Want to get press? Then you're going to need a press release. For musicians and small labels who lack the financial ability to hire a pro PR team, the very idea of penning such a doc can sound downright overwhelming. Guess what - it's not. Really. A good press release is short, to the point, and requires some very basic, essential information. One way to look at a press release is to kind of reverse engineer it. Pretend you're a music journalist with an assignment to write about an artist's new releases or tour. What information would you need? Then, write a press release that provides exactly those details. A good press release allows a journalist to write about your release without ever having to communicate with you.
Of course, it's nice if a journalist DOES communicate with you, because that probably means you're going to be the focus of a longer piece. That is why, in addition to your basic info, your press release should also include a hook - something that says hints at a story you have to tell. Remember, your story is never "musician makes music," because, well, yawn and duh.
Here, music journalist Ron Mexico explains what he looks for in a press release - and what really puts him off. For more info about writing press releases, read on:
Your first tour is one of life's biggest wake-up calls. Why? Well, your first tour is guaranteed to be more in every way - more expensive, more demanding, and more exhausting than you ever imagined. Now, don't get me wrong - it is still going to great. But, part of life as a musician is finally getting your dream of going out on the road and finding out just how tough it really is.
You can't prepare for everything about touring with your band, but it makes sense to plan for as much as you can. Start by getting real about your budget. Yes, you CAN go seven days without a shower. That doesn't mean that you should. Be realistic about the things you will to spend money on, like gas, meals, and the occasional hotel room and laundromat. It also helps to set some ground rules, particularly if you won't have a tour manager along. You might laugh the first time that you have to hunt all over town for your party-life bandmate at 3 AM so you can get on the road. You will not still be laughing the fifth time. Need more tips? Take some of the shock-and-awe out of your first tour with this First Tour Survival Guide.
Should you get a music business degree when you go to college? These programs come in all shapes and sizes, from business programs with music industry concentration to full-blown B.A.s in the music industry. Whether the program is a good investment in your future depends on a number of different factors. One of the most important things to consider when you're evaluating a program is how motivated - and successful - the school is at helping students land good music industry internships. Truth be told, when you graduate and apply for a job, if you have a music business degree and no experience, and another application has a different degree but lots of experience, you're going to come up short. There are a lot of top notch music business programs out there, and others that aren't really worth the investment. Find out what to look for when you're choosing a music business degree.
For a long time, the only way to make it in music was sign a record deal. And then that changed. Now, you have a mixed bag of options available to you, from going totally DIY to still chasing those major label dreams. Where do you fall? Weigh in on the ever-evolving discussion about the benefits - or not - of record deals by adding a comment here. Be sure to share a bit about why you feel the way you do. Is it your genre of music? Is it about protecting your rights and image? If you're still trying to figure out your stance, here is some info that can help:
If you're in the US, yesterday you got to flex your table etiquette skills while feasting on turkey - or your queuing etiquette skills if you're one of those people who camped out for a cheaper television. Believe it or not, there is a certain etiquette to doing things in the music business as well. Bad looks include that way some people insist on CCing 100 people on an email to the way some people want a limitless guest list, and stepping outside some reasonable behavior norms could hurt you. Just what should - and shouldn't - you do when you're trying to establish yourself in the music biz? Here are the music business etiquette rules you need to know.
Today, in the US, we eat turkey and give thanks (and apparently buy cheap TVs because people can no longer wait for Friday to get a deal). Even though it may not be Thanksgiving Day where you are, there's never a bad time to give thanks to music biz pioneers who have given us some great music and some even greater examples, right? Check out this list of long-lost indie labels for some cool music biz stories to learn some things you can apply to your own music career - or heck, to keep yourself busy while your uncles fight about politics at the table. What labels - current or defunct - inspire you? Share your thoughts!
So, ever been in charge of the guest list? If you have, then you know what I am about to say. For an in-demand event, the guest list can be an unwieldy beast that requires an iron will to manage. It's not a place for making friends. Instead, it's a place where you have to, say, deal with an opening band who thinks their pals should get in for free instead of some dumb old music journalist who only want to write a review of the show and get their name in front of more people. Sheesh!
The problem with guest list is that many people misunderstand what it really is. The intention of a guest list is to allow for the musicians to have people within the music industry who can advance their careers to come to the show without buying a ticket - because if they have to buy a ticket, chances are that they just won't come. Now, sure, any leftover spots can go to your friends and such. But if you start excluding the people who really belong on the guest list because your boyfriend, girlfriend, bff, and sister's boyfriend's cousin's friend are all too special to shell out for a ticket, you're really missing the point - not to mention burning some serious bridges. You know who doesn't think they're too precious to pay? The promoter who put their money on the line to put on a show for you and maybe will think twice about the same thing in the future.
If you're in charge of the guest list, stay true to the initial purpose, and don't worry about all of the hangers-on who are mad that they have to pay to stay or home. For real. These guest list dos and don'ts will help you get it all straight.
If you want to land a job in the music business, doing an internship is a pretty big deal. Believe it or not, it's not really even about the kind of work you do during your internship. You may get lucky enough to land a very hands-on internship that gives you a range of industry experiences, but even if you end up in one of those making coffee, doing copies internships, it still matters a lot. Why? Because internships give you the opportunity to make connections in the music business that will help you when you actually go job hunting.
As such, the competition for internships can be pretty brutal sometimes. In this piece, a real, live music business intern shares what she learned as she was trying to land a music business internship. Use her advice to turn yourself into the perfect candidate for your dream internship.
Getting media attention for your music release or tour is essential, but just exactly how is it done? In some ways, it's simple. You put together a promo package, contact music journalists, and spread the word. In other ways, it's a challenge - because, after you contact those journalists, they may not respond, and your calls go unanswered...and then what?
First, relax. The hard part is getting that first review or two under your belt. Press begets press. Once someone starts talking about you, more people want to talk about you. The heavy lifting is all done up front with music press. When you do it right, next time, some people will be asking you for promos before you even send them.
In the music business, as in life, stuff happens (as the saying sort of goes). Hey, sometimes the review you thought was going to be there isn't, the promoter pulls out at the last minute, or hey, whoops, you're broke again. It's not fun, but it isn't the end of the world, either. How you react to these little bumps in the road is what really matters. Instead of taking it as a sign that you're really bad at this and should probably just quit, deal with it. Get creative. Activate Plan B. Or Plan Z, as the case may be. Where to begin? Here's a look at some common music business problems and what you should do about them.