Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

Grassrootsy Has Moved!!!!

November 29, 2010

 

Yes, it’s finally happened!
Grassrootsy is now www.grassrootsy.com

And there are  many-a-wonderful changes on the brand new site. Every post, every reader comment, and more has been transferred over to a more user-friendly platform. This particular wordpress site will soon be phased out and neglected.  So go check out our new home, tell your friends, and do a dance!

Enough said.
-gR

Quotable Quotes

November 18, 2010

Here are a few quotes that have made me re-evalute what it personally means to make art and be determined and successful in what I do. If you’re following us on twitter, you’ve seen a few of these before.

@RevRunWisdom “The problem with not havin a goal is, u keep runnin up & down life’s field & never score”
@relevantmag “If something comes easily and without sacrifice, it’s rarely sigificant.”
@bigsplashweb “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.”
anonymous: “Whatever you decide to do, do it well, finish it properly, and then you can feel free to move on.”
@magicalrealist “People just doing their Thing–whatever it is–& succeeding are 1000x more inspirational than anyone selling their guru-dom.”
@grassrootsy “Don’t talk about it, be about it.”
@grassrootsy “Dont be in such a hurry to do something poorly”
@grahamshackle “Whoever can be trusted w/ very little can also be trusted w/ much, & whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”
@musicarmichael “unfortunately there’s no shortcuts to building true fans”
@robskane “The harder you work, the luckier you get.”
@gapingvoid “Most super-talented original thinkers I know are pretty modest. The wannabes, generally less so.”

@joyike “There’s a huge rat race to “make it” as a musician. Instead of competing with others, start competing with yourself.  Do better than you did last year and you’ll be on the right track.”

How to Have A Pre-Internet Mentality

November 15, 2010

It’s Grassrootsy’s 200th entry! Pretty exciting even though it doesn’t really mean anything (per-se).

Today I thought I’d refer to a funny comment Hugh MacLeod posted on his twitter account a few week’s back…

“Wondering how the hell anyone could’ve been successful, pre-internet…  ” –@gaping void

Have you ever thought that? I’ve actually thought about this alot. What would we do? How would we communicate with people?  Truth is, the internet could be a digitized version of the old days if wewant it to be…and it wouldn’t be a bad thing.  And if we did take that approach, we might even be more successful in our musical pursuits. Here’s more on that.

1. Think Locally. Back in the day, every neighborhood had its own butchery, milkman, bakery and post office. What if the internet could be like that. What if you had a close-knit community of folks that you correspond with on a regular basis?  What if you could go to these folks for anything – like splitting shows, cross promotion, getting new gig leads, and more. Treat the internet like your neighborhood. No, I’m not trying to limit you, but make an effort to create an online community that mimics reality.  Play your shows. After the show connect with the audience online, strengthen that connection. Use the internet to foster the connections your already have and to build things slowly and steadily.

2. Start Small, Go Big. You’re thinking waaaay too hard. Just because the internet holds the potential for you to reach millions of people, doesn’t mean you should go and do that. I have a very strong feeling that all the big companies like Fed Ex, Subway, Starbucks, (etc) didn’t start big. The founders likely opened one location in a city or town, saw it do well, and then decided to open a few more…and so on and so forth.  Any strong, successful, long-lasting company will first work to build a strong foundation with what it has before expanding. Work to build a strong foundation with what you have before you try to conquer what you don’t.

3. Don’t Ever Forget the Importance of Word-of-Mouth. It was the highest compliment back then and it’s still the highest compliment today.  Independent music existed long before the internet. But how did people share information? Word of mouth, of course! When you make your fans top priority, they will share you with their friends. They will bring their friends to shows, and they will support what you’re doing. And this is the beauty of the internet. Word-of-mouth exponentially increases when the internet is involved. It’s an old-school concept in a new format.

By the way, MacLeod is the author of a book called “Ignore Everybody”.  Its a pretty incredible wake-up call to anyone who’s been sitting on their creativity but wants desperately to use it.  Here are some blogs we wrote referencing the book a few months back..

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3 Big Mistakes That Artists Make

November 8, 2010

The below suggestions have probably appeared on Grassrootsy in various posts, but last week I thought I’d loosely keep tabs on artist emails and FB messages and tweets  just to see what people are still doing these days.  Here are a few…

1. Falling off the map
What!?  Who are you?  Oh…I almost forgot because I haven’t heard from you in 3 months!  This might be a pet peeve of mine.  Don’t send your fans an email every 3 months and expect them to remember who you are. In the age of over-saturation, you’ll have a much greater shelf-life if you communicate too often as opposed to not enough. Falling off the map after having a successful run is like going 3 steps forward and 2 steps back. Granted, everyone needs a break at some point. But occasionally touch base with your fans to remind them you still exist. See: Setting the Record Straight: Reminding People You Still Exist for more thoughts on the matter.

2. Launch a website with nothing on it.
This is aonther personal pet peeve of mine.  If you want people to be interested in your music, don’t send them a Facebook invite to your band’s page if there’s no music on it. Duh. And don’t send people a link to your new website if it’s completely blank. What is it you want them to see when they get there?

This is also equivalent to inviting your friends to an event via Facebook. Let’s say you want your friends to come see you and “John Doe” perform at club “XYZ”.  Make sure the Facebook invite has links to both your websites.  That way, folks can actually check out your music and make an informed decision about attending the show. An informed fan is an involved one. People will eat the information you give them so make sure you give them something worth digesting. See: Perception is Reality for more on this.

2. No email address?
Yea, you probably have one but if you don’t put it on your website, no one would ever know!  Have you noticed that you can’t  send messages to the administrator of a Facebook Page. Annoying. So if you don’t have your email address in the “Info” section (or better yet, in the information box on the home page), how can anyone reach you? Some things aren’t meant for the Facebook wall.

And, believe it or not, folks still use MySpace to check out new artists.  But at this point, you should know you can’t email someone on MySpace unless you have an account…and people aren’t really creating MS accounts these days.  SO if you don’t have your email address in a very visible location, you’re potentially missing out on bookings…etc.

Even worse is having a website with no email address on the contact page. Contact forms are great, but an email address will travel further, faster.

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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.

Pretty Soon It’ll be Second Nature

October 18, 2010

 

Here’s a short one for ya today…

Often when the season changes I feel obligated to make life changes – do things differently, like clean my apartment, among many other thing.  This fall, I began working out,  hanging up my clothes intead of throwing them on the floor, spending less time online,  and taking more time to read. It’s been a refreshing change and it’s also a pretty great routine that’s become hard to shake now that my schedule is used to it.

As I was power-walking (if you really wanna call it that) last night, I realized that there are alot of things in life that we don’t do even though we know we should. If people ate well and stayed consistently active, shows like The Biggest Loser wouldn’t exist. If we did little things to keep our apartments clean on a daily basis, we wouldnt have to do a major clean sweep before guests come over for special occasions.  So…

1. Spend 30-60 minutes looking for gigs each day

2. Post content on your Facebook page at least 2x a day – video from one of your shows, status update(s), details about an upcoming show…etc

3. Listen and learn from others. Music Business Radio is always great…especially a recent interview with Sara Bareille s on how she made it big.

4. Make sure your website has at least one new update per week.

5.  Do it even if you don’t want to. Pretty soon it’ll be harder not to.

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Where Do I Start? How Do I Get Album Reviews?

September 22, 2010

Tim Ruff

THE ARTIST: Tim Ruff (Pittsburgh, PA)
THE QUESTION: Would you be able to set me in the right direction for getting album reviews? Whether they be with online mags or papers?

THE ANSWER: Searching for online magazines and publications is harder than most people think. For starters there are millions out there! Where do you start and how do you know this starting point is the way to go.  How do you make sure your time and effort is spent wisely…after all, you could spend hours pitching magazine upon magazine and come up with zip. Here are some ideas on how to make the job a little bit easier.

1. Mimic: Determine what genre you best fit into and google a similarly styled artist who has been around the block a few times.  For example, Tim, your tunes are easy listening.  Your stuff could easily share a shelf with independent artist Denison Whitmer.  He’s got a pretty decent resume, but it wouldn’t be too far-fetched to think you could get into some of the same magazines and blogs as he has.  Google his name and you’re sure to come across articles that have been written about him. Contact the administrators/editors of those websites and ask them to considering reviewing your music.

This has been the most helpful routine for me…and will give you a great starting point. You’re basically letting someone else lead you in the right direction…and you’ll know that the magazine is interested in your genre because they cover other artists with a similar vibe.

2. Blogs: These days blogs are very credible sources for reviews. Nothing like hearing an every day listener’s opinion on your album. There’s something more genuine about it.  So do a search for blogs and consider starting in your city.  Use key words “music blog” + “Pittsburgh” (or whatever city you’re in).  You’ll be surprised to find that there are probably a handful of avenues to pursue.

Ok so…some/most blogs don’t have the kind of readership that an “official” online magazine would have BUT its a trade off. Its’ll be easier to get reviewed, and you’ll have direct access to the writer (instead of having to go through a head editor).   Its also alot less stressful 🙂

3. Work around a specific event(s)…It’s often hard to convince media to review your album if its been out for a while. Writers are always looking for what’s new and fresh. If your CD isn’t brand new, try working around a specific event. College gigs are great for this. Playing at So-and-So University? Contact So-and-So’s student paper and ask them to consider interviewing you or doing an article in anticipation for the show. Things like this are really great b/c student papers are easier to work with and who wouldn’t want some student fans?

Do the same with local papers…but pick your poison. Make sure you’re hitting them up about a worthy cause or event. They get so many submission and you don’t want to be that artist who spams them about every single show you play. Hit them up about the big events…and pitch it well.

4. Check out these related posts…especially this first one. It’ll give you tips on how to write the perfect pitch.

How to Score Reviews of Your CD

Mimic the Artists You Respect

Persistent, Not Pushy

What’s Wrong With this Message?

Creating Content – Giving People Something to Talk About #1

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