Dave Grohl keeps the music career advice simple, which it really is, but in practical application it can be a bit more complicated than it sounds. But never fear just persevere.
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Today a guest post of mine was published on Broadjam.com. I wrote about planning for the success of your music career, and specifically talked about a few music business processes that will help make your life easier if you take the time to think through them and even write them down.
These are a few ideas I referenced in The Local Music Journey book, but I've expanded on them a bit further with this post. Please check it out!
Read Plans and processes for your music success
Posted By: Nick Venturella
I finally got a chance to check out the SoundLot. It's a service for musicians, as well as artists and filmmakers, to connect with one another.
At the SoundLot you’ll discover a group of like-minded folks to connect with locally. The site boasts your ability to build relationships with local musicians, local artists and filmmakers to build an active community online that you'll hopefully be able to take off line to collaborate on projects, shows, etc.
I like the site. It's super simple and clean - not a whole lot of navigation to figure out what you need to do. The concept is simple. It's apparent the idea is to build professional artistic relationships to learn from each other allowing those who participate to further their craft beyond what they could alone.
The site offers user generated resources, tips, other sites to check out and more. If you're looking for a place to interact with others facing similar things as you, then the the Soundlot is the right place.
Groups are split up by the three main categories, music, art, and film and beyond that there are local groups by city.
Here are some of the features highlighted on the site:
-Field specific profile sections (music, art, film)
-Join local and regional groups
-Shared group documents (to keep info that the community can use)
-Rate posts (reward the best contributors)
-Share your bandcamp, soundcloud, flickr, deviantart, youtube, vimeo, twitter, and personal site
Also, here's an infographic explaining the site (click the image to make it larger):
Recently, I was having a discussion with a friend about the pay for artists' and musicians' services. My friend was perhaps half joking/half serious about having me perform at an event for her work. In a half joking response I said, "Sure, if the price is right."
She proceeded to let me know that in the past they've had 'volunteer' musicians for such events. Then I seriously said, "I don't do volunteer performances unless it's a benefit concert for a good cause."
I think she was taken aback a bit, likely she just wasn't expecting my reaction. However, I explained my stance...
I told her that I used to take every gig I could get a hold of, when I was starting out to get exposure and experience, but that became tiresome and I had bills to pay so I couldn't sustain that pace for too long. At some point I realized that what I do as a musician offering live performances, on college campuses, in coffee shops or at corporate events is a service. I'm offering a service that enhances an event to entertain the audience with my brand of music. By entertaining the audience, the audience can forget their worries, even if just for a little while and just enjoy the moment.
I went on to use the analogy of a lawyer (I know it's a far cry from being musician, or is it?). I said an individual trains to become a lawyer for several years, first obtaining their bachelor's degree, then passing the LSAT law school entrance exam, then they pursue their law degree, pass the board around graduation time and are certified to practice law in a particular state. Part of the reason lawyers are paid what they are is because of their specific training. Well, in that respect it's not much different for musicians. Musicians spend years learning their instrument, writing songs, recording their music to get it out to the public in a tangible and consumable way, overall, perfecting their craft. Unfortunately, some think it's okay to devalue all that training and work by asking the musician to do pro-bono work. I don't know too many lawyers who would be willing to do pro-bono work for the majority of their career.
The point is, I'm talking about the business side of being a professional musician. If being a professional musician (getting paid for your work as a musician) is not your goal then none of this applies, but if it is your goal then here's my advice: Take what you do as a musician seriously, treat booking gigs and other such activities that have an exchange in value like a business, because that's what it is. If you're not getting paid what you are worth, or you're not getting paid at all and that's not the route you want to go with your career then you need to stop taking those gigs. By determining what gigs you will take, that will help you toward your career goals, and acting on that you're creating an impactful positive focus for your career and you will find success more quickly than others. Plus, by doing so, it educates those around you about your service and what's involved. I've found that as I talk with folks to help them understand what goes into being a professional musician they come away knowing something they didn't know before, and they begin to look at the same situation differently.
Music has a beneficial emotional quality to it, and it takes a lot of effort for a good artist/musician to be able to provide that service well, and thus they should be paid for it.
Posted by: Nick Venturella
In the last post we talked about describing yourself, your band, essentially your band's brand. In continuing that discussion a bit, I wanted to talk about the importance of language and the choice of words you use to describe yourself and your music.
It's important that you're confident in who you are and what you do as a musician. When someone asks you what kind of music you play you should be able to rattle off a clear concise and easy-to-understand message - because you've thought about this question before anyone has ever asked you.
Now, when you describe what you do, as I said before, you have to have confidence in yourself and belief in what you do, or others will sense that you don't quite believe it yourself, so why should they. In other words, if you don't take yourself seriously, in regard to your music and musical endeavors, no one else will.
So when you describe yourself and your music, or your band don't use language that minimizes or negates what you do as a musician. For example, if someone asks me what kind of musician I am and I say, "I'm just a folk/pop singer/songwriter," I've totally diminished myself and what I do as a musician making the other person hearing my description think that what I do is unimportant or insignificant because of the word, 'just.' In this example, the word 'just' is a minimizer. You want to avoid those (it's a work in progress, trust me...I'm as guilty of this as anyone).
Posted by: Nick Venturella
Order The Local Music Journey trade paperback book
I just read an article on the Wired Magazine website about a new book called, The Music Instinct: How Music Works and Why We Can’t Do Without It.
What struck me as most interesting, as a reason I might pick up the book, was learning the psychology behind how and why music evokes various emotions in its listeners. As a musician and creator of music, that sort of information could influence how I write songs to help make them more "sticky." (and by "sticky" I mean catchy--you know the kinds of songs that end up being timeless and evergreen in their popularity)
From the article it sounds like the book also discusses quite a bit of the history of music and traditional music education as it relates to understanding music terms and the math involved with reading and counting notes and measures.
By: Nick Venturella
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