J.P. Kallio’s Musician Quick Tips Pt. 11
by J.P. Kallio
I’m back and I have part 11 of of my musician quick tips. 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.
When you are starting your career in music, you naturally try to emulate what the big stars do. As a result many of us spend years pretending to be something bigger than we are. We see the path of the big stars as the way to go. They are successful, so if I do what they do I should become successful as well. Unfortunately life don’t work like that…
I adapted a approach of honesty when I started releasing my songs. I have shared with you my struggles and successes in these blog posts for the past year and three months now. OK, I did have years of experience to start off with, I give you that. But as this surely helped me a bit, it has not given me any shortcuts.
The thing is, if you just do what you do consistently and be patient, you will see growth in your followers. Teach your self how to do all of this without being a spammer. Learn how to reach out to people in a genuine way. And be your self. Don’t pretend to be a big rock star when you are not. In the beginning stages you will come across a wonderful grass root hard-core fans, who want to support the honest musician who is doing something genuine. They will not be interested in someone who try to portray a false image.
Be honest, be who you are and most of all, be patient. It will take time as it did for those big stars, you just didn’t see them struggle in the beginning, because they were not big stars back then and nobody cared.
Today’s quick tip is not as much a tip of what to do, but a short explanation why you should not panic if your Facebook pages likes dropped over night. You have worked hard to get that number up, so I can understand you might be bit annoyed. But there is a good reason behind it and if you take a moment to think of it, you will see that this is to your advantage.
Facebook decided to remove the likes from inactive accounts. These are people who have not logged in for a long time, or have given up on Facebook for good. I personally think this is long overdue. We all know Facebook is the largest social media site out there, but there are a large number of inactive accounts, and it is time to clean these up. Also this will get rid of a lot of fake accounts. Now if you did somewhere along the line bought a chunk of likes from some of those “online shops”, this is where it is going to feel like waste of money. But in fact it was that all along. Fake likes are useless and anybody in the business can spot them mile away. If you want to invest on your Facebook page, Facebook ads are the only way to go.
The good thing here is that you are left with much more engaging account. You know the people who like your page are active on Facebook. There is nothing worse than thinking you are shouting to thousands of people, but in reality no one is listening.
You can read more about this update on Facebook’s own website HERE
It is hard work to get the momentum going in the music business. But once you start to have that momentum, that is when the real work starts. When things start to move, people start to show interest in your music, you need to give them more. To keep that momentum going is where the secret to sustainable career in the music is.
In the beginning I am sure you will struggle to get your head around how to get momentum going. It will be a struggle to build up your following, and get people to listen to your music. I know, I was there… But if you are willing to put the work in, you will see results. And here’s the thing, to succeed in music business you need to understand you are in it for the long haul. We get fixated with the overnight stories, but most of them are not that. The people who became overnight successes, spent years working on it. Sure there are few people picked up by record companies who were made in to stars in a space of few years. But most of them were extremely expensive publicity stunts.
If you do put the time in (years!) and work hard and smart, eventually you will start to see momentum building up. This is the time you need to kick into completely different gear. If you just take it easy, and bask in you newly found glory, it will die faster than it started! If you have a song that people are starting to share and the numbers are starting to rise, you need to be able to release another song very soon after it. I’d say with in a month, no later. This will keep the people who have found you engaged and excited. And what about after a month? Rinse and repeat! “What!” I hear you say, “I need to release 12 songs a year?” Yes! and that is the bare minimum to keep the momentum going. Welcome to the new music business.
Value your time
Research of information, tools, equipment, structures, strategies and so on is vital. You need to know what you are doing, not just be second guessing. But there needs to be balance as well. When you spend weeks on a best deal on a guitar, so that you can save extra 1% on the price is not necessarily the best use of your time.
Here’s a concept for you: In music business you need to invest insane amount of time before you see financial return. Now what if you would need to put a price on that time? Lets say you are working at a day job and work on your music outside your regular working hours. How much time do you have to invest in your music career? How much is that time worth to you?
Or lets say you are trying to make it as a full-time musician. How many hours a week do you work? I don’t mean playing live, I mean how many hours you spend rehearsing, promoting, looking for new gigs? And how much money do you make? Now divide the money with the hours you work, and you have your hourly rate. So this will give you an idea of how much money you might spend researching something. So figure out if the research is worth spending your time on. I bet researching the best way to reach new fans is time much better spent than trying to find the best deal on your dream guitar.
Value your time, and use it smartly.
As a musician your body is very much a part of your instrument. The best guitar, or a drum set won’t play it self. It’s still your hands, your arms, your back, you legs and your mind that will be controlling the instrument. Make the best use of your body and your playing will improve as well. Here’s some of my quick fixes that have worked for me.
We very much are what we eat. I know there is a stereo type of the bands eating out of McDonald’s weeks on end to keep the cost of their tour down. Do your self one big favour and don’t do this! I could go on a rant about how the food most fast food chains sell is designed to get you addicted to it, while still leaving you malnourished so you’ll be back for more. I have toured a lot, so I know how hard it can be trying to eat well while on the move. My first rule is always to have a breakfast! This is where you can make a big difference. And concentrate in getting in some good protein and as much vegetables as possible, the rest will take care of it self. At home I am a big fan of my juicer, it’s a great way to get a lot more vegetables in to your diet. And eggs, fish and chicken are great sources of protein. On the road It is what ever the hotel breakfast has to offer. But in most cases you can make it count. Nothing worse than few hour down the drive you try to scrape together a breakfast at a petrol station.
Also keep moving wether it’s at home or on the road. Swimming is one of the best exercises for musicians. But I know not every one is a fan of a big exercise routine, so let’s make things simple. Walk! Try to walk as much as possible every day, and you’ll be amazed what a difference it will make to your general health. I use an app on my phone to count my steps. My aim is 10000 steps, most days I fall short, but I get close to it.
Everything in moderation, that includes alcohol. If you like a wild night out, I won’t stop you. But after that wild night out take few days off the drink, and never cure hangovers with alcohol! That is a slippery slope.
Oh yeah, and sleep. Good quality sleep is important. I try to stick to seven hours these days. And by the way, drunken sleep is not good quality sleep.
You can only work as well as your body lets you, so make sure it is in the best shape possible.