J.P. Kallio’s Musician Quick Tips 26
by J.P. Kallio
Here are this week’s musician quick tips, part 26!! 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:
Working with sound engineer
In your early days playing shows you need to perfect some skills. One of the most vital ones is to learn how to work with venue sound engineers. The sound engineer is extremely important person to you, and you need to do what ever it takes to make sure they are on your side. The thing is, if you are on a band night where there are loads of bands, the odds are most up and coming bands don’t even think about most of these things. So let’s turn the odds in your favour.
First of all, never forget the sound engineer is a professional. Their job is to make you sound as good as they can. They know how to do this better than you do. In the highly unlikely case that the sound engineer is bad at their job, it is not your job to teach them how to do their job. Your job is to perform, entertain the crowd. The show must go on no matter what! There is nothing more unprofessional looking than a band fighting with a sound engineer during a show. If the sound engineer tells you to turn down your amp, do so! They want the front of the house sound as good as possible, they are paid to do that.
Oh yeah, and few little tips that goes a long way as well. Get to know the engineers name. Thank them during the show for doing a great job. Buy them a drink, well worth the money to make them fight your corner. And clean off your gear off the stage as soon as possible after the show. You don’t want to keep the sound engineer hanging around any later they already need to.
Practice your setup
If you ever played in a band night that has several acts, or even open mic night, you must have seen that one act that just takes forever to set up. It is frustrating to everyone involved. The band taking their time is eating in to everyone else’s performance time, and more than likely loosing a chunk of the audience as well.
To make sure you will not be that band, practice your setup. Time how long it takes for your drummer to set up. Figure out if the other band members can help in any way. The setup is no time for jamming. I once worked with a drummer who proceeded to test the drum kit after every new drum or cymbal was added. This used to drive the rest of the band mad! In contrast, I now play with a drummer who can set up his drum kit in less than five minutes, and he can do it without hitting a single drum. Set up everything before you start hitting things.
Also not only drummers, but also the rest of the band, be aware of the sound crew working on the stage. You do not want to blow their ears when they are kneeling in front of your amp, or setting up microphones for your drum kit.
Be considered, fast and professional.
SumoMe Welcome Mat
I talked about SumoMe app before in these Quick tips (HERE). Yesterdays I got an email from them telling me about their new Welcome Mat feature. To be hones I was gobsmacked! This is something I wanted to try out on my website before, but my limited web design skills and the inability to find a right tools for it meant I never got around to it. Then SumoMe comes in and tells me they have made it into part of their already mindblowingly good app? And I can have it all set up in just few clicks?
So what the Welcome Mat does is put a landing page on your website, with a minimal effect on the website itself. When people visit your website, this landing page will appear just above the page, not as a separate page that you end up before getting to the actual page. The design is so smooth and easy to customise. There are some great paid extras, but even the free version does everything you need it to do. When I first installed SumoMe on my website, both my mailing list sign ups and Facebook likes went up. Now I’ve had the Welcome Mat on my website only for a day and I can already see another increase!
And for those of you mumbling about how you should not be marketing like this in the music business, I have one thing to say: Wake up! If you don’t market your music, people will not know about it. Besides companies like Spotify, Uber and Instagram use these tools to their advantage, why shouldn’t we?
Check out SumoMe HERE
To succeed tomorrow, sacrifice today
The work-life balance can be a tricky thing, especially if you are your own boss. This is the case for most musicians. Some musicians, especially early in their career lack direction. They don’t know what to do, and often resort to what I call hustling. This is a great way to annoy people, and get very little done… Then there are the ones who run their career as a business, have structure and direction. They are the ones who end up working long hour well in to the night. I know and relate to this group, as I am one of them.
It can be hard to explain to your loved ones the importance of your work, as the results can be still years away from now. There are constant sacrifices made, no doubt about this. But that is the nature of the music business. To succeed tomorrow, you need to sacrifice today. It is the ones who squeeze in that one extra hour of rehearsal, when the other bands call it a day and head to the pub. It is that one artist, who stays up late in to the night researching how to write the bets possible biography to sent to venues for future bookings. It is the artist who still keeps going when everyone else has decided to continue tomorrow, who will have that competitive edge at the end of the day.
Price vs. income
Here’s a quick tip that I touched on a bit before, but let me spell it out clearly. Unit price v income. Optimal unit price becomes an important thing when you sell a lot of products. You need to optimise your return on investment, while still offering value to your customers. But when we are selling a download of a song, or an album, in the early days of your career, those figures are not going to be high. What you need to work on is making sure you have some kind of income from your music (At this point I am limiting this to only recorded music, and downloads specifically.) So how do you do this?
You should worry more about removing the hesitation of your fans (customers) might have about making the purchase. You should concentrate in what is the optimal price to make them feel like it is a deal they cannot pass. To say the value of your album is $10 is pointless if no one is willing to pay $10 for it. I urge you to let your customers set the price, and see what they think is the value of your music. This way you have much better chance to make an income from your recorded music. And just for clarity, it more than likely will not be enough alone to support you, but I hope you’re also playing a lot of shows and selling merchandise at them. At the end of the day, it all adds up.