MEETING & GREETING
Business is all about relationships and people. Especially in the music business. You’d better be a people person or you’ll fail quickly. – Joey Sturgis, producer, engineer, plug-in maker, June
Relationships, first and foremost, are the most important part of this job…Saying hello to someone in person is probably the most effective way to bring in business. – Jody Stephens, drummer, Ardent Studio Director, July
Relationships mean everything. I’m trying to make friends with everybody, it doesn’t matter who…You don’t want to make a bad impression on anybody. – Simon Ward, the Strumbellas, March
Attend conventions, trade shows and industry events to see what’s current and to meet your peers. Seize any opportunity to make a connection face to face. Bring business cards or other ways of exchanging contact info. – Maor Appelbaum, mastering engineer & Hush Paz, freelance producer, engineer and business owner, Jan.
[At NAMM] go on the last day—Sunday when most people have cleared out. You’ll be one of the last people [companies] see, and they’ll remember you more as opposed to when they’re mobbed by a million people on Friday and Saturday. – Nikki Stringfield, musician, May
Close an appointment. Schedule a meeting where you can provide more information about what you have to offer. Prepare two convenient times and locations—a technique called the “two positive choices close.” – Bobby Borg, author, musician, July
Write your pitch and practice reading it while changing the speed and tone of your voice. The point is to not sound like a robot. Once you get the hang of it, try reciting your pitch by memory and ask a friend to role play with you. – Bobby Borg, author, musician, July
Don’t sign any deal just because you are excited to have been offered one. Careful consideration of whether this is the right deal for you may save you a lot of future grief. – Erin M. Jacobson, attorney, April
Document as much as possible. For instance, if you are performing a small club and there will be no written contract, at least try via email to confirm your agreement regarding what you will be doing and what you will be paid (and when). – Glenn T. Litwak, attorney, Jan.
Keep copies. Don’t lose helpful evidence because you lose your cell phone or your computer crashes. – Glenn T. Litwak, attorney, Jan.
Be clear that the producer is hired by you via a contract that explicitly states that he or she is to perform a job for a fee, and that he or she does not retain any rights in the sound recording nor own any shares in your composition. – Bobby Borg, author, musician, Feb.
A band agreement is advisable, not necessarily because you don’t trust your band mates, but because it forces the members of your band to address difficult issues and hopefully reduce misunderstandings. – Glenn T. Litwak, attorney, May
YOUR DREAM TEAM
The most important thing is to have a core team who really believe in the project. As long as you have that, you can still do exactly what you want with your music. – Angelica Garcia, artist, Oct.
If you can’t afford your “dream team” at first, supplement it with family and friends. Leverage your connections. Maybe you have a family friend who is a lawyer, a significant other who’s well versed in social media or a sibling willing to sell merchandise at your shows. – Judy Stakee, songwriting coach, April
Realize that you don’t need to know everything. You can learn as you go. You should also seek out the right people, because no one can do it by themselves—you need a team to help you. –Gilli Moon, artist, CEO, Warrior Girl Music, June
MANAGEMENT & SELF-MANAGEMENT
Your manager is everything, from marketing to putting out your records. So the most critical decision an artist will make is which manager they work with. – Lawrence Vavra, co-founder,
Deckstar Management, June
More artists [are] managing themselves than before. But, it can be a full-time job. So I encourage them to seek out a manager when things start to get busy. – Eesean Bolden, VP A&R, Epic Records, June
The hardest part about self-management [is] there’s a learning curve (about the business) that can take time, but you also learn more when you manage yourself. – Frank Drennen, Dead Rock West, June
Artists need to understand that managers work off of a commission, which only works if the artist is generating a significant amount of income. If an act is not making serious money most experienced managers will pass. – Ben McLane, attorney, June