Calling all bands: Hard Rock Cafe wants to break the next big band and send them on a world tour! Enter for free.

Think you’re the next undiscovered worldwide rock star? Here’s your chance to find out. Hard Rock Cafe is searching for inspiring local bands to compete in Hard Rock Rising 2013, a high-stakes global battle of the bands competition.

ENTER HERE

Why compete?

Hard Rock Rising is presented by Hard Rock Café, so you know it’s legit. Additionally, the prize package is ridiculous: play a World Tour, make an album and video with Hard Rock Records, and win new gear valued at $10,000. Entering is FREE!

Here’s what Hey Monea!, winner of last year’s Hard Rock Rising, had to say before opening for Bruce Springsteen in London:

“We open the door of our trailer and John Fogerty is right outside being interviewed by a camera crew. There are literally five video cameras following us to the stage and photographers snapping pictures of us and I’m as excited as I’ve ever felt in my life. Wired. Butterflies. Everything. My brain wouldn’t shut off.”

Credit: The Repository

You want in!? Here are the guidelines to enter:

  • You need a ReverbNation profile. They’re FREE!
  • Each band/artist may enter through no more than ONE Hard Rock location—there are 96 participating cafes worldwide!
  • You or one of your bandmates must live in the same country as that location.

Here’s how it works:

  • Phase 1: First round winners are determined by fan downloads on participating Hard Rock Facebook pages. One download equals one vote.
  • Phase 2: Top vote getters play in a series of live competitions and one winner from each location will be crowned by their peers. See locations below.
  • Phase 3: The 96 winners from Phase 2 will then battle it out in a global download contest on Facebook to gain the most votes.
  • Phase 4: The Top 25 highest vote-getters will be judged by a panel of celebrity judges and music industry VIPs to select the last band standing, along with two runner-ups.

The first place winner will experience the ultimate rock star treatment — a World Tour to experience cities including Sydney, Tokyo, Hong Kong, London, Chicago and Honolulu, the opportunity to make an album and video with Hard Rock Records, and an insane amount of band gear.

So what are you waiting for? The deadline for entry is January 21. 

Here’s the list of participating Hard Rock Cafe locations. If you see a city that’s close to you, click on it and read the details and full rules. It won’t cost you a dime, so don’t miss the opportunity of a lifetime­! Enter today!

United States & Canada

Atlanta, Georgia

Atlantic City, New Jersey

Biloxi, Mississippi

Boston, Massachusetts

Chicago, Illinois

Cleveland, Ohio

Dallas, Texas

Denver, Colorado

Destin, Florida

Detroit, Michigan

Foxwoods, Connecticut

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Hollywood Blvd, California

Hollywood, Florida

Honolulu, Hawaii

Houston, Texas

Indianapolis, Indiana

Key West, Florida

Lake Tahoe, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

Louisville, Kentucky

Memphis, Tennessee

Miami, Florida

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Nashville, Tennessee

New Orleans, Louisiana

New York, New York

Niagara Falls, New York

Orlando, Florida

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Phoenix, Arizona

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

San Antonio, Texas

San Diego, California

San Francisco, California

Seattle, Washington

St. Louis, Missouri

Tampa, Florida

Toronto, Canada

Washington, DC

Just participating in Hard Rock Calling could mean new fans, new friends and a lot of local publicity for you and your band. Here’s what some of last year’s participants had to say:

“This is a brilliant platform for amateur bands like us to get recognized. Thank you for the opportunity and we hope you will continue this competition for years to come.”

“Cheers to ReverbNation and to Hard Rock Cafe for putting on such a vast competition that puts local talent in the spotlight.”

“We are grateful to have had the opportunity to participate and perform in this competition. We would also like to again thank everyone involved from ReverbNation and Hard Rock for their help and support in enabling us to participate. More venues should support original music as this competition did. Allowing bands to showcase their own music and style is something we need more of!”

“It was an awesome and innovative experience for us. Looking forward to more associations like these. Helps us to know the true caliber of our music.”

SamCalling all bands: Hard Rock Cafe wants to break the next big band and send them on a world tour! Enter for free.
read more

Best albums and songs of 2012: Picked by ReverbNation staffers

It’s that time of year again. After collectively listening to hundreds of records and attending what seemed like another hundred concerts, we’ve asked the ReverbNation staffers to share their favorite albums and songs released in 2012. What we got in return is a very diverse selection with indie favorites, top 40 sweethearts, dubstep beat droppers, classic rockers, R&B breakout star, and others.

Take a look at our picks, and feel free to let us know who topped YOUR 2012 list in the comments below, on Facebook or Twitter!

Frank Ocean, Tame Impala, The Weeknd, Father John Misty

In alphabetical order:

Andrew. billing| rookie dubstep dj | edm fan | customer satisfaction extraordinaire 

Dubstep’s US popularity is clear, as American hip hop artists Cypress Hill released a collaborative EP with dubstep producer Rusko (above) in Summer 2012.

  • Brown & Gammon – Dirty Doris EP
  • Rusko – Songs
  • Borgore – Decisions
  • Subscape – Elements
  • Netsky – 2
  • Nostalgia – The Other Side
  • Shift Key – Let You Down
  • Bassnectar – Vava Voom
  • Eptic – Slime City

Brian. quality assurance | bug finder extraordinaire | you can find him air guitaring and drumming on the back of chairs every now and then

Top 10 songs (in no particular order)
  • House of Heroes – “Remember the Empire” (Best anthem)
  • Phillip Phillips – “Home” (Most authentic performance)
  • Good Luck Varsity – “Liars & Thieves” (Caught me by surprise)
  • Summertime Dropouts – “Full Time Cutie” (Cheesiest)
  • Benjamin Dunn & The Animal Orchestra – “My Name Is Eustace!” (Most eclectic)
  • Owl City – “Good Time” (Fun all-around)
  • The Classic Crime – “You and Me Both” (Most glad I Kickstartered)
  • Carly Rae Jepsen – “Call Me Maybe” (Guilty pleasure)
  • Thrice – “Promises” (Hardest hitting)
  • sosaveme – “Gentle Slope” (Hate-to-fav)

Honorable mentions: Thousand Foot Krutch – Be Somebody (Most likely to bring tears to my eyes); Taylor Swift & The Civil Wars – Safe & Sound (Best rendition); SONS – Doubt (Best re-release); Capital Lights – Coldfront Heatstroke (Best wordplay).

Glenn. product | “everyday i’m grafflin” is his motto | promises to beat jed in chili cook-off… one day soon 

Josh Tillman’s (aka Father John Misty) ‘Fear Fun’ was released following Tillman’s departure from Fleet Foxes

Top 10 albums 
  1. Father John Misty – Fear Fun
  2. Chairlift – Something
  3. Delta Spirt – Delta Spirit
  4. Soundgarden – King Animal
  5. Little Hurricane – Homewrecker
  6. Mondo – Electric Guest
  7. Jack White – Blunderbuss
  8. Grizzly Bear – Shields
  9. Miike Snow – Happy to You
  10. David Byrne & St. Vincent – Love This Giant

Justin. customer service | pf flyers connoisseur | invisible watermelon kiwi kool-aid = best drink of all time

Top 10 albums
  1. Kendrick Lamar – Good Kid M.A.A.D City
  2. Frank Ocean – Channel Orange
  3. Nas – Life is Good
  4. The Weeknd – Trilogy
  5. Tame Impala – Lonerism
  6. Curren$y – The Stoned Immaculate
  7. Jessie Ware – Devotion
  8. The XX – Coexist
  9. Big K.R.I.T. – Live From the Underground
  10. Electric Guest – Mondo

Lou. co-founder | hurricane sandy took away a few dozen of his frank zappa vinyl albums (some rare) | “if i see her, she dies!”

Top 5 albums (in no particular order and no metal made it this year :-( )
  • Tame Impala – Lonerism
  • Howler – America Give Up
  • Shovels & Rope – O Be’ Joyful
  • Lumineers – The Lumineers
  • Frank Zappa – 60 re-issues

Mariana. marketing | avid concert-goer | non-professional dancer | hates carrying bags | wants to backpack across the world  

Click to watch our interview with Vintage Trouble at SXSW ’12.

Top 10 songs
  1. Alabama Shakes – “Hold On”
  2. Matrimony – “Obey Your Guns” (click to watch live performance at ReverbNation HQ)
  3. Vintage Trouble – “Nobody Told Me”
  4. fun. – “Some Nights”
  5. Dr. Dog – “How Long Must I Wait?”
  6. White Sea – “Overdrawn”
  7. Mumford & Sons – “I Will Wait”
  8. Delta Rae – “Bottom of the River”
  9. Lost in the Trees – “Red”
  10. Jens Lekman – “Become Someone Else’s”

Neal. customer service | sneaker aficionado | carolina basketball super fan

Top 10 albums (in no particular order)
  • Skyzoo – Theo vs. JJ (Dreams vs. Reality)
  • Frank Ocean – Channel Orange
  • Nas – Life Is Good
  • Curren$y – The Stoned Immaculate
  • Jack White – Blunderbuss
  • Kendrick Lamar – Good Kid, M.A.A.D City
  • King Mez – My Everlasting Zeal
  • The Weeknd – Trilogy
  • Big Boi (of Outkast) – Vicious Lies & Dangerous Rumors
  • Joey Bada$$ – 1999

Patrick.  digital distribution| prefers early mornings and highlight reels 

After the release of ‘Channel Orange’, Pitchfork said Frank Ocean is “among the most gifted singer-songwriters of his generation.”

Top 10 albums
  1. Father John Misty – Fear Fun
  2. The Weeknd – Trilogy
  3. Tame Impala – Lonerism
  4. Jack White – Blunderbuss
  5. Woods – Bend Beyond
  6. Frank Ocean – Channel Orange
  7. The Walkmen – Heaven
  8. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Mature Themes
  9. Michael Kiwanuka – Home
  10. The Human Eyes – Guiding Eyes for the Blind

Parker. customer service | fierce beard | seger specialist | likes cats and dogs

Top 10 albums
  1. Father John Misty – Fear Fun
  2. High On Fire – De Vermis Mysteriis
  3. The Sword – Apocryphon
  4. Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls
  5. The Mountain Goats – Transcendental Youth
  6. Rush – Clockwork Angels
  7. Aesop Rock – Skelethon
  8. Dinosaur Jr. – I Bet On Sky
  9. Bob Mould – Silver Age
  10. Pallbearer – Sorrow and Extinction

 Honorable mentions: Old Crow Medicine Show – Carry Me Back; Bob Dylan – Tempest

Reverb Live NYC. Hailing from all across the east coast, this diverse group of business savvy music-lovers is a big supporter of live music and wanted to share with you some of the epic shows that topped their list this year.

Top 10 live shows
  1. 12/12/12 Madison Square Garden (New York, NY)
  2. Mumford & Sons at Pier A (Hoboken, NJ)
  3. Rodger Waters at Yankee Stadium (Bronx, NY)
  4. Animal Collective at Terminal 5 (New York, NY)
  5. Radiohead at the Prudential Center (Newark, NJ)
  6. Explosions in the Sky at Governor’s Ball (New York, NY)
  7. Sigur Rós at the Mann Center (Philadelphia, PA)
  8. Girl Talk at Catalpa Music Festival (New York, NY)
  9. Björk at the New York Hall of Science (Queens, NY)
  10. Tool at the Izod Center (East Rutherford, NJ)

Robert F. developer | lover of dogs, beer, and motorcycles, but not at the same time | resident reverbnation smiley guy

Top 10 albums
  1. Jon Watts – Clothe Yourself in Righteousness
  2. Artemis – Sephyra
  3. Anji Bee – Put Some Music On (it’s just a single, but it’s good stuff)
  4. Craig Finn – Clear Heart Full Eyes
  5. Data Romance – Caves
  6. Lazy Hammock – Natural High
  7. Submotion Orchestra – Fragments
  8. Various – Chilled Summer Break, Vol. 1
  9. All India Radio – Red Shadow Landing
  10. Kid Koala – 12 Bit Blues

Sam. customer service | rocker/roller | gramatical/syntactical nutjob | loves seinfeld more than he probably should

Top 10 albums
  1. Tame Impala – Lonerism
  2. Liars – WIXIW
  3. Menomena – Moms
  4. Jenny Besetzt – Only
  5. Grizzly Bear – Shields
  6. Thee Oh Sees – Putrifiers II
  7. Lower Dens – Nootropics
  8. Gross Ghost – Brer Rabbit
  9. Mac Demarco – 2
  10. Frank Ocean – Channel Orange

Honorable mentions: Beach House – Bloom; Daniel Rossen – Silent Hour/Golden Mile; DIIV – Oshin; Lotus Plaza – Spooky Action at a Distance; Tamaryn – Tender New Signs.

Now it’s your turn! We want to learn a little bit about you. What were your favorite albums and songs of 2012? Which Reverb employee has a similar music taste to yours? Leave your answers in the comments below!

SamBest albums and songs of 2012: Picked by ReverbNation staffers
read more

5 wishes on every musician’s list this holiday season

And just like that, the holidays are upon us!

With more than a few members of the ‘Nation finding themselves behind on their holiday shopping this year, we decided to lend our readers a hand with their wintertime rush by creating this list. For rankings, we polled trusted music authorities like this year’s high school talent show finalists and the host of the Bollywood Bonanza on the local college radio station.

Use it to build your own wish list, or share it with family, friends and fans to inspire gift ideas and spread the word about what you want this year!  Happy holidays, and good hunting:

5.  More Exposure – You’d think this wish is a no-brainer, but according to our data exposure barely beat the Amp Capo (honorable mention) out for the #5 spot on our list.  Perhaps it’s so obvious that it was taken for granted, but when we tallied the final results, exposure was cemented as one of those classic gifts that keeps giving.

4.  More Fans – Musicians across the board wanted more fans, citing the rush of hearing huge crowds singing their songs back to them and more money at the door as lead contributing factors.  Fans may not be this year’s Tickle-Me Elmo, but just like presents and pumpkin pie, they’re sure to satisfy just about anyone this time of year.

3.  Vantare Platinum Plus Tour Bus – Just like the pony you asked for every year as a child, the world’s most expensive tour bus really puts the ‘wish’ in this year’s wish list.  Blowing up the blogosphere with its Inca marble, antique bronze, and pearlized Italian leather interior, this $2.5M tour bus will ensure you never want to stop touring.  We hope you’ve been real good boys and girls this year…

2.  Buzz – Elusive and mysterious, few musicians are able to obtain this heady mix of recognition & momentum.  Buzz has the power to supercharge an artist’s career, but is difficult to create and even harder to maintain.  Given its promotional power and its rarity, it’s no surprise buzz ranked near the top of our list, bested only by the most overwhelmingly cited wish…

1.  ReverbNation Gift Cards - This year’s winner beat the competition handily for the #1 spot, and it’s easy to see why.  A Promote It Gift Card from ReverbNation allows musicians to promote their music on top websites like MTV, Facebook & Pandora, driving exposure where people go to discover new music.  Not only does Promote It help musicians get new fans from around the world, but sustained promotion builds buzz previously out of the reach of all but the most successful artists.  ReverbNation’s Promote It Gift Cards start at just $10  and give artists everything they’re wishing for this holiday season!  Except for the tour bus; but with promotion like this, 2013 just might be the year they can finally afford one.

Lucky for you, you can get this holiday season’s #1 gift for musicians right here! Whether you’re a fan or a musician, giving or receiving a gift card is simple:

If you’re a musician, log into your ReverbNation profile page and click the gift card ad in the right column.

You’ll be taken to your custom gift card purchase page. Simply copy the URL from your browser’s address bar and email the link to anyone buying you a gift this year.

If you’re a fan, find your favorite band’s ReverbNation profile page by entering their name in the search bar at the top of ReverbNation.com or navigating to their page directly. Click on the gift card ad in the right column to navigate to that artist’s custom gift card purchase page. There, just complete the form to customize your gift and schedule delivery.

This holiday season, treat a musician (or yourself!) to a gift that’s sure to please with Promote It Gift Cards from ReverbNation!

Sam5 wishes on every musician’s list this holiday season
read more

3 things musicians can learn from brands about Customer Relationship Management

This guest post from Mark Knight explores ‘Customer Relationship Management’ (CRM) to show how the principles can help independent artists promote their music more effectively. As founder of Right Chord Music, a management and consultancy business, Mark calls upon his 12 years of experience working as a music marketing consultant to brands like Coca-Cola, Nokia & T-Mobile, plus his seven years as an artist manager for independent artists.

In the business world, a whole industry has been established around ‘customer relationship management’ or CRM. Fancy acronym, but what’s it really mean and how does it apply to you and your music career? In basic terms, CRM is a plan to understand and manage a brand’s relationship with customers. Using technology, this can get pretty complex, but really CRM efforts all stem from three goals:

  • Identify, attract and win new customers
  • Retain existing customers
  • Re-invigorate relationships with former customers

It doesn’t take a genius to realise there are clear parallels between the value of CRM for a brand or business and CRM for a band or artist. In order to have a successful music career (“business”) you need to have fans (“customers”). And those fans won’t come unless you work hard for it. Below are some details on just what I mean, but first I want you to keep in mind two widely accepted business principles:

  1. Pareto’s 80:20 rule suggests 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers.
  2. Winning new business from existing customers is cheaper than winning new business from new customers.

Okay, that said, here is how a musician or a band can apply the 3 CRM goals to their music career to develop better relationships with their fans:

1.  Identify, attract and win new fans and supporters

Most independent artists don’t have money to spend on ‘push’ advertising or PR to reach a mass audience. Your best chance of success lies in ‘pull’ marketing where you supply your fans with compelling content and they promote you to their networks. Your ultimate audience is not your ‘Friends;’ it’s the ‘Friends of your friends.’ If you can burst out of your network into each of theirs, your potential audience will suddenly rocket. So encourage and incentivise them to share your posts. Reverb Tip: Online tools like Band Profile on Facebook and Promote It have built-in abilities for social expansion.

Remember the second principle: It’s cheaper to win new business from existing customers, than win new business from new customers. So use your existing ‘Friends’ as advocates.

2.  Successfully retain existing fans and supporters

On social media: Sometimes it’s important to remind yourself why you are growing a fanbase on Facebook or Twitter. Many bands seem to spend all their waking hours collecting new ‘Likes’ and ‘Followers’ but never interact with any of them.

Facebook uses a system called Edgerank to prioritise the news in your feed. If you don’t interact with you fans you’ll become invisible very quickly. So when a new ‘Like’ or ‘Follower’ arrives, you have work to do. This is important: social media quantity should always go hand in hand with quality. Without engagement those ‘Likes’ quickly become meaningless.

With mailing lists: Mailing lists are another key tool for retaining fans, but only if you use them in a smart way. Lazy mail-outs containing a summary of old news are pointless. Set rules for your mail-outs: “I will only ever contact fans when I can reward them, or offer them something exclusive.” “I will never just repeat news I’ve posted on Facebook.” Reverb Tip: The tool FanReach has made it very easy for emerging artists to grow their fanbase through newsletters. Check it out >>

Always be critical of the communication you send. If it doesn’t genuinely interest or excite you, why would anyone else care? You don’t build relationships by spamming people.

Finally, don’t forget to ‘Surprise’ & ‘Delight’ your fans; it’s a proven brand tactic to retain interest. How about you surprise the next three fans that contact you on Twitter with a free t-shirt or free remix?

Also, you should be able to personally name your biggest fans. Who are the people that engage with you the most on Facebook? Who are the people that come to all of your shows? Who buys your music? By identifying these advocates you can start to create tailored rewards to encourage continued support. You could offer exclusive previews for a select group of top fans.

3.  Reinvigorate relationships with former fans and supporters

Make full use of the analytics provided to you by Facebook and YouTube. If you don’t already know, take time to find out (learn more about Facebook Insights and YouTube Analytics):

Picard engage meme

Do like Capt. Picard: engage.

Find out which 10 Facebook posts had:

  • The greatest ‘Reach’ in the past three months
  • The most ‘Engaged Users’
  • Were the ‘Most talked about’
  • The highest levels of ‘Virality’

What are your most engaging (based on % of video watched) videos on YouTube?

Next, note down the commonalities to identify what an engaging post looks like. E.g.,

  • Posted on a Monday morning
  • Personal, warm friendly style
  • Contain a question
  • Include a good quality photo
  • Contains a video

Once you understand the rules of engagement you can repeat the trick, and hopefully win back some of the people who have switched off in response to your less engaging posts.

Bonus tip: Get organised.

Create a basic Excel database, to collect and manage your relationships. Start with a separate tab for:

  • Artists
  • Blogs
  • Labels
  • Promoters
  • Publishers
  • Radio stations

Then whenever you come across a new contact, add their key details: Name, Company, Job Title, Email, Phone.

These 3 additional details take this from being a flat database into an active, useful CRM tool:

  • When: Date last contacted
  • Why: Reason for last contact
  • What: Outcome of last contact

Keeping a track of when, why and what ensures you can tailor your response and follow up in the most appropriate way, only sharing information which is relevant to them.

Don’t be afraid to follow up. If someone really has no interest they will tell you so. Don’t assume a non-reply is a no; it is often just a sign they are busy or disorganized. As a blogger I welcome reminders “Have you had a chance to check out our track yet?” Often a reminder will be enough to guarantee you a review (if the music is great).

A little thought and planning can really help improve the effectiveness of your fan communication, so don’t be in a rush to promote until you are ready. How about you? Have you tried any of these goals before? Leave your thoughts and questions in the comments below.

Mark Knight can be reached at his Twitter account @RightChordMusic.

Sam3 things musicians can learn from brands about Customer Relationship Management
read more

How to get a great manager: 6 tips from music executive Jeff Rabhan

This guest post is written by Jeff Rabhanartist manager, music-industry executive and international consultant. His clients have garnered twelve Grammy Awards, sold more than one hundred million records and generated over one billion dollars in global receipts. Rabhan currently serves as Chair of the Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

After 20 years in the business and hundreds of showcases under my belt, I’ve seen a lot of aspiring artists who have two things in common: They’re all looking for a manager and all trying to get signed. But for the great majority, that’s a pipe dream. The odds are against you. I know it sounds harsh, but in truth, many artists miss their opportunity by not being prepared.

Finding a proper manager can be a painful and frustrating process for many artists; the seemingly endless amount of pitching, sending out unsolicited material and inviting seasoned pros down to showcases only to be met by rejection on the other end can be debilitating. Many musicians blame the managers — it’s easy to convince yourself that their blind eye and stone ears can’t see and hear your musical greatness. But in truth, artists often are not properly prepared for management, nor are their careers in shape to the point where an experienced manager would be interested. So how do you know the right time to get a manager and what are the best ways to secure proper management?

DIY until you no longer can

If you’re sitting at home on the couch right now, chances are you don’t need a manager. You should be your own booking agent, publicist, marketing exec and radio promotion person before anyone else. For one, you’ll learn about all of the different aspects of your career and become educated. Second, you’ll build the relationships yourself instead of hiring a manager based upon who they “know.” Hopefully, by the time you’ve reached the point where you are so busy that you can no longer handle the tasks, proper management will have taken notice. After all, if you have a lot going on, the buzz of a band finds a way of reaching music execs.

In fact, there’s a funny saying amongst music industry people: “If you’re unsigned and great, I’ve heard of you;” meaning, if all of the pieces are put together and you’re ready for the major leagues, managers will find you, as will labels, and lawyers too.

Trust me. Rock bands are famous for handling their business correctly. They split up the chores, handle the tasks and operate their band like a business. This is one sure way to impress a possible manager. I remember before Incubus was signed to Sony Music, they had a strong relationship with their fanbase in southern California, kept meticulous fan lists and had plenty of merch to sell so much of the groundwork was done. The rest is history. Remember: If you’re a new act, no one is waiting for your music to come out. So get all the elements right first.

Get your online presence together

Any manager worth his salt will want to see an organized online presence. That doesn’t mean a website with a few old songs and bad pictures! Managers, labels and executives alike will want to know that you are part of an active community that includes a destination website for your project or band, as well as Facebook, Twitter, a ReverbNation profile, or even a Tumblr. The website should be updated, platforms linked, and the artist active. This is the bare minimum! In today’s market, artists are getting deals with labels and managers based upon the strength of their online presence alone. You could be one of them if you “work” your social media fanbase. Just ask Justin Beiber if YouTube helped him….

Know who you are

Very few managers are interested in figuring out who you are for you. Without a strong sense of identity, a sonic footprint, and a dialed-in look you are wasting time pursuing representation. Take the time to experiment and know exactly who you are, who your audience is and how you communicate with them first. A manager can help you execute but only you can determine those key points. Stepping forward without these three things intact is like a guitar player leaving his instrument at home the night of a gig. Branding is the phrase that pays and every artist needs to be in the branding business.

Some artists take offense to the term “branding” and feel that it goes against their artistic ethos. Think again. As a wise manager once said, “No one wants to manage the greatest band you never heard of.” Branding is music.

Captivate a following in your hometown

A manager friend of mine once told a band looking for management “Don’t call me until you can sell out the best club in your hometown!” I believe that message holds true. If you’re not popular where you are, how can you expect to be in demand anywhere else? Work on establishing yourself in your hometown and making yourself a household name at clubs, radio stations and the musical community. Bands that are making noise locally are usually the ones that get snatched up long before projects that have no local development.

Master your live performance

These days, an artist with no live following looking for management is like a tree falling in the forest. With so much income reliant upon touring and merchandise sales in today’s market, most managers will want to know that you are capable of earning on the road and building a fan base every time you get out and perform. This means that if you’re a band, you are tight and know how to sell it from the stage. If you are a solo artist, you should have a band together that showcases your talents and they are prepared to perform your material at any time.

I can’t tell you the number of times I was hyped on a band that I went to see and they couldn’t deliver it live. It’s a deal-killer every time.

Avoid “Uncle Joey Syndrome”

Many musicians fall prey to this horrible disease! Rarely is an artist served well by having a family member or close personal friend as their manager. More personal relationships are destroyed in this scenario than successful careers made. Plus, opinions are so subjective that often family is blinded by the reality of your situation. Hire the best person with the most experience you can find. Occasionally you meet the artist who believes that their career is the family business. I’ve managed artists who have insulated themselves with family and do not have the ability to see themselves clearly. Objectivity is the key to great management and blood rarely possesses it.

Having great songs is truly just the beginning. Without building your base and utilizing all of the tools available, you may find yourself in the unpleasant situation of waiting to be heard. So get off of that couch and know that success is in your hands. If you build it, they will come. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Jeff tweets daily at @JeffRahban.

SamHow to get a great manager: 6 tips from music executive Jeff Rabhan
read more

How-to video: Fast and easy way to create ads for top music sites

In case you missed the announcement about the new ReverbNation “Promote It on Top Sites” campaign, get the scoop >here<. Basically, with this campaign, independent musicians on a tight budget are finally able to create their own custom ads and promote them on top sites like YouTube, Pandora, MTV, Pitchfork, and Rolling Stone.

Watch the video below to see how easy and fast it is to make professional quality ads and start gaining fans from music sites you know and love:

Look at Jenny Kowalski’s and Fastwalkers’ ad on AllMusic.com

Want to see your ad on premium sites just like Jenny Kowalski and Fastwalkers got to see theirs on AllMusic.com? Just click the button below to be seen, get heard, and start building buzz!

SamHow-to video: Fast and easy way to create ads for top music sites
read more

September’s Breaking Artists: Kudos to these ReverbNation opportunity winners!

Do you ever wonder who submits to those opportunities you see in your email inbox every week? Do you wonder who gets picked to perform or chosen for a feature? We thought you might. Our monthly Breaking Artists newsletter features a sampling of those artists, along with this nice and shiny blog post you’re reading right now. The whole Reverb community will get the newsletter (all 2,000,000+ of them). Yep, it’s kind of a big deal.

Please, support your fellow musicians by listening to their music and sending them kudos in the comments!

PS: Breaking Artists are selected by Reverb staff from opportunity winners. Increase your chances of being one of them by submitting to opportunities here >>

Rocking Out at Iceland Airwaves…

Singer/songwriter Ghost Town Jenny.

The Foreign Resort

Alternative band The Foreign Resort.

Ghost Town Jenny and The Foreign Resort will play the Iceland Airwaves annual music festival in Reykjavík. The five-day festival has been called “the hippest long weekend on the annual music-festival calendar.”

“I am just over the moon about playing our first major music festival, especially when it’s in such a magical place like Iceland! I will be forever grateful to ReverbNation for being the platform we needed to get our music heard by more people…” 

-Ghost Town Jenny

“We have not played Iceland Airwaves before, so this is going to be a great experience for us. We thought it would be a long-shot, so we were absolutely thrilled to get the acceptance email! (…) We have now started applying to more opportunities through ReverbNation as we are now also seeing a lot of great opportunities that are in line with our goals.” 

-The Foreign Resort

Performed at Reverb’s Hopscotch Day Party…

Casual Curious at Hopscotch.

Casual Curious performed at ReverbNation’s “United by Music” Hopscotch Music Festival Day Party. Hopscotch is an annual independent music festival held in Raleigh, NC.  This year’s event featured 175 bands that played across 15 venues!

DJ’d the Electric Zoo Main Stage…

Julien Loreto

Toronto-based DJ Julien Loreto.

Julien Loreto performed on the Main Stage at Electric Zoo 2012 in NYC! Check out a short documentary about his experience here. Electric Zoo is an annual electronic music festival held over Labor Day weekend. This year, more than 110,000 people showed up to see the show headlined by Pretty Lights, Above & Beyond, and Skrillex.

“It was my first time DJ’ing at Electric Zoo and it was an honour to perform at such a world class festival. (…) Thank you to Reverbnation and MADE Events for the special experience. Electric Zoo in my heart. Hope to be back next year!.”

-Julien Loreto

Came Together for Make Music New York…

230 ReverbNation artists played Make Music New York.

230 ReverbNation artist performed at the Make Music New York music festival in NYC! The event took place on June 21, the first day of summer, and featured more than 1,000 free concerts throughout New York’s five boroughs. Good going to everyone who came out and participated!

Featured in Substream Music Press…

Come What May

Athens-based prog rock band Come What May.

Come What May got a feature in the Warped issue of Substream Music Press! Substream Music Press focuses on discovering and sharing the best new music– especially the stuff sometimes missed by the mainstream media.

More Winners: The World’s Fare, TreeHouse!, Ajam band, and Alexander Cardinale!

The World's Fare

Prog rock band The World’s Fare performed at the Masquerade Musician’s Showcase in Atlanta.

TreeHouse!

Reggae band TreeHouse! played at the Creative Food Drive in Durham, NC. “ReverbNation has helped us gain gigs, exposure, and press, and has facilitated our exhibition of professionalism throughout this process, with quality RPKs, widgets for our website, and several methods of keeping up with all our fans!”

Ajam band

London-based Ajam band performed during the Olympics at London International Arts Festival!

Alexander Cardinale

Singer/songwriter Alexander Cardinale won a Dream Recording Package from Seagate Creative! “Reverb is my ‘home base’. And it’s the only place I use for my industry EPKs!!!” Follow him @XanderMusic

Congrats to all of September’s “Breaking” Artists!

Don’t want to miss out on next opportunity?

There are four ways you can use to stay up-to-date on the latest gigs (we recommend using all of them to ensure nothing gets missed!):

  • Follow our updates on Twitter and Facebook
  • Check the email updates we send you
  • Check the latest Opportunities on this page
  • Go to your Control Room on your Reverb page > click “Opportunities”

So, where’s your next gig?

ShellySeptember’s Breaking Artists: Kudos to these ReverbNation opportunity winners!
read more

ReverbNation rock band selected for new Dodge Dart commercial

After two months going through a couple rounds of online voting, competing against hundreds of other talented artists, and crafting just the perfect song, Michael Williams Band has been crowned the winner of the Dodge “Inspired By You” contest! Along with the free promotion and the worldwide exposure, this kickass rock band from L.A. will get the amazing opportunity to have their song featured in a new commercial featuring the All-New 2013 Dodge Dart.

If you haven’t had the pleasure to listen to Michael Williams, the lead singer and guitarist who is known for combining blistering guitar licks and intense performance energy with soulful songwriting and a dynamic voice, take the time to do it now. Here’s what Rock’s Back Pages has to say about the band:

“Imagine if Jimi Hendrix came out of Texas. That’s what you’ve got in Mike Williams, lead singer, guitarist, powerhouse. The kind of performer who makes you scream. He’s just outrageous… Williams is the real deal: raw rock power, great voice, powerful stage presence… anything you hear on the record is ten times wilder, heavier and more intense onstage.” read more…

Congrats also to the runners up bands!

Bungled and Botched, bluegrass band from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

If Birds Could Fly, folk band from Big Stone Gap, Virginia.

If you like what you hear, make sure to send kudos to your fellow musicians in the comments below!

SamReverbNation rock band selected for new Dodge Dart commercial
read more