Quick. Simple. And they make a huge impact. What’s not to love?
#1 Remember Peoples’ Names
Ya, ya, ya. You meet a lot of people… we get it. But if you want people to remember your name, you’d better sure as hell remember theirs. Find a good system. Make notes. Facebook stalk. Anything.
#2 Send Thank You Notes
A small and simple gesture that goes a long way toward ensuring that you leave a great impression.
#3 Database Relentlessly
Keep organized and detailed databases of your mailing list, local media, your supporters, promoters, and everything else. This will save you tons of time and help you manage relationships with ease. There’s a kazillion great databasing tools out there and a simple spreadsheet does the trick as well.
#4 Role Play
Now this is a fun one! As an indie band you often need to wear a number of different hats. One minute you are a publicist, the next you’re an agent, and the next you’re a merchandiser. It can happen so fast sometimes that it’s easy to forget the intricacies that make each of these professionals so good at their jobs. Every time you write an email or make a call in one of these roles, approach it as if you are the best publicist, agent, or merchandiser in the world and think about what a professional in that field would do. Then do it. This will help people see you in a professional light.
#5 Read Up
Being well read will do more for you then make you look cool while schmoozing industry types. Watching the industry and keeping tabs on changes and best practices will allow you to make the best strategic decisions possible, and managing a band or being in one is all about strategic decisions. Websites like Hypebot and Billboard Biz are good starting points.
#6 Learn How to do a Proper Show Advance
There are subtle intricacies that go into having a show run smoothly and a promoter walking out thinking you’re a professional. Lots of those start with a great advance. Take a moment to learn from a professional on what a good advance looks like. Here is a good article to get you started: DIY Musician.
#7 Always Update your Materials
Don’t make excuses for old websites and demos when sending it around to industry – as a person who receives those emails constantly, they now read as, “Don’t waste your time clicking on this because it’s going to suck, and even if it’s awesome I’m not so confident in it myself…so never mind.” It’s like a limp handshake. If you send someone something you should stand behind it and ensure it is the best presentation of your band, otherwise forget about sending it! I know it can be hard to keep up, but find systems and tools that help you stay on top of it (pretty please).
#8 Don’t be Sketchy About Paying People
Being reliable and easy to deal with needs to carry through to your money dealings as well. When someone does work for you, no matter how discounted, it is a sign of good faith to pay them quickly. It shows you value their time and appreciate their support. This will go a long way in the relationship and allow you to use them again for discounted work. If you don’t have the cash flow at the time that you need it (it happens) be upfront and clear about when you can pay. Set a plan and stick to that plan religiously. The minute any professional realizes you are not reliable when it comes to paying bills is the minute they question how much energy they can invest in your project.
#9 Hire an Amazing Designer
Your brand and artist logo is SO immensely important. Great designers have a special talent that comes with many years of experience in their craft. You can’t take shortcuts with this important step in presenting your brand to the public.
#10 Protect Your Assets
Gear ain’t cheap and there’re mean, mean people in the world who like to steal it and sell it on Craigslist. Get your gear insured by a reputable insurance company. The cost of a plan is much less than the cost of having to re-buy everything. Also always load in/out when you can. Don’t leave your gear in the van overnight if you can avoid it and, if you have to, park the back doors tightly against a wall. Padlock the back doors. Don’t take any chances.
#11 Ask the Right Questions
Sometimes it’s hard to know what the right questions are, but if you sit down with the band before an important meeting and do some prep work, the right questions will usually uncover themselves. If you don’t understand something, ask for it to be spelled out. If you have a concern, voice it! Asking the tough questions is what a good manager’s job is. If you don’t have a manager, you have to learn to ask these questions yourself.
#12 Go Direct to Fan Whenever Possible
Interact and spend hours with your fans. They are the most important thing you’ve got. Learn from them, take their feedback, and inspire them to fall in love and promote your band from the heart. This will be the key to your success if you play your cards right. Amazing platforms like PledgeMusic and your various social platforms make this an easy feat. Don’t miss key opportunities for interaction and engagement.
#13 Be Patient
If you stay focused and work hard you should start to see some great results. But nothing happens overnight.
#14 Be Humble
Appreciate everything you have and get to do. Share your credit, wealth, and glory with those around you who helped you get there.
#15 Expect Nothing
You are not owed anything. Thinking that you are will only drive your dreams further in the wrong direction and push away the people you need to bring those dreams closer.
Good luck friends! Being an artist can be the trickiest but most rewarding profession of all. I hope you find these quick tips helpful! Let me know what I might have missed @SARIDELMAR.
Thanks for reading!
Sari Delmar is the Founder and CEO of Audio Blood, Canada’s leading creative artist and brand marketing company. Through unique PR and promotional packages, Audio Blood continues to be on the cutting edge of music marketing and promotion. Their client roster includes the likes of Pistonhead Lager, PledgeMusic, Iceland Airwaves, Canadian Music Week, Riot Fest, Beau’s All Natural Brewing, The Balconies, Ben Caplan, and more. At the age of 24, Sari leads a team of 10 out of the company HQ in Toronto, Ontario, has spoken at a number of music conferences and colleges, and sits on the Toronto Music Advisory Council. Read more from Sari at SariDelmar.com