Hey there friends! If you're just now discovering #AdvicebytheSlice, DON'T WORRY. We have you covered. At the top of 2017 we (Ron & Blair, Brooklyn Basement Records co-founders) decided to start a blog based on our knowledge of the industry. Through our partnership as a manager/artist duo we've learned from plenty of our failures (and some awesome successes!). We've been writing on this little piece of internet for 13 weeks now, so we thought it might be a good time for a recap.
Our first piece of advice is to make a good product. Sounds kind of ridiculous when you see it written out, right? Well, we think so too, but in an age where anyone and everyone CAN put out their song/EP/record does not necessarily mean they SHOULD. You see… we were once brand newbies also. Hearing the sound of your (or your artist’s) recorded voice coming out from your computer speakers can definitely be exciting, but it’s time to put on the breaks right there. Screech to a halt, my friends, and ask yourself one thing: “Is my mom the only person who has heard this and thinks it’s great?”
#2 - Make it Your Job
One of the first pieces of advice Ron gives to musicians just starting out is this: make it your job even when it isn’t your job. You know that old adage “dress for the job you want, not the one you have” -- it’s sort of like that. Even if you have a manager, you always need to stay on top of what’s going on with your career. If you’re just starting out, your manager will have a very limited reach in terms of what they can do for you -- you need to help them out and play your part. If you don’t have a manager, you need to self-manage and work on making it worthwhile for someone to manage you.
#3 - Go Brand Yourself
Everything you do as a recording artist, from the records to the bio to the photos to the videos to your performances to your social media etc etc etc should feel like it’s coming from one place. The photos you use should attempt to convey some kind of idea about what the music will sound like, the website needs to have the same photos on it as the social media page so that when people see that primary press photo you’re using, they go “Oh! Yeah, that’s the This & That Band with that song Such & Such. Love that band!” Your videos should look like they make sense. Does this look like a video concept that makes sense for the This & That Band? If not, go back to the drawing board.
#4 - Make Friends
Friends help friends out!
If you don’t want it more than everyone around you, then you don’t want it enough. If you’re not willing to go broke and miss a few meals, you should take that job at the bank, because the music business is not for you.
#6 - Get an Email List!
Quick tips on how to not burn out your email list
Some artists instinctively have a pretty good idea of what they should be doing to advance their careers. Others are lost little puppies, barking up the wrong tree and getting sad when no one pays attention to them. If you are that puppy then this post is for you (we’ve all been that puppy). If you feel like you’re in a rut and things aren’t progressing like you’d like them to, then I suggest giving yourself some extra tasks (with all of that free time, ha). I even suggest taking it a step further and writing them down. There’s something about seeing something in front of your face that makes you feel a little more like staying on track.
#8 - Have a Plan
Planning stuff out is an easy, FREE, way to make your life less miserable and wayyyyy less stressful... Let me also be clear about something - ALMOST NO ONE IN THE INDEPENDENT WORLD DOES THIS. We are constantly getting praise for being organized and having a plan.
You need to check off a few more things before you book that gig. There’s a couple of reasons for thinking this way - ONE - you literally aren’t ready. As in: your set list is not thought out, your transitions are lacking, and your band isn’t tight.
Six tips for indie artists that make their way to Austin each year
You’re finally out playing gigs! Time to hire a friend to sell merch so you don’t have to worry about carrying boxes of t-shirts and talking to strangers, right? No, of course not...this is obviously a setup and now I’m going to explain to you why that’s the wrong idea. You know how I do… When you’re starting out, you should shake every hand and kiss every baby. Where can you interact with lots of your fans and perhaps get them to help pay for the next tank of gas in that van (the one that gets 4 miles per gallon)? You guessed it; at the merch table.
#12 - Have a Routine
There’s something about saying “have a routine” that just inherently sounds boring. However, as a full-time artist manager, owner/operator of Brooklyn Basement Records, and part time cool side project taker-on-er (that’s a thing), I can tell you that the most productive & successful people I know (creative or otherwise) work off of some sort of routine. Remember when I said we’d come back to having a routine? Don’t freak out, but here we are! It’s an invaluable piece of your career that you can learn to do. That’s right - you don’t have to be Type A to make this work for you - you can totally learn this.
One of my biggest pet peeves (there are lots of them if you haven’t noticed) is when a band reaches out to me and doesn’t link one single website or social site. I assume they want me to use my spare time to sort through google and hope I find the correct band named “BAND” -- even worse when they don’t even HAVE a website.
That's it for now! Tune in next week when we'll be on topic #14. Anything anyone has questions on so far? If so, give us a shout at email@example.com or get in touch on any of the BBR socials.