10 Tips For Emerging Indie Musicians: Planning For Survival & Success - hypebot

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@madktc

Most bands needs someone with a professional background to help them put together this "plan".

I have met many artists that keep diaries, but not one that would show that diary to anyone especially their own band members. Journals are so rare that it shouldn't even be mentioned in my opinion.

#3 is really important in my professional opinion because the band needs to all be answering questions the same in interviews, with fans, etc. This way the vision or goals of the band are uniform.

I disagree on the "take risks" part of this list. The only bands that ever done ANYTHING substantial have taken risks even if they're calculated.

In regards to being cheap or looking cheap. This is purely subjective. With the sea of flyers, cds, posters being put up everyday who's the authority on this? Don't stress about this stuff, just be accurate with your information, put it out (whatever it is) and learn from your experiences.

One band I worked with took 3 months to figure out an album cover and had to rush the last days to get the insert to our distributor. All that stress because they were trying to make everything perfect. I constantly reminded and pressured them to get the job done. In the end, we used something very basic that the fans loved.

My company's foundation is built upon helping bands make or save money. However, I believe you should print as many cd's as you can afford. Reasons why: Use them to distribute promo, put a few away for your "archives", give some away for free to key people (post promotional period), give some to your local cd stores (even regionally and nationally) as consignment, etc. etc. The list is endless. If you have a high quality reproduction, print as many copies as you can reasonably afford and put a plan together that will distribute them effectively. You can always move physical product one way or another.

#8 is why all bands of all sizes need to have a professional that they trust in their corner.

I agree with #9 to a certain extent. There is certain things that all bands should do and they don't. Basic stuff. The advanced stuff is where you need to be more selective.

#10 just doesn't happen. A band should write its own music, distribute it, tour it and impress upon its fan-base. I'd like to see one example of one band that writes a journal and re-visits it in band meetings; that they probably never have.

Clyde some of these are great, but some of them are more for personal use vs. band use.

Matt

Clyde Smith

"I have met many artists that keep diaries, but not one that would show that diary to anyone especially their own band members."

There's a big difference between a diary and a journal. I think the key here is the "paper trail of ideas."

Also, writing things down or typing them up changes your relationship to the ideas and/or plans. Verbalizing them limits your mental ability to take things beyond simply having the idea.

"I disagree on the "take risks" part of this list. The only bands that ever done ANYTHING substantial have taken risks even if they're calculated."

Well, he does say take calculated risks. This actually comes up a lot in looking at entrepreneurship. What outsiders describe as risks don't really look that way to entrepreneurs because they have the context and don't perceive all forms of failure as inherently a risk factor.

What kind of risks are you referring to? The only thing I can truly think of involves spending a lot of money on a long shot, which is gambling not risk taking, or pursuing one's aesthetic in a way that leaves the audience behind, which is certainly a risk but one that some artists have to take.

Actually, I can think of very few things musicians do that I would truly describe risky other than signing contracts without their own lawyer!

Clyde Smith

I should note that things I perceive as fairly normal creative acts do seem to be a risk for lots of people. My background in relatively avant-garde settings tends to give me a different perspective from the norm.

Also, outside of the musicians I know who are also writers, journaling probably sounds a bit New Agey or too much like keeping a diary to be a real planning tool.

In fact, in general, I think we as humans often don't plan things out and connecting with one's creativity and getting it together for shows definitely makes it harder to step back and look at the big picture sometimes.

I don't know how this would strike people but I could see Stefan making a more visually oriented workbook for musicians. Still might not reach everyone but might be another way to approach the issue.

Erik Peterson

Personally, I didn't take the term 'journaling' as keeping private writings, but more of an outline of ideas. I have never kept a journal/diary, but I do jot down ideas and add to them later all the time. I can't recommend Evernote enough for this. It may be true that this isn't realistic for artists, but they *need* to make it a regular to-do, otherwise they're just winging it, and winging it only works once in a while & can never be relied upon.

Taking risks is the foundation of anyone trying to bring something new to the table. Most great music and innovation comes from those that took the risk & put themselves out there. Unless an artist is attempting to take over the world of pop, it's imperative they take risks, imo.

If artists study and listen to what works & doesn't work for other artists they can avoid a lot of mistakes. I don't think being completely reliant on management is a smart idea, only because managers are human too & they also make mistakes. I once learned a business by doing what those I looked up to were doing. I didn't copy them, per se, but used what they were doing as a blueprint.

madktc says that bands just won't do these things, but I think the point of this article is that they should be. Of course professional management will help with all this, but it's not the solution for every artist.

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