It’s still technically winter-time at the time of writing this post, but before you know it, it’s going to be spring and there’s a good chance that you’re thinking of releasing a new album. I’ve read at least a dozen articles with people who make sweeping claims like “Don’t release in January” that quite honestly don’t have any idea what the hell they’re talking about. When you should release your album depends on A LOT of factors and there’s no simple reason why you should pick one month over another. It all has to do with what your plans are AFTER the release. Let’s take a look.
The Music Industry
Thinks Out Loud
I’m doing my taxes this week.
If it helps you maintain my “image”, imagine I’m A.) really sad about it, philosophically pondering how Western Civilization and Capitalism got to the point that I, one whose job it is to write poems and sing them so that we can momentarily forget about these things, am sitting at a computer figuring up royalties to the .000000000000001th decimal point. (this part is actually true.) and B.) Not wearing glasses and my hair looks super cool. (this part is not true.)
In the increasingly difficult world of getting your music heard, indie artists are being supplied with unparalleled tools in the form of social media, web sites specializing in “helping” musicians with marketing, and audio platforms which promise unlimited access to the public.
This is the time of year where many artists many artists are starting to get their SXSW rejection letters. It’s also the time of year where you’ll see many contests on Sonicbids, ReverbNation, and other sites that try to have you have your fans vote your way into a slot at the festival. However, eager artists who want to break into the music industry will begin finding other ways to a part of the action and that includes unofficial SXSW showcases or other festivals taking place in Austin at the same time. Before you jump at any of these opportunities, you better educate yourself.
When you hear, “It’s all who you know,” it sounds so intimidating - like you need to be a former roommate of Mark Zuckerburg, cousins with Richard Branson, and dating Taylor Swift.
But simply contacting a stranger can lead to a worldwide network of connections.
If you’re a musician, you probably get asked whether you do original songs or covers. And as unassuming as that question sounds, it’s actually a hornet’s nest buzzing with speculation on your intent, ambition, and talent. Do you have your own thoughts? Do you have something engaging and identifiable to say? Or do you just echo the ideas of other writers?
Are you an artist or a mimic?
The Music Industry
Thinks Out Loud
I released my most recent album called “Tea for Tyrants” under the following three guidelines: 1) Music is free 2) Music is everywhere and 3) Music needs context. The price tag of free makes it unrealistic to expect strangers will pay to consume my music through standard channels - iTunes, bandcamp, etc. Similarly, the ubiquity of music reduces the likelihood that my music will attract large audiences at live events to generate significant revenue.
When emailing a band’s management for the first time, you only have a few chances to get our attention. Mess that up, and your email is lost.
Below is a list of common mistakes and pet peeves from years of receiving emails, along with suggestions for ways to improve your communication to people you do not already know. Reading this will increase your chance of the support slot, or the desired response you hope for.
Remember, we are all people, trying hard to share music, just like you.
10 Questions Artists Should Ask Themselves at the Beginning of Their Careers (To Increase their Chances of Success)
Every young artist has their reasons for working hard at their music, yet so rarely do they ever define these reasons to themselves, bandmates, and their team. Some reflective thinking and sharing could lead to a great deal of clarity when running your business (well, band). I’ve seen success get in the way of an artist’s core values and goals too many times. Sure, goals are allowed to change and augment, as circumstances do, but too often do great goals get lost, and that bands fold on the brink of their success, and abandon everything they have worked so hard for. Thinking about these questions and sharing the answers with your team might be hard, but it could help bring you back to what’s important OR save you from wasting your time with the wrong team, and pursuing your career aimlessly in different directions that will never connect.
As of a few days ago, you can now add 6 second videos to your tweets to spice them up a little bit. The start-up company Vine makes it incredibly easy to create and share bite-sized videos that have a lot of potential in the music marketing world.
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(Updated January 13, 2016)