J.P. Kallio’s Musician Quick Tips Pt. 19
by J.P. Kallio
Here are this week’s musician quick tips, part 19.. 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
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We are all scared of many things. Some of are scared of spiders, some of us are scared of heights, some of us are scared of speaking in public, and the list goes on. Fear is really our body’s normal self-preservation system. We are scared of the unknown, we are scared of not being in control.
But especially when you are trying to make it in the music business, you need to understand that in most cases your fear is a great indicator of things that might make you grow. We need to take risks, we need to step in the unknown. If we only stay in our comfort zone, we will never bring our music past the bedroom door.
So learn to embrace fear. Use it to recognise things that might just be some of the big leaps. Take risks and learn to enjoy the adrenaline rush you get from facing your fears.
Don’t doubt your self
I get very self-aware from time to time. For example, as you might know I am quite prolific blogger, even if I say so myself. I post on average 12 blogs a week. I also always like to share an image or a photo with the blog post as I think the visuals have an impact. The images are a mixture of photos of myself, photos I have taken or stock photos.
Out of all the images, guess which are most effective? The pictures of me. Now guess which one’s I am most hesitant to use? Yes you guessed right, the pictures of me. Why? Because I doubt myself on daily basis. I think it is just a normal part of human nature. But if experience and statistics prove this to be the case, why wouldn’t I just trust it?
I am sure there are things in the music business you do all the time where you doubt yourself. This is one of those fears we need to face. We need to stop doubting ourselves and have faith. Now I am not saying I should use a photo of myself in every blog post, that would just get damn boring. But there are times we all should stop second guessing and trust our instincts.
Give them a reason to work with you
The bigger my following and my blog grows, the more I get random Emails from people who ask me to help them. They expect me to have the keys to the wonderland of professional musician. The thing is, by now I have enough knowledge of the DIY music business, that I can actually help a musician who really want to give it a proper go. But too often what I have to offer is not what they think they need, or want to hear and my advice goes unheard. I have my own career to worry about, so I’m not too happy to waste my time on someone who is not willing to take in the information.
So when I get an Email from someone asking me to help them, unfortunately most times I don’t even answer anymore. If I did, I’d spend several hours doing this every week. I have better use for those hours, I much rather spend the time to write another blog post for you guys. So if you really want me to help you, you need to give me a reason to help you. The best way is to do something to help me first, something significant enough that I will notice it.
This goes with anybody in the business, give them a reason to work with you. Just because you play amazing music is not enough these days. It is up to you to bring your music to the masses, and if you need help along the way, start by helping others first. If you do something remarkable to someone in the business, that is the most surefire way to get them answer to your Email.
Treat your fans like you would treat your friends
Still about ten years ago I was ignorant. I believed the big star model, that most major label artists careers are based on. I thought the artist was and needed to be in a different level to its fans. Like you had to live in some imaginary world that the fans only dreamed about. The weirdest thing is, I always looked up to Joe Strummer, who spent hours after shows talking to the fans in the audience…
Now I know better. Some wise people corrected my ways of thinking. And trust me, it is almost a weight of my shoulders. The truth is you should treat your fans (I actually even dislike using that word) like you would treat your friends. This is how you build extremely loyal following. If people are interested in your music and they make the effort to reach out to you, reach back. Get to know them, talk to them, reply to their emails, find out more about them.
I actually have several “fans” who I know are going through some tough times, and guess what? I talk with them about their tough times. I worry about them, because to me they are not fans, they are friends. The fact that they listen to my music means a world to me. It’s one thing to have fans, but completely other thing to have friends who got to know you through our music. They are also some of my best promoters.
So get your hands dirty, start making friends with your fans, get to know them and build a lifelong relationships.
I don’t easily get in to recommending any particular apps or products, mainly because many of these are personal preferences. But once in a while something comes along that just simply is above the rest. For example I mentioned the D’Addario’s EXP strings in the past. Since then I’ve talked to few guitar players who tried them based on my recommendation and they agreed with me that they are the strongest and most stable strings they have tried. Now today’s tip / recommendation is for anybody who have their own website (musicians? Surely you have your own website by now? )
SumoMe app, which works with any website, including WordPress websites, covers so much ground that it’s hard to sum it all up in a Quick tip. This app will help people share your website, blog posts or what ever you have on your site in their desired social media platform. It is the most effective tool for this I have ever come across. With in a week I noticed a difference. It also has the best tools for building your mailing list (musicians? Surely you have your own mailing list by now?) from your website. You can choose a smart pop up, or a smart bar that you can use for mailing list sign ups, or for example Facebook likes. It also collects data, and a lot of it, which you can use to figure out what works and what does not.
The best thing is, it is really easy to set up and manage. Oh yeah, and the basic package is free and covers all the basics you need! So as I said, I don’t recommend this kind of stuff easily, but SumoMe just rocks at every level! Get it here: http://sumome.com
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