i l ,
distribu tion, p romotion, and marketing experience and c red entials. Most
distribu tors will w ant to know how many people you have on s taff.
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9.

Most distribu tors will wan t to know who has distribu ted you before.

This can prove to be awkw ard if you ve had a bad experi ence with a
distribu tor and are looking to sign with another one. Mak e su re that, if
you leave a distri bu tor, i t is becau se of something they did wrong (e .g . n ot
paying you on time, not distributing your products to accounts as
required, etc) . Sometimes distribu tors go ou t of bu siness, forcing you to
look els ewhere for distribu tion.
10.

Almost all nation al distribu tors will w ant you to sign an exclu sive

agreemen t with them, meaning that no one els e can distribu te you r
produ cts as long as you are u nder contract wi th them. This mak es sense
s i n c e w i t h m u l t i p l e d i s t r i b u t o r s t h e r e w o u l d b e t o o m u c h c o n fu s i o n f o r
the retai lers regarding who to ord er and re- ord er from, where to s end
retu rns, who to coordinate retai l programs with, etc . It is often possible
to sign an exclu sive nation al and non-exclu sive international deal w ith
the same distribu tor, thu s retaini ng the option to sign wi th different
distribu tors in territori es overs eas .
11.

You will be requ ired to remove all p rodu cts you have on consignment

or p reviou sly distri bu ted before si gning with a dis tri bu tor. Keep this in
mind since it may take a while to track ev erything down and make su re all
produ cts are removed .
12.

You will need to p rovide the dis tri bu tor wi th promotional copi es of

you r CDs as well as one-sheets to send to the retai lers. It is important


to mak e su re th at you r promo tional copies h ave h oles pu nch ed th rou gh
them in the area of the bar code, and the shrink wrap is removed to
preven t any u nnecessary retu rns. Some copies wi ll also be needed for instore play . A one-sheet is an 8 X 11 page that provid es essential
information abou t the releas e to dis tribu tors and retailers .

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Information on you r on e-sheet c an inclu de albu m title, son g titles


with descriptions, the artists n ame, you r albu m cover photo, qu otes from
revi ewers, a desc ription of y ou r style / genre, a brief bio, names of
mu sicians, you r barcode, you r catalog nu mber, su ggested list p rice, you r
tou r schedu le, media and marketing campaign , etc . Many distribu tors will
have one-sheet templates that you can use.
13.

Most distribu tors deal only wi th replicated CDs as thei r format of

choice, and not CD-Rs, cass ettes or vinyl (although vinyl seems to be
making somewhat o f a comeback lately) . For certain types of mu sic,
however, cassettes or vinyl may be acceptable (e.g ., vinyl for record pool
DJs, cassettes for people in countries where access to cassette players is
still dominant, e tc).
14.

Each of you r CDs shou ld have a c atalog nu mber on the spine. This

catalog nu mber identi fies the CD as you rs for the sake of record keep ing
and accou nting and is usu ally prin ted on the spine of the CD along w ith
the artis t name and albu m title.
15.

Many distribu tors wi ll want to know certain things abou t the artist

and label. For examp le; is the arti st well known; does the label have an
adequ ate co-op bu dget; does the label have di gital and internati onal
rights to the proj ect; what are the key mark ets the label expec ts to sell the
produ ct in; is there a radio and retai l camp aign schedu led; is there a
publicity

campaign

involving

th e

media,

is

the

artist

tou ring

or

performing; does the artist / label have any sou ndtrack or TV placements,
does the qu ality of the recording measu re u p to standard within the genre;
are there any w ell-known gu est mu sicians on the albu m; can the label
manu factu re enou gh CDs qu ickly if there is a su dden demand for them; is
the label c ommitted to mark etin g th e projec t for u p to a cou ple of years if
necessary; does the label have any more u pcoming releases; does the label
have any material in its catalog that can also be sold; does the label sell
produ cts to one of the distribu tors competi tors; does the label already
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have CDs stocked in the stores? These are the types of qu estions that will
need to be answered.
16.

Becau se distribu tion is a risky proposition, many distribu tors are

known to ask the label for u p-fron t fees that help cover c osts. Some even
ask for a bond or take a lien on the masters. You will have to be aware of
this before movin g forward.
17.

You r CD artwork will have to meet the standards of other produ cts in

the same gen re avai lable at retail.


Its also important to know that y ou r relationships with pu blicists,
radio promoters , marketing compan ies, booking agents , and man agers c an
sometim es h elp convince distribu t ors to do bu siness with you . Th is is
especially tru e i f the comp anies mentioned are known to the dis tri bu tors
in a positive way.
Research
Once you ve commi tted the finances for a roster of three or fou r ac ts,
and

each

act

is

performing

extensively

with

active

p romotion

and

pu blicity, it may be the ri ght ti me to pu rsu e retai l promotion and


distribu tion. Most importantly, you will need to have the fu nds necessary
to see the projects throu gh. When analy zing you r fu nds, decide whether
you will start wi th a region al c ampai gn before expanding nation ally
(recommended) or pu sh immediately for a nati onal dis tribu tion camp ai gn
(not recommended for new artists) . Many things will have to be in p lace
in order for you to go national; so dont be too anxi ou s to head that rou te
right away .

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If you r bu dget is limited and you only have one or two ac ts (projects,
albums, etc .) , you might want to consider consignment, shopping you r
projects to independent labels with distribu tion in place, or on e of the
many regional distribu tors for a regional campai gn. Regional distri bu tors
are sometimes more wi llin g to d eal with artis ts with on ly one or two
releases as long as they are willing to commi t some resou rc es to helpi ng
promote

the

record.

These

regi onal

distribu tors

often

partner

with

distribu tors in other regi ons, so i f you r sales do well and you need to
expand beyond your local area they will be able to help you expand your
distribu tion.
Read all the mu sic and bu siness pu blications avai lable in order to
ascertain

the

financial

status

of

potential

distribu tors

(particula rly

Billboard http://www.billboard .biz). The last thing you wan t is to be


exclu sively tied to a dis tri bu tor that goes ou t of bu siness a few mon ths
into you r c ampai gn, leavin g you w ith u npaid invoices and merchandi se
locked in the warehou se as assets i n bankru ptcy cou rt. Before committing
to a specific distribu tor, make su re you contact some of the labels on thei r
r o s t e r t o f i n d o u t w h a t t y p e o f r e l a t i o n s h i p th e y h a v e . A s k t h e l a b e l s i f t h e
distribu tor is shipping ou t produ ct as requ ired , making pay ments on ti me,
withholding too mu ch in reserve, requ esting too many p romo copies, etc .
You will not get this information from the distribu tor.
Align you rself with distribu tors that deal with produ cts from within
you r genre and u nderstand you r style of mu sic. Also, condu ct some
research to evalu ate whether or not the distribu tor deals wi th stores that
stock you r type of mu sic. Try to establish how many s ales and marketing
reps the distribu tor has on s taff since these are the p eople who wi ll be
pitching you r products to the retail stores . Another important qu estion to
ask

is

how

many

labels

the company

cu rrently

distribu tes, sinc e a

distribu tor with too many labels and too few sales reps is one you
definitely want to avoid.

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Initia lly , you sh ou ld select independent dist ribu tors ove r m ajor
label/distribu tors becau se they do essentially the same thing, bu t few er
sales will be requ ired of you from an independent distribu tor. Major
distribu tors prefer artists/labels that have nation al exposu re, not j u st
regional recognition .
Not all dis tri bu tors are cap able of gettin g you r produ cts into ev ery
retai l accou nt. If you have p rodu cts that need to be sold to sp ecialty
stores, th en you will need to c ondu ct research th at enab les you to find o u t
wh ich distribu tors service or h av e relationsh ips with th e specialty sto res
you re interested in. The best thing to d o in this case is to d ecide whi ch
s t o r e s y o u w a n t y o u r p r o d u c t i n , an d t h e n f i n d o u t w h o t h e d i s t r i b u to r s
are that service that store (i .e., whi ch distributo rs the sto res order fro m).
The distribu tors that are sympath etic towards independent labels
will

usually

have

submission

policy

displayed

on

their

website.

Otherwise, call or email the distrib u tors and ask abou t their su bmission
policy. Revi ew th e policy and pay close atten tion to th e instru ctions. Th e
policy will indicate what materials they wan t you to send and what you
need to have in place in ord er to qu alify fo r distribu tion. Condu ct some
research in order to find ou t whom to contact at each distribu tion
company. Once you v e sent in th e information , expec t some type of
correspondence with the distribu tor regarding whether or not you ve been
accepted . If you get acc epted , keep in mind that this is ju st the beginning
of the distribu tion road, and the jou rney ahead wi ll be lon g and hard .
The Distribution Process
You r distribu tor will have a contract that they will want you to sign.
It is extremely important to have you r contrac t review ed and negotiated
by an experienced en tertainment attorn ey. There are many things abou t a
distribu tion contrac t that are beyond the scope of this manu al and that
you will not u nderstand on you r ow n; grant of rights , term, p rodu cts and
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terri tory, p rices and payment, man u factu rer and distribu tor obligations,
relationship of the p arties , reporting, trad emarks , service marks , and
trade n ames , c onfidenti ali ty, termination, pu blicity, warranti es, li ability ,
modification, assignments , etc . One of the more i mportan t items to
d i s c u s s w i t h th e d i s t r i b u t o r i s h o w m u c h m o n e y ( a s a p e r c e n t a g e o f t h e
amount owed you) they will hold in res erve in case retail accou nts
retu rn produ ct to them, and when that money will be liqu idated ou t of the
accou nt and paid to you . If they hold too mu ch of a reserve for too lon g a
time period , you may end u p seeing very little money for a very long time.
To worsen the situ ati on ev en fu rther, dis tribu tors are notoriou s for not
paying independent labels u nless the labels hav e other proj ects in the
pipeline that the distribu tors are in terested in. Talking to other labels on
their roster may help shed some light on this situ ation.
It is very imp ortant to u nderstand that it is bes t to go region-byregion wi th a fi rst albu m from a n ew artis t. Dont try to go national w ith
the fi rst albu m; leav e that for the second or third albu m (if eve rything
goes well and you make money from the first one) . It u su ally takes the
first albu m to make peop le famili ar with the artist and aware of the songs.
Trying to move ac ross the cou ntry too fast cou ld cau se you to bu rn
throu gh you r resou rces fas ter than you can make mon ey back from sales,
putting

you

in

financial

crisis

and

jeopardizin g

your

distribu tion

relationship.
It is also very important that you discu ss the retai l bu y-in with
you r distribu tor. This is a cru cial step tow ards a su ccessfu l retail sales
campai gn and will have to be d one in each city where you intend to have
distribu tion. These retail bu y-in campai gns (also known as placement
programs) can be expensive, often costing from $3,500 to $20,000 per
city. Most retailers and distribu tors produ ce pu blications in which you
will p lace advertising for your p roducts. You will also include in this
effort

the

cost

of

P rice

and

P ositioning,

Co-op,

and

Point

Pu rchase (POP) advertising.


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of

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Price and Positioning is a strategy whereby you r produ cts are p riced
to entice the consu mer to make a pu rchase (e.g. $12.99 SALE) , and you r
produ cts are positioned so that they are easy to find. Co-op adv ertising is
when the ad costs are divided between tw o or more comp anies. In a
typical label / distribu tor / retai ler Co-op relationship, the retailer agrees
to

pu rchase

certain

number

of

rec ords

from

the

label

(via

the

distributor) in exchan ge for ads th at p romote the records on sale at that


retai l store. Co-op ads c an be p rod u ced for radio, TV, or print media. Coop strategies c an also inc lu de pricing discou nts, store displays , TV sp ots,
or any other way to increase visibility and p rodu ct sales. Point of
Pu rchase

typically

refers

to

the

promotional

graphics

focused

on

influ encing consu mer behavior at the moment of the pu rchasing decision.
These inclu de posters, pos tcards , i n-store signage, cu stomer giv eaw ays,
and other related cu stom graphics that let peop le know abou t the artist
and album availability.
It is importan t to remember that distribu tors have a lot of other
clients who need their attention an d sales commitment. You will have to
keep you r s ales rep u pdated weekly abou t things that are happeni ng;
inclu ding live shows, radio ai rplay , newspaper articles , TV appearances ,
sou ndtrack placements , positive reviews, p romotion ac tivity , in-store
performances , special remixes , etc., so that they can pay atten tion to y ou r
release and mak e su re that the stores are well stock ed with you r product.
If you dont keep them u pdated, you will get los t in the vast catalog of the
distribu tor and p robably s ell very few copies , which in tu rn will resu lt in
a high percen tage of retu rns from the retailer and an end to y ou r
distribu tion relationship. You r sales rep shou ld be very comfortable
sellin g you r p rodu cts to the retail accou nts, and the more informati on you
give them regarding promotion and pu blicity activities the better they will
be able to convince the stores to stock more p rodu ct.

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In addi tion to keepin g you r sales rep informed abou t all you r
promotional efforts , it is also wise to encou rage them to offer incentiv es
to the retai l accou nts in ord er to help gen erate more ord ers . Incenti ves
inclu de offering discou nt prices on CDs bou ght in box lots ( la rge
quantities), delayed bi llin g, discou nts on money du e if paid on time, free
records (e.g . 1 free CD for every 10 the retaile r purchases at wholes ale
price), and so on.
You r distribu tor wi ll place an initi al pu rchase ord er for you to ship
CDs (or any other produc ts) to their warehou se. The shipment you send
sh ou ld inclu de a packing slip detai ling wh at was o rde red , wh at h as be en
shipped, the nu mber of u nits in the shipment, and the distribu tors
pu rchase order nu mber. You r shipment will also inclu de one-sheets and
any other materials that c an be u sed to help sell you r CDs to the
distribu tors retai l accou nts. P romotional CDs ( DJs) wi ll be inclu ded in
you r sh ipment so th at th e retai l st ores can t ry ou t you r CD and possibly
place it in their listenin g station. Make su re, as explained earlier, that the
artwork on these CDs is clipped , pu nched, or otherwise mark ed to
discou rage stores from retu rning the CDs as u nsold produ ct (for credit)
at the end of the lis tening station p romotional period .
Th e one-sh eet you su pply to you r distribu to r sh ou ld spell ou t wh at
the Su gges ted List P rice (SLP) of you r CD is ( the suggested price that
the s tores will sell the CD to the general public for). For example, the lis t
price for you r CD cou ld be $ 15.98. Generally , labels sell thei r CDs to the
distribu tor for 50% of the list p ric e. On a CD with a lis t pric e of $15.98,
for examp le, the distribu tor wou ld p ay the label $8.00 .
You r distribu tion contract shou ld spell ou t what the billing cyc le is.
You will bill you r distri bu tor by sending them an invoice for the amou nt
they owe you.

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The invoice is sent to the distribu tors Accou nts Payable department,
a n d s h o u l d i n c lu d e t h e i n v o i c e n u m b e r ; i n f o r m a t i o n r e g a r d i n g w h a t w a s
shipped; shipping date; u nit pric e; amou nt du e; and the distribu tors
pu rchase order nu mber. If you ve shipped the distribu tor several different
CDs, each one shou ld have its own pu rchase order and invoice.
Depending on you r contrac t, the distribu tor will normally have 30,
60, or 90 days after receivin g the invoice to pay the amount owed you.
They will hold in reserv e (i.e ., not pay you) a c ertain percen tage of the
amou nt owed in case their retai l ac cou nts retu rn u nsold produ ct to them.
For obviou s reas ons, if produ cts are retu rned as u nsold, the distribu tor
cannot pay y ou for them since n o money was made. In addition , the
distribu to r will only pay you (less the reserve) for produ ct actu ally
shipped to the retai l accou nts and not for you r produ ct that is still sitti ng
in their warehou se waitin g to be shi pped. This means that if you sent you r
distribu tor 5,000 CDs and 3,000 of them are shipped to the stores , the
distribu to r will only pay you for the 3,000 units shipped to the stores and
not for the 2,000 CDs still sittin g in their warehou se. Keep in mind that,
u nless you have a sales track- record and more p rodu cts in the pipeline
that need distribu tion, it will be u nlikely that a distribu tor will pay you
promptly what you are owed; if they pay you at all.
Unfortu nately , becau se of the arrangement d escribed above, the
worst thing that can happen to you as a start-u p label is that you get a hit
reco rd on you r h ands and you dont h ave a large enou gh bu dget to
manu factu re more p rodu ct to keep sending produ ct throu gh the pipeline
to meet d emand. You wont be seei ng any cash from you r distribu tor for
months, and i f you dont have the cash available, you will find you rself
u nable to take adv antage of an opportu nity that strikes only once in a v ery
long while for most rec ord labels and artists . Make su re that you have
enou gh cash available even after execu ting an aggressive mark etin g and
promotion campaign .

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P a g e | 200

Once you r dis tribu tion is u nder way, you shou ld make su re that you
are doing all you can to promote the record and send p eople to the stores
where you r p rodu cts are s tocked . K eep in mind that you cannot promote a
reco rd indefinit ely , so you sh ou ld h ave oth er reco rds o r projec ts in t h e
pipeline so that y ou have enou gh materi al to follow the cu rren t release
and keep the distribu tor happy. Dis tribu tors are more lik ely to pay you if
you have other p rodu cts that mi ght interest them.
Changing Distributors
There may come a time when, for one reason or another, you have
problems wi th you r distribu tor. It c ou ld be that the distribu tor is refu sing
or u nable to pay you money ow ed; or the distribu tor is u nable to get y ou r
produ cts into the kind of retai l stores you are in terested in being in; or
you feel lost in the shuffle among dozens of other labels on the
distribu tors ros ter; or the distribu tor is goin g ou t of bu siness.
Before y ou make any moves , you will need to review y ou r contrac t to
see what it says abou t ending you r relationship. If it is possible to move
you r catalo g to ano ther distribu to r, you shou ldnt expec t it all to happen
overni ght.
Fol lowing a re some th ings th at you sh ou ld expect t o do in th e cou rse
of changin g distribu tors:
1.

Review you r contract, and then i nform you r ori ginal dis tribu tor

abou t the change in distribu tion (fo llowing the procedures set out in your
distribution contract).
2.

At you r expense , th e ori gina l distri bu tor sh ou ld sh ip wh ateve r is le ft

of you r p rodu ct from its w arehou se to the new distribu tor (or where ver
else you may need your products s hipped to) . It makes the most sense to
not ship you r produ ct u ntil you have new dis tribu tion in place.
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P a g e | 201

Otherwise, you will pay the shipping fro m you r o ri ginal distribu tor
to you r own loc ation , and then from you r loc ation to a new distribu tor.
3.

You sh ou ld issu e credit to you r origina l dist ribu tor fo r produ cts

shipped to you r new distribu tor.


4.

Expect a p aymen t from you r ori gi nal distribu tor for money owed

you . Do not exp ect 100% of all the money owed since the ori gi nal
distribu tor may sti ll have to deal with retu rns from the stores . You can
expec t about 85% of the money to be paid at this time.
5.

After abou t six mon ths, the origin al distribu tor shou ld make a fin al

payment and retu rn any produ ct it has remaining to you . You shou ld pay
close attention to all the things that made you leav e you r first distribu tor
once you have you r new distribu tion in place. At this point, you shou ld
work even harder to k eep good commu nication lines op en and do all you
can to help the new distribu tor sell you r records. The las t thing you wan t
is to sever yet another distribu tion arrangement and have to start things
all over again .
Finally , k eep in mind that distribu tion is what every mu sician wants ,
bu t not what every

musician

needs

or can

afford .

In

addition

(as

mentioned previously) , the fu tu re of mu sic consu mption will take p lace


away from retail stores, so the mo re you invest in this option at this time,
the more you will be ti ed to a system that will soon become obsolete. The
bu lk of you r financia l ou tpu t sh ould pro bab ly be in o th er areas at t h is
time, inclu ding tou r su pport and social n etworking efforts. Think lon g and
hard abou t what the tru e costs of di stribu tion are before ju mping in.

ARTIST MANAGEMENT MANUAL | 2010 Edition

Page 201

RADIO PROMOTION CAMPAIGNS


Podcasts, Satellite and Internet radio
For most independ ent mu sicians, podcasts will serve as radio
stations on

the internet. There are hu ndreds of differen t podc asts

playing mu sic and providin g au dio content to thou sands of listeners ev ery
minu te of the d ay, and this can p rovide an avenu e to get you r mu sic heard
in places where you

cou ld never perfo rm o r even prom ot e you rself

effectiv ely . You can regis ter and upload you r songs to sites like music
alley

(http://www.mu sicalley.c om)

and

Podsafe

Audio

(http://www.pods afeau dio.com) and others that serv e as a one stop shop
for podcas ters to find mu sic to play on their stations. Services like
MusicSubmit (http://www.mu sicsu bmit.com/) also service you r mu sic to
podcasts. If you want to h andpick individu al stations to su bmit y ou r
mu sic to, you can search for podcas ts that play you r style of mu sic or even
ones that focu s on topics of interest to you on sites like PodcastAlley
(http://www.podc astalley .com/)

or

Podcast

Pickle

(http://www.podc astpickle.com/).
Even th ou gh podcasts individu ally reach just a few h u ndred people,
they collec tively reach au diences in the hu ndreds of thou sands and can
have an imp act on increasing you r fan base if you man age to get you r
mu sic played on dozens of station s. Don t concen trate only on the ones
that play music, since even the ones that cover other topics could play
you r mu sic if there is a c onnection that c an be mad e between the ly ri cal
content and the topics of interest.

P a g e | 203

Find

podcasts

that

address

hobbies

or

interes ts

of

you rs

and

approach the hosts abou t the possi bility of exposin g you r mu sic to th eir
listeners .
The Indie Contact Bible (http://w ww.indiebible.c om/) contains
contact information for thou sands of radio stations that play mu sic by
independent

artists,

and

onlin e

(http://www.radiogu ide.d e/)

radio

provi de

directories

links

to

radio

like

Radioguide

stations

websites

arou nd the world. You shou ld also su bmit you r songs to Pandora Ra dio
(http://su bmitmu sic.pandora.com) ,

but

you

must

have

physically

manu factu red CDs and not ju st mp3s in ord er to su bmit you r mu sic.
Consider

submitting

your

music

to

SIRIU S

XM

Radio

(http://www.xmradio .co m/on xm/featu res /43-xmu _mu sicsu bmission.xmc)


as

well,

in

addition

to

internet

radio

(http://www.j ango.com/mu sic+promotion /home)

stations
and

like

Jango

iheartradios

New! (http: //www.iheartradio.com/new2/signu p/index.html).


Non-commercial / College Stations
As an independent a rtist , you sh ould focu s on are as of radio wh e re
you can make an impact in terms of awareness over time. There are plenty
of on- line, college, and high school s tations that wi ll play mu sic from
independent artists . Ai rplay information c an be u sed in you r p ress ki t to
get better gi gs , interviews , revi ew s, or attention from a bookin g agent.
Since it takes a while for you to con vince certain college stations to listen
to you r materi al and add i t to their play list, you shou ld begin that
process early. Another important th ing to remember is that it takes many
radio stations playing you r song(s) at the same time to make an imp act in
terms of CD or d ownload pu rchases or ticket sales for liv e shows. E xcept
for the ones that enjoy breakin g new acts, radio stations generally do not
want to be the firs t or on ly ones p laying you r songs . When p romoting to
radio, you shou ld always k eep you r release / street date in mind.

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P a g e | 204

It is always helpfu l to have radio stations playing you r songs ri ght


arou nd the releas e / street d ate and onwards . Try and c o-ordin ate all
radio ai rplay with any shows that you book on the college campu s or at
nearby venu es. P romoting to spec ialty shows on college radio s tati ons
you rself withou t the aid of a radio promoter can be a time-consu ming
effort, but if you

have a small bu dget and need

the radio

airplay

information for you r biography and media kit / EPK, then you have little
choice bu t to pu t in the n ecessary ti me.
In addition to info rmation fou nd in print directo ries lik e the Indie
Bible and search en gine resu lts , you can u tilize lis ts lik e the one at Fat
Campus

(http://fatcampu s.com/collegeradio.htm)

Intercollegiate

Broadcast

and

System

the
list

(http://www.frontiernet.net/~i bs/Stati ons1.html#Stati on%20Top%20A nc


hor) to loc ate college radio stations to send you r material to.
Start wi th college radio stations wi thin the region where you will be
performing wi th you r band and promoting you r p rodu ct. Also look into all
the on-line radio stations that p lay you r type of mu sic. Make su re you
research the type of mu sic that each radio station plays, and only
highlight the ones that play you r style of mu sic. Check the station website
and/or call or emai l ahead of ti me and find ou t whom to send y ou r
package to. As an independen t artist, don t be afraid to ask what y ou
sh ou ld send in you r package . Th is will avoid a l l th e w asted ex tras t h at
most

peop le

send

that

u su ally

have

no

impact

whatsoever

towards

increasing the chances of receiving airplay.


Making contact
At the beginning of you r independent radio campaign , target college
radio stati ons, non-commerci al stations, internet radio s tations, high
school radio stations , and mix / s pecialty shows on commercial stati ons
for ai rplay.
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P a g e | 205

Ask you r fans or get f eed back f rom people in oth e r cities abou t
which radio stations shou ld be contacted . They know their ci ty better than
you do. Use the internet to do mu ch of you r research since p rinted
directory information can qu ickly become ou tdated.
For you r campai gn to b e effec tive, you need to h ave as mu ch radio
activity goin g on at one time as p ossible. This can be qu ite a challenge
since radio stations wont nec essarily play you r son gs acc ordin g to y ou r
schedule, but always keep a schedule in mind. A ttempt to have all the
radio stations play the same song (your single ) at the same time. This is
not always possible since some stations may feel that another son g on
you r albu m caters more c losely to their listening au dience. Sinc e high
school and college radio airp lay does not lead to massive amou nts of CD
sales by themselves , always incorp orate all the other promotion al efforts
(live performances, socia l networking, s treet team promotions, me dia
publicity, etc .) into the game p lan .
Make su re that you r mu sic, from a qu ality standpoint, is ready for
radio airp lay . Unless otherwise informed, d ont send a d emo (CD-R) or
mp3 attachments and mu sic links to a radio s tati on. Almost all of them
prefer you to send replicated CDs with artwork. Never blindly send
packages ou t to radio s tati ons. Call fi rst and veri fy a con tac t name and
address of the Mu sic Director ( MD). The MD d ecides which songs to add
to the play list. The Program Director (PD) decides what the overall
programmin g fo r th e radio s ta tion sh ou ld be . So meti mes th e PD and t h e
MD is the s ame person at a college radio station . Un less they are
produ cing their own show on the stati on, DJs u su ally have no power in
deciding what gets play ed on the ai r, so dont bother sending pack ages to
them. The only v alu e is if a DJ really likes a son g and men tions it to the
MD.

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P a g e | 206

The package
You r package sh ou ld inclu de a condensed biograph y, you r CD, a
radio one-sheet (wi th album cover, artist name, album ti tle , music genre ,
album

release

date ,

website

info,

track

listing

with

brief

song

descriptions, quotes, and contact info), a band photo, and a press release
that can be read on the ai r. Generally, you shou ld send a CD with 12 songs
or less , or an EP to college radio. Make su re that the firs t son g has a lot of
energy and a short intro sec tion . Pu t a sticker on you r CD indicati ng
which song(s) you want the MD to c onsider for ai rplay.
Once you ve sent you r package, don t call the station end lessly to ask
why they arent playing you r song yet. Make one follow u p call to the
Mu sic Direc tor 2-3 weeks after you ve sen t the p ackage to make su re the
CD is at the station , then p robably ev ery other w eek to check on its
progress. Some stations are ok ay with an email to the MD letting them
know when you will be callin g (which also allows them to e mail you back
before you call wi th a status updat e). Wh en you call, m ention th e nam e of
the band, the date you sent the package, and what sty le the mu sic is. If
you r package hasnt been rec eived or revi ewed yet, ask when wou ld be a
good time to call ( they will probably review the package now tha t you ve
mentioned it) . Take down the notes and call back then. If they reviewed
the package and want to add a son g to the play lis t, ask for which song
they have in mind and when they expect to add it.
Dont be afraid to offer to d rive ov er to the station with pizza, free
CDs, s tickers, T-shirts and tick ets for the air staff. Offer to d o an on-ai r
performance or CD giv eaw ay arou nd the time of the proposed airp lay . If,
however, they reviewed the package and decided not to add it to the play
list, dont try and convince them otherwise. Ask them for any qu ick advice
as to possible imp rovemen ts and thank them for their time. Theyll
appreciate you r professionalism and remember you the next ti me you send
something.
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P a g e | 207

Ju st becau se they didnt w ant to add a song from you r cu rrent CD


this time doesn t mean theyll never add any other song at another ti me.
When you do send you r package, mention all the other p romotion you will
be doing, as well as all the places you will be performing at. In you r cover
letter, let the approp riate person know that you r band is available to come
by the station for a visit, an on-ai r i nterview, or a free CD giveaway party .
Find a way to mak e you r radio promotion fu n and exci ting. Fi gu re ou t a
way to ru n some type of contes t or even t that will mak e the listeners
remember you , you r son g, and the radio station .
Go to th e radio stati ons in you r promotion a rea du ring a lu nch break
and bu y pizzas for the on-air s taff. Record station IDs for each radio
station that you are p romoting you r songs to (e.g . Hi , this is Sarah
Jones, and youre listening to KHIT 97 .5FM) . If you feel adv entu rou s,
record a s tati on jingle and send it to the station. A station jingle is a v ery
short song that inclu des the station name, frequ ency (e.g. 97 .5FM) and
call letters (e .g. KH IT) along wi th something fu nny or fashionable that
will interest the listeners if play ed on the air. Do anything that will make
you and you r song stand ou t from all the others.
A few weeks and months after submitting your music to these
stations (if you are hand ling rad io promotion yourself) , you can u se
services

like

streamSerf

(http ://ww w.s treamserf.com) ,

(http://www.mu sicinfosystems.com/faq/index.asp) ,

Mediabase

Nielsen

BDS

(http://en-u s.nielsen .com/tab/industries /media/entertainment) or CMJs


Airplay Manager (http://www .cmj.com/ai rplaymanager) to track where
you r songs are bein g played .

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P a g e | 208

Specialty / Mix show Radio


Some c ommerci al s tations have sp ecialty / mix shows that p art of
their p rogrammin g. A specialty show or mix show host does a on e or twoh ou r sh ow wh ere songs a re play ed t h at may not norm al ly be played du ring
prime tim e. Th e individu al h osts norm ally pick th eir own mu sic for th e
show, and this is sometimes where new songs are tes ted with the listening
au dience. Airp lay of individu al son gs du ring speci alty shows are u su ally
limited and don t normally resu lt in large-scale exposu re. Despite this, it
is better to gain some exposu re du ring these shows than none at all .
Specialty show spins can be u sed to create a bu zz, energi ze fans on soc ial
networks, add information to you r bio, imp ress clu b and venu e bookers,
influence the media (especially local weeklies), and get the attention of
some indie rec ord labels.
Commercial Radio Airplay
Most p eople wou ld agree that commercial radi o is the sin gle best w ay
for major label artis ts to reach millions of fans . Most people wou ld also
agree that, becau se radio is this powerfu l, major record labels spend
enormou s

amounts

of

money

promotin g

their

artists

to

radio

and

influ encing the radio station playlists. For independent artists , even
airplay receiv ed from mix shows or achieved by su bmittin g songs to
individu al radio stations or a p ool of stations u sing resou rces like
iheartradios

New!

(http://www.iheartradio.com/new2/signu p/index.html) and others is n ot


the same as the ai rplay that artists on major labels receive.
Even if (as an independent artist) you h ave th e bu dget to pu rsu e
commercial radio airp lay , you r money wou ld be better spent on other
things

(e.g.

tour

production

and

promotion ,

social

networking

initiatives , s treet team ma rke ting, etc).

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P a g e | 209

Th is is becau se wh en you pu rsu e comme rcia l radio ai rpl ay, aside


from the occasional spin in a station in you r home town, you will be
u nable to break into the system that is cu rrently in place. Promotional
fees will be acc epted by the radio promoters for doing the physical w ork
(mailing out or submitting songs to radio, ma king follow-up phone c alls
and emails, etc) and the charges wi ll be levied for pos tage, su pplies, etc.,
yet at the end of the day , any resu lting ai rplay (i f any a t a ll) will p robably
fail to pay back even the cos ts of the promotion its elf; let alon e earn a
profi t.
Major labels hav e a lot more to offer radio stations (e .g. exclusives ,
artist visits, listener prizes, mee t-and-greets, concert ticke ts, music
availability

at

re tail,

nationwide

marke ting,

etc)

than

independent

artists , even if an independen t artist has the money to spend in radio


promotion fees. The radio stations can also cou nt on the fact that i f they
su pport a single, the major labels have the mark etin g and distribu tion
mu scle to mak e su re i t wi ll be av ailable for listen ers to pu rchase in all
available formats. Radio stations can also count on a steady supply of hit
songs from major labels, the same of which cannot be s aid of independent
labels.
Having said all this, howev er, pu rsu ing radio ai rplay can serve a
pu rpose for the artists that have ac cess to adequ ate levels of fu nding and
a connection to a major label (via a distribution deal, etc). There are s till
many bookin g agents, promoters, v enu e bookers, retail accou nts, labels,
pu blishers,

etc,

that

are

influenced

in

their

decision-making

by

information abou t radio ai rplay from an artist. Having some radio airp lay
information to pu t in a media kit or EPK can sometimes help an artis t to
get attention

from the abovemen tioned people. If you

pu rsu e radio

airplay, mak e su re that you have adequ ate fu nding to do all the other
things that are nec essary (and even more important) for you to su cceed in
bu ilding a large fan base and sellin g mu sic produ cts and merchandising.

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Dont spend you r enti re bu dget on radio promotion bec au se that


alone wont enable you to realize you r mu sical goals .
The most cost-effective ways for independent artists and labels to submit
their mu sic to radio stations (whe ther or not it results in actual pla ys)
is

to

use

services

like

NEW!

Discover

&

Uncover

(http://www.c learchannelmu sic.com/new2/si gnu p/index.html) ,


Yangaroo

(http://www .yan garoo.com/Produ cts/DMDS.asp x),

RADIODIRECTX (http://www .rad iodirec tx.com/index.php),


Direct

(http://ai rplaydirect.com),

Airplay

Music Submit

(http://www.mu sicsu bmit.com/) , etc. You can also u se the Radio Stati on
Worlds global station directory ( http://radiostationworld .com/) or the
Radiogu ide direc tory (http://www .radiogu ide.de/) and others to loc ate
radio stations arou nd the world to manu ally su bmit y ou r mu sic to. Keep in
mind the fact that sending you r mu sic to radio s tations is differen t from
promotin g you r mu sic to radio station . Sendin g you r mu sic to the
stations simp ly means that the mu sic is su bmitted in the hopes that
someone at the station will listen to it and play i t. P romoting the mu sic
means that someone (a promo ter) will commu nicate with the approp ri ate
people at the radio station in an attempt to convince them to p lay the
music.
If you have an adequ ate bu dget to d o so, some op tions for paid radio
promotion

services

include

companies

like

(http://www.p lanetary grou p.com/in dex.php)

or

Planetary

Group

Howard

Rosen

Promotion (http://www .howiewood.com/) , among others.

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As mentioned earlier, you can u se services lik e streamSerf or Airplay


Manager to track where you r songs are bein g played . If you are worki ng
with a radio p romoter, they will likely u se airplay moni torin g services li ke
Mediabase (http: //w2.mediabase.com/mmrw eb/NewMu sic.asp) and oth ers
to track any radio ai rplay that mi ght be happening.
Promoting to commercial radio
Before

you

decide to

p romote

your song

to

commercial

radio,

consider you r statu s in the bu siness (indie artis t DIY , artist on indie
label with only digita l dis tribution, artis t on indie label with major la bel
distribution, etc) as well as the bu dget you have avai lable. If you are an
independent artist and dont have enou gh money to commit to a fu ll-scale
commercial radio camp aign (even an entry-level one), then you may
consider down grading to non-commerci al / college radio or skipping the
entire commercial radio promotion campai gn altogether.
A

realistic

bu dget to

consider

for

radio

p romotion

is

between

$15,000 and $ 150 ,000 per son g for three to six months of p romoti on;
depending on the genre you re deali ng with (e.g. Pop, Roc k, Country, H ipHip / R&B, Latin , Dance/Club, etc .). Keep in mind that you will n eed to
have even more mon ey set aside for other costs , inclu ding marketi ng,
manu factu ring, distribu tion, pu bli city, adv ertising, tou r su pport, mu sic
videos, online p romotion , etc .
If you r situ ation w arrants it and once you have the bu dget set u p,
the fi rst s tep towards promoting to commercial radio is mailin g you r CDs
or d eliv erin g sin gles via digi tal d ownload to the stations. If you are
working with an independent radio promoter and op t to do the maili ng
you rself (to save some money), they will give you a list of stations to mai l
to or do the mailin g for you.

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There are also radio station su bmission services that su bmit ou r


mu sic digital ly in th e fo rm of mp3s. Y ou sh ou ld NOT send a fu ll CD t o
commercial radio s tations (i.e . a CD wi th more than one song), or ev en
CD-Rs that are bu rned from you r compu ter. Replicate real CDs w ith
artwork (minimum 300 500) to send when doing a commercial radio
campai gn. For radio-on ly CD ru ns, keep the barcod e off the artwork . Keep
you r mailing (or digita l delivery) to a single from the albu m, and serv ice
t h a t s i n g l e t o a l l t h e r a d i o s t a t i o n s i n y o u r c a m p a i g n . I t h e l p s i f y o u h av e
done some research to determine that the single you are sending is the
right one; in other words, the hit from the albu m. Do not send mu lti ple
albu ms (releases) to the station. Concentrate on one release / campai gn at
a time.
You sh ou ld try and produ ce several ve rsions of th e single on th e
same CD, inc lu ding:
1)

The radio version (no more than three and a half minutes long,

and free of profanity);


2)

The album version (as appears on the a lbum);

3)

An a capella version (just the vocals);

4)

An instrumental version (just the music); and

5)

A Re-mix / Dance version (if a pplicable and you have one).


Radio s tations sometimes u se a capella and instru mental versions for

commercials, liners and station IDs . Make su re the artwork on the singles
inclu des the title, artis t name, s ong lengths, record label name, contac t
info, versions of the single, and which albu m the single is from. Use only
standard CD jewel c ases with you r CD (i.e . not cardboard , slim cas es,
etc.) . Mak e su re the artis ts name and song title are on the spine of the
case, and include the same information on the outside of the case as in
inside so that someone can read it withou t having to open the case.
Inclu de the add date on the ou tside of the p ackage.

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The next step involv es a radio p romoter or you rself (i f you are
taking the DIY rou te) callin g (or fa xing / emailing) all the stations where
CDs were mailed ou t to (or d ownloads delivered to) and giving them
information abou t the son g / proj ect. This information inclu des adds and
/ or spins already happening at other stations , sales fi gu res from the
albu m, live shows, print reviews or articles , TV appearances, street
promotion, distribu tion information, positive indu stry comments , soc ial
networking bu zz, and so on. This information has to be fed to the stati ons
continu ou sly (usually week ly) fo r as l ong as th e ca mpai gn is in ef fe ct;
normally three to si x mon ths.
The next step to c onsider in terms of commercial radio is whether to
bu y trade ads. Bu ying trad e ads

serves as a way to get important

information to the decision-makers at radio on a week ly basis even if you


dont (or cant) reach them by phone / fax / emai l. Radio station
personnel read these trad e magazin es constan tly , and i f you have an ad in
one or all of them youll increase your visibility even if it doesnt
gu aran tee you any airplay. Bu ying ads also shows that you are seri ou s
abou t you r project and committed to spending whatever is nec essary to
promote the mu sic. Advertising in the trad es tends to be cheapest betw een
Janu ary and Ap ril, so if you re on a limited bu dget, those months mi ght be
the bes t ti me to ru n you r radio campaign.
When promoting to radio, it is important to keep in mind the
differenc e betw een adds and spins. An add simply means that a
radio station has added you r song to their mu sic library so that it is
available. It does not mean that you are ac tu ally gettin g any ai rplay or
being add ed to the playlis t. Gettin g spins means that you are ac tu ally
gettin g ai rplay on the station .

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P a g e | 214

An importan t aspec t of the commercial radio promotion campai gn is


t h e a d d d a t e . T h i s i s th e d a t e t h a t y o u w a n t t o c o n v i n c e t h e r a d i o
stations to add y ou r song to thei r p laylis t. The radio promotion camp aign
will need to begin rou ghly fou r weeks before this add d ate and conti nu e
for three months to tw elv e month s, depending on the resu lts and the
bu dget allotted . Mos t of the camp aign after the add date is condu cted in
order to get the station to actu ally p lay (o r spin) the song.
Most

independent

artis ts

pu rsu ing

radio

ai rplay

will

want

to

concentrate on non-commerci al and college radio. The mon ey is probably


better

spent

this

way,

and

whatever

is

saved

(by

not

running

commercial radio airplay campaig n) can be rolled into other aspects of


the campaign; lik e social netw orking, posters /

flyers, promoti onal

materi als , merchandise, tou r produ ction & su pport, bu ilding street teams ,
web p romotion, etc.
Performance Rights Organizations (PROs )
In any event, before you send you r songs off for potenti al radio
airplay, make su re you

have joined

one of the Performance Ri ghts

Organizations (PROs) of you r ch oice. Th ese PROs are set u p to negoti ate
performance fees with the radio stations, handle all the collec tion du ties ,
and pass on what is owed to the w riters and pu blishers. Wi thou t getting
too technical, radio s tati ons are requ ired to obtain a performance license
and pay songwri ters and pu blishers a performance fee in ord er to play
(perform) thei r songs on the ai r. It wou ld be a major pain for songw riters
and pu blishers to negotiate individ u al licenses wi th and collec t fees from
each and every radio station in the world. The best solu tion is to have one
company handle all this for you.
Enter the P erformanc e Ri ghts Organizations . They issu e blanket
performance licenses to radio s tati ons that allow them to p lay every song
in their rep ertoi re.
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The three main Performance Ri ghts Organizati ons in the United


States are ASCAP (http://www .asc ap.com) , B MI (http://www .bmi.com) ,
and SESAC (http://www.sesac .com). You can only belong to on e of them
at a time, so check ou t each of thei r websites for registration informati on.
Also,

you

sh ou ld

register

with

Sound

Exchange

(http://www.s ou ndexchange.com/) for the collection and distri bu tion of


digital performance roy alties when you r songs are performed on internet
and satellite radio.

ARTIST MANAGEMENT MANUAL | 2010 Edition

Page 215

DEALING WITH VENUE BOOKERS AND BOOKING AGENTS

Once you ve got you r produ cts in place (avai lable on your website
and on iTunes, Amazon, etc ., and at retai l) and have the beginnings o f a
pu blicity and radio campai gn goin g, then it is a good time to tu rn y ou r
attention to live performances and tou rs.
The most efficient way to b ook gi gs is with the assistance of a talent
booker or bookin g agen t. Bu t, in order to deal effectiv ely wi th talent
bu yers, v enu e bookers and booking agents, you have to u nders tand where
they are coming from. These p eople are in bu siness to mak e mon ey, and
not to ru n a charity . Venu e book ers u se certain cri teria to help them make
their booking decisions.
Among

some

of

the

more

important

questions

venue

bookers

consider are:

How many PAY ING peop le ( prefe rably o f drin king age) do you

normally draw to you r p erformanc es?

Do you have a large mailin g lis t of LOYAL fans that wi ll c ome ou t to

see you perform?

Do you have a promotion/pu blicity /mark etin g plan for you r shows?

Depending on whether or not they receive a cu t, how mu ch

merchandise d o you sell per show?

Have you created any signific ant amou nt of local (or regional)

bu zz in the area?

What other v enu es have you performed in (and is the venue size

similar to theirs)?

What is you r repu tation amon g other agents, promoters, venu e

bookers, indu stry personnel, etc . (i .e. are you a pain in the a**)?

What slots has your band play ed (opening slot, headliner, e tc)?

P a g e | 217

Do you have effectiv e p romotional materi als that you will u se to

promote the show?

Is there any word-of-mou th from other performers who have

performed at the v enu e in qu estion?

Is there any interest from major or i ndependent record labels?

Has anything been wri tten abou t you r band in the local/regional

newspapers and magazines?

Do you have any Television or in ternet exposu re or radio ai rplay?

Are you playin g anywhere els e in th e same town within tw o weeks of

you r proposed d ate?


Booking agen ts, whose income is earned in the form of a c ommission
(normally 10%) rather than from drink sales , etc , consider different
qu estions, inclu ding:

What is your hometown?

What venues have you played?

What is you r tou rin g mark et (region al, na tional, inte rnational)?

What is your upcoming tour schedule?

Do you have a comp eten t team in place ( manager, pub licist, radio

promote r, label A&R person, tour manager, etc)?

What is you r cu rrent average pay for each of you r shows?

How many shows do you cu rrently perform every mon th, and how

many shows wou ld you like to perform p er month in the fu tu re?

What promotion al/pu blicity/marketing methods do you cu rren tly

employ?

Do you have a tou ring v ehicle, and do you have you r own PA/lights i f

necessary?

What materials have you released (CDs, DVDs, do wnloads , etc)?

Do you have a press kit or EPK (including bio, photos, and video

with live footage) or on e-sheet avai lable?

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P a g e | 218

Most independen t artis ts will not have many of these things in place,
and therefore wi ll not be able to attract the attention or interes t of a
major

booking

agent.

Booking

agents

work

on

commission

basis

(generally 10% of boo king fees generated by a booking). Consider that


major label artis ts command su bstantial fees per show (e.g ., A licia K eys
gets roughly $100 ,000+ per show; Brad Paisley gets up to $300,000 per
show, etc) , from which a 10% commission can yield the booking agent
$10,000 - $30,000 per show. Mu ltiply those figu res by the nu mber of
differen t artists and the total nu mber of shows in a year, and y ou can see
why the larger booking agencies w ork with es tablished artists on ly. An
independent artis t gen eratin g $500 - $2,500 per show, on the other hand,
w o u l d y i e l d t h e b o o k i n g a g e n t c o m m i s s i o n i n th e r a n g e o f $ 5 0 - $ 2 5 0 p e r
show; hardly what wou ld be consi dered worthy of pu tting in time for.
Once you estab lish a tou ring t rack reco rd , h oweve r, you sh ou ld be a bl e to
attract the interest of a smaller booking agen t.
As an independent a rtis t, you sh ould conside r doing th ings you rse lf
in the beginning and then seekin g assistance when you can no lon ger
handle

everything

you rself

and

need

assistance

expanding

your

perf ormance a re a ou tside of you r h ometown . Bu ild you r fan base u sing
promotional

and

publicity

techniques

discu ssed

in

this

e-book

and

elsewhere (e .g ., social networking, video content, samples and free s ong


downloads, music cards , flyers & postcards, s treet teams , e tc), and th en
u se you r mailin g list to invit e pe ople t o sh ows th at you pu t toget h er
you rself at venu es that will let you perform on an off ni ght and k eep w hat
you collec t at the d oor. Make sure you keep meticu lou s notes of the
number of p eople that attend your shows, the amount of mon ey collected
at the door, the amou nt of CDs and merchandise you sell, etc ., so that y ou
can u se this data when conversing w ith venu e bookers and booking agen ts.
You

can

use

solutions

like

Bandize

(http://bandize.com/) ,

Music

Arsenal (http://www.mu sicars enal.com/) and others to help to organ ize


all you r information .

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P a g e | 219

If you are having a hard ti me attractin g the atten tion of venu e


bookers or p romoters for paying gigs, then take the initiative to bu ild a
fan base online (b y utilizing social networking s tra tegies, ac tivating
virtua l stree t teams , creating compelling YouTube video content, etc) and
th en finding a smal l venu e in you r town th at will l et you play on a
w e e k d a y n i g h t a n d k e e p 1 0 0 % o f t h e c o v e r c h a r g e . W h e n y o u d o th i s , d o n t
cou nt simply on you r friends and family members to make this work . You
will have to build a genuine fan base of at least 200 300 people in your
area and get half of them to attend the shows.
You will have to have good mu sic and compelling conten t online to
attract fans that will do more than ju st download you r mu sic for free.
Once you get goin g, plan to do a few of these u ntil you have d eveloped a
decent size draw and mailin g list as well as a repu tation for hard work
and promotion al savvy . Then videotape a few of these shows and u se the
foot a ge to crea te a liv e sh ow DVD (and foot age fo r you r EPK) wh ich you
can then send to venu e bookers along with testimonials , sales fi gu res , gig
attendance nu mbers , etc.
You can find contact and booking i nformati on for venu e book ers and
promoters

in

resou rces

like

the

Indie

Venue

Bible

(http://www.indievenu ebible.com/) , Billboard s Musicians Gui de to


Touring and Promotion (http://www .orderbillboard.com/) , Pollstars
Talent Buyer Directory (http://www .pollstar.com/) , The Musicians
Atlas (http: //www.mu siciansatlas .c om/) , and others.
When dealing with venu e bookers, booking agen ts or p romoters, the
nu mber of people you think (or kn ow) you can bring to the show, as well
as how you re going to promote that show, shou ld be you r main pitch. If
you havent done any shows in that area yet, you can utili ze information
from sites like e ventful (http: //eventfu l.com/demand) to prove to a
venue booker that you have fans in that area who are willin g to pay to see
you perform.
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Page 219

P a g e | 220

In ord er to c reate demand if you havent p layed in a particu lar venu e


or city , you will hav e to u tili ze social networking techniqu es, lau nch
virtu al and physical street teams , garner radio ai rplay (college, intern et,
satelli te), as w ell as c ondu ct off- line promotion (e .g., music do wnlo ad
card & sample giveaways, flyers , etc) to bu ild a fan base of people that
will w ant to see you play liv e. It is also v ery important for bookers to
know that you re not playin g in too many venu es in the area close to the
time you wish to be booked . If you can convince th ese individu als th at you
have an impressive mailing list an d fan base, performance track record,
sales history , and an effective promotion campai gn to brin g people to y ou r
show, you will have 90% of the battle won. H ow good you r mu sic is
(althoug h it doesnt hurt if the booker likes it) will only acc ount for a
small perc entage of the reason why you are hired. How big you r draw is,
the qu ality of you r p romotional efforts , and how many people you can
bring to the v enu e will always be the stron g sellin g points .
As temptin g as it may be, do not lie abou t you r d raw . Remember that
the bookin g commu nity in each region is not that that large, and people
can find ou t whether you really did draw 500 peop le to you r gig the
previou s week end or not. If you cannot draw a big enou gh crowd all by
you rself, consider making fri ends with a more popu lar band in you r area
and offerin g to open u p for them. Do this by going to their gi gs with you r
CD or DVD demo (or pointing them to your website) and talking to th em
abou t pu tting on a show together or opening u p for one of thei r gigs .
When you make an offer, however, you mu st indicate that you are
bringin g something to the table as well. Promoting the gig throu gh you r
mailin g lis t and vi a you r social networking sites shou ld at least be able to
draw 40 60 people to the show. Dont plan on the more popu lar band
letting you feed off of their fans, thou gh. If they accept, tak e the initiative
and call u p some c lu b bookers or promoters in the area with this solid
offer.
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P a g e | 221

You now will be pitching a well-known band as the headline with you
as the opening act. Sell the booker or p romoter on the d raw of the
headlining band in addition to the people you will draw . You now have a
mu ch stronger pack age to s ell.
If y ou are handling the phone calls you rself, you shou ld write ou t a
phone script that you will u se with bookers , agen ts, and / or promoters.
Th is will h elp you keep on track wit h wh at you need to say and not wande r
off on a tan gent with u nnecessary chatter. Nev er ju st wing i t when you
call v enu e bookers , agents o r pro moters . You sh ou ld custom design a
script for the different peop le you will be talking to, althou gh you will
almos t always have a similar theme: the size of your draw and the
effec tiveness of your promo tion. Before you call, try and think abou t
things from the point of vi ew of the booker, promoter, or agen t. They are
ru nning a bu siness and are in teres ted in making money from drink ( and
sometimes food) s ales, as well as a portion of the cover charge and
sometimes (though rare ly) a percentage of merchandise sales.

Keep that

in mind as you convers e.


Some venu e book ers book bands from pack ages sen t to them in the
mail or by checking ou t EPKs from links in band emails . This is u sually
the case with smaller venu es. In ad dition to inclu ding them on you r own
website,

you

can

(http://www.s onicbids.com)

utilize
and

resou rces

like

Live

Music

SonicBi ds
Machine

(http://www.livemu sicmachine.com/) and others to create EPKs

that

venu e bookers can review on line. The larger venu es u su ally book their
bands th rou gh a booking agency and are less interes ted in individu al
bands calling them on the phone. Indeed, some of the larger venu es book
throu gh their corporate promoter and it is virtu ally impossible for an
u nsigned band to get thems elv es booked withou t going throu gh the
promoters.

ARTIST MANAGEMENT MANUAL | 2010 Edition

Page 221

P a g e | 222

As an independent b and, you r goa l sh ou ld be t o concent ra te at th e


level where you will have the most su ccess placing you r own calls. Start
with the smaller clubs (40-250 seat capacity) and focus on making a good
impression

and

establishing

s tron g

d raw

and

large

mailing

list.

Remember that it is better to fill a 150-s eat venu e than i t is to have those
same 150 peop le in a 1,200-seat v enu e.
The approach
So le ts b egin a t th e ent ry lev el . Yo u sh ou ld call fi rst o r ch eck online
to find ou t who the responsible v enu e booker or p romoter is , what the
pref e rred meth od of cont act is, and (if a phone call is required) wh at th e
best time to c all is. Generally , the best times to c all are between 1 an d 5
p.m., bu t many venu es have specific booking hou rs (e.g. Tuesdays a nd
Thursdays between X and X time). You can call or email (or visit the
venu es websit e) to find ou t if a cl u b h as booking h ou rs, wh at th e h ou rs
are, and whom you should be speaking with.
Often, the p referred method of con tact is fi llin g ou t a form on the
venu e website, and /or sending in some materials or providing a link to
you r EPK. Follow the instru ctions to the letter if you wish to be tak en
seriou sly by the venu e book er. If the venu e requ ests that you email them
an EPK, fill ou t a form on the website, or mail ou t a DVD package, then
follow those instru ctions and DO NOT CALL THEM! Even if the venu e has
specific calling hou rs, do not try and sneak in an early call to catch the
clu b booker early. Call at the ri ght times and when you get the p roper
person on the phone, keep it brief and friendly , yet professional. Don t try
and hard s ell them ri ght there on the phone bec au se most of them will not
make a decision ri ght there anyway . Most often you will have to sell them
with you r package.

ARTIST MANAGEMENT MANUAL | 2010 Edition

Page 222

P a g e | 223

While you have them on the phone, tell them that you have ju st
released a record that is avai lable online and at you r local retail stores
(via consignment), and that you are receivin g local radio ai rplay and
revi ews in some mu sic pu blications. Tell them that you have a mailing list
and a fan base that you can leverage to help you with promotion .
If you have any relevant data from sites /services like Ne xt Big
(http: //www .nextbigsou nd.com/) ,

Sound

(http://even tfu l.c om/),

or

RockDex

eventful

(http://www .rockdex.com)

and

others , now mi ght be the time to mention some statistics that cou ld help
convince a booker that you have a loy al fan base in the region . A lso
mention the fact that you are available to step in for any cancelled gi gs
that occu r at the v enu e (i.e., you r band is ready to pe rfo rm on short
notice if anothe r band cancels their appearance at the venue).
You sh ou ld h ave some definite d ays in mind for gig opti ons, ju st in
c a s e t h e y a r e i m p r e s s e d w i t h y o u r i n f o r m a t i o n o n t h e p h o n e a n d h av e
some dates available. Know you r availabili ty so that you can ju mp on an
offer i f one is giv en. If you dont have a tou ring track record, the only
days you may be offered mi ght be weekdays . Take any day you can get in
the

beginning

and

use

social

networking

ou treach

and

street

team

promotional efforts to bu ild a fan base and generate interest in the show.
Once you ve p roved that you have a followin g and have a tou ring and sales
history you will be able to get booked for a Friday or Satu rday ni ght. In
case you get asked , make su re you know how mu ch you want to get paid
(e.g., 100% of the door, a fixed guarantee, etc) . If you dont have a track
record

you

wont

have

much

leverage

in

the

conversation

about

compensation; bu t be prepared to discu ss this if it comes u p. In any


event,

you

should

have

booking

section

on

your

website

with

information abou t you r avai labi lity as well as you r requ irements (fees,
production , accommodations , trave l, food, etc) that you can forward the
booker to.

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Inform the booker that you will be able to p romote the show online,
on the street, on radio, on telev ision, and throu gh the media. Also
mention that you only want to play in a few venues as possible locally so
as not to dilu te you r ticket sales . Dilu ting you r ticket sales means that
you are performin g so often in one area that you r fans have little reason
to go to every single show you book. In the larger v enu e circu it it is the
kiss of death to tell a book er that you are performin g a gi g in the same
town on the same w eek as a gi g they ju st booked you for. Venu es will be
very imp ressed that you know an d u nderstand this principle. Indicate
you r openness to present a strong lineu p by booking a cou ple of local
bands with decent fan bases to open up for you. Then offer to send them a
package, get the correc t spelling of their name, and mention when you
intend to follow up.
The package
If ask ed to send one , you r packa ge sh ou ld inclu de a cover le tt er, a
clear recordin g o f what you sou nd like LIVE (pre ferably including a vid eo
or DVD recording of a live s how showing an enthusiastic audience), a
band pictu re, a venu e list, any relev ant references or tes timonials/qu otes ,
a b a n d b i o , a n d a n y o t h e r s a l e s o r r a d i o / T e l e v i s i o n i n f o r m a t i o n y o u h av e .
You can pu t mu ch of th is informati on on a One-Sh eet, b roch u re, o r flyer
that w ou ld mak e i t easier for the bu sy booker to read . Offer to di rec t the
booker to an Elec tronic Press Kit ( EPK) that you have online that cou ld
speed u p the proc ess of booking you r band . Refer to any previou s
conversation you may hav e had wi th the clu b booker in you r cov er letter.

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If you have to send a package, the cover letter, flyer, or one-sheet


sh ou ld inclu de inform ati on lik e:
a) Type of music you play;
b) Venues or even ts you have played before and how many p eople
you ve brou ght to p reviou s performances;
c) Things have been said abou t you in the press;
d) Any accomplished mu sicians or famou s people are involv ed wi th you r
project;
e) Radio airp lay or television exposu re you ve receiv ed;
f) The size of your mailin g list;
g) You r methods of p romoting the show; and
h) Level of sales you have achieved.
The cover letter shou ld not inclu de a lot of u nnecessary information
or clu tter. Y ou r contac t information (phone, email, web site) shou ld be
clearly visible on every i tem in you r package. Don t make it difficu lt for
people to contac t you if they are interested in bookin g you .
The follow-up
Most book ers have a lot on thei r p lates and dont always have enou gh
time to listen to every thing that comes in immediately . Y ou can follow u p
with a ph one call or an e-m ail , espe cially if you said th at you wou ld. Do nt
call them fou r times a day for ten weeks strai ght. That wou ld become
extremely annoying and probably get you nowhere. Having said that, you
may have to call or e-mail several times before you get a respon se,
probably

every

two

to

three

weeks.

Try

to

balance

between

being

persisten t and bein g a pest.

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When you follow u p, try not to commit to a certain payment or gi g


date i f you are u nsu re of all the related issu es. Dont feel p ressu red to
m a k e a d e c i s i o n j u s t b e c a u s e y o u ar e o n t h e p h o n e a n d y o u w a n t t h e g i g .
Take an offer only i f it is good for you in the long term and all the iss u es
have been discu ssed. If you need to think an offer over, tell the pers on
that you will call them back after checking the schedu le with the rest of
the band or something. However, s et a d ead line in ord er to p reven t the
negotiati ons from draggin g on for a long time wi thou t a decision bei ng
made. H ave several options avai lable, and if the p erson hasnt confi rmed
th e issu es by th e deadline, move on to you r next option . If you ge t
rejec ted , be polite and take any notes you may be given as to why that
decision was made; then u se that as constru ctive criticism and mov e on to
another bookin g opportu nity.
Many bookers , promoters , and agents talk to each other. In that
regard , it helps to hav e good references from p eople who know the person
you are trying to get a gi g wi th. E very time you perform somewhere, try
and get a qu ote or testimonial from the person who booked you or ask
them if they can be a reference. Another way to get a gig is to make
fri ends with a band that already has a gig at the venu e you are trying to
perform at. Once you make friend s, you can then have the other band
approach the book er and pu t in a good word for you , or ev en su gges t that
you open up for them or share the bill.
Sometimes

venues

prefer

to

deal

with

booking

agen t

who

u nderstands the natu re of the business and can better deal with the
reali ties and ec onomics of booking a band . In that c ase, approaching a
booking agen t to deal with the ven u es may work if all other attemp ts at
gettin g you r own gi gs hav e failed . K eep in mind, however, that most
booking agents p refer w orkin g wi th bands that already have a large
followin g and can be booked in larger venu es where more money c an be
charged (and made).

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The negotiation
Th e first th ing you sh ou ld understa nd abou t negoti atin g is th at you
mu st always know when to walk away from a negotiation . If you dont, y ou
will always be negotiating from a position of weakn ess. Identi fy the things
that are c ru cial in comparison to the things that you can be flexible wi th.
For example, u nderstand why you are taking a particu lar gi g. Know what
your

overall

equipment

costs

and

(gas,

are

vehicle

food,

rental,

accommoda tions,

insurance,

etc.)

crew

before

salaries,

you

begin

negotiati ons. You will often find that you are negoti atin g for more than
ju st the price. Sometimes, you may want to take a particu lar gi g bec au se
of the exposu re or becau se you can sell CDs and merchandise and
increase you r fan base.
As mentioned earlier, c reate a booking section on you r website
containing all the relev ant bookin g information a book er or promoter
wou ld need. Inc lu de pictu res of the band and a band bio. Post some vi deo
footage of the band performin g live. Pu t u p a gig c alendar that displays
which dates you are unavailable, as well as notes on which dates you are
available to be booked . Indicate y ou r performance fees and any notes
abou t what those fees inclu de (e.g., fees for various band configuratio ns,
diffe rent

fees

depending

on

the

type

of

show,

extra

travel

and

accommodation fees for shows beyond certain distances, reduced fees for
non-profit or charity organizations , etc) .
Inclu de

form

in

the

booking

section

(using

scripts

like

http://www.u ltimate formmail.com/) where venu e bookers or promoters


can su bmit an offer. Use the form to collect information like the proposed
show date and ti me, v enu e location, venu e capacity , show type (e .g., c lub,
college, festiva l, fair, corporate , theater, other venue, etc) , bookers
contact in formation, show detai ls (money/fees offe r, s how times, s how
length, produc tion/bac kline includ ed, accommodations included, tra vel
included, food inc luded, etc) , and a section for miscellaneou s notes .
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If you dont have you r own si te or are otherwise u nable to add a form
to

your

site,

you

can

utilize

resou rces

like

Live

Music

Machine

(http://www.livemu sicmachine.com/) and others to let v enu e bookers


know abou t you r avai labi lity and make offers .
While considering what fees to charge (or accept) , an aly ze y ou r costs
and condu ct research on what other bands with a similar profi le are
gettin g paid . When researching w hat other bands are chargin g, dont
simply listen to what a band sou nds like and then charge the same fee j u st
becau se they have a similar sou nd. Consider other factors inclu ding how
many albu ms theyve released , the size of their mai ling list, thei r tou ring
track rec ord , whether or not they have a record label providing tou r
su pport, radio ai rplay , nu mber of followers or friends in their soc ial
networks, whether or not they have a booking agent, etc . If a band with a
similar profile gets paid $500 for a show (you can generally as k them
what they get paid if they are an independent band and dont have
availability and pricing information on their website), it wou ld be
u nrealistic fo r you to requ est a $2,500 gu aran tee for a show in a similar
venu e. Keep you r fees in line wi th bands with a simi lar p rofi le to you rs.
Small v enu es u su ally have different ways of paying bands. If you
have a booking agent, they can generally negotiate things differently . Bu t,
if you are an independent artist booking you r own shows, following are
some of the most common ways of gettin g paid at smaller venues:
Percentage This is the mos t common w ay new bands are paid by
venu es. Under this arrangemen t, the venu e pays you a percentage of
whatever is collec ted at the door from the c over charge. The perc entage
can be anywhere from 30% to 100 % of what is collected at the door (the
cover charge). This arran gement i s generally less risky for the venu e
booker or promoter. It cou ld be risky for you becau se if you dont promote
the gig and try and get a lot of p eople to the show, you cou ld end u p
sharing a mere $75 wi th the whole band.
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However, if you are able to bring a lot of peop le to you r show and
mana ge to ne go tia te 100% o f th e door, you cou ld end u p with a more
money than the venue could have paid you by the end of the night.
Imagine promotin g a show effec tively and having 250 people show u p with
a $ 1 0 c o v e r c h a r g e . I f y o u n e g o t i a t e d 1 0 0 % o f t h e d o o r , y o u w o u l d h av e
$2,500 for you and you r band. Sometimes all the bands on the bill share
in a perc entage of the door, and people are ask ed at the door which band
they came to see in ord er to fi gu re ou t how mu ch each band gets . P romote,
promote, promote, regard less of what percen tage you get at the d oor.
Keep in mind th at if you are ge ttin g paid 100% of th e door, th en th ere is
no need for somebody other than one of your people to handle the money;
so get someone you tru st to collect the money at the door even if the
venu e has a door person .
Guarantee

Under

this

arrangement,

the

venue

pays

you

gu aran teed amou nt of money, regardless of how many people show u p.


This arran gement is u su ally res erv ed for mo re es tablished bands or bands
that can prove they have a d ecent d raw (o r fo llo wing) that can ju stify the
gu aran tee. Venu es will p ay the gu arantee if they know they can make
money from you r fans in other ways (e.g., bar and food sales, percenta ge
of

CDs

or

merchandise

sold

at

the

venue,

share

of

ticke ts

sales,

miscellaneous fees, etc). How ever, there are many venu es that will pay
gu aran tees

because

they

have

pre-established

bu dget

for

bands.

Examples of su ch venu es are colleges, festiv als , fai rs, etc .


Guarantee vs. Percentage Un der this arrangemen t, the venu e
will offer the band a choice between the larger of the gu arantee and the
percen tage. For examp le, i f the ven u e offers a gu aran tee of $700 v ersu s a
percen tage of 75% of the door, the band will get paid the greater of the
two. If, at the end of the night, the money collected at the door is $ 10 00,
then the band wi ll rec eive the perc entage (7 5% o f $ 1000 = $7 50) bec au se
it is greater.

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This arrangemen t is u su ally a safe middle- grou nd since the band will
at leas t know they have a gu arantee ($700) while the venu e knows that if
nobody shows u p they can still afford that gu arantee.
Pay-to-Play - In some situ ati ons you literally have to p ay to rent a
venu e for you r performance. This may be necessary if you cant get booked
by any venu es becau se of a lack of track record . In other instances of p ayto-play , you will be asked to bu y tickets (pre-sells) from the v enu e and
then sell them to you r fans p rior to the show. In these types of instanc es
the objec tive is for the venu e to lower (or even eliminate) the risk of
booking a band that does not have a gu aranteed following. An examp le of
a pay-to-play situ ation works as follows: A p romoter gives you 75 tick ets
to sell to you r fans. B efore the date of the show, you will have to s ell the
first 50 tickets and pay the promoter $500 (the first 50 tickets at $10 per
ticket) . Y ou will then be able to k eep the mon ey made from the nu mber of
tickets you sell of the remaining 25 tickets. The most you will keep from
this scenario is $250 if you sell the remaining 25 tickets for $10 each. Y ou
may find you rself in this type of situ ation early in you r performing career.
Of cou rse, this can sometimes be beneficial if you have a large fan base
and manage to pre-sell 150 250 ti ckets or more.
The venue / band contract
Wh en you play th e smalle r venu es, you will very oft en find th at th e
gig is don e on a handshake. Very few c lu b bookers ev en bother wi th
writin g ou t or pres enting a contrac t to the bands they book . You shou ld
make a point of at the very least writing down all the items that you have
agreed to and faxing i t to the book er to keep for thei r records. This can
protect you if you show u p at the venu e and somebody tries to wiggle ou t
of his or her commitment to p ay you. Clubs have been known to doublebook bands (intentionally or unintentionally book two bands for the same
time slo t) , and u su ally the band wi th the bigger name o r the contrac t in
hand wins out; sending the other one packing.
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Some u nscru pu lous clu b bookers in tention ally dou ble- book bands in
order to get more people to the clu b, and then send one of the bands away
withou t paying them. They then keep the extra mon ey from the door and
the bar that was generated by the extra peop le.
Engagement contrac ts can be anything from a handshake (verbal
contracts are valid) and one-p age docu ments, to twenty-page con tracts
with riders and addendu ms . Here are s ome of the i tems that you may s ee
in or add to a contrac t:

The date that the agreement is mad e

The name, address, and phone number of the venue

The capacity of the venue

The name, address, and phone number of the band and how many

band members there are

The date or dates of the show

The time of the show

The len gth of the show

The load-in and sound check times of the show

The time the doors open to the pu blic

The ticket pric e

The merchandise sale arrangement ( if you are allowed to sell

merchandise like T-shirts , hats , etc)

The amount to be paid to the band (percentage of the door, a

guarantee, split be tween bands, e tc)

The deposit due to the band (if any)

The date the deposit should be paid by

The person to whom the money should be paid

The type of show it is (e.g . concert, festiva l, battle o f the bands , etc)

The age res tric tions associated with the show

The rec ordin g restric tions associated with the show (i f no recording

is permitted)

The other ac ts that are on the bill


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The technical requ irements or rider (any required lig hts , equipmen t,

etc)

The hospitality requ irements or rid er (any required lodging, food ,

etc)

The cancellation policy

The way disputes will be handled (mediation, a rbitration , court,

etc).
As mentioned earlier, you can u se solu tions like Bandize
(http://bandize.com/) , and the Band Leader
(http://www.theband leadersoftware.com/) and others to keep all you r
booking in formation organized and u pdated.

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Page 232

DIFFERENT TYPES OF GIGS YOU CAN BOOK FOR YOUR BAND

You sh ou ld always be p rep ared t o find addi tional and al te rna tive
sou rces for live p erformanc es. Y ou will definitely need to u se a book ing
agent for certain types of work , as we will discu ss later. Most major
booking a gen ts will not b e inte res t ed in booking you if you are not wel l
known already or hav e an impressive performance / tou ring track rec ord .
So, it is u p to you to get some momentu m and bu zz going b efo re you
consider trying to get one of the larger agenci es to tak e you on as a cli ent.
There are some local or regional booking agen ts who are op en to heari ng
fro m independent bands , so you sh ou ld seek th em ou t as you pu t begin
you r live p erformanc e campaign .
Try and schedu le you r gigs to tak e place after y ou r release date (i f
you are releasing physical CDs) , s o that people who see you perform can
b u y y o u r p r o d u c t s i f t h e y l i k e w h a t t h e y h e a r . Y o u s h o u l d b e g i n w i t h th e
gigs that take the lon gest time to book fi rst; for example, festiv als , college
gigs , etc . In orde r to enjoy th e fu ll ben efi ts of perfo rming, you sh ou ld
look at all the differen t places you cou ld perform in , and then attempt to
book a vari ety of gi gs that comp lement each other. For examp le (and
depending on the style of music you write and record) , you cou ld perform
at a caf on e afternoon, follow ed by a chari ty fu ndraiser performance at
night. The next day cou ld be cou ld be a hou se concert in the evening w ith
a gi g at a college campu s later that night, and the night after that an onair radio station p erformance before a gi g at a c lu b venu e.
As

you

can

see

with

this

strategy ,

you

can

have

multip le

opportu nities to perform in front of different peop le constantly , which


gives you th e ch ance to practic e and perfec t you r sh ow, sell mo re C Ds and
merchandise, as well as add fans to you r mailin g list.

P a g e | 234

In addi tion to c lu bs, there are sev eral other op tions you have when it
comes to p erforming. Looking into as many of these as possible will help
you raise you r visibility, add to y ou r track record , sell more CDs and
merchandise, and increase you r fan base. Some of these requ ire very li ttle
work , while others will requ ire some research and expenses in terms of
making

phone

calls

and

sending

packages ,

etc.

When

research ing

performance opportu nities, k eep you r options open, and u se this list to
spark some id eas . You sh ou ld be ab le t o add mo re pe rfo rmance and ve nu e
options to the followin g lis t as you condu ct you r research and depend ing
on the sty le of mu sic you perform.
Some venu e and performing options inclu de:

Mu sic indu stry conferences / sh owcases

College shows (at on- and off-campus venues)

Festivals & Fairs

Clubs

In-store appearances

On-air radio performances

Radio station events

House Concerts

Hotel gigs

Free, all- ages shows

Listening parties / showcases

Cafs

Ou tdoor A rts Fai rs

Shopping Center / Mall Store grand openings

BMI / ASCAP / showcases

Charity benefits

Reti rement Commu nities

Restau rants

Specialty stores

Debu ts and Premiers


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Holiday events

Weddings

Opening s lots / sid e-stage

Private parties

Corporate parties

High Schools

Cru ise Ships

Chu rches

Gig swaps

Farmers markets

Bu sking
Booking some of these gi gs may requ ire the servic es of a bookin g

agent or p romoter. Lets talk a li ttle bi t more abou t some of the gigs
mentioned above.
Music conference and showcase slots
Most mu sic conferences (e .g. CMJ Music Marathon, Winter Music
Conference,

Canadian

Music

Week,

SXSW,

e tc.)

offer

showcasing

opportu nities for independen t mu sicians. Most of these showcas es are


unpaid and have submission fees, but can be used to add to your bio or fill
in spots along you r tou r rou te. The dead lines to su bmit applic ations for
these showcase slots are u su ally a few months before the events , so you
will need to start su bmitting you r materi als early. You can u se resou rces
like SonicBids (http://www.sonicbi ds.com) and others to get information
on where to su bmit you r mu sic for s howcase consideration .

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College gigs
Most c olleges book their campu s gi gs on semester in advance,
althou gh some book on e year or more in advance. That means you will
have to begin su bmittin g you r materials to them early with that sched u le
in mind. Try and ti e in you r gi gs to the college radio station and attempt
to get radio ai rplay arou nd the same time as you r gi gs.
There are a cou ple of ways to attempt to get college gi gs. One way is
to attempt to book the gigs by y ou rself, while the other way is to go
throu gh an agen t / p romoter to book campu s gigs for you . It is also
sometimes possible to u se some combination of the tw o. If you are
attemptin g to book you r own college gi gs , you can search on- line or look
throu gh some of the contact di rec tories for a list of colleges.
Find the contact information for the Direc tor of Stu dent Activities or
Stu dent Activiti es board at the colleges , and /or the contac t information
for any other c ampu s organi zations. If you are doin g this by you rself, you
will find this to be rather ti me con su ming, bu t if you dont have an agent
working on you r beh al f th en you sh ou ld go ah ead and b egin compil ing
your list and makin g some phone calls and sending out emails.
You can make better use of your time by either lookin g over the
college web site or the contact di rec tory in formation before c alling to fi nd
ou t who the responsible booking person is and what the best time to reach
them is. That information may already be at the site and you can mov e to
the next s tep . Getting the ri ght person to mai l you r p ackage to mi ght be a
challen ge at some colleges , bu t keep you r logbook or d atabas e handy and
write down or enter notes as you call or emai l.

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All colleges have submission deadlines; so keep that in mind as you


make y ou r inqu ires. Note d own if the person who u sed to book the shows
has left the c ampu s. Have you r p ackages ready to go ou t the door or
Electronic Press Kit (EPK) ready to presen t as you contact people. Make
su re you note the rec eiving persons name, the date you sent the package
ou t or provid ed a URL for the EPK, and when the follow-u p date is . If y ou
dont have an EPK, make u p a flyer or brochu re with all the necessary and
relev ant in formation (e .g. band pictures, price, con tact info rmati on,
testimonia ls, sa les and airplay info , re ferences, e tc.) .
Make su re you pu t you r p rice ran ge in the flyer or brochu re. You
cou ld say, for examp le, that you charge $400-$1,500 per show depending
on trav el. Compile 4-5 minu tes worth of footage of you r bes t performan ces
that inclu de au dience reactions an d comments , which can go both on a
DVD as well as in you r EPK. Inclu de information on the flyer or brochu re
abou t how the person interes ted in booking you r band can get access to
you r DVD/video. Do not actu ally s end the DVDs u nless asked to do so
since this can become qu ite expen sive in the long ru n, especially i f you
dont get booked. You can always initially point them to a location onli ne
where they can access you r elec tronic press kit (EPK) containing sou nd
clips and video footage.
The key to gettin g most of these c ollege / festival gigs is by being
persisten t bu t not too pu shy. Do not call u nless it is cru cial, and certai nly
dont c all once you ve been told they are not interested . Another thing to
remember is that most major label artists who perform on campu s ask for
a lot of money. Your advantage is that you can, and should, offer to
perform for less than the major label artists; for example, between $ 500
and

$1,000

(unless

you

are

big

group).

One

of

the

bi ggest

disadvantages you may have trying to book you rself is that many colleges
book their shows u sing other means. Most colleges book their c ampu s gigs
u sing agents , p romoters , or artist contacts directly from conventi ons.

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This brings u s to the second way you can attempt to get college gi gs.
You can su bmit you r artist package throu gh a booking agent who attends
conventions where college reps (campus buyers) go to book their campu s
gigs .
The

bigges t

Association

for

convention
Campus

is

held

Activities

annually
(NACA).

by

the

Their

National

web

page

is

http://www.n aca.org. You can su bmit you r p ackages to any of the agents
that book you r type of mu sic. If you can get an agen t interested , they will
submit

your

package

for

you

to

showcase

your

band

at

the

NA CA

convention, which sometimes makes a di fference in gettin g you r band


booked at c olleges . Of cou rse, y ou cou ld join NACA as an agen t you rself
and su bmit you r own package, bu t thats an extra expense. Another
similar organization is the Association for the Promotion of Campus
Activities (APCA), which can be fou nd on line at http://www .apc a.com.
You cou ld, for a fee, su bmit an APCA artist / associate members hip
application that will give you access to a c ampu s mark et directory you c an
u se to book you r own gigs. As a member, you will also be eli gible for
exhibiting

and

showcasing

opportu nities

at

APCA

conferences

and

workshops, and many performance, exhibition and associate volu nteer


opportu nities. K eep in mind that it can be very expensive to tak e this
rou te, and if you have a limited bu dget you may want to concentrate on
doing the college bookin g you rself. Many bands have spent money tak ing
this rou te only to end u p with very little to show for i t. Do you r res earch
before taking the plu nge.
Festival gigs
Festival organizers , like college bu yers , book thei r performing acts
months ahead of time. This means that you shou ld send in you r packages
now and look towards perfo rmin g i n the fu tu re. Fes tivals are mo re su ited
to certain genres of mu sic like Rock, Singer/Son gw riter, Jazz, B lu es,
Alternative, Cou ntry, Classical, World, Metal, and Folk.
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For mainstream/commerci al mu sic like, Adu lt Con temporary , Top40, R&B /Urban , or Pop, festiv als are generally not v ery good sou rces for
gig opportu nities. As u su al, check festival websites or call / emai l ahead
to find ou t what their su bmission policies are regarding band materi als ,
and then follow throu gh and follow u p.
Sites like Festi val Net work Onlin e (http://fes tivalnet.com/) ,
SonicBids (http: //www.sonicbids .c om) OurStage
(http://www.ou rstage.com) and others p rovide opportu nities for you to
su bmit you r mu sic to mu sic festivals, c raft fai rs, etc.
In-store appearances
Every time you meet with a retail s tore man ager to discu ss stocking
you r produ ct on consignmen t, ask abou t the possibili ties of performing
live in their store. Not every s tore will be interes ted , bu t you wont kn ow
u ntil you ask. As you might expec t, you r chances are better with a store
that is already carrying you r produ ct. Be flexible, and offer to perform a
smaller, ac ou stic set that isnt too lou d for their cu stomers , or ev en to
perform in the store parking lot. This will also show the store manager
how committed you are to the promotion of you r projec t. They may also
carry more of you r produ ct in anticipation of increased sales from the
u pcoming store appearance.
If you get a chance to perform in the store(s) , promote it ju st lik e
you wou ld any oth er perfo rm ance. Inclu de th e informa tion on you r web
site and social networking p rofiles, band hotline, flyers, postcards , and
posters. Let people on you r mailing list know abou t the performanc e, and
try and work ou t a $2 off the cos t of a CD or merchandise cou pon for
people who show u p to the in-store performance. To make peop le show u p,
offer a raffle contest or some kind of gi ft giveaway p romotion, and try and
co-ordinate one wi th the local radio stations and other medi a.

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The Mu sicians Gu ide to Tou ring and Promoti on, and The Mu sicians
Atlas (a long with other directories) have sections on local s tores that will
carry you r CDs on consi gnment an d information on those that allow instore performances . Don t forget to u se the internet as a powerfu l
research tool. When you find su itable retail candidates , c all or email all of
them and ask abou t performin g opportu nities. Also, driv e arou nd town
and stop at any independent music store that you see to ask if they can
stock you r produ ct and let you perform. Keep in mind that the store d oes
not necessarily have to be a mu sic store; specialty stores that cater to a
clientele bas e that is simi lar to you r fan base will work as w ell.
On-air radio performances
When you make the rou nds of you r local c ollege, pu blic, and noncommercial radio stations, offer to perform live on the air for the stati on
listeners . Most commercial stations will not let you perform on the air if
you are not already well-known maj or label artist who is promotin g to or
rec eiving ai rplay on the station. Most of thei r lis teners want to hear from
major lab el artists , so you r ch ances as an independent artist are m u ch
better at college and non-commerc ial radio. Once again, the chances of
performing

live

on

the

air

increase

greatly

if

there

is

already

commitment from the college or non-commercial station to p lay y ou r


songs, or i f you have an u pcoming gig either at a large venu e in town or
on the college campu s.

Let the people at the station know of any

u pcoming shows you may have and which stores in their area are stock ing
you r CDs. Try and get the college newspaper to wri te an artic le on you
and you r band, and ti e this in with the live performance. Give the radio
stations a reason to have you on the air.

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If they decide to p lay you r mu sic, be c reative. Offer to bring pi zza


for the radio staff or to giv e away some au tographed CDs and band Tshirts to the listeners. Try and work in some type of on-ai r c ontes t wh ere
listeners call in to win something (preferably of yours) . Think abou t
differen t ways to make this performance an ev ent, while stayin g tru e to
your art.
Radio station events
Most radio stations sponsor events . Usu ally , the larger commercial
radio s tations have major label recordin g artists performing at thei r
events , bu t there is always the chan ce that a well-known local act will get
to open up for a national act on a side stage. The smaller local stations
are mu ch more open to having local bands perform at their even ts.
Usu ally, the radio station p ersonnel pu t together these events as a way to
promote their radio s tation to the local or regional commu nities . In that
regard , getting to perform at these even ts is mostly something that is
organized internally at the radi o stati ons. Howev er, if you have done a
good job promotin g you rself locally they may be interested in inclu ding
you as part of th e pe rfo rm ance lin e-u p. Th is cou ld be grea t exposu re if
you could make it happen.
If you have enou gh money (or an investor) , you can pay to become a
(co-) sponsor of on e of these station events. As a sponsor, you will be able
to h and ou t you r band CDs, samp le rs, post ers , T-sh irts , and postcards , or
even perform as p art of the stati on event. This option is not cheap,
however, u su ally costin g in the low to mid fiv e figu res . These shows are
not easy to get into, and a lot of ti mes there is a lot of politics involved .
All the radio stations have w eb sites where y ou can find informati on on
wh at events th e sta tions h ave coming u p. You can also find informati on
abou t which clu bs their mix show DJs perform in, and you can then
approach them abou t who to talk to regarding thei r station even ts.

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House concerts
Hou se concerts are li terally intimate concerts or performances pu t
together in somebodys hou se. This type of show u su ally works better for
acou stic mu sic or mu sicians wh o can strip th eir ac t down to voice and
gu itar or flu te, piano, violin , harp, etc . The settin g for these types of
shows is casu al and intimate, so obv iou sly a screaming rock band wou ldnt
work ou t qu ite so well.

These shows are very popu lar, and if you can

organize them well you can even pu t a tou r together and travel to other
regions besides you r home town. The trick is finding other peop le who are
willin g to p romote the shows and host them in their homes . You can start
by putting together a show either at your house or at another location you
have access to. You cou ld employ the same p romotion strategies as you
wou ld with oth er types of sh ows, excep t th at you wou ldnt identify th e
location of the even t u ntil peop le c ontacted you firs t to RSVP .
W h e n d o i n g h o u s e c o n c e r t s , k e e p t h i n g s c a s u a l a n d fu n . F i n d a
loca tion in th e h ou se th at is intimate ye t we ll ven til at ed. Make su re you
can adju st the lightin g to fit the mood, and have ample access to the
res troom or somewhere for people to freshen u p and relieve themselv es.
Offer refreshments when possible. Many peop le who come to these shows
will be wi llin g to pay $3 to $10 for the entertainmen t.
A good su ggestion wou ld be to allow people to pay i f they feel like i t,
as opposed to having an official cover charge. This will keep you ou t of
reach of zoning and other loc al laws conc ernin g es tablishments that
charge an admission for entertain ment. For ou t of state shows you may
wish to set a minimum number of people per show paying a minimum
price so that you know exactly what you re gettin g into. The price could
inclu de a CD, or you cou ld sell au tographed CDs and / or merchand ise
du ring the performance.

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In addi tion to other on line resou rc es, Russ & Julie s House
Concerts Presents provides an excellent list of resou rces and Hou se
Concert information located at http://w ww.j rpgraphics.com/hou seconcerts/resou rces.html.
Listening parties / showcases
Listening parti es and showcases are u su ally set u p by bands to
showcase their new mu sic to indu stry people or fans. These types of
showcases can be an opti on if you perform mu sic that cannot u su ally be
performed at a regu lar nightclu b (e.g ., Pop, Urban, Rap, e tc). These
listening

parties

can

be

put

together

almost

anywhere.

If

you

are

interested in pu tting a showcase together, you can locate a clu b or venu e


that will let you u se the place for free on an off-ni ght (if you can bring
enough people) or charge you a certain amou nt of money to ren t it ou t
(pay-to-play). You cou ld even rent a recording s tu dio or rehearsal sp ace
by the hour to use for your showcase. Be creative with your location, and
since you probably are not gettin g paid to showcase, try and find a venu e
that you dont have to pay for (or ask people to pay what they can). You
sh ou ld promot e you r listening part ies and sh owcases th e same way th at
you wou ld promote you r regu lar gigs (using your mai ling lis t, soc ial
networking, etc) . Rememb er that even if you intend to invite industry
people, it is always imp ressive to have fans present. This shows the
industry people that you have a fan base and are capable of promoti ng
your shows to peop le on your mailin g list.
Shopping centers / malls
Shopping centers and malls are good places to perform i f you r band
performs acou stic, all-ages , kid s mu sic, or family- fri endly mu sic or
cover

tunes.

Performances

at

shopping

centers

and

malls

must

coordinated throu gh the mall management office.

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be

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Some centers have managers whose sole responsibility is to schedu le


performances

for

the

upcoming

season.

Some

malls

do

not

allow

performances bec au se they w ant to maintain a certain image, bu t those


that do allow performances book them a few months in advance. Most
malls will want to coordinate a p erformance with a grand opening of a
store at the mall or some other event like 4th of July festivities or
Mothers Day, etc .
Many of them are also concerned abou t insu rance for you r event (in
case a monitor fa lls on some kids head and injures them and they get
sued by the parents, e tc) and also the issue of having to pay you to
perform.

If

you

can

get

your

own

event

insu rance

https://ww w.mu sicproinsu rance.com/Speci alEv ent.aspx) ,

and

(e.g.,

offer

to

perform for free, you r chances of p erforming will be greatly enhanced . Of


c o u r s e , s o m e c e n t e r s o r m a l l s w i l l b e m o r e t h a n h a p p y t o h a v e y o u p la y
withou t any of the conditions mentioned above, so talk to the management
before you make an offer.
Search for malls in you r area on-lin e. Y ou can begin you r search at
the Wikipedia list of malls in the U nited States here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wik i/List_of_shopping_malls_in_the_United_States

Once you find a su itable mall, get the contact information for the
management offic e and call du ring bu siness hou rs. Most managers are so
bu sy th at th ey probab ly wont retu rn you r call if you leave a voicem ail . If
you call and they are not avai lable, ju st keep calling back u ntil you get
them on the line. Remember to start c alling early bec au se you wont be
able to ju st set up a performance w ith a weeks notice. If you do perform
at a mall or shopping center, see i f you can have you r CDs avai lable for
sale

on

consignmen t

performance.

In

at

addition,

record
ask

the

store

near

manager

the
if

location

you

can

of

sell

your
some

merchandise at a table next to you r performance.

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Since there wi ll be lots of mall traffic and children present, have fu n


and dont forget to add names to you r mailin g lis t.
Performing Rights Organization (PRO) Showcases
The three main p erforming ri ghts organizations (B MI, ASCAP, and
SESAC) periodically host showcas es in many major citi es arou nd the
United States . These showcases are u su ally organi zed for the ben efit of
members ,

but

sometimes

are

open

to

non-members .

Doin g

th ese

showcases wou ld be more for the exposu re than for the money since most
of them do not pay you to perform. However, i f you are ju st starting ou t
and you need to hav e some gig c red entials to add to you r bi o, then doi ng
these can be of benefit. These showcases are also good ways for you to
rehearse new son gs and / or get some feed back on the performances . You
can

find

out

organizations

about
web

these

events

sites,

by

visiting

found

at

the

performing

rights

http://www .bmi.com,

http://www.ascap .com, and http://www.ses ac.com.


Cruise Ships
If you are a singer or mu sician that can sing or p lay B roadwayand/o r Ve gas-styl e mu sic, th en you sh ou ld consider fillin g you r tou r
schedu le with perfo rmances on cru ise ships. In addition to the abo vementioned styles, cru ise ships also hire other types of ac ts inclu ding cover
bands, s trin g ensembles, small orchestras , solo pianists , solo gu itaris ts ,
island bands, imp erson ators and tri bu te bands , show bands, variety
acts, etc.
The most effec tive w ay to get gigs on cru ise lines is to go throu gh
booking agents like Proship Entertainment
(http://www.p roship.com/) , Ocean bound Entertainment
(http://www.oceanbou nd.ca/) , and others .

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The agencies generally hold au ditions across North America, Eu rope,


Au stralia, and New Zealand, and s ome of the larger ones hold au ditions
over the phone in places where in-person au ditions are u navailable. Some
also allow you to send in a DVD d emo of you r band s performances . You
can also try con tac ting the mu sic services specialists (or simi larly titled
personnel) at the c ru ise lines di rec tly and asking them abou t positions .
Some of the c ru ise lines you cou ld contact individu ally inclu de:

Cunard (http: //www.cu nard .com/) ,

Holland America (http://www .hollandamerica.com) ,

Silversea Cruises (http://www .silversea.com/),

Seabourn (http://www.seabou rn.c om/) ,

Oceania Cruises (http://www .oc eaniacru ises.com/),

Regent Seven Seas Cruises (http: //w ww.rssc .com/),

Crystal Cruises (http://www .crys talc ru ises.com/),

and others.
The pay for performances on cru ise ships ranges from abou t $1,800

to $2,200 per month, and room, board , and transportation is provided by


the cru ise line. Payment is u su ally made in cash, and besides a small tip
(roughly $1 per da y) to y ou r cabin steward , you get to keep all the money
you make. K eep in mind, howev er, that you will be responsible for
reportin g that income and paying taxes on it. Another thing to w atch ou t
for is that any money you spend w hile on the c ru ise (souvenirs, drin ks,
purchases off the shi p whi le dockin g, etc) will leav e you with very little at
the end of the contrac t, so make su re you spend (or save) wisely.

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Weddings / Private parties


Depending on the type of mu sic you play, you can always consider
performing at weddin gs and private parties as a w ay to su pplement y ou r
income. Ke ep in mind th at you will h ave a mu ch easier time booki ng
weddings and priv ate parties i f y ou play cover tu nes. You can alw ays
inclu de a few of you r original tu nes in the set list. You can book wedding
or priv ate party gi gs throu gh agents, w edding vendor web si tes , or
event/party planners .
It u su ally helps to have a DVD of a wedding or p rivate party that you
have performed at. You may have to perform at family weddin gs or
company events in ord er to pu t together a 3-4 minu te DVD of you r
performances . Inclu de au dience reactions and comments from the bri de,
company

repres entative,

etc.

Once

you

have

your

package

and

performance ready you can ch arge $500 - $3,500 or mo re per wedd ing
depending on the confi gu ration of you r band and the services you offer.
For example, do you also have to MC the even t? Do you have to learn
special son gs for the cou ple/host? Are you the only entertainmen t at the
event? Do you have to rent a PA or is one p rovided? Do you have to hire
extra players to get the right sou nd? Will you have to p rovide mu sic in
between sets? Make su re these qu estions are answered and let you r price
reflect the work involved . Try and get a 50% reserv ation fee and a w ritten
contract to p rotec t from losing money if the event gets c ancelled .
These are ju st some of

the performing

options

that you

have

available to you . Add some ideas to this list and try and do as many of
these at on e time as you possibly can. You cou ld probably retain the
assistance of an agent for some of the other options (e.g. cruise lines,
private parties , casinos, hotels, fairs, corpora te parties, e tc).

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Page 247

PROMOTING

SHOWS

AND

ANNOUNCING

PRODUCT

AVAILABILITY

As soon as you get a show confi rmed at a venu e and /or comp lete a
reco rding th at is being mad e avai l abl e to th e gene ra l pu blic, you sh ou ld
th ink abou t h ow you are goin g to promot e th e sh ow/produ ct . If you fail to
adequ ately p romote you r show or produ ct av ailabili ty, few peop le will
show u p or make a pu rchase.
In addition to getting people to attend, there are other benefits to
promoting you r shows.

Many

talent bu yers , venu e book ers , book ing

agents, and even t promoters talk to each other, and if you develop a
repu tati on for being able to promote you r shows well, you will be i n a
grea t position t o get b ooked at v enu es in you r are a and ev en e xpand
ou twards to other regions. Another added benefi t to p romoting effectiv ely
is that rec ord labels get all thei r in formation on local u p-and-coming acts
from bookers, agen ts and promoters, as well as local and regional label
A&R scouts (if that is some thing you are interested in).
You can u se sites like eventful ( http://even tfu l.c om/) to promote
your shows and even have fans demand your show in their town. Sites
like these also allow you to provide venu e book ers with evidence that y ou
have fans that are willing to come to you r shows and pay a cover charge.
You sh ou ld get in th e h abit of prom oting you r produ cts (CDs , downlo a ds,
merchandise, etc) at the same time as you promote you r shows.

Review

the earli er chapter on Publicizing and Promoting Your Reco rdings for
other ideas that you can utilize in addition to the ones in this chapter.
Most mu sicians completely ignore many of the old-school , off- li ne
promotion methods becau se of the i ntern et and technological advanc es in
widgets and gadgets . Fortu nately for you , you will be ahead of the game by
incorporatin g some of the old-school methods along wi th the newer mu sic
b u s i n e s s 2 . 0 t e c h n i qu e s . W e w i l l d i s c u s s m a n y d i f f e r e n t p r o m o t i o n a l i d e a s
and techniques in this chapter.

P a g e | 249

Keep in mind th at you sh ou ld caref u lly pick th e ideas th at will wo rk


for you r typ e of mu sic, and dont spend you r entire bu dget or efforts on
one single techniqu e. Some of thes e ideas will cost you time, others will
c o s t y o u m o n e y , a n d o t h e r s w i l l c o s t y o u t i m e a n d m o n e y . T h i n k a bo u t
promotion as a n ecessary expense that will help you get great paying gi gs,
increase you r fan base and mailin g list, get sponsors, and sell more CDs ,
downloads and merchandise.
Mailing list As su ggested e arlie r, you sh ou ld h ave been making a
continu ou s effo rt t o add nam es t o you r mai ling list f rom th e tim e y ou
sta rted you r ac t or b and. At th is time , you sh ou ld send ou t e-mails or
postcards to peop le on you r mailin g list telling them abou t you r u pcomi ng
show(s) and CD / downloads availability. You can use solutions like
FanBridge

(http://www.fanbrid ge.com/)

(http://www.reverbnation.c om/fan reachpro) ,

ReverbNations
or

FanReach

Band

Letter

(http://www.bandletter.com/) and others for you r mailin g list ou treach


efforts. As tempting as i t is to do so, NEVE R add someon e to your list
withou t them opting in themselv es, and make su re you u se an email c lient
that allows people to painlessly u nsu bscribe from the list if they wish to.
Provide peop le with as many opportu nities to sign u p to you r mailing list
from

all

your

ReverbNations

websites

and

social

n etworks

using

wid gets

Fan

like

Collector

(http://www.reverbnation.c om/mai n/widgets_overview) and others. W hen


you send ou t email blasts , try and inclu de instru ctions or a call to
action tellin g peop le where bu y CDs or down loads , or where to pu rchase
pre-sell tickets to you r show, and so on.
When sending ou t these emails , make su re you give something (e.g.,
helpful advice , free download links, important milestone upda tes, e tc)
more often than you ask for something. If you are able to d o so, target
emai l messages approp riately by , for example, sending gi g annou ncements
to fans accordin g to where they liv e in relation to the v enu e.

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While keepin g your fans up to date, don t emai l too often and make
su re the information you send is actu ally newsworthy or interesti ng.
Avoid u sing th e same words in you r su bject line th at scam artists a nd
spammers u se (look a t the emails in your junk mail folder for examples),
or else you r emails wont get throu gh most peop les spam filters .
Ideas from past shows or other peoples shows Think abou t
the las t five shows you performed or attend ed and ask you rself what made
the shows special. Most people go to shows becau se of an email alert
(band newsletter, e tc), news from an artists websi te, word of mou th
(from a friend or colleague), or some type of pu blicity or advertising (on
the interne t, radio , te levision or i n print). Of c ou rse, some of the major
artists

have the

advantage of radio

airplay,

television

and

internet

exposu re, and name recognition that you dont have. How ever, try to take
notice of any cu te or c razy p romotional gi mmicks that on e of you r favorite
grou ps might have employed.
Fans as brand (band) evangelis ts Encou rage each of you r fans
to act as brand ev angelis ts and spread the word to their friends , family
members , nei ghbors , and colleagu es. Don t assu me that ju st becau se they
are your fans, they will automatically know to do this. Most often, you
will have to remind them ( frequently) to do this for you since most of
them will feel as thou gh the only thing requ ired of them is for them to
pu rchase you r CDs/down loads , merchandise, and gig tick ets . Onc e they ve
done that, many of them simp ly wait for the next thing you have to offer
so that they can offer thei r su pport. Inform them that the bes t way for
them to su pport you is to spread the word to ev erybody they know .
Withou t access to mainstream radi o and television , the best way for
you to bu ild you r fan base is to harness the enthu siasm of you r existi ng
fans to help you grow.

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Encou rage fans to u tili ze soci al networking tools that are mu siccentric , like B lip.fm (http://blip.fm/) , Twitty Tunes
(http://www.foxytu nes.com/twitty tu nes/), imeem
(http://www.i meem.c om/), and others. If you r son gs are av ailable on
iTunes (via CD Baby, the Orchard, Tunecore, ioda , e tc), ask your fans to
create iMi xes and inclu de you r son gs in the p lay list that they send to
their fri ends. They can do the same thing with Amazon Listmania lists
if you r songs are avai lable at Amazon. Ask you r fans to create and share
video ringtones u sing video footage of you r band provided by you (or from
clips from your You Tube channel) u tilizin g services like Vringo
(http://www.vrin go.com/) and others. Make su re you rew ard the most
active fans with exclu sive download s, au tographed items, live chats , free
tickets , merchandise, p remiu m prod u cts, etc .
Samplers A powerfu l way to get people to get a tas te what you
have to offer is to give them a s ampler. You cant go in to stores like
Costco nowadays wi thou t gettin g y ou r fill of free s amples of food from
manu factu rers trying to market new produ ct. It works the same way for
mu sic. What you cou ld do is to mak e a CD or DVD recordin g wi th snippets
of a few son gs from you r albu m or live show, or give ou t mu sic download
cards offering peop le the abili ty to download songs from a website.
Depending on the item (and the space available), make su re you inclu de
you r band name, contact in formati on (web page and/or social ne two rk
URLs, band hotline number, etc) , mini gi g calendar, names of stores
where you r CDs are av ailable for sale, sites where you r down loads are
available,

pictu res

of

the

band

or

artist,

etc.,

somewhere

on

the

packagin g.
Give these samplers or mu sic download cards away on the street or
to clu b patrons a cou ple of weeks or so before you r gi g. You can give th ese
samplers aw ay to peop le leavin g the venu e where you will be performi ng.
It is better to give these aw ay as p eople are leaving since they are goi ng
right to their cars.
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If you h and th em ou t wh ile people are goin g into th e clu bs th ey will


have a harder time hanging onto th em while they do all their partyin g.
Limit the radiu s of you r sampler c ampai gn to a few blocks arou nd each
venu e. You sh ou ld try and identify places wh ere people wh o cou ld become
fans are likely to gather. One way is to check the websi tes of radio
stations in you r area that you r mu sic wou ld fit on and look for spec ial
events that the station is sponsoring (movie premiers, summer concerts,
store openings, fundraisers, etc) . You can then show u p and pass you r
samplers ou t to people at the ev ent.
Of cou rse, you will have to be carefu l to not infrin ge where you re
not wanted, and indeed some ev ents will only allow produ cts to be p assed
ou t by sponsors. It may be pru dent to speak with the radio s tation street
team personnel and ask them how they feel abou t you handing ou t
samplers . You can give these s amplers aw ay on the street or to clu b
patrons a cou ple of weeks or so before you r gi g, or at any time du ring the
life of you r releas e. Most p eople have a lot of things going on and a short
attention span , so dont hand ou t samplers more than three w eeks before a
show.
Wh en condu cting you r sampling campaign , pay close attention to th e
no soliciting si gns posted in the area. You can u su ally get away with
handing ou t several dozen samp lers before somebody notices you . Dont
be a menac e and don t force y ou r sampler on anyone. Hold the samp ler
ou t towards somebody who is ap proaching you withou t blockin g their
path. If they dont appear interes ted or dont want i t, simply move the
sampler out of their way and allow them to continue unimpeded. If they
ask what it is , be p rep ared to give a short desc ription of the artist and
style of mu sic and mention the fact that i t is a free mu sic sampler.

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Ringtones

and

wallpapers

(http://www.myxer.com/abou t/share/)

Use

to

services

convert

your

like

Myxer

music

into

ringtones and share them with you r fans. Using Myxer, you can als o
utilize some of their other tools (including vanity text codes, MyxerTa gs
for you r websi te, e tc) to p romote you r mu sic. You can also u pload photos
for you r fans to u se as wallp apers that wi ll work well ac ross v ariou s
mobile phone screen sizes. Every ri ngtone and wallpap er you create has a
set of basic detai ls you can control, su ch as the title, category (genre),
and tags ( keywords) you want to have associated wi th it. When y ou r
content is inclu ded in the Myxer catalog, this informati on helps other
people find and discover your content.
Video

ringtones

Create

video

ringtones

(of

live

shows,

rehearsals, s tudio footage , behind- the-scenes, candid band footage , you


just goofing o ff, e tc) to share with you r fans u sing servic es lik e Vrin go
(http://www.vrin go.com/) and others.
Mobile

campaigns

Utilizing

servic es

like

Mozes

(http://www.mozes), you can c reate and deliv er mobile c ampai gns that
engage fans u sing text, voice, web, and smart phones applications. As they
mention on thei r website, you can ru n all of you r mobi le camp aigns , su ch
as:

Send fans direct links to you r songs on iTu nes

Offer fans exclu sive artis t or band u pdates vi a text or voice

Ru n real-time fan votes or polls

Give fans ringtones , au dio clips , pic tu res, videos , cou pons, and more

Allow fans to call your artists or bands and leave messages for them

Let fans to send text messages or ph otos to sc reens at liv e ev ents

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YouTube video soun dtracks Th ere a re th ou sands of You Tu be


channels that offer tu torial/trainin g/techniqu e videos, and some of these
h a v e l o t s o f t r a f f i c . M a n y o f t h e s e c h a n n e l s u s e mu s i c f r o m m a j o r l a b e l s
withou t permission, and the labels are s tartin g to c rack down and have
their songs removed (especially the ones with high traffic tha t are using
the songs withou t permission). If y ou come across a channel that you like,
and you feel that the topic attrac ts people that are the same demograp hic
as you r fans, you sh ou ld consider contactin g th e accou nt u ser and seei ng
if they wou ld be interested in u sing one (or some) of you r songs as a
sou ndtrack to the vid eo.
Make su re that the son gs you have in mind fit well with what the
videos are portraying. Mu sic alw ay s adds an extra dimension of emotion
t o a v i d e o , s o i t e n d s u p b e i n g a w i n - w i n s i tu a t i o n a l l a r o u n d : y o u g e t
some exposu re, and they get to u se qu ality mu sic at little (or no) cost.
This will not n ecessarily get you a lot of direct sales , bu t cou ld get you
some exposu re and indirect s ales ( and/or sign-ups to you r mailing list,
downloads and merchandise sales, etc) if somebody likes the song and
asks the acc ou nt holder who the ban d/artis t is.
Amazon Artist Central Si gn u p for an Amazon Artist Central
accou nt that en ables you to add mp3s, photos , videos , and a biography to
you r amazon .com artist store, which is available to mi llions of listen ers
(https://artistc entral.amazon .com/welcome) .
Disc Jockeys If you r mu sic fits in the DJ-friend ly categories
(i.e., songs you would hear on the radio or played by DJs in club s),
consider u sing services like Promo only (http://www .promoon ly.com/) or
the Serato Whitela bel Delivery Network (http://www .whitelabel.n et/)
and

others

pu rposes.

to

submit

These

your

services

Mainstream/Top-40 ,

songs

work

Rhythmic,

directly

well

for

Modern

to

DJs

music
Rock,

in

for

promotional

the
Urban,

styles

Dance,

Contemporary Christi an, Cou ntry , Clu b, Latin , etc .


ARTIST MANAGEMENT MANUAL | 2010 Edition

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Interviews Try to set u p some interviews before each gig. A good


way to do this is to invite someone from a local newspaper or television
station to revi ew you r gig, as well as podcasters that are playing you r
music (or play your style of music on their shows). You could offer them
an interview that can be condu cted in the dressing room or liv e on the air
(podcast site) sometime before the show or du ring the sou nd check.
You can also u se resou rces like The Indie Bible
(http://www.indiebible.c om/), Revi ew You
(http://www.reviewyou .com/) , and others to get reviews to u se on you r
website or on you r gi g flyers /posters.
Radio station events What radio stati on(s) do you listen to?
Chances are the mu sic you write and perform sou nds like the mu sic on
you r favorite station . Most radio s tati ons have station even ts that th ey
annou nce on the ai r or on thei r web site. These even ts are desi gned
primarily to p romote the radio station to peop le on the s treet, and cou ld
be anything from a store grand op ening to a movi e premier. Whatever the
event, many station listen ers show up in order to win station prizes. In
keeping wi th the bi rds of a feather flock together theory , i t goes to
reason that many people who show u p will like you r mu sic. In that c ase,
y o u s h o u l d s h o w u p w i t h a bu n c h o f s a m p l e r s a n d g i v e t h e m a w a y t o
people at these even ts. Of cou rse y ou will remember to hav e informati on
on you r u pcoming shows as well as i nformati on on where you r CDs are for
sale

alon g with

you r samp ler. H ave you r web

page URL and

band

information hotline on the samp ler so that people can find ou t more
information once they get back home.
Flyers & postcards You can pri nt some flyers or postc ards that
h ave informa tion on you r u pcoming sh ows and CD av ail abili ty. Y ou sh ould
limit you r flyer / postc ard dis tri bu tion to cars or people within a few
blocks of the venu e where you will be performin g.

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Most areas requ ire p ermits for fly er distribu tion, so make su re you
are able to do this before you proceed. Don t hand ou t these fly ers
indiscriminate ly. You sh ou ld only hand th em ou t to people wh o look li ke
they wou ld lik e you r type of mu sic. Do this a cou ple of weeks or so before
the gig. Mos t people throw flyers away, so try and get postcards instead.
Most p eople feel a li ttle bit gu iltier abou t throwing away a pos tcard, or at
the very least will look to see what its abou t before tossing it. Always
inclu de you r site URL and you r band h otline in case someone wants some
more

information.

The

flyer

postcard

itself

should

have

all

the

information abou t the gi g, inc lu ding venu e address, d ate, and cov er
charge (if applicable) . Also men ti on where you r CDs are being sold,
especially if they are available on consignment at a local retai l s tore.
Promotional merchandise Items like t-shirts , stickers , etc can
be u sed for both promotion al and sales pu rposes . You can give away a
certain amou nt of T-shirts and stick ers in ord er to get people to remember
the name of you r grou p or act. If you can afford it, try and have an
interesting d esign or logo that is eye-catching. I have fou nd that people
will take anything that is free, so y ou can literally hand these ou t on the
street to peopl e wh o l ook like th ey wou ld bu y you r mu sic. A sma rt er w ay
to do it is to hang ou t at areas where like-minded peop le hang ou t, like
clu bs, stores , res tau ran ts, malls , fai rs, conventions , etc .
You will have to be stealthy because a lot of times you will find
you rself gettin g chased aw ay by the secu rity in certain areas. H and ou t a
few and move on before you get bu sted. T-shirts and s tickers can also be
given away on radio st ations o r as part o f a cont est . Y ou sh ou ld also pu t
aside some T-shirts & stickers for sale at you r gigs . You can get these
from plac es like Extra Mile Merch (http://ww w.extrami lemerch.c om),
Zazzle (http://www.zazzle.com) , J akPrints (http://www .jakprin ts.com) ,
or Sticker Gu y! (http: //www.s tick ergu y.com) .

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Contests and giveaways Hold contes ts and giveaways on y ou r


web page or wi th you r local radio s tati ons where the winners rec eive free
copies of y ou r CD, exclu sive downloads, band merchandise, or tickets to a
show, etc. You can also get creative with differen t types of Twitter
contests th a t ene rgize you r f ans to interact wi th you and you r oth er fa ns.
The more fu n, interactive, entertai ning, and interesting you can mak e the
contest, the better the outcome.
Contests

can

involve

anything

from

u ser-generated

content,

to

w r i t i n g a n e s s a y , t o s e n d i n g i n f u n n y p i c tu r e s o r e m b a r r a s s i n g s t o r i e s ,
etc . Hav e a contest that anyone c an enter, bu t try and make the theme
something that would interest the kind of p eople that would like / buy
you r mu sic. The other advan tage to holding a contes t is that you can
collect contact informati on from all the people who enter and later send
them invitations to fu tu re shows or promoti ons. If you have a sponsor or
brand p artner involved in you r release or tou r, then thei r p rodu cts and /or
services shou ld be incorporated into the contest as gifts.
Concert
concert

listings

listing

websites

Submit
like

your

JamBase

gig

information/i tinerary

to

(http://www .jambase.com/) ,

Musi-Cal (http://www.mu si-cal.com/) , and others . You r local free weekly


may also allow gi g calend ar information to be su bmitted for free.
Street teams Pu t together teams of people who promote you r
band and CD on the s treet, as well as vi rtu al street teams that p romote
you r band on line. The p eople you pick for you r street team cou ld be
fri ends or die-hard fans . You can pay for street teams to go arou nd
distribu ting p romotional materials for you , bu t the problem wi th that
option is that these street teams are often p romoting several p rojec ts at
the same time, and you rs c an get lost in the mi x. In addition , savvy
potenti al fans can sense when street teams do not tru ly believ e in you r
mu sic. You r fans will sou nd more au thentic becau se they tru ly are
enthusiastic about you and your music.
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You can recru it people to be on your street team by annou ncing it in


your newsletter or on your web site or band hotline voicemail. You can
also recru it peopl e by going t o coll eges in you r loca l area and aski ng
arou nd. Use you r web site to recru it people and fans from other cities
once you start to tou r or perform ou tside of you r local area. You will also
need

street

teams

in

other

cities

to

help

you

place

your

CDs

on

consignment in stores before y ou get there to perform. Ins tead of c ash


payment, offer to give free CDs, T-shirts, stick ers , backstage passes ,
posters, etc ., to people on you r s treet team. Fans can also be great street
team members . You can ask fans to print flyers and pos ters from you r
website and post them arou nd town in exchange for free admission to
shows.
Posters Use large fu ll-color posters to promote you r shows and
CD availabi lity . In order for you r p osters to be effectiv e, you mu st put a
lot of effort in creating a highly impactfu l visu al experi ence that fi ts you r
bands sty le. The poster mu st tell a compelling story abou t you r band and
pu ll someone who gets i t in for a closer look . Otherwise, i t will be j u st
another pos ter for p eople to i gnore while they ru sh arou nd trying to get
throu gh their bu sy day. Make su re you r posters inclu de not ju st you r band
name, but the style of music your CD or show is, your web site URL, your
band hotline nu mber, and the p laces where you r CDs are for s ale
(especially if your music is available on iTunes).
Most independent record stores and other stores that carry you r
CDs on consignmen t will be happ y to pu t u p posters . If there are no
zoning or permit restrictions , posters shou ld also be pu t u p on the streets
su rrou nding th e venu es wh ere you will be pe rfo rming as we l l as th e stores
t h a t c a r r y y o u r C D s . T h e r e a r e s o m e c o m p a n i e s t h a t c a n p u t u p p o s te r s
for you fo r a fee. They u su ally know the areas where you can pu t u p
poste rs with ou t get ting in trou ble , bu t you will need to rese arch wh ich
companies have a good repu tation before hiring them.

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If you r bu dget is limited, go arou nd to high traffic areas that have


posters u p near venu es or stores an d pu t some of you rs u p. Be carefu l not
to tear d own or place y ou r posters over other peop les posters .
Cross

promotions Cross promotions

are rather complex to

execu te and requ ire the co-operation of at leas t another bu siness or two;
bu t when they work they can be v ery effectiv e. An example wou ld be a
cross promotion s et u p betw een y ou , a loc al bicycle shop, and a local
radio s tati on or podc ast. The way i t wou ld work is that you wou ld go ou t
and bu y a bicycle from the bicycle shop (or something your fans would
appreciate winning). This wou ld be the p rize that somebody wou ld win
from the cross promotion / c ontes t. People who come by the bicycle shop
wou ld pick up a free band samp ler/sticker and an en try form that requ ires
them to wri te a short essay abou t a bicycle. The entry forms wou ld then be
sent to the radio station/podc ast or su bmitted to the stati on/podcasts
site and read on the ai r. Listeners of the station w ou ld call in to v ote for
the winning essay and the winner would be announced on the air on a
certain date and win the bicycle.
The reason why this is complex for independent artists is that it is
u su ally difficu lt to ge t a radio sta tion to go alon g with th is, bu t you migh t
have an easier time finding a podcast that has a lot of listen ers to
participa te . You sh ou ld pick companies th at are recep tive to independ ent
artists to do you r c ross promotions with. This is also another way to get
you r samplers into peoples hands, and if they like what they hear, they
may come to your shows and buy your CDs even if they dont enter the
contest to win the prize. As I menti oned before, pick companies that cater
to the kinds of p eople who wou ld normally bu y the type of mu sic you
perform.

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Sponsored e vents You will need to have some money in order to


sponsor an even t. Y ou cou ld sponsor a radio or television show, a block
party , a radio station ev ent, a s howcase, a fashion show, etc . This
basically means that you pay a certain amount of money as a sponsor, and
in exchange for that you get to ru n a commercial abou t the band , an
upcoming show, or your CD availability. If it is an event you have
sponsored then you will be able to hand ou t band samp lers, T-shirts,
stickers , and other p romotional items that wi ll help people remember you ,
come

to

your

shows

and

buy

you r

CDs .

Sponsorships

are

u s u al l y

expensive and many independent bands bypass this option Once again,
this can be very effec tive if done correctly, particu larly sponsoring a radio
station event.
Retail accounts Emai l and /or fax gi g information to the s tores in
the vicinity of you r gig a cou ple of weeks before the gig. Make a point to
go by the stores and leave some samplers and postcards at the cou nter
with gig info rm ation on th em . As k th e sto re man age r t o pu t u p some
poste rs and place you r CDs in a visible loc ation . You cou ld also pu t a $2
OFF SALE sticker on you r CDs for anybody who comes to you r gig.
Cou ple th is with $2 off cou pons that you h and ou t at you r gig. It doe snt
hu rt to ask the retai l manager whether you can p erform at the s tore and
sign copies of any CDs sold du ring you r performance.
Listening parties Another promotion technique is to host a
listening party some time before the official releas e date of the albu m (if
you are manufactu ring physical CDs). You can ei ther host this party at
someones hou se, a recording stu dio or even live from you r w ebsite. This
is essentially an opportu nity for p eople to hear the albu m ahead of time
and get to s ee the artist u p close and personal. You can u se this occasion
to tak e some pre-orders for the albu m and make some sales ahead of the
release d ate.

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The advantage to hosting a listening party on your website is that


people who attend do not have to be located in you r local geographic area.
Indeed , fans from arou nd the globe can log on and participate in a chat
while listening to you r mu sic and interacting wi th the artis t and other
fans. Some people host listening p arties at their house, a club venue, or
rent a recording stu dio in order to take advan tage of the su perior sou nd
systems. Howev er you do it, try to keep i t casu al and fu n and tak e the
opportu nity to thank old fans and welcome new ones . You may also h ave
to research ways to have i t done online and deal wi th the technologi cal
issues and costs involved.
Local celebrities Do some research and find ou t what local
celebri ties you cou ld invite to perform on you r CD. This cou ld inclu de
local

radi o

station

DJs ,

TV

personalities ,

music

editors,

politicians , mu sicians, comedians , bu siness owners, etc. Try

athletes,
to find

people who have a higher p rofi le than you and who have an existin g fan
base or business mailing list. You can ask them to add some vocals to your
C D o r e v e n a p p e a r i n y o u r mu s i c v i d e o o r l i v e s h o w . Y o u w i l l n o t o n l y
rec eive residu al p romotion from them spreading the word wi thin their
own medium, but you will also capitalize on their name in your press kits
and other promotional materi als . B e creativ e and try to find people wi th a
common interest, back grou nd or political ou tlook .
Joint venture marketing Poten tial joint ven tu re targets inclu de
mu sical equ ipment manu factu rers , clothes stores, hai r salons, mu sic
publications,

music

websites,

specialty

stores,

music

newsletters ,

independent TV shows, mu sic blogs, etc. Ask those bu siness / website


owners to introdu ce you r produ ct or service to their au dience (via their
mailing list, website, etc) . Offer them a percentage of every sale made
from their endors emen t by activ atin g an affili ate p rogram.

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Graphic-wrapped promotional vehicles This techniqu e works


best

for

Hip-Hop/Rap

music

and

most

vari ations

of

Urban,

R&B

Contemporary , and Pop/CH R. You can find companies locally that ap ply
graph ics to veh icles. G raph ics cou ld inclu de th e albu m cover, pictu res of
the artist, or visu ally sti mu latin g graphics with the bands name, release
date, band hotlin e nu mber, and website U RL on it. Graphic wrap ped
promotional vehicles work best when sent ou t ahead of the release d ate
with free samp lers, pos ters, flyers , stickers , and T-Shirts for the pu blic. It
is best to pick the nei ghborhoods that you r target d emographic is most
likely to liv e in . The advan tage with graphic w rapped p romotion al vehicles
is that people can t throw them ou t (like newspapers , flyers, and other
direct mailings), change the station (like radio and television), or click
them off ( like the internet) . Drivers and ped estrians are exposed to the
vehicles and cannot av oid lookin g at them since they are right in front of
them. Check you r yellow pages or search online for companies that
provide this servic e.
Mix tapes This techniqu e work s best, again , for Hip-Hop/Rap
projects . Mix tapes se rve as bo th a way to get you r mu sic ou t to people on
th e streets, as w ell as a ch ance fo r mu sic indu stry professionals to h ear
wh at you sound like. Th e most effic ient way to ge t th is done is to su bmit
your

music

to

services

like

Coast

(http://www.c oast2coas tmixtapes .c om/p roposal/)

Coast
and

Mix

others,

tapes

which

is

better than putting out your own one with other unknown artists. Mi x
tapes that inclu de majo r label artists as well are u su ally tak en more
seriou sly, as lon g as the person pu tting the project together has good
ears and a repu tation for pu tting ou t material that is liked by the people
listening to it. In addition , servic es like these d eliv er the mix tapes to
hu ndreds of mix tape si tes and blogs more effici ently than you cou ld on
your own. While utilizing this method, however, keep in mind that the
recording indu stry has been c rackin g down on some mi x tape services that
inclu de mu sic from major label arti sts; so it remains to be seen how long
this will be a viable w ay for indep endent artists to get recognition .
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Discount tickets or CDs You shou ld consider offering co rpo rate


discou nt tickets or CDs to loc al corporati ons or other large comp anies in
you r area. You can also offer s tu dent discou nts to loc al schools , and
extend the offer to the facu lty and fami ly members . You r chances will be
mu ch better if you style of mu sic appeals to the children s mark et for
schools, or if

you

perform Adu lt Con temporary , Smooth

Jazz, Easy

Listening, Sin ger/Son gwri ter, New Age, etc., mu sic for the corporations.
You will be su rprised to find that a corpo ration might bu y 10,000 CDs
from you to give ou t to the employ ees, or even bu y a block of tick ets as a
gift to cli ents .
Band hotline - Believe it or not, some peop le still dont have access
to the in ternet, or are c ompletely i ntimidated by technology that is more
complicated than a CD and a simp le CD p lay er. Many of thes e peop le still
love

music

but have

given

up

trying

to

stay

on

top

of

the

latest

technological adv ancemen ts of mp3 players and other gad gets , and prefer
instead to stick to what they know. Even thou gh they are intimid ated by
technology, however, these peop le are completely comfortable with phones
- having u sed them for many years and cou ld possibly be interested in
bu ying you r mu sic if they heard it and liked i t.
As a percen tage of the world population, more people have phones
than they do compu ters wi th high-speed internet access . In fac t, there are
over 4 bi llion mobi le phone su bscribers comp ared to sli ghtly ov er 1
billion w eb u sers worldwide. Applications are being wri tten for mobile
phones that will allow su bscribers to access all their entertainment
playlists (music , movies , etc) at any time from any loc ation , so phones
sh ou ld not b e som eth ing th at you ignore c ompl et ely .
In ord er to tap into the phone demographic and depending on what
type of mu sic you create, you might want to consider setting u p a band
hotline/v oicemail and inclu de the nu mber on fly ers , brochu res and /or
postcards that you hand ou t to peop le on the s treet.
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Set u p a voicemail extension where people can listen to you r mu sic


when they call. You should have information that people can listen to in
you r band/artist hotlin e voicemail, inclu ding where they can bu y CDs and
what gigs you have coming u p. In formation on you r band hotlin e shou ld
inclu de you r band name, informati on on the u pcoming gig(s) and inclu de
some of you r mu sic playing in the backgrou nd. Mention the song ti tles as
well as where people can pu rchase you r CDs or tickets to you r shows.
Keep in mind that people withou t intern et access are also not likely to
make pu rchases or p ay for produ cts online, so consider a pos t office box
or mailbox ( for example, http://ww w.theu psstore.com/) where people c an
send checks or money ord ers to for CD and merchandise pu rchases.
You can create brochu res or postc ards with order forms attached
th at can be h anded ou t du ring you r street team camp aign along with
flyers , etc ., that peop le can u se to make pu rchases from y ou . You can also
sign u p for PayPa ls Virtua l Terminal (http://www.p aypal.com) and
take orders from p eople via phone, fax, or mail and p rocess the pay ments
on you r compu ter be fo re sh ipping ou t you r produ cts. You can set up a
separate voicemail where su ch people can listen to some of you r songs
before sending in a payment.
These are ju st some of the promotional techniqu es you can u se to
help separate you rself from the average mu sician that does nothing more
than put up a MySpace page and upload a few mp3s . Cons tantly look for
ways to be c reativ e with you r promotional activi ties, and stay on top of all
the latest social networkin g technologies that are likely to emerge over
the next few months (and years).

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THINGS TO DO BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER YOUR GIG

Fol lowing are som e ideas o f th ings you sh ou ld do bef ore, du ring, and
after you r gig that will help you r shows run smoothly, and make people
rem emb e r you , sh ow u p at you r oth er gi gs, and ev en pu rch ase you r CD s
and merchandise.
Before The Gig
Before you accept a gi g, mak e su re it makes s ense for you to do it.
Using research data, mak e su re that you will d raw enou gh people to mak e
the gi g worth doing. For example, ReverbNation has an add-on to their
mailin g

list

service

(http: //w w w.reverbn ation .com/fanreachpro)

that

collects addition al info rmation abou t fans who have signed u p to you r
mailin g list (including their zip code) that can allow you to see which fans
reside in the area where you r gi g i s going to tak e place. There are some
other services you can u se as well, inclu ding Eventfu ls Demand it!
Featu re (http: //even tfu l.c om/demand).
Know

in

terms

of

gas ,

food,

vehicle

rentals ,

accommodations,

equ ipment ren tals, c rew s alari es, in su rance, etc; exactly what it c osts y ou
to do the gig. Mak e su re you are gettin g paid enou gh to cover all you r
expenses and, hopefully, make a profit. Sometimes a decision is made to
do the gig bec au se there is a promotional and pu blicity-related ben efit
attached.
Whatever the case may be, have a good reason to do the gi g.

P a g e | 266

Once you h ave th e gig, h ere a re som e th ings y ou sh ou ld h ave on you r


to-do list:
~ Call or emai l the c lu b, venu e, organizer, agent, or p romoter to
confirm the fact that the show is s till on and that no one else has been
given you r date. Also, get all the detai ls squ ared away , inclu ding the
venu e address , directions , pri mary contact at the venu e on the d ay of the
event,

sleepin g

accommodations,

travel

arrangemen ts,

car

rentals ,

insu rance, equ ipment rental and / or availabi lity , tickets, paperwork, etc .
Find ou t what the venu e photograp hy and videotaping policies are (so me
places either wont allow any photography/videotaping to take place,
while others will have union regulations tha t govern those decisions).
Find ou t if you can sell merchandis e at the venu e and whether or not the
venu e will tak e a cu t. If you ve signed u p for s ervic es lik e Bandize
(http://bandize.com/) , Music Ars enal (http://www .mu sicarsenal.com/)
or ArtistData (http://www .artistd ata.com) or others, you can enter all
the pertin ent information regardin g you r conversations into one database
in order to k eep everything organi zed.
~ Once you r gi g is confi rmed , mak e su re that you DO NOT book any
other gi gs in that area for at leas t a cou ple of weeks before and after. This
is becau se booking gi gs close together wi ll redu ce you r draw by givi ng
fans the op tion of attending one of a few shows instead of givin g th em
only one option to see you play in that area. The u rgency and hype of the
event wi ll be redu ced if you are performin g in the same place 4 ti mes in
one month, and some fans will miss one show because they can attend the
next one, and then miss the next one because they can attend the next
one, and so on until they actually end up missing all of them. Make an
event or show special, and more people will attend for fear of missing it.

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P a g e | 267

~ This one mi ght seem pretty obviou s, bu t make su re you rehearse


you r show well and pu t a lot of effort into making it a memorable
experience for you r fans. You r show is where you will pu ll everyth ing
together and mak e some money; IF you rehears e i t well and pu t some ti me
and thou ght into the produ ction valu es. Regardless of what sty le of mu sic
you do, you r performance mu st be tight and coordinated . In other words,
th e mu sicians sh ou ld sou nd like they actu al ly spent tim e going ov er t h eir
parts and playing as a grou p. If the band sou nds tight, the au dience will
perceiv e the show to sou nd better, which will lead them to pu rchase more
CDs and merchandise as well as si gn u p to you r mai ling list. So, whatever
you do, do not skimp on rehears al ti me!
~ Contact local companies to inqu ire as to whether or not they wou ld
be interes ted in sponsorin g you r show. These shou ld be local compan ies
that cou ld benefit from you placing their logos on banners , posters , flyers,
and postcards annou ncing the show, as well as sp reading their message to
people on your mailing list and those attending the show.
~ Ask the venu e booker or promoter if there are any extra things you
can do to help p romote the show. Inform them of some of the things y ou
plan to d o and have them offer some addition al things that you can do in
coordination with them. Offer to ei ther send them some posters to pu t u p,
or go down to the venu e (if it is your hometown) and pu t posters up
you rself as the gig approaches. This will leav e a good impression with the
bookers as well as ensu re a su ccessfu l gig and probably an o ffer to play
there again .
~ Find ou t h ow mu ch you are get ting paid and h ow you are get ting
paid. Are you being paid a gu arantee? Are you being paid a perc entage of
the door? Who is c ollec ting the money? If mu ltiple bands are p erformi ng,
who is counting which fans are coming to see which band?

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~ Find ou t what the policy is on food and drinks. Is the band getting
a discou nt on food and d rinks? Is th e band getting food as part of the pay?
Do band members get d rink tickets?
~ Note down what ti me the doors open and what the venu es gu est
list policy is. H ow lon g before the doors open are you allow ed into the
venu e for a sou nd-check? What time does the show begin? Is there a bac kstage area or dressing room for the band?
~ Ask whether the show is an all-ages show, 18 +, or 21+, since the
type of show you have will affect you r promotion campaign . The au dience
make-u p will also determine what ty pe of show you pu t together.
~ Get all the details regarding p arking. Remember that you have to
park and load in all the gear & merchandise. It wou ld be a seriou s pain to
have to d rag all you r equ ipment fou r blocks to the v enu e in the rain /snow
and then have to d rag i t all the way back at 2.00 a.m. after the show. Fi nd
ou t if th e parking is secu re in case you h ave to leave som e stu ff in th e van
(not recommended).
~ Find ou t whether the v enu e is doing any p romotion/advertisin g for
the show. If so, are they u sing you r bands name/image in the ads? W ill
they be wi lling to add some of the n ecessary information if you send them
some graphics or posters? Do they have a websi te, and if so, will they add
a l i n k t o y o u r w e b s i t e ? A r e y o u li s t e d i n a n y p r i n t e d p r o g r a m s b e i n g
handed ou t by the venu e? Will there be any si gnage or banners with y ou r
band informati on visible to the au dience du ring you r performanc e? If not,
can you bring some of you r own ban ners?
~ Try and get as many lists from the venu e as you can (media list,
retailer lis t, sponsor list, e tc .). Inform the venu e that you wou ld like
these lists to help promo te the show by sending press releas es, pu t
posters u p, get ai rplay , etc .
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~ It is importan t to ask whether or not you need to bring you r own


PA to the show, and also to make sure that you get a good idea abou t w hat
type of sou nd system the v enu e has if PA is being provid ed for you . If y ou
are providin g sou nd, now wou ld be a good time to c ontac t a cou ple of
sou nd companies to get qu otes . Once you pick a company, get the contrac t
in writing. If the venu e is providing the sou nd system, con tac t them to
make su re th e mixing board h as enou gh ch annels for you r band, as well as
enou gh monitors for you to hear you rself onstage.
Most v enu es sh ou ld h ave enou gh microph ones, bu t dou ble-ch eck
anyway. Make su re the system i t ad equ ate for you r needs, otherwis e you ll
show up and have to deal with a weak sound system that can make you
sou nd terri ble, or ev en no system at all.
In the worst-c ase scenario, you may be able to ren t some equ ipment
if you feel like the gi g is importan t enou gh for you to do so. It wou ld be
nice if the venue could pay for the rental, but dont expect to just show up
and ask them to rent all kinds of things for you . You shou ld take care of
all rental issu es at the beginning of the bookin g process.
~ Get the dimensions of the stage from the venu e manager or
promoter (or submit your stage plot to the venue) so that you can make
su re you r band set-u p can be accommodated . Some bands have different
set-u ps depending on how large or small the stage is . A small stage may
mean th at you cant h ave you r u su al stage props or dance rs in you r set-u p,
for example. Make su re you know this before you drive all the way to a
gig.
~ Make su re that you get app roval for the u se of any py rotechnics or
specialty s tage props wi th the venu e ahead of ti me. Some elemen ts of you r
show may inclu de the u se of prohibited materials that ru n afou l of zon ing
laws , u nion regu lations , or the venu es insu rance policy.

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If you r stage show requ ires mo re than the u su al items (PA, lig hts ,
backline, etc) , then mak e su re you ve discu ssed everything with the venu e
booker or p romoter prior to headin g ou t for the gi g.
~ Find ou t from the venu e booker or promoter what order you are on
the bill. Find ou t i f there are any other bands performing with you , and if
so, who is opening u p for whom. Also note whether you will have a DJ
playing in between and after your sets, or if you will be the only band on
stage all night.
~ Find ou t whether or not you need to bring you r own sou nd
enginee r, li gh ting pe rson , doo rman or secu rity , e tc. Most v enu es sh ou ld
provide the doorman and other s taff, and p romoters shou ld take c are of
all this if they are pu tting on the s how, bu t if you are bookin g you r own
shows it never hu rts to ask. Uti lize resou rc es lik e Pollstars Concert
Support

Services

International

directory
Talent

( http://www.pollstar.com) ,
&

Touring

Billboards
Guide

(http://www.ord erbillboard .com/) and others if you need to pu t together


you r own crew for the gi g.
If you r performance fee for the night is based on tickets sold at the
door, then you might want to have one of you r own people collecting the
money at the door. Some venu es wont have ei ther a PA or a sou nd pers on,
and if you dont bring you r own sou nd system you ll have to play ou t of
you r individu al amps, which isnt a desi rable option; especially for the
vocalist wholl hav e to sing throu gh one of the mu sicians amps.
~ Promote the show on all the social networking sites where you
have a pres ence. Make su re you ve set u p Facebook , MySpac e and Twitter
accou nts (and any other social n etworking sites of note) that you can u se
to p romote online. Mos t people p lan their entertainment activi ties in
advance, so give peop le time to pu t you r gig on their c alendar.

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P a g e | 271

Use

servic es

like

FanBridge

(http://www.fanbrid ge.com/)

or

FanReach (http://www .rev erbnation.com/fanreachpro) , among others , to


send ou t notices to you r fans to spread the word and bring a friend . You
cou ld also give you r fans on offer for free entry if they bring a fri end or
two to the show.
Having mo re people at you r sh ow (even if some fans get in for free)
helps with you r ov erall nu mbers si nce indu stry people are interested in
how many people you can draw. A lso, if the venue makes a lot of money
from drink sales (because you have a lot of people at the show) , they will
be more lik ely to book you again; perhaps ev en for a gu aranteed amou nt
of money . Most importantly, more p eople at the show enables you to make
more money from CD and merchandise sales , as well as add names to y ou r
mailin g list from people that mi ght have come with a fri end bu t may not
yet be on the list.
~ Send ou t a press release to the media as soon as you have you r gig
information con firmed . A press release is an annou ncement of you r gig
that you hope the media (newspapers, television sta tions, radio sta tions,
bloggers, podcasters , music publications, etc) pass on to their readers,
viewe rs, and list ene rs. Ke ep in mind th at th e decision to u se you r rel e ase
is entirely u p to the responsible entertainment editors. In other words,
they dont have to include your release unless they feel i t has something
of v alu e or interest to their read ers , viewers , and listeners .
You r release shou ld never be more than one page i f annou ncing a
gig. A lso, the reality is that you shou ld not exp ect too mu ch action from
the mainstream media regarding you r press releas e. They receive a lot of
releases from corporations and maj or labels that they perceive will have
more of an imp act on their readers, view ers , and listeners. H owev er, it
doesnt hu rt to try. An op tion is to send you r release throu gh mi 2n
(http://www.mi2n.com)

or

pu rchase

the

Virtual

Publicist

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Toolkit

Page 271

P a g e | 272

(http://www.thevirtu alpu blicist.c om) to handle press release distribu tion


you rself.
~ Contact c ollege radio station DJs or PDs and in ternet podcasters
to see if they mi ght be interes ted in interviewing you ahead of the gig
a n d / o r p l a y i n g y o u r m u s i c o n th e i r s h o w s o r a l l o w i n g y o u t o p e r f o r m l i v e
for

their

audience.

Offer

produ ct

giveaways

for

their

lis teners

like

complimen tary tickets, CDs/down loads, band merchandise, or access to


an after party.
~ In order to k eep major rec ord labels abreast of where you are
performing, su bmit you r tou r itineraries to Pollsta r. You can email you r
tour

itinerary

to

them

at

tou r_dates@po lls tar.com.

There

are

no

gu aran tees that you will be inclu ded in their listings , bu t once they
research and cross-reference the dates you may be inclu ded. You can also
use

ArtistData

(h ttp://w ww.arti stdata.c om)

to

submit

your

show

information to concert d atabas es, or add you r gi g information di rectly to


sites

like

Vault

JamBase

(http://w w w.jambase.com),

Mojam/Wolfgangs

(http: //mojam.wolfgangsv au lt.com/con tribu te/) ,

(http://sonic living.com) ,

clubvibes

SonicLi ving

(h ttp://www .clu bvibes .com /) ,

and

others .
~ Send you r gig information to all the free entertainment calendars
in the city where you r gi g will be. Y ou can find su bmission information in
the entertainment sec tions of mos t of the pu blications in you r area. Start
with the free entertainment pu blications. They will u su ally contain a
section

where

they

will

post

information

on

what

entertainment

is

happening at what clu b on each night of the u pcoming week. Don t forget
college newspapers. Check on-line for the loc al radio stati ons that have an
event listin g sec tion you can add you r gig to.

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~ Send an email to all the rec ord stores that have you r CDs on
consignment within a 10-mi le radi u s of where you have you r gi g. If y ou r
gig is ou t of town , emai l all the record s tores that are stockin g you r
produ ct. Use the emai l to let the store manager know abou t the gi g, and
ask if they can mak e su re that they have you r CDs ou t on the shelves i n a
highly visible location. Ask if they can play you r CD in the store or even
h and ou t some sampl ers t o pat ron s on th e days leading u p to th e gig.
Off e r to pu t you r CDs on sal e, pe rh aps $2 off th e retai l price fo r peo ple
who bring a cou pon from you r gig to the store. Try and convince them to
pu t up some of you r posters u ntil after the gi g is ov er.
~ Send ou t an email to all the rad io stations in you r area that you
have promoted you r son gs to. Letti ng them know abou t you r live shows,
CD sales , revi ews, and interviews can help them d ecide whether or not to
play you r songs on the ai r. They are more lik ely to play a son g on the days
leadin g u p to the gig, as well as invite you to do an on-air performan ce,
intervi ew , or tick et give- away con test. Of cou rse, we are talking mai nly
abou t internet radio, college radio or some sp ecialty shows on you r local
commercial station .
~ Make su re you ve s ent ou t all you r gig invitations . Let all the
people on you r mai ling list know abou t the gi g, as well as any indu stry
people that you want to invi te. Invite media people to c ome and rev iew
you r live show. Invite booking agents and promoters so that they can see
how you perform live and possibly offer you more gigs at other venu es in
th e fu tu re. If you invite indu stry people to you gig, you may h ave to bu y
some d rink tickets from the venu e to offer them. Send invitations to all
the college newspapers and radio s tati ons, as well as to the members of
the stu dent activiti es or p rogram boards at the colleges . Go throu gh y ou r
directori es and invite people from record labels (bo th independent and
major) in you r area. Send invitations abou t three weeks before each gig,
that way they have about two weeks notice.

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If you send ou t you r invitati ons too lon g before that you risk the
chance that people will forget abou t the gig, bu t don t wait u ntil too close
to the gi g either. Don t expect everybody to show u p, bu t inviting th em
keeps your name in their heads.
~ Get you r equ ipment and health insu rance needs in o rder. You
never know when you may have your equipment stolen from the van or
damaged du ring a gig. Lost or d amaged equ ipment can set you back
financially

and

totally

ru in

the momentum and

spiri t of

the band.

Insu rance cov erage does not cost as mu ch as you think it does, and th ere
is absolu tely no excu se to not get some, especially if you are going ou t on
a

tour.

Try

contacting

companies

(http://www.mu sicproinsu rance.com),

or

like

MusicPro

Clarion

Insurance

Associates,

Inc.

(http://www.c larionins.com) and others for you r insu rance needs .


~ Allow enou gh time to au dition band members, pu t the band
together and rehearse for the show(s). Decide on the son g list, ward robe,
stage presentation , li ghting theme, band configu ration , etc . Decide w ho
sh ou ld speak on stage and wh at th e y sh ou ld say. Designa te th e pe rson wh o
sh ou ld be in ch a rge o f th e me rch and ise ta bl e and mai ling list .
~ Let all the other band members know abou t the detai ls that pertain
to them, inclu ding travel arrangements , direc tions, emergency phone
nu mbers, etc . Set u p a loc ation for everyone to meet before you trav el to
you r show. When possible, organi ze a car pool.
~ Set up a Nielsen SoundScan Venue Sales account with Nielsen in
order to report sales of CDs and merchandise at you r venu e (if you think
you

might

sell

enough

to

get

on

the

radar

of

music

industry

professionals) . If you r label has been in bu siness for at least 2 years you
can

set

up

you r

account

on

their

website

http://en-u s.nielsen .com/tab/indu stri es/media/entertainment

(look

the Nie lsen SoundScan Venue Sale s Procedure PDF) .


ARTIST MANAGEMENT MANUAL | 2010 Edition

Page 274

at
for

P a g e | 275

Make

su re

that

the

band

members

have

all

the

nec essary

equ ipment they need for the show. Write u p an equ ipment checklist. This
list should be used both when you set up and when you break down.
~

Put

together

chore

list .

Each

band

member

should

be

responsible for a specific chore. For example, one person may be in charge
of collectin g mon ey after the gi g. Another cou ld be responsible for
ru nning a final check on the equ ipment v an before leavin g the v enu e. Yet
another person cou ld be responsible for the items on the merchandi se
table or for giving T-shirts to the staff to wear du ring the gi g. In general,
you sh ou ld all h elp ou t with everyt h ing, bu t it is more organized if e a ch
person can take charge of an area that they will be responsible for.
~ Pu t posters u p at th e venu e a couple of w eeks be fo re th e gig l et ting
people know abou t you r band and su pplying them with information on
where you r CDs are avai lable. Ask you r fans and street team members to
h andle th e poster and sampler dis tribu tion campai gns fo r you r ou t-oftown gigs . Y ou sh ou ld recru it pe ople f rom you r we bsite , mai ling list , o r
band information hotline a few w eeks before the gig. Offer the s treet team
members a free CD and waiv e the cover charge for them to come to the
show. Do as mu ch promotion as you can afford to. It isnt any fu n at all
playing for 10 peop le.
~ Confi rm the gi g one last time a cou ple of days before the show.
You ll be su rprised how many ti mes a gi g gets c ancelled and nobody
bothers to tell the band abou t it. It only tak es a cou ple of minu tes to c all
and confirm the fact that you are s till on the bill and bein g exp ected. If
necessary , have you r contrac t handy in case you need to fax it to
somebody at the venu e that has any qu estions abou t the gi g.

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~ Contact fans on your mailing list and, in addition to reminding


them one last time abou t the u pcoming gig, ask i f any of them can
accommod ate some or all of you r band members for a night or two
(depending on how many nights you are performing in a pa rticular city).
Besides free tick ets and merchand ise, offer to do something u sefu l for
them like walking their dog, mowi ng thei r lawn , or doing thei r lau ndry.
Another

option

is

Better

than

the

Van

(http://www.betterthanthevan .com/), which (as their s logan says) is a


commu nity of free places to stay for bands on the road. Otherwi se,
reserv e any necessary hotel rooms you might need for the band and crew.
Make su re that the rooms are reserved in the artists or band s name ( and
the names are spelled correctly) so that there won t be any confu sion
du ring check-in.
~ Ask fans in the area where you will be performin g if they can
recommend

any

good

places

to

find

inexpensive

food,

cheap

gas ,

equ ipment rentals, affordable acc ommodations, etc . This will c ome in
handy especially if you dont live in that city and dont know where
everything is .
~ Send ou t a gi g reminder the day before the gi g. Don t assu me that
everybody remembers the date o f the show ju st becau se you told them
abou t it a cou ple of w eeks ago. A last minu te reminder can increase y ou r
draw by getting some peop le who were on the fence abou t you r gig to
commit to i t. Remember, the more p eople at you r gi g, the more money y ou
can mak e from the cov er charge and merchandise sales , and the more
likely you will be asked back to p erform at that venu e.
~ Most i mportan tly , think of anythi ng that c an ru in you r show if left
u nconfirmed. Mak e su re you have an emergency stash of cash ( and
available balance on your debit/credit card) on hand for the inevitable
occasion when the venu e doesnt pay you for you r gi g.

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In th e event th at h appens, you sh ou ld h ave enou gh money for gas ,


food, and accommodations in your emergency fund.
~ If you r show gets cancelled , make su re you let you r fans know
abou t it as soon as possible; especially if you have some fans driving in
from other cities .
During The Gig
~ Be p rompt. If you are expected at the venu e by a c ertain time,
dont k eep the sou nd person and /or venu e manager ( or whoever is there
to let you in) wai ting. How ever, don t show u p 4 hou rs before the ti me y ou
are expected at the venue and ask to be let in.
~ Limi t the nu mber of peop le on y ou r gu est list - Limi t you r gu est
list

to

indu stry

people

(record

labels

executives,

radio

sta tions

personnel, retail store employees, promote rs, booking agents, reviewers,


blogger, e tc .). Mos t of you r fri ends and family members shou ld pay. Dont
try and sneak in 20 p eople as roadi es in ord er to have them avoid p aying
the cover charge. If you r fri ends an d family members w ant to su pport and
help you , they shou ld pay the meas ly $10 cover charge (o r the pay-whatyou-can charge) at the door.
~ Use a band stamp or wris tband Have the doorman stamp peoples
hands with the bands URL or issu e people wi th wristbands printed w ith
codes for them to text for a free download. Most venues use a stamp to
identify people who have already paid to get. These stamps u su ally stay on
peoples hands even after they wash a few times .
~ Always perform a fu ll sou nd check whenever possible. If this is not
possible, you may have to live wi th a line check, with the first song
serving as the sou nd check.

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Try and arrange for a fu ll sou nd check with the v enu e ahead of time,
and arrive with enou gh time to p erform one. This will greatly affec t how
you sou nd, and since you want to bl ow eve rybody aw ay with th e fi rst so ng,
it would be a shame to waste it as sound check fodder.
~ If you brin g you r own sou nd person with you , make su re they work
close ly with th e h ou se sou nd person and respect th at pe rsons space . If a
conflict arises , u nless it adversely affects the sou nd of you r show, always
yield to th e h ou se sou nd person. N ot only do th ey know th eir particu l ar
sou nd system better than you do, bu t they also know how things sou nd in
their room even i f things may sou nd weird to you at sou nd check. Of
cou rse, some venu es have peop le that have no clu e abou t mi xing li ve
sou nd, and in that instance it is ok ay for you to have you r sou nd person
take con trol of the situ ation. In those instances, most newbi es wi ll gladly
yield to a more experienced sou nd engineer and u se the occasion as a
training session and learning experi ence.
~ Once you ve done you r sou nd check, ST OP PLAYIN G. Do not play
you r instru ment or sing into a microph one u ntil you actu ally begin th e
first son g of you r performance; es pecially when people are in the venu e
already. This is particu larly applic able if the venu e is open for happy hou r
or otherwise open to the general pu blic pri or to the shows s tart time.
~ Have peop le in the venu e wearing you r T-shirts If you have any
band T-shirts or caps , it can be a good idea to have people in the venu e
(doormen, waiters / waitresses, club managers, patrons, band members)
wearing them.
~ Have a band banner on stage You shou ld have a banner, or at
leas t a series of pos ters wi th the band name position ed strategically on
the stage.

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~ Have a merchandise table Set u p merchandise table inside the


venu e and have somebody you tru st handle all the transactions . Make sure
the person w orkin g the merchandise table knows ev ery thing abou t the
band, inclu ding the bands discography, bio, tou r schedu le, member
names , set lis t, etc . Mak e su re the merchandise table is well li t and all
items are display ed approp riately. Use CD stands from companies like this
(http://www.cds tands.c om/) to pos ition you r CDs in fu ll view and, in
addition to having the person at the merchandise table w earing ban d tshirts, display the t-shirt on a back wall, or on a t-shirt form. A llow fans
to pay what they wish for CDs and merchandise instead of having a fixed
price (unless you have to price-ma tch the head liner) and have a system
for keeping meticu lou s records of sales (like http://www.bandize .c om
and others). Items for s ale and giv eaway on the merchandise table cou ld
include:
a) CDs, DVDs , or vinyl for s ale.
b) Mu sic download c ards for sale or free giveaways .
c) T-shirts, hats, stickers, etc. for s ale and for free giveaways.
d) Promo

kits

for

in teres ted

label

personnel,

booking

agents ,

promoters, medi a peop le, etc .


e) 8 x 10 glossy photographs for au tographing for fans .
f) Mailin g list book or laptop for peop le to si gn u p to you r mailin g lis t.
Mention and point ou t the merchan dise table from the stage du ring
you r gi g. Hav e a laptop avai lable and allow people to pu rchase CDs ,
su bscriptions, and merchandise at the gig u sing credi t cards (via servi ces
like PayPal). You can even sell merchandise that you dont have available
at the gi g and then mai l ou t shipments when you arriv e back home (si nce
people can pay for the shipping with their order) .
~ Start and end the show with you r stron ges t material. Pick two ou t
of th re e of you r best songs and play th ose two first . End th e sh ow with
one that is hooky and memorable.
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Avoid playing too many son gs bac k-to-back with the same tempo,
groove or key. The au dience cou ld get bored if too many of them a stru ng
one after the other. Keep dead spac e to a minimu m, and avoid things that
requ ire

dead

space

like

changi ng

instru ments

or

stage

positions.

Incorporate new sou nds or instru ments into the show for v ariety .
~ While performing, try not to do the same thing over and ov er for
each

song. Vary

you r ges tu res , facial expressions, body

movements,

lighting schemes, banter, ward robe, postu re, etc ., otherwise the au dience
will feel (even if its no t the case) as thou gh every son g is the same.
~ Ru n a raffle / con test Giv e ev erybody who en ters the v enu e a
raffle tick et. At the end of each set, call ou t a random nu mber from a hat
and give the winning ticket holder a free CD or T-shirt. At the end of the
last s et, give away something a bit more valu able (bu t not too expensive).
Make su re you make it fu n and invite the winner on stage to receiv e th eir
prize.
People in the audience will appreciate the interaction , especially if
you make the winner say something abou t themselves on the mic rophone
as they collect the p rize.
~ Remind peop le of your band n ame Mention your band name
several times du ring the gi g. It c ou ld very w ell be the case that s ome
people in th e au dience will h av e wa ndered into th e venu e with ou t knowing
who is performing. If they leave th e show early and dont get a chance to
go to the merchandise table, they might sti ll remember you r band s n ame
and

check

ou t

your

website

later

or

catch

up

with

you

on

social

networking si tes .
~ Speak directly to au dience in between certain songs Engage the
audience by saying something about the song that is coming up or the
song that you just did.
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Mention y our websi te by telling the audience that they can find song
lyrics or other information there. Give them some insight as to perhaps
why you wrote a particu lar son g, or tell a fu nny story abou t something
that happened to the gu itar player du ring the rec ordin g session. Do some
research ahead of time and incorporate loc al ev ents , bi rthdays , etc ., i nto
the show. If the situ ation is su itable, try taking a few qu estions from y ou r
fans (wri tten down on pieces of paper) and answering them in grou ps
periodically throu ghou t the show. Think of all kinds of w ays that you can
interact with you r fans in additi on to performin g you r son gs for them.
~ Mak e you r show visu ally stimu lating Inco rpo rate something into
you r show that is visu ally interes ting. Besides merely performing y ou r
songs, you shou ld have some type of stage p rop or li ghting theme that
g i v e s t h e a u d i e n c e s o m e t h i n g t o r e m e m b e r . T h i n k a b o u t y o u r m u s i c an d
what type of image you re trying to portray. Ev en if you r mu sic sounds
great, try and have something els e happening on stage that makes y ou r
performance special.
~ Record you r show Depending on the venu e policy, try and record
you r show u sing a feed from the front-of-hou se (FOH) mixer. Most
professional mixing boards have the capabili ty of s ending ou t a 2- track
mix not only to the main monitors , bu t also to a record er. If you are able
to record that feed into a lap top w ith recordin g softw are, you shou ld be
able to bu rn CD-Rs of the show and offer it to peop le either free with a
CD or merchandise pu rchase, or ev en as a free gift for attending the show.
You cou ld also perform some basic mas tering to the tracks (or send ou t
the songs to be mas tered) for a liv e rec ordin g that you can sell on you r
website or su bmit for digi tal distribu tion/fu lfillmen t.
You

can

also

use

(http://www.disc revolt.com/)

services
to

offer

like
fans

DiscRevolts
live

concert

LivePass
downloads

available in mp3 format from you r website after the show.

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Also (again depending on venue/union policies) videotape you r show


so that you can make a DVD to give away or sell to you r fans , as well as
u se as a booking tool to get more gigs. You can also u se some of the
footage on you r website or You Tube channel as a way to promote you r
band.
~ Live vid eo streamin g A gain , depending on any u nion regu lations
and the venu es policy on videotaping, offer live video s treamin g of you r
show for p eople that can t attend ( e.g., fans with conflictin g schedu les, or
who live in ci ties or cou ntries where you re not performing) . You can u se
services

like

U STREAM

(http://www.synclive.com) ,

( http://www.u stream.tv) ,

Livestream

SyncLi ve

(http://www.lives tream.c om/),

justin.t v (http: //w ww.ju stin.tv) or Qik (http://qik .com/) and others to
let peop le watch and sometimes comment on your show live. Even if you
dont s tream the enti re show, this will be a good way to let people see
what they can expect if they come to see you live, and may make p eople
who were relu ctant to bu y tickets change their minds and come to another
show.
If the venu e allows y ou to u se a professional video c amera (or c rew),
make su re you let everyone in the venu e know that you are taping and
allow peop le who dont want to be on camera to position thems elv es in
locations ou tside of the frames (an d make sure the videographer avoids
shooting foo tage in those locati ons). Have model releases avai lable for
people who are visible in the shots acknowledgin g you r ownership of the
footage alon g with thei r permission to have their likeness in the vid eo.
Compensation cou ld be a cou ple of dollars off the cov er charge, some band
stickers , a d rink ticket, etc . An alternativ e to u sing the releases is to have
the videographer focu s all their shots on the stage, thereby av oid ing
recording venu e patrons .

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~ Work you r mailin g lis t Dont forget to get peop le to add their
names

and

contact

informati on

to

your

mailing

list.

Make

the

list

available at the merchandise table and have the band members men tion it
frequ ently from the stage. Have a laptop handy where people c an sign u p
directly to you r mai ling lis t if you are u sing something like FanB ridge or
FanReach as a mailing list solution.
~ The band man ager shou ld be des ignated the task of makin g su re
that all VIPs ( label A&R reps, media personnel, industry players, fan
club members, e tc) are well tak en care of. The manager shou ld walk
arou nd talking to anyone who need s to talk to the bands representati ve.
It is important to make su re that all deal offers go throu gh the manager or
designated band rep resen tative.
~ Don t spend all night asking th e bartender or c lu b manager for free
drinks, free food and other perks u nless those things have already been
promised as part of you r contrac t rider. This type of behavior will get
reported to the talent bu yer, clu b manager, promoter, or bookin g agent,
making i t less likely that you will be invited back in the fu tu re.
~ Allow fans to tape your shows (both audio and video) if the ven ue
allows the u se of cameras. Make su re to ask the venu e ahead of time w hat
the taping policies are, since some dont allow any taping at all while
others allow taping as long as the cameras (audio and video) are not
professional (i.e., poin t-and-shoot or cell phone cameras might be fin e).
Some venu es also have u nion gu idelines that mu st be adhered to.
If taping is allow ed, this is an excellent way to promote you r band
since fans will be likely to post images and/or videos on thei r social
networking sites which serves the p u rpose of increasing y ou r fan base via
word-of-mou th.

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At firs t blu sh, it seems like people who have a bootleg recording wi ll
not pu rchase the real CD, bu t you will be su rprised how many will become
long term fans, bu y fu tu re CDs, sp read the word abou t you r band to their
fri ends, and pu rchase you r merchandise. Also, they c an come in han dy
when it comes to you needing a place to stay while on tou r. You shou ld,
however, remember to ask for a c opy of the tape(s) for you rself when they
are done.
~ Tak e ph otos du ring gigs Y o u sh ou ld h ave someb ody t aking
ph otos of you du ring you r gigs, as well as ph otos of th e crowd and you in
betw een s ets . If the venu e allows it, u se the best c amera possible. You c an
share

the

photos

on

Twitpic

( http://www.twitpic .com/)

or

similar

services to let those that c ant be at the gi g see whats going on. If you
have a w eb p age or Facebook accou nt, you can post these pictu res there as
well as on Flickr (h ttp://www .flickr.c om /) fo r pu blicity. You can also u se
the pictu res as p romotion for the next time you play at the c lu b, ei ther by
posting them on a board inside the clu b or prin ting them on fly ers that
you distribu te before the gig. Remember to ask peoples p ermission before
you take thei r pictu res , get thei r names and emai l addresses, and tell
them what you intend to do wi th the pictu res. Do not tak e or post pictu res
of people that haven t given you permission to do so, and (as with
shooting video) keep some model release forms handy for people to si gn
acknowled gin g you r own ership of the photos and the ri ght for you to u se
them as you please.
~ End you r show at the exac t ti me you where schedu led to end it
Unless otherwise directed by the v enu e booker o r promo ter, you shou ld
not play beyond the end time of your show, especially if there are other
bands schedu led to perform after you . Have somebody off stage keepi ng
track of the time who can give you a signal when there is only time for one
more song.

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~ If there is another band playing after you , make su re you tak e you r
gear off the stage before heading ou t to mingle with fans and work the
merchandise table. If you need to do so, brin g along a roadie to help w ith
settin g u p and breaking down the gear who can also drive the van or mix
the sou nd, etc. If you are able to, ask the band performin g after you if
they need any help settin g u p their gear.
~ Min gle At the end of the gig, dont ju st pack u p you r gear and
leav e. Have a friend or roadi e break down you r gear, and min gle with the
crowd . Thank them for coming (eve n if they d idnt come to see you) and
try and mak e friends with some of the patrons . Remember that everybody
wants to be cool wi th the band, so take advantage of that. Talk to people
and ask them what they thou ght of the performance. Mention the band by
name so that the n ame gets stu ck in their memory . Most importantly,
meet peop le at the merchandise table and si gn both pu rchased items as
well as freebies (pho tos , CDs , t-shirts , e tc.) for fans. Ev en at this late
stage, its not too late to encou rage people to sign u p to the mailing list if
they havent already done so; therefore, don t forget to ask p eople to si gn
up as you talk to them.
~ Help out Help each other break down gear and ask the club
manager / booker if there is anything you can do to help them ou t. Most
of the time they will say no, bu t they will remember that as a nice gestu re
when it comes time to think abou t booking a band in the fu tu re.
~ Thank the engineer, doorman , waitresses , and clu b man ager /
booker Nobody ever remembers to be nice to these peop le. If you are
nice to them, they will think of you the next time they need to book a band
for an important night, and they may even pay you more for you r next gig
becau se of how thou ghtfu l you are.

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~ Dou ble-check that you have all you r gear with you before y ou leav e
th e venu e Once you h ave lef t t h e venu e, it is almost impossible to
recov er equ ipment or c lothes that y ou have left behind. Have a lis t of the
equ ipment you brou ght in, and check that list off as you load the
car/van /bu s at the end of the gig.
~ Never leave your van unattended while loading / unloading This
is self- explanatory. K eep an eye on all you r gear while loading and
u nloading. It is amazing how easy it is for someone to pick u p a gu itar
case or backp ack out of the van while no one is lookin g. WATCH YOUR
STUFF! Load lik e an assembly line, where there is always somebody at the
van while two or three others are on their way back and forth from the
sta ge / d ressin g ro om with gea r. You cou ld also h ave a fri end sit in th e
van while you load / unload.
After The Gig
~ Update the information on you r website and soci al networks .
Upload any video or au dio content that you record ed at the show, and post
any relevant photos to you r gallery as well. Let you r fans know how
everything went, and encou rage those that were at you r show to make
comments abou t their experi ence and post their own video footage and/or
audio content.
~ Take the opportu nity to discu ss everything that happened du ring
the show with the talent bu yer, c lu b booker, agent, or p romoter. If a
booking agen t was u sed to book the show, ask them for feed back, since
they are frequ ently involved in discu ssions with the venu e. If everything
went well, u se this time to try an d book another date at the venu e. If,
however, a lot of things went wrong (e.g. only a few people showed u p, a
fight broke ou t, you r show started late, etc.) , take the time to discu ss
ways to mak e imp rovements .

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Showing that you care abou t the situ ation will go a lon g way towards
bu ilding a good relationship with the bookers. Remember, its a s mall
world and w ord gets arou nd.
~ Pay the band members promptly as soon as you get back . Most
often, i f you receiv ed a check as payment from the venu e, you will hav e to
wait u ntil the check clears. If, however, y ou have gotten cash, p ay the
members ri ght away . Pay the band exactly what you said you would,
whether it is a percentage of the door, a gu arantee, etc . You can develop
problems if you gain a repu tation for not paying on ti me or for paying less
than you promised .
~ Send thank you emails/letters /postcards When you get home
send thank you emails, letters , and/or pos tcards to all the important
talent bu yers, label peop le, media personnel, p romoters , v enu e bookers,
etc, that you encountered or that came to your show.
~ Update you r mailing list Another thing to remember when you
get home is to immediately pu t all the new names that you collec ted i nto
your mailing list database (if you didnt have a laptop with you at the
gig).
~ Once you get back , review the v ideo and au dio footage from the
gig. Take notes of all the things that work ed ou t well and make note of the
areas where you need to make improvements . Analy ze i f the recordi ngs
can be released as CDs/DVDs or downloads .
~ Set u p a band meetin g or rehears al to discu ss all the issu es abou t
the gi g. Use this meetin g to go over things that you can do at you r next
gig to mak e i t better, and talk abou t things that w ork ed ou t really w ell
that you wou ld like to do again. Take note of which songs went over well
with the au dience and which ones you cou ld delete from the song list.

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You sh ou ld always look t o improv e you r sh ow, and th ats wh at you r


band meeting shou ld be abou t. This is also the time to bring u p band
member issu es that need to be dis cu ssed, inclu ding negative things that
may have happened on stage. Never discuss any of this stuff on stage
du ring a gig. A ll this shou ld be left to the band meeting after the gig.
~ Go arou nd to the stores where you have you r CDs stocked on
consignment to s ee i f you need to give them some more CDs, pos ters , or
s a m p l e r s . L e t t h e s t o r e s k n o w a b o u t h o w s u c c e s s fu l t h e s h o w w a s a n d g e t
some of the employees names and e-mai l add ress es so that you can invite
them to the n ext gig.

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Page 288

SPONSORSHIPS AND MERCHANDISING


Sponsors can p lay an important role in helping to offs et the costs of
recording,

manu factu ring,

tou ring

or

performing.

Companies

are

constantly looking for w ays to reach cu stomers di rec tly , and c oncert
performances p rovide a u niqu e way to make that happen. It is gettin g a
little hard er to get sponsorships now bec au se large companies are more
interested in high-profile artists or bands on major labels with a large fan
base. Howev er, liqu or companies , for example, are often interested in
even smaller bands becau se they can make their mon ey back from li qu or
sales at the venue.
Following are some of things that i nterest sponsors in you r band or
act:

What does the band have to offer (image, fan base, la rge mailing
list, common message, etc)?

What is the bands p erformance and sales track record?

What are the bands overall tou ring goals (regional, na tional,
international)?

How often will the band perform?

How lon g wi ll the tour cycle be (one night, one wee k, one month,
several months long)?

What cities (and /or co untries) wi ll the tou r be rou ted throu gh?

What are the expenses involved (eq uipment renta l, band & crew
salaries and per diems , car rentals , accommodations , insurance,
etc.)?

Has the band recorded or tou red before?

What is the target demographic (or audience)?

How well do you know the target demographic?

P a g e | 290

How will that target demographic be reached?

What kind of media coverage will be attached to the tour (TV, print,
radio, and in ternet)?

How many p eople will be exposed to the band du ring the camp aign?

In what ways can the sponsors p rod u cts or services be in tegrated


into you r project, performanc e, or tou r?

Are there any c elebrities involv ed in you r projec t?

How will peop le see or receiv e the sponsors message / image?

What are you requ esting from the s ponsor (cash o r produc t
donation)?

What is in it for the sponsor (clearly spelled out)?

Do you have a way to measu re resu lts of the sponsorship?


You will ultimately n eed to answer all the questions above and more

in order to get a sponsor behind you . Remember that any company can be
a sponsor, and you can have more than one sponsor attached to your
project as lon g as they are not competitors . You can start with compan ies
that are interested in penetrating the demographic you reach (or plan to
reach).
If you are tou ring intern ationally, you can look for comp anies that
wish to extend thei r brand name beyond the bord ers of you r cou ntry . Y ou
may not a lways b e ab le to get cash . You sh ou ld keep in mind th at produ cts
and services given to you for free or at a discou nt can also be of valu e. For
example, hotel rooms , clothing, equ ipment, airline tickets , staff, mai ling
lists, or car rentals c an be part of what you ask for instead of (or in
addition to) cash.
Some c ompanies may be interested in co-branding magazine ads or
radio/TV/in ternet commercials promoting their p rodu ct alon gside you rs.
All this can help to offs et the cost of a tou r or albu m projec t.

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You can begin by c alling u p or emailing someone at a company and


asking

for

the

person

in

charge

of

arranging

sponsorships.

Some

companies don t u se (or like) the term sponsorship, so try and find ou t
what departmen t wi thin the company deals with marketing partnerships
or other initiatives that res emble sponsorships.
Most large comp anies arrange their sponsorships throu gh pu blic
relations (PR) firms, bookin g agents, sponsorship consu ltants, in-hou se
departments, or advertising agencies. You may have to work in revers e
and condu ct research on vari ou s PR fi rms in order to find ou t who their
clients are. When you find a firm that rep resen ts a company you are
interested in approaching you can call and find out who you can send a
package to, or ev en pitch the sponsorship/marketing opportu nity to the
PR firm. Onc e you have a contact you can send them a proposal that
includes a cover letter, a one-page document explaining the whats-in -itfor- them benefits , and a mark eting plan or tou r itinerary for thei r
revi ew.
You r cover letter wi ll have all th e general detai ls of the events .
Following that, you can have pages that explain the tou r in more detail
and get into answerin g all the qu estions the sponsor might have abou t the
event and the benefits . Dont be disappointed if you dont get a lot of
interest in the beginning. You

may

get more interest from smaller

companies that find the exposu re from sponsoring you r p rojec t to be


worth more than what they cou ld get from bu ying ai rtime or ru nning ad s.
In the beginning you will have to reach sponsors on an emotional
level i f you cant lu re them with the direc t marketing benefit an gle. As you
bu ild a track record you will find i t easier to get sponsors on board .

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A brief discussion about merchandising


Many bands look to offs et the costs of going on tour by sellin g
merchandise ( T-shirts, caps , jack ets , etc) . The two types of merchandising
are Tour merchandising and Retail merchandising. As their names
su ggest, tou r merchandising is the sale of band merchandise du ring the
tou r, while retail merchandising is the sale of band merchandise in retail
stores, via mail order, from the ban d website, etc.
Initially , you will p robably handle all you r band merchandising
du ties you rself (designing, manufacturing, shi pping & handling, etc).
Once you start playin g to larger au diences, expandin g you r tou r rou te,
and selling more merchandise you may be app roached by (or you may
reach out to) a merchandising comp any to handle all the detai ls for you in
exchange for a percentage of sales . Merchandising deals are possible w hen
you have a large fan base, hav e been tou ring a lot to large au diences, and
have sold a lot of merchandise.
Merchandising deals are u su ally signed for a term of one albu m or
tour cycle.

Mos t

merchandising

deals

will

requ ire exclu sivity.

It

is

possible to get adv ances from merchandisers ran ging from $0 to $100 ,0 00
and u p, bu t there are some v ery i mportant things to keep in mind.
Advances are u su ally based on the bands previou s and cu rrent
merchandise s ales nu mbers , their tou ring itinerary , the nu mber of ci ties
the band will be performing in, the capacity of the venu es, the bands
tou ring history, radio airp lay , media coverage, sales track record , etc .
If the artist is wi llin g to tak e a smaller adv ance, the royalty rate may
be negotiated higher. If the artist is in need for a larger adv ance, the
royalty rate may be lower.

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When advances are p aid, they are u su ally paid in thirds; one-third at
the singing of the contrac t, one-th ird at the commencement of the tou r
and

finally

completed.

one-third
Unlike

after a specified

label

advances,

many

number of shows
merchandising

h ave been

advances

or

payments are retu rnable i f specified conditions in the merchandising


agreemen t are not met. For example, if the artist fai ls to perform in front
of a minimu m nu mber of attendees at thei r shows, or fails to perform a
specific nu mber of shows, the advan ce wou ld be retu rnable.
The royalty paid on sales of tou ring merchandise is usu ally between
25% and 3 5% of each item sold . The merchandising comp any will typically
pay the hall fees charged by the venu es on the tou r. The roy alties paid on
retai l merchandising is u su ally between 10% and 15% of the dealer price.
Most bands will on ly be able to get these types of deals following a second
or third albu m or after theyve tou red extensively ( 150 + da tes per ye ar) ,
bu ilt u p a large mai ling list/following and have a history of selling
merchandise.

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Page 293

GOING ON TOUR
Previou sly for bands , the on ly way to increas e you r fan base in other
regions was to tou r loc ally (sta rting small) , and then mak e several rou nds
over a cou ple of years before establishing enou gh of a repu tation to d raw
the necessary nu mber of fans to ju stify expanding ou tside the regi on.
Nowad ays, y ou can u se social netw orking on the internet to reach fan s in
areas ou tside you r home region and get some feedback abou t how many of
them would buy tickets to your shows.
Once you ve created a large enou gh mailing list from you r social
networking campai gn you can then send ou t newsletters and u se servic es
eventful

(http: //even tfu l.c om/demand)

and

Live

Music

Machine

(http://www.livemu sicmachine.com/), or u tilize d ata from services like


RockDex (http://www.rockd ex.com)
fans/listen ers /followers

you

have

and others to find ou t how many


in

different

cities

that

might

be

interested in comin g to you r performance; and then u se that informati on


to make smart rou ting decisions for you r tou r. You can also u se servi ces
like

streamSerf

(http: //ww w.s treamserf.c om)

to

track

which

radio

stations in which cities are p layi ng you r songs and rou te y ou r tou r
accordin gly .
You r local region is the plac e for y ou to test how well you r show is
pu t toge th er, mak e mist akes ea rly i n th e proc ess, and po lish u p you r act
b e f o r e t a k i n g t h e s h o w o n th e r o a d . T h i s i s a l s o t h e p l a c e f o r y o u t o
experimen t and find ou t exactly w ho you r au dience is, as well as make
some money to help you with tour expenses.

P a g e | 295

It is also the place for you to gain experi ence, create a bu zz, and get
cru cial references from venu e bookers and talent bu yers in you r area.
Once you have play ed at most of the important loc al v enu es; promoted
you rself to th e loc al fans and mu sic indu stry people; rec eived local radio
airplay; pu blicized you rself to the local media throu gh press releases and
intervi ews; and sold some records at you r local retai l stores; you can then
begin the process of planning a tou r.
Things to keep in mind when planning and embarking on a tour
First and fo re most , you sh ou ld make su re th at th e band is ready to
go on tou r before you start planning you r rou te. Do you have enou gh fans
to su pport goin g on

tou r?

Can

you

charge enou gh money

for your

performances to cover the cos ts of going on the road ? Is the song material
stron g enou gh to perform in front of fans and indu stry people alike in
other ci ties? Do you have any exp erience performin g in cities ou tside you r
home region?

Do you

have somebody with enou gh knowledge abou t

tou ring to help you with all the logi stics and details (e.g ., boo king agent,
tour manager, e tc)? Is the ov erall show strong enou gh to take on the
road? Do you have a pu blicity and promotion camp aign to su pport the
tou r?

Consider these and many other qu estions before committing to go

on a tou r.
Early in the planning stages (once youve determined that it makes
sense for you to tour) , you shou ld stron gly consider su bmittin g material
to mu sic conferences and festivals that take place in regions you are
interested in tou rin g.
Since it is someti mes difficu lt to get gigs in new cities withou t a
track record , a showcase slot at a clu b can get you a foot in the door. You
can then u se that information to book another gig in the same town on an
off night.

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For examp le, if you have a Friday or Satu rday night showcase slot at
a conference, you can try and book a Wednesday or Thu rsday night show
in the same city.
Start planning and rou ting you r tou r at least three to nine months
ahead, dependin g on the distance you are planning to travel; the gen re of
mu sic you perform; and the type of tou r you are planning. For examp le,
jazz fes tivals are often book ed u p to a year in advance, so s tartin g to p lan
you r tou r three to six months ahead wou ld be too late to be inclu ded. You
will need time to plan and rou te th e tou r, con firm all the dates , au dition
and rehears e the band, hire a road manager, hire the crew (roadi es,
driver, techs, etc .) , enlist the help of a trav el agen t, obtain the necess ary
visas or work permits , book you r accommod ations , pu rchase insu rance,
promote the shows, condu ct pu blicity campaigns , get the rec ords i nto
stores, send promotional items to the venues, etc.
You will also need to make su re th at you aren t breakin g any u nion
ru les if you are a u nion member (A FM, AFRTA /SAG) or if you are hiri ng
or performing with other u nion members. Do you r planning ahead of time
in order to avoid a situ ation where you are u nable to p erform s show at
the last minute.
Before

you

begin

planning

your

tou r,

make

su re

you

have

permanent and reli able phone and fax nu mber, as w ell as a fi xed mailing
address and an e- mail accou nt that you can access from any location (e.g.,
a free Yahoo, Gmail, or Hotmail email account). A laptop will be
extremely handy for access to emails while on the road.
If you are w orkin g wi th a bookin g agent and / or promoter, now
would be the time to go over the routing options and analyze whether or
not the tou r wi ll be profitable.

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Discu ss all the financing options you have available to you right now
(e.g.

ticke t

pre-sales,

record

label

tour

support,

deposits ,

savings,

investors, sponsors, promote rs, ta lent buyers, brand partners, roya lties,
etc.) . Th is will h elp you to u nderstand h ow mu ch money you h ave on
h and, and h ow mu ch you need to make e ach day on th e ro ad in orde r to
break

even

on

the

costs

of

putting

the

tour

together.

Without

u nderstanding the financing, it is likely that you will lose money on the
tou r. You mu st know exactly h ow m u ch it costs you each day on th e ro ad
(air fare, bu s fare, train fare, gear and other miscellaneou s ren tals, hotel
rooms , food , gas , au to expenses, lau ndry, taxes , insu rance, medical costs,
phone / fax charges , crew salaries , venu e fees , ATM fees, commissions,
etc .).
Determine the overall cost of pu tting the tou r together and dedu ct
the cash you have avai lable at hand from that. For examp le, if the overall
cost of pu tting the tou r together is $75,000 and you have $8 ,000 c ash at
hand, the remainin g amount of money you need to pay for the whole tour
is $67,000 ($7 5,000 - $8,000 = $67 ,000). This $67,000 wi ll have to come
from

ticket

sales,

merchandise

sales,

album

sales

from

the

gig ,

sponsorships, brand partn ership contribu tions, endorsements , donations,


miscellaneou s payments , and whatever other income sou rces you can come
u p with while on the road .
If you need assistance raising fu nds for you r tou r, consider
resou rces like:

Power Amp Music (http://www .powerampmu sic.com/),

Kickstarter (http://www .kickstarter.com) ,

Slicethepie (http: //www .slicethepie.com/) ,

feed the muse (http://www .feedth emu se.net/) ,

ArtistSha re (http://ww w.artistshare.com) ,

Sella Band (http: //www.sellaband.c om/) , and others.

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If you have access to a bu dget that allows for it, consider lookin g for
a tour buy-on or marketing co-op with an established band. This is
a scenario where you reach ou t to a headliners agent and/or manager
with an offer to pay them a certain amou nt of money (e.g . $500 - $1,0 00)
per day for the opportu nity to perform wi th them as a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd act
for a c ertain nu mber of d ates (e.g . 1 40) in venu es of a certain capac ity
(e.g. 2,500 10,000 people) on thei r tou r.
You will most likely be bidding with other people for the buy-on, so
make su re you dont get cau gh t in a bidding war. Only bid wh at you can
afford to pay , since, in addi tion to the cost of the bu y-on, you will also
have to take into account the additional costs of your bands travel,
accommod ations , rentals , p er diems , insu rance, etc .
Keep in mind that the p romoters of the tou r also have a say in the
matter, and the size of you r d raw will be tak en into accou nt as d ecisions
are bein g mad e. You will also likely need to make lots of pitches in ord er
to

get

one

accepted.

You

can

use

(http://www.pollstar.com)
(http://www.ord erbillboard .com/)

the

directories

from

and
to

get

Pollstar
Billboard

contact

in formation

for

managers, agen ts, and promoters (a s well as tou r i tineraries).


If you are w orkin g a radio camp aign , call the stations that are
playing you r songs and ask them which venu es in their mark et they can
recommend for y ou to play in. Some of these stations may be w ell ou tside
you r traveling range, bu t if i t makes sense to rou te you r tou r in that
directi on, i t may be worth the trip in the long ru n. If you are rec eiving
radio airp lay at the ti me you contact venu es (or boo kers / agents), make
su re you tell them which stations you are receivin g airp lay on and which
Program Directors or Mu sic Di rectors recommended the v enu e to you .

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Pu t together a p lanning and rou ting (itinerary) book, or u tilize


solu tions like Ban dize (http://ban dize.c om/), Music Arsenal
(http://www.mu sicarsenal.c om/) ArtistData
(http://www.artistd ata.c om) , or the Band Leader
(http://www.theband leadersoftware.com/) and others to inpu t all you r
booking in formation as you plan your tour and while you are on the phone
with venu es, book ers, agents , and promoters . Si tes like SonicBids
(http://www.s onicbids.com) and Ou rStage (http://www .ou rstage.com)
and others can be helpfu l in letting you know abou t gi g opportu nities and
venues that are booking.
As you make you r calls , inpu t the date of th e conve rsa tion, th e
persons n ame, the venu e or company name, venu e capaci ty, add ress,
phone nu mber, fax nu mber, e-mail address , and commen ts (including
when to follow up and what was said). On you r calendar, mark a date
with a T if you have a tentative d ate and a C if you have a con firmed
date.
When planning you r firs t tou r, try and stick to between 2-4 states
su rrou nding you r home market or region (or a 100 mile or so rad ius
around your ho me to wn). If you are planning a Eu ropean or overs eas
tou r, it wou ld be wise for you to w ork with an agent or p romoter who is
well versed in the issu es of international trav el and is able to advise y ou
on all the legal, accou nting, visa, and langu age issu es associated with
su ch endeavors .
Look at a United States map (or a map of whichever area you plan
to tour) and map ou t a rou te th at m akes sense. Draw lines f rom you r h ome
throu gh you r target tou rin g region and back. Notice if and how the lines
make sense. You r rou te shou ld not zigzag randomly across the cou ntry (or
region). You r rou te shou ld ei ther be a rou gh circle or fi gu re ei ght.
Meand erin g back and forth betw een cities and zi gzagging randomly ac ross
the cou ntry is a was te of time, money, gas , and energy .
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Create a rou te on the map and then attemp t to book gi gs in ci ties


alon g that line on dates that mak e sense. This means that as you plan you r
tou r, you sh ou ld call venu es in cities along th e rou te with a particu lar set
of dates in mind. Once you have p laced those calls, move to the next city
with the next set of dates, and so on.
Use feedback provid ed to you by you r fans or information gathered
from sites lik e Eventful (http://eventfu l.com/) and others to help you
make you r rou ting decisions. This can be qu ite a ju ggling act since y ou
wont a lways get a confi rm ation righ t aw ay, and you may h ave some
tentative dates in cities further along the route that occur before dates in
earlier ci ties .
You will have to set some booking d eadlines and decide which venu es
are wo rth wai ting fo r. You sh ou ld consider v ariou s bookin g opportu nities
(e.g. high schools , colleges, radio station events, specia lty s tores, ho use
concerts, far mers marke ts, co ffee shops and cafes, fairs and festiv als,
opening slots, gig swaps, conventi ons, churches , malls, etc .) to help fill
in dates (and mak e some extra money) along the rou te. Remember that
every day on the road cos ts mon ey (hote l roo ms, gas , food, car or van
rentals, e tc.) . In that regard , you shou ld attemp t to make money one way
or another from as many additional sou rces as possible.
At this stage (depending on the style of music you perform), you
sh ou ld h ave a l ready su bmitted you r media packa ge to co lle ge bo oke rs ( or
college

booking

agents),

festival

&

fair

organi zers,

and

indu stry

sh owcases and convention coordinato rs. You sh ou ld follow u p on these


leads and see which ones fit in to you r tou r plans. In addi tion, now is the
time to s olidify any gi g-swaps you may have initiated earlier wi th ban ds
in other citi es. Y ou can set this arrangement u p in as many cities loc ated
alon g you r tou r rou te as you can in order to mak e money on as many d ays
on the road as possible.

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To avoid confusion and miscommunication, always have only on e


person handle all the booking tasks. This will help cu t down on the
possibilities of accidentally booking your band in two venues at the same
time. Make su re that p erson doin g the booking on you r behalf knows
everybody elses schedu le and c an s peak for ev eryon e.
As calls are mad e and commu nication proceeds, mak e su re you set
booking

deadlines.

It

makes

no

sense

to

wait

for

an

answer

from

somebody for months on end while you hold all your other booking
options. If somebody cannot giv e you the date you are requ esting, ask if
they cou ld recommend somewhere else in town for you to play that night
or on those nights. As you contac t venu es, try and research what time the
pu blic transportation system ru ns u ntil so that you can plan to end y ou r
show prior to the time the last train or bu s ru ns.
As you call arou nd, have you r media pack ages ready to send ou t, or
at least have a website where you can send people to view your Electronic
Press Kit (EPK). Always log you r phone calls and note down the date you r
package was sent out as well as the date you have scheduled to follow up.
Once you have a date confi rmed , note down all the bookin g detai ls you
agreed to (e .g. how muc h you are getting paid, wha t date and time the
gig is, what equipment is being provided, w ho else is on the bill, t he
load-in and sound check times , etc) and send this contract to the venue,
booke r, or pro mot e r. Do th is especial ly if th e venu e does not h ave a
contract of its own to s end you . Ask the promoter or booker for their
media list (a lis t of publications and media contacts in the area tha t
cater to music).
Ask them if they c an recommend any particu lar w riters or review ers
for y ou to contac t. Send the promoter or venu e book er any promoti onal
materi als they mi ght need (e.g., CDs, pos ters , samplers , postca rds,
flye rs, e tc.) at leas t 4 to 6 weeks ah ead of time.

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Keep in mind that the media works on deadlines , so the sooner you
can send you r materials the better. Ask them i f they will be u sing you r
band name in thei r ads. A lso ask for them to link you r website to theirs .
Get equ ipment and h ealth insu rance coverage befo re you leave. You
never know when you r equ ipment might be s tolen from the van or at a
venu e; or damaged on the road or du ring a show. Insu rance is qu ite
afford able if you consider the cost of replacing all you r equ ipment
you rself, and there is absolu tely no excu se for not gettin g coverage for
you r equ ipment; especially when you are goin g on tou r.
There are many comp anies that offer insu rance, bu t a cou ple of good
places to s tart (in additi on to you r Homeowners insu rance comp any)
inclu de MusicPro Insurance (http ://ww w.mu sicproinsu rance.com) or
Clarion Associates, Inc. (http://www.c larionins.com) .
Make su re you clarify exactly what is covered before you pay for a
policy. You need to be as c lear as possible when desc ribing the natu re of
your needs, including the fact that your equipment will not be in one
place all the time since you are on tou r. Some insu rance companies will
not cover equ ipment that is tak en ou tside you r stu dio or rehears al sp ace,
or they may only cov er i t if its stored in a secu re location. Ask very
specific qu estions before you sign u p.
Try and get p eople in the other ci ties (street teams) to help you pu t
you r CDs on consi gnment in the retai l s tores, as well as hand ou t
promotional samplers and T-shirts to people on the s treet. This type of
promotion will help you get more people to you r shows.
Send gig invitations to the media and other indu stry people in the
cities where you will be performi ng. Invite members of the media to
revi ew you r show and interview you before the sou nd check or after the
show.
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Provide d rink tickets to indu stry people i f you want them to show
u p. Call the local radio stations and see if they can p lay you r mu sic
arou nd the date of the show or condu ct an on-air interview wi th you on
the day you arrive. Send promoti onal posters and fli ers to the venu es to
pu t u p a cou ple of weeks before you r show. Onc e the show dates are
confirmed, su bmit you r tou r itin erari es to Pollstars data proc ess ing
department at tou r_d ates@polls tar.com. There are no gu aran tees to the
entry of you r dates in to their database, bu t once they res earch and c rossreference the d ates you may be inclu ded.
Call and re-con firm all the dates before you embark on the tou r.
S h o w s s o m e t i m e s g e t c a n c e l l e d , o r v e n u e s g o o u t o f bu s i n e s s , a n d t h e la s t
person to know is u su ally the band. Dou ble-check each show befo re you
leav e town, and take a lap top and smart phone with you on the road in
order to s tay abreast of all the latest information .

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Page 303

TIPS FOR WHAT TO DO ON THE ROAD


Following are some tips for what to do on the road (while touring):

Always carry a sleeping bag.

Pay off all ou tstanding traffic tickets before you leave.

Pay atten tion to freeway gas and food exi ts on the road . For example,
notice how mu ch gas you have when you see the Next Gas Stop: 60
miles si gn.

Pack only what you need . Any extra stu ff will on ly add to the load
and ju nk that you have to hau l, which increases you gas costs in the
long ru n.

Carry some non-perishable food and drinking water with you .

Make u se of microwaves at gas s tations that wi ll let y ou u se them.

Drivin g the speed limi t on long tou rs saves you gas.

Renting heavy mu sical equ ipment (e .g., amps, monito rs, e tc) in each
city might be cheaper (in reduced g as, wear and tear on the vehicle ,
and insurance) than lu gging all y ou r own equ ipment wi th you for the
whole tou r.

Consider the op tion of shipping sev eral s mall boxes of merchandise


ahead of you to the venu es (wi th permission) rather than d riving
throu gh the whole tou r with all you r heavy merchandise boxes .

Eat and sleep well. Youll play better and have more performance
energy ov er the cou rse of a lon g tou r.

Dont change you r normal eating habits too d ras tically on the road .

Keep all contact in formation on people you meet while on the road ,
inclu ding venu e owners /book ers , p romoters , helpfu l stran gers, retail
store employees, other musicians, etc. You never know when you
need help on the way back or at any other time.

P a g e | 305

Keep a handy list of musicians in each city in case you need to


rep lace a sick mu sician or one of th e band members qu its in the
middle of the tou r.

ALWAYS KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR E QUIP MENT!

Take a tool kit that inclu des flares and a flashli ght. It wi ll c ome in
handy for both your equipment and auto needs.

When possible, pack things in boxes instead of su itcases . Boxes c an


be discarded or broken d own when no lon ger in u se.

On the road , brin g an mp3 player, DVD play er, lap top, and some
games to su pplement the mu sic on the radio.

Make su re you r transportation is reliable and wi ll su rvive the


du ration of the tou r.

Carry extra windshield wip er flu id.

Dont bring attention to you rself wi th fancy logos on you r v an.

Whenever possible, p ark where you can see / hear the van. Dont let
people see inside your van .

Use bike chains to chain equ ipment cases and bags together inside
your van.

Take a laptop with you . Havin g access to the In ternet while on the
road can be a li fesaver. You can res earch information, c ontac t people
on you r mai ling list, get di recti ons, check the weather and traffic
conditions, update your band web page, send and receive e-mail, and
so on.

Bring along a hand tru ck to help with loading and u n-loading heavy
items.

Carry a firs t-aid ki t and check the expirations dates of i tems where
applicable.

Use travelers checks instead of c ash whenever possible.

Dont k eep large amou nts of cash on you . Mak e frequ ent bank
deposits when you get paid and u se you r ATM card to wi thdraw
money.

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Have a list of all you r equ ipment an d check it before you leave each
destination.

Give each band member a contact li st of all the v enu es, book ers, and
promoters involved in you r tou r. You will have backu ps if you lose
your master list.

Always carry road maps and bring along a GPS device if you have on e
(or rent one).

Join AAA and carry y ou r AAA card at all times.

Make su re you brin g you r medical i nsu rance card with you .

Make su re you have backu p equ ipment (guitar strings, dru mstic ks,
pedals, cables , mic rophones, fuses , picks, extension cords , e tc) in
case you lose or damage something alon g the way .

Carry a c redi t card for emergency si tu ations where a credit c ard is


needed for reserv ations , booking, or ren tal.

Carry a sec ond form of identi ficati on for ti mes where that may be
requ ired (e.g . banks , e tc).

Bring along a set of earplu gs and save you r hearing over the cou rse
of a long tou r.

Bring along some extra rolls of toi let paper (no e xplanati on
necessary)!

Let people at home know your tour route and schedule.

Shows get canc elled , so hav e a plan -B in place. Mak e su re you have
a way to le t fans know abou t th e can cell ati on (wh ich is wh y you
sh ou ld h ave a l aptop wi th wire less c ard or a s ma rt ph one avai lab le
for updates).

If you re going overseas , make su re you r passport and visa


paperwork are in ord er. Also, ship you r merchandise over there
before you leave. It is also a good id ea to ren t mos t of you r
equ ipment once you get there instead of takin g it with you .

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TIPS FOR KEEPING YOUR BAND TOGETHER


Following are some tips to help k eep you r band together:
When you have a dis agreemen t wi th a band member, k eep in mind
that you are disagreeing with the ideas and not n ecessarily with the
person . Making ev erything personal is a qu ick and su re w ay to break u p
the band . If you dont agree wi th a su ggestion that somebody mak es ,
mention why the su ggestion is not agreeable or su itable and offer an
alternativ e su gges tion. If you reac h a stalemate, be wi llin g to agree to
disagree withou t ru ining the fri endship.
Try

not

to

have

any

overt

fav oritism

in

the

band.

Consider

everybodys id eas and p rovide good reasons as to why su ggestions from


band members are accepted or rej ected bas ed on the meri ts. Keep a log of
conversations in band meetings s o that you can refer to the notes if
somebody should have a comp laint of some kind.
Be very carefu l when it comes to dating band members. Very often,
once cou ples within the band break u p, the entire band ends u p breaki ng
up also (especially if the rela tion ship involves a lead member of the
band). Even if the band remains in tact, the situ ation becomes extremely
u ncomfortable once ex-c ou ples begin to d ate again either within or
ou tside the band. This can lead to confron tations or other embarrassing
situations that can play themselves out at the most inconvenient of times.
Not every issu e has to tu rn into a confron tation. There is a phrase
that goes something like this: Some fights are worth fig hting even if you
lose. O ther fig hts are not worth fig hting even if you win.

P a g e | 308

Pick you r fights among band members carefu lly (based on principle),
and each time an incident arises , consider whether or not it is worth
fighting abou t.
Split u p band du ties so that every member has something to do. If
one

band

member

is

doing

everything

(writing

the

songs,

mailing

packages, ma king calls, booking gigs, renting equipment, scheduling


rehearsals, arranging accommodations, etc .) , they wi ll end u p res enti ng
it,

asking

for

more

money,

or

even

qu ittin g.

Make

ev ery body

feel

important by giving them something to do. A lso, once you make somebody
in charge of something, let them do their job. Dont tell them to do
s o m e t h i n g a n d t h e n c r i t i c i z e i t a n d s a y h o w mu c h b e t t e r y o u c o u l d h a v e
done it you rself.
As mu ch as possible, try and allo w each person s sec ret talen t to
shine. For example, if the dru mmer has a good voice, work a song into the
set list where they can sing leads or even backgrou nd vocals. Not on ly is it
good for them and the band , bu t it also gives fans a nice su rpris e. If y ou r
gu itar player is also an artist, u se some of thei r art as a stage p rop at y ou r
gigs . Be creative and mak e su re the talent fi ts in with the grou p image and
game p lan.
Nev er, ever brin g u p an argu ment or issu e on s tage du ring a show.
This can be extremely hu miliating and annoying and c an lead to people
qu itting the grou p (or even coming to blows on stage). Always wai t to
address issu es at band meetin gs.
Wh en discu ssing issu es with band memb ers , offer solu tions instead
of argu ments.
Dont harbor i ll feelings for a p rolonged amou nt of time. Issu es are
best dealt with sooner than later. If you bring things u p earlier in a
constru ctive w ay, it wi ll prevent them from blowing u p into major fights .
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Try and help each other break dow n equ ipment at the end of a gi g.
Offer to at least help c arry somebody els es equ ipment to the van if y ou
are done with your setup.
When possible, try and hang ou t as a complete band at an all-night
diner after the gig. Doing this bu ilds a kind of kinship that doesnt co me
from merely rehearsing and doing gigs together. You dont have to do this
al l th e tim e, bu t ev ery once in a wh ile you sh ou ld make a point of inviti ng
the whole band ou t after a gi g. Let them know ahead of time so they dont
plan to take off wi th friends or family as soon as y ou re done wi th the
show.

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Page 309

IN CLOSING
Helping to come u p with strategi es that fu lfill an artists long- term
mu sical dreams and desires is the goal of every profession al artis t
manager.

When the game plan is tailored to fit a particu lar artist and

m a k e s t h e c l i e n t s u c c e s s f u l a n d h a p p y , y o u a r e c r e a t i n g a m u t u al l y
benefici al relationship worth all the time and effort you spend.
Give you r best to each client, or i f you are a self-managed artist,
give the best to you rself. As a man ager you will achieve satisfac tion only
if you pu t you r best ef fo rt f orw a rd each time you sign an artist t o you r
roster. Resist the temptation to bi te off more than you can chew. Kn ow
you r limitati ons, and be h onest with you rsel f in terms of wh at you can
achieve considerin g the resou rces you have available. Nev er think you
know everything, bec au se there is always more to learn. Most of all, en joy
what you do and best of lu ck on all you r mu sical endeav ors!

"To day is your day!

Your mountain is waiting.

way."
-Theodor Seuss Geisel ( Dr. Seuss)

So... get on your

B r a n d s , 113

B u r n s i d e D i s t r i b u t i o n , 112, 193
Business Manager, 8

a d d s , 221
s p i n s , 221

C
3

3 6 0 , 36, 48, 81, 82, 84, 99, 103, 104, 105, 117
3 6 0 d e a l s , 48

C c o r p o r a t i o n , 22
C a f e P r e s s , 149, 176
c l o s e c o r p o r a t i o n , 22
c o l l e g e r a d i o , 212

c o m m e r c i a l r a d i o , 216
c o n c e r t l i s t i n g , 267

A & R r e p s , 58, 101

c o n s i g n m e n t , 186

A & R W o r l d w i d e , 119

Consignment, 186

A D A , 112, 193

c o p y r i g h t b a s i c s , 93

A n t i - P i r a c y C o m p l i a n c e P r o g r a m , 148

c o p y r i g h t n o t i c e s , 145

A r t i s t S h a r e , 138, 307

c o - s o l e p r o p r i e t o r s , 19

A S C A P , 64, 65, 97, 122, 223, 243, 254

c o v e r l e t t e r , 155

Association for the Promotion of Campus

C r y s t a l C l e a r M e d i a G r o u p , 148

A c t i v i t i e s ( A P C A ) , 247

Attorney, Legal and Business Affairs


G u i d e , 29

D a n K i m p e l , 157

a u d i t , 36

d e m o d e a l , 46

a u d i t i o n i n g , 127

d e v e l o p m e n t d e a l , 47

d i f f e r e n t t y p e s o f d e a l s , 46
D i s c M a k e r s , 148

b a c k d o o r , 109

d i s t r i b u t i o n , 185

B a n d & C r e w , 126

d i s t r i b u t i o n d e a l , 49

B a n d L e t t e r , 152, 259

d i s t r i b u t o r , 192

b a n d m e e t i n g , 129

d i s t r i b u t o r s , 192

B a n d M e t r i c s , 116, 166

D r o p c a r d s , 147

B a n d M i x , 126

B a n d p a r t n e r s h i p a g r e e m e n t , 130
b a n d - a n d - b r a n d , 115
B a n d i z e , 14
B i l l b o a r d , 13
b i o , 157
b i o g r a p h y , 156
B M I , 64, 65, 97, 122, 145, 223, 243, 254
B o o k i n g a g e n t s , 59, 225
b r a n d a m b a s s a d o r s , 113

E 1 E n t e r t a i n m e n t D i s t r i b u t i o n U . S , 112, 193
E M I L a b e l S e r v i c e s , 119
EMI Label Services & Caroline
D i s t r i b u t i o n , 112, 193
E M I M u s i c M a r k e t i n g , 112, 193
E P K , 25, 77, 125, 136, 154, 156, 158, 159, 160, 212, 217, 225,
227, 229, 230, 232, 246, 311
e s t a b l i s h g o a l s , 41

P a g e | 312
E x t r a M i l e M e r c h , 149, 176, 266

K
k e y - m a n c l a u s e , 39
K i c k s t a r t e r , 138, 307

F a c t s h e e t , 157
F a h r e n h e i t M e d i a G r o u p , 119

F a n B r i d g e , 152, 259, 281, 293


F a n R e a c h , 152, 259, 281, 293

L i m i t e d L i a b i l i t y C o m p a n y ( L L C ) , 23

f e e d t h e m u s e , 138, 307

L i m i t e d P a r t n e r s h i p , 20

F i l m & T e l e v i s i o n M u s i c G u i d e , 173

L o a n - o u t C o r p o r a t i o n , 22

f i n d i n g a r t i s t s , 25

F i z z K i c k s , 147, 175
f r e e d o w n l o a d s , 170

m a i l i n g l i s t , 151, 259

m a j o r r e c o r d l a b e l s , 99
m a n a g e m e n t c h a l l e n g e s , 74

g e n e r a l c o r p o r a t i o n , 22

m a n a g e m e n t c o n t r a c t , 29

g e n e r a l p a r t n e r s h i p , 19

m a n a g e r c o m m i s s i o n , 33

G S 1 U S , 146

m a n a g e r i s n o t a c t i n g a s a t a l e n t a g e n t , 36
m a n u f a c t u r e C D s , 146

m a r k e t i n g b o o k , 179
M a s t e r L e a s e D e a l , 51

H a r m o n i a M u n d i U S A , 112, 193

m a s t e r i n g , 141

H a r r y F o x A g e n c y , 63, 97

M e d i a a r e a , 154

H i t Q u a r t e r s , 110

m e d i a o u t r e a c h , 177

H o u s e c o n c e r t s , 251

m e r c h a n d i s i n g , 302

H o w a r d R o s e n P r o m o t i o n , 218

m i x i n g , 141

m o b i l e c a m p a i g n s , 263
m o z e s , 114, 263
M u l t i p l e R i g h t s d e a l s , 48

i m e e m , 165
i n t h e i n d u s t r y p i p e l i n e , 103

M u s i c B u s i n e s s R e g i s t r y , 13

i n d e p e n d e n t r a d i o c a m p a i g n , 212

M u s i c D i r e c t o r , 213

Indie Managers Association Cod e of Ethics,

m u s i c i n d u s t r y p r o f e s s i o n a l s , 58
m u s i c l i b r a r i e s , 64, 140, 173

15
I n d i e V e n u e B i b l e , 124, 227

M u s i c i a n s A t l a s , 124, 144, 148, 249

i n s u r a n c e , 14, 22, 43, 235, 253, 275, 276, 279, 284, 299,

M V D E n t e r t a i n m e n t G r o u p , 112, 194

306, 307, 308, 312, 315, 317

M y R o c k e t S c i e n c e , 119

I R M A , 148

I S R C , 142

National Association for Campus Activities


( N A C A ) , 247

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N a x o s o f A m e r i c a , 112, 194

R e d e y e D i s t r i b u t i o n , 112, 194

N e u r o t i c M e d i a , 119

r e l e a s e d a t e , 150

N e x t B i g S o u n d , 165, 231

R e v i e w Y o u , 158

N i e l s e n S o u n d S c a n , 149, 284

r i n g t o n e s , 263
Road manager, 9

R o c k D e x , 116, 166, 231, 304

O a s i s D i s c M a n u f a c t u r i n g , 148

O p t i o n d e a l s , 49
O u r S t a g e , 139, 248, 309

s a m p l e r , 261
S e l l M e r c h , 149, 176

S e l l a B a n d , 139, 308
S E S A C , 64, 65, 97, 223, 254

p a r t n e r s h i p , 19

s h o w c a s e s , 252

P a y - t o - P l a y , 238
Performance Rights Organizations (PROs),
222

S i n g l e s D e a l , 48
S l i c e t h e p i e , 138, 307
S o c i a l n e t w o r k i n g , 164

Personal manager, 8

s o l e p r o p r i e t o r s h i p , 17

p h o t o g r a p h s , 156

S o n y M u s i c E n t e r t a i n m e n t , 99, 112, 194

P l a n e t a r y G r o u p , 218

S o u n d E x c h a n g e , 65, 149, 173, 223

P o l l s t a r , 13, 58
P o w e r A m p M u s i c , 138, 307
p o w e r o f a t t o r n e y , 32

S o u n d O u t , 139
s p e c i a l t y / m i x s h o w s , 216
S p o n s o r s , 299

P r e s s c l i p p i n g s , 158

s t r e e t t e a m s , 59, 222, 226, 227, 228, 267, 268, 312

p r e s s k i t , 154
P r e s s i n g & D i s t r i b u t i o n ( P & D ) d e a l , 50
Production manager, 9
P r o g r a m D i r e c t o r , 213

s t r u c t u r e y o u r m a n a g e m e n t b u s i n e s s , 17
S u b c h a p t e r S C o r p o r a t i o n , 23
s u b m i s s i o n p o l i c i e s , 179
s u b s c r i p t i o n , 176

P u b l i c D o m a i n , 140

s u n s e t c l a u s e , 34

P u b l i c i s t s , 66, 143

S u p e r D I n d e p e n d e n t D i s t r i b u t i o n , 112, 194

s u p p o r t t e a m , 44

Q u o t e s h e e t , 158

t a s t e m a k e r s , 169
T a t e M u s i c G r o u p , 112, 194

r a d i o p r o m o t e r s , 67, 143, 200, 217

T e c h n i c a l M a n a g e r , 10

r a d i o p r o m o t i o n , 219

T h e M o u n t a i n A p p l e C o m p a n y , 112, 194

r e c o r d p o o l s , 171

T h e O r c h a r d , 112, 185, 194

r e c o r d i n g c o n t r a c t s d e f i n i t i o n , 47

T h e V i r t u a l P u b l i c i s t , 144, 169, 177

r e c o r d i n g y o u r m u s i c , 138

t h e s i x t y o n e , 139

R E D D i s t r i b u t i o n , 112, 194

Tour manager, 9

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t o u r i n g , 304

T r a v e l V i d e o S t o r e . c o m , 113, 194
v e n u e b o o k e r , 9, 124, 154, 228, 230, 237, 277, 280, 294,

T V T R e c o r d s , 113, 194

311

T w i t t e r , 165

V e n u e b o o k e r s , 224

V o l u n t e e r L a w y e r s f o r t h e A r t s , 30

United States Patent & Trademark Office,

122
U n i v e r s a l M u s i c G r o u p D i s t r i b u t i o n , 113, 194

W E A C o r p , 113, 194

U P C , 142, 146

W o r d - o f - m o u t h , 168

u P l a y a , 142

u p s t r e a m d e a l s , 49
u p s t r e a m e d , 110

Y o u T u b e , 25, 88, 105, 116, 121, 160, 163, 164, 165, 169,
173, 174, 227, 261, 264, 292

.com/go/mu sic

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