We musicians are good trusting people and it saddens me when our good nature gets taken advantage of. So I’ve compiled a quick list of the most common scams that look for us.
It’s important to note that most scams targeting musicians come through MySpace. Scammers have written bots (programs) to scan MySpace and bait you in.
1. The Compilation
One day you see this in your email “Hey! I love your band. I’m a (insert flashy title here) from the UK (or USA or Sweden or whatever) and I really like your sound. I’m putting together a compilation in the UK which will be shopped around to (insert record labels or magazines or famous people here). . . I’d like to include you.
Wow this is a great opportunity you think. But typically a closer look at the details reveals that you will be paying hundreds if not thousands of dollars up front so this shyster can “press” your album and shop it around.
This is a scam. If a label or a manager really likes your music they will help you out without your own cash being involved. They will invest into you because they believe you will make money. These scams are asking for cash up front, and you have no way of tracking what they’re doing. Stay away!
2. The Publishing/Licensing deal
This scam is similar to the first one except they promise to shop your music to Film and TV. Ooooh. They want you to call them and they’ll discuss the details which will become more shady. Also, these scams are getting more devious. Now they name a specific song from your profile and say they “really, really, like it.” We all know that’s at least one too many really’s. This is a scam, and a very good one. More on that here.
And then finally we have…..
If you’re a growing band you’ll want to grab your domain name. To do that hook up with a solid web hosting company. They can outfit you with your domain and provide you with adequate space to get going. After that you only need to pay your hosting company a yearly fee to keep all your stuff there. You DONT need to register it with anyone. No one. Not even Google. The worst part of this scam is that not only do they fool you by using Government like authority on their website but they send MAIL TO YOUR HOUSE also vaguely resembling government mail! Don’t believe it. Save your money and buy a new microphone instead.
If you have any more scams that you’ve been a target of and would like to share email us
Hollerado should be everyone’s favourite band. They put on an amazing show, have songs that are insanely catchy, and are probably the hardest working and farthest touring band I’ve heard of. Recently Hollerado came back from a tour of China which included busking in Tiananmen Square. But most impressively they’ve accomplished all of it as an independent* band on their own label.
The DIY ethic runs deep within these guys and I had a chance to ask lead singer/guitarist Meeno, and drummer Jake, about their musical experiences and the way they’ve created their musical career.
How long have you been involved in music/bands?
Meeno: About 15 years. Holy crap.
Jake: Ever since Menno took Nick and I to our first rock concert, I’ve been hooked.
What knowledge can you pass on to bands looking to tour China and South America?
Jake: An awesome tour manager is really important, because they are also your translator, guide around cities, and they are the one who explain the cultural differences between where y’all are from. Other than that, at least at least learn how to say “Beer”, “Please” and “Thank You!” in the local language.
Meeno: Try everything at least once, even the things that you think you will not like.
At what point in Hollerado’s career did you start to bring in “professionals” like Adam Countryman (and any other management) and why?
Meeno: I like how you put the word professionals in quotations.
Jake: We’ve been lucky with the help that we’ve had. I think the best way to sum it up is that all of the “professionals” have had faith in what we were doing, and they understood that when they joined up with us, we were a young band. Bix (our manager) and everyone else we’ve worked with have let us develop how we wanted. The flip side would be having some big lame corporation that would say things like “Get a real drummer!”
Royal Mountain Records is your own label. Why did you create RMR rather than signing with someone else?
Meeno: We wanted to freedom to do what we want. we’ve always been very Do it yourself. We make our own website and design all our own shirts and do our own art. We promote lots of our own shows. Lots of labels wouldn’t be down with jumping through all the hoops it took to get our record in bags sold in stores, so we did it ourselves. If we want to play a shitty little house party instead of some label showcase a fancy club we are free to do that. We also have the help of our manager and arts and crafts, taking care of distro and all the businessish stuff that we know nothing about. That is what really makes it possible.
Where do you want to see Hollerado going a in the next few years?
Meeno: I want to make lots more music and travel.
Jake: Hopefully a restaurant with good nachos. I mean, touring Europe would be awesome, but failing that, a good Nacho restaurant.
—- So to recap: Hard work + good music + lust for adventure = Hollerado. It’s a classic formula and the best part is you can do it too… Juliette!
Lately, I’ve been on this science documentary buzz. From quantum physics to the history and future of the cell, I’ve been on this quest to discover the root or why of everything. I’m no scientist, but it’s interesting to ask myself why I’m paying attention to things I’ve never paid much attention to before.
Anyways, this brought me to the post about artists, tv shows, blogs, etc.. I’m sure you follow a few artists, bloggers, and what not. You probably follow them because you like the content, but why do you like the content, what’s the deeper need to continue to follow them?
What I’m basically asking you to do is to dig deep to find out what gives you the satisfaction from following who you follow. It could be a number of things including personality, how they relate to you, how they help you, how they make you feel, etc..
The reason to try this as a musician/artist is to help when you’re trying to attract people to what you’re doing.
Some statistics: Facebook has 350 million active users. More than 20 million people become fans of Pages each day. Your audience is on Facebook. With the help of the glitchy Facebook Insights you can identify where your fanbase is located and get creative with that info… Meaning plan a tour, release region specific content, etc,.
So gaining more fans should be a big priority. How do you get more Facebook fans? You can tell people from the stage or send an annoying “I suggest you become a fan of …..” message to your Fbook friends. Or you could use Facebook Ads.
Because Facebook Ads can be super targeted, can be set to a budget that every serious band can afford, and will only appear to those who are interested, they become very effective.
I talked to Chris, lead singer of The Sexy Mathematics, and he told me how from the summer of 09 his band has spent minimal cash to gain hundreds of new fans and gain a ton of information about his fanbase. The idea is that this summer The Sexy Mathematics are headed out for a tour that will specifically target the cities with the most Facebook fans.
The beauty of these ads is that you can set budgets as low as $1.50 and you can target by city, by state, by country, and target users that have profiles with matching keywords that you pick. For example: If you’re often getting compared to Zeppelin pick the keyword “Zeppelin.” Also it’s a good idea to pick keywords that relate not only to your band but the culture that your music exists in, like if you’re a folk singer you can choose “organic bread” or “some nature stuff” yaaa know what I mean.
So in short. Yes. Facebook ads work.
So it happened again and it will continue to happen. Another artist found their audience on YouTube.
Pomplamoose started in the summer of 2008 cleverly covering the popular hits of the day. Beyonce’s Single Ladies garnered over 2 million views. Now this duo is able to make a living off of their music. They approached their music in a unique way. Their videos are engaging. They showcased their personalities and made it fun, approachable, and unique.
They’ve sold 20,000 albums on iTunes. Yeah, 20,000 albums. Now they have time to make a proper album, buy better gear and be full-time, non-starving, musicians. Awesome. Internet meme or not, Pomplamoose has found their audience through YouTube.
Take Control of Your Music
More venues are continuously being added all over the world, so keep checking the site. If you got a spare 30 seconds, help out by adding venues in your town. If you don’t know what the hell we’re talking about, DIYgigs.com is a site we set up in December to help make touring easier for bands/artists across the world. The whole idea is to have thousands of venue/promoter contacts in one central location that can be accessed for free. If we can all work together to build this thing, it will benefit artists like yourself… everywhere.
Also, if you’d like to keep updated on this blog, you can sign up for the e-mail list on the top right of this page.
It’s the new gold according to many experts and pundits.
Why? Data simply helps you make better decisions.
Let’s say you put up 3 different songs on YouTube. After you’ve promoted them all for 6 months you notice that one song has way more hits than the other. You now know that song has “single” potential. If you spend some money/time doing a better recording or making more creative videos for that song, there’s a higher likelihood that more people will want that song and thus, discover you as an artist. That’s data decision making at work.
Let’s say you’re really wanting to tour but you’re not sure where. You think it makes more sense to tour close to home but you’re not sure anyone will come out to those shows. You also have several videos on youtube that are all getting good hits. You look at the analytics and notice there’s a intense amount of people from France who have viewed your vids. France seems far away so you start doing some facebook ads to make new fans to see if there’s other places to go. After a few months you notice that the majority of facebook fans are coming from France.
The data tells you to go France ’cause the likelihood of a good tour with good shows is pretty positive. Now, you can just google around to find promoters and venues (or go to http://www.DIYgigs.com) who’ll take you on. You can also use your data to let them know that putting you on a bill makes sense.
Paying attention to data makes sense. It’s key when you don’t have much money since making a bad decision that involves money can set you back. It’s worth noting that data isn’t everything, but there’s no doubt that it helps.