24 hours a day. That’s a lot of time when you think about it. In a time span of 24 hours, one can do so much. And when you are having fun, or when you are busy filling up those hours with productive things, time flies, doesn’t it?
Many artists say they just don’t have time for things. Don’t have time to promote, don’t have time to network, don’t have time to push their music. Well that’s just not true. While you can be busy with your day job, families, obligations, you can spare 15-20 minutes a day doing something for you and your brand.
One of my clients came in last week simply exhausted from all the running around they were doing. When we sat down to talk, he said he had just come back from the copy center and was getting his business cards done on his lunch break. He then showed me a mapping of all the laundromats and local eateries that he intended to pass through on his way back to work, riding his bike of course, and place his flyers on the community boards regarding his next gig. I smiled at him. I love the smell of fresh ambition. It is truly admirable, and it shows the true desires of an independent artist believing in their work well enough to make these sacrifices.
Another potential client came in to my office later on in the day asking me for resources and managers and publicists who they could connect with. I asked him one question. “What does your portfolio look like?” He seemed puzzled. I asked again. “What are you offering? What is your brand?” He said, “well, I rap.” I said, “ok, so do you and hundreds of thousands of others.” He replied, “well, I thought you were a publicist and could connect me with people who want to invest in my music.” I placed my pen down on my desk and looked at him straight in his eyes. “Young man,” I said, “would you go into a store and buy the first thing that you saw without knowing anything about it or how it would benefit you?” He said, “no.” I said, “Exactly. Now, let me paint a picture for you. You are a brand. How are you getting on the shelf in the first place? What are you ingredients? Who are your backers? What does your product look like, feel like, sound like? Who are your consumers? Where are you having your product sold?” He couldn’t answer any of the questions and after a long pause, he said to me, “well, maybe I am in the wrong place.” To which I responded, “well, you’re not in the wrong place, you just are not in a position to start negotiations for a brand that you haven’t developed yet.” He felt insulted and stood up and said, “thank you very much”, and walked out.
Artists, this isn’t a game. No one is waiting to throw their money at you and invest in something that hasn’t been developed. You need to come to the table with formidable, tangible things. A solid repertoire, something to give, to offer, so that you are not coming to the market as a no frills brand.
For you, the independent artist, this is what I would advise:
- Register your domain name for your future website if you don’t already have one
- Establish your accounts with a PRO (Performing Rights Organization)
- Solidify your copyrights on your music
- Register and encode all of your music that is set for radio play
- Have decent promo and merchandising available for meetings, seminars, music conferences and networking events
- Have a one sheet already made for these meetings. If you don’t have a one sheet or don’t know how to make one, email me so I can help you
- Is your music radio ready? If not, it needs to be
- Come prepared to speak highly of your brand but not so highly that it’s a turn off
- Presentation is key in all aspects from language used, attitude, mannerisms, appearance, etc. No one is saying you can’t be you, but there is a time and a place for everything. Know who your audience is
- Know who your audience is and what demographics you are catering to. This is your fan base. Without them, you have no product to sell
Last week was a pretty interesting week, nevertheless. As I walked my dog early this morning, I passed by a laundromat and decided to take a quick peek. Sure enough, inside on the community board, was a flyer for my client’s next gig. I smiled to myself and walked out, placed his music on my iPod, and continued on my walk with a little extra pep in my step.
I will always be in the indie artist’s corner, but when you do the leg work and show your constant determination, I put on my imaginary pompoms and cheer a little extra for you. There’s 24 hours in a day. What are you going to do with it? – Jilli