by J.P. Kallio
I’m on the road and here are this week’s musician quick tips, part 29!! 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
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What you would want you to do?
Big part of promoting music is creating content. This can be anything from music, videos and shows down to things like art work, blog post and social media posts. Lately I have spent a little bit of time trying to figure out what works the best, when it comes to the content. Which kind of content resonates with people, pick ups friction and gets most engagement? These are important things to think about as a musician to make the most of your time.
So what works the best? Very often we make content we either want to make, or content we have been told is effective. The first one works sometimes, the second rarely works simply because by the time we hear about it, it’s already been done by so many people, that it has become irrelevant. But what I find works the best is stuff I would like to see others make. Think about it for a second. What would you want to see your favourite artists do? Could you scale this down to your level? If you do this, you are straight away making something that comes from your heart, and more than likely will resonate with others.
Ask the right questions
For most of us in the music business, it is a constant learning curve. You need to figure out how to do this, or that all the time. What the years have thought me is that people are more than willing to help you, if you ask them the right questions.
From time to time I get emails from artist’s only starting on their path asking if I can help them. In the past I sent long emails with detailed instructions. Most of them were waste of my time. So now my reply is simply “read my blog.” I spent nearly two years writing and posting blog posts about all the aspects of music business here. I offered the information freely from my heart. So if they don’t bother to search, they probably don’t bother to implement most of it either.
The ones I still answer, and I get answers from others in the business are the specific questions. Do your research before you ask, and only ask for the stuff you don’t find the answers. If people can help you, and they can see you put the work in already, they are much more likely to help you. But if you are looking for short cuts, you might be sorely disappointed.
Know your limits
Few days back I was up in the Wicklow mountains climbing a one tough peak. I knew I was pushing my limits. I was strap for time as well as I knew I had a show to do that night back in Dublin. The peak was still too far for me to reach and make it in time (and safely) back down. But as always, there was a lesson lurking in there as well:-)
And this lesson is particularly important in music business. Know your limits. Whether this is financial, or to do with your skills, always know when to stop and turn back. I am not talking about giving up here. What I am talking about is making the very best of what you have on that given moment. Learn from it, and return back another day to give it another go.
Let me give you some real life examples. If your record is running late and way over in budget, figure out where your priorities lay. Is it more important for you to get the record in time, or delay it and finish recording the album to the best possible standard you can. I have done both in the past, and I must say now listening back to those albums, I am equally proud of both of them. You see if you really want to do it, you work with what you got and you make the best of it.
Don’t try to reinvent the wheel
The regular readers of my blog know I am all for innovation and creating something new. I love to see artist chomp with a new way to promote their music. Be creative, music promotion is an art form in it self.
But in the other hand, if something works, why change it? When you are a small up and coming artist on the rise, sure enough it is important to reinvent your self and the ways you reach people, even just to scale up to your now larger fan base. But certain things just work the way they are, so why try to reinvent them?
So let me put this in to perspective. If you have a fan acquisition process in place that works and you can see results, is it worth your while spend the next month going through all of the details of it, if at the end of it all you only see one or two percent improvement? Surely you could have spent that time writing more music, or playing live. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel, if it works.
I was just wondering around the Apple music library for routing around some old favourites. I ended up on Josh Thompson’s page. I have been eagerly waiting him to release a second album for a while now. I knew there has been some record label issues going on behind the scenes, and now he has finally taking control back to him self, so I hope we will see a lot more music from the man.
Anyway, on his Apple music page there was a new EP. I got exited! But to my disappointment there had been a mistake… This was not the Josh Thompson I knew… But still this EP was on page with his all Josh’s previous albums… Just a few seconds into the track I knew there had been a mistake. This was an amateur quality recording, with almost off-key singing… It was fine, I knew it was not Josh, but what if someone thought it was? Not very good press for him…
Anyway this got me thinking of the age-old fact. Always check, and double-check. If some one else does it for you, still double-check! People make mistakes, and when it comes to your career, you want to catch those mistakes as early as possible.