Haven’t seen Renman MB Live? Then you’re missing out on one of the music industry’s best kept secrets. Steve Rennie — AKA Renman — is the longtime manager of Incubus and a driving force behind the band’s multi-platinum commercial success.
Last year he launched a weekly live web show, Renman MB Live, to provide “insider access” to the music industry. His no-holds-barred feedback on what musicians are doing right – and wrong – is fueled by 30+ years of music industry contacts turned guests; producers, promoters, marketing execs, breaking and signed bands.
This week, our own Jed Carlson, President and Co-Founder of ReverbNation, joined in right after Seth Hurwitz, owner of the legendary 930 Club, and shared some true pearls of wisdom (and some colorful language!)
In the video below, Jed gives insights on promoting shows. He includes a quick demo of how artists can “poster the web” with the details on their upcoming show, targeting likely fan on the very day they’re set to play using Promote a Show (after all, 81% music venues say same-day concert marketing is critical to drive awareness).
Jed concludes with a quick tour of Music For Good — our innovative music download platform that connects artists, fans and 13 amazing charities. Check out this video and discover just how much good downloading music can do!
81% say same-day concert marketing is critical to drive awareness
We recently surveyed 470 music venues around the world and their answers revealed that the majority of music venues sell most of their tickets at the door through walk-up traffic. Over eighty percent described day-of-show marketing and promotion as ‘important’ to driving that attendance.
While this may not come as a surprise to touring artists working to pack a house, these statistics suggest that consumers have a lot of choice when it comes to things to do on a Saturday night. And that many of them may be making their decisions about whether to go to the basketball game, the movies, or the concert, on the day of the event.
“Day of show promotions can be critical and with many shows, pulling out all the stops then is key to a successful event.” — Tonya Cooke, The Roxy Theatre, West Hollywood
We asked some artists and venues exactly how they create awareness for their concerts on the day of the show and consolidated this checklist:
Q: Is there a way to “poster” the web?
A: Actually, there is!
It’s the latest innovation in our Promote a Show service and it essentially makes it a snap to digitally poster the Internet with details on your show. It blankets potential concert-goers that live near the venue with online ads across virtually every website they might visit on that day – making them aware of the concert as an option for their evening plans.
Here’s how it works:
The ads blitz fans through repetition about the show — increasing the awareness and the probability that consumers will recall the concert and suggest it to friends.
“Promoting shows used to mean shipping posters to venues and hoping for the best. But with Promote It, we can reach 1,000’s of local fans online for the cost of a stack of posters!” — Blameshift
Artists and venues are becoming more sophisticated about same-day awareness and promotion, and we hope these ideas help.
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.”
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 >>
“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.”
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!
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!.”
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!
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!
Prog rock band The World’s Fare performed at the Masquerade Musician’s Showcase in Atlanta.
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!”
London-based Ajam band performed during the Olympics at London International Arts Festival!
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!
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 so starting this month, we’ll pick a sampling of those artists and send out a new, monthly Breaking Artists newsletter 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. Increase your chances of being one of them by submitting to opportunities here >>
“It was all around a great experience. (…) I thank ReverbNation for giving me the opportunity to be discovered by NMS in the first place!”
Listen and download Maren’s track Best of Me.
Veilside, Losing Scarlet, and The Heroes Lie
Hard rock bandsVeilside (above), Losing Scarlet, and The Heroes Lie played the ReverbNation stage at WIIL Rock Fest 2012. Veilside told us they were honored to be asked back to WIIL Rock’s annual Rock Fest, this year celebrating 20 years of the Radio Station by sharing the stage with 20+ of their favorite acts like, Black Stone Cherry, Texas Hippie Coalition, Fear Factory, Saving Able, Static X, and much more. Listen to Veilside’s Dust in The Wind, Losing Scarlet’s Learning to Bleed, and The Heroes Lie’s I Am a Fighter below.
Brooklyn indie rock band Late Cambrian performed at LUCKYRICE Festival 2012 in NYC! Here’s what they have to say about the experience: “We entered the LUCKYRICE Contest a few days after we joined ReverbNation. The head of LUCKYRICE said he listened to over 250 bands before choosing us. It was an honor really! The Festival itself was amazing. Some of the most delicious food we’ve ever tasted! They gave us free passes to 3 of the 5 nights of Luckyrice. Our show, on an outside stage, under the Manhattan Bridge was an awesome thing to be a part of. It was professionally run and we sold a bunch of CDs.”
“Thank you ReverbNation for connecting us with the contest… It was one of the highlights of our time as a band.”
Listen and download Late Cambrian’s track I Gave You My Limit.
Brooklyn-based guitarist and producer D.V.S* performed at the 2012 Gathering of the Vibes’ Silent Disco. This year’s lineup included big acts like The Avett Brothers, Yonder Mountain String Band, Keller Williams, and ALO. Definitely sounds like a good crowd to be part of! Listen to D.V.S*’s Shortness of Breath.
North Carolina rapper Herukhuti Ausaropened up a SOLD OUT SHOW for Logic and Tayyib Ali at The Roxy in LA! He said: “It was great! I really enjoyed the opportunity to communicate with the Roxy crowd. I got a real good vibe from there and the fans let us know that they enjoyed the performance. GREAT ENERGY!!” Listen to Herukhuti Ausar’s track Carolina:
Eitch, 4onthefloor, Sumilan
Eitch played at Wakarusa Music Festival this year (last year she went as a fan and promised herself she would do everything in her power to play there this year). “I honestly believe that if it weren’t for [ReverbNation’s] update in my inbox, it may have never come to my attention that Wakarusa was gathering their artists in time for me to act.”
“ReverbNation was definitely the catalyst in making a dream come true.”
Along with Eitch, 4onthefloorand Sumilan also got the amazing opportunity to play at Wakarusa Festival this past month! Listen to Eitch’s Sun and Moon, 4onthefloor’s On Tuesday, and Sumilan’s How Now Does It Feel below.
The Nearly Deads, One Days Notice, Zak Smith, Slave To The Day
The grunge rock band from Nashville, The Nearly Deads, got a feature in Substream Music Press.
Pop rock band One Days Notice opened for The Offspring at House of Blues Cleveland. “We had an AWESOME time! The Offspring, the crowd, and the House of Blues staff were GREAT!”
NJ rock band Zak Smith opened for Carbon Leaf at Brooklyn Bowl. “It was awesome playing at Brooklyn Bowl with Carbon Leaf, who are an unbelievable band. It’s by far one of the greatest venues to play in NY.” Photo by Vernon Webb.
Metal band Slave To The Day played Dirt Fest 2012 in Birch Run, MI.
Listen to The Nearly Deads’ The Perfect Cure, One Days Notice’s Shake It Out (free download), Zak Smith’s Crawling (free download), and Slaves To The Day’s The Waking below.
We all know that “who you know” and “being in the right place at the right time” play an important role in attaining success as an artist. What we often forget, though, is that we’re the ones responsible for building those connections.
While researching the intricacies of how successful people network for my book last year, my co-writer Rob and I noticed that for two people to meet, they must go through a 3-stage process.
First of all, they must be aligned in the same space at the same time, either geographically (e.g. in the same room) or virtually (e.g. on Twitter). Secondly, they must connect through some form of introduction, and finally they must engage in deeper conversation to create a long-term relationship.
In this post I want to focus on those first two points, and share with you seven tips to help you meet more music business contacts (I’d write a post on how to engage in deeper conversation but I figured you already know how to do that ;)).
1. Know who you want to meet but remain open to meeting others
The first step to meeting more of the right people is knowing who you’re trying to meet. Are you looking to meet publishers, record label managers, or music venue promoters?
When you know who it is you’re trying to meet, you can start to think about where they spend their time (both geographically and virtually), and what opportunities exist for you to be in the right place and time to meet them. If, for example, your band could really do with a more gigs in New York City, you can begin to identify the places where New York venue promoters hang out online and in the real world.
That said, never be afraid to go off course and meet people who may not seem to bear obvious opportunity right now. They might be of great use to you in the future.
“Build your network before you need it” – Keith Ferrazzi, author of Never Eat Alone
2. Make an effort to meet other bands & ask for introductions
Let’s say that you did want to meet music venue promoters in New York City. In my experience, one of the best ways to meet venue promoters is to simply turn up to music venues and ask the bands performing to introduce you to the promoter. You may have to prearrange meeting up with the performers before their set, but this approach is incredibly effective as it differs to how most bands approach venue promoters, and the introduction from the performer acts as a recommendation.
If you went to two or three gigs a week you’d be surprised at how quickly you could fill up your gig calendar.
3. Attend music business conferences
When I’ve attended music business conferences in the past, I’ve been surprised by how few bands choose to attend. Sure, the entry fees are generally quite steep, but if you take into account the fact that these events are usually swarming with label managers, publishers, and music promotion companies, it’s almost certainly worth the investment if you’re willing to get out and build those connections.
4. Join local music business Meetups
If you’re not already using Meetup.com to build connections, I thoroughly recommend giving it a shot. In most major cities you’ll find various musician Meetups that offer great networking opportunities. If you can’t find anything nearby, consider creating a music industry Meetup in your area and inviting local music companies to come and share ideas over a coffee or beer.
5. Use Twitter to break the ice
Twitter is one of the most efficient and effective ways to break the ice with music business professionals. Almost every serious record label, booking agent, and music companies will have a presence on Twitter, so it’s a great platform to start building these relationships.
Familiarize yourself with the advanced search operators on search.twitter.com and create separate lists to keep track of which companies you’re trying to meet (click on image for help on how to create Twitter lists)
6. Show your gratitude
This may seem like a slightly strange tip, but bear with me. If you pick a music company, radio station, music blog, or website that you enjoy once a day and send them a quick email to say thanks for doing what they do, you will build contacts very quickly.
“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it”– William Arthur Ward
In the music business, selfless gratitude is rare. When I receive an email from an artist thanking me for writing my blog posts, for some reason I’m far more compelled to respond and listen to their music, than if they had just emailed me a link to check out their music.
7. Build 3 new contacts a week
I have to give Derek Sivers full credit for this last tip. Set yourself a goal of building three new music business connections a week, and in twelve months time you’ll know 156 new people in the music business!
Using all of the tips in this post, see if you can go and build three new music business contacts this week. If you have any thoughts or questions about this post, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below, or you can send me a tweet at @TheMusicGuide or drop me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Tell me what you’re working on or what you need help with and I’ll do my best to help out.
The Offspring has sold over 36 million albums worldwide,making them one of the best-selling punk rock acts of all time. Many of us (at least I do) remember listening to their hits “Pretty Fly for a White Guy,” “Self Esteem” and “All I Want” in the 90s (ahhh the 90s…) and wonder what the heck The Offspring guys are up to these days. Well, they actually just released their new album, Days Go By, yesterday and to kick off the U.S. tour, they’ll perform at House of Blues in Cleveland on July 17th.
And that’s where you, the artist, come in! The Offspring is looking for a rock band to open up their Cleveland show! Do you want to add “Opened for The Offspring” and “Performed at the House of Blues” to your gigging resume? This is your chance!