by J.P. Kallio
Here are this week’s musician quick tips, part 27!! In my nearly two decades as a full time musician I have learned a thing or two about this business. I also have become very fast at assessing what works and what does not when it comes to promoting, recording and performing your music.
These quick tips are simple actions that you can put to use straight away
Also you check out my full blog for more HERE:
Concentrate on your strengths
To succeed in music business you need a large set of skills. In fact you need more than you can manage by your self. In the beginning part of your career (which can sometimes last years) you need to know how to do most things by your self, as you probably cannot afford to pay anyone to do the job for you. But you will never be the master of all trades.
So as soon as you have some money coming in, figure out what you are good at, what are your strengths. Concentrate on these things. Figure out what you are not good at. Find someone who is good at these things and hire them to do it for you. There is no point wasting time struggling on task that some one else can do much faster and probably with better results, if with a small fee you can outsource the task. You need to learn what your unique strengths are, and learn to delicate. You are the CEO of your own career, so act like it. This will leave you more time to concentrate on the important stuff, for example your music.
Stop trying to skip ahead
So you tell me you want to record a great album and release it to the world, build a fan base and tour the world. But you want to do it “right.” You want to be professional, you want to use the best studio, you want to play the best venues. Sure you have worked hard on your chops for years, people know you are a good musician, surely this is only going to be a question of “pump in the money and get it done.”
Well, let’s step back a bit. Did I hear you mention something about building a fan base? This should be your priority number one! To do this, you need few great songs, well recorded that you are willing to give away for free. Then you need to get on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and start engaging with the right people, the kind of people who might be into your music. Get in the conversation, make friends before you even talk about your music. You do this over and over and over again! For days, for weeks, even for years. Fan base is not built overnight, it takes hard work and dedication. Stop trying to skip ahead. As an artist you are nothing without your fan base. Building that fan base should be your priority number one right now, not when your album is read. By then it is too late.
Who are you as an artist?
Here is a thing most artist don’t bother to figure out, and at the same time it is one of the most important things you should do. Who are you as an artist? What do you represent? How do you come across? What is the live experience like for your audience? What is your social media and online presence like?
All of these are extremely important aspects of your career, and you have a clear vision what you want them to be. I can hear that “Joe I am who I am, take it or leave it” at the back of the glass mumbling I am me, ad thats the way it is… Well that is fine, just be more of that consistently all across everything you do. This is an important part of branding you as an artist. Figure out who you are as an artist.
Work within your means
Some friends of mine just finished an album, that took them one year to record and cost somewhere in the region of €10000. It was what I would call a labour of love. The album sounds great and it will definitely open a lot of new doors for the band. Even though I don’t think they planned to spend so much on the album in the first place, I would call this a calculated risk. Still they will need to work hard and long to make their money back.
But too often I see bands burning out a fortune without getting anything back for it. With the restructure of the industry around recorded music, it can be hard to make your money back from a big studio recording. I said it before and I’ll say it again, artists need to get smart here. You need to learn the basics of “home” recording. With most recording software companies offering light versions of their software for very little money or even free and with the new development of online recording software like the Melosity, it is easier than ever to get started. YouTube is full of videos to guide you through the process ass well. All that is required is your willingness to put the work into it.
As an artist you need to learn to work with in your means. No business can sustain itself by continually investing more money than they are making. Music business is no different. Set realistic budgets for your next recording, tour and travel light. Utilise all the forms of free promotion before you resort to paid advertising. It might take a lot of work, but learning to run a lean business is extremely important in today’s music business.
You will never know your own limitations as an artist unless you push your self to the limits. And it is in those moments when you think that you are done, you find news strength, and I bet you will surprise your self with your own capabilities.
Last Saturday we played at the Bundan Celtic festival starting at 11.30pm and the temperature was 38 degrees and humidity 56% just before we got up on the stage. Des, who plays Drums in Sliotar told me after our two you show that there were moments where he was not are if he was going to make it. But we pushed on, and played amazing show.
So it is in those moments where you will test your self. You will dig in to extra storage, you did not know you had and you might just elevate your performance to a new level.