Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


It's important to understand the commerce needs of local businesses and how you can help them help you. Not only are you a band of artists, you are a small business owner, and you need the support of the local community to attract the attention of the national community. For example, a club owner wants to sell liquor, radio stations want to sell advertisement, and your band wants to sell music. You'll have to learn to accept criticism and rejection during this process. When you're discussing business and the commerce it is important to set aside personal feelings about your music and just talk business. Business is numbers and results.

For example, if you're playing a club and the owner thinks you should play more covers and less originals, this is not a "slam" on you original music. The club owner is just trying to sell alcohol and needs patrons. Another example: if the local radio station won't play certain songs of yours because the production value needs work or the song doesn't fit, they are just trying to increase listeners ...learn from that.

You need support from your local media and local merchants to grow your fan base. When the local radio station starts to give you some airplay and support, this will help increase your attendance at the club. By increasing the club's business, they in turnwill usually increase their media buys, which helps the radio station and you. Stay loyal to the radio station that supports you in the beginning and the club that's giving you a gig.

You're now becoming the hottest thing in town!

By increasing your following, you have increased your leverage as a small business in the community. Your band now has a high profile and local celebrity status in which the community, as a whole, has a stake.
Work with the radio station's promotions director to make appearances at even larger upcoming events, such as opening for a headliner.

Assuming you've made some hard choices, honed your show and set list, writing and producing better music, you are well on your to the next level: SPONSORSHIPS, which I will cover in my next Blog.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Make a business plan
You are all equal business partners with equal responsibilities, with the attitude of "all for one, one for all". There are no split decisions. Like Congress, you lobby for your ideas, and put them to a vote, until a unanimous decision is made. Good or bad, you all must take ownership of that decision. If a decision cannot be made, respect the other members and rethink the idea. This is collaboration, and in order for a band to succeed, egos must be set aside. In order to create, you must collaborate. If by now you still feel like you have the right combination of members, you set up the business. The business plan defines the partners, their contributions, the property and the mission.

A). The property will consist of original music copyrights, the master recordings of the original music, the band's domain and name, along with merchandising rights of the band's brand and production equipment (however, I believe each member is responsible for his* own gear).

B). The band's LLC model should look something like this. Let's say there are four band members. Start with a total of 150 shares of stock. 25 shares for each member, with 50 shares in a reserve, which could be sold to raise capital for the band, add another member, or other components, such as a manager.

C). Contribution. Each member has to contribute something in return for their shares. For example, one member may have a van or trailer for transportation. One member may already own some production equipment. One member may own and operate recording equipment. One member may have already written several songs to contribute. One may have cash, or a place he can offer for rehearsal of storage space. If you are uncomfortable contributing "hard assets", then your contribution would be services and the use of those hard assets in return for your ownership. Whether you're in charge of transportation, bookings accounting, web design, art design, recording engineer, etc., each member must feel their contribution is equally matched by other members. Accountability is crucial, so everyone knows each member is pulling his* weight.

Note: The business plan will also include a marketing plan, which I will blog about in detail at a later time.

You may ask the question, "Why don't we just hire someone to take care of all this stuff, so we can focus on the music only?" My answer to that is, if you are to survive as a band, you will have to learn to work together, live together, and play together. That is why so few bands stay together. You have to become a unit, a brotherhood, a family, and ultimately a BAND!

My next blog: "Thriving In Your Local Music Scene"
Topics: Marketing, Bookings, Media and Sponsorships.

* used in this context is referring to the universal usage meaning both his and/or her. I do this only for the sake of continuity. In no way is meant to discourage women, or imply they are not in bands.

Monday, February 16, 2009


Define your music
This is a tough one and it can create dissension and fighting among members. The best approach to defining your music would be for each member to voice his* opinion as to the best genre the band's music best fits. A tip would be to listen to the different radio formats in your community, and try to envision your singer and your sound working within that stations format. This doesn't mean you have to completely conform, or copy something that has already been done, but you must have a base from which you can creatively branch out from. Settle and agree on that and remember to be open and willing to make some compromised for the "good of the whole".

Define the name and the brand
The name of the band should encompass a look and a feel that best fits the sound of the music. As you are thinking up names, check to make sure you can own the .com (domain) before settling on the band's final name. Once you have found the right band members, the right name and defined its goals, it is time to commit to a business plan.

Next post: The fourth and final step in getting started as an artist/group

* used in this context is referring to the universal usage meaning both his and/or her. I do this only for the sake of continuity. In no way is meant to discourage women, or imply they are not in bands.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


This is the first in a series of blogs I will be posting in order to lend advice to those who are interested in achieving national recognition and creating a business model to get there. I will be discussing pitfalls to avoid, answers to frequently asked questions and will hopefully offer a road map that will ensure success. I will use the example of a band, but the same rules will apply to the solo artist as well. I use the band scenario because it is the most difficult to hold together. In essence, it is a democracy of a group of independent-thinking individuals, making compromises in order to achieve a specific goal.

The first question usually is "How do we get started?” I will begin with the basics that a band needs to fulfill its goals.

All too often, we have big dreams, big plans, but we are missing the small, mundane details that get us there. Paying attention to these small details can make a big difference, and you can avoid fighting within the group. Remember, you are a democracy, as well as business partners, and no individual is as important as the sum of the whole.

Define the goal of the band.
If the goal is to compete on the National Scene, each member must be dedicated to his* craft and instrument. The road map to the ultimate goal takes sacrifice, dedication, and execution. You should hold a meeting to see if you have the right members, people who are willing to go "all the way". Some members may have bigger responsibilities, such as: family, kids or a good job that doesn't allow them to be flexible to pursue such a goal. In that case, they should treat music as a hobby they can enjoy with others in similar situations on a local level only...and that's ok. The band has to share one common goal, upon which they all must agree.

Next Post: Steps 2 and 3 to getting started

* used in this context is referring to the universal usage meaning both his and/or her. I do this only for the sake of continuity. In no way is meant to discourage women, or imply they are not in bands.