We’ve been working on this list for a while and thought it was high time to share it. Keep in mind that this post is primarily for the working musician. We realize there are a lot of hobby musicians reading this post so we want to clarify that some of these tips are specifically for working musicians.
1. Don’t Charge
This one’s a bit touchy, but here’s the deal: if you don’t charge, you’re not giving your art any worth. If you say you’ll do it for free and you keep doing it for free, you will be taken advantage of. We’re not saying you shouldn’t play free shows, do benefits, or any of that stuff. What we are saying is that when you ascribe value to your art, people will begin to see it as valuable. That wont happen unless you give it a price point. See: What’s Your Price Point? Determining Your Booking Fee.
2. Forget Your Merch
Stop doing this! It looks really bad. There’s always a chance that nobody wants to buy your CD at a show, but at least give them the option. Forgetting your merch at your apartment makes you look like you don’t care and it also limits your income – especially when you’re playing for a music-buying crowd.
3. Don’t Have Merch
If you’ve been playing out for any number of years and you don’t have anything to prove it, then you’re missing out big time. Having an album (hard copy and/or mp3) is incredibly important. A working musician without an album is like an architect who’s never designed anything…or a painter who’s never painted. You should have quality recordings.
4. Don’t Send Posters
This small gesture can go a long way when promoting shows. Failing to send poster to a venue not only shows you don’t care, but it increases the likelihood of a smaller turnout. You’ll be surprised by how many people go to shows based on posters, flyers, and handbills.
5. Don’t Have a Website
We don’t need to spend much time on this one. We’ve already got a whole blog devoted to the topic. But what we will say is that you should stop relying on Facebook, Bandcamp, and Reverbnation to do a job they weren’t meant to do. They are great tools but they are NOT websites. Read 10 Reasons Why You Need A Website.
6. Have an Ugly Website
Don’t get a website if its going to be an ugly one. You’ll only do yourself a disservice. There are so many great tools out there for creating web pages, and tons of great blogs on this site. Just check out the “Your Website” archives.
7. Send out Mass Emails Without a Mailing List Provider
If you’re still CCing or BCCing (blind carbon copying) large amounts of people within your gmail account , that’s lame. Use a Mailing List Provider (MLP). It allows you to creatively format your newsletter for fans while giving them a way to opt out if they no longer which to receive your emails. It’s good and necessary. MLPs are clean, professional, and most of all they show you care. We always recommend Your Mailing List Provider because we’ve used them for years and they’re great. See “What’s Wrong With Sending Newsletters Through My Email Account?”
8. Act Like You Don’t Care
When you take yourself seriously others will too. The worst thing you can do for your career is half-ass it. Excuse our French.
9. Act Immature
Something doesn’t go your way? Why no throw a tantrum and bust a window? Or have a full-blown argument with your bandmate in front of a few audience members. Or you could send a email to the venue the following day and cuss them out. Nothing like putting your immaturity in writing.
10. Don’t Practice
Yea, yea, this one’s obvious. But given the fact that we write so much about marketing on this blog, we thought it was worth mentioning. It can get hard to make room for practice when you spend so much staring at your screen planning shows. But do it. You’ll be glad you did.