WORKING MUSICIAN: Get Focused - EMusician

WORKING MUSICIAN: Get Focused

Do you want to get your music in front of more people and earn more money in the process? Even if you feel you know the ins and outs of your craft, it
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Do you want to get your music in front of more people and earn more money in the process? Even if you feel you know the ins and outs of your craft, it is possible that your career still isn't as successful or lucrative as you'd like it to be. Whether you're an old hand in the business or just starting out, selling your product or service boils down to a few simple concepts. First, you need music products or services that people want to buy. Second, you must tell people about what you have. And third, you must convince them to buy.

By asking yourself and answering the seven following questions, you'll create a plan that gives you a clear direction for your career, promotes your music or service effectively, and helps you make more sales.

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What do you sell? Don't sell a feature, such as a band. Sell benefits — entertainment, for example — because that is what people really buy.

What gig do you want to land? Identify what it is you want to do, such as score an indie film, sell a CD, land a club gig, and so on. Think generally at first, then get more targeted and whittle down to possible venues and particular gigs.

What does it take to get the sale? Discover those “hot buttons” that motivate people to buy what you sell. People buy for essentially two reasons: to solve a problem and to add something to their lives. You need to show your potential fans and customers what your music can do for them.

Are there any obstacles or drawbacks? Consider all the downsides that may interfere with closing the sale. Check out the competition, too. Then, figure out what it takes to overcome these challenges.

Who is responsible for buying? Research and find specific contact information. Use the Internet, national music industry directories, and local media resources. If you're in a band, contact the people who find and book entertainment such as meeting- and event planners, booking agents, and club owners.

How do you make contact? Advertising generates leads, and telephone and email are good for introductions. However, face-to-face contact is by far the most effective method for closing sales. Take a proactive approach that puts you in touch with prospects. If you have a cover band, place flyers at key locations and make your demo available at bridal stores.

What will the pitch be? Make an offer of some kind, preferably one that promotes the benefits you have determined that people want. Give discounts for initial bookings to build references and word of mouth.

These questions lay out in a general way how to formulate a career summary and promotional road map. Let's answer the questions specifically now, using as an example a cover band that wants to play at a certain club. Here are their answers to the seven questions. Notice how this process helps form a good game plan for them.

  1. We sell entertainment, fun, escape, and nostalgia. We help people recall their favorite memories and leave our show feeling good.
  2. Desired gig: Adam's Music Club downtown.
  3. Research reveals that Adam's hires only cover bands and prefers acts that play tunes that get people dancing.
  4. They hire the same established bands repeatedly.
  5. Adam, the club owner, books all acts.
  6. Call him at the phone number given to us by the club manager.
  7. Call and introduce the band. Set a day and time to meet in person and drop off the demo. At the meeting, offer to play for free on an off night. If Adam's is satisfied with the performance, agree to be booked again with pay. Use the club as a reference to secure additional gigs.

Of course, for your career, your answers will vary based on your specialty and goals, but working the steps this way creates an action plan for landing each and every gig you want.

Jeffrey P. Fisher wrote his Moneymaking Music (Artistpro, 2003) book to help musicians have more successful careers. Visitwww.jeffreypfisher.comfor further information.