Bands Helping Bands — Your Best Touring Advice

After much anticipation and competition, we’ve finally gotten our Bands Helping Bands finalists. There were a lot of great submissions, with a lot of great advice! We’ve placed some of our favorites below. Watch the videos and let us know your favorite one in the comments. The best one will get a Featured Artist spot on the ReverbNation homepage!

Zenith Da Goddess’ Tip — Keep Your Voice Healthy


Visit Zenith Da Goddess’ ReverbNation page

1000 Generations’ Tip — Offer Comment Cards At Gigs For Feedback

Visit 1000 Generations’ ReverbNation page

Jillian Riscoe’s Tip — Explore Unconventional Venues

Visit Jillian Riscoe’s ReverbNation page

Mike Borgia’s Tip — Show A Venue What Your Worth Is

Visit Mike Borgia’s ReverbNation page

Some Tips From A Venue Owner

Visit The Local 506’s ReverbNation page

reverb_administratorBands Helping Bands — Your Best Touring Advice
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Guest Post: Do You Need A Record Label?

About The Author: Ben Jacklin is one of the founding members of Method Promotion, offering articles on ways to self-promote online, as well as the Method team’s services in representing artists in the world of music promotion. Achievements to date include getting artists’ music played in Ministry of Sound clubs, on BBC radio, and videos played on MTV channels.

Qualified in Music Technology, Ben also keeps his finger on the pulse of the music business, and his passion for music means that he is equally happy striving to promote artists with ten fans or ten million.

Do I Need A Record Label?

You don’t need me to tell you that the internet has changed the way the Music Industry, and the way us music types think about our business. One of the things thrown into disrepute is the way music is released. We can now reach almost anyone via the internet, and we can network and promote online before releasing in virtual formats online.

Of course this is a major contrast to the industry from, say, fifteen years ago, which has led to changes in the role of the record label. Does your average artist even need a record deal nowadays? And should it still be something to aspire to?

Something that our generation’s new found wealth of technology has undoubtedly changed is the equipment available to us. Music can now be made to a professional standard from the comfort of our smelly bedrooms, and the role of a full-blown studio is becoming less important all the time. Where does this come into recording contracts?

There was a time when you’d need studios, and you’d need money to pay for them, and the only way to get this money was to find a Label to take a punt on your tunes. Nowadays, a reasonably priced microphone and a computer can be the mainstay of your studio, and used correctly, can record music to a standard acceptable in the industry. Labels no longer even have to be involved in the creative process of making and recording your music.

The aforementioned isn’t the only change concerning existing labels. I wont go into excruciating detail, but it’s generally agreed that major labels are on their proverbial last legs. On the one hand, they aren’t putting money into discovering new talent, and on the other hand, smaller establishments are cropping up all over the place.

Small Labels and self-releasing artists are becoming the norm, and more and more resources are becoming available to aid musicians from a grassroots level. Help is available with regards to everything from licensing to releasing music, and available to absolutely everybody. The power is shifting from the big labels to the average Joes.

However, is it power you’re looking for? There are many reasons that labels are even still around and providing a great service. If releasing your own music was easy, everybody would be doing it. If you decide that self-releasing is the path you wish to take, it’s important that you realize that you wont be bypassing having a record label, you will BE your record label.

We’ll cover the more glamorous aspects of this shortly, but one must first consider the administrative aspects of releasing music, from licensing to royalty collection to sales figures and beyond. If you can be bothered to do your research and do all of this yourself, then great, but in my experience, creative types are happy to stick to what they do best and take a back seat when it comes to pencil-pushing.

The time and focus needed to release music goes far beyond crossing ‘T’s and dotting ‘I’s, though — a label needs contacts, and a reputation. By releasing on a label you hand this responsibility to them. Any label worth their salt will have built links to the media, and will be working hard to build alliances at all times. If you don’t work with a label you’re going to need to do all of this yourself, and a reputation is not an easy thing to attain.

My view on self-releasing is — how shall I put this? — realistic. So should yours be too. Don’t expect any favors, and be ready for hard work, but hard work is inevitable in making a name for yourself, and if running a label is your chosen method of working hard then the best of luck to you.

A bit of realism isn’t meant as a deterrent; the fact that we even have the option of doing this kind of thing is completely liberating, and I predict that the industry will start to thrive once again as more and more small establishments crop up. Some people are going to have to rise to the challenge.

We don’t have to be afraid of the industry anymore, and if you’re ready to put the hours in, and you’re confident in your ability, then why not? Do your research, rope in all the help you can, and get releasing!

reverb_administratorGuest Post: Do You Need A Record Label?
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Give Us Your Best Advice — Bands Helping Bands

The best ideas for ReverbNation.com come from the Artists, Labels, Managers, Venues/Promoters, and Fans that use our site.  So does the best advice about how to be a successful Artist today.

As a result, we’re starting a new feature, which we’re going to call “Bands Helping Bands”.  We’ll ask our members (that’s you) to submit short video clips of advice on a particular topics, and we’ll filter out the best of the best and publish it for all to see on this blog (no guarantee this will make you famous, but its free publicity at least).

This month’s topic: Touring tips.

Do you have a trick to booking a great tour? Have great ideas about how to tour on the cheap? How do you stay on the venue owner’s good side when you play a show? Have any tour horror stories that others could learn from?  Are you a venue owner with some advice for Artists?  A booking agent with some advice?

Tell us all about it with a 1 to 3-minute video.  Simply upload to Youtube or Vimeo and send a link to blog@reverbnation.com with “Bands Helping Bands” in the subject line.  Or Tweet @ReverbNation (using the hashtag #BHB) with links to your videos on YouTube or Vimeo.

At the end of the month, we’ll choose the best videos and post them up right here on the blog. Each entry will be tagged, so all you have to do is find the category you want more information about and see how other Artists have done it!

The very best video on each topic (as determined by a non-scientific poll of the RN staff) will get a Featured Artist spot on the ReverbNation homepage for a week.  So what are you waiting for?  Fire up that webcam or FlipHD and help your fellow Artist.

-Rachael

We prefer videos with:

  • No nudity, gore, violence, sexual references, or drug or alcohol references. Keep it PG, people.
  • No gratuitous cursing (if we hear the F-word, it’s out)
  • It has to actually contain a tip or some sort of nugget of advice that is vaguely relevant to the topic at hand (we will not accept videos of your band messing around in the tour van with a Flip cam — unless it’s really, really funny)
  • No flagrant-to-the-point-that-it’s-annoying self-promotion (this is about bestowing your knowledge upon other artists, not promoting your new album). If you mention your upcoming album or single, or your MySpace page, it’s out. Don’t worry! If you’re chosen, we’ll provide a link to your ReverbNation page.
  • Make sure the title of the video includes “Bands Helping Bands” so we can organize the videos.

reverb_administratorGive Us Your Best Advice — Bands Helping Bands
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New Feature: Free, Printable Artist Reports

So your ReverbNation stats are great for onscreen viewing.  And the Reverb Press Kit (RPK) is a great way to digitally present your stats, content,  and info to promoters, talent buyers, and media.  But what do you do when you want to print off a ‘1-sheet’ to take on the road or into a meeting?

Try the new ‘Artist Report’, available for free in the ‘home’ screen of your control room.  Here’s how you find it:

The Artist Report organizes all of your key stats, including recent visits and impressions, Band Equity, fans by geo-location,  fans by social network, as well as your fan demographic data.  It’s laid out in a clear, easy-to-read format that you can print out and bring anywhere.

Perfect for:

•  Sponsorship meetings
•  Record Label meetings
•  Band meetings

Here’s what one of the stats reports looks like (thank you for allowing us to show yours, Color Theory):

Give the free Artist Report a spin, and let us know how it can be improved via the feedback tab on the right side of any ReverbNation page.

Cheers,

ReverbNation

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ReverbNation Adds Spotify, Last.fm, Zune, MySpace Music, Wal-Mart, and Dozens More Retailers to Its Flat-Fee Digital Distribution Product for Bands

ReverbNation, the leading marketing platform used by more than 650,000 artists/bands, labels, managers and venues, has announced the launch of the world’s most comprehensive digital distribution product for Artists and Record Labels who seek to place their music into online retailers without giving up any ownership rights or any percentage of the sales royalties from their music.

Artists and record labels can now choose from two pre-packaged offerings from ReverbNation:

The “Essentials” Package – $34.95 per release, 29 sites
Submits a release to iTunes (worldwide), Amazon Mp3, eMusic, Rhapsody, Napster, MySpace Music, Last.fm, Spotify, Zune, iLike, MOG, Tesco, La Curacao, Synacor, GetPlaylists, Secure Media, Intertech Media, InMotion Entertainment, WaTunes, Get Green Music, Immergent, and Moozone. See all retailers >>

The “Pro” Package – $59.95 per release, 39 sites
Includes submission to all of the stores in the Essentials package, plus submission to Nokia, Lala, Wal-Mart (Liquid), Amie Street, We7, Myxer, Puretracks, ThinkIndie, and Shockhound, and digital delivery to Pandora (for their convenience only, no guarantee that they will consider or review the music).

Learn more about ReverbNation’s Digital Distribution Products.

Artists who have released music under ReverbNation’s previous Basic package can upgrade to the Essentials package at no additional charge.  Annual renewal fees apply to either package.

“Artists and independent record labels need an on-ramp into the most important retailers and music streaming services of our day, without having to give up their rights or a percentage of royalties,” said Lou Plaia, co-founder and vice president of music industry relations at ReverbNation.com. “Our new service gives them the access and reach that has been historically limited to the major record labels.”

reverb_administratorReverbNation Adds Spotify, Last.fm, Zune, MySpace Music, Wal-Mart, and Dozens More Retailers to Its Flat-Fee Digital Distribution Product for Bands
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Top 5 Ways to Sell More Music and Merchandise

It’s been only three weeks since the public launch of the Reverb Store, but more than 30,000 Artists have already activated this FREE, powerful and customizable storefront that allows them to sell directly to their fans on ReverbNation, their homepage, blog, Facebook, MySpace and virtually anywhere else online.

The quick adoption suggests that Artists intuitively understand WHY selling direct-to-fan is an important piece of their revenue puzzle.  But we’ve been receiving a lot of questions from Artists about HOW to sell more music and merchandise.

So we’ve pulled in some best practices from our partner, Audiolife, listened to some creative suggestions from our users, and even looked at some of the early data from the Reverb Store to come up with some key concepts and a Top 5 list.

Key Concept:  Items that sell the best are…

  • Relevant (speaks to a particular segment of your fans)
  • Exclusive (gives fans a sense of ‘rarity’ around the product)
  • Limited (gives the fan a reason to buy it now)

Think about these attributes when creating a product. Is it something my fans can relate to? Is it something that will be special to them? Be creative.

Top 5 ways to sell more music and merch (with the Reverb Store):

  1. Create a different t-shirt for each gig you play on a tour, customized with each location on the tour.

    Promote each T-shirt using our FanReach email system (or whichever one you use) to target fans in the area surrounding each show. You can pre-sell the T-shirts before the show or sell the shirts afterwards to these fans, but put something special or memorable from each gig — such as what that drunk guy in the back yelled right before he passed out (or maybe just the date of the show). Either way, everyone who went to the show will have something special to remember the night by and a cool story to tell each time they wear the shirt. People buy t-shirts often as memorabilia to commemorate a special night they had with their friends. Tap into that. Location-based promotions tap into the relevance factor and will help you sell more.

  2. Re-activate your back catalog of CDs and T-shirts.

    There is no reason not to offer your out-of-print CDs and T-shirt designs through the Reverb Store (it costs nothing to set them up). If fans have worn out their favorite out-of-stock T-shirt, they can get another copy, and you don’t have to pay to have more T-shirts made. You can also sell older, sold-out albums through the Reverb Store without paying for 1,000 more CDs, or just sell them as digital downloads. New fans might want a chance to buy the older stuff too!

  3. Test out different art concepts and see which ones sell the best.

    You can create as many album or merch (T-shirts, hats, etc) art concepts as you want at no cost with the Reverb Store. Create multiple versions of your album artwork or T-shirts and let the fans decide which CDs and T-shirts they want! This is a great way to do market research without having ANY out-of-pocket costs, and could keep you from ending up with boxes of T-shirts laying around because fans didn’t like the artwork. Fans also get the chance to feel involved with the band, and makes them more likely to buy the T-shirt that they got to help pick out. Once you know what sells, stock up using our bulk buy option, which lets you buy your own CDs and merch at the lowest prices available and bring them to your shows with confidence that they will sell.

  4. Sell recordings of your live performances.

    If you get a copy of each live performance, this can be a source of additional income for you.  Consider creating concert CDs or digital downloads and selling them to the fans from that locality after the show.  Use our FanReach e-mail service to easily segment out the fans that live near the show you performed and send them an offer to buy the live performance CD from that show.

  5. Create custom t-shirts for members of your Street Team.

    If you have rabid fans, or even an organized Street Team, give them a special T-shirt or hat that they can buy to pledge their allegiance to the band and show off what they stand for. Fans like to feel included in the band, and making exclusive merch for them can often be a great way to give them an outlet to proclaim it. It costs nothing to create a special line of merch with the Reverb Store, so why not?

  6. Bonus idea:  Create CDs, Downloads, and merch to support a cause.

    Many Artists use their music as a way to raise money for a charity or cause. But often, friction is created when it comes to who will pay the up-front costs to make the products whose profits will be donated to the charity. With the Reverb Store, you can make items for a cause at no cost and send all of the profits to the charity. This opens up a whole new world of local charities you can afford to support!

We hope this gives you some great ideas, but we know that you will come up with more.  Let us know if ANY of these worked for you, or if you have any other great ideas from the Reverb Store, by sending an email to blog@reverbation.com, and we’ll post our favorite new ideas in the coming weeks.

Cheers,

Rachael (blog maven for ReverbNation.com)

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Success Story: TAIS

“Success Story” is a new periodic feature where we’ll be chronicling some of the successes that Artists on our site have found. If you have a success story of your own, e-mail us at blog@reverbnation.com with “Success Story” in the subject line and tell us how ReverbNation has helped you out!

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We first ran across TAIS (an acronym that stands for Truth Arises In Search) when we tweeted a link to an interview he did with Audible Hype a while back. In the interview, it was easy to tell that he works really hard to promote himself, engage fans and put out a steady stream of great music to keep people coming back for more, and we decided to share the link because he seemed like a great example of an artist who knew how to DIY.

We were surprised when we got a tweet from him a few weeks later that he’s going to be performing at the Red Gorilla Music Fest in Austin, TX, this Friday (March 19th), and that he received the opportunity through us!

We decided to hook up with TAIS via e-mail and ask him some questions about his music and how he promotes it, and how he got his spot at Red Gorilla.

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Guest Post: Optimize Your Blog

Dave Huffman is a musician and author of  The Indie Launch Pad blog where he uses the insight he gained as a full-time indie musician to share thoughts and advice for those wanting to enjoy an indie career in music as well. You can also follow him on Twitter: @davemhuffman

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There have already been many discussions and tips given on blogging — I’m not planning on covering new ground here. I actually wanted to take a moment to remind you that you could be missing a HUGE opportunity if you only use your blog as a show promotion/project discussion tool.

Don’t get me wrong, I get that your blog is kind of a nice place to give people a behind-the-scenes perspective. That stuff is super cool from time to time.

But why not give your friends and fans access to a different side of you? Do you really want to be the person at the party ALWAYS talking about your band?

Some of the experts say music careers are dying because “Mystique is dead.” I say music careers are dying because no one cares about the lonely rebel dude in the corner anymore…he’s not mysterious to us; we’re jaded to that.

WE WANT ACCESS. We want a deeper connection.

reverb_administratorGuest Post: Optimize Your Blog
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