As a musician, practice is a priority if you want to maintain your groove and learn new techniques on your instrument. We musicians know that practice makes permanent and the more you do it, the more confident you become at your craft. But practice isn’t the only thing musicians need to spend time on. There are many other music-related tasks you should be spending your time on. For example, who’s going to handle the booking, or the social media management, or marketing? In this article, we’ll cover 5 things musicians need to focus on outside of practice.
Without shows, your band or act is out of work. Therefore, it makes sense that most of your time outside of practice would be spent on booking gigs. Focus on the types of shows your music would be the best fit for and create a booking strategy to meet your booking goals. For example, if you want to do 3 shows a week, you’ll need to have a strategy in place where you’re actively reaching out to venues, clubs, festivals, and event planners on a regular basis. Someone should be researching to find new contacts while also reaching out to old contacts and asking for the gig on a weekly basis. This is the single most important activity for bands and musicians to engage in consistently in order to keep a calendar full of shows. If you need help booking paying gigs, sign up for my free How to Book [Profitable] Gigs course where I walk you through every step of the booking process and help you identify profitable gigging sources.
2. Money Management
Managing the finances for your band is a necessary part of doing business. Whether you’re a hobby band, making part-time income, or full-time income, having clean finances gives your band the opportunity to be self-sufficient. You should keep accurate records of all financial transactions. This includes rehearsal space fees, equipment maintenance fees, travel costs, and even parking fees. In addition, you should keep track of earnings from every show, including tips. This gives you an accurate picture of the financial health of your band. Keeping accurate financial records also helps you make informed spending decisions. That way the next time you need another piece of equipment, you’ll know how much money you have to work with. Plus, when tax time comes around, you’ll be ahead of the game.
3. Marketing and Promotions
When it comes to getting more exposure for your band, spending time doing marketing and promotions activities is crucial! You can be the best band in the world, but if no one knows you are available, you’re invisible — regardless of how good Deek’s guitar solo is! Next to booking and managing your finances, promoting your band is the best thing you can do to keep your band in business. A few effective promotional activities would be to engage with your fans on as many forms of social media you can handle, put your band’s postcards on every community board available in your local area, create great video content, provide demo CDs to fans entering or leaving a concert, and work with local media to get your music featured. For even more ideas to promote your band, get my free eBook, 100 Ways to Promote Your Music.
4. Website Maintenance
Maintaining your website is an important part of being a musician. It is your primary hub for disseminating information about your music to the public. There’s a lot of time spent on keeping your website up to date such as updating show calendars, merchandise, and current band news. Not to mention, maintaining a consistent blogging schedule which if done right, is excellent for search engine optimization. Though these tasks seem tedious, it’s very important to stay on top of this because your website represents your band. Your online hub can be the factor that convinces a reporter to take you seriously. Or, it can help someone decide whether or not to come to your show. Most importantly, it can help an event planner or venue decide if they should book you or not. Therefore, it’s imperative that you have a professional looking website that is kept up to date. Your website should have all the necessary elements including videos, pictures, an engaging bio, your show calendar, and calls-to-action such as contact info, booking information and a way to get onto your mailing list for prospective fans of course.
5. Fan Engagement
Speaking of a mailing list, do you have one? Are you regularly engaging with your subscribers? The mailing list is the best marketing tool available for bands and musicians. It gives you a direct line of communication with your fans without limitations. You can advertise your upcoming shows, sell your merchandise, and have private dialogue with them one on one. The mailing list can be a great source for generating revenue! If you’re doing any kind of fundraising, touring, or launching a new music project, subscribers on your mailing list are often the first people to support you. That’s why having a mailing list and regularly sending out emails is so important. It’s recommended to send a mailer out at least once a month. If you wait longer than a month between mailers, you could lose momentum with your fans and it hurts your engagement. If you’re unsure what to say, don’t worry! There is plenty to talk about such as unveiling a new merch item or song, your upcoming shows, your purpose and mission with music, your favorite venues, recent awards or features, what you’re doing for the upcoming holiday, answering frequently asked questions, a new video, highlights from a recent show or interview, and more. If you need help coming up with newsletter topics, download my free Newsletter Planning Guide here.
In addition to writing a monthly newsletter to your fans, you should also engage with them on social media. If you receive any comments or questions on your posts, always respond. It encourages your followers to comment, like, and share your content even more. Consequently, this boosts your credibility with bookers, talent buyers, media representatives and other industry professionals.
Whomever said being a musician is easy was seriously misguided. We put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into our work whether it’s practicing for an upcoming show, or doing work behind the scenes to keep the band afloat. Musicianship is about a lot more than just playing music. Spending time on other music-related tasks can boost team morale and bolster your band to the next level. Focusing on the tasks outlined above in addition to practicing is a great way to get more exposure and earn more money in the process.
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Anitra Jay is an acoustic soul singer-songwriter based in Houston, TX. She tours regularly up and down the US from Vermont to Texas and everywhere in between. Her music is a sultry down to earth blend of soul, pop, and gospel. After being laid off from her job in 2007, Anitra decided to pursue a career in music. She took her educational experiences in Public Relations and her professional background in marketing and applied it full force to her music. She's found significant success in establishing a lasting fanbase using her special brand of marketing techniques which she shares freely with other artists on The Crafty Musician Blog. Her passion is to inspire other musicians and build a community of like-minded independent artists to encourage and promote successful careers in the arts. Subscribe to Anitra’s YouTube channel for weekly biz tips and hacks for your music career.