Let’s face it. Even if your band is commercially successful, you’ll still have to do some non-musical work from time to time in order for things to run smoothly. And if your band is small and trying to make a name for itself, then there’s no getting around the fact that non-musical work will have to be a huge part of your day to day lives if you’re serious about making music and trying to share it with people.
Lots of young, ambitious musicians start bands with the expectation that they’ll get to do nothing but write and perform music, but while it’s great to be passionate about the musical aspects of being in a band, that attitude will make it virtually impossible to play shows, build a fanbase, and get the word out about the music you care so deeply about. Discovering your band’s non-musical strengths and applying them to tasks like booking shows and contacting press is essential for artists who want to make music a career.
Bringing out the hidden strengths in your band
A good band has to do so much more than just write, record and perform music these days. Most successful bands now get their start by making great music and learning how to get the world to take notice. It’s become the norm for bands to now route, manage, and book their own tours, create their own press releases and pitch new music to media outlets, manage their social media presence, and design their own flyers and album covers. That’s a whole lot of jobs to fill. So, how do you do it?
Trial and error is a big part of making band work run smoothly, but learning how to identify the hidden strengths in your band and figuring out how to apply them is equally as important. Can someone in your band write? Have them craft your bio, press releases, and posts on social media. How about a talent for sales? Pitching your band to venues and press outlets takes a good amount of persuasion, so that skill directly applies there.
If you want the world to know about the music your band is making, you’ll have to become a PR firm and creative marketing agency rolled into one. That means that every person in the band will need to work hard to get these jobs done the best way they can. It also means everyone having to pitch in and occasionally do jobs no one wants to do, but that’s unavoidable.
Open up a conversation about your individual interests and experience, and discuss what exactly needs to happen in your band in order for you to achieve your goals. Yes, maybe one day you’ll be so successful that managers, booking agents, and labels can do this work for you, but until that happens you’ll need to figure out what where your strengths lie and get to work.
Patrick McGuire is a musician, writer, and educator currently residing in the great city of Philadelphia. He creates music under the name Straight White Teeth, and has a great affinity for dogs and putting his hands in his pockets.