Running A Band From A Project Management Perspective
October 9, 2018
Daniel Matthews in DIY, DIY management, Managing, band management, collaboration music projects, creative, tech
I know you’re like, “Why on Earth would anyone use a project management perspective to run a band?” Either that or you’re like, “Yes! Project management in a band is absolutely essential!” Whether you’re a naysayer or a believer, this post is for you. 
Project management can seem like it’s just business — all work and no play, while music is definitely about play. If you’re not having fun in a band, why do it? But I would like to submit to you that taking a project management perspective in a band can be fun. Plus, there’s the added bonus of actually getting things done.
Through the internet, you can DIY your entire band operation, in which case there’s no annoying oversite from anyone. However, there’s a major risk. If you’re going to take the reins and do what must be done, there could be some tension due to band politics. Internal tension, drama, politics, and money issues are the primary reasons bands break up. 
That’s exactly why I’m writing this post. Below, you’ll find out how to avoid the pitfalls of managing a band like it’s a business; start here, and you’ll be able to move ahead with creating great material, playing great shows, and linking up with the best people in the music industry.   

DO NOT Micromanage This Project

 
Your band is a project and you’re ready to manage it. Think first about how to do this without micromanaging. Micromanagement leads to project failure because there’s no flexibility, people end up quitting the band, and you wear out quickly. That, and you come across as a jerk. 
Instead of delineating all tasks and bugging your bandmates about them constantly, establish roles through open communication. Set up a meeting and talk with them about what everyone wants to achieve. Then, figure who is best at what.
 
There’s almost always a more social, communicative person in the band. Who wants to talk with booking agents, promoters and venues about shows? When it comes to merch and art, who can talk to visual artists, photographers, and designers?
  
There’s the tech person. Does anyone in the band have access to recording equipment, and if so, who can do a DIY recording?
 
There’s the songwriter. Can your band aim to nail a certain number of new songs per month? 
 
There’s the internet-savvy person who is constantly checking their Instagram. Can this person spend a certain amount of time each week establishing and maintaining your band’s online persona? Can they go further and do some marketing?
You get the drift. Many times members will be taking on multiple roles. The key is to establish roles by asking questions, then set measurable, realistic, time-bound goals.

DO Use Tech to Rock Your Objectives 

Project managers are those special souls who are good at figuring out all the right tools a band needs, how to use them, and how best to use them to help everyone correspond. You’ve sat down with the group, you’ve decided on roles, and you’ve established immediate goals. Now it’s time to agree on tasks and use the right tools.
Project management software is a good solution if you’re going to be charging ahead with a lot of tasks all at the same time — and you should be. PM software is command central, it’s a place for organization and completion. I understand if this is a little too business-like for you, but at the same time, PM software is a good way to be very official about completing essential tasks. You just create the task, set a due date, and everyone collaborates on getting things done. 
Adobe Creative Cloud is a suite of tools that allow you to DIY on all sorts of stuff your band needs. You can edit video, create a website, edit images and photos, and create flyers. Since it’s on the cloud, it’s easy for everyone in the band to collaborate and create.
As far as booking gigs goes, that is a multi-headed beast. When it comes to outreach, your best bet is email and Facebook. These are essential tools and I wouldn’t waste your time with email outreach software — each email and message must be personable and personalized. Be polite and passionate, and make sure people understand you’re a human being representing a band that has its act together.
There are multiple free apps you can use, and among these, Instagress and TubeBuddy are great time savers. Instagress automates your Instagram marketing while TubeBuddy helps you setup your videos for YouTube. BandsinTown is cool because it helps you market your shows and saves you a lot of time in that respect. BigCartel allows you to sell all merch easily online. 
Then there’s music publishing, which can include Kobalt, Songtrust, or TuneCore. Before you hook into any of these services, be aware that you’re paying them to do work your band could do on its own. The reason why you might want to go for it is digital publishing, rights retention, YouTube management, and all the rest take a lot of time and you have to navigate legalities. These services act in place of traditional record labels so you can manage the band, create music, and make money without worrying about boring technicalities.

Project Management Equals Strategy and Execution     

In the age of DIY music, managing your band professionally is an absolute must. Follow the formula of figuring out each bandmate’s role, your band’s goals/timeline, tasks to accomplish goals, and tech to accomplish tasks.
Eventually someone else will do this for you, but only if you do it well in the first place. When no one manages the band, the band doesn’t make any headway, and a professional manager will not be interested in working with you because you’re not big enough yet. Manage your band well, and a pro manager will view your music as an opportunity they can’t pass up.  

 

Article originally appeared on Music Think Tank (http://www.musicthinktank.com/).
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