7 New Merch Ideas You Need To Try Now

Clever merch can do marvels for a band, and we’re not talking just about super-cool T-shirts and well-designed album art. Think of your shop selection—online or IRL—as having the same possibilities of any other store. You’ve got the freedom to offer almost anything you want, and if you’re creative enough in your selection, your sales will surely get a boost. Those special items can help grow your fanbase, too.

Dave7 New Merch Ideas You Need To Try Now
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Tour Diaries: Josh Savage

In 2015, U.K. born, bilingual singer/songwriter, Josh Savage, played 79 intimate shows across the U.S. and Europe with Sofar Sounds and in homes of fans. Holding the record for playing the most Sofar Sounds shows worldwide, Josh is hoping to inspire other artists with his new documentary Living Room Tours. Read on to learn about Josh’s heartfelt and inspiring Living Room Tour, how Sofar Sounds has helped in the development of his career, and more.

Hey Josh, it’s been a few months since we chatted! Give us a breakdown of your Living Room Tour.

As a new artist, it’s difficult to connect with your audience in bars and in venues where people talk over your music, text or get drunk. Often, I wonder if people even go to gigs for the music anymore. So in 2015, I played 79 shows across America and Europe in intimate environments with Sofar Sounds and in the homes of fans. It was a wonderful yet tough experience and it was a great, affordable way to kickstart my music career as a singer/songwriter.

How do you hope to inspire other artists?

I hope the documentary will show other artists that you don’t need the “go ahead” or permission from anybody to follow your dream. With the internet today, you can make your own rules.

DaveTour Diaries: Josh Savage
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The Best LA Music Venues

From venues full of musical history to a cemetery, our LA-based CONNECT Manager Sharyn rounded up a list of her all-time favorite venues in LA. Check out a show at one of these rad places the next time you’re in town.

This is one of my favorite venues in the country. Playing the Troubadour is a milestone for any artist. The room has an amazing vibe to it, in part because of its astounding history:  Elton John, James Taylor, Carol King and Tom Waits all started off there. Big name acts like Guns N’ Roses, Nine Inch Nails, The National, etc. have been known to do underplays. Troubadour always has great bands coming through, impeccable sound and if you’re tired of standing you can go watch the show from the row of church pews upstairs.

KevinThe Best LA Music Venues
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Behind the Opportunity: Open for The Cool Kids at The Art Institute of Chicago’s After Dark Event

We’re so excited to share that we’re working with the Evening Associates of the Art Institute of Chicago to find one artist to open for the influential hip-hop duo The Cool Kids at their exclusive After Dark event live at the Art Institute of Chicago. We chatted with Jeremy Rothschild, Chairman of the Evening Associates Board of Directors at the Art Institute of Chicago, to learn about the successful After Dark series, how it’s become a platform for emerging artists, and more.

Hey Jeremy thanks for chatting with us! Introduce yourself and tell us what you do for the Art Institute of Chicago.
Jeremy Rothschild: Chairman of the Evening Associates Board of Directors at the Art Institute of Chicago

What is After Dark, what does it offer for audiences of the Art Institute of Chicago?
After Dark is an event series hosted by the Evening Associates Board of directors that highlights art exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago while featuring musical acts, cocktails, interactive theatrical performances, and occasionally art making activities all focused on engaging Chicago’s young professional audience.

The Evening Associates Board is a diverse group of young art-inspired professionals, innovators, and philanthropists committed to engaging Chicago’s under-40 community with the Art Institute of Chicago, driving Evening Associates membership, and promoting an understanding and appreciation of the arts. They were named the 2015 Associate Board of the Year by Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Chicago (YNPN Chicago).

KevinBehind the Opportunity: Open for The Cool Kids at The Art Institute of Chicago’s After Dark Event
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Life on the Road: Touring Tips from Air Traffic Controller

Boston-based indie pop band Air Traffic Controller are on the road Bronze Radio Return, have just been nominated for three Boston Music Awards, and have been touring nonstop for the last few weeks. Read on to get their top tips for surviving life on the road.

Air Traffic Controller’s Top Touring Tips:
  1. Know when you need your space.  It can sometimes be hard to be around people 24/7 for weeks on end, especially if you’re an introvert like me.  If you need to throw on headphones or go for a walk to recharge, do it.  It helps a lot.
  2. Pack as light as possible.  I don’t always take my own advice on this one, but I always end up trying to bring things that I don’t need and it only weighs me down.  I’ve worked over the years to cut down everything I own so that it fits in a small suitcase, and it feels a lot better.
  3. Be kind to everyone you work with.  Your band, the sound staff, the promoter, the bartender, everyone.  It’s so much easier for everyone when everyone is psyched to be there.  If you act like a diva, it just makes things miserable.  And what’s the point of that?
  4. Driver gets to choose the music and the navigator sits shotgun and stays AWAKE.
  5. Don’t make any rash decisions.  It’s not always gonna be a good day and you’re not always gonna get along with everyone at all times.  Let moods pass and give things time.  Vent to a neutral party if you need to, but arguing and complaining don’t really do any good when you’re traveling around the country for months in a little tin can.
  6. Live in it and enjoy it while you can.  I feel like the luckiest person in the world to get to travel and play music with my best friends.  I don’t always get to work with my favorite people in the world and it’s the best thing.
  7. Don’t let one sub par show get you down. When you’re playing every night it’s not always going to be magical. Maybe you have an off show, sound isn’t great, show isn’t well attended, you’re exhausted, etc. There are a so many factors that come into play. All you can do is try your hardest to give the best performance possible, support each other onstage, and remember to have fun. We’ve gotten into a really great habit of dissecting our performance after each show and figuring out what we can do to make the next show better.
  8. Take care of yourself. Your body is going to take a pretty good beating. Loading gear in and out of the van, not sleeping well, constant long drives, not to mention there’s probably a good amount of free booze around. Anyway, it’s helpful to try and eat well, rest when you can, and drink plenty of water. You might still feel like you’re not human most of time… but hey, you’re on tour with your BoyZ!
  9. Pre-Stage. Making sure that your gear is setup and ready to go off stage can be a huge timesaver and make your life a whole lot easier. This is especially helpful if you’re the opener on a tour.
  10. Make sure all your gear is tour ready. You really don’t want stuff breaking on the road. Especially if it’s something that’s not easily replaceable. I always try to go over all my gear with a fine toothed comb before we leave for a trip, and bringing some tools along for the ride isn’t ever a bad idea.
  11. Socks. Bring all of the socks.
KevinLife on the Road: Touring Tips from Air Traffic Controller
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Discover NYC Preview: Meet Jesse Ruben, Jaye Bartell & Henry Hall

October's edition of Discover NYC will take place on October 11th at Rockwood Music Hall featuring singer-songwriter Jesse Ruben, Sinderlyn artist Jaye Bartell, and alternative artist Henry Hall. Read on to meet the artists.

 


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Name:
Jesse Ruben
Hometown: Maple Glen, PA
Based: Brooklyn, NY
Influences: Paul Simon, Jackson Browne, Ben Folds, Elliott Smith
Inspiration Behind “This is Why I Need You”: I got really sick with Lyme Disease back in 2012, and had to take more than two years off from playing music before I finally got better. “This Is Why I Need You” was the first song I wrote when I got healthy. It’s a song that acknowledged all of the people in my life who helped me get through that period. It is a song that means so much to me, and it’s been really great to see people have such a strong positive reaction to it.
Touring in Europe: There’s this great company that finds artists from the US and UK and brings them over to Germany to tour for a month. I’d never been, so it was a great way to see the whole country while also playing 25 shows in a month. It was really exhausting, but really fun. I may or may not have gotten too drunk and lost my passport my first night there (but then I totally got it back the next day!). I would love to do another tour in Europe.
Fun Fact: I’m never sure what qualifies as a “fun” fact. I have a twin sister. I’m really good at ultimate frisbee. And my feet are two different sizes, which makes buying shoes a nightmare.

KevinDiscover NYC Preview: Meet Jesse Ruben, Jaye Bartell & Henry Hall
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On Tour: Thee Phantom

Described as “part b-boy, part Beethoven,” Thee Phantom uniquely combines hip-hop with live orchestration. Read on to get the 411 on his upcoming College Tour that kicks off this week with a SOLD OUT show at the University of Texas, the advice he’d give someone who’s trying to break into the business, and more.

Hey Thee Phantom, thanks for being a part of our series! Introduce yourself – who is Thee Phantom?
Thee Phantom is the combination of all my childhood inspirations. Hip-Hop, Classical Music, Comic Books, Sports & of course my favorite Broadway musical, Phantom of the Opera. I am a Composer/MC/Producer who combines the raw energy and passion of Hip-Hop, with the beautiful melodies of live orchestral accompaniment.

KevinOn Tour: Thee Phantom
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A Non-Definitive List of Nashville Music Venues

Are you new to the Nashville scene? Our Nashville-based CONNECT Manager Daren, who has lived in Music City for over a decade, rounded up a list of venues that are establishing the current music scene. Read on for the inside scoop.

I think it’s important when embarking on new territory, or maybe when needing a change of scenery, to forge ahead with a solid understanding of the lay of the land. While I do realize that this post exists within my bubble of the city I’ve lived and worked in for around 11 years, I think it’s important for bands, songwriters, and singer/songwriters to play Nashville. Music City cliché aside, there really is a ton of music (so much so that some people specifically seek out places without music) and a ton of people that support it, fans and industry included. This inevitably means there will need to be venues to support these artists. Below is my list of Nashville music venues that are establishing the current live music scene:

KevinA Non-Definitive List of Nashville Music Venues
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