how to make music
28. July 2015 By Walter Price 0

J.P. Kallio’s Musician Quick Tips 25

how to make musicThe fact is you can have perfectly successful long-lasting career in music, without ever being signed to a label.

by J.P. Kallio


Here are this week’s musician quick tips, part 25!! 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:

Be positive

With so much uncertainty you are faced with, when you choose the path of a professional musician, it is extremely important to be positive. Be positive in every situation, even when things go wrong. You need to cheer on your fellow musicians and band mates. No one wants to hang around that grumpy guy, who always sees the negative in everything. People want to be around positive people. And if you master this, I mean really flip your thinking to positively looking at every situation, you will find people will want to work with you.

Also be positive in your internal voice. If things go wrong, try to see the positive. For example ask your self, what can I learn from this situation. Turn failure in to an opportunity to learn ad grow. It can be hard, so sometimes you really need o look for the positive things in bad situations. So be prepared to work hard on finding that, glimpse of hope, a lesson for the future, what ever it is you can use to turn the bad situation to your advantage.

Negative people will drag you down, don’t be that person to others. And eliminate negative people from your life as well. Besides, having a positive outlook in life in general makes your everyday life more enjoyable. Be positive!

Expose yourself

Now before you get any crazy ideas about running around the town in your birthday suit, let me clarify the title of today’s Quick tip. I had a struggles in the past trying to convince my colleagues that it was important to have their picture on the cover of their album. Often bands feel very shy about this, especially bands that might have not been established well enough yet. They might feel like they don’t deserve to be on the cover of the album just yet. But I always thought that no matter how embarrassing those band photos would be in twenty years time, it is very important to give people a face to associate with the music.

Some of these conversations go back 17 years now. Boy how things have changed… But what I thought back then is even more important today. People have need to feel a connection with the artist, and I for one think this is a great thing. Now I want you to keep this in mind even with your social media sites. Let people see you as soon as they visit your profile! And as some of my followers have reminded me over and over again, don’t be scared to smile :-)

Expose yourself, don’t just be an anonymous face behind the music. Be proud of who you are and let it be part of your brand.

Twitter update

Twitter has been busy working on some of their new features. There are quite few updates to their advertising platform, for example a quick “promote your tweet” feature, which is not too far from the Facebook’s boosted posts. But the one feature I think is worth mentioning here is the Extended Direct Messages. This feature will be coming out some time in July, if what the little bird told me is true (see what I did there?)

The Extended direct message will allow you to message up to 10,000 characters instead of the 140 we are used to. This will be a welcome change for many, and I know it will keep a lot more of my private conversations now in Twitter, rather than me trying to move the conversations to other platforms. But also it will risk the direct messages becoming filled with long sales pitch type advertising… So it remains to be seen if this will be a positive change.

It definitely will help me get my wordy explanations out, but will they be any clearer than the ones I had to compress down to 140 characters? I’m not too sure…

The misconception of getting signed

Too often musicians build their career around the goal of getting signed. So today I am going to make it as clear as I can, that this concept is outdated and will only slow down your career.

Gone are the days of record labels forking out massive advances (which by the way you still had to pay back!) Gone are the day labels engage in any sort of artist development. Any major label these days only want an already established act that they can get to sign 360 deal. This means they will take a cut out of everything you potentially will earn (gig fees, licensing, merchandise sales…)

So unless you are the next pop act to rule the world, more than likely these deals will not work to your advantage. You are much better off being in charge of your own music, building a team of people around you who will do all the same stuff you’d expect a record label to do. The only difference is that you are in charge!

The fact is you can have perfectly successful long-lasting career in music, without ever being signed to a label. So stop chasing the dream of a label and start chasing the dream of career.

Booking shows for beginners

By far the best way to promote your band is to get out and play a lot of live shows. For most of us this also is one of the main reasons why we got into music in the first place. There is nothing like the adrenalin rush you get from playing a live show. And this is where all your hard work in the rehearsal room finally gets shared with a real audience. So it is time to get booking your first shows.

The simple fact of the business is that you need to earn your credentials, no one is going to hand them to you. So don’t expect to get paid in the beginning of your gigging life. Just aim to play as many shows as possible to get the experience and to get your name out these. Most towns have venues that are welcoming for up and coming bands. Find out who does the bookings for the venue (usually either quick visit, or a call to the venue is the quickest way). Then make sure you have one good quality video. This has been my most useful tool in booking gigs in the past. Write a short email acquiring the venue about the possibility to play and include a link to the video for them to check out in the email. Don’t include video files, just a YouTube link. From my experiences of booking shows, this has by far been the most effective approach.

Oh yeah, also make clear with all the members of your band what dates and times you are available to do shows. If the offer comes, you want to be able to grab it, and deliver on your promise. Bands that regularly cancel shows will pick up a bad name for them selves very fast.


J.P. Kallio is a singer-songwriter Facebook / Website / Twitter