In this industry it can be easy to get overwhelmed with all the information being blasted at us 24/7. Do this, don’t do that. This works, that doesn’t. It can be tough to know which advice to follow, and which to stay far away from.
As someone who has been in the industry for the last 10 years as a writer for my own and several other publications, a music publicist, an occasional booker of local shows, and an all around observer, there are a few myths that I see bands still living by, despite any proof they actually work—most of them end up actually being detrimental. Here they are:
Back when I started making music over a decade ago, nothing made me more excited than booking and playing shows. No matter the venue, quality and size of the crowd and amount of money I made, I was elated to be able to play on stage. But it didn’t take long to realize that some shows were worth my time and some weren’t, and after years of touring and trying to make a career out of being a musician, I learned taking certain shows ended up actually noticeably hurting my career in music.
Every musician is different which means that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure when it comes to shows. But even still, there are some shows that are never worth playing. Here’s a helpful list of five shows every musician should run from:
Time and time again, the sort of music that finds its way to the top of relevance, prominence, and appreciation are ideas that manage to blend listenability with stark originality. When musicians create new, fresh musical ideas presented in accessible, engaging ways, listeners take notice. With this in mind, it makes perfect sense why so many artists and bands do everything they can to set themselves apart from their peers––and often end up generating ideas indistinguishable from everyone else in the process.
Sometimes when songwriters and people in other creative fields try doing something completely different, new, and unconventional, they end up coming up with ideas similar to thousands of other artists. Why?
Professional college radio campaigns are one of the best ways to introduce your music to attentive new audiences, but they’re not cheap. Depending on the size, length, and nature of the campaign, hiring a radio promotion company to send your release to college radio stations could cost you anywhere from $2,000-$10,000. And if you’re financing the recording, production, and promotion of your record all by yourself, it might not be possible to devote that kind of cash to a college radio campaign.
If this sounds like you, don’t despair. You can create an impactful college radio campaign in-house. Here’s how to get started:
Want some more sizzle on a cymbal, or maybe a little less boominess on that acoustic guitar? By using equalizers (or EQs, for short) to manipulate the frequency content of a signal, you can gain more control over how your tracks sound.
How the Pros Use EQ
If you’re relatively new to mixing, it’s helpful to understand how professional sound engineers use EQ so you know what you should be working towards — and the rookie mistakes you should avoid.
As much as we’d all like to think that inspiration and the pure love of music is enough to keep us musicians motivated to practice, challenges like work, school, or relationships tend to get in the way of our goals. If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, then becoming a serious and competent musician can only happen with action and planning; not only playing music when you feel like it. And when it comes to bands trying to make, record, and perform serious music, the idea of practicing consistently is even more applicable.
Every serious musician’s nightmare is blowing it on stage, but it’s an inevitability whether you’re relatively inexperienced or have been in the game for decades. Everything from nerves to lack of practice can contribute to a bad show, but no matter the reason, playing badly at a show can be devastating to a musician or band not only when expectations and emotions are sky high but also because putting yourself on stage typically requires a great deal of vulnerability.
Play shows long enough, and you’ll have a bad one eventually, even if you’ve practiced and aren’t particularly nervous. Doing everything you can to avoid blowing a show is important, but you might want to shift some of your focus on what to do when you step off the stage after a show that didn’t go your way.
Anyone who is serious about making music knows that it takes more than great songs to become successful. If you want a meaningful career in an industry as competitive and tumultuous as music, you’ll have to develop skills that have nothing to do with writing, performing and recording songs. But while every band brings different talents and skillsets to the table, there’s some things that your band simply won’t be able to do well without help.