Helping Yourself #4



Read the other blogs in this series:
Helping Yourself #1
Helping Yourself #2
Helping Yourself #3

Today I went to re-visit Derek Sivers’  “Nobody’s going to help you  blog. Make sure to read this blog if you haven’t already.  Its got some excellent thoughts and excellent reader comments.

Here’s comment by a frustrated reader…

Response # 6,780 by Karsten Schwardt

  • “If I want to write and record my music, and have work and be there for family, there is simply no time left at the end of the day to promote my music or be my own booking agent. So I am excited and frustrated all at the same time. Excited because of everything I learn by doing it myself and the opportunities that exist. Frustrated because a promotion and publicity campaign is a full time job, and I don’t even enjoy doing it much. So I will write my music, record it best I can and put it up for the world to see. If they only knew where to look…”

Its a frustration shared by far too many artists.  By the time you’ve put all of your creative energy into making and performing your music, you don’t have much time or energy left to promote it (espec. if you have a family).  And if marketing isn’t your favorite thing, then you might not do it that well.  I wish I had an easy answer for this. The whole premise of this blog is to help you become better at promoting. But if you don’t like it…well Grassrootsy can’t do much fo you.  Check out “The Things You’ll Hate To Do…But Should Do Anyways

The truth of the matter is that if you are passionate about what you do, you will use all means necessary to share it with the world.  You’ll play out as much as possible, pay out as much as necessary, and work to make connections with people who love your music.  If you have a good product, let people know it exists.  No use spending so much money to make a CD if no one will hear it. 

I strongly reccomend listening to Music Business Radio podcast – specifically the December 17, 2008 interview with indie/folk/pop artists Meiko.  Meiko and her manager Mike Savage talk about  her trek from no-name Open Mic artist to someone who now has over 6 million hits on her myspace and a record contract with Myspace DGC Records. This podcast is especially useful b/c Savage and Meiko talk about how they share the job of promoting her music and how they capitalize on once in a lifetime opportunities to keep the momentum going. MBR is free on iTunes.

If promotions is hard for you to wrap your head around 

  • 1] Be good at the easy things!  Cultivate great relationships with your fans.  KleerStream Entertainment said it best: for every 1 die-hard fan you make, they’ll eventually reel in up to 10 more of their friends who will ultimately become fans as well.
  • 2] Look into other artist friends who are also overwhelmed by promotions.  Meet together, share notes, and collaborate.  Check out to learn about 4 artist who did something similar.
  • 3] If necessary, find a manager who has more music business knowledge than you. (this will probably cost $)

 ***Subscribe to Grassrootsy

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One Comment on “Helping Yourself #4”

  1. Most all artist should know the “ROAD” to potential success is not a short one and attaining music success is a process. A process is, specifically becoming a successful artist/band, is a series of steps or as I like to call them “A SERIES OF ACTION ITEMS”. Yes, there are exceptions to this, but, if an artist doesn’t know these “exceptions” are few & far between, they really need to keep their day jobs or just do music in your local area for fun.

    So, what are the initial action items that come first:

    1. Music must be your PASSION (most young artist say: “Music is my life”)

    2. Since most artist will not get a record deal, it is imperative the have dedicated passion that consumes all their time 24/7. This is one of the main keys to keeping an artist career moving forward daily. Anything less, will require much more time in years.

    3. All passionate artist must BE artist & business people, especially, in the INDIE MUSIC WORLD.

    4. Each artist must decide if they want to start out as an acoustic artist, a partial band, or a full band. (Just know if you start out with a full band, one of your biggest headaches is going to be keep these folks with you and busy on a weekly basis…if you cannot book at least 2 shows / week, your band members will start playing with other bands because they need to work every week.) This is just one of many issues that will come up with a full band, and believe me there are many more (topic for another blog. Starting out, I would go solo, especially if you can play an instrument.

    5. If you are solo & sometimes with a band, you are going to need a decent PA System & maybe a sound person.

    6. You need to know 48 to 72 songs well…many will be covers with a few originals. All gigs are 1-5 hours. And most venues will not pay you more for 5 hours than they will for 3 hours, especially new unknown bands.

    7. You must learn how to pick songs that you, the singer, can connect with your audiences/fans & create moments in them they will remember, for a long time. When you do this you create what we call: TBF (TRUE BLUE FANS) A TBF is one that will spend a minimum of $100 / year on you & hopefully more. This is where the publicity comes in. Most artist do not realize their best publicity is by word of mouth. The more fans…….????? Last, but, not least under the fan process, DO NOT EVER neglect any fan! Your TFB will always be your biggest asset, for without them, no artist will survive.

    8. How do you build a fan base? Start locally & extend your fan base into all cities where you want to eventually tour. Have street teams in all major markets. When you book a venue, if you do not have a following in that area, chances are you won’t be invited back until you do. SO, REMEMBER FANS, FOLLOWING, & TRUE BLUE FANS!

    9. Publicity & Radio Play (3 ways)


    Radio Promoter


    Needless to say, if you are not ready with a CD with some great original songs on it, do not hire the first two….you will need to pay these top notch folks between $5,000 – $10,000 / month. Most of these folks know what they are doing, but, unless you have your total act together, you will be wasting a lot of money, money most artist do not have to spend.

    10. Rather, I would recommend hiring a teacher of “Fan Connectivity. You will need from 2-5 days with them. Cost $600 – $3000 / day. You can travel to where they are or they will come to where you are, but, you must be prepared to pick up all their expenses to come to you.

    I have much more I would like to say, but, this blog is getting too long.

    Summary: If you are passionate about having a career in music & want to move it forward yourself, you must have a work ethic like no other artists/band; you must be patience with the music career building process; you must know great covers & write or find great originals; you must be willing to play wherever & whenever you can; you should become an endless campaigner to people everywhere; you must be an acceptor of rejection to the point you always have a smile on your face. YOU must, because music is your PASSION!

    These are but 10 music process steps you, the artist, must learn, practice, and make daily incremental improvements.

    Grassrootsy disseminates a lot of practical information for free….I would encourage everyone to subscribe, read, re-read, until you know this stuff by heart.



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