Re-Energize Your Career

Do you ever feel like you’re just going through the motions? Like your shows are not quite as fun for you as they used to be? Has your audience started to shrink and lose interest? Then now might be a good time to take a step back and reflect on where you are and what you can do to change.

If your audience has started to dwindle then chances are you’re feeling anxious, depressed, sad, etc. Not exactly the right frame of mind to put off an attractive energy that’s going to make people want to forget about whatever else is going on, get in their cars and pay to come see you play. Read more…

Are You an Artist or Just Someone Who Plays Music?

Many of us use the term ‘independent artist’ or ‘recording artist’ to describe ourselves, but are we really artists, or are we just people who play music?

To answer that question we need to decide what it means to be an artist. Many of us grew up in an environment where we were only taught what art means at a superficial level. Maybe our first definition of an artist was someone who was really good at making realistic paintings or drawings or maybe someone who made weird abstract creations that were supposedly only understood by special people. Read more…

Licensing Your Music Ain’t Easy – Be Cool

I recently had lunch with the founder and CEO of a popular website for independent artists. It was great to catch up and hear about all the exciting things going on with the site. On the other hand it was a bit of a concern hearing about some of what he and his staff have had to put up with recently in dealing with some of the more, shall we say, frustrated and/or unstable musicians that use his services. Read more…

Leverage Your Way to Success

Scott James concertIn the course of your journey as a musician there will be some things that go right for you. What you choose to do about those things will go a long way towards determining your success (or lack thereof).

The concept of leverage is all about finding your opportunities to capitalize on the things that will give you the best return for your efforts. Read more…

Progress vs. Perfection

About 8 years ago I used to smoke two packs of Marlboro Red cigarettes a day. It was hard for me to imagine what it would really take to quit. I tried to kick the habit cold turkey a few times and it just made me want to crawl out of my skin. Then I heard about the patch and decided to give it a try.

I put it on one morning and made it until about 10PM before I ripped it off and started smoking. The fact that I don’t smoke today has a lot to do with how I chose to look at what happened that day. Read more…

5 Sales Tips for Independent Artists

Sell your music better and you’ll have resources to make more music, better-sounding music, and get more people to hear it. Here are five tips to help you generate more sales:

1. Believe In Your Product
It’s difficult to look someone in the eye and ask them to buy something that you don’t believe is a good deal for them. If you’re trying to sell a CD to someone for $10 that you believe is worth $5 then you’re going to have a hard time selling it. The idea is to focus on ‘giving’ them something that’s valuable to them at a fair price. You can always tell when someone is just trying to ‘get’ something from you. Don’t underestimate the intelligence and intuition of your fans. Read more…

Are You Too Old to Make It?

Most musicians I know hold a dream to someday ‘make it’ in the music business. To play in front of huge crowds and live a lifestyle that they can only imagine. Many of us believe that we’ll someday get there. Unfortunately most of us find ourselves growing older with an ever increasing fear that we’re missing the boat.

We’re conditioned to believe that if we’re going to make it then we have to do it at a young age. I had already started to have this feeling when I was in my early 20’s. I felt like I was slacking because I hadn’t ‘made it’ yet. Read more…

The Power in Truth

When you started singing or playing your instrument there was probably a strong reason why you picked it up. You probably had a feeling inside of you that you needed to get out; a drive to express yourself. The only problem was that you probably lacked the skill to communicate what you wanted to express effectively to the rest of the world. Getting from that point to “success” can be a path that’s lined with challenges. Read more…

20 Ways To Engage Your Fans

In this day and age there’s a lot of talk about engaging with fans. Technology has changed marketing from a one way street to a two way conversation. So now that we all know that we’re supposed to engage our fans, how do we do it? I’ve created a list to help get you started with some ideas. Read more…

Music Promotion: A Persistent and Sustainable Approach

I remember back in the day when I played my first show with my first real band. We were really excited about the whole thing and eager to promote it. This was well before MySpace or Twitter or Facebook and at the time the obvious way to promote was to put up flyers. And put them up we did. We made tons of them. We made some really big ones too. Getting them in very visible or creative places was a source of pride. The theory was that if 0.01% of people who saw the flyer came to the show then we could pack the venue by making sure that 50,000 people saw the flyer. Read more…

What is a Free CD Worth?

I recently had someone on the Disc Makers blog ask me about a promotion they were thinking of doing for their upcoming CD. The idea was to give out 50-100 CDs to fans who were willing to recruit a certain number of their friends to join the band’s Facebook fan page. I thought it brought up some things that are worth thinking about. Here was my response:

My first thought is that you might get a better return on investment with Facebook advertising. Read more…

CD release tips

cdparty So you’ve put your blood, sweat, and money into making your new CD. One of the best ways to ensure disappointing results with your new CD is to release it with no plan for how to market it. Time and time again I’ve seen artists release CDs by just “making it available.” They put out a CD and ask people to buy it. They don’t pick a single and don’t have a plan to build anticipation. Don’t let that be you! Read more.

10 marketing basics for musicians

Music Marketing StrategyWith the barrage of websites and blogs targeting independent artists, it can be difficult to know where to start when it comes to your music marketing strategy. Information and ideas are everywhere and unless you’ve got a strong marketing foundation it can feel like trying to put together a giant puzzle without being able to look at the box. Read more.

Start Your Own Scene

I hear a lot of people complain that their band can’t really get anywhere because there’s not much of a scene where they live. However I don’t see a lot of people doing anything about it. If there’s going to be a scene, someone needs to have the vision and initiative to start it. So if you don’t have a booming scene where you live – start your own! Here’s how:

The first thing that you need to do is to scout out at least one good venue. What you want to look for are venues that are: Read more…