New Band Tips For Bands – No Matter How Long You’ve Existed!
In this post, we discuss five great new band tips you need to follow. Even if you’re not in a new band! It’s never too late to get started on the right foot.
How to Start a Successful Band – New Band Tips 1
Set Goals and a Plan For Achieving Them
“If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll always get there.” God, I hate cliches. But some of them exist because they’re true.
Communicate the goals
Every band member has an idea in their head as to what they want to achieve in music. And every band member has an idea whether your band is going to help them achieve those goals. The goals can evolve over time, and might not exist from the beginning of the band. But they should become clear fairly quickly. And these goals should be communicated so everyone is on the same page.
If your goals are more modest than someone else in the band, their goals might get you excited to try to achieve more. Or they might not make your band a good fit for them. Or you not a good fit for THEIR band! The sooner you know, the sooner you can be surrounded with talented musicians with the same drive and focus you have, however modest or ambitious it might be.
Set mile-markers for the goals
Part of what makes achieving goals so difficult is they can feel so very far away. And no matter how much progress you’re making, when your eyes are fixated on the distance, you don’t notice the progress you’ve made. So set mile-markers for your goals – mini-goals that, when achieved, will let you know you’re making progress.
For example, if your goal is to sell out a 10,000 seat arena in 5 years, set a mid-way goal of selling out a 1000 capacity theater in 3 years. And set a mid-way goal to THAT one of selling out a 350 capacity club in 2 years. Then set a mid-way goal to THAT one of co-headlining a sell out at a 350 capacity club in 1 year. And so on.
Whatever your goals are, make sure they are “SMART” – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. Track those goals and, of course, when you achieve them, CELEBRATE THEM.
Band Rules and Expectations – New Band Tips 2
Band Agreement and Songwriting Credits
Agreeing in advance as to how Songwriting Credits and publishing isn’t as important as it once was, but it’s still important. Having an agreement as to how money is going to be distributed is a super-incredibly uncomfortable conversation every band needs to have, but few do.
Money is an uncomfortable topic for everyone. But you have to push through it. Even if it isn’t written down, making sure every band member understands how the money being generated by the band is going to be spent is super important. And it can change! Sometimes you’ll be saving up for the studio. Sometimes you’ll be saving up for a touring vehicle. Or a producer fee. Or a music video (but make sure you’re recording at least TWO with the same crew on the same day). If someone plays a gig expecting they’ll be taking home money to pay the rent, and then that doesn’t happen, you have an unnecessarily peeved bandmate.
If possible, don’t only tell someone what the deal is going to be. Make sure you hear them tell you what the deal is. You’ll know they weren’t thinking of something completely different while nodding their head at you after a detailed monologue on the value of a dozen fog machines and an indoor drone with lasers.
Incorporating the Band – For US Musicians
As soon as your band is generating money, it is a business. It may not be an “official” business, but it’s still a business. When you are generating money regularly, you will need to incorporate. Do not become a C-Corp. Every band should be a LLC (Limited Liability Company). These are cheaper to set up and offer more tax benefits for bands, at least until they attain a certain size. And when they do, it’s fairly easy for an attorney to convert the LLC into a C-Corp IF it makes sense.
But you’ll need to be in agreement as to who is part of the LLC, the company that IS the band. Some band members might just be in the band for the fun of it, or until “someone better comes along”. Kicking someone out of the band is a lot easier (and cheaper) than kicking them out of your company. You know how successful bands get new members years after they’ve succeeded? In almost all these cases, the new band member is hired by the company that is the band, but the new band member is not a part of the company. Hell, rock and roll is littered with the stories of band members who sold their interest in the band “company” at one point, only to regret it later on.
Funny Band Rules – New Band Tips 3
Let Band Members ‘Own’ a Responsibility
Until your band has management and a record label and a booking agent and a publicist and a social media manager and a (breath) video editor and a Spotify manager and an accountant and a… you have to do it yourself. Many bands have one person who shoulders most of the “business” of the band, but this is too much work for one person. In fact, it’s too much for ten people. But you have to do what you can.
Delegate as many responsibilities as possible to individual people. And the first people you need to turn to are the members of your band. Make them “own” their responsibility. A general outline as to what needs to be done and how can be agreed to by everyone. But the actual execution, and how it’s executed, should be that band member’s responsibility.
Put one band member in charge of all social media. Put one band member in charge of booking the band – reaching out to promoters, booking agents, venues, and other bands for gigs. And so on.
No one should be left to do anything on their own. When someone needs help, everyone should be willing and able to jump in. Anyone in the band can find a great gig, for example. But the responsibility should be “owned” by one person. And those roles can switch. Someone may find they’re particularly good at one thing over another. Embrace changes!
By having your goals aligned, an agreement as to what the efforts and money are going towards, and then band members taking responsibility for necessary tasks for building the band, you’ll grow faster by multiples over a band whose left the burden of the business to a single person.
Band Member Problems – New Band Tips 4
Find the Joy in the Journey
Try to remember, being in a band is fun. Performing for people who love seeing and hearing you is fun. Traveling to make music is fun. Sharing your talent with the world is fun.
I am most definitely guilty of this. As a musician, I was always stressed about the next gig, the next tour, the next recording dates. Meanwhile, I was experiencing stories I tell friends and strangers alike – and will for the rest of my life. There are no stories that come out of cubicles. There ARE stories that come out of week 7 stuffed in a van between two strange cities. Don’t forget that. Be present.
Even as you are frustrated, or seeing goals as further away than they were days before, find the joy in it.
You’ll Keep The Band Together
Nothing breaks up bands faster than when things are a bummer. Look for ways, every chance you’re together, to laugh together as a band. The jam room, the van, the green room, and especially the stage are places where the rest of the world shouldn’t intrude. Look to preserve that and no one will ever want to leave.
How to Start a Band With Friends – New Band Tips 5
It’s a long journey, and success may not look like you thought it would. While there are “gurus” online promising they can tell you how to get rich with music overnight… they’re lying. It gets them clicks. And there are a lot of gullible people who will buy their overpriced courses and books and coaching services. “Get rich quick” works in music too.
But it’s not the truth.
Success as an independent musician is more possible now than ever. But it’s also more WORK than ever. Both of these things are true at the same time.
Be patient as you build your career. Be patient with your craft, your trajectory towards success, and especially your self.
Don’t Think You Can Buy Shortcuts
I started working with Mike Mowery because he knew how to build bands from garage rehearsals to selling out theaters around the world. I failed as a manager in the music business because I didn’t know, and never figured out on my own, all I’ve learned from him.
Mike says all the time “Great content, Done consistently, Over time”. I need to put a real emphasis on the last of these three commandments. It takes time.
Whenever you think there’s a quicker way, it’s usually a quicker way for you to lose money. Do the work, and make sure it’s good. Do it over and over. And be patient.