Jen Cloher is an ARIA nominated songwriter who put together the iManageMyMusic project. It’s for musicians who, like me, take care of all their business.
Today I spoke at a roundtable of artists and these are a few thoughts that I felt were worth sharing:
Crowd-funding isn’t for everyone:
We can’t all be Amanda Palmer and make $1,000,000 but we can learn from her tactics. The ability to start the conversation and train your audience to keep it going is priceless. Your followers, fans, friends or whatever you want to call them need to be in on the process. Without them crowd-funding is begging and you’ll hardly crack the two grand mark. As Amanda says, “to crowd fund, you need a crowd.”
Australia’s most successful crowd-fund project is Tom Dickins ($26,000+). This is great but here is the twist: Tom spent a year or so supporting… you guessed it, Amanda Palmer. He learnt from her process and most of all tapped into her fan base. We’re not all going to be able to have this tool in our box so start the conversation yourself. You know what they both do very well? They talk everyday to the people who love their music. They are able to “activate” their fan base at the point of album releases or videos. It’s genius. But hey, maybe that’s not for you. PJ Harvey does not tweet, she doesn’t even talk after gigs or do all that much press and things have gone just fine for her.
Even record contracts are still a viable option despite the backlash. A shit contract is a shit contract, you signing it is the mistake and no one else is to blame.
Hold yourself accountable for your failures and success
If you are independent in the same way I am you have no manager, PR, touring group or agents but imagine for a second that you did.
If your publicist didn’t send out a press release to the local radio station for a major gig you’d be pissed off right? If your touring agent didn’t respond to a booking request because they had a party they wanted to go you’d fire them.
You are the agent, you are the manager. If you are letting e-mails slide, missing easy gigs or turning up to venues stressed out of your brain or unprepared then you’ve only got yourself to blame when things fall through. I’m still waiting for the right people to be my “team” (and they should be a TEAM) but if you’re really not getting things done and you think you deserve better than fire yourself and hire someone.
Some very important questions:
What do I want?
Why don’t I have it?
How am I going to get it?
Who are you?
What do you do?
What do you sound like?
Answer these before you go into any important meetings and you won’t be caught off guard.
Being independent doesn’t mean being unsupported, it means being in control:
Just because you’re independent doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be talking to promotion companies, touring groups and record labels. You have to have scary conversations to get your name in the hat. You don’t get to play The Enmore without having a few big chats to trusted names.
I see a successful independent as someone who retains control over the project and has some sway in all the facets of it. If you stopped choosing the tours, looking at your posters or stopped being apart of the songwriting process you’re probably not an independent (AND HEY WE WORK HARD FOR THIS TITLE DAMNIT).
Be in control of your direction, your image, your music.
TALK TO EVERYONE ABOUT YOUR MUSIC
If they can help or even MIGHT be able to help than tell them about your music. Always ALWAYS ALWAYS have a cd in your bag. AAAALWAYS.
Alright you’ve earned this: