The groundhog saw his shadow. Winter is everywhere (but here in FL). Touring is limited to southern regions but even that is rough this year. So it’s time to think about putting out a summer single and video. Yes, I’ll say it. Even though most fans don’t remember when MTV played videos, a music video is still great marketing.
Do something every 3 months to keep your fans interested. A new song, new merch design, enter a pie eating contest as a band… something, anything to keep that momentum rolling. And to do it right, it takes planning. Start now.
To illustrate a summer single and video done right, I point again to Billboard’s New Artist Top 100 musician, John Taglieri. Success doesn’t happen overnight. Videos don’t go viral and then someone shows up and gives you a bag of cash and a back rub. Plan.Practice. And have Patience. John Taglieri released his single, “Southern Paradise” summer of 2013. It is the title track from his 11th career release. He made the Billboard charts with that song, half a year later. With any luck he’ll be climbing the charts with that song into summer 2014. It’s not advice from an industry insider, its advice that has worked for others and it you work at it, it will work for your project.
1. INVOLVE EVERYONE YOU KNOW: A music video from an emerging act should not be a super-secret vanity project with a closed set and your roommate/manager wearing an ‘all access’ laminate. Be inclusive. John Taglieri said, “I was able to include 50 plus friends and fans on camera. That’s 50 people who are gonna share that video simply to show others they were in it.” Why work harder when you can let those in the video do it for you? Hold auditions, make it a contest, and be sure to include your lawyer as an actor. Some give discounted rates for related contracts if you include them….so I’ve heard.
2. MAKE IT FUN: We’re talking summer single here! No matter what genre you’re into, pick a single that’s playable in a variety of settings. Driving, at parties, on a beach or lake house, around a fire, in a bar… think of the setting in which fans will listen to your music. The “Southern Paradise” video has everything… a beach, babes in bikinis, shirtless bald men, miniature people, a guy in a bunny suit, an undertaker, and concert footage of venues packed with screaming fans. And a really catchy hook. Make the process fun and everyone will want to be a part of it and will talk about it and share the heck out it without seeming like they are trying to sell anyone on a new artists.
3. YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE THE GUY…OR GIRL: Yes, they will share the video because they’re in it. The band and song is secondary. Get over it. The spotlight is on performers A LOT. There’s no need for the ego to be fed all the time. There are performers, songwriters, and musicians, and rarely are they all the same person. The sooner you recognize that fact, the better. Then take what you do best and do it. Then while you practice on the rest, ask for help from those who do what they do best. It’s ok to sing a song you didn’t write. It’s ok to write a song you won’t sing first. It’s about the music…not about the ego. And for all that is holy, GET A LAWYER!!! An attorney will draft work for hire and copyright splits to keep everything above board and minimize the troubles later. “Good things come where you learn to put your ego aside.”
4. PLAN AHEAD: It’s called the music business because its business. And business costs money to make money. You can work smarter but it still has a price tag. Bartering is still a viable option – maybe that day job will finally pay off! Just offer more than a t-shirt and a free CD. If a few thousand dollars on a video is too much for you, stick to opening on a Wednesday night for other local acts who are actually going somewhere. Set monetary goals (this should be done quarterly but I’m realistic). Every member of the project should be responsible for putting their share into the band fund. Play solo gigs. Many artists have careers in cash based businesses like graphic and web design; allot a certain percentage of that work to put towards the band goal. Put a little sweat equity into the project. When others see how dedicated you are, they will be more likely to donate to that kickstarter campaign you’ll start.
And by time summer rolls around and that video starts to take off, it’s time to plan for that Christmas album!