Being ‘proactive’ means to influence and determine the development and outcome of an event by effectively planning ahead and taking action respectively. In short: Take action yourself to get the best out of something. We will talk about how and in which areas you can be proactive as a musician – I promise it will pay off.

We can split proactivity into three areas. Let’s call them ‚preparation’, ‘profit optimization’ and ‘altruism’ (no scientific terms here, it’s just for our understanding, so…).

We know the saying of when opportunity meets preparation. So let’s better get prepared for when the phone rings and someone gives us a chance to prove ourselves. As composers we can write new songs in order to have a good selection of finished material at hand whenever a song request comes in. We can rehearse even during slow times so we can accept gig offers at short notice without having to worry about our performance – or lack thereof. We can conceive and rehearse new shows, shoot videos and photos, create promotional materials; there’s always work to be done.

Even on a personal level proactivity is key. Our fan base needs to be maintained, especially in slow times, until the next major event kicks in such as an album release or a tour. Media contacts should be well fostered in order to get another review or interview when our next album is due.

Yes, even visiting clubs, bars and concerts in full regalia is a part of being proactive. Show them you’re there, be seen, make contacts – and make it rock!

Profit Optimization
As musicians we offer a service. However, not everybody in need of such services will be thinking of our little band immediately. So it will be our job to stay ‘on top of their minds’ by giving them some input – politely. Let’s ask those in charge whether there is demand and for what. It is important not to push our business partners and wreck their nerves but rather to present ourselves as the solution to their problems.

In the live concert reign we can check with booking agents for free dates or, even better, regularly send them updates about booked, blocked and free dates. If we’re playing in their area we should give them a call and see if there’s a chance to play at their venue on our way back home.

As composers we can check back with producers and publishers to see what they are currently working on and offer our help, be it as studio musicians, songwriters or engineers. A little follow up with distributors about how our album is selling will not only give us some information to react to, it will also make us look professional and deepen the business relationship which may often result in some kind of preferred treatment.

Putting other bands in contact with booking agents, suggesting new records to the media, playing a solo on another band’s album or providing the sound system for a show – unselfishness doesn’t generate immediate money, but it can pay off in the long term when we are remembered as specially friendly, helpful, competent or just plain professional. Who you’re gonna call…?

Bottom line: better force fate than just sit and wait (wow, that’s a rhyme). 

Here’s to your success – Julian Angel

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About MusicBizMadness

Julian Angel is a chart-noted songwriter and film musician with Hollywood credits. He has successfully released six (physical) records by himself. MusicBiz Madness started as a business conference in Germany and keeps sharing hands-on advice for musicians and people in the music industry.
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