A Musician’s Guide to Band Agreements

By Andy Whitehead

If you write songs within a band, you need to plan for the day when you will be earning royalties from your songs, and be clear what will happen if a member of the band leaves or if the band splits up.

The best way to deal with this is to all agree what is fair, and then put this in writing as a formal agreement which you all sign. This way there is little chance of any comeback if the band splits for less than amicable reasons.

Here are a few specific points you should consider:

If a member of the band leaves, do they forfeit all rights to the songs, and the songs remain the sole property of the band?

Are the songs written by one person, or a few principal writers, who wish to retain all rights?

If a band member leaves would both he and the band both retain a claim to the song, (this is probably the most likely option).

How do you determine each persons share?

Do you base it on a song by song basis ranking each member’s input, or use the same formula for every song?

Do you simply divide everything up equally, (e.g. 5 members each own 20% of all the songs and therefore receive 20% of the proceeds/royalties), or do you rank each individual’s input?

If a member leaves, can he/she perform or profit from the music outside of the band.


Sample band contracts can be viewed and downloaded from the following sites:

http://undercurrents.com/agreements/agreement-bandmember.html

www.blues101.org/articles/promotion1.htm


The advice from the UK Copyright Service on this subject is:

“Where music is written as a group effort, we recommend that you draw up an agreement to clarify issues, such as which rights belong to which member, and how royalties would be distributed in the event that members of your group leave.

For successful commercial bands, incorporation is also an option. As with a normal incorporated company, the band members would own shares in the band/company. In this situation, a band member would typically sell his shares to the other members if he decided to leave.”

Music Copyright fact sheet:

http://www.copyrightservice.co.uk/protect/p07_music_copyright

Understanding Copyright

By Frank Dee

In the UK, the following can be copyright: Music, Text, Recording, Broadcast, Film, Publication (layout), Art, and Drama.

However, song titles and most (separate) musical arrangements are not subject to copyright. This means that for a typical CD package, copyright exists for the words and music on the tracks; the recordings of the tracks themselves; the artwork on the CD, inserts and booklets; plus any other text on the CD, inserts and booklets.

Technically, in the UK, your work is copyright automatically as soon as it’s written down or recorded in some way.

It’s important to remember the distinction between the copyright in the song and the copyright in the sound recording. Both may be owned by different parties and generate separate income.

If you are the writer of the music and the lyrics, then you will be the first copyright owner of the musical copyright work and the literary copyright work.

You may choose to appoint a publisher to administer/exploit the copyright and assign to them the right to receive subsequent royalty payments on your behalf.

If your song is recorded and a master sound recording is created, a new and separate copyright exists; namely, the copyright in the sound recording.

This is owned by the person(s) who made the arrangements necessary for the making of the sound recording – usually the record company.

At the moment, copyright in the song lasts for 70 years from the death of the writer, whereas the copyright in the sound recording lasts for 50 years from first release or publication.

This explains why the BPI, on behalf of record companies, and artists such as Cliff Richard (who sang on, but did not write his recordings) are now frantically lobbying the government to extend the term before all those rock ‘n’ roll recordings of the late 1950s become out of copyright.

To prove ownership of your copyright, it’s best to keep sealed, dated masters with a third party, such as a bank or solicitor. The standard advice has always been to post a copy to yourself and keep it sealed, with a clear postmark date – probably OK, although some legal experts have warned that this method might not be entirely foolproof.

You don’t, strictly speaking, need a copyright statement, but it won’t do any harm to include something like this:

© Your name, year, all rights reserved (a P in a circle is used for recordings).

*******************

© 2006 – 2009 CareersInMusic.co.uk

Offering Free Downloads Of Your Music

By Frank Dee

I see this so often – musicians put up a great-looking site to showcase their songs, but only allow visitors to hear or download the briefest of samples of each track. No doubt, this is done in the interest of protecting and “monetizing” their music, but it’s really a false economy.

Think back to how you’ve ever come to love a piece of music or become a fan of a particular band. Chances are, it happened after you were exposed to a large enough chunk of their repertoire. Once you were “sold” on the artist, you were happy to consume and “own” a piece of related product.

Be confident in your songs and let people have access to them. Don’t be afraid – you’ll be creating fans.

Here’s an article by Andrew Dubber which expands on this concept:

********

There are lots of sophisticated tricks and tips for marketing music, online and off. But if you mess up this one fundamental principle, you might as well not bother at all.

Music is pretty much unique when it comes to media consumption. You don’t buy a movie ticket because you liked the film so much, and while it’s conceivable that you might buy a book because you enjoyed reading it so much at the library, typically you’ll purchase first, then consume.

DVDs are, perhaps, a little closer to the music buying experience. You love a film, so you buy the disc. But equally, you tend to love the film because you once took a chance and paid to see it in the cinema.

But music is different — and radio proves that. By far the most reliable way to promote music is to have people hear it. Repeatedly, if possible — and for free. After a while, if you’re lucky, people get to know and love the music. Sooner or later, they’re going to want to own it.

This isn’t just true for pop music. It’s not just about getting a hook stuck in someone’s brain so they hum it to themselves as they take out the rubbish. So-called ’serious’ music also benefits from familiarity — perhaps even more so. The more challenging a work, the more exposure is required to really get inside it and appreciate it.

Likewise, liking music is not just about entertainment. Music consumption, to many people, is a serious business. And by consumption, I don’t just mean buying or listening. It also involves collecting, organising and making sense of the music in relation to a personal canon. It takes more than an impulse purchase to break into that sphere.

But either way — whether it’s a pop tune, a heavily political punk album, or an experimental, avant-garde suite — the key is very simple: people have to hear music, then they will grow to like it, and then finally, if you’re lucky, they will engage in an economic relationship in order to consume (not just buy and listen to) that music.

That’s the order it has to happen in. It can’t happen in any other order. There’s no point in hoping that people will buy the music, then hear it, then like it. They just won’t.

This is not, I trust you’ll agree, rocket science. It’s perfectly obvious, straightforward and practical. And yet it’s the one mistake that most people make when promoting music online.

Nobody really wants to buy a piece of music they don’t know — let alone one they haven’t heard. Especially if it’s by someone who lies outside their usual frame of reference.

And a 30-second sample is pretty much a waste of your time and bandwidth. In fact, it’s worse than useless. That’s not enough to get to like your music. Let them hear it, keep it, live with it. And then bring them back as a fan.

More than ever before, you have to build that relationship, because it’s easier than ever before to just not bother and simply go elsewhere. No matter how good your music, it’s competing with millions of other choices. Millions.

The simplest way to promote music and build an economic relationship with a consumer is to let them hear it. Let them hear it repeatedly, without restriction. Let them grow to love your music and hear it as a part of their collection. Then they will want you to have their money.

This is not just a truism about music online — it’s also just how capitalism works. You provide value, then you are rewarded with money.

You don’t get the money first — and you don’t get to decide what value is.

Andrew Dubber  http://NewMusicStrategies.com

How To Promote Your Music

By Frank Dee

These are exciting times for everyone involved in the creation of music. The ability to produce professional quality recordings is becoming within the means of more and more artists. The channels of communication available, on a global scale, are unprecedented. Music, in all its forms, has never been more popular across such a wide range of media.

But such a cultural and technological boom brings new challenges.

In an era when so many new bands, artists and performers are discovering the benefits of DIY production and promotion, how can you get your music to stand out from the crowd?

Well, the technology might be changing, but some of the basic rules of marketing and promotion will always hold true. Here are some tips to help get your music to the top of the pile.

Establish your niche

You need to understand where your music should be positioned in the market. Yes, I know you’re unique and unclassifiable, but for these purposes, just leave your artistic inclinations to one side and concentrate on defining your image. This will help you to target the appropriate areas for your promotion, which will make your marketing more effective.

Think rifle, rather than scatter-gun.

Connect, connect connect

Music is and always has been a “who you know/who knows you” business and the quality and quantity of the relationships you build will have more of an effect on your career than almost any other factor.

Never pass up an opportunity to network. Always have your contact details and samples of music to hand. Give testimonials to every band or business when you buy a cd or any music product from them. Describe the benefits you felt from using their service and let them publish your testimonial on their site in return for including your sig file at the end.

Leave messages on discussion boards and forums and include your (subtle) link; but be careful not to appear as though you’re just posting to advertise yourself.

Similarly, write reviews, sign guestbooks and send emails to ezine editors – take every opportunity to get your link details onto as many sites as possible.

Remember to be polite and NEVER spam. By all means upload your profile onto viral sites such as MySpace, but bear in mind that some of these sites might be really hot one minute then become a bit of a marketing cliché the next; so don’t look upon them as a substitute for your own website.

Try developing creative projects with fellow musicians in a similar genre. For instance, maybe you could combine your live show with two or three other acts and present the package to a local promoter. There’s safety in numbers and you’ll be building more contacts.

Keep your website updated

(You do have a website, don’t you?)

You’ll be giving out your web address to other site owners, fans at your gigs and every industry contact you meet, so make sure you’ve always got your best songs and images on there.

You must have a way of capturing your fans’ email addresses so you can get in touch with them when you post new tracks or have a show coming up.

Take the time to respond to any requests from your fans – treat them well and they’ll be your willing army of viral agents.

Look beyond the obvious

The use of music as a marketing tool and for gaining youth credibility is now widespread.

Whether it’s soft drinks, mobile phones, coffee, banks(!!) – it seems that non-music businesses are looking for creative ways to add music-related services to their mix. Could this work for you, maybe on a local level to start with?

Think of any companies or organisations you might already resonate with and see if you can find a way to add value to what these businesses are doing with what you have to offer. This may even evolve into a sponsorship for a tour or a recording project.

The point is, if you want to attract corporate support, you don’t just have to rely on the “traditional” record company/publisher route to kick-start your music career.

Make use of music download sites – but be selective

There are tons of websites out there where any artist or band can sign up and have their songs available for download.

Before you do this, make sure that the site is going to say the right things about you. For instance, does it give the visitor the right impression? Is it professionally designed and in keeping with your particular genre/image? Do they charge you a fee? What’s the revenue split? How much do they charge customers for downloads?

You shouldn’t be too keen to sign up with a site with the cheapest download prices – that could make you look amateurish.

Will the site provide you with details of who downloaded your tracks? These people are your fans and you should nurture them. If the site refuses to share this info, they’d better compensate for that by having a huge customer base and selling loads of your stuff. And be sure that the site has been around awhile and has a good reputation for actually paying on time.

Check out the following download sites, but remember that the best place for your music is on your own website, where you control the whole experience from start to finish.

© 2006-2009 CareersInMusic.co.uk

Download Site Links

www.tunetribe.com

www.last.fm/labels/

www.intomusic.co.uk

www.cdunsigned.com

www.mvine.com/music/index.html

www.arkade.com

www.cd-wow.com/unsigned.php

www.channel4.com/music/mymusic/B/bandsignup.html

www.epictunes.com

And a couple of our favourite US sites

www.CDBaby.com

www.tunecore.com

How to Create the Perfect Structure for your Song

By Ian Waugh

You know what they say about rules? Actually they say lots of things about rules but here’s two – rules were made to be broken, and you have to know what the rules are before you can break them. While Judge Dredd may not agree with the first, the second is certainly true and never more so than in writing a song.

The song structure may not be the first thing you think about when you start writing. You probably work on the verse or chorus, or maybe you have a good riff that you want to expand into a song. So you get that down and then you start to think about the other parts – the intro, how many verses, middle eight, do you want an instrumental, the ending…

Some song genres have a fairly rigid format, others are more flexible, and you need to know where you can bend the rules and why you may not want to do so in order to make your song stand out from the others. Let’s look at the sections you’ll find in most songs and the part they play in song construction.

Song parts

Intro. Yes, this leads you into the song. It may be two, four or eight bars long or longer. Some songs don’t have any intro at all. A pop song intro will often be reminiscent of the chorus or the hook.

In a club song, it’s often a good idea to have eight bars of rhythm to help the DJ to mix match your song. They say that music publishers typically only listen to the first 20 seconds of a song before deciding whether to reject it so if you’re sending material to a publisher, keep the intro short and get into the song as quickly as possible. Save the 5 minute intros for the CD version.

Verse. This is the preamble to the chorus. It sets the scene, certainly lyrically, and as the verses progress they often tell a story or recount episodes from a situation although that’s by no means essential. They are typically eight or sixteen bars long and melodically not usually as strong as the chorus although, again, that’s by no means essential.

However, it often seems as if the songwriter ran out of ideas when writing the verse. One of the strengths of The Beatles’ songs is that verses and choruses are equally strong and most people could hum or sing their way through most Beatles hits. Not so with many songs where the verses are little more than fillers to get you to the chorus.

Chorus. This is the bit everyone remembers, whistles and sings along to. It should be the strongest part of the song and generally is or contains the hook. It’s usually eight or sixteen bars long.

Middle eight. As a song progresses, there’s a danger of boredom setting for the listener. The middle eight offers them a break and typically comes after a couple of verses and choruses.

Some people think of it as an alternative verse and that’s one way to look at it. It often modulates to a different key or introduces a new chord progression and it usually doesn’t include the song title.

However, all too often it’s simply an excuse for waffling on for a few bars. Although it’s called the middle eight it could be four or sixteen bars long.

Bridge. Many people use the terms ‘middle eight’ and ‘bridge’ synonymously and so popular is this usage that it would be churlish to disagree.

However, among those who prefer to note the difference, a bridge is a short section used to bridge the gap between verse and chorus. It may only be two or four bars long and it’s often used when the verse and chorus are so different from each other that a ‘joining’ phrase helps bring them together.

Instrumental. This is part of the song without any vocals. Yeah, okay. It’s often an instrumental version of the verse or chorus, it may be an improvised variation on one of these, or it may be an entirely different tune and set of chords altogether. Sometimes it fits into a song where a vocal middle eight would otherwise go.

Breakdown/Break. This term has been hijacked from songs from the early 1900s when it was common either to reduce the instrumentation or stop it altogether while a tap dancer would strut his stuff.

The term ‘break’ is still sometimes used to indicate an instrumental section. ‘Breakdown’ is now most commonly used in dance music for the section where the percussion breaks down or is reduced, and it may be the dance equivalent of the middle eight.

Outtro/Ending. Once upon a time, songs had definite endings but the mid 1950s heralded in the era of the fade-out and songwriters thought they would never have to write an ending again.

However, fade-outs became such clichés to the extent that fade out meant cop out, so songwriters started writing endings again.

With that in mind, you can do as you wish, and considering that the endings of most songs get talked over or cut short by radio DJs and mixed over by club DJs, you have only your artistic integrity and your CD listeners to answer to.

Some songs work extremely well with fade outs but listen to songs in your chosen genre to see how other writers approach endings. But whatever you do, avoid like the plague the three time tag ending.

Hook. The hook is not a song part as such; rather it’s the term used to describe the part of the song that people remember and sing. It’s what they buy the record for.

It’s usually the chorus although it need not be the entire chorus, but simply a two- or four-bar phrase. It could be an instrumental riff as in Whiter Shade of Pale or Smoke on the Water, or a processed vocal as in Cher’s Believe.

All together now

Having described the parts of a song, let’s see how they are commonly arranged.

The most popular arrangement by far is simply verse-chorus and repeat. Here are two variations on the theme:

Intro

Verse 1
Chorus
Verse 2
Chorus
Chorus
Outtro

Intro
Verse 1
Verse 2
Chorus
Verse 3
Middle eight
Chorus
Chorus
Outtro

You get the picture. However, these are conventions rather than rules so you can adapt, change or ignore them as you see fit. But they have developed for a reason and that is simply to make the song as immediately appealing to the listener as possible.

Listen to some of the Stock, Aitken and Waterman hits of the 80s (it’s not compulsory if you really can’t bear to) and you’ll see that most follow the simplest format, guaranteed to brainwash the listener with as many repeats of the hook as possible. They tend to be:

Intro (similar to the chorus)

Verse 1
Chorus
Verse 2
Middle eight
Chorus
Chorus
Outtro

Notice that the hook’s there straight away in the intro, there’s only one verse before the chorus so you get to it quicker, and the chorus tends to repeat at the end, just to imprint the hook firmly in your mind.

There are obvious exceptions to these formats.

Ambient, trance, chill-out music and the like, are obvious candidates. With these you can start at the beginning and work through to the end creating an evolving music form without any clear verse/chorus structure.

Genres such as trance tend to build to a series of crescendos several times throughout the song. However, even these types of song often have a hook or two on which listeners can hang their hat.

Build ups and downs

Bearing in mind that the purpose of a song is to keep the listeners listening and not allow them to get bored, you need variety within the song.

Simply strumming a guitar and singing verse/chorus/verse/chorus won’t cut the mustard unless you’re in a folk club. The usual method is to start with a simple arrangement and add to it as the song progresses.

So, the first verse might consist of light drums, bass and rhythm guitar. As you move into the second verse you could add strings or a synth pad.

A drum fill takes you into the chorus which would include busier drums, maybe some additional percussion, a fuller string arrangement and perhaps a lead line. When you dip back to the verse, you revert to the simpler arrangement.

The middle eight is usually a lighter arrangement than the chorus and gives you the opportunity to use different instrumentation if you want to.

When you hit the second chorus, add backing vocals and a lead riff. The final chorus is the culmination the song and you can add more backing vocals, more percussion and additional lead lines.

Listen to songs in the style you are writing and analyse their formats to see how far other exponents have stuck to or departed from the traditional formats. When you’re familiar with the rules or conventions that they use, then you can experiment by breaking them.

There’s a lot more about making music plus a free book to download at www.making-music.com

Ian Waugh is one of the UK’s leading hi tech music writers.  He has written for most of the major – and not so major – hi tech music magazines in the UK and many general computing titles both offline and online. His output numbers over 2,000 articles, features and reviews and he has written several books and albums.

How to Become a Songwriter and Successful Independent Artist

By Lynn Monk

By far the most important skill to have if you wish to become successful with anything is ATTITUDE. The same goes for becoming a songwriter. An old Chinese proverb once said, “90% of the journey towards success is over once you have stepped outside your front door.” The reason many people fail, is because they’d rather stay in and watch the TV.

Of course, that first step outside is a philosophical one. As a musician or songwriter, you spend the vast majority of your time being creative. If you think that writing a great song, or playing an instrument well, is the hardest part of being a successful artist, you are wrong.

Despite all the skills you need to know and perfect in order to make your music shine, these pale into insignificance compared with the hard work and other skills you will need to learn in order to record, market and sell your art successfully.

Fortunately, most creative people also seem to excel at other things. The term “Jack of all trades” could quite easily apply to most musicians or artists. After all, the first thing most artists have to learn, is how to find time for their art whilst running a home AND holding down a Day Job in order to pay the bills! It is therefore not unusual to find musicians who are also Physicists, Engineers, IT Professionals or Teachers, to name but a few.

Most of these people are quite content to keep music as a hobby, at least whilst bringing up a family. However, we all get to a stage in our lives (usually once the kids have grown up and left home), where we want to cease working for a “Living”, and instead, work for our own “Satisfaction”.

There are few things in life more satisfying than being admired for something we created. If our creations also manage to influence others, then it is even more rewarding.

This “first step outside your front door” is taken when you decide to pause from the creative aspect (the ideas), and take a positive step towards learning new skills, or employing others who can do those things for you.

There has never been a better time in the history of mankind, to take those steps, either by yourself, or with others who would help you.

–Where you used to have to pay for tutoring, or buy books, in order to learn the techniques of songwriting, or playing an instrument, you can now find scores of articles on the Internet (like this one!) that will help you for free.

–Where you used to have to save up a considerable amount of money to pay studio costs and hire session musicians to make a decent demo recording, you can now find all the necessary tools, and even the musicians, on the Internet who would help you for little or no cost at all.

–Where you needed to sign a record deal in order to be able to afford a producer and a master quality studio, you can now buy your own PC and some music software, and collaborate with a producer online, who will give you the capability to make radio-ready recordings.

–Where you needed a record company with a huge advertising budget to market and sell your recordings, you can now (with some hard work), market and sell your CDs to the Whole World for next to nothing.

The Music Industry doesn’t like the changes that the Internet has brought to the business. Digital media can be freely copied by anyone with a PC, anywhere in the World.

No longer do the record companies just have to worry about the CD pirates who manufacture illegal copies to sell on the black market; they also have to now worry about every PC-literate man, woman and child, making their own copies too!

This has led the music industry into a perpetual fight against file sharers (making enemies of many consumers in the process), instead of embracing the business advantages that the Internet brings to us.

The Music Industry still believes that 8-16 year-olds buy most of the records, so they are still catering primarily for that market. Recent industry figures are telling a different story, and the secret is the “Baby Boomers”.

Yes … The same people who created the above market perception in the 70s by buying the largest proportion of records ever, whilst they were teenagers, have now grown up!

The largest age group to buy CDs TODAY, at 26% of the population, are over 45. Not only that, but they still like the same kinds of music as they did then. So there is no need to change your art to fit today’s teenybopper market if you aren’t that way inclined.

Now that we know the secret, we also know that the next big thing in music, isn’t going to be another form of Hip-hop, Techno, or R’n'B; but a return to real music, such as was made during the 60s and 70s.

However, we’ll be creating it with modern tools on a Home computer DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) system, instead of in a multimillion pound studio complex!

So, whilst the Music Industry is still hesitating by trying to shun the new digital era in favour of antiquated business models, hardware in the form of CDs, and markets that still only cover limited territories; we can now jump ahead of them onto a more level playing field, find our own markets, and sell to the Whole World with only a simple website!

Sounds easy, doesn’t it? … Well, that is the first hurdle you will face. So many musicians think it is easy, that there are millions already doing it! So to be successful you will need, like any other business, a proper business plan.

CONCLUSION

The road to being a successful independent musician begins with ATTITUDE.

You need to find enough time in your schedule to drop the guitar & scoresheet and use your creative energies towards developing a proper BUSINESS PLAN.

This means taking a step back and listening to your music through Joe Public’s ears. You need to think up a business name, logo, and short slogan that encompasses what you are, and what your music is trying to say to people.

Register your business “name” by buying a domain name that suits you as soon as possible.

Pages on free MP3 sites and free domains do not give you a professional image.

You MUST have your own site, or at least something that offers you a unique look and features of your own.

If you want people to find your music unique & special, then you also need an image that is unique and special. That goes for your email address too. Genuine business people don’t use their Hotmail, AOL, or Yahoo addresses for formal communications.

Make sure all your paperwork is in order.

If you are planning on making an eventual living from your art, you will need to be registered as a business or as a self-employed sole trader.

You need to make sure your tax and income are all accounted for, so you may have to buy yourself an accounting package, or learn to use Excel Spreadsheets, or employ an accountant.

There is also a lot to learn about how copyright systems work and whether you feel you need to form your own publishing company, record company, or register your copyrights with an agency. Much of this will depend on the laws of your home country.

Alternatively, you can sign a non-exclusive deal with a small independent label or publisher to handle all the music-related paperwork for you.

You need to either take the time to develop some basic web design skills, buy ready-made templates, or employ someone to design a site for you.

Make sure your logo and colour scheme is fluent throughout your site, your stationery, your CD artwork, and any other communications device, such as email.

Make sure your site includes some way of gathering a mailing list, such as a response form or a “double opt-in” form of registration.

Plan a marketing strategy

Marketing is all about finding the right market for your product.

This may involve a certain amount of consumer research. This can be expensive, so use the internet as much as possible to find groups of people who like similar music to yours.

Try to find out other things about these people so that you can get a clearer picture of who would be interested in your music.

Plan a promotional strategy

Gather contact lists of magazines, local newspapers, TV and radio stations.

Plan an 8-week promotional strategy leading up to the release of your CD. Use any press, or airplay you get as a news item on your website.

If you have some money to invest, plan a set of concert dates in local venues for dates close to any publication dates.

Plan a poster or postcard campaign. Contact local charities, hospitals, schools and shops, in fact anyone who might be prepared to play your CD in a public place.

If you want local record stores to stock your CD, you will also need barcodes and counter display boxes.

Use the mailing list you have been gathering from your site to promote any news to your fans with a regular newsletter. Offer free tickets to gigs, or run competitions for free CDs. Use your fans as extra leverage to increase the momentum of your promotional campaigns.

Don’t under-sell yourself

Make sure that any music you decide to give away as a promotional MP3 is different in some way to the music you are selling.

For example, it may be an early un-mastered mix (demo), or a different mix, or a song you are never going to release for sale.

Otherwise, make sure all samples you make of your records, are either short clips, or low-fi mono samples.

The price you set for your releases should never be too far below that of major record company releases. Your price tells your customer what “stage” you are at in the business. Price yourself too cheap and you are more likely to lose customers because they will automatically assume you are an “amateur”.

Make yourself and your CD easily accessible to your fans

Always answer any emails promptly. Check your emails at least once a day and reply to any new enquiries immediately.

The average time expected by most people for a response by email is 12-24 hours. Do not SPAM. Make sure you only send bulk emails to people who have opted into your mailing list, and if anyone wants to opt out, make sure you delete them straight away (not several weeks and 10 disgruntled emails later!).

To contact businesses, you will need to write individually and personally to each of them. Always use a business “signature” with your artistic or business name, slogan, web site address, and possibly your telephone number, on every email you send. If you have released a CD, make sure you add the link to that too!

If you have had your CDs duplicated professionally and are bar-coded, you can also expand from selling them in internet stores such as iTunes, Amazon, and CDBaby, to high street stores. You must also sell them from your own site or at least provide links to the stores where they are available.

Never stop “Networking”

Carry your business cards with you at all times. At every conversational opportunity, if someone happens to mention music, or gigs, make sure you advertise yourself as an independent artist.

If you have a compatible mobile phone or MP3 player, make sure your latest CD is on it! You never know who you’ll bump into in the supermarket. The first thing someone will ask when you mention you are a recording artist is “What kind of music do you play?” If you have your MP3 player with you, you won’t even have to answer! (This is always a difficult question for an artist). You can just play it to them!

Also make sure you frequent all the music-related newsgroups, forums, bulletin boards, MP3 sites, chat rooms etc. at every opportunity.

Finally, my “Promotional Tip of the Week”

Familiarise yourself with all the P2P file sharing systems that the music business hates so much. You can use them to your advantage. Make ads or lo-fi samples of your music or CD and label them like this… John_Mckeon_Friends_SoundsLike_Simon_&_Garfunkel.mp3

Make copies labelled with every well-known artist you think you sound like, and keep all the files in your shared folder. Then, whenever you are logged onto the service and someone searches for music by these well-known artists, your music will be on their list of results!

 

How to Become a Successful Independent Artist or Songwriter was written by Lynn Monk who has over 30 years experience in the music business as a musician, concert sound & lighting engineer, DJ and record producer; and is now the proprietor of Wobbly Music. An indie record company dedicated to supporting the “Mature Independent Artist”. Find out more about their artist services & recording contracts at http://www.WobblyMusic.net