15 Things to Make Your Band a Success

First off let me say that I am no one special. I play in a couple bands that none of you have heard of. I run a studio and make music independently every day. I love music and follow the industry and trends religiously. I believe I have a pretty good grasp on this whole music thing. I'm just going to rant some unorganized tips/observations about being an artist making original music. Genre is irrelevant.

1. If you want to be a successful musician, stop thinking of yourself as a musician and start thinking of yourself as an artist. You need to be a complete package. You need to have a recognizable style in your music and in your image (clothes/design/photos/stage show). If your shit is all over the place with no theme or direction, it's going to be way harder to get noticed. Everything should correlate!

2. Lose the "local band" mentality. If you want to be successful this is one of the most essential things. Look at big bands. Emulate them. Believe it or not, they are your peers. They are just a couple rungs up the ladder. Never make the excuse "but we are local". The Internet is a thing. Music is global.

3. Do something different. So you're playing a gig and it's all locals? What are you doing to stand out? Bring your own lights. Bring a projector and project weird trippy shit onto the stage. Pass out glow sticks and turn out all the lights. Have a crazy mood-setting intro. Have the drummer set up backwards. Wear crazy masks for the first song or two. Be an ARTIST and not a "local musician". This is how you get people talking about your act.

4. Promote your shows! Promote promote promote- Post on Facebook, make posters, have an email list. Tell people when you are playing or no one will know.

5. Laziness is the #1 reason bands don't go anywhere. If you want to make it as a band, be prepared for a fuck-ton of hard work. It costs lots of money. It costs way more time.

6. Making it is not some unrealistic fairy tale like winning American Idol. It is attainable. Think of all the bands/rappers/artist that you don’t even know exist that are making a living from their craft. There of millions of artists, but how many are actively trying to make it? How many of those millions actually know their shit? How many are treating their band like a business and investing money and time into the right avenues? The pool just gets smaller and smaller.

7. YOUR BAND IS A BUSINESS. There's no way around it. You need to market yourself (ads, PR, publicity stunts). Everything about business can be applied to your band. Bands that think like this are the ones that make it. What are your expenses? How can you sell more merch? Is your online presence on point? Are you getting hits on Facebook/twitter? Translate that into sales. Your product is your music and your merchandise. Sell the fuck out of it. If you do enough of that, then all of a sudden you are a professional musician. WOAH

8. Use YouTube and social media to your advantage. There is a reason huge companies tweet memes. Ice bucket challenge? Fuck it. Do it as your band, make it funny and original, slap it on all your social media.

9. Doing something for charity. It is a great way to get exposure that you normally wouldn’t get for just raising money for yourself.

10. MEET EVERYONE. Talk to the people at the bar after shows. Talk to the bar owner. Buy the soundguy a drink. Meet people's families. Take a shot with that weird dude. If you are not making connections with people, then you are doing it wrong. Friends are fans. If you are fun and nice they will want to come see you again. Every one of those people are potential customers that could be paying your bills. Flirt with ugly girls if they are at your merch table! Commitment to the art bro.

11. DONT TALK SHIT. Absolutely never burn a bridge unless you absolutely have to. That guy you had a shot with might show your music to his cousin who happens to be a huge YouTube star. That soundguy might have a buddy who is a killer booking agent. YOU NEVER FUCKING KNOW. That band that you all think sucks might ask you to join them on an East Coast tour. Don’t risk it.

12. Collaborate with people who are more popular than you and people who are less popular.

13. Follow the followers of bands in your genre/scene on insta and twitter. They will follow you back. Follow the followers of record labels you like and bars you play at. If there are fans of yours out there, you need to connect with them so you can reap the benefits.

14. When you do things, do them right. Don’t shoot an official music video yourself with your iPhone 4 when there's a nasty local director that would probably cut you a deal or do it for free. Work some extra shifts at work dude. Its worth it.

15. Promote!

What else would you add to our list? Comment below!

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