Simplifying Branding: The Things That Really Matter

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Branding is one of the foundations of every artist and business. However, you don’t need to spend a ton of time stressing over it, or consuming endless amounts of content on the topic. The only thing that really matters when it comes to branding or building a business, are your customers (or call them fans, or your community), and that you offer them endless amounts of value. That’s it! One of my favorite quotes on branding is by Tim Ferriss, where he said “branding is over delivering one or two values to your 1,000 true fans.” I usually begin every semester in Music Business 101 or Artist Development with branding and storytelling being the foundation to every artist or business. It’s a good brand and stories that lead people to the product or the music. You’ll often hear me mention the CD Baby DIY Musician Podcast quote that “music is the last thing that matters, until people hear it, and then it’s the only thing that matters.” So lead people to the music with brand, stories, and content. That’s your foundation.  

There is endless amounts of content out there on branding, and you can even hire brand strategists for a boatload of money to help build your brand. Nothing against brand strategists, I love them, and even had some amazing ones on the podcast. However, not all of us can afford them. One of my motivations to this post was a recent podcast by Tim Ferriss where he talked about his “3 Critical Rules of Branding,” and one of the things he said that really resonated with me was “forget about branding, focus on what fucking matters, and the rest will take care of itself.” Even though you should spend most of your time focusing on the customers, and what they want (more on this shortly), there are a few things that you should keep in mind when creating the “brand” behind your business. When you look at the most successful companies, artists, or individuals out there, they follow some simple things, and may not be thinking of “branding” when doing so, but thinking of building a business that’s best for their customers.

Here are 6 simple things to consider when building your brand.

1. Narrow Your Focus (Depth not width)
Narrow your focus on the most important aspects of your business - your audience size, what you do, and how you deliver it. This may seems simple, but it’s mind boggling how many people I see violating this simple rule all the time. I lead with target audience (or target market), because this is your most important area to focus on. Am I starting to sound like a broken record yet? Good. It’s that important! One of my favorite things that Tony Robbins says a lot is “Don’t fall in love with your product or service, fall in love with your customer. Then find a way to serve them.” If you haven’t heard my podcast episode with Joe Pulizzi yet, he talks about how after three years his business completely failed, and he ran out of money. He fell in love with his product. What changed his business and turned it into a multi-million dollar company, was when he asked his customers how he can best serve them, and then only focused on that.

The rule of narrowing your focus is also important to when it comes to what you do. You can’t build a business that realistically should be multiple different companies. Not only does this spread you thin, but it also reduces the amount of quality and focus you can give to your customers. It’s ok to be involved in multiple areas down the road, but not in the beginning. When you first start out, you should spend at least 18 months to three years being hyperfocused on doing one thing to serve your audience. If, and only if you’re making money, and you have an audience of at least 500 customers (ideally 1,000), then it’s ok to starting thinking of expansion. Ideally, you’ll have a team on board to be part of the expansion, so it’s not all on you, and you lose focus, because you’re doing too much. An artist that did a great job with this was Halsey. She spent two years only creating content on YouTube and Tumblr, before she ever started touring. Whether intentionally or not, Halsey had a narrowed focus on building her audience and serving that audience with her content.


Speaking of content, narrowing your focus also relates to focusing on the power of ONE medium to deliver your content. Some of the most successful businesses and artists, are focused on building a media company. This goes for companies that Joe Pulizzi mentions in our conversation, such as ESPN, Disney, or Red Bull, to artists such as Taylor Swift, John Mayer, Halsey, to name a few. In the world of content marketing, content can be either video, audio, written, or live events. And there are many different types within each of these categories. Those are the main types of ways to deliver content to your audience. When it comes to musicians, your original music and live shows, are part of your revenue streams. This is how you make money. If you focus on making great music and having a great live show, having one and only one other type of content to consistently deliver to your audience, you’ll be on your way to building a powerful brand. There is a ton of information on content marketing. A good place to start is anything by the “Godfather of Content Marketing,” Joe Pulizzi. Check out our podcast episode. This piece of content can be as simple as a weekly cover, vlog, blog, weekly freestyles, lessons/educational content, or anything else that will offer value to your audience.

2. Become the Leader in your category, or create a new one.
About once a week I listen to the Spotify Viral 50 and Top 50 U.S.Charts. Have you ever noticed that once one or two artists come up with something that’s a little different within a genre, and it takes off, everyone else follows the same style and sound. The ones that are early adopters of this new sound, are usually the leaders in their category, or this new sub-genre. Those are the artists that build lifelong careers. Even when the genre or style goes away, it’s usually the leaders in this new sub-genre or category, that tend to continue to have a career playing and making music. The artists that follow the “trend,” are often the one-hit-wonders, and the ones that are here today and gone tomorrow. Grandmaster Flash was not the founder or even one of the first artists in Hip-Hop, but he was one of the first to become a leader in the category. Becoming a leader in a category or creating a category, doesn’t mean you have to create a completely new genre. It’s just about creating your own authentic sound within an existing genre, and then building 1,000 true fans around that category or sound. Dare to be different.

You’ll hear me mention 1,000 true fans a lot. This comes from the famous article by Kevin Kelly. It takes 1,000 true fans to build a business. Check out the article here:

3. Consistency
Once you’ve narrowed your focused and have a clear vision of who your ideal customer is, how your business serves them, how you deliver your content to them, and how you’re going to be different, it’s time to be consistent...with EVERYTHING. Be consistent in your messaging, frequency of delivering content, and the quality of your product or service. The quickest way to lose a customer is to be inconsistent. Start with something that is manageable and realistic for you. If you have the time and discipline to do a daily vlog or a daily rhyme, that’s ok. However, it doesn’t need to be that frequent. The least amount of consistency with your content should be once a week. If it’s a podcast, vlog, blog, covers, or whatever your thing is that makes you uniquely you and authentic, deliver that to your audience at least once a week. As much as I would love to deliver my podcast 5 days a week, realistic for me is once a week, every Thursday there is a new episode. Be consistent with the frequency and the time. Pick the same day every week to deliver to your audience, so they know to expect it on that day. Be consistent with your content, product or service, message you put out in the world, posting on social media, your visuals (more on that shortly). Be consistent about everything.

4. Quality
Deliver the best quality product or service, and content you can. The big problem here though is waiting till it’s perfect. It’s never going to be perfect, but it should continually get better and better with time. What’s best is to launch your product and fine tune it as you go, but fine tune it based on what your customers wants are. Not what you want it to be. We launched the podcast with an episode with one of my best friends, Greg Rollett. He talked about the book “Ready, Fire, Aim,” and about how people get stuck forever in “aim” and never get to launch their business. What’s better is to get ready as quickly as possible, and then “fire” or launch your business. Facebook was terrible when it first launched. Today, it’s the most popular social media platform in the world. As Einstein said “insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result.” This applies to waiting forever to launch your product, but then never changing anything once you launch. Get your product out into the world, and make small adjustments every day or every week. Over a period of one year plus, a tiny adjustment every week, will seem like a massive improvement when you compare your product after one year to where you started.

Launch your product and get it out into the world, now! However, don’t just let it stay in it’s original form. You should always focus on improving your product or service, and deliver the best quality to your customers that you can. Dave Grohl one said, all it takes to “make it” in the music business is “having great songs, and a killer live show. That’s it!” Constantly work on your craft, and work towards your 10,000 hours of master, and way beyond. What are you waiting for? If you had to launch your product in the next 30 days, what would you do to be ready? Launch in 30 days. The world is more forgiving and supportive than you think.

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5. Visuals
Add some kind of visual component to enhance your “brand” or business. This can be images on your Instagram or Facebook feed, or videos of behind the scenes, or both. Especially include great visuals on your website. With today’s technology, it’s incredibly easy to create great quality photos and videos. It can be as simple as buying the best quality phone you can afford, and start there. Same as with quality, don’t wait to be perfect, get started now and start fine tuning your brand as you go. People love seeing the progression of a brand. Plus seeing a brand grow not just in number of followers or income, but also the look and feel of the brand, that’s where the stories come from. Once you get started, start figuring out filters or setting that you feel are a good fit with your authentic style. As your business starts to grow, you can upgrade your photo/video gear, and even hire a photographer once a month to take a ton of current photos. You can usually get an entire month’s worth of visual content from one good photoshoot. As you start putting out videos and photos, pay attention to what your audience engages with the most. Don’t fall in love with specific photos. Pay attention with what your audience engages with the most. Use the best visuals you can, make sure they’re consistent with your brand, be creative, be authentic, and listen to your audience.

6. Collaboration
The fastest way to grow your business and build your audience is collaborating with others. You’ll often hear people talk about building a relationship with influencers, and creating value for them to get them to collaborate with you down the road. I completely agree that this is extremely important. However, while you’re building a relationship with influencers in your community, you can start collaborating with others that are at your level today. When you collaborate with others, you have the potential to reach and convert a new audience. It’s not necessarily 1 + 1 = 2. The thought here is, if you have 100 followers, and the person you collaborate with has 100 followers, hopefully you can convert 10% of them to check out your music, product, or service. Once they come to your page, and you can convert another 10% into true fans, that’s a win.

Usually you see artists collaborating in Hip-Hop, EDM, Pop, singer-songwriters when they co-write, YouTube stars, or the jamband world.  However, all genres and businesses benefit from collaborating with influencers, and their peers. The best collaborations happen when you don’t focus on YOU, but how can you serve and add value to the person you’re collaborating with. When you collaborate, be genuine, be authentic, and focus on putting out the best quality product or service for BOTH of your audiences. This kind of approach creates a successful collaboration that benefits everyone, the collaborators, and their audiences. Also, it builds lifelong friendships and partnerships. And if you’re into studying about health, in the blue zones of happiness, they talk about how community will actually help you live longer too. It doesn’t get any better than that. Play nice with others.

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Closing thoughts: 
Along with all of these rules to branding, don’t forget to be patient. It’s not going to happen overnight. Patience is the most important thing here. When you’re playing the long game, you’ll be well on your way to building a successful career, and a powerful brand. Knowing that, focus on what really matters - your customers aka your fans aka your community. Build some friendships, and remember to have fun.

Related Content:
1. "How to Tell Your Story on Social Media" by Katherine Forbes
2. Interview with Brand Strategist & Marketing Expert, Jasmine Star


40 Strategies to Promote Your Next Show

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One of my students favorite lectures, is when we talk about all the different strategies artists can use to promote their shows. After having promoted over 2,000 shows, I’ve seen a few things that work, and don’t work. Below I share 40 different strategies with you that you can add to your marketing arsenal. These are separated in three categories. The Basics - everything you should be doing and don’t want to miss. Social Media and Digital Marketing - pretty much everything that happens online. And Networking - you need to meet people in person that will become supporters of your music, not just online. You can’t just show up, and hope they’re there. When you do that, you’ll be playing for the bartender, audio engineer, and door person. That’s not fun for anyone!

One of the keys to keep in mind here, is the total number of impressions. These don’t just need to be digitally or online, they can be physical or in person. In the book, Guerilla Marketing, by Jay Conrad Levinson, he mentions that it takes at least 14-17 times for someone to notice your brand or business. Especially with the amount of noise and distraction in the world. Once people take notice and pay attention, it takes another average of seven touch points on average for someone to make a purchase. This is why the emphasis on 40 different strategies to load-up your marketing arsenal, as Jay Conrad Levinson calls it. You can’t just put all of your eggs in one basket. You have to be in as many places as possible, to increase your number of touchpoints. The thought is, someone sees your ad on Facebook to you get an invite to a Facebook event to you see the flyer on Instagram and the poster at your favorite coffee shop, to getting a flyer handed to you at school, while seeing another poster in the hallway. Eventually, when you see something often enough, you become conscious of it and might visit the artist's website, or take a listen on Spotify. The first touchpoint. Now you need to create an average of six more touch points from there.

After you’re done, here is a FREE checklist and timeline to help you post together your marketing strategy for your next show.

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The Basics
1. Show Posters
Don’t half ass your show poster. I see so many shows where the artist just used a band photo as the show poster. Those are ok to use to promote your show, but create a nice show poster. As Ari Herstand discussed in our first interview, you need to make each show special, and make it an event. Create a nice piece of art as your show poster that will really stand out. This can be distributed digitally online, as well as physically at music stores, colleges, coffee shops, tattoo shops, smoke shops, mom and pop restaurants, food trucks,  and any other locations that will accept your posters.

2. Flyers / Exit Flyering
Same as with the posters. Create a flyer that will stand out, and that people will pay attention to. These can be distributed at the same locations as the posters, both digitally and physically. Also, one of the most effective use of flyers is at other events. Usually best when the event lets out - “Exit Flyering.” You have to be careful with this. Most cities will require you to get a permit to “exit flyer.” I’m not encouraging any illegal activity, and you should definitely get a permit. However, if you decided not to, wait till at least 50-100 people are already outside of the venue. Don’t hand flyers to the first person coming out or when people are just trickling out. That’s how you get busted. Wait till the herd comes out, and go inside the herd to start distributing. This is most effective when done as a team. You’ll get out a ton of flyers in a short period of time. I once distributed 1,000 flyers in 15 minutes at a sold out show on Disney property at House of Blues. Again, don’t go to jail or get trespassed.

3. Sticker / Magnet Bombs
This one requires another warning. Don’t damage property or be a jerk. However, sticker or magnet bombs can be a very effective way to promote a show as well. This is basically putting stickers in bathrooms, doors, venues, or other places where you already see a lot of stickers. It’s the consistency throughout an area when people will recognize the stickers or magnets. Again, don’t be a jerk, and build a bad name for yourself. Spend the extra money on getting stickers that are easy to remove, or use magnets. People can take those home and put them on their fridge. Especially when it’s a cool design.

4. Demos
A quote from a CD Baby DIY Musician Podcast that resonates with me is “Music is the last thing that matters until people hear it, then it’s the only thing that matters.” Get people to your music. Instead of exit flyering, or solely passing out flyers, add a demo with your flyer. Now most people don’t listen to CD’s anymore, but usually they still have CD Players in their cars. If you pass out demo’s when they’re leaving a show and most likely on their way to their car, they may listen to your music. This is about repetition and impressions. If they see the CD in their car every time they get in, see your ad on Facebook, see your post on Instagram, get invited to your event, etc. they’re going to start paying attention. More on Facebook ads and Instagram posts later.

5. Local Support
Find the right locals to play your shows. Find bands that seem to have a following, take their business serious, and are willing to promote. Create flyers and graphics for them too, so they feel like they’re really part of the show. Don’t make it just about you. Also, if you’re from out of town, and don’t have a following yet, take care of the locals. Let them take most of the door. You should just be trying to get as many people in the door as possible, to hear your music, and convert them into fans.

6. Street Teams
Put together street teams that will distribute your flyers and posters for you in your hometown, and out of town. Plan street team dates where they all go out to the same events together wearing the same one of your shirts. If you see 4 to 6 people with the same shirt, that’ll stand out and give you additional impressions. Create some kind of incentive for them. Hang out with the band before the show with food and drinks, free tickets, free merch, etc.

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7. Virtual Street Teams
Have a team of people post the show flyer on their social media platforms, and have them invite people to the Facebook event page (more on this later). Have incentives for them as well if they meet some kind of minimums. For example, invite at least 500 people to the Facebook event page, and post the show flyer at least five times on your favorite social media platforms.

8. Yard Signs
Yes, like the ones politicians use. You laugh? It’s all about knowing your audience. I once did a show with Arturo Sandoval, a legendary Latin Jazz artist. We had less than 50 tickets sold. I used to live in a big Latin community in Orlando, and noticed there were yard signs promoting pretty much anything from restaurants, salons, concerts, real estate, and garage/yard sales. I had to try it. I printed up 100 bright yellow yard signs with “Arturo Sandoval, Fri July 1, Plaza Live,” We put these up in all the busy intersections, and within one week we sold 300 tickets, and ended up with over 700 tickets sold total. I feel like I have to remind you again here, don’t get a ticket or arrested. Promoting shows is a risky business.  

9. Swag
Record labels have people that go to events to distribute swag at other shows and festivals. Check out my interview with Erick Charles from Fueled by Ramen / Roadrunner Records. He’s their Field Marketing Director, and in charge of this for both labels. When you’re inside of a festival or events, don’t distribute stuff that people will throw away easily. They’re already getting bombarded with flyers and stickers here. Give them something that they can use at these events with your bands info on it - tote bags, drawstring bags, ponchos, hats, sunglasses, or koozies. The bigger items, tote bags or drawstring bags, work best. However, sunglasses and koozies can work very well too.

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10. E-Mail Newsletters
This should probably have been first. BUILD YOUR EMAIL LIST!!! Learn how to add value with your email list. This is your most valued audience. There will be an article on this later, but in the meantime, feel free to check out my second conversation with Ari Herstand or my interview with Joe Pulizzi, the Godfather of Content Marketing.

11. Listings
Make sure your show is listed in all the weekly papers, magazines, newspapers, music blogs, colleges, bandsintown, StubHub (put some tickets on sale here, just for the listing), Pollstar, Jambase, and anywhere else local events are listed digitally and physically.

12. Press
Reach out to local papers, bloggers, and independent/college radio, or any other radio program that plays independent music in the area.

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Social Media and Digital Marketing
13. Live Video
Start getting comfortable with live video TODAY. You can do all kinds of fun stuff here. Give them live acoustic previews of your upcoming shows, do interviews with the locals on the show, and anything else that will be fun and add value to your audience. Be consistent, do this at least once a week for four to 6 weeks leading up to your show. Keep this short, and storyboarded. Make live videos 15 to 20 minutes, prepare some questions in advance, don’t wait for people to join, go right into it, and engage with people commenting. Good way to storyboard the flow of your live video would be to - greeting to song to questions/talking to song to goodbye. Treat it like a TV show. Good platforms for live video are Facebook, YouTube, Periscope, and Instagram. You can even simulcast on all of them at the same time with LiveWire or similar platforms.

14. Snapchat / Instagram Stories
Be creative with your Snapchat and Instagram stories. These should be mostly storyboarded and planned out, and not completely random. And don’t show people what you’re eating.

15. BandsInTown Listing / Plugin
Use BandsInTown to list your shows, and use the plugin on Facebook and your website. Rumors are that Songkick is going away, and BandsInTown is the easiest app to use and integrate tour dates to all of your platforms.

16. BandsInTown Newsletter
BandsInTown has a promoter feature that will allow you to send email newsletters to a specific city within a 50-100 mile radius to fans of similar artists. This is

17. Facebook / Instagram Ads
This can be an entire blogpost or series in itself. Learn how to build audiences on Facebook through ads manager, and use those audiences to boost posts and build ads through ads manager on Facebook and Instagram. Get started to learn more about sales funnels and how to get started with this in my interview with Kyle Leamire. It’s easy to boost your posts, but it’s an art to do this right.

18. Facebook Events
On phones, the only show listings people can see is your “Facebook Events.” They won’t be able to see your bandsintown plugin. Use Facebook Events for all of yours shows. Make the venue and all the other bands a co-host and have everyone work from one page for best results. Post exclusive content in your event pages. Also, when you change the title of the event page, everyone that says they’re interested or going to the event will get an update. If it’s “Kendrick Lamar at House of Blues New Orleans,” change it the title the week before, week of, day before, and day of to “Next Week - Kendrick Lamar at House of Blues New Orleans,” “This Week - Kendrick Lamar at House of Blues New Orleans,” “Tomorrow - Kendrick Lamar at House of Blues New Orleans” and “TONIGHT - Kendrick Lamar at House of Blues New Orleans.” Great way to stay on people's radar.

19. Instagram Posts
Be creative with your posts, post consistently, and don’t just post your flyer. Be promotional without being obviously promotional.

20. Instagram Hashtags
You can use up to 30 hashtags. Don’t use your hashtags in your caption. Keep your caption clean in the feed, and post your hashtags as a comment on your post instead.

21. Instagram Location Tag
Use the location Tag. Mix it up - tag the venue, the city, or a popular place near the venue.

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22. Instagram Comment Pods
This is a group message with a group of friends. You can have up to 12 people in a comment pod. Everytime you post here, everyone in the group comments on your photo and likes your photo. Follow these up with a text to your group to let them know you posted. If they immediately like and comment on your photo, this will get picked up by the Instagram algorithm and your post will rank higher. Beat the system! Be careful, this can be very time consuming, and everyone has to play their part in the group.

Using Instagram Comment Pods with former Podcast Guest, Jasmine Star

23. Join the Conversation on Social Media
Engage with people on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram that live in the area, and are fans of similar artists. The goal is here is “jab, jab, jab, right hook.” Try your best not to promote, and make the conversation sincere and authentic. If they organically go to your page, check out your music, and become a fan, you have a fan for life. If you go straight to promoting, you’ll be on their blacklist for life.

24. Social Media Influencers
Work with social media influencers in the area to share your event, and post about your show. This could also be an entire blog post or series, but the key here is, try to find a way to add value to the social media influencer, or you can just pay them.

25. Twitter Posts
Be consistent on Twitter. Use photos and videos, and don’t just directly promote. Create posts that your audience will want to engage with, and have their curiosity lead them to discovering your music.

26. Snapchat Geofilters
You can create your own Geofilter to show up at the venue you’re performing before your show, at other shows, or pretty much anywhere else you feel that makes sense. You can target a specific area, and for a specific period of time. This is a great way to build the brand, and gain additional impressions. This is called Geofencing.

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27. Geofencing on other platforms
Just like Snapchat Geofilters, you can create ads on other applications. You can target people during a specific period of time, in a specific area of town, and a specific apps. Each app uses a different provider to place their ads. Some are through Google Adsense. Best thing to do here, is figure out the app you want to promote on, and search how to buy ads on that app.

28. YouTube Videos
Just like live video, you can be creative with videos on YouTube to promote your show. Best thing here, is be consistent, be different, and have a clear call to action.

29. Pinterest Boards
Do not underestimate the power of pinterest! Especially if at least half of your audience is female. On your google play store or apple app store, it’s probably in the Top 20 most popular apps (at least as of this writing). Figure out creative ways to promote your shows by building boards. You could build mood boards, themes that preview your show, create a bunch of different flyers, collages of band photos, or even a collection of favorite things to do in the city your playing.

30. Pinterest Ads
You can create ads on Pinterest, just like on Facebook that target very specific people. The thing about ads on Pinterest is that they look “native.” They don’t stand out like an obvious ad.

31. Print Ads in Weekly Local Paper
Check how much ads are in the local weekly paper, physically or digitally. You don’t need a full page ad to promote your show. A quarter page does the trick. But don’t go smaller than that. Also, only do this in cities where the local weekly is still relevant.

32. College Radio
With college radio, you can come in for interviews, do ticket giveaways, or even buy advertising. It’s always best when you can partner with the station, and have them help promote your show. As always, figure out how you can add value to them.

33. YouTube Ads
TV commercials are dead, unless you can afford a Super Bowl ad, but you can create commercials to play on YouTube. You can target specific videos, and target them by location as well. For example, you want to target people that watch the new Foo Fighters video within a 100 mile radius from Atlanta, GA.

34. Google Ads (Adsense)
Don’t underestimate google ads. These can be very effective, and you can get very specific with your targeting. They also have the “Google Display Network,” where you can have your ad show up on website that use google ads to monetize their sites.

Networking Opportunities
35. In-Store Performances
This is straightforward, but it doesn’t have to be just music or record stores. Find the “RIGHT” local partner, where you can do an acoustic in store performance. Think coffee shops, art galleries, skate parks, mom and pop restaurants, etc.

36. Busking
Get a permit to play a busy street corner during the day, or in the Subway in New York. For best results, have a team with you here with your shirts, and flyers for your upcoming show. Andy Grammer (see below), was busking for four years, before he hit the road and put out major hits.

37. Visiting Schools
Music Business schools love having guest speakers. If you’re ever in Miami, feel free to reach out to me. This is a great way to get in front of a group of students that are studying the music business to ask you questions, share your story, and play some tunes for them.

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38. Networking / Niche Groups
If you’re playing a new city for the first time, and don’t know anyone, go there as early as you can, and integrate yourself into the community. Go to networking events, skate parks, coffee shops, other shows, play pick-up basketball or indoor soccer or really any sport, and integrate yourself into the community just as you would in your hometown.

39. Brand Partnerships
Partner with a local business, and work on ways you can promote each other. For example, I once worked with an artist that was big in the surf community. We partnered with a local fitness studio in New Orleans that offered Surf Fitness classes. He came by to take a free class, he promoted the business to his 50,000+ followers on Instagram, and they promoted him and his upcoming show.

40. Guerilla Marketing
This can be another whole blog post, but do things that stand out that are out of the ordinary. You should check out the story of how Shep Gordon and Alice Cooper sold out a show in London in the early 60’s with only 50 tickets sold a week before the show (see below). This is all about creating moments of history. Getting people to talk, and creating buzz.

How to Tell Your Story on Social Media

Artists tell me all the time that social media marketing feels like such a burden. I also often hear from artists that they simply have no idea how to grow a following, much less engage with said followers.

Sound familiar?

Well, you’re not alone!

To “make it” (see what I did there) in today’s music industry, artists have to take advantage of social media. Agents, promoters, record labels - just to name a few - expect artists to have a certain number of followers before even considering them as a worthy artist to work with.

Artists, before you get frustrated… think about it for a minute as if you were on the other side.

When it comes down to it, the goal of each job in the industry is to work towards the best interest of the artist… aka to make the artist money!

Now ask yourself this: how do artists make money? By selling tickets, merch, albums, etc. And guess what… it’s pretty hard to make substantial sales to a small and/or a disengaged audience.

So while it might seem like a pity game of social media numbers, deep down it’s more than that. The industry truly just wants to know if you can tell a story that grows and inspires a loyal fan base. And today, we can easily find an answer to that in social media metrics.

“People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” - Simon Sinek

Now that we’ve got all of that out of the way, let’s talk about what makes up a good social media “story!”

The Basics
What I consider to be the “basics” are things like press quotes and links, tour announces, ticket links, merch sales, album release info, links to streaming platforms, etc.

All of these posts can (and should) be scheduled in advance. Your Spotify track link isn’t going to change, so there’s no reason for you to be posting that “in the moment.” Sign up for Buffer, connect your Facebook and Twitter accounts, and schedule out your basics. I personally like to make 6 week plans for artists, but start with what’s comfortable for you. If you’re new to scheduling, start with a week at a time and build up from there!

Once you get the basics on autopilot, I promise you’ll feel much less anxiety about getting on social media.

Behind the Scenes
This is where the fun comes in, and it’s exactly what it sounds like! Behind the scenes content can be you sharing photos backstage, photos from the studio, teasing a sneak peek of your new album, going live from soundcheck, etc.

When your basics are on autopilot, you’re finally freed up to think about fun ways to share what you’re doing with your audience! So now, instead of sitting backstage before your show thinking “I have to go share that press link because someone mentioned me on their blog the other day and I keep forgetting to share it…” your mind can shift to “this is the coolest green room I’ve ever been in, I’m going to do a Facebook Live and show my fans!”

Your Story

Most artists have the basics and behind the scenes topics covered though. But that can’t be where it stops! Like I mentioned above, social media is all about telling your story! The basics give your followers a way to be involved in what you’re doing, and the behind the scenes gives them a glimpse into those same experiences from your view point. That’s why this last part, your story, is SO important.

Maybe you’re wondering, what the heck is my story and how do I tell that on social media? Well, start by asking yourself these questions…

  • What sets me apart from others creating similar music/content?
  • What impact do I want to make with my music?
  • How do I want my music to make people feel?
  • Why am I passionate about music?

Once you answer those questions you’ll be a step ahead of the rest. And when you can implement your story on social media, you’ll no longer feel like social media is a burden and you’ll always know what to share!

Making It Happen
Implementing your story in your social media posts is a lot easier said than done. Telling your story isn’t something that will come to you overnight, or feel natural immediately. But I promise, “followers” (aka people) just want to be able to relate to you! When you share something personal and meaningful that others relate to, they’ll let you know it… and in turn the sharing will only become easier for you.

What does that look like, you ask?

Backstage photos go from “look at me about to play a show” (cool, who cares) to you telling your followers how you feel before performing. Maybe you’re nervous to play a new song because it’s so close to your heart and you really hope others can identify with your words. You might even go on to tell a little bit about where the idea for the song came from and what it means to you.

Now that’s some real and honest sh*t right there! That’s the kind of social media post that leaves an impression… and that’s how you grow AND engage a following (aka community)!

Wondering how to create balance sharing the basics, behind the scenes, and your story all at the same time? Download my free 2-week social media plan here!

Key Takeaways

  • Start thinking about social media as a place to tell your story rather than a place to grow and engage followers.

  • Schedule out your social media basics. (You can use Buffer for free… and no that’s not an affiliate link!)

  • Mix it up with your behind the scenes content and don’t forget to share what life is like from your perspective.

  • Your story is the key to social media success.

  • Growing a fan base on social media isn’t easy… it takes hard work and strategy.

  • Stop using the “F” words. Followers are actually your people… and a following is YOUR community! And don’t forget to treat them like that!

Download my free 2-week social media plan here.

Katherine Forbes is a Nashville based brand and web designer whose client roster includes multiple Grammy winning and nominated artists. She’s served as co-producer for the International Bluegrass Music Awards, published a marketing workbook for musicians, and hosts a growing community of female musicians and industry leaders. | | |

Elements that make up your story by Chris Goyzueta

Elements that make up your story by Chris Goyzueta

How to Open for National Acts

One of the questions I get asked the most is “how can I open for national acts?” When it comes to building longevity and growing your career in the music business, it’s extremely important that you do this with a strategy. Don’t just open up for a national act to say you’ve opened up for people with names. If you want to build longevity in this business, it’s important that you don’t overexpose yourself in your hometown and that you focus on building genuine relationships with everyone involved - the promoter, the agent, the manager, and the artist. You build genuine relationships by adding value to them, and not focusing on what you can get out of it, or using this as a resume builder. Nobody ever made it to the next level because of who they opened for. They got there because they were able to build their own audience.

In this article, you will learn how to open for national acts, but also some important strategies that will help you build longevity. I assume that if you’re reading this, the ultimate goal is not to open for national acts, but for you to become the national act and have a career for the next 20, 30, 40+ years. Here are 10 steps for best practices and strategies on how to open for national acts, and build your career.

Shout out to rapper E.M.B. from Phoenix, AZ for inspiring this post, and for the great tunes. 

Check out "Ble$$ Up" by E.M.B. 

1.  Be Able to Sell Tickets & Get People to the Show

This doesn’t mean pay to play, but you have to add value to the show. You need to have fans that will actually pay and come to the show. If you can’t do that, you don’t have any fans, and you need to work on building a following first. One of my past podcast guests, Ari Herstand, and Author of “How to Make It in the New Music Business” mentioned in his book that 50 is the MAGIC NUMBER to get the attention of most promoters. As a promoter that has put on over 2,000 shows, I could not agree more with that. To take it a level further, I say 50 tickets gets you in the door, 100 tickets gets you on the radar of artist managers and booking agents, and 200 tickets gets you a serious conversation with an artist manager or booking agent. This doesn’t mean buy or pay to play by purchasing 50, 100, or 200 tickets. What’s really important about this is 50, 100 or 200 people will not just buy a ticket, but they will come to the show.

What makes your sell easier is when you have a proven track record with the Talent Buyer or promoter that’s putting on the show that you’re trying to open for. The booking agent, and potential artist manager is already communicating with that promoter or Talent Buyer. If they can say that you’re worth the amount of tickets you claim, that will help increase your chances of getting the opening slot for a show. Almost 100% of the time when an artist reaches out to a booking agent or manager for an opening slot, they will forward me the email and ask if you’re legit. People communicate, so be able to back up what you promise.

Can you open for a national act if it’s your first show? There are very few instances when it’s your first ever show that you can actually get an opening slot for a national act. I sometimes like doing that, because when it’s an artist’s first show, they’re super pumped because it’s their first show and they get to open a big show. A lot of artists will sell double or triple the amount of tickets they’ll average for their first show. This is being a smart promoter, but you as an artist want to make sure that these people will come back to your future shows and that your numbers don’t go backwards too much. They will go backwards a little naturally. More on this topic in future articles.

2. Create Your Artist ID Spreadsheet

Let’s talk a little bit of strategy. Create a list of artists in your genre or similar artists. This list should be in the following categories - A-List, Emerging Artists, Legacy Artists, Local/Regional Artists. In the case of opening for national acts, you’ll only be using the A-List, Emerging, and Legacy categories for this exercise. The A-List artists are artist that are performing at 1,500 capacity venues to arenas, amphitheaters and stadiums. The chances of opening for these artists is HIGHLY UNLIKELY, because they’ll usually have fully packaged tours with openers from the same agency, management, or label. There are very few and rare occasions they’ll take on an new artist, and that’s usually solely based on relationship.

However, the booking agents that represent these A-List artists also have new and emerging artists, as well as artists that have been around for a long time but are no longer on the A-List or may have just never broken through the threshold to the next level. These artists are performing in venues that have a capacity of 200-1,000 people. You want to put as many artists on this spreadsheet as possible. I’d say have at least 10 to 20 for each category on your list. For a sample spreadsheet, sign up for the email list, and I’ll send you one. But it should pretty much look like below.

What you’re looking for are agents that represent more than one of the artists on your list. Those are the agents whose radar you want to get on, and the agents that can provide some great opportunities for you.

3.  Which Shows Have A Support Slot Available

You have to act fast when it comes to getting that opening slot. Make sure to sign-up for all the venues e-mail list, so you’re one of the first to find out when new shows get announced. Set-up alerts for their social media pages so you’re always in the loop of announcements and on sale dates. Usually shows get announced on Tuesdays or Wednesdays and go on sale to the public on Fridays. Once you know that a show is coming, here is a quick rule of thumb to figure out if there is a support slot available. If there are 2 or more artists already opening the show, they’re most likely on tour with them. The chances of getting an opening slot for shows that already have a full package are very rare. You want to be strategic when asking for opening slots, and don’t want to be the annoying person that asks about opening for every show. Try to find shows that don’t have an opener listed or may only have one opener. However, if they are artists on your Artist ID (see #2), and you want to focus on building a relationship with their team, you can reach out and mention that you see there are already openers on tour, but you’d like to help with promotion for the show. Adding value to the relationship!

4.  Reach out to Promoter, Manager, & Agent

Once you figured out which shows to reach out for, here is a sample pitch to write to the promoter, manage, or agent. If you already have a relationship with the promoter, you can reach out to them first and let them know that these managers and agents are on your radar. Some promoters get territorial, make sure they’re aware you’re not trying to go around them, but you’re just trying to build a relationship with these artist managers and booking agents to help build your career. Even offer to copy them in on the email. That might actually help your chances.

Here is how the chain of command usually works (avoid buy ons, usually promoters are legally not allowed to sell opening slots per their contract with the artists, but some do it anyway because they know most artist won’t say anything to protect their relationship those promoters). The artist or their manager usually makes the final approval for openers. Sometimes an Artist Manager and their artists, will sell opening slots for their tour. This is usually offset by some kind of small guarantee to you that the promoter has already committed to. I always recommend to try to avoid buy ons, but there are ways to get a lot out of them. However, they’re not going to make or break your career. You don’t not have to buy on a show to “make it” in the music business. Back to chain of command - the promoter will go to the agent, and the agent will go to the manager/artist for approval. Sometimes that trust is passed on by the manager/artist to the booking agent or promoter. Always error on the side of professionalism unless you have an established relationship. Always address the person by their first name followed by a comma OR Mr. or Ms. with their last name and comma. Never start an email with "Hey," "Hey man," "Hey bud," "Hey bro" or anything similar. 

Sample e-mail to Joe Agent, keep it short, to the point, and mention a couple of things to sell yourself:

5.     Don’t play shows 8-10 weeks before or after

One of my next articles will be on touring strategy and how often you should be playing in each city. Generally I preach to only play the same city every 8 to 12 weeks. You want to avoid over-saturating the market, and the bigger your following in a particular market, the more you should increase the time between shows. However, say you’re playing every 12 weeks - 4 shows per year. When you try to play an opening slot for a national act where you need to prove yourself to that agent, manager, and promoter, and you should all out with your promotional. You’re giving up one of those 4 shows for that market, and you should get the most out of it. You’re giving up some of your value to add value to someone else and establish relationships and build longevity. Be strategic about this. Don’t just open for someone just to build your “resume.” That won’t matter in the long run, unless you’re opening an entire tour.

6. Ask for Promo Materials

Ask the promoter, agent, manager, or whomever you’re communicating with for promotional materials and pre-box (or consignment) tickets ASAP. You want to get a leg up on promotion right away. Try to get at least 50 tickets to start out with, sell those as quick as possible, and ask for 50 more. Usually you’ll have to return the money for the first batch of tickets before getting more. So make sure you’ve actually sold them. Also, a lot of venues will hold you accountable for the tickets, so don’t lose them. If you lose 10 tickets that are $20 each, you’re coming $200 out of pocket. Don’t make costly mistakes. Get as many flyers and posters as you can get your hands on, and start getting to work. Your goal should be to out promote everyone involved in the show. You should be promoting harder than the promoter, manager, and artist themselves. It’s your career, don’t wait for someone else to do the work for you. Take it in your own hands and get to work.

7.     Deliver on Your Promise

This one is straightforward. But if you say you’re going to sell 50 tickets, sell 50 tickets. In an ideal world, you’ll want to over deliver. The strategy here is under promise, over deliver. This will always make you look good. Again remember, 50 tickets opens the conversation, 100 gets you on the radar, 200 gets you looked at seriously. Don’t come short. You’ll look bad in front of the promoter, booking agent, artist manager, and the artist. This will delay the time for when you get the next opportunity.

8.     Document Your Efforts

Keep good track of everything you're doing promotionally and document all of your efforts. Everywhere you put up posters, take a picture of where you put up the posters. When you pass out flyers, take video, pictures, or Snapchat or IG stories of people holding flyers. Keep track of how many tickets you sold. Take screenshots of any posts you put up on social media. Upload all of your documentation of promotional efforts into a Dropbox, Google drive, or Box folder, and send those after the show along with a thank you to the promoter, manager, and booking agent.

What’s next? When you get an opening slot, the next most important thing besides promoting and delivering on your promise, is day of show etiquette and the follow-up thank you. More on those in the next articles.  

Thank you for your time, and good luck with getting an opening slot. If this article brought you value, please share this with your community on social media. I’d love to hear from you, and your results. Feel free to reach out and send me a note - Please be patient, and I’ll get back to you. Thank you!

Promoter and Artist Deals and Settlements

Percentage of Net Deal (Door Deal)

These are your most typical type of deals for an up and coming band performing at a small club that holds 100 to 500 people. In these types of deals the expenses come off the top, and the artist receives a percentage after expenses and state sales tax. The expenses in these types of deals typically are for the audio engineer, security, and door person (box office). Usually these expenses range from $100 to $400, depending on the venue. For venues in the 100 to 500 capacity range, try to always avoid paying more than $400 for the venue. Usually expenses range $100-$150 for audio engineer, $50-$100 per security guard, and $50-$75 for door person. 

In this example, the artist receives 85% of NBOR after $350.00 for expenses and state sales tax. 

Guarantee plus Bonuses Deal

In this type of deal, the artist receives a guarantee plus bonuses. These bonuses get paid at specific points based on how many total tickets were sold, or can from time to time also be based on the gross. For example, the artist gets a guarantee plus bonuses at 600, 700, and 800 tickets sold. Try to make sure that the last bonus always reflects a sell out of the venue. This is your sell out bonus. 

In this example, the artist receives a $5,000.00 guarantee + $500.00 bonuses at 500, 600, 700, and 800 tickets sold. 

Zero Guarantee Versus Percentage of Gross Deal (NBOR) 

In these types of deals the promoter and the artist are both taking risk at the show. This type of deal is similar to a partnership in traditional business. Both sides have their own expenses, which they will cover out of their end of the deal. Booking Agents a lot of times try to pull the card that the artists have expenses. The promoter in me says, "nobody is forcing you to tour, but if you want to grow your business like I do, we both have risks." Don't let the booking agents twist your arm promoters. 

Guarantee Versus Percentage of Gross Deal (NBOR) 

These are usually the best types of deals for artists. You get a guarantee and you get a percentage of the gross NBOR with no expenses being deducted. The only deductions here are state sales tax and any adjustments to the gross. Examples of adjustments include facility fee, charity fee, album download, and Meet & Greet. This type of deal can also be called a greater than deal. The artist either receives the guarantee or the percentage of the NBOR, whichever is greater. 

In this example, artist receives a $2,000.00 guarantee versus 65% of gross (NBOR) after 6.5% state sales tax. Deal reverts to 70% at 400 tickets sold. 

The Promoter Profit Deal:

At the end of each show the artist settlement is usually the responsibility of the tour manager, tour accountant, artist manager, or the artist themselves. The Promoter Profit Deal is the most common type of deal that’s used by all major promoters. Below is a step by step guide on how to settle a promoter profit deal. In this video the terms are as follows:

In this example, Artist receives a $5,000.00 guarantee + 85% of Net after expenses, 6.5% state sales tax, and $1.00 per ticket Facility Fee (FF).

In this deal example the following tickets were sold:
500 tickets at $20.00
500 tickets at $25.00

Promoter Profit Deal Step by Step Guide:

Step 1: Add up all the ticket sales to find Gross Box Office Receipts (GBOR).

Step 2: Find the total facility fee. This is the total number of tickets sold multiplied by the total facility fee.

Equation: Gross Facility Fee = Facility Fee x Total Tickets Sold

Step 3: Subtract the Gross Facility Fee from the GBOR to find Adjusted Gross.

Equation: Adjusted Gross = GBOR - Gross Facility Fee

Step 4: Deduct State Sales Tax to find Net Box Office Receipts (NBOR). Remember that state sales tax is already included, therefore we have to calculate the inverse and add one in front of the decimal point. Ex. 6.5% state sales tax = 1.065

Equation: NBOR = Adjusted Gross / (State Sales Tax + 1)
*Note - If there is no adjustment, then use the GBOR

Step 5: Add up all your expenses. Remember that the guarantee is an expense.

Step 6: Calculate Promoter Profit Amount. Promoter Profit percentage is given in terms.

Equation: Promoter Profit (PP) = Total Expenses x Promoter Profit Percentage

Step 7: Calculate the Split Point. This is the amount that needs to be reached for there to be a bonus for the artist.

Equation: Split Point = Promoter Profit + Total Expenses

Step 8: Calculate the share amount. This is the amount that’s left over after expenses and promoter profit that the artist and promoter share. The percentage the artist receives is the artist bonus, and is usually given in the terms. In this problem it’s 85%.

Equation: Share Amount = NBOR - Split Point

Step 9: Calculate the Artist Bonus Amount

Equation: Artist Bonus Amount = Share Amount x Artist Bonus Percentage

Step 10: Calculate the Total Artist Pay

Equation: Total Artist Pay = Guarantee + Bonus Amount

Tunes I Found: "Colourblind" by FEELDS

This song was such a fun and refreshing find. The voice of James Seymour has a very smooth tone with a great vocal range, accompanied by very mature and catchy lyrics. As James mentioned, the story behind the song is a lustful one of a person caught up in two different worlds. This really comes across by the vocal performance of the song. The genre blends electro acoustic vibe with a pop sound. Feelds is based in Melbourne, Australia. When I listen to this songs I feel like I’m going on a journey both lyrically and musically.

I sent Feelds a few questions that are part of the “Tunes I Found” series, and here is what they had to say:

1. What’s the story or inspiration behind this song?

Colourblind is about being caught up in two minds. As the lyrics suggest, it's a pretty lustful story, but the protagonist is hesitant or somewhat unsure about what seems right. Production wise, I've really tried to push my sound envelope lately in the quest to define what the Feelds 'sound' is. At the moment, it's somewhere in the midst of blending acoustic sounds amongst evolving electronic/soundscape-y environments. It's proving to be very enjoyable, and Colourblind is the first big step in that direction.

2. For those that are new to your music, what is something you want them to know about you?

I recently left my retail job to pursue music, and I'm now in 4 bands (including Swim Season & Slowcoaching), helping produce 3 other artists, and writing music for film/TV. I'm pretty strapped for cash, but it's building, and I'm loving every minute of it!

3. Any tools or resources you can share with artists who are trying to “Make It”?

It might seem pretty cliche, but I find that setting goals and objectives is huge. You can use all of the tools in the world - but if an artist is not motivated, has little to no idea as to where they want to be, and isn't actively trying to push their craft all of the time - I think that can be the most detrimental thing to an artist's career.

4. If someone wanted to reach out to help and support you, and spread your music. What is the biggest thing you need and what could someone to help you with that?

Any help is great! To know that people are out there listening to and enjoying my music is part of the reason why I keep releasing material. So when people share it around, my sounds are being heard by more and more people, and it drives me to write more.

5. What’s your definition of making it?

'Making it' really relates back to those goals I was talking about. Personally, I want to be writing & producing music full time, touring & playing festivals, and using my music as a platform for where I want to be.

Share the Love and Follow Feelds:
Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Soundcloud

About this series:

This is a series of cool tunes I found on Soundcloud to help us remember why we started the careers and journey that we’re on. For me it’s music, so I’m sharing cool tunes I found. When I found these artists they had less than 5,000 followers on Soundcloud. I have no connection to these artist or any idea of who they have on their team. If you’re an aspiring student of the business trying to build a career in the music industry this could be an opportunity. Reach out, promote their music, book them an awesome show, help them with their socials, help them sell merch, or whatever else they may need help with. To find more cool tunes such as these and more, they’re all on a spotify playlist and some are reposted on our soundcloud page. The spotify playlist or soundcloud reposts will include some artists that have over 2,000 followers, but not the blog series. Hope y’all enjoy!

- Chris Goyzueta

Tunes I Found: "Mona" by Indigo Velvet

The second I heard the song “Mona” by Indigo Velvet it made me want to jump out of my chair and dance my ass off. The band is based in Edinburgh, Scotland. Their style of music is often described by writers as tropical pop, but there is much more to it. The song “Mona” incorporates some really fun uplifting African rhythms with a pop sound. When I listen to this song it makes me think of the type of music I would hear during the Summer Olympic Games. Definitely a great tune for cruising down along the beach on A1A in South Florida. Beginning 2017, Indigo Velvet was tipped as ones to watch by BBC Introducing and The Sun, the list of tastemakers championing the young quartet continues; Record of the Day, The Metro, Clash, Scotland On Sunday, The Skinny Magazine and more. Airplay includes BBC Introducing, Radio X, a spot-play on Radio 1 and live sessions on Amazing Radio and the Janice Forsyth Show on BBC Radio Scotland.

I sent the band a few questions that are part of the “Tunes I Found” series, and here is what they had to say:

1. What’s the story or inspiration behind this song?

We wrote the song with the idea of growing up as a teenager surrounded by young love and naivety. However, we wrote it in such a way, that hopefully, anyone listening will have their own personal thoughts and feelings about it. People connect with songs in different ways, and that’s one of the best things about making music.

2. For those that are new to your music, what is something you want them to know about you?

We write songs with the aim to make people smile, and hopefully even dance and jump around, reminding them of the summer months. We were recently compared to the tropical juice ‘um bungo’ (not sure if you had that in the USA?)! All the radio and media attention we’ve had to date has described us as ‘Tropical-pop’ and it has kind of stuck, we think it suits us.

3. Any tools or resources you can share with artists who are trying to “Make It”?

This is more advice, but just don't be a d*ck. Appreciate the people who are there to give you advice and help you along the way. We have been lucky enough to play with bands that we looked up to and have been fans of. We’re now friends with them and several have invited us to support them in their hometowns, which has allowed us to grow our fanbase around the UK rather than just focussing on Edinburgh or even Scotland, where we are from. So make friends with other bands, try and swap gigs with them and take on advice from people around you. Ultimately though, enjoy making music and playing, there is no definite right or wrong way of doing things just now.  

4. If someone wanted to reach out to help and support you, and spread your music. What is the biggest thing you need and what could someone do to help you with that?

Our aim is just to be heard by as many people as possible and enjoy our music. We hope to get the chance to tour outside of the UK soon too which would be amazing. We appreciate anyone that helps us in any way, from doing interviews like this, to radio play, promoters booking us for gigs, tour managers, fellow musicians and so on. It is all necessary to take your music to the next level and have the chance to do more with it. If you want to give us all your money, thats cool too, that'd help!

5. What’s your definition of making it?

We would love to be able to drop our 9-5 jobs and be able to tour constantly, showing off our music to as many people as possible. To play shows around the world is obviously the dream, but I think having a loyal fan base and people around you who actually care about you and your music is overwhelming enough, simply having a career in music, being a professional band is making it to us!

Share the Love and Follow them:
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

About this series:

This is a series of cool tunes I found on Soundcloud to help us remember why we started the careers and journey that we’re on. For me it’s music, so I’m sharing cool tunes I found. When I found these artists they had less than 5,000 followers on Soundcloud. I have no connection to these artist or any idea of who they have on their team. If you’re an aspiring student of the business trying to build a career in the music industry this could be an opportunity. Reach out, promote their music, book them an awesome show, help them with their socials, help them sell merch, or whatever else they may need help with. To find more cool tunes such as these and more, they’re all on a spotify playlist and some are reposted on our soundcloud page. The spotify playlist or soundcloud reposts will include some artists that have over 2,000 followers, but not the blog series. Hope y’all enjoy!
- Chris Goyzueta

Tunes I Found on Soundcloud (A New Series)

In this adventurous life journey full of twists and turns, ups and downs, it’s important to try your best everyday to stay grounded and remind yourself why you are doing what you’re doing. I started my pursuit of a career in the music business in 2006, because I love music. My first concert was in 1992, Guns N’ Roses in the Frankfurt Soccer Stadium with Brian May of Queen opening with a tribute to Freddie Mercury (who had died the previous year) and his old band, Queen. Ever since that first concert, I tried to go to as many concerts as I could, and in my freshman year in College I went to over 100 shows.

One of my mentors, Gary Vaynerchuck (no I never met him, but learn from him everyday) taught me that if you want your community to love what you’re doing, you have to love your community first. For months I’ve been trying to brainstorm of a regular blog to add to the “Making It with Chris G.” website that would really fit the brand, and the mission of what we’re trying to do with the show. The goal is to teach artists, creatives, entertainers, and aspiring people on the business side of the entertainment business the lessons and insights of people who are “Making It.” With that being said, the next logical step is to pour love into my music community and share artists with you that I think are making really badass music! Because the MUSIC always comes first.

I have no connection to any of the artists I’m sharing. My only goal is to share artists that have less than 5,000 followers on Soundcloud (but hopefully less). I want to introduce people to new music that I think is really cool from all different styles and genres. I will in writing commit to post a new track at least once a week (but hopefully more). Unfortunately I can’t share every track, so I’m going to start a Spotify playlist with some of the cool artists I find, and you can also stop by our Soundcloud page to check out some cool tunes I reposted. THIS IS YOUR OPPORTUNITY...if you’re someone that wants to be on the business side of the entertainment industry, these are artists that might not have ANY representation or very little. If you love what you hear, reach out, become a fan, become a promoter, spread their music, book them shows, and who knows what doors that might open for you.

So let’s kick this series off. This first tune is called “Battlecry” by an artist named Jordan Mackampa from London. He calls himself an Alt Soul Folk artist and has some jazz influenced which he incorporates into his music. This track has some really cool lyrics, and a very fun hook. As we are pursuing our dreams in this wonderful journey called life, we have to make our voices heard, march together because it takes a village to build something truly amazing, and let people hear our BATTLECRY. Spread positivity, be good to people, support the arts, create content, and “live the life you love.”