September 2013

The thing about Grant Deadlines and how to reach them

Some people are great at time management but when it comes to grant writing, here’s a few tidbits of advice.  Unlike university paper, you can’t pull an all-nighter when it comes to grants.  Planning and time management play a strong role in your grant being successful.  Each of our grants take 4-6 weeks to compete… here’s why

  • -          Having your producer confirm budget prices when he’s recording a million other bands
  • -          Music video production concepts being finalized
  • -          Receiving letters of support from media/influencers endorsing your project
  • -          (reminding those media/influencers supports WHO you are)
  • -          Having your bass player get a new passport because he has somehow lost both acceptable pieces of ID (birth certificate or passport)
  • -          Signing the confidentiality agreement with YouRockRed
  • -          Figuring out what songs you want to submit for assessment and why
  • -          Having future show dates and tours not just confirmed but with an actual contract

On our side:

  • -          Talking with us via Skype, phone or in-person to determine what type of grant should be applied for
  • -          Helping you determine your goals
  • -          Confirming your team members interested in working with you provided funding is secured (publicity, booking agent, mastering studios, art work, etc.)
  • -          Writing production plans
  • -          Writing marketing plans*
  • -          Balancing budgets
  • -          Writing band biographies for a specific grant (e.g. bio of each member as required)
  • -          Completing everything at least a day in advance of the deadline to allow for editing and polishing

As you can see, grant writing isn’t as simple as 1-2-3, done in a weekend!  If you want to have a strong chance against the competition, don’t rush.  We are extremely time-efficient but if you’re not here’s a list of upcoming grant dates that we could potentially help you reach.  

October 24- Factor Juried Sound

October 31- MuchFact

December 2- OAC Popular Music Program

Email us today!

Ottawa- Polaris Prize Screening Party

We’re throwing a Polaris Prize Award screening party on Monday, September 23 at Babylon (317 Bank St.) in downtown Ottawa with our friends in Jackpine who we’re thrilled to announce we will be working with for music-related ventures in digital video and web design for some of our clients.

We attended the Polaris Salon Panel on Tuesday night at the National Arts Centre and got to thinking, why yell at our laptops alone when our top pick to win nails a killer performance when we could hang out with more Canadian music fans and yell together?

Here are the details and please RSVP to our FB event here.  More details to be confirmed in the next day or so.

Come watch Canada’s best music awards show on Babylon’s cushy couches, have a few drinks and geek out over all things Canadian music.

Where: Babylon Nightclub (317 Bank St.)
When:  Monday, September 23, 2013  – Doors at 7 PM / Award show at 8 PM
Free!  // 19+ // Door prizes and more fun details TBA!

The Polaris Music Prize is a not-for-profit organization that annually honours, celebrates and rewards creativity and diversity in Canadian recorded music by recognizing, then marketing the albums of the highest artistic integrity, without regard to musical genre, professional affiliation, or sales history, as judged by a panel of selected music critics.

Shortlisted bands include: Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Tegan and Sara, Metric, Metz, White Horse, Colin Stetson, Zaki Ibrahim, Young Galaxy, Purity Ring Each and A Tribe Called Red. @polarisprize

More info: //



Festival Lessons ’13

I just got back from TIFF and realized that since June I’ve attended 9 big festivals.  Fringe Festival, Field Trip Fest, NXNE, JazzFest, Bluesfest, Osheaga, Folk Fest, TIFF < that was my summer in a nutshell!  No wonder I don’t know where it’s gone to!  So now that the air’s getting cooler outdoor festivals are sending us indoors for intimate shows I wanted to share some of what I’ve learned.

TIFF- Swap the wellies for high-heels at TIFF and look like you belong on the red carpet when you grab cocktails after the films so you can casually bump into Taylor Swift and become her new BFF.  Or just brunch at the Drake and watch all the publicists prepare their days.  Arrive to the screenings early.

NXNE- Sleep when you’re dead. Eat well.  Skip the energy drink boosters unless at a sponsored energy-drink event or you will crash and miss the Spice Girl’s Tribute band playing at 3 a.m.  Be prepared to wake up in whatever you went out in at 8 a.m. so girl, you better wear waterproof eyeliner.  The disheveled rock star look becomes more attractive with each sleepless night that makes for perfect hair.

Field Trip- I wish this happened every year.  Arts and Crafts created the most perfect one-day festival filled with the most joyful music fans ever.  Bring Kleenex to wipe tears while watching BSS play Lover’s Spit.  Brush your teeth because infectious smiling like this happens only so often between strangers.

Fringe- Wear whatever you like and speak in whatever language you like, even if it’s a made up one only you understand and you will be embraced by everyone.  Also, wherever there is wine, you will find artists from around the world ready to tell you their life story.

JazzFest- There is no one definition of jazz.  Lawnchair viewers will not move for anyone and David Byrne will seek out cool indie rock shows in your neighbourhood the next day so if a friend tweets he’s at your show, he is!

FolkFest- Dress warmly.  Sweaters and wool blankets are always de rigeur when the leaves change colour.  You can always buy hot tea, but cold beer is best sipped cuddling under blankets.

Osheaga – Oh it’s going to rain.  Rain hard.  Rain briefly.  You’re going to get soaked.  Or you’re going to get sprayed in the face with a jet of water when it gets too hot while watching Stars.  And buy their merch early because it sells out quickly.  And accommodations. Heck, just book everything far in advance as people are coming in from all over for this killer boutique festival.

Bluesfest- If you live in Ottawa, pace yourself.  You will get a Bluesfest hangover once it is over.  You will be confused and wondering what to do when you can’t hear Axle Rose screaming from your front door.  If you do go out dancing/drinking after a day of Bluesfest you’re going to pay for it the next day.

One more word of advice applicable to the above:  eat well and work out to prepare your body for festival season, not to look hot but to be able to survive! So much yoga was done over here and snacks always tucked into festival gear.

We’re gearing up to be involved in the Ottawa International Film Festival October 2-6 as I will be a celeb judge at the Music Video Challenge on October 6 at Mansion at 8 p.m.  RSVP here.

Before the snow hits we’ll be hitting up Pop Montreal next week and Halifax Pop in October!  Say hi to us in person or on Twitter!

New government fees for international touring musicians to hurt ALL Canadian music fans

We were covering the DIY or DIE series, but the Canadian Government is about to ruin the live music scene for all music fans.  Effective July 31 all international musicians will be subject to a $275 application fee to perform in Canada (including all supporting tour managers, roadies, etc.) and another $150 if successful.  This is unacceptable and even more infuriating as Canadian citizens were not consulted on a decision that would ultimately cost them the freedom to enjoy their favourite music.  These are non-refundable fees for EACH venue they perform at, whereas before it was a one-time fee of $150 to enter Canada to a max of $450.

This is not just about the bar owners, booking agents and promoters who are now facing tough choices about what bands they can book.

Music is our culture.  We are influenced by music from all over the world. If we’re supposed to be a multi-cultural shining light for the rest of the world, how are we to represent this without being able to afford to pay the performers?

Promoters are already taking a personal gamble in booking concerts.  I should know, I’ve been doing it for years.  If a band guarantee is $500 and you’re expecting 70-100 people at $10/each you’re barely going to break even.  The local openers certainly won’t be paid.  The sound person will be grumpy that you can’t tip him.  Even just buying drink tickets for the band may not be possible.

International touring bands already have fees that people aren’t aware of.  Accommodations and food are often included in riders and if the promoter can’t cover these there is usually a “buy-out” option of per diem for them.  Just getting across the border with the proper visa prior to July 31 was a risk (Hence why more than a few bands have sent their merch to my home to pick up once they’re in town.)

Now for a band with 4 members and 1 touring support staff the cost would be $2,125/per show.  There is NO way an average indie band from Portland or whatever with an album or two could recover this cost from a 100-200 person venue.  This would not cover the band guarantee, accommodations, or per diem.  Even then, the shows would have to be packed and ticket prices would have to be HIGH.

Throughout the summer I’ve been lucky enough to hit up some amazing festivals with artists from all around the world.  Bjork from Iceland, Father John Misty from the States, and I’m seeing Alt J from England tomorrow.  Taking away the option to enjoy live music is going to hurt our cultural community, economy and ultimately the reputation of Canada.  We are not anti-arts, we just have someone in charge who doesn’t get the importance of supporting musicians with different passports.

If you agree that this new fee needs to be abolished please visit’s petition.  They’re already at about 130,000 signatures and need another 20,000 for it to be re-visited in Parliament. 

Alternatively, if you live in Ottawa, come on down to Babylon tonight where a protest/fundraiser is taking place with live music from Dany Laj and Atherton. 

DIY or DIE: Management Part II – Professional Artist Managers

Check out our Mini-Manager Services here!

Our previous blog had to deal with well-intentioned friends turned artist managers. This week we talk about professional artist managers.

If you do sign with a label they may assign a new artist manager to you to help with the representation. (I’ll talk about the importance of lawyers in the upcoming blog posts but two words:  be careful!)  Often they’ll be past musicians, tour managers, or promoters themselves so they bring a wealth of knowledge and experience young emerging artists can benefit from.

[Rhodes]‘s had a load of influence — especially at the start. He put the group together. And he also put us on the right track — mainly about song content.

Joe Strummer on manager Bernard Rhodes

These guys and gals take the same percentage (15-20%) but something to talk to your lawyer about in advance is what sort of a deal they will get.  360 deal means they’re not limited to just album sales and show income but could include music licensing (if your song got used in a Gap commercial), merchandise, web advertising, etc.

If they receive their fee before all expenses are deducted from a tour date, e.g. if the band gets paid $500, broken down by 5 band members, the manager is essentially get paid the same rate as each band members but the band members have to use their collective income for gas, shared hotel rooms, food money (unless of course the promoter agrees to cover these costs plus guarantee).  People definitely don’t go on tour to get rich.  Read the fine print in any agreement.

One way to avoid this is a flat fee per tour, per album etc.  Again, this depends on if you’re a new artist or established act that’s received a generous (and realistic) advance.  Standard is 15%-20% of your income so if you make $100 for a show, they’re going to get $15-20 out of it.  For a much more detailed breakdown at a higher mid-level artist level I highly recommend Donald Passman’s books.

The nice thing about the changing face of the industry nowadays is how artists are generally able to choose their team.  So that means the power is up to you.  (There’s some great online directories available though FYI huge concentration in Toronto, Ontario).

The best way to meet a manager is to have musician friends recommend them, so that’s fellow musicians, promoters, your dog’s babysitter (ok, maybe not that one, just checking if you were paying attention).  Research who your favourite bands, or a band whose popularity-tour history you aspire to and contact their manager.  (Cold calling sucks, we know, but hey, give it a shot!)

Do you like the bands they’ve worked with before?  Do they understand your band’s tour-style?  If you’re a party-all-the-time band you’ve got to have a manager that gets that.  Same with if you’re an all-vegan feminist Bikini-kill-cover band, you have to make sure they’re not booking you into misogynistic biker bars in rural Ontario.  Your manager’s role is to be your guardian angel.  They are there to protect you and make sure all the opportunities possible come true.

Finally, it is important to know that the manager must be a fan of the band’s music and the musicians must believe in and respect the manager’s point of view. 

If you’re looking into hiring a manager and aren’t sure if the person you’ve selected is right for you, or has the experience necessary, send me an email!  Part of the consultation services offered by YouRockRed means helping you build the strongest team.  Let us help you avoid pitfalls of bad management and send an email today to

Signing that contract did bother me a lot. I’ve been turning it over in my mind, but now I’ve come to terms with it. I’ve realised that all it boils down to is perhaps two year’s security…. Before, all I could think about was my stomach…. Now I feel free to think—and free to write down what I’m thinking about…. And look—I’ve been fucked about for so long I’m not going to suddenly turn into Rod Stewart just because I get £25.00 a week. I’m much too far gone for that, I tell you.

—Joe Strummer, March 1977

(Great books on band legendary band managers including Peter Grant above include Stairway to Heaven:  Led Zeppelin’s Uncensored by Richard Cole and A Riot of their Own by The Clash’s sound guy Johnny Green