Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Business Side of Music

Life lessons surround and embody our everyday lives. They shape and form us into the competent adults we hope to one day become. If not for these lessons we would tumble down the road of life not knowing how to keep our feet from flying out from under us. If you haven’t already guessed I’m leading you into a life lesson I learned recently. Doing the whole band thing can be either the most fun you've ever had or a never ending curse of flat tires and non-paying gigs. After a little bit of experience in the local music scene and elsewhere in Texas I've learned one golden rule. It’s all about #1.
I have no idea what I'm doing

What is this #1 you ask and its magic abilities? The #1 is you. You honestly have to look out for yourself in this line of work. Cause let’s face it, we live in a capitalist society driven on supply, demand, and making an easy buck (even if at someone else’s expense). So, if you’re not truly invested in the business side of music you will be eaten alive. So, if you’re not ready for some hard work and perseverance you better put the guitar and mic down right now.

This past summer my band The Problem Preachers had organized a show with a local Tyler venue, let’s call it the Copperdonkey Pub. Now, we had called and asked about booking and they booked us for a date about a month in advance. The day before the gig we called the venue to confirm our load in time and they acted as if they never heard of us. They insisted that they never booked us and there was nothing we could do. At that moment I realized the silver rule in music; get it in writing or it never happened. Now I’m not saying you need a contract for every gig you ever have but you should always confirm shows through email. That way you have something to fall back on if you have a trouble with the venue. So, with my band Channel 8 I have organized 3 upcoming shows for us all through email. Here is exactly what should be included in the confirmation email when organizing shows.

·         Venue name and date/time of performance
·         Load in / sound check time
·         How band merchandise is handled
·         How the band will be paid
The Coffin Shop
In the beginning you will most likely have to play shows for free but there this is where the Bronze rule comes into play. Never pay to play. If a venue says you have to play a certain amount of money to play there take a step back and find another place. Playing to pay is something the big time people do for big arenas and outdoor shows. A small time band should never have to do that. If you're just staring out in a band check out this checklist for starting up.

If you really are interested in starting a local band and playing shows you should send your EPK or equivalent to The Coffin Shop. That place is an excellent starting point for most any band in Tyler. Until next time this is Patrick saying, "Don't eat the red berries".

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