They say success is inevitable when opportunity meets preparation. I know from experience that this is also true for musicians and the music business. So today we will want to examine whether you are prepared when opportunity comes knocking. Do you have everything ready? Let’s find out…
Let’s say you happen to run into some record label executive, a music supervisor, club promoter, music publisher or journalist. Will you know what to say, how to make your pitch? Can you wrap your profession, your music genre and your objective all up in one or two sentences?
Peoples’ attention span is usually very short, especially when you catch them in the act. So look at your pitch like it is the message in an ad. Short and to the point. Don’t recite a full-length “Our music is hard to describe, it’s sort of a mix of grindcore with minimal house elements and classical vocals. We would love to be on some kinda record label”.
Instead come up with a short and catchy phrase in the style of “We have a wicked style we call ‘Grindhouse’. We have sold over 5,000 copies ourselves and now could use a label to take the next step”. That makes it clear what you have to offer and shows that you are serious about it.
Business Cards and Demos
Do you carry business cards with you all the time? You never know when and where you run into someone who could help you further your career. Can you also hand the person a demo CD or USB stick with your music? Or do you provide a direct link, or better yet a QR code, to sound samples on your business card?
Don’t expect anyone to remember your name after an encounter of ten seconds. It’s also smart to have a pen with you, so you can write a message on the back of your business card, for example when and where you’ve met. That helps the other person remember you.
If you are bragging about your music (and yes, you should), are you able to back it up? That’s when you need finished songs that you can present, or at least a few demo snippets.
Having finished material on hand is essential when you are dealing with labels, publishers or supervisors, but it is also very helpful when you’re talking with a journalist who is willing to feature you.
Despite countless social media networks a website, your home base, is still essential. This is the place where you can present yourself in a customized way, provide sound samples and take direct orders. Especially media people need a press area where they can choose from a number of pictures in various resolutions. Have t all set p so you can direct people to it.
A pool of ideas
When you receive a request for a particular type of song from a music publisher or a music supervisor the deadline is usually short, many times ‘now’. If you have the chance to pick up on a few unfinished ideas or even modify an existing recorded but unreleased song you will be more likely to meet that deadline with ease. So always be creative, even in downtimes.
Are you ready to play live?
If you want to play live, are you ready then? Have you rehearsed your songs and your show? Do you know if your band mates are available for gigs at any given time?
I know, sometimes musicians just rehearse once there is an imminent gig or tour. However, booking agents often call at short notice when they need a replacement for another band. You better be able to say “yes” when you receive such calls.
Being able to react quickly puts you ahead of your competition whenever you receive a call, a request or are presented with an opportunity. Reflect upon all the items you need to be prepared and put them to work. Customers who walk into a store expect the products to be on the shelves, not in the backyard warehouse.
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