J.P. Kallio’s Musician Quick Tips 23
by J.P. Kallio
Here are this week’s musician quick tips, part 23!! 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:
Secret of success
It is hard to deny the fact that most of us get in to music in hopes of getting some sort of validation. We want to make music that people think is good enough to make the cut. We hope that a record labels will see our music good enough to sign us. But unfortunately that is exactly what got so many artists in to trouble…
Lets make this clear, some of the best studios in the world are either going out of business, or restructuring their business. The major labels are not spending the same money on albums anymore, that was spent on our favourite albums 20 years ago. And this only comes down to simple fact of finances. The return in the investment just isn’t there anymore, as the physical product sales have dropped.
Don’t get me wrong, there is still money to be made in recorded music, but not enough to split the pie between the artist and the label, unless you are a major pop star. So you are better off running lean business, record an album on a clever and realistic budget. And don’t count it to be your only revenue stream. Everything goes hand in hand. Play live shows and lot of them. The live shows will probably be your best place to sell your recordings. And the wider you make your touring circuit, the more the word spreads and the bigger are your chances of some music placement companies actually listening to your music, and getting your music licensed.
So in other words, the secret of success is in touring. Always have been and always will be. If you are not willing to spend a lot of time on the road, career in independent music might not be for you.
As an artist you are expected to have something to say. You are expected to have core values that people ( your fans) can relate to. The generic magazine cover image, ribbed abs and a carved smile with no substance representing the artist is for the major label artists trying to please “everybody.” And if that is what you are after, my advice is not for you. What I am talking about is the independent artists who build their own following from a scratch, the ones who weather the storms in the music business, while everyone else come and go.
It is vital as an artist to be true. People smell fake from miles away, they smell it through your social media posts, your songs, your live shows. Being true should be the easiest thing you do, but for some strange reason it has become a rare thing. So many artists expect they need to behave in certain way. They try to model themselves based on what they see other successful artist do.
This will never get you far. It’s the artists who know how to be true, who share from their heart, not from some preconception, that will stand out and become something unique. So stop trying to be someone else, and start working on being you.
Don’t try to be everywhere
When it comes to social media, I think it’s safe to say many of us musicians end up wasting a lot of time just trying to be engaging (or looking at funny cat videos…) Social media is a powerful tool, no doubt about that. It has changed the way us independent musician promote our music and reach new fans. But from time to time it is good to evaluate what works and what does not.
It can get bit crazy trying to figure out what’s the hot new platform to jump on. Sure there is value in getting into a new platform at an early stage, if you play your cards right. But still it is a bit of a lottery… I think more important is to pick your battles, and concentrate your efforts on the platforms your fans like to spend time on. Pick few social media sites you have had success with, and put effort and love into them. Rocking one social media site is much more powerful than making a half ass job on ten.
If you are a new artist with no fan base yet, where should you start? My first recommendation would be Twitter. There is organic quality to Twitter that is hard to find in other major platforms. The next on the list we need to have Facebook, you are almost expected to have a Facebook page, even though I have seen artists who do not even use their Facebook page succeed just fine. Building a following in Facebook will take little bit more work, and I am still questioning the return on that investment… The two other ones I would recommend are Instagram and Periscope. Instagram because there is power in photos, you can tell your story in a very powerful way. Also you can link your Instagram with Twitter and Facebook, and share your photos in three platforms just in one post. Periscope is the new player in town and the regular readers of my blog know I am a fan. Periscope allows you to broadcast live videos from your mobile phone. Periscope is also linked with Twitter.
But the above is just my recommendations. The social media should help you to tell your story, so experiment and find out which of them help you to do just that. And concentrate on the ones that work, instead of trying to be on all of them.
I know this Quick tip sounds like a quite negative one, but it’s not really. It’s just a simple reminder that not all advice is equal. When you set out to succeed in music business, the first thing after creating some kick ass music is trying to promote it. And this is a part of the job that requires constant stream of latest information on how to do it, what works and what does not. But there are a lot of bad advice out there. So you need to be sceptical.
I actually look for my promotional ideas from different fields of marketing. I particularly like how some startups go from one man on their own to a massive businesses with huge loyal customer base. Especially in the early beginning stages, many of these startups don’t have advertising budgets and rely on organic growth, through content marketing and word of mouth. And I look for this advice because they are innovative and often light years ahead of the people in the music marketing business.
But we all have been there, when people ask us what we do, and then they set out to advice us on how to promote our music… It is actually quite amazing how random people seem to know so much about promoting music. I mean, I would not try to advice software developer how to write their code… So when ever I get new advice, unless it is from a source I truly trust, I let it brew at the back of my mind for few days, before I act on it. And I do this simply because I need to be sceptical.
I’ve had a productive morning. I wrote a blog post for this weeks song, got the song back from my mastering engineer, uploaded it to Soundcloud and posted the song with the blog post on my website. I Had a two-hour meeting with Rory from Melosity, I send a conference message to the lads from Sliotar to do with new volume restrictions in tonight’s concert. I finished writing a song for a friend of mine, recorded and mixed the first draft of it. I shared all sorts of content on my Twitter feed, that I think my followers might be interested in. And now I am writing the second blog post, which is this Quick tip you are reading right now.
Many of these things I could have said I’ll do later as I am playing tonight. But that is not me, and that is not how we get stuff done. Take action consistently throughout the day. Make things happen, don’t wait for them to happen. For the most parts you are in charge of your own destiny. So take action today, right now and change your future! Create something beautiful, do something innovative, solve a problem, make someones day, make your day. Take action now!