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Advice for bands

Once upon a time, someone in a band asked me for some advice. Because I have been working with bands for years, he thought I might have some suggestions for him. I thought about that a while, and think I came up with a few ideas that may (or may not) be useful (depending on the circumstances).

But on second thought, it seems to me that advice is worth what you pay for it.

So feel free to ignore anything (everything) that I have written here. :-)

To CD or not to CD. That is the question. Whether 'tis ...

CDs: Yes, you should make a CD of your band. No, you shouldn't expect a lot of sales. Even so, if you can record a CD at a low cost, and duplicate your CD for minimal expense, then you should do it. Many people who attend live performances, will show their appreciation by buying CDs, t-shirts, ... if they are priced reasonably. CDs are still good promotional tools. You can give copies to D.J.s, club owners, bands playing on the same bill, ... If you want someone to remember you, giving them your CD is a good way to do that. Needless to say, every CD should have the full band contact information, including phone number, e-mail and web address.

E-mail list / web site: The cost to send e-mail is very small. So it is worth your while to collect e-mail addresses. And then be sure to send out electronic notification for every performance / event. Have a web site. You don't want any of your fans to forget who you are. You should have band photos, MP3s and / or videos, upcoming show list, band contact information (phone number / e-mail) ...

Merchandise table: If you want to sell product, you need to have it available when the fan is ready to buy. You have to have a merchandise table. The merchandise table needs to be set up before you start your performance, until some time after you finish performing. Keep in mind, that not everybody will stay until the end of your performance. If your product is available for purchase during your performance, then people that need to leave early can still buy something. T-shirts, stickers, caps, ... are also good items to sell at your table. You should also have business cards available.

Tip Jar: While it is not always appropriate for you to set up a tip jar at every performance (or a merchandise table), where it is appropriate, sometimes people who are not interested in buying a CD or t-shirt, may be willing to drop a buck or two in the tip jar.

Promotion: This word covers a multitude of sins. Keep in mind that it is not just club bookers you need to be aware of. There are times when audience members are looking to book a band for a private party. Or, another band is looking for an opening act for one of their shows. There will be times when it is more important to play a particular event, than it is to get paid.

Don't get discouraged: 95% to 99% of the people who wander into your performance, will not buy merchandise, will not sign up for the e-mail list (or if they do, they will not attend future performances), will not leave tips, will not ... Don't worry about it. If making music is important to you, weather you have an audience is not important, you can continue to make music for the rest of your life. Once you can cultivate that attitude, then weather you are performing for the bartenders and waitresses or for a sold out crowd you will be having a good time. The audience can tell if you are having a good time, and will enjoy your performance more if you are enjoying performing.

Chrome Oxide
have audio recorder will travel

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Last updated by Chrome Oxide on 09/27/2008

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