So You Do What, Exactly? is a series dedicated to explaining what all the confusingly named music industry people actually do. We’ve brought in these confusingly named people to tell you themselves. First up, bloggers. Joe Sparrow from the brilliant A New Band A Day tells us how bloggers can help launch music careers, why he blogs and how you should get in touch to get your music heard.
So your kick-ass single is recorded, artwork is done and photographs are good to go. You’ve thrown them all in a jiffy bag and you’re about to send it out to anyone and everyone… Just hold on a minute! This week, music experts Dotted Music give you advice on putting together the best possible press pack to make sure your music gets listened to.
Is Twitter just a huge waste of time for bands? Following on from Bob Allan’s guest article on Building an Online Presence, I received a couple of emails from people saying they couldn’t get their head around Twitter and couldn’t see any advantage of their band being on the service. Join me in the full post to find out why it’s so important to be a tweeter.
At The Music Clinic we’re here to help you get your music career off the ground. We provide the best advice from industry experts and answer your questions on all things music. This week, a question from amazingtunes.com artist Zanna Wharfe landed in my inbox asking for advice on putting a band together.
Hi Ben, I’m a singer/songwriter just getting into the swing of things, writing and recording etc. I’m going to start with some open-mic nights to get my feet back into things properly. The main question I have is on getting a band together. I’d like to have a couple more guitarists playing with me but I’m unsure as to how to start looking for these people, especially as I know I won’t be able to pay them!
Thanks for getting in touch! Putting a band together and finding a few talented musicians can be really frustrating. Getting it right is essential, find the wrong people and you can get stuck before you even get going.
Get Into Your Local Music Scene
Your idea about getting down to open-mic nights is a brilliant place to start, particularly for singer/songwriters. Open-mics help grow your performing confidence without putting too much pressure on you and they are great for meeting like-minded musicians. It gives you a chance to show off in front of a new audience and make a few contacts while you’re at it.
Make sure you introduce yourself personally to everyone there, particularly the performers and the promoters. Everyone is happy to chat about your music after you’ve played (as long as you let them talk about themselves for a bit as well!) Just let people know that you’re looking for a couple of extra guitarists and they’ll help you keep an eye out for you or maybe suggest a sweet guitarist they know who’s looking for something new. If you’re lucky, someone might want to get involved themselves after seeing you sing.
Also get down to any gigs with artists similar to you, chat to people and hand out CDs, tell them that you’re looking for musicians. It’s all about networking and getting to know people who can help you out! Having plenty of contacts will be really useful when looking for support slots and other gigs in the future as well.
Another option is to use the internet. Advertise on your Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Youtube etc. that you’re looking for band members. As a musician just starting off, social media is your biggest outlet to the world and you’ll be surprised how far you can reach! Check out Bob Allan’s guest article for The Music Clinic on the best ways to use social media and other online outlets to get the word out.
As tempting as it can be, don’t rely solely on this method. Sitting at a computer updating statuses and adding friends isn’t a substitute for getting out to gigs, talking to people and making real life connections!
If none of this is working for you, you could also try online listings such as Craiglist or other local music forums. With a little Google research you’ll be able to find a forum for your local music scene. Scout through the listings or alternatively, post your own thread with a link to your music explaining that you’re looking for band members. If you find someone that looks like a good fit, just send them a friendly message and ask if they fancy just meeting up to jam a little. Decide some covers to learn before you meet to ease into it.
Don’t worry too much about having to pay people just yet, unless you’re targeting professional session musicians they won’t be expecting a wage. When you find someone, just offer them a share of money made from gigs you play and any records you sell.
Don’t rush into anything. If they’re not right for you, then it’s not going to work and your music will suffer from it. You’ll end up spending a lot of time with your band members so make sure you can stand being around them!
I hope you find some of this is useful and good luck!
If you have questions about your band’s next step or if you’re just a bit curious about the music industry, leave a comment here, tweet @amazingtunes, Facebook us, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At The Music Clinic we’re here to help you get your music career off the ground. We provide the best advice from industry experts and answer your questions on all things music. This week Bob Allan from the UK’s leading music development agency, Generator, explains how to build an online presence and connect with fans.
“There are many different ways to build an online presence and various available platforms of interaction with your fans, from websites, mailing lists, blogs, Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, Last.fm, Soundcloud, Bandcamp etc… (It is important to note that the music needs to be right before uploading music and interacting with people).
An artist website is an important tool when concerning yourself with online presence but is not essential, with Myspace and Facebook offering free profiles a website can be an unnecessary cost. Though if you can afford to get a basic website done it makes a difference being able to own your own data as opposed to a third party. You might have 4296 myspace/Facebook fans or 2635 followers on Twitter but if something happens to those sites you could lose everything you’ve built up. It’s better to have personal email addresses and be able to contact fans from your own database, it’s also better to have a central hub with everything in one place that you can send people to and they can then follow links to whichever other sites they use personally. A band website can get the bands personality across and there are no little annoying ads popping up everywhere.
When it comes to using the other platforms available then it just depends what works well for the artist, tweeting might work very well for an emerging post-dubstep artist but might not work for a folk singer songwriter. The general consensus is that Myspace has lost its appeal, especially with the recent profile changes but it is still a first port of call for most people wanting to check out music so musicians should still have a profile (if it works for them). There is also a Facebook app called BandPage that allows musician profiles to add gig listings and ticket links as well as syncing to your Soundcloud player.
Blogs and online media are a great way of building a ‘buzz’ for a band, a lot of bloggers have become tastemakers and influential people in the industry do check to see what’s going on in the blogosphere. Hype Machine is a blog aggregator where you can type in artists with a similar style of music and see which blogs are writing about them, you can then contact the writers with a personal email and some of your music. If they like the bands you sound similar too they are likely to at least give your tracks a listen and maybe feature them in their blog (make sure you send a personalised email that mentions their blog, no blanket emails!)
It is vital that you connect with your fans and give people who make an effort to interact with you online something special, give away exclusive tracks to people on your mailing list, ask them be in your videos, let them design your artwork etc… some good examples from the panel at a recent Generator Panel, ‘Music Futures‘, include We Are Scientists emailing people who’d signed up to their mailing list at a live show sending them a personal email that night with photos from the gig, Little Comets filming guerrilla performances in Marks & Spencer’s, on Trams & Metros then putting them online, Mike Skinner replying to fans tweets by writing a song especially for them. It’s just about being creative but also interacting in a fashion that works well for the artist, some people don’t come across well in video blogs others do but as long as you are engaging with your fans in a creative and relevant way then you’ll get something back and your fans will feel valued.
There is also something to be said about giving too much away, if your sites are full of content and you update your Facebook every time you have a practice then people will lose interest but if you hold back a bit and give people just enough so that they are always wanting more then you’ll have a better online presence. The band Wu Lyf held back so much online at first that they didn’t have any music online and through word of mouth and industry frustration people were travelling to Manchester to see them. This is the other extreme of having too much online content, it’s just about getting the right balance that works for your music.
If you have questions about your band’s next step or if you’re just a bit curious about the music industry, leave a comment here, tweet @amazingtunes, facebook us, or email me at email@example.com.
It’s that time of year again, time to break out the Christmas tree, the mulled wine and the ‘Best of 2010′ list! Here at Amazing Towers we’ve had a great year and want to celebrate and share the quality of music we’ve had on Amazing Radio and amazingtunes.com.
This year we launched The Amazing Sessions and invited the best emerging artists to come and record a live session in our very own Blank Studios. As a special Christmas present, we’re giving some of them away for free!
To get your paws on these excellent free session tracks head over to our specially crafted ‘Best of 2010‘ page to download each individual track or the play-list as a whole.
Without further ado, here are our favourite artists of this year. Amazing Radio presenters, Charlie Ashcroft and Frankie Ward and our resident photographer and writer for The Amazing Sessions, Ruth Kilpatrick, popped in to talk about some of the artists. Here’s looking forward to 2011!
Guitars dripping with delay, beautifully fragile vocals and a heavy dose of DIY videos and artwork, Let’s Buy Happiness create an immersive soundscape that has captured the attention of Lauren Laverne, Tom Robinson and Glastonbury organisers Eavis and co.
Frankie Ward said: Let’s Buy Happiness have experienced a much deserved spike of attention recently due to their unique, almost glacial sounding, spaced out indie. In a few months everyone will be talking about them.Free Track - Woodrings
Charlie Ashcroft said: Not content with being mainstays of Norwich’s ever-expanding DIY scene, these young indie punks have broadened their appeal with a series of chaotic sold-out gigs around the UK in 2010. Theirs is a high-octane racket, full of ear-melting hooks and melodies, while ‘Wishful Thinking‘ was a triumphant Amazing Chart topper.Free Track – Hollow
Charlie Ashcroft said: These lads from the North East have seen their stock rise immeasurably over the last 12 months, and deservedly so. Their songcraft is full of subtle touches and great poise. With each passing release, we get a further glimpse of how special they are.Free Track – The Woods
Ruth Kilpatrick said: James’ E.P. ‘WooF’, due for release in early 2011 via his own label Plumpton Records Presents, is a testament to not only his talent as a writer, but more importantly to his resilience as an artist.
This year’s single, The Cloud has enjoyed significant Radio One and XFM airplay. With a fanbase that already includes Rob da Bank and Steve Lamaq, the acoustic artist looks set to grow his audience further still in 2011.Free Track – Three Birds
Frankie Ward said: Hers [Lesley's] is a voice of glacial purity, made all the more special in the way that it manages to retain a sense of warmth and total expression.
With a sound that she describes as bittersweet and melodical, Lesley has toured with Don ‘American Pie’ McLean and played at The Royal Albert Hall and The Sage Gateshead.Free Track – Missing
Producing what Ruth Kilpatrick called a “disturbing level of calm” in our studio with their hauntingly beautiful take on post-rock, the band create and distil tension through their songs like no other band in our studio.Free Track – I am Home
With brilliantly constructed pop songs, Pilots have shared a stage with Everything Everything, Field Music, Futureheads and The Holloways this year, proving that their unique craft of distinctive beats and intricate melody is a formula for success.Free Track – White Knuckle Tight Grip
Indie-rock legend, Charly Coombes, has taken his newest project as far as the USA in support of this year’s releases. Formerly a member of 22-20s and Supergrass, Charly Coombes and his New Breed have created an indie-rock monster with single Panic In-between the Sheets securing two weeks at the top of The Amazing Chart. Look out for brand new E.P. Waves, released at the end of November. It’s a winner.Free Track – Panic In-between the Sheets
Ruth Kilpatrick said: Boy Jumps Ship are a mixture of well thought out melodies over cleverly constructed songs. The group vocals that hold it all together will no doubt incite some mass sing-alongs come their live dates in November.
Impassioned and energetic, the band create an infectious ball of sound that can’t help but make you jump around like an idiot.Free Track – Good Ol’ Sin City
So that concludes the best of amazingtunes.com and Amazing Radio 2010! Make sure you head over to The Best of 2010 playlist page to get your exclusive free downloads before they disappear. Watch out for our tips of 2011 coming soon. Happy Christmas!