J.P. Kallio’s Musician Quick Tips Pt. 21
by J.P. Kallio
Here are this week’s musician quick tips, part 21!! 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:
Radio play is one of those magical ingredients in the business. Traditionally new bands were made famous through radio. Today things have changed a lot. I suppose I was part of the generation, who started to slip away from the radio. Growing up I had a boom box that had a radio, but for some reason, most of the stuff that came out of the radio did not appeal to me, so I ended up listening to my own music collection.
But we still believe radio play is part of the key to success. So lets break one myth right here right now. As an independent artist, you will never get enough radio play to make large amount of money! The mainstream radio is controlled by the record labels, full stop. And they will never give you enough play time for you to make crap load of money, unless they get a cut out of it. If at this point your instinct is to say “Yeah, but what if…” you are wasting!
Still, there is value in radio, especially the independent radio and online radio. I have actually managed to get surprisingly many stations to play my music in the past year and a half. How did I do it? First of all, I purchased The Indie Bible, and went through their radio station lists. I utilised few gigs on Fiverr.com and I spent few weeks on the Google doing my research on radio shows who might play independent music. I contacted them all. As a result I got a handful of stations to play my songs.
After this, I moved on. I had blog posts to write, songs to write, record and sing, website and social media to manage, gigs to play. For me to cry about not getting enough radio play would not help anybody… Then as my following started to grow, something started to happen. I started to get messages on Twitter from radio presenters and shows asking for tracks. Now, I get at least one radio station a week asking me for tracks.
This just proves again the importance of Twitter for the independent artists.
Online presence is a two-edged sword. You need to be present to be real, you need to talk to people, not just have a one way conversation with your self that you expect others to comment on. But at the same time, it can steal a lot of valuable time that you could use to actually make music.
This is why you need to be smart with your time. I talked in earlier Quick tips how to schedule posts both on Facebook and Twitter, but this will only take you so far. Especially with Twitter to utilise its real potential, you need to be present and get in the conversation in real-time. The thing is, you can utilise the mobile Twitter app. I know we talk about how so many of us are so anti social these days, just playing with our phones, but that is sometimes what it takes to build a loyal following. You need to engage with your fans, you need to get to know them, have a real life (online) conversations about real life.
So make time to be present. Learn to do this fast, quick comment here and there, won’t take too much time. And by doing this you can even build some wonderful online moments, which will only make your fans love you more.
Us musicians spend way too much time looking for the latest music promotion hack online. Sure there are tried and tested methods out there that you need to learn. But to look for that next innovative way to promote your music is waste of time.
First of all, you should never base your plan in the music business just on one thing. Music business (as much as it kills me to admit this) is a numbers game. And you can cover much more ground by working on several promotional channels at the same time. Also if you can come up with an innovative way of promoting you music, go for it.
But just understand this: You will not find the next innovative trick online. For it to be truly innovative, you need to come up with it by your self. If you try to copy someone else’s tricks, you more than likely are too late in the game, you are not the only one using this “new trick.” And the innovative tricks in the music business are bit like an avocado, as soon as you cut it open, the vibrant green colour flesh starts to slowly turn grey.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying you should not look for the next magical way to promote your music. What I am saying, if you want to be innovative, think for your self. Be creative. Act, don’t react. And never put all your eggs in to one basket.
Immerse yourself in arts
If you are one of those artists who claim you don’t have influences, and that your music is truly original, I’ll be here telling you that you are fooling your self! How did you learn to play your instrument? I bet you learned few songs from few other artists. Did you think this had no influence in you? Surely you learned song structures from other artists songs?
I for one consider my self as a sponge. I get inspired by other artists work all the time. I get inspired by other forms of art all the time, movies, books, paintings, poetry… I get inspired by anything that indulge my senses, emerging in to other cultures and traveling in general.
So to be creative artist, immerse your self in arts in all of its forms. Let it inspire you, let it make you think and view things from other artists point of view. Then take this inspiration and make something of your own out of it.
As artists we should support each others, we should be proud to be able to inspire other artists. And we should also be willing to accept that inspiration from other artists.
Have a voice
Have you ever searched the net for interviews of your favourite artists? You wanted to hear their thoughts, their views and their stories. True fans rarely just settle for the music, even though it is important. We want to know what our favourite artists think, we want them to have a voice.
Having your own voice as an artist is very important in today’s music business. And I am not talking about your singing voice here. It is important for the fans to know their world views are somehow inline with theirs. So give yourself a voice. Tell people your story, talk to them online, make videos. Share your views on current news, movies, art, maybe a good restaurant you visited.
In our world where so much of our interaction happens online, people grave for glimpses of real people behind the art. The music business has gone a full circle where the business took an ordinary man and turned him into a star that everyone admired, but now we want to see the ordinary man behind the star.
Have a voice. Express it on your website, blog, social media and reflect it in your music.