by J.P. Kallio
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..
Facebook. Oh boy, I had fun giving out about it in the past few months. But I think many of you still use it as your main social media site for your band or musical project. So I’d like to keep you guys on the loop as well.
Yep, the organic reach of your bands Facebook page is down and it will drop further more during this month. No point crying about it. Here are the basics though, Facebook is saying they are limiting material that seems like it is promoting something from the Facebook feeds, unless you pay for it. This means most links to your YouTube videos, Soundcloud tracks, or even to your website will not reach many people at all. Text only posts will do ok, pictures will do bit better.
Now Facebook is really putting on a fight on the video front against YouTube. They want a piece of the pie and this is good news for you. If you post a music video on YouTube, instead of posting the link on Facebook, upload the video itself on to Facebook, it should do much better that way.
And one more thing, I would not recommend you link your Facebook posts to appear on Twitter. Sounds like quick way to do both, right? Wrong! If you post more than 140 characters, the people on Twitter will see a link to your Facebook and cannot access it unless they are signed up to Facebook. If you are going to make the most of Twitter, as you should, it requires you to actually spend some time on it.
Recording Acoustic Guitar
Today’s quick tip is a small recording tip. This is how I make my acoustic guitar sound big! Use two microphones, one pointed at the neck just about where the neck meets the body, and another pointing at the body just behind the bridge. Now pan them one left and one right. I use hard pan when I record tracks where the acoustic guitar is the main instrument, but for band arrangements I pan it about 35% both ways.
Also if you have a good pick up which sound you like, you can record that as well and leave it right in the middle, but keep it low. It will add different kind of attack. I also boost the bottom end from the pickup, as it is more controllable than from the microphones. And I tend to cut the tops above 5000hrz, as above that most pickups get harsh and quacky. Don’t worry, you will get loads of top frequencies from the microphones.
That should get you started. Once you try the two microphone technique, you never go back to one.
Let’s get productive today. Write down five things you need to do today. Then look over the list. Which of the tasks is the one that will make the biggest difference in your career today? Or is there one task that you have been putting off and now it is starting to stress you out? How about getting that one sorted?
Now commit to getting that one task done. Switch off the TV, the Playstation, those other 19 extra tabs you have open on your browser… And get that one task done the best and most efficiently as you can. Close the outside world out, put your phone on silent, or even better switch it off. Focus just on that one task. Get it done!
Once you are done, give your self a pat on the back and go about your usual business. But tomorrow morning repeat the same procedure. Now imagine if you could do this five days a week, what difference would it make? And if you succeed, try a full month. I bet you’ll be amazed how much stuff you’ll get done.
Ok, so if you haven’t done so yet, let’s get started with your Website. Remember if you want people to take you seriously as a musician, your own Website is a must! I am going to break this down to weekly small tasks, so it won’t seem as such an overwhelming task and you can spread out the costs over several weeks as well.
Let’s start with domain name. I know you are thinking, “why would I register a web domain before I have a website ready?” Don’t worry, we’ll make use out of this domain straight away.
You can use Godaddy.com who are some of the biggest in the business, to register your domain name. I prefer Namecheap.com. GoDaddy will give you a nice deal for the first year (or few years depending your deal) where as at the time I registered Namecheap gave me a price that stays the same.
Search for the domain name you’d like, I definitely recommend .com over anything else. The country dedicated ones are usually more expensive and sometimes much more difficult to obtain. Besides, if you are from Ireland and you insist on .ie, it’s almost like assuming you are only aiming at the Irish market. Once you have found the domain you like, triple check the spelling and then just buy it! Don’t over think, just do it.
In Godaddy log in after purchasing the domain, click on the domain and you should be directed to the Domain Detail page. Also here is the Domain Settings. Under it there is Domain forwarding and beside in blue text link Manage. Click on it and you are directed to window where you can set up your new domain to forward to anywhere you want, for example to your bands Facebook page. I would not recommend to leave this in the long run. It looks better than not having your own domain at all, but it is no substitute to having your own website. But for now it’s a start. If you prefer to use Namecheap, go HERE for the instructions how to do the same. We will continue from here next week
Instagram became the second biggest social media site at the end of 2014. I have used it more and more lately. It can be very powerful tool for musicians if used cleverly. I will give you more ideas on this in the weeks to come, but for now go and download their app and register a Instagram account. Try to get a name that is the same as your Websites Domain name, you did register one after the Quick tip 9, didn’t you?
Then the fun begins… The Instagram tools make your photos look really cool really fast, just try out some of the filters and frames. And for starters, take a quick snap of your self. As a musician I believe it is very important that people connect a person with your brand. Then share for example a picture of your favourite instrument, your favourite songwriting spot, some every day photos. And next yo can get more adventurous by sharing studio or live photos as well.
People love to see what goes behind the scenes, the real life stuff. Be real and share it willingly and you will be surprised how well people will respond. Happy Snapping!
J.P. Kallio is a singer-songwriter