J.P. Kallio’s Musician Quick Tips Pt. 14
by J.P. Kallio
Here are this week’s musician quick tips, part 14.. 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.
Give your self a break
Trying to break the music business is trying to break one of the hardest business in the world. It takes devotion, it eats your time and sometimes if you’re not careful, it can take over your life. Sure you need to be passionate, you need to want it more than the other guy, you need to live and breathe it day and night. But there comes time you need to give your self a break.
My time management is quite good, but still I need to remind my self from time to time, my work is not all there is to life. From time to time I just need to stop and get other stuff done, like wash laundry, go out for a long walk, go to shop, buy some fresh food and cook a dinner instead of eating out on the go.
It is good to work hard, as long as it is what you want to do. But the world will not crumble if you once in a while take a day off to take care of yourself. And I bet you will enjoy your work better when you come back to it.
Stop worrying about how to monetise your recording
The recorded music had a good run of success. I mean, we had vinyl, we had cassettes, we had CD’s and then we had downloads. The thing is, streaming is here to stay, no matter how unfair you as a musician feel about it. It is a convenient way for the fan to listen to music, and they are the consumers at the end of the day. But in reality not that much have changed really, if we think of it. Not everyone bought music in the good old days of vinyl. There were more people out there who’s only form of consuming music was radio. It was only the true fans who bought physical records.
The independent artists did not have a way to get their albums in to the major stores, the major labels made sure of that. So pretty much the only way to succeed as a recording artist, was by getting signed. But now everything has changed.
When you record an album these days, you should not record it with the end goal of making money by selling it. First of all it should be your calling card, it should be your promotional tool. It should be your key to get to play tours. And its these tour’s that will pay your bills if you are smart about your budgets. And it’s on these tours you will still sell physical product like CDs.
Further down the line you will see money from streaming and radio play. And if you are lucky you can get some song placements as well through licensing. These days the artists income need to be diverse. There are no one set source of income. So stop worrying how to monetise your recording. If you play it smart it will pay it self back many times over through different revenue sources.
Make your self worth investing
It is ok to look for help in music business, and there are actually quite a lot of people out there who are more than happy to help you out. But here’s the thing, you need to do your homework first. If you approach any expert with the line “how can I get a manager who can take my music to the next level”, it just shows you do not understand the business, or haven’t bothered to learn about it enough.
The fact is, for someone to seriously help you, they are investing in you. For anybody to invest in you, they need to see you are worth investing. This might come as a shock to you, but music alone is not enough to make you worth investing. The secret word here is “value”. You need to have value. What is value? If you have loyal fan base, it might have value. If you have strong mailing list, it might have value. If you can provide something, like engaging blog posts, videos, or if you are good at telling your story, you can definitely offer value.
All of these are skills that you can learn to master. And once you have these skills, it becomes much easier to build fan base. Once you have a fan base, you become worth investing.
Stay ahead of the game
You are faced with an uphill battle even on a good day in the music business. Things will not go according to the plan most of the time. You are dealing with things you do not have control over, for example people’s taste, professional people who are up to their eyes and unfortunately you are not on their priority list, or even unpredictable fellow musicians (artists can be a challenge to deal with).
But there are things you can prepare for. You can be ahead of your own schedule to allow for things to go wrong. Turn up at your venue you are performing early on the day of your show, make sure you have backups for all of your equipment, talk to the house engineer prior to the show, so you know what equipment they have. If you are recording, make sure all of your equipment is in good condition. Make sure you turn up to your studio session rather early than late, studio time is expensive. Allow things to go wrong in your album launch schedule. Allow things to go wrong in your album budget.
In the long run it pays to be prepared for the worse, so make sure you stay ahead of the game all the time.
When you go in to the wild world of social media to promote your music, are you armed with a message? You better be, and that message better be something else than just the same old “check out my music”. You are entering an information highway, where content is loaded at an unbelievable speed these days. And lot of this content is really good quality, so I am sorry to say, no one cares about your music if your message is simply check out my music because I think it’s great.
I talked before about the importance of your story, that could be a great way to star thinking about your message. But it could be something much more simple, like for example if you are trying to promote a song, what is the song about? Tell people what the song is about. Not every one is going to like the story, but for those who do, it becomes just that little bit more interesting.
Or your message could be something you feel strongly about. For example I feel very strongly about taking life by the balls and making the best of it, as no one else is never going to do it for you. And I write blog posts and songs about it all the time. I also live by it and try to inspire others to do the same.
It can be the smallest thing in the world that makes the difference between people clicking on your link or not. Have a clear message to deliver, and you will reach out much further than your competition.