In the music industry, the climb up the ladder of success is an especially grueling one, and it can be frustrating, afters years of recording and performing, to still not be getting what feels like appropriate recognition for your music. Here, we look at some important factors to consider when it comes to getting your music noticed.
Guest post by Craig Kelley of DIY Musician
Why can’t I get any recognition for my music?
Why do other bands get the gigs when we’re clearly better musicians? Why can’t we book more gigs? We should be famous by now!
These are just a few of the things I hear on an almost daily basis.
It’s almost like a broken record.
I get it. It’s hard to get win new fans without really grinding and hustling every day.
It’s even harder if you aren’t playing live shows on a consistent basis.
What it takes to ‘make it’ in music
Most artists that seem like overnight sensations have actually been grinding it out for years. Maybe even decades.
Take Van Halen for example. Eddie and Alex formed their first band in the fourth grade calling themselves The Broken Combs.
Hear that? The fourth grade! By the time they released their first major label album they’d already been playing together, including live shows, for over 10 years! Granted it wasn’t all the same members, but the core, Eddie and Alex, had been putting in their time.
So what if you’re like me and didn’t start playing until you were 15 or 16 or maybe even later?
That’s completely fine. You just have to remember that it takes time to perfect your craft.
Maybe not ten years, but it takes time. And work.
So, let’s get started.
How to fix your band’s “SUCK SYNDROME”
At the beginning of the 2017-2018 NHL hockey season, Alex Ovechkin, the Russian born captain of the Washington Capitals, made the statement, “We’re not going to be suck this year.”
Capitals fans embraced his promise. Finally, for the first time in 44 years, and after a grueling season and winning several nail-biting playoff games, a Stanley Cup Championship trophy was won.
Washington and Ovechkin delivered on not being “suck” anymore.
If Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals can turn around a 44-year losing streak then you can certainly fix your band’s suck syndrome.
The thing that can help you most out of the gate is to take a good look at your “product.”
What is the product?
Your music is only part of your product.
Your product is the complete package:
- Your artist image
- Your artist biography
- Your music
- Your skills – playing
- Your business skills
- Your dedication to investing in your career
- How you interact with fans/potential fans/promoters
Let’s dig into a simple but often overlooked item, your artist image.
Your artist image
You may have written the song of the century. Your skills may be more polished than Bon Jovi or U2 or some other band that has sold millions of records.
Burt if your promo pictures are bad you probably won’t even get your foot in the door.
Your artist picture doesn’t have to look like a glamour shot (and I hope it doesn’t); it just has to represent WHO YOU ARE.
If you’re a folk singer that sings about cornfields and country roads then get that scenery in your your pictures. Take a picture in an old pickup truck on a country road in front of a cornfield. Simple.
Are you an inspiring hip-hop artist? Be creative. Instead of taking a selfie on your cell phone in your bedroom (I’ve seen this more times than I care to mention!) take a picture in a setting that makes your intended audience want to invest in your brand.
At the same time, YOU should be the focal point, not the background. The background is there to support you, provide context, and emphasize your aesthetic.
Make it interesting so people want to know more about you.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Does this picture really represent me well? In other words, does this picture add to the story of who I am as an artist?
- Does this picture make me look like an amateur, or does it show who I really want to be?
- Will this picture make people want to learn more about my music?
- Do I look the same in real life as I do in the picture? Keep your promo picture current. Did you grow your hair? Lose weight? Start working out? Change band members? If so, it’s time to update your picture.
If you want to get noticed and create a buzz you need to fix these things. Take time and look at each item without bias.
If your artist image is bad you won’t get listens. Sad but true. People judge books by their covers.
If your biography is lacking it can give the impression that you’re unprofessional.
Venues, record labels, and press want you to make their job easy. They want a complete package.
Unsure of the best way to improve? I put together a checklist of what to do next.
It’s not theory. It’s based on thousands of pitches. These are the secret ingredients to booking more gigs and getting more exposure.
Craig Kelley is the main gigmaster at GigFaster.com. He recently released his eighth album, Live at Sellersville Theater, and has supported GRAMMY award-winning artists including Rick Derringer, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Gary Hoey, Joan Jett, Fuel, and many others.