Don’t Do What I Do, Do What I Say!

Okay, you’re thinking, “why should I care about what you say KK?” A fair question when I haven’t set the world on fire with my collaborations and I don’t work solo. Well, that’s not quite true, I DO work solo. And when I do, the people I work with call it collaborating.  :¬)  Is this a blueprint for success? I don’t think so, either.

If you are in a band and everyone in your band isn’t working as hard as you are, find new collaborators. Most bands fail when the work-balance is badly skewed. If some members are doing all of the busy work and some members are coat-tailing, you’re doomed. And btw, if you are The Star, you are not exempt from The Work, no matter how much  your conceited outlook colors your worldview.

Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, ReverbNation, Lala, Last FM, Rhapsody, iMeem, Bebo, PureVolume, your band’s website/blog/store/podcast… Yeah, it’s a ton of work. I guess the bass player can take care of it, right? *puke* If everyone isn’t engaged, toss the slacker(s) or find a new outfit to crew with and be a LOT happier. Trust me. There’s NO point in working with anyone that isn’t as committed to the art (and work) of your band as you are. It doesn’t matter how talented they are and it never will matter. It’s a requirement.

So what do I say? Follow the blueprint that has become well-established:

BUILD YOUR BRAND

  • Your website is Job One. Use it as the hub and make it appealing so there’s a reason to go there, day after day. Unique content, updates, feeds, pics of you and pics from your fans, streams & downloads. Don’t have a website? Get a free blog. You need your own place to hang, first. Then, drive the networks back to this place.
  • Social networking is no longer a concept, it’s s reality and you need to get communicating. Facebook has eclipsed MySpace. So what? Do you think you can ignore one or the other? If you’re an unknown, you’ve got to hang out where people congregate. Twitter is hot and growing too, and easy to use. Use it! [Caution: being interesting does not mean constant promotion of the only idea you’ve ever had.] Being a human being and tying that to your art IS the best approach. Yes it is. Some sites offer a consolidated tie-in with other sites. ReverbNation has been very good at this and their widgets kick butt.
  • Gigging means word of mouth. So make that good word of mouth. But, if you suck live, mystery is your only hope. In a world where everyone says, touring is your only hope, you need to know this — touring is HARD and being a great live act isn’t just a good idea, it’s a requirement. When I see Wayne Coyne croaking another almost-tuneless vocal that sounded so much better on record, I wonder if the Lips’ spectacle, when delivered live, has anything to do with their music? And since you’re NOT the Flaming Lips, you’d better be able to bring a fresh spectacle every night or be very, very good at delivering your songs. Preferably both.
  • Touring means even more communicating with your fans. Set lists, fan requests, giveaways, secret meetings, streaming/radio and everything you do in your bedroom has to be done on the road. And with a connection to gigging no less.
  • IT’S ABOUT THE SONG. It really doesn’t matter how great your technique is, without something to say, no one will care how amazing you are beyond the initial curiosity. To keep them coming back for more, you need great material. Gigging endlessly is a potential flogging that I’d avoid. Write your best material, first. By all means, start playing out in your area, backyard, party… But “touring” is a cliche not a solution. In order to tour smart, you need something smart to tour. Yes, the zen master speaks! But seriously, if this is news to you, you worship the wrong blogs.

Talent got you to the door. Your effort gets you through it. Pretty simple.

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