January 2014

7 Ways Being Polite as a Touring Band PAYS

Why it’s cool to be polite

Rock stars who trash their dressing rooms, get messy with the ladies, are a big ol’ drunken/high mess are not the most courteous of folks.  Think about it, would you want to hang out with people who are disrespectful assholes when you want to go out and have a good time?

  1. Reply promptly to emails.  Media, promoters and other bands appreciate responses as it shows respect and interest from your band.  Professional attitude goes a long way to creating more opportunities.
  2. Say thank you- promoters, venue owners, and everyone else in that room will remember if you thank them.  Even if your band wasn’t great, they’ll want to rebook you because they know you are honest, courteous, show up on time and are grateful for the gig.  That goes for on stage and off.
  3. Show up early.  This goes for load in, sound check and your actual slotted time.  Unpredictable things like bands getting held up at the border forcing an earlier set time, bad weather, venue staff not showing up all happen.
  4. If you are going to be late, don’t just think the promoter will understand because they know you were driving.  Call, email, send a pigeon until you are able to reach them.  Apologize!  If you’re late, it affects not just the bar staff but all the organizers, opening bands and chances of you being invited to play there again.
  5. Be friendly with everyone.  Talk with people at the club who want to talk to you.  You can create life-long fans if you sign their albums or take photos with you at the merch booth.  Don’t disappear after your set to drink in the greenroom.  These people paid to see YOU.  If load out is happening, have one person designated to hang back to talk to people.  You could be in their profile picture and mean the difference of this person returning to your next show with 4 friends in tow.
  6. Express gratitude and praise your team! Chances are they’re not rolling in the money for helping you out.  Even if you do pay them for their invaluable guidance and abilities, be kind.  There’s a thousand other bands that would kill for their dedication.
  7. Patience is a virtue.  Don’t ask to be paid before the show is over.  It’s understandable that the drummer has to be up early for work, but at least one band member can hang out until the end of the gig.  If you’re organized, you’ll have sorted out payment details in advance of the actual show via email and/or tour contract.  It can come across as disrespectful of the other bands and if the show is a door deal, it’s likely the promoter won’t be able to fairly disperse funds until the end of the night and has paid other support staff like the sound guy, security, covered poster costs, etc.

Basically if you do all of these things you’re very likely to be invited back to perform at that venue/festival/party again.

We’re not saying you need to get naked to say thank you but this topic is a great excuse to blast some late 90′s Alanis in our opinions…

8 Ways to Write the Perfect Music Festival Application

Applying for festivals as an unsigned band is a lot like applying for the perfect job- you gotta tailor your resume, make sure it’s up to date, and basically tell the recruiter, they’d be crazy to hire anyone else!  While it’s too late to apply for SXSW, NXNE applications are open until January 31.

How to be successful:

-          Give yourself time to write it!  Promoters can tell when it’s rushed

-          Don’t just copy and paste your band bio from your last album

-          Recent band photos (if someone is no longer in the band, get new ones ASAP)

Include your most recent press

-          Be it pull-quotes or entire articles, make sure you can list all the outlets that have covered your band and good things they’ve said about you

Avoid clichés

-          No brooding band photos (looking down with hair covering your face is so ’03)- make sure the photo reflects YOUR band’s originality

-          Avoid extreme metaphors, “We’re the best band since Pink Floyd!” Calling yourself the best without press quotes or figures to back it is just a waste of time and good promoters/industry can see right through it by looking at your most recent tour dates

-          Be genuine but concise

Talk shop

-          Talk about how this festival or showcase appearance fits into your plan for 2014.  This could mean you’re already working with X booking agent or promoter for a 5+ tour date in promotion of X album/video/charitable cause.  There’s got to be some momentum behind you!  If you’re just applying to sound cool and list that showcase on your “resume,” it’s not got the same appeal.  Just like a resume show the steps you’re taking for your career growth.

Up your social media presence game

-          Keep your website up to date (I’m looking at all you bands that think that FB alone is good enough)

-          Don’t just tweet about yourselves- talk to your fans

-          Post photos of your rehearsals for consistent web content creation

-          Make a quick Vine or Instagram video of a sneak peek song and ask their POV

Choose your strongest songs

-          This could be the single that was on the radio last year or demo but instinctively from live shows you should know what is the strongest (the one that is most purchased on Itunes/Bandcamp is also a great indicator

-          If you’re writing a new album and have some demo’s you’re really happy with, include them but make notes on how they fit into the bigger structure

If you have a ton of friends and followers, include that number in the application

If it’s impressive, include the highest viewed Youtube link and/or number

All of this advice could be easily transferable to grant writing for your own band.  Now what are you waiting for?

6 Things Indie Bands NEED in their Email Signatures

The new year comes along and I still see the same problems when it comes to receiving band pitches for themselves and albums.  This blog post is going to be short and sweet.

Things to include in your email signature:

  • Contact phone number – you’d be amazed how often this doesn’t get included- even if it’s your manager’s #

Hyperlink the following: 

  • Website
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Youtube – link to most recent single – Check out our new single (This will then show up as an attachment but looks way better than a huge file JPEG of your band)
  • Bandcamp/Itunes/Soundcloud with your new album and date it was released “Listen here!

Other optional links:

  • Instagram
  • Tour schedule- In Italics- optional but beneficial if you’re not sending a press release exclusively about it through your publicist e.g. “We’re currently on tour for X album…” and list no more than 5 dates

Oh, and sign your name, for goodness sake!  As someone reading it in the industry, I want to know who’s written to me be it the drummer or lead singer.

Reporters and music industry folks are busy, busy people and don’t have time to go looking for your bandcamp link or wherever to be able to hear your music.

Reflections on 2013 & How 2014 is Gonna Rock!

Around this time of year people write resolutions.  We’d rather share what we’ve learned in 2013. 

YouRockRed is barely 6 months old and it’s already the beginning of a new year!  When 2013 rolled around I had no idea that I’d be starting this company.  I was busy writing 3 (3!!!) columns for Metro News Ottawa on music, events and food and balancing a social media contract for a charitable organization.  On top of that I was in the throes of organizing the 5th Ottawa Rock Lottery, what was to be my major event of the year. Writing grant apps for Kelp Records was still part of my workload last Winter too.

And now how everything has changed!  I’m thrilled at how well YouRockRed is going.  I’m so proud of my clients successes and am blessed to be able to call all of them friends. (Kalle Mattson is headed to Europe on his first European tour next week and Goodluck and Sunparlour are recording new LPs that I can’t wait to hear more of and Zoo Legacy and The Strain are making kick-ass demos!) When I started YouRockRed I thought I’d have way more consulting clients over management-type but that’s cool, it’s something new every day.  I’m going to be in Toronto a lot during the Spring doing this.

This year I’d like to branch out into being able to do more conferences (as in being on the panels) as well as attending them.  I went to 9 music and arts festivals last year and they served an excellent crash course for music industry training every time.  I grew up being a writer and I learn best by observing and experiencing.  I also just love talking shop about the music industry.  I know I will be traveling a LOT more in 2014.

A major highlight happened only a few weeks ago when I learned that ALL of our YouRockRed clients Factor grants for demo and Juried Sound were successful.

There’s been some lessons along the way.  I’ve said it from the beginning but honesty and integrity are so important to how I run this business.  Running a band is like running a company- if you’re not organized, it ain’t gonna happen!  It’s been difficult to turn down potential clients but given how many artists are in need of our services in Canada and the time involved, I unfortunately have to say no to many prospective clients as artists have to be at a certain professional level with album sales, touring history, press coverage to make it worthwhile for both of us.  That’s why I encourage those not quite there yet to set up consultations with YouRockRed to be set on the right path!

It’s been amazing to befriend industry professionals in 2013 who echo this and are still so passionate and genuine about helping artists achieve their goals.  Their advice and guidance has been crucial to YouRockRed’s growth.

In addition to going full force with YouRockRed, I’ve taken on a major role as the festival manager of the Ottawa International Film Festival that will become the basis for the next year’s worth of work.

So to all of you, YouRockRed is wishing you a very rockin’ and Happy New Year!

- Samantha

NYE greeting