Archive for the ‘Administration’ category

So What Exactly Is A Manager?

November 1, 2010

So I posted this on our Twitter feed last week and think it’s also worth posting here. Uber successful artist, Josh Ritter, decided to do an interview with his manager and stick it on his blog:   Making a Life in Music, Vol. 4: “What the Hell a Manager Does”. I love when other artists decide to share their knowledge with so I have much respect for you, Josh!

The blog is a challenging piece on what a manager does, how an artist works with a manager, and all the things you should be doing to find yourself in a healthy relationship with someone who assumes that role.  The interview includes a quick recap of Ritter’s beginnings through the eyes of his manager, friend, and dorm buddy, Darius Zelkha. It also addresses all the questions you’ve ever had, and all the questions you never thought of.  I read it word-for-word last Friday and loved it!  Thanks to Jon S. Patton of the group Midway Fair for the Grassrootsy recommendation.


Good Tools = Good Work

September 8, 2010

I’ve had the most complicated two weeks as far as my music has gone. I’ve been in 4 cities, haven’t had consistent internet access, and have been working around a computer that shuts off without warning every 15 minutes.  I am tired. But in light of all of this, its made me think long in hard about how our resources determine how successful we are at what we do.

Good tools = Good work. If you have the means to accomplish something, and easy access to aids that will help you do it better, why wouldn’t you go for it!? Yea, we’ve talked about Facebook alot, but here are a few other must-haves…

It might sound silly, but time is a resource that makes a world of difference. When I’m on the road, you’ll notice that Grassrootsy (unfortunately) takes a back seat to things like 4-hour drives from city to city and lack of regular internet access. Set aside some time…even if its 2 hours a day…to keep up with your music.

  • Check emails.  More importantly, if you don’t have any emails coming in, try and figure out why. Do people know who you are? If not, why is that?
  • Do you need to increase your social network presence? Become better at just a few social networks.
  • Read. Do a search on Grassrootsy and its likely that there’s a post about it or reference to it. Click the links on the sidebar to visit other sites that have something worth reading.
  • Network with other musicians. Open Mic. Meet at a coffee shop and talk out ideas. This is fun 🙂

This might also sound silly, but SPACE is a huge factor!  If you can’t stay focused, make sure you’re not lounging on your sofa while working on your music. Setup shop at your dining room table, living room desk, or in a coffee shop.  When you set aside a specific time and space just for your music, you’ll be more disciplined. It won’t be an afterthought, and you’ll get sooo much more accomplished (spoken from personal experience).

Here’s something more tangible. I’ve written about it before on this blog. ArtistData is the ultimate calendar. Not only does it allow you to easily post and update your show information, but it posts that information to all of your other social networks, submits your shows to Eventful and similar calendar event sites, and give you embeddable code to incorporate the calendar into your personal site(s). Very clever and very useful (spoken again from firsthand experience). ArtistData does much more but you’ll have to do your own research to learn more.

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I’ve written about it before on this blog. ArtistData is the ultimate calendar. Not only does it allow you to easily post and update your show information, but it posts that information to all of your other social networks, submits your shows to Eventful and similar calendar event sites, and give you embeddable code to incorporate the calendar into your personal site(s). Very clever and very useful (speaking from firsthand experience). ArtistData does much more but you’ll have to do your own research to learn more.

Who Do You Need the Most: Publicist, Booking Agent, Manager?

July 5, 2010

Ok, the reality is that most artist don’t have the funds to hire help…let alone provide for yourself. At the same time, maybe if you had someone helping you, it would kick things up a notch and be a win-win situation for all.  So lets, break it down and figure out who you would benefit from if you did have the funds.

Publicists create demand. They create publicity.  In very plain english, they make you “public”.  So lets say you have little or no fanbase…or maybe you need help breaking into a new market. This is who you need. Before you can start making moves, you need to create demand. Make sure you and your music are seen as a valuable asset to an event, an establishment, a venue.

Publicists also receive media inquires…if a magazine wants to interview you or website asks to review your CD.

Booking Agent
A booking agent will come in handy at the very early stages of your career or at the much later stages. I would argue that you should book your own shows for as long as you can. Become familiar with your city and metro area, decide what type of venues best fit your personality and music, take it upon yourself to learn your music scene.

If you’d rather have someone book shows for you, you might want to give them a percentage of your incoming instead of a fixed amount. It guarantees that you always leave with something. And it will drive your agent to book quality shows for you instead of just anything. If you’d like to wait till later, booking agents really do come handy when you’ve built a name, begin touring, and need help finding the best venues in other cities.

Remember, a good booking agent can have connections with some of the best venues in any given city, but if there’s no demand (publicist), it won’t do you any good.

This person is an extension of you. They hold your name/image/presence in the palm of their hands. They represent you in every way. They can handle all incoming music-related emails, handle your gig fee, order T-shirts for your band, website maintenance, and do all the things you hate to do. A manager can take care of every last detail to the point where you just show up and play the gig (though I don’t recommend this). A manager can take care of the above responsibilities – booking and publicity.

Honestly, if you can’t afford to bring someone on, do your best to be all three.
If you’re in a band, assign a responsibility to each band member. Booking might require two band members. If you’re solo, then come up with some routine that helps you keep it all in order (i know that’s hard).

Remember that you have as much control as you want.  You can hire a manager, publicist, or booking agent, but you can also determine how much control they have. After all, they’re being contracted by YOU.

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Copyrighting Your Music

July 22, 2009


Warning: the world “copywrite” is used roughly10 million times in this blog. It might get old after a while.

Why Should You Copyright Your Music?
The #1 reason people copyright music is to protect their songs from being stolen.  Whether you’re concerned about this or not, its just one of those things you’re supposed to do.  If your music has the potential to reach hundreds or thousands of people (even if you never become famous) you should be copyrighting those songs…b/c people are shady!  If stealing and plagarism weren’t an issue, we wouldn’t  hear about media ownership lawsuits when we turn on the news. But we do.

Copyright Your Whole Project at One Time
Because you’re a musician, you’re probably broke. For this reason, consider waiting until your whole CD is recorded, printed and packaged before copyrighting.  Its so much cheaper…b/c instead of submitting songs individual (roughly $35 each),  you can submit a CD with several songs and the submission fee with still just be $35.  Whether you’re submitting a song or a CD with several songs, each submission is considered 1 project.  So obviously, you get your money’s worth when you copyright 10+ songs, their lyrics, the artwork, and the recording all in one $35 hit. Yea, this paragraph is pretty redundant, but hopefully you get the point now 🙂
p.s. Fees increase on August 1, 2009 so hurry up and do it now if you’ve been putting it off!

So How Exactly Do You Copyright Your Project?
The Library of Congress is your one-stop-shop for copywriting.  Visit  They offer a wealth of resources on their homepage, including FAQs, current copyrighting fees, and comical video shorts about why copyrighting doesn’t have to be so confusing.

Why Does Copyrighting Always Seems Like Such a Hassle?
Keep in mind that the Library of Congress receives thousands (maybe even millions) of submissions every year.  They recieve copyright requests for music, art, books…everything!  For this reason, there’s alot of reading and many instructions to follow when copyrighting your project. Just be meticulous and follow the rules.  Also opt for online filing.  Its easier and cheaper. But you will ultimately need to mail in a hard copy of your CD so they can keep it on file.

Copyrighting was a personal hassle for me  when it came to filling out details for each song (i.e. who wrote it, who recorded, names of musicians who played on each song, who actually owns the song, who actually owns the recording of the song.).  If I remember correctly, they asked for this information. I also think you are able to skip these data fields if you don’t wish to answer.  It’s been over a year since I’ve filed, so I’ll appreciate it if someone can post a comment and confirm if this is true.

Lastly, here’s a great article by titled The not-so-secret world of copyrighting your music.


If you have tips/advice about Copyrighting and or want to offer additional information, please post a comment.  Copyrighting always seems to confuse musicians.
And thanks to Pittsburgh group C.Joy for inquiring about copyrighting. It’s the reason why this specific post exists.  Don’t forget to send in your questions. They’ll probably get answered.

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Hey, What Day is It? (Getting Into The Consumers Head)

July 20, 2009


Are you planning your music marketing according to specific days of the week? You should be?  Check out this post for sure-fire ways to make the most of your online promotions. 

It’s Monday! Do you know who’s watching you? Monday is considered the day of fresh information. Everything is new new new!  Consider this: the average 9-5er arrives at his/her desk in the morning (please refer to obese man above), turns on the computer, and tunes into for the week’s political news, reviews on which movie did best at the weekend box office, and anything else that might be hot off the press.  On Monday, people want to know what they’ve missed since Friday (though is probably not much).

Do you take Mondays seriously?  Treat your music like a job.  Try to have something new on your page each Monday. Whether it be a blog, new shows on your calendar, a quick news update, new photos from the weekend’s show, or new video.  The options are limitless and its not like you have to revamp your page every week…just do a little at a time.

Rule of thumb: If you build it, they will come. Read more about this at Drawing Traffic to your Website(s)

In college, my Communications professor told me something I will never forget: most people open their email on Wednesdays. Yes, this has been mentioned on Grassrootsy before, but its worth mentioning again. Wednesday is a unique day. Because it finds itself smack dab in the middle of the week, its the one day that you’re least likely to get “Out of Office” replies. More people at their desk = more people reading their email = more people visiting your website. Optimize on this.  Send your newsletter on Wednesday mornings or afternoons if possible.  Stop by Email Marketing – Making Sure People Read What You Write for more tips. 

Rule of thumb: Send emails on Wed…in the morn or after lunch. Check out Grassrootsy’s additional blogs on Email Marketing here.

Stats prove that few erpeople read emails and surf the internet on the weekends, but the people who do are more likely to read through an entire email and will spend more time on your web page than they would on a weekday.  For example, if you sent an email on Wednesday, you might get 100 people to open and they would spend an average of 45 second skimming through what you write.  But on a Saturday, only 40 people might open up the email but spend a full 3 minutes reading it entirely.

So if you’re posting a blog or sending a weekend email, make sure it’s not time-sensitive.  Perhaps you can post musings, and non-essential thoughts.  Take it from Their weekend news bits are usually reposts of information that that was already used earlier in the week.

 Rule of thumb: Never send an email on the weekend that you would send on a Monday or Wednesday.


Give it a Try!
So its a new week!  Give the above recommendations a try and post a comment on your findings if you can.  Check Wednesday’s post for ways to take advantage of your faithful weekend followers.

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Email Marketing – A Few Things You Should NEVER Do

May 4, 2009


Read the 1st half of this post: Email Marketing – A Few Things You Should ALWAYS Do.

Do You like SPAM?
If you don’t like SPAM, then don’t assume others will.  This should be common sense, but I’m surprised by how many people don’t realize they’re spammers. If you’re promoting an event don’t send updates every day or every two days.  Stick with once a week at the most.  Continually sending messages will decrease the likelihood of people opening, reading, and/or acknowledging your information. So don’t do it!

Never Expect Email Recipients to Read Your Whole Email
9 times our of 10, you’ll be the only one reading your newsletter from top to bottom. This is why its extremely important to break your newsletter into small paragraphs of information.  Sending a 500 word newsletter without any line breaks is a huge mistake  and will discourage people from opening/reading.  As mentioned in  Email Marketing – A Few Things You Should ALWAYS Do, do something special to make the important facts stand out, but don’t make everything stand out, b/c it only becomes cluttered.

Quality not Quantity
In the same vein as the last paragraph, give good information, not lengthy information.  If you can get your point across in  only a few words, do it.   If it takes a mouthful, at least make sure all your information is necessary.  This doesn’t mean you cant take the time to be personal, but be tactful about it.

Dont disclose the email addresses of your subscribers
If you’re using a Mailing List Provider, then you won’t have to worry about this. But if you’re sending emails from your everyday email account, regularly make use of BCC (blind carbon copy).  When you disclose people’s email addresses to hundreds of random people, you can easily lose subscribers’ trust.  This is how ppl get on FWD lists.  For more on this, check out this article: “Sending Mass Emails Without Disclosing Recipients.”

Don’t forget to check out an older post entitled Email Marketing – Making Sure People Read What You Write.

Here’s a really excellent article on with plenty of priceless tips on email marketing: Email Marketing Tips, Tricks, and Secrets.


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