Though I’d reaaaallllly like to say we’re the only way to obtain unbiased music feedback from consumers, that’s not necessarily the truth. Brian Hazard, he of the ten-album Color Theory and head mastering engineer at Resonance Mastering, put this belief into play recently when he took to Twitter to solicit some lyrical recommendations from his followers.
Music may be your main focus, but if we’re talking social media, graphics, photos and videos are grabbing fans’ attention first — whether they’re at their computer watching YouTube or checking Instagram on their phones. So, to get your 2015 social posts off to a solid start, we’re sharing this helpful infographic from SetUpABlogToday.
Check back here for more tips on maximizing fan engagement in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, get cropping!
As an Artist, you’re probably relying on some form of social media to spread the word about your music. But today, it’s not enough to only update your fans with messages about your music.
We sat down with social media marketing expert Jim Tobin, President of Ignite Social Media, to find out where musicians often fall short in their social media strategy, and to learn how they can start making improvements today.
Watch the full interview above and read some of the highlights below:
Twitter has been rolling out tons of new changes recently. Taking a page out of Instagram’s playbook, the folks at Twitter recently made updates that take a more photo-friendly approach to your feed. While it’s always been possible to post photos to Twitter, now you can:
Post multiple photos at once
Add filters to a photo
Tag your friends and followers to keep the conversation going
Show, Don’t Tell
Ever heard this old saying? It’s more relevant than ever, especially since highly-visual platforms like Instagram and Facebook have become the places we share news about our life and music. Enhanced photos options on Twitter will provide another way to share with your friends and fans. Plus, the new features can help drive more social engagement with your posts, spreading your music even further than before.
You’ve got heart, kids! Thanks to your help, we now have over 100,000 artists supporting Music For Good. An idea that started 10 months ago has turned into a movement, and one that has built some amazing relationships between charities and independent artists. We could tell you all about it, or you could watch for yourself in this video below:
100,000 artists joining in 10 months to help 13 charities. Pretty great, right? We think so, and we are excited to see how Music For Good will continue to grow.
Special thanks to all of the charities who are a part of Music For Good!
We want you to celebrate with us! If you watched the video above, you probably have a good idea of how we’re sharing the good news with our friends, family and fans: Through a campaign we’re calling “100,000 Hearts.” Since you’ve put so much heart into Music For Good, we want you to show us your heart! And, no, we don’t mean like this:
We were thinking something more like this!
Take a picture of you “showing your heart” in any way that you choose. Then, post your photo to Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or our Facebook timeline using the hashtag #100kHearts. We’ll retweet your tweets to our 200,000+ followers and you’ll join thousands of other artists in celebrating this fantastic accomplishment. Be on the lookout for a brand new Pinterest board with a collection of all the 100,000 Hearts submissions!
While we could talk all day about how great the program is and how great all of you are, we’ll let our artists and charity partners speak for themselves! Take a look at the quotes below to see how this program has made a difference in the lives of those involved. And if you aren’t on Music For Good, check it out and consider becoming a part of the program today!
Bob Ferguson, Creative Alliances & Music Outreach Project Manager, Oxfam America: “Oxfam America is incredibly excited at the growth of ReverbNation’s Music For Good initiative. Through MFG, Oxfam has over 8000 artists pledging their support and music to us, and that’s the kind of loud noise we love!”
Christy Turlington, Founder, Every Mother Counts: “Through ReverbNation’s Music for Good, 2000 musicians and bands are now spreading the word about Every Mother Counts, which allows us to reach wider audiences with our mission. By sharing these universal stories, we bring more global awareness to maternal health challenges and solutions. Together, we can make pregnancy and childbirth safe for all moms.”
Scott Harrison, CEO and founder, charity: water: “The Music for Good program through ReverbNation allows us to connect with different types of artists. Being a charity partner has allowed us to tap into a unique, new demographic we have not previously been able to reach, creating a relationship where artists can use their gift for good and bring clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries.”
Mike Peters, Co-Founder, Love Hope Strength & international touring musician with The Alarm and Big Country: “Through ReverbNation’s life affirming Music For Good campaign we have not only raised much needed dollars, but we have also engaged thousands of artists in our mission to ‘save lives one concert at a time’ by registering marrow donors at artists’ concerts.”
Toby Lightman, ReverbNation artist and supporter of Half the Sky Movement: “Being a part of Music For Good has been an amazing experience, and has allowed me to learn about and support a charity I knew nothing about previously. It’s an indescribable feeling knowing that your music not only entertains people from around the world, but goes towards a greater good and is a part of something bigger.”
Jed Carlson, President and Co-Founder, ReverbNation: “It’s obvious that well-known musicians, like Bono and Willie Nelson, can influence fans to connect with great causes. What’s so gratifying about Music For Good is the confirmation that independent artists in the aggregate can affect the same behavior. In fact, Music For Good really surpassed our expectations in terms of both artist participation and global significance. What started as an idea — downloads that donate — has evolved into a movement, one that establishes and nurtures philanthropic mindsets. It’s reinforced the premise that independent musicians have influence that can lead to real impact.”
In this guest post, Kayla Calloway gives independent and up-and-coming hip-hop artists tips on how to effectively prepare a mixtape release.
Whether you are prepping for your first mixtape or this is your next go round, here are 5 tips for preparing for a successful mixtape release excerpted from “The Essential Guide to Hip-Hop Marketing & Publicity.” So in the words of Trinidad James “Lemme give you a checklist:”
1. Choose a DJ
When starting out, especially if it’s your first mixtape, choose a DJ who is on the come-up as well and who truly believes in your music. Or you can go the latest route used by emerging Atlanta hip-hop artist, Rich Homie Quan, and host your own mixtape.
2. Find a Studio
Find a studio that you are comfortable recording in, and once you have blocked time, make sure that you come prepared. Write your rhymes at home and be ready to go when you arrive to the studio.
Have your mixtape cleaned up and mixed by a professional engineer who knows what he is doing. Make sure that the sound is clear and crisp and that the sound levels are balanced throughout your mixtape.
4. Hire a Graphic Artist
When hiring a graphic artist for your mixtape cover, you need to make sure they understand your music and brand and that they can bring your ideas to life or that they can bring forth their own creative cover ideas that will represent you and your mixtape effectively. So, with that being said, here are three tips to consider when hiring a mixtape cover graphic artist:
Versatility: When selecting a graphic artist, make sure that they are versatile, creative, and have a range of design skills, because you want someone who can convey your individuality and the themes and messages of your music, not someone who has a one-size-fits-all approach to designing mixtape covers.
Track Record: Request to see work they’ve done in the past. Additionally, when you’re hiring for services, such as PR, marketing, or website design, check track records as well.
Professionalism: I know that the hip-hop industry can be a little casual, but business is business. Make sure you have a timeline for the work and ask that the graphic artist is being consistent with you and communicating effectively with you throughout the process.
5. Use Social Media to Gear Up for Your Mixtape Release
Engage: Follow other hip-hop artists, both up-and-coming and established, who have similar fan bases and followers. Additionally, follow DJs and other hip-hop influencers, such as hip-hop editors, bloggers, etc. Keep track of who’s mentioning you.
Get Fans to Promote for You: Constantly engage with your fans and include them on your journey. For example, you can ask fans for feedback regarding the title of your mixtape, which track to promote, mixtape cover art, etc. Join their conversations; don’t just always flood them with links pertaining to your music.
Plan: Plan a content strategy so you do not get distracted from the bottom line.
This list covers the basics. However, I would like to also mention the importance of working to build your fan base prior to releasing your mixtape. For more hip-hop marketing and publicity tips, visit kaylacalloway.com. Got any questions for me? Leave a comment below!
All the best with your mixtape release!
Kayla Calloway is a hip-hop enthusiast with over 5 years of PR experience, with specific concentrations in media relations and writing. Kayla has a strong rapport within the hip-hop editorial community and is the author of “The Essential Guide to Hip-Hop Marketing & Publicity”. She has secured media placements in XXL, The Source, Allhiphop.com, Creative Loafing, AJC and more. Kayla can be reached on Twitter and Facebook.
In this guest post, full-time DIY musician Ari Herstand gives you tips on how make a profit while touring. Ari has opened for artists such as Ben Folds, Cake, Joshua Radin, Matt Nathanson and Ron Pope. His songs have been featured on TV shows like One Tree Hill and various Showtime and MTV shows. His latest studio album debuted at #11 on iTunes singer/songwriter charts. He writes an independent music business advice blog, Ari’s Take.
I’ve played over 500 shows in 40 states. I’ve played every possible venue imaginable from arenas and theaters to living rooms and high schools. Every tour I go on is still a combination of all sized venues (well, not quite arenas as consistently as I’d like).
Once I quit working at Starbucks years ago, I made the decision that I would find a way to make a living with my skills and talents that didn’t include knowing the proper amount of foam on a caramel macchiatto. I hit the road and since then I have learned how to make every tour financially successful. Let me say that again. Every tour that I have ever done, after expenses, has been profitable.
It blows my mind that musicians tour and LOSE money. This is totally avoidable, but I hear many musicians just accept this as a reality of the road. Don’t. If you want to be a professional musician, you have to figure out how to actually make money with your music. +Book Your Own Tour: A How-To Guide
Follow these tips on the 8 basics of touring. If you can think of anything else, leave me a comment below!
Every show needs a purpose for the tour. Too many bands think that at every show the CEO of Atlantic Records’ brother will be in the house and he’ll make one phone call and turn them into superstars. That doesn’t happen. So once you accept that this is a business and it’s a slow grow and not a quick dash to play in front of “the right people,” it will change your mentality on the purpose of your tours. +Shows Sell, Events Sellout
The purpose of every show should either be (or a mix of):
a) To help fund the tour (and your lives)
b) To gain exposure and build a fanbase.
Every show I play I still put to this test. For the shows with the biggest amount of exposure (for merch sales), I’m willing to accept a smaller guarantee. The shows that won’t offer much for exposure, merch sales or career advancement, I need a much higher guarantee.
But don’t get into the trap of convincing yourself that every show you’ll sell hundreds in merch and DON’T take free shows from restaurants or friends of your parents promising a big crowd and “you can sell your merch.” This is a trap and it almost never is as worth it as you think it will be. +Our Tour Page Is Totally Full (of Empty Shows)
Play house concerts! These are some of my most profitable shows. If you’re a singer/songwriter it’s much easier. The promo is done by the host and most of the people that come (even just 20) buy lots of merch. Charge the host a guarantee of about $350 (but ask them to charge their guests $15 and if 24 people come they get a free concert). Every tour I include a few of these.
House concerts or living room concerts can be very profitable.
Once you have a tour made up of a healthy balance of (more) money shows and (less) exposure shows then you are ready to begin.
Who to bring on tour
Only bring people on the road who are absolutely necessary for your operation to work while still making a profit. If you can’t afford a sound guy at this stage, well, then don’t bring one. Even if they agree to do it for free, it’s not free. You’re gonna have to feed them, lodge them and once they see all the money coming in from the door or merch they’ll make it uncomfortable enough where you’ll get guilted into throwing them something.
Merch is your #1 income generator on the road. Believe it. Some shows you’ll make next to nothing from the door, but hopefully you’ll be able to leverage those in the house to buy some merch.
Make sure you always have someone manning your merch table from when the doors open to when people leave. If you can’t afford to bring a merch person on the road find a friend in that city (post status on Twitter and Facebook to request help) to run the table in exchange for free entrance to the show (or even a small % of sales). It’s worth it.
Especially if you’re on a bill with multiple bands or are playing for hours, most people won’t stay until the end of your set. If they like what they hear (even after one song), but have to take off early and they want your CD, if no one is at the merch table to sell it to them, you just lost a sale. Get a credit card swiper (like Square – it’s free). I nearly doubled my sales with this. +Double Your Income… No Really
Saving on gas
Gas can kill tours. Don’t tour in a larger vehicle than necessary and don’t pull a trailer unless ABSOLUTELY necessary. I know 5 piece bands that can fit all their gear and merch in the back of their van.
Or you can buy a super economical veggie oil bus and drive coast to coast on less than $100 like the rock band Blameshift:
The best way to save on gas is to make sure you’re not driving out of the way. No huge tour routing will ever be perfect, but keep the backtracking to a minimum (if ever).
Don’t get hotels until you’re making serious money. And even then try Priceline “name your own price” (not getting a kickback but I SHOULD) — I get $45 4 star hotels that way. It’s a nice little mid-tour perk to get off of the beer stained couch for a night. Invest in an air mattress and sleeping bag so you can keep your lodging portable and all you’ll require is floorspace.
You must (as a band) make a decision early on if you want this project to be just for fun or for profession. If everyone is on the same page that you want to be a professional outfit then you must act like it. +Double Your Income…No Really
Most venues will give you drink tickets. Don’t ever buy drinks at the bar you’re playing — it’s a waste of money and you don’t need it (BUT always tip your bartender on free drinks).
When you stop to fill up you don’t need the $2 bottle of water or soda. Those add up. Get a water bottle and fill that up.
Saving on food
If you’re out for awhile, go grocery shopping as a band. Buying in bulk obviously saves and if you bring a cooler along, you can spend more on ice and less on Subway.
The road is a mix of saving money and making money (as is life), but it’s magnified when you’re on tour. Always keep coming up with ways to make more money (merch combos, house shows, PLAY COLLEGES, better targeted promo to get more to show up). Don’t tour to just say you’re going on tour. Tour to grow your base WHILE making money.
If you’re still stuck and need more specific ways to get your tours to become even more profitable or want to embark on your big first tour, let’s Get Specific.
And if you have questions or want to share your touring experience, leave us a comment below!
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.
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.”
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!
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.”