Music Industry Basics that I have learned (by no means comprehensive!!)

Tomorrow I am chatting with some TAFE students about promotion and music industry in general. Thought I would chuck these tips I nutted out up here for them so they can read them later.

– Get out there and DO IT as well as studying! Everything you learn from a book will become so much more real and you will learn so much more. Things don’t EVER go as easily as a textbook or someone’s advice will tell you.

– Go to shows yourself and meet people – Networks are all important. You never know who you will meet at a show, whether its bands or industry people. Keep all of your contact database safe. Backup your phone contacts and ensure that you have people’s email addresses saved in a database, as well as in your email program.

– Be genuine and real in all of your contact with industry and bands in whatever medium: email, online, face to face, phone conversations.

– Start small, get big! Don’t aim to run a major festival for your first event. Promote and run a gig at your local pub and put your friend’s bands on the bill. When it goes really well, you will quickly find yourself fielding booking requests.

– Under-Promise and Over-Deliver. Don’t kid yourself or anyone else that your band or your gig will pull thousands of people to a venue or promoter or sell thousands of records to a record label. If your gig will deliver 50 people, then prepare to expect that – or promote harder or find new ways to get the word out there.

– If in a band: Be realistic in your expectations. Don’t expect that your friends will come to every gig or that they will be there to come to your gigs forever. Aim to create FANS.

– Collect Data. Give free stuff (MP3’s, videos, discount codes etc) for emails and details like Name, Birthday and Postcode. Use something like Bandcamp or Google Analytics to collect this.

– Managers or Bands: Maintain band-to-fan connections like crazy. Ensure these are well-serviced and fans feel like they are getting their worth from the band and not being taken for granted.

– When emailing industry, don’t be a hassle. Industry people are VERY busy people. DO NOT email industry people with a sentence in the topic line and nothing in the body. Ask politely and be friendly. Make sure you have all of your contact details in a signature at the bottom of your email i.e. Name, Title, Bands Represented, Phone number, Email Address, Facebook URL, Twitter URL, Website URL. BE CONTACTABLE.

– Use an appropriate email. Where possible, have your own E-Mail server. This can be set up through your domain service and using Gmail as your mail server for very cheap. Alternatively, use GMAIL and choose something appropriate like or will not get you a response.

– Keep emails short and succinct – anything that smells of desperation will quickly be dismissed, so avoid trying to oversell something to an industry worker. Keep it to the key points.

– Confidence, not arrogance. It’s one thing to be confident that your band can deliver the goods at a gig, it’s another to claim things like “best band since The Beatles” or that you are “incendiary.”

– Fans-Up and Industry-Down seems to be the path to take. Build a fanbase and ensure that they are following you and your career and truly supporting you by being fair and give them plenty of reason to love your band. Make a network of industry people and ensure that they are well aware of your band and your achievements. Not every one of them will always be able to help directly, but those networks will pay off when they are talking to someone who might be interested in what you are doing.

– RESEARCH. Don’t approach inappropriate people to help you. If you are an acoustic singer-songwriter, don’t send the hip-hop or hardcore label your music. Don’t just shotgun-scatter your music.

– What skills does your band have? Is there someone who has graphic design skills? Is there someone who can get printing done cheap or free? Is there someone who can code websites? Assign these roles in the band.

– Have a band agreement. What happens if the band breaks up? etc.

– Sign up to APRA.


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