Tag Archives: Alternative Rock

What Musicians Can Learn From UFC Fighter Chael Sonnen


Sometimes it amazes me some of the stuff I read on social media. Musicians complaining about other musicians “being posers” on Facebook or wherever trying to act bigger than they are or cooler than other bands. Well #1 that is their job and #2 just because someone takes it that way doesn’t mean that is what they are doing. They are simply trying to build excitement with their fans and followers.

 

Musicians are many times so eager to tear each other down, especially other musicians that seem to be having more success then they are and they don’t understand why or think their band is better and the world just isn’t fair. Of course the music business has very little to do with talent and everything to do with a budget, work ethic and marketability. If talent was the key than most bands have no shot at ever making it and jazz, fusion, classical and opera would reign supreme as that is where most of the worlds best talent truly lies.

 

What musicians have to learn is the art of promoting themselves and some people really struggle with this. They might feel funny about tooting their own horn but unless you have a major PR budget no one is going to do it with out getting paid. Musicians need to quit expecting someone to just help them out on a spec deal as there is no real money in this business anymore for people to work on the “hopes” of a band making it. Learning the art of self-promotion is extremely vital to making it and developing a new audience, gaining advantageous spots on tours etc. This is where they could learn from the UFC fighters.

 

Chael Sonnen was a middle of the road UFC fighter. He was always a very good wrestler but he wasn’t winning the big ones and certainly not all his fights. He was a quite, respectful fighter and never caused any controversy then suddenly there was a transformation. Chael came back after some time off and was a completely different media presence. All the sudden he was a smack talker. He learned the art of self-promotion and has talked himself into title fights he didn’t deserve necessarily. Now I am not taking anything away from his talent, but looking at rankings and records, he probably normally wouldn’t have been the one picked for these fights.

 

However, Chael learned to promote himself in the media to such an extent he became a major Pay-Per-View sell. Chael also never backs down from a fight; he doesn’t care what anyone else says about him, what the other fighter’s think of him or anything except for accomplishing his career goals. Now some people have said that behind the scene Chael is nothing like his smack-talking persona, he is a nice guy and an extremely hard worker, not the hard worker part. Chael has proven himself to be ready to go to his promoter the UFC by always being prepared not only being in shape to fight at a moments notice but that he will kick the shit out of the media schedule. He is a marketing machine and that is exactly what promoters want and look for. Their job is to sell tickets and the talent needs to understand that and me a major presence in making that happen. It keeps Chael employed and bumps up his paycheck quite dramatically.

 

You see, musicians need to quit worrying about what their local musicians buddies say and think. It’s not their goal or dream, it’s yours. It’s not their image; it’s yours to worry about. Who the hell cares what band ABC says about you online or behind your back. This business is nothing but shit talkers talking behind your back. It is your job to put out the very best show, product every night and to somehow get people to notice you, talk about you and most important bring more people to your next gig.

 

Whether or not you chose to be as controversial as Chael Sonnen is not my point, my point is Chael learned what he needed to do to separate himself from all the other UFC fighters looking for their shot beyond his fight skill which was already considerable. Chael talked himself into positions he probably shouldn’t have been able to be in because he created those spots by his selfless self-promotion. Chael has now secured himself a very good future outside of fighting as he now also a very popular TV host due to his self-promotion efforts. This is every band or musicians job period, to separate your band from the mass of white noise from the millions of others bands vying for a spot in the limelight.

 

Let me warn you though, do not do this if you can’t back up your talk. If your band isn’t as good as you say or your live show is just average, don’t even bother. Work your product to be the best, most creative and original thing your fan base will experience and then go out and self-promote the hell out of yourself. Don’t worry about anyone else but you and your goals.

 

Pull up your bootstraps, dig deep in the trenches and become a self-promotion powerhouse. You owe yourself that much in order to achieve your dream. Anything else is a waste of time.

 

Good Luck!

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Stepping Over the Process…. is it Realistic?


First let me just say this blog is in response to what keeps coming across my email or phone conversations. This isn’t an attempt to come down on artists but an attempt at maybe setting some realistic expectations. I have been receiving a lot of phone calls from artists either out of frustration with other band members or from artists that think they can just step over the process of touring and building/rebuilding a fan base. I guess anything is possible but it’s not likely to happen even if you have had success in the past. This is not the same industry many of us grew up with and we can’t keep assuming that because 20 years ago the artists had a hit or toured the world with so and so band that people have any interest in us or care about our music at all. Artists call with no budget, no new music, no website or one that has been “in development” for years expecting that they can just go on the road and make thousands per show because 20 or more years ago they had a minor hit or two. It’s not going to happen. Current artists with hits on the radio are making $2,000 guarantees a lot of times and yet artists that haven’t had a hit since 1992 that want $8,000 or more a show. You better be a legacy act with huge hits from the past that are still played on the radio to demand that kind of money or more. I know how expensive touring is, but the money isn’t there for touring with artists with no active history or fan base that will support the necessary tour numbers for there to actually be a profit. This is when a band or artist has to suck it up and either rebuild for little money, try something completely different or maybe decide this isn’t for them anymore and do something in music that doesn’t require touring for small dollars.

For example, the first thing I am asked by anyone in a position of helping is “What do they have going on?” Many times the answer is nothing (note that when artists come to us or anyone else for help they have this notion that 3 months is an expected amount of time to make things happen), they have no new music, no tour dates, outdated photos and websites. How do you expect anyone to help you if this is your state of business and you don’t take the time to get it right before approaching anyone? The second thing is “Do they have a budget?” The answer is almost always no and people understand if times have been rough on the career but it’s amazing how many artists are not willing to put money into their own career but expect others to. If the artist doesn’t  have a budget then almost no one is willing to help and people can’t giving away their services for free. Video EPK’s cost money, photography costs money, etc… but artists are always hoping people will help them for free and then expect that things happen in a short time period. For the person that is connected like Irving Azoff and has his resources this is possible, for the rest of the “real” music world it probably isn’t. Music is a very speculative business to begin with and no one is looking to lose money on an artist no matter how much success he or she may have had in the past. As much as people love some of these artists, he or she needs to get paid as well and they can’t work for free or spend time with unrealistic artists that can’t or won’t rebuild career realistically if there is no interest in them at all.

Just because an artist may have had success in the past doesn’t mean they get a free pass of touring the bar circuit again and starting over. Yes that means rebuilding your fan base and getting paid very little most of the time. If you can’t do that then maybe playing isn’t for you anymore. I know we all have bills to pay but money is in short supply and investors want a return on investment. They don’t want to support an artist that hasn’t been on tour in 10 or more years and won’t draw 150+ people to a show. You as an artist are in the position you are in because you let yourself get there. You chose to not tour, you chose to not listen to your team or possibly choosing the wrong team. It could be a lot of different reasons for your situation and many of those may not be your fault, but it’s still your job to be realistic and make things happen with today’s current landscape, not what was possible 20 years ago when people were throwing money around like it was water.

Don’t pigeonhole yourself with unrealistic expectations. For example, if you think a major label is going to sign you, fund your tour and you’re a prog rock band, think again. No label is going to fund that tour unless you already have a huge fan base and more than likely you will just get shelved as prog rock probably isn’t there thing at this label. Most prog rock bands aren’t huge and most likely never will be. If you get a label interested in your music, at least entertain the idea and not shoot it down because you think a major is going to offer you something when you won’t even play shows because you don’t make any money on them. Do you know why you don’t make any money? Because you have absolutely NO FAN BASE at all. Who is going to fund a tour for a band with no fan base these days? Please tell me so I can call them up.

There are no shortcuts normally in this business. Take Mike Portnoy for example. One of the most popular and talented drummers in the world, who has a large fan base from his history as a musician and still he and his current project “Adrenaline Mob” are playing clubs to a couple hundred people a show. He knows he has to build this band no matter who he is and he is willing to put his money and time into it. Even someone as relevant as Mike has to work it the hard way sometimes.

If you are a musician reading this, please consider where you are at in your career. If you are in a band but won’t tour because your “cover gig” is paying more money, than back out of the band and let the band find someone hungry enough to make it happen. If you are an artist with a past but currently not where you were a long time ago, then ask yourself “how bad do I want this?” If you won’t play for smaller guarantees then you need to book yourself and stop making people’s lives difficult who are trying to help your career because you can’t be bothered with playing for smaller amounts of money. You are only as big as your last gig or chart success in the current times, not 20 years ago.

There is a process almost everyone has to go through. You are more than likely going to have to go through it as well. If you can’t or won’t, get out of the way for those that will and let your band move on with people who want it bad enough to put up with the crap of the road and bar tours.

Good luck!


15 Tips on How To Give an Interview


It was requested that I write an article on how to give an interview for musicians. I know from the media sources I have, that there is a lot of laziness and disrespect, especially from the musicians that have yet to achieve any real status. Hopefully this article will help you realize to not piss off your media contacts. It is through the media that your music reaches the world many times over, so it is very important you take this seriously. You make a huge mistake in your music career if you don’t take this seriously and do your very best because they will not ever cover you again. Remember, they never have to interview you or cover your band, regardless of how good your band is or how big you think you are.

When giving a live interview for TV or radio keep these points in mind. I know I am going to get comments on these points because it should be common sense but here is the feedback I get from fellow interviewers and from my own radio show.

  1. Always be on time – Don’t rely on your publicist for the correct info either. Many times the artist does not know the time to call in because the publicist got it wrong, even after three emails or more. I know this is what you pay for if you have one, but everyone makes mistakes.
  2. Don’t assume they are going to call you – This is your business and career so make sure you know what is going on. It’s your job to know who is calling whom. Don’t miss an opportunity to get press by not knowing the details.
  3. Do your research and know with whom you are talking – Make sure you at least know which station or magazine you are talking with and the person interviewing you.
  4. Answer using sentences, not one-word answers – Nothing is worse than a boring interview because you don’t know what to say about your band or music.
  5. Don’t call in drunk or stoned – These people are being professional and working hard to promote your music. Be professional and do the same. Respect them and their time by being coherent for the interview.
  6. Make sure you leave enough time for the interview – A good interview takes more than 10 minutes most of the time. You have a story to get out so make sure you give yourself time to do it.
  7. Also be prepared that many of the interviewers don’t like your music and didn’t prepare to interview you – Sometimes you need to lead the interview or make sure they know everything about you that you want them to know. Don’t assume they actually know anything about you or your music.
  8. If doing an interview for an industry specific magazine, know your stuff – Say you are doing an interview with EQ Magazine; they are going to want to know how your signal chain works so make sure you understand your own gear or equipment. Make sure you understand what the interviewer is looking for.
  9. Be focused, but have fun – This is serious business, so make sure you pay attention and are not distracted. There’s nothing more obnoxious than listening to an interview where the artist is talking to someone else in the background, chewing gum/food, clacking away on a keyboard, or generally not engaged in the interview.
  10. Phone fodder – While it is always preferable to use a land line (or Skype), more often than not, interviews are done by cellphone these days. Make sure you are in a well covered area, you find a quite place to talk, and you’re not pacing about potentially endangering your signal.

 

When doing an email interview, please try to make it interesting. You have to keep the reader engaged and eager to learn about you.

  1. Write full sentences – Make sure you answer the questions as completely as you can and try to put some thought into your answer. Don’t rush through your interviews. This is your time to showcase or spotlight your band to an audience who has never heard about you in most cases.
  2. Be witty – Try to have a sense of humor. This will help with people spreading the article around and also keep the interviewer interested in interviewing you again at some point.
  3. Use correct grammar – I know many of us struggle with this, but try to use appropriate grammar. This will alter their pre-conceived perception of you, thus making you look like much more than just another musician who does not care about anything but chicks and partying. It will also help keep the grammar police off your page with pointless comments.
  4. Get the interview back in a timely manner – The webzine or whatever media source that has graciously interviewed you is patiently waiting for you to be professional and get your interview back to them. They have deadlines to meet; and if you wait too long, they may pass on you and post other artists that were more professional.
  5. The Extra Mile – Email interviews do not allow for follow-up questions, so if you touch on a topic or offer an answer that would lead to an obvious follow-up question, try to throw those extras in as well. If the interviewer missed something you’d like to get out there, add it in. The media outlet is always happy when artists give a little extra.

Please practice these basic points and watch your relationships grow with your media contacts, which is so crucial to your music’s future.

Good luck!

Note: This was originally posted on Metalholic.com

http://metalholic.com/musician-tips-15-tips-on-how-to-give-an-interview/


For the Fans… How You Can Best Help on Social Media


I know, I know… There are a million bands, authors, actors, small businesses asking for you to spread the word about them, “like” them, vote for them and so on and on. Sometimes we feel like we have to because we don’t want to create trouble because we are friends with so many local talents and if like one but not the other then the drama starts and some times we don’t support at all because we don’t want the drama or we don’t have the time or something similar. With this blog I am not asking you to do anything but support your favorites and only your favorites.  It is not your responsibility or obligation to support anyone except those you chose and no one should get mad at you if you don’t support things you chose not to for any reason at all.

In order for your favorite artist (insert entertainment medium here) to spread the word and create the “buzz,” they need people spreading the word about them as much as possible. Social media is the easiest and cheapest way to do that. So this blog is about that and how you as a fan, friend or family member can do this to maximize their efforts and actually yours as well.

It is very important to the success of any type of entertainer be it musicians, authors, bloggers, actors etc… that their content reach the masses. Since many of you already click like on so much of their stuff would it really take that much extra time to share it? Comment on it on the actual page and not just on Facebook although that does help. All these sites rates posts popularity by how much attention it gets and for it to reach the masses, it needs your attention. So please read this and if you are able to help these people out, please do the extra little bit for your favorite artists etc…

Facebook – With Facebook all these artists should be using a fan page to track their metrics and not a personal page although many haven’t figured this out yet. Facebook recently made it harder for the Fan Pages to get attention by limiting the amount of people seeing posts so they could attract revenue dollars by having people with pages pay to advertise their posts to the audience that had already requested to see the posts by “liking” they page. I know ludicrous but it is Facebooks right to generate revenue so let’s just leave it at that for now. As a fan you need to go to the artists page, hover your mouse over the “like” button and select “show in news feed” to make sure you are getting the info they put out. When you do see the info, please “like” each post, share each post and comment on each post if you can. Remember that statistically only 7% of your audience sees your posts so you are not going to be annoying anyone with these posts and even if you do, so what. It’s your wall and you can choose to support what you wish with out fear of reprisal from others saying you post to much about something or someone. It’s not their business nor is it their wall.

In respect to this, if someone shares a post from a blog or other source, please if you can take the time and do the same on the original post, not just the Facebook one. There are share buttons for Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+ and loads of others. Please share this on your accounts and also comment on this page. It will help drive up the rankings for Google and on what ever other social media site it is on to further increase their exposure.

Twitter – Retweeting is the key here, if you have a twitter account please RT and share any content you can. Learn how to use #hashtags if you are posting on your own about your favorite artist and RTing something.

Pinterest – The latest social media spot. You can keyword on Pinterest to have your pins pop for people looking for things to find or discover such as #music, #movies, #authors etc… You can use any word to describe your pins and hopefully help people discover that artist you think is amazing. You boards also are coded to post in certain categories to which you chose when you create them.

Youtube – Obviously probably the most influential for music and movies so please again “like” the video, share them from the available links and comment on them. Youtube videos go viral from you emailing them to your friends. This especially happens from the teenagers and young adults. Don’t forget to help out with that. Maybe you can help create a viral campaign for your favorite artist.

Blogs – With people who blog, it is important to realize that like with WordPress, the more views, comments and star ratings a blog gets the more likely it is to be featured on the home page. This is a big deal for bloggers or artists using blogging sites for their main web pages. Please take the time to make sure you comment, rate with the star system, like and share from here as well. You can cut and paste your comment from Facebook to here to make it easier. It’s not that hard or time consuming and is a huge help to the author of the blog. Please make sure you also follow the blog. This way you can get all the updates to better help you spread the word and keep on top of the latest news.

Because of all the social media coming at you, the requests, the endless number of bands, singers, authors, writers, radio shows etc… asking everyone to do these things, it is important for you as the fan to really chose whom you want to support and help them stand out from the rest of the white noise out there on social media.

Everyone is trying to get noticed and draw attention to themselves, their show, their blog or whatever. That is fine. That is what they are supposed to do and there are many great ones out there, but you individually can’t do it for all of them. Chose your favorites and help make a difference for that artist. They need your support now more than ever as there is so much out there now, it is very hard to get people to notice you.

From the bottom of all of our hearts as entertainment people, THANK YOU for all that you do. None of it is worth it without you and no one could do it without you either. So again thank you for all of your past, present and future support from all of us.

Regards,

The Entertainment World.

P.S. A special shout out to Michelle Holland for being the embodiment of this message in her support of Richie Kotzen.


The Difference Between Those That Do Make It and Those That Don’t


Often those of us in the business in any capacity have the opportunity to work with very successful artists or entertainers and those that are still trying to get there. Of course this applies to any type of successful business or entrepreneur but we are talking entertainment here so let’s leave it at that. We get to see and observe things that those that make it do and those that can’t seem to get any traction don’t do. Of course there are always exceptions to the rule and I am sure that there are many things that won’t be listed this blog but here are some things I want to point out to help make it easier for all who read this to hopefully put into action to make everyone’s job easier and make teams stronger and easier to work with.

Successful entertainers surround themselves with positive people and then they take care of them. They don’t look to get them to work as hard as possible for as little as possible. They reward them for their hard work. Any business owner knows you pay your people who are working to make you a success first not the other way around. They don’t bring people on board and then sit there waiting for something to happen. They bring people on board and keep busting their ass to give those people something to work with. They keep working as hard as possible to be able to create the opportunities to make things happen. They listen to advice and feedback from their team and those that the team interacts with and makes changes as needed. They don’t make excuses or avoid making the hard decisions for change. Whether it be personnel changes, style changes, business changes etc. Successful artists give positive feed back to their team. They show up for meetings and are a part of the overall vision and plan. They don’t sit around waiting for everyone to do it for them. They are proactive and constantly push for the next big thing.

Too often in this business, people rest on their laurels or they have something good happen and they sit back and coast. You cannot do that. You have to keep moving forward. You have to learn how to create opportunities out of what you have everyday. People who truly want to do this for a living find a way to make things happen. The others make excuses. This business is nothing but hard work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There is no other way. Not everything tried will work but they know that. They make adjustments and keep trying new things. Successful artists don’t take no for answer, they don’t blame everyone else for what isn’t happening for them. They know that they are the product and that it’s a constant work in progress. They know that not everyone will get them, their music or art and they keep trying to find the ones that do.

Unsuccessful entertainers listen to their 30 friends or fans and let that lull them into complacency and think that people aren’t working hard for them. They don’t understand that they have to work just as hard and actually harder than their team. They don’t understand it’s a business. They don’t understand it’s their responsibility to set the bar high. They don’t understand setting goals and working hard to achieve them. They don’t understand cutting out the people that are holding them back.

In most business books your will find examples like “every successful” business trims the bottom 20% of fat every year.” This means they get rid of the things not working, not making them money or holding them back. That could mean clients, marketing, personnel or anything preventing them from reaching their goals. You have to make hard decisions sometimes no matter whom it affects to be able to move forward. It sucks but it’s true.

Most entertainers especially it seems musical ones aren’t business minded and we all know that. They are creative people and in many ways avoid hard work. That is why they are artists or entertainers. They thrive in the creative and not the analytical or structured world. Unfortunately, if you are an entertainer, it is your business and you have to operate in both. There is no one to blame but you when things aren’t getting done and I guarantee you, if things aren’t getting done many times it’s because the entertainer isn’t doing it. They aren’t getting their work done on time. They aren’t showing up for meetings. They aren’t working all the time. The team won’t bust their ass for an artist that isn’t busting theirs.

I recently started working with an artist and we got more done in the first two weeks then we did with any other artist because that artist gets it. They work all day, all night. They have a vision and nothing will stop them from achieving it. They learn what they need to learn to get their career to the next level. They listen to advice, implement it and run with it as fast as they can. This is what people are looking for. Nothing else will do. You want to make a living at this business? You better get your head straight and learn from this artists example.

I know there are many artists that want this dream and work hard to achieve it. I know sometimes they are confused and overwhelmed. The first and best thing to do is to do something. Don’t sit there and do nothing. Learn to get done what needs to get done. Don’t skimp on your career by not investing in your self, your education and learning.  Research your career choice and the things you need to know to get things done. If you don’t have a budget for websites, graphic design, etc… you better learn how to do it. Every business has to do this, not just artists. We all have to do this at times. We all have worked with people that don’t get it done even when paid so sometimes we just have to learn to do it ourselves unfortunately.

This business is so extremely hard. It’s very hard to make money in and it’s very hard to get noticed. Nothing but excellence will do. Do you have it in you?

Get out there and get it done! You can do it if you put your mind to it.

Good luck!


Making the Most of Every Opportunity


In this crazy entertainment business there are so many people who are working at it, trying to make it as a musician, actor, model, voice over talent etc…. and there so few really good paying gigs. It’s a dogfight to get noticed and grab the attention of those decision makers with all those other entertainers competing for the same jobs. But here is the real truth, there maybe millions of entertainers going for it, but there are very few that go the extra mile every time to make sure they bring the best of what they got to each individual project and make it the best it can be. This makes it a little easier to stand out and develop a reputation for yourself so that when someone like a promoter, producer, agent or whomever brings you to the table, they can rely on you whenever they need you. This will allow you to demand payment down the road by having proved what you can do for them on many different levels.

What won’t work is this sense of entitlement that many artists seem to have developed. Many feel that since they are “this popular” or “that they aren’t getting paid for this” they aren’t going to put in the extra effort. Trust me, people can see this coming a mile away and I can pretty much guarantee you that you won’t be called on again if this is how you represent yourself. If you agree to do something, then you are giving your word that you are professional and you had better bring your best effort each time. Everyone is relying on you. Just remember, more than likely everyone at this event is probably in the same boat you are.  They are all trying to make something big happen so they can make it to the next phase of their career as well as make money too. Don’t blow it for them because you can’t be professional.

One of the ways to avoid not being able to do what you signed up for is to not over commit yourself to too many projects. If you want to make the most of your opportunities, you will be so busy you can’t take on very many. This happens all the time with artists of all types so try and be very careful about your reputation and work ethic because word travels fast if don’t deliver, you are difficult to deal with or are unprofessional for any reason.

With each opportunity, not only do you need to be punctual, be responsible and know exactly what’s going on when it’s going on, you need to be able to see the big picture or vision of what this can do for you. To see every angle that you can capitalize on not just for yourself but the opportunity you are working on. In any major production, no one is going to baby sit you. It’s your job to know who, what, when, where and why or least to know where to find out.  Don’t expect them to contact you the way you desire because it’s what you prefer. They have many people to contact and they don’t have time to email 20 people here, text 10 here, Facebook 8 there. You are there to be professional, so make sure you check daily at least whatever system they use to communicate. It’s your responsibility to find out what is going on as long as they are consistent and you know where to look.

If it’s your event then you need to get as much out of it as possible whether it be your sales numbers, new video possibilities, gathering email addresses, acquiring new fans, future ticket sales, new opportunities and new contacts. There is so much you can do to maximize these opportunities and that can be staggering to think about but it is the business minded entertainers and that see these things and ACT on them. Most entertainers don’t do this no matter how many times they are told. They are stuck in such a rut and instead of focusing on business they are more interested in partying, drinking or whatever. It’s quite disheartening sometimes to be at an event and watch them just stand around not working and missing every potential opportunity as it just passes them by.

So here are just a few thoughts for you to think about. For every opportunity you get involved with, take the time to really think it out and how you can best take advantage of this moment to shine. Even if you do it for free, you gave your word and accepted the gig so you need to be professional and treat it like a paying gig. Do your absolute best and then some. Go above and beyond what you were brought in to do, promotion, connections, networking for new opportunities, creating content etc….

Remember, those that shine and bring the most to the table are the ones that come away with the most from each opportunity. They are the ones that get remembered, called back next time and most important talked about recommended to others. They become first call for other opportunities and that also puts you in a position to help others next time as now your opinion will matter and in many cases you will be asked whom you know to help out in some sort of manner.

Work as hard as you can and bust your ass each and every time and great things will happen for you!

Good luck!

Note: You can also find this article on Metalholic Magazine here: http://metalholic.com/making-the-most-of-every-opportunity/


From a Different Point of View


 By David Lowry

Many times when we read about money in the entertainment business, it’s from the perspective of what the artist makes. Most articles center on how artists are taken advantage of and that the “business” people are just greedy jack asses who do nothing for their money. Well for this blog we are flipping this point of view to that of the business that is putting everything on the line for the small artists that have no money, no fan base, have been gone so long that you have to basically start over or not enough tour dates to pay anyone for their time.

When an artist brings on a team member such as a manager, booking agent or PR consultant the artists considers it “hiring” this particular team member or members. Well if you aren’t paying the team member what his or her hourly fee or retainer is and your average show guarantee is say less that $2,500 per, then you haven’t “hired” anyone. What has happened, is the team member believes that artist is worth the extra work and lesser amount of pay at least for a short while unless the artist isn’t building up their business. If the artist isn’t building their business, then the team member will look elsewhere for it’s cash flow so it can stay in business. Making a small percentage of a tiny door deal where the artist can’t get 30 people into a room let alone sell it out is not enough money for anyone to survive on. Now most of the time, an artist like this doesn’t need any team members, but let’s say that an artist was lucky enough to find someone to help them in spite of the lack of fan base, gigs or cash flow behind them.

First off, if the artist is tiny and not established, then the artist needs to be realistic and know they are not going to get the bulk of the team member’s time. If the team member is working as hard as they can with what they have, then they expect the artist to do the same. That means everyone who gets on that stage and plays is responsible to work as hard as they can. Not just one of the band members. I know with my business, we make it abundantly clear before anything is signed, that if the artist doesn’t work as hard as we do then we will let them go. There are no guarantees in this business and we don’t want to waste time with artists that don’t work every inch of their career to the max.

What does this mean for the artist? It means that the artist needs to promote every show as much as possible in every form of media possible as much as they can. It means that they need to make sure that they sell as many tickets as possible so that everyone is making more money for the amount of work the artist isn’t already paying them. That means texting if no shows up, it means emailing last minute, it means having a superior social media campaign etc… this especially important for your booking agent to make money but also to be more effective in getting you better gigs. It means making sure you sell more merchandise at every show by being proactive and manning your merch booth, walking the venue with your product to sell. Engaging the crowd the whole time you are there. It means that understanding your job isn’t done until the bar is closing down. Once you get off the stage, you don’t head to the bar and drink. You work the crowd the whole night. These are your working hours. This is your opportunity to make the money you are complaining about that you don’t make. Your team can’t do this for you but it is why they work so hard to get you in this position. This is your time to shine.

This also means making sure your merch is in good shape. No crappy stickers, no broken plexi-glass holders, no pens that don’t work. Your merch area should be professional, clean and able to showcase your products and band to it’s utmost. It means always having a cash box with cash for your shows after we have told you a million times. It means having a checklist for your shows so you don’t forget anything after we have told you a million times. This is common sense stuff that for some reason has to be repeated over and over again. Eventually, we just quit telling those artists that just don’t care enough to make it happen.

I can’t tell you how many times an artist hasn’t paid our commission or fees to us but still expect us to work on their career. Has asked us to take less then our fee so they could make more. Has complained that because they knew someone at the venue they shouldn’t have to pay us what the contract states even though we booked the gig and the artist had nothing to do with it. Have made us push dates back time after time so we work three times as hard to just get paid way down the road. Has demanded we pay them the day of the gig but is always late paying us. If you aren’t paying us what the contract states, if you haven’t busted your ass for every second trying to get as many tickets sold or sell as much merch as you can, then you we don’t work for you. You haven’t hired us, you lied to us about how hard you were going to work and that you were going to do whatever it takes. Do you go to your day job and let them tell you they don’t want to pay you as much because they can’t afford it? Do you go to work everyday expecting to not receive a check?  Do you go to work every day to work for free? Don’t you go to work every day expecting the company that “hired” you to be able to grow their revenue to pay you your salary? Well guess what, we expect the same from you.

We aren’t going to babysit artists anymore that can’t get their business together. This isn’t the old days when contracts were huge and everyone had money to throw at an artist so the team actually made good money. It’s a new day, a new age in the music business and it’s harder than ever for your team members to make things happen for you. They aren’t going to do it for free, they aren’t going to “just believe in you,” especially since we see how most artists don’t have the work ethic needed to make this happen today we aren’t going to do it for a discount and we aren’t going to spend vast amounts of time on an artist that can’t sell 10 tickets on average per show.

You see, businesses like ours project how much income they see coming based on what the artists have coming in from bookings, deals, retainers and the like. If the artist arbitrarily decides it doesn’t want to pay, wants to pay less (which happens all the time) or constantly cancels dates or pushes them back, then it puts the team members in a very bad position and they aren’t going to work as hard on you and it makes you unprofessional. You are now an untrustworthy client on which you can’t be relied on and so your team members will find clients that can. You are messing with peoples livelihoods.

If the artist can’t commit to bring the absolute best work ethic, product and show to the table to make sure they are making as much money for their team as possible, they should never expect it from the team that is getting paid nothing to almost nothing. If you don’t want it bad enough to work your ass off, pay the people you “hire” and make sure you have a fighting chance at making this career, then don’t ever “hire” a team member. You can’t afford it and you shouldn’t ever treat your team like that. They are expecting you to bring it every show so they can make as much money as possible just like you are trying to do for your career. Remember, this is a team. A team works together to make it happen, not just the team members making the artist more money. If you want your team to make you as much money as possible, you should be doing the same for them as well especially in your beginning stages.

I hope this helps you see it from our perspective a bit. It’s not meant to be an harsh blog, it’s meant to point out that this is a business and we all have bills to pay and we can’t work with people who won’t do everything possible to make the team they “hired” as much money as possible to survive just like they expect the team to do for them.

Best of luck!