Music Pros Offer Their “Most Important Piece Of Advice” For Young Bands

Honors"The 'Indie' Sound: A Band's Guide to Success in the Competitive Indie Market" is an academic document by Nicole L. Stratman that offers an evaluation of "touring trends" and "helpful tricks of the trade." It features a "numerical analysis" of touring trends based on the activity of 15 well-known indie acts and a group of interviews with a handful of industry pros that contain useful advice for new artists.

The 'Indie' Sound is an Honors Thesis written by Nicole L. Stratman in 2011 at the University of Tennessee – Knoxville. I found it via Wes Davenport.

Stratman draws on interviews with music industry professionals in the main text but she also includes their full answers to her questionnaire in Appendix 3, pages 40 to 52. Below are their answers to the following question:

Overall, what is the most important piece of advice you would offer an upcoming indie act?

Brian Waymire – Booking Agent at Buddy Lee Attractions

"IT'S A BUSINESS. That doesn't mean you can't love your job and have fun doing it, but treat it as a career. You wouldn't go to work drunk or high as a CPA or a factory worker. Recruit the right people to run your business. Your manager is your CEO, your lawyer is your Chief Legal Officer, your agent is your National Sales Director, your publicist is your Director of Marketing, your accounting is your CFO, etc."

"Together this team will run the business you have created, so make sure that they are well suited for the job and that you compensate them for their hard work."

Katie Mars – Marketing Manager at Green Machine Concerts

"Stick with your sound. Don't try to sell yourself short. Don't be an asshole."

Carissa Stolting – Director of Artist Management at AC Entertainment

"If you're building and, for some reason, it's not working then really think through your act and what you're doing. Find a way to make it more unique and signature 'you'. Really watch how your audience is growing and reacting to you. If it's not, reassess and don't be afraid to change things up if you have to."

"Think of how you can stay relevant. Think in terms of a Facebook feed and how you can stand out. Even a photo, video, song tease—just make sure you're always finding a way to be unique."

Gregg Flotlin – Senior Manager, Consumer Engagement at 206 Inc.

"I know it's cliché, but do it because you love it and not because you want to make a living off of it. If you're in it for the money and the fame, you're screwed."

They also share interesting responses to such questions as:

If an indie band were to relocate to any North American city to develop its musical career, which top three cities would you recommend?

Name up to five North American music festivals you consider the best exposure for upcoming indie bands.

What are some tactics you have noticed that gain "indie" acts major or commercial success?

Free Download: The "Indie" Sound: A Band's Guide to Success in the Competitive Indie Market. An Evaluation of Touring Trends & Helpful Tricks of the Trade.

Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (Twitter/App.net) blogs about music crowdfunding at Crowdfunding For Musicians (@CrowdfundingM). To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

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  1. I liked Gregg Flotlin’s advice the best. Music that endures in the hearts of fans is real, especially in the Indie field where people are trying to escape a lot of the commercial twaddle. Of course there was a lot of good advice here, but I thought that this was some great core advice.

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