July 14, 2011

Week 40: Wasted Potential

(This is Week 40 of my Fifty-Two Weeks of Music Do-It-Yourself Music advice)

Don't Waste My Time
and Your Potential

If there’s one thing that bothers me in the music world, it’s wasted potential. Bands that just don’t try.

I’m not talking about bands that make great music effortlessly, I’m talking about the bands who have a good thing going, but for some reason they don’t work on promoting themselves. 

They don’t release songs, cut an album, work on postering, cultivate a following, get press, learn about bands they’d play well with, invite people to shows, have a Facebook and Twitter account OR Website.

Band who Wastes Potential
1. Has a great album and is not doing anything to promote it.
2. Even when asked about the band, doesn’t like to talk about it.
3. Have no idea when and where the next gig is, when asked.
4. Pulls a no-show with no excuse for a scheduled interview.
5. Shows up, performs, and leaves without interacting off stage.
These are usually the bands that complain the loudest, too. I call these bands the product of living a life of entitlement. Band members EXPECT things to happen for them because they’ve never had to work for anything in their life, so why should music be any different? 

OK... Before I get into calling people “whippersnappers” and shake my tiny fist at the young’ns I’ll digress. 

Fact: Nothing is owed to you.
Fact: You have to earn your fanbase.
Fiction: As long as you play well people will come.
Fact: If you don’t draw people into shows, the venue won’t invite you back.
Fact: There are a lot of options out there, you are in charge of making people aware that you are playing. You have to make them decide that they should not only choose your band over every other band playing at a multitude of venues, but also choose you over going to a movie, bowling, sitting at home watching Netflix, wandering around downtown, or hanging out in their backyard with a beer and a couple of buddies.

Don’t waste your potential. It’s VERY easy to get the word out about your band… and it can fairly inexpensive as well. As I stated in an earlier article, even if you have to hand-draw a show flyer… badly, it’s better than not doing anything at all.

Do you think you’ve wasted potential? Want to change?
  • Do you have a Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, and Twitter account?
  • Do you update them and use them?
  • Do you have a website? Updated?
  • When is the last time you invited people to a show in person?
  • When is the last time you emailed or called a radio station to ask to be on a show to promote a gig?
  • When’s the last time you uploaded a song to YouTube?
  • When’s the last time you posted photos of your shows?
  • When’s the last time you called or emailed a magazine about your gig?
  • Do you walk the streets telling people about your gigs?
  • Have you handed your demo out to people you respect and admire in the music business?
  • When you do get press, do you announce it to your fans?
  • Have you ever actually written a press release about your band?
  • Do you know the names of 5 music writers in your city? Have you contacted them?
  • Have you been available to play benefits and festivals, even though you don’t get paid?
  • Do you carry a few CDs or demos with you wherever you go… and hand them out?

If you’re not thinking about pushing your band forward, why should anyone else?

Sean Claes is the owner of Austin's INsite Magazine and has been a freelance entertainment writer since 1996. For an introduction to his "52 Weeks of DIY Music Advice" visit this link - http://www.tinyurl.com/Claes52DIY. If you like what you read... please share. To visit Claes' homepage, go here - http://www.seanclaes.com/

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