J.P. Kallio’s Musician Quick Tips Pt. 6
by J.P. Kallio
It’s a new week and I have part 6 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.
Think Long Term
Pretty much anything you do in the music business is for the future. What you record today, will not be out in some cases until months from now. The bookings you do today are usually for shows anything up to a year from now. If a manager will take you onboard, it will take some time before you will see results.
So remember, everything you do, you do for the future. Think and plan long-term. Take actions today that will affect something you do six months from now. This is something you should also remember when you are networking, or even talking to potential fans. Don’t always try to go for the kill, let the relationship grow first. Take your time, if you are too pushy you will only scare people away.
So the shows you are playing right now, or the album you are promoting, are results of your past. You release a video today and you are upset as it is not getting loads of views straight away. Those views will grow over time. Be patient. You can’t change the past, but you can learn from it and work for a better future.
If you write music and perform live, you should register with your local music rights collection agency right now! They collect money for you every time your music is played in any form. Most young bands don’t even think this until they release their first recording. But even those battle of the band competitions you play three of your own songs, guess what? The venue need to pay royalties for the songwriter. And if you wrote those songs, that is you. So if you are live performer who plays their own songs, I am giving you here an instant way to make money.
You do need to get a bit of paper work in order, but its a small price, when you can be making money for years to come. So contact your local royalties collection agency today. Here in Ireland that is IMRO, in UK it is PRS for Music, in United States there are several, one of the biggest being ASCAP, in Germany it is the GEMA. You can find an extensive list HERE
So what are you waiting for? There is money out there that belongs to you. Now if you want to release music without restricting the usage rights, then you can look in to Creative Commons License, but we will talk about that some other day.
Learn the Blues
I have dabbled my hands on a quite many styles of music over the years. Acoustic guitar is my main instrument, the extension of my hand. I love it! From time to time I like to make some noise on my Telecaster, mess around with pedals, but I always come back to the acoustic guitar. Acoustic guitar is very unforgiving instrument. Everybody can learn a few chords and get quite good at it, but to master it and I mean really master it, you need to devote a lifetime to it.
But it does not matter what instrument you play, the one thing I learned very early on was the importance of Blues. If you want to be great at any instrument, you need to learn the Blues. This will help you in what ever style you will end up playing. Blues will teach you the basic structures, the importance of riff, improvisation, emotion and most importantly rhythm, the groove.
I was lucky to have family friends around me while I was growing up, who exposed me to some great blues albums at an early age. And I can tell you it has had an immense effect on my playing, still does every time I pick up my guitar. Learn the Blues, it’s the basic building blocks. It’s the foundation you build on.
It never stops amazing me how impressed other musicians are while exchanging contacts and I pull out a business card. It was one of the first things I made, after my website when I started this journey. It’s not something fancy or impressive to have, it is a must if you want to do some real business!
This day and age you can get business cards done in matter of minutes and at very cheap rate. When you are looking in to getting some done, it is hard to beat Vistaprint. They provide good quality business cards, and you can start with a small batch, so the financial investment is minimal. They also have loads of templates and designs to choose from. But as soon as you can, I would recommend you to get your own design. Again this you can do really fast with Vistaprint online. Your own design straight away can help in establishing your brand.
As to the information, I know it is tempting to have a card with all of your social media sites, but I would advice against it. Again, just your name, website address, Email and a phone number is all you need. I still have a box of Sliotar business cards with our MySpace address on them Obviously we don’t hand them out anymore… If you want to promote your Facebook page, make separate flyers for that purpose, as I said Vistaprint is cheap. But the business card should have just the most important information.
Again this is something, if you don’t have business cards, you should order them today, don’t wait for tomorrow.
Facebook Call To Action
Here’s another handy new feature the good people at the Facebook have come up with. I’ve seen this rolled in the past month and eagerly waited to get my hands on it and today was the day. So let’s get in to it.
On your bands Facebook page at the corner of your cover photo, just beside the Message and Like buttons are new “Call to action” button, which you can edit to your liking. As a band I would recommend you use this to grow your mailing list, surely you set it up after the Quick tip 5?
Just click on the Create Call to action button and a setup window opens. If you already have set up this button, you can edit it by clicking on the downward arrow on the corner of the button and a drop down menu appears. On the menu there is an option to Edit Call-to-action. While choosing the button, I recommend you choose Sign Up. Then write the URL of your Mailchimp sign-up page on the Website and Mobile Website fields and click the Next button on the bottom of the setup window. The next two pages ask you where you want to send your mobile users, one page is for iOS users and the second is for Android users. On both pages just leave the option at website (unless you have an app for your band) and click next. And that’s it, your button is activated.
It’s a small addition and only time will tell how effective it will be, but I welcome this addition. Now go and set it up.
J.P. Kallio is a singer-songwriter