Musicians are expected to be everywhere these days. We’re interacting on social networks, following up on blog comments, keeping our profiles on countless music sites up to date, and checking our stats and analytics with a variety of online tools. It’s enough to make a lifelong indie yearn for a label - one with a marketing department!
Most of these items don’t need to be addressed daily, but they do need to be performed on a regular basis. Tasks that have to be done on a given day, I schedule. Everything else is relegated to The Weekly Batch™ (note: not actually trademarked). I tackle the entire list as a single to-do item on Friday afternoons, when I find it hard to do much of anything else.
Here’s my latest iteration:
1. File Maintenance
- Archive completed projects to my FTP server
- Empty my downloads folder
- Clean out my Dropbox
2. Mailing List
To expedite the process, I have the relevant pages of each site bookmarked in a folder. When it’s time to update my mailing list, I select “open in tabs” and work through them sequentially.
3. Weekly Bookmarks
The main event: a 20+ item folder of bookmarks cataloguing my online presence. A to-do list within a to-do list within a to-do list!
- Last.fm - reply to shouts, accept friend requests, check play stats
- Hitlantis - watch my bubble grow, monitor wall
- OurStage - enter monthly channel competition
- Grooveshark - check play stats, reply to comments
- YouTube - check play stats, reply to comments
- Jango (Radio Airplay) - allocate play credits, read comments
- Facebook - scan for posts by others I may have missed
- Next Big Sound - a quick glance at my stats
- Musicmetric - same, particularly global rank
- Klout - check for new perks (I recently got free $300 headphones!)
- TwitterCounter - a clean view of my Twitter growth
- Google Analytics - see how people arrive at my sites
- Songtrust - check for royalty payments
- Facebook Ads - check the performance of promoted posts
- Twitter Ads - happily paying $0.01 per new follower
- Vagex - check referral credits (haven’t used any on my videos since my article)
- Amazon Seller Central - review my inventory and pricing
- ReverbNation Opportunities - review and submit my EPK
Whether I comment on a running site or the Ableton forums, I bookmark each post to check for replies. If it’s time-sensitive, I’ll subscribe to instant notifications. Otherwise, it can wait until Friday.
Place any new clippings in their proper notebook. Evernote is my filing cabinet for basically everything: articles, receipts, project notes, contracts, manuals, song ideas, etc.
Review and categorize the week’s financial transactions in Mint.
6. Weekly Review
The framework around which the entire batch was built: a simplified knock-off of a key element of David Allen’s Getting Things Done.
- Process “In” Items - sort through loose papers and notes for to-dos
- Calendar - scan current and next weeks for to-dos
- Gmail Labels - review labeled emails (Awaiting Reply, To Do, Confirmations, Unpaid Invoices)
- Mastering Projects - update my master list (pun alert) of mastering projects
- Review Someday/Maybe List - when in doubt, delete
- Plan Next Week - figure out what to do with my life, in 7-day increments
If you choose to roll your own, it will obviously look quite different from mine. But musician or not, we’ve all got files to back up, sites to check in on, financial transactions to review, and goals to define.
As overwhelming as this list appears on the screen, it usually takes me about 40 minutes. I don’t always explore every link, but the beauty of the system is that I won’t forget to.
What do you think? Is this something you’d consider trying for yourself? Would a daily or monthly batch make more sense? Let me know in the comments!
Brian Hazard is a recording artist with seventeen years of experience promoting his ten Color Theory albums. His Passive Promotion blog emphasizes “set it and forget it” methods of music promotion. Brian is also the head mastering engineer and owner of Resonance Mastering in Huntington Beach, California.