Friday, 31 August 2012

Live Music: Top 5 tips for making the most of a gig

In your early days as a band you may find you spend a lot of time fighting for the opportunity to perform for a crowd, but once you get that chance you need to make sure you make the most of it and come away with as many new fans as possible. Here are my top 5 tips:

1. Put on a good show: Remember most of the audience haven't heard your music before, so keep the show entertaining, not too long, and maybe throw in a cover if there's one that fits in well with your set.

2. Make sure everyone knows who you are: Say your band name very clearly and more than once in your set, and stick around afterwards so anyone who enjoyed the performance has chance to say hello. There might even be someone there who wants to offer you another cool opportunity such as a promoter or producer.

3. Provide ways for the audience to stay in touch: Tell them clearly how to find you online, and get a friend to go around with a mailing list sign-up sheet.

4. Sell your music in the moment: Sell CDs at your gigs if you have them (for £5 or less - no-one will spend more on a new band) or print out flyers with details of where your music can be downloaded online.

5. Post about the gig online afterwards: Make sure you post photos, video or just a status update thanking everyone who came to the gig, as this will engage new fans checking out your page and encourage them to comment.

And of course, don't forget to enjoy it!

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Live Music: The Great Escape festival

My no.1 favourite festival has just opened for 2013 artist submissions! The Great Escape is held in Brighton for three days each May, and includes a music industry conference as well as gigs in all the venues around the seaside city. The festival is focussed on breaking new bands and therefore it's always full of A&Rs and important industry types, so it's a great platform for up-and-coming acts. Most of the performers are usually from the indie world but there are showcases for international acts and other genres such as rock, dance and rap.

Click here to find out more and apply to perform.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Live Music: The Station Sessions

The Stations Sessions is a series of events held at Kings Cross St Pancras, where up and coming artists get the chance to showcase their talents to passers by. The performances are promoted by a top marketing agency and video footage posted online afterwards. Previous participants have included Lawson, Bastille and Ed Sheeran, as well as many unsigned and independent acts.

This year's Station Sessions took place a few months ago, but as it was a great success the organisers will undoubtedly be looking for new talent for the next series, so get your applications in to this email and click here to find out more about the events.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Casting: Top 5 tips for audition applications

I've looked through thousands of audition applications in the past few years, and it's shocking how bad many of them are. Therefore I've put together a simple guide to making sure you give yourself the best chance of getting that big audition:

1. VERY IMPORTANT: Read the advert carefully and provide everything that is requested, especially contact details as you won't get a response otherwise.
2. If applying by email, make sure you give your message a subject which makes it obvious what you are applying for.
3. Be friendly and polite in your email. It's important to make a good first impression as you could be working with these people in the future.
4. If a photo or video has been requested, make sure it is flattering but clear. Avoid sending anything which has been edited with photoshop or autotune as it suggests you need those things to impress!
5. Don't send your application more than once for the same audition. If you send it repeatedly you'll be remembered, but for the wrong reason.

Good luck!

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Live Music: Support Jack Savoretti at Bush Hall

I wrote recently about cover competitions and singer-songwriter Jack Savoretti is running one at the moment with a great prize. You could win the chance to support Jack at one of London's loveliest music venues, Bush Hall!

To enter the competition you have to film yourself covering Jack's latest single Take Me Home and post your video on his Facebook page. The closing date for entries is June 15th. Good luck!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Online: Cover contests

Whether you're a seasoned YouTuber or new to the video site, a great way to become part of the tight-knit and very supportive YouTube community is to take part in cover contests. These are competitions looking for the best cover of a particular song, and they can be set by anyone from a famous website like Perez Hilton to a brand like Coke or even artists themselves who are searching for new talent to support them on their next tour.

Entering cover contests has loads of benefits - great prizes, chances to be seen by influential judges, a platform to reach new fans, and if all else fails they at least give you inspiration for your next YouTube cover.

Here are a few contests you could enter:

I'll let you know if I hear about any more!

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Casting: Let It Be: The Beatles musical

Here's one for the boys: If you play an instrument and fancy yourself as a 60s-style rock star, you could be part of the Beatles musical Let It Be which will be coming to the West End this autumn.

Casting directors are looking for two sets of five musicians, including the four Beatles and a keyboard player. Auditions will be held at the Cavern Club in Liverpool on May 1st and on Shaftesbury Avenue in London on May 8th. Click here for more info.

Thanks to Screen Terrier for the tip-off on this one.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Recording: Session singers

Working as a session singer is a good way to get experience of singing in a recording studio. You'll also get to know music producers and if you do a good job, you may even end up featuring on a track that gets released. Many huge stars, including Whitney Houston, worked as session singers before becoming famous.

To get work as a session singer your best bet is either to offer your services to producers or songwriters you know (you may have to work for free at first to get some experience) or sign up to an agency. Here are a few that seem reputable:

Monday, 26 March 2012

Online: Top 5 online PR tips

A good way to build a fanbase and get the attention of people in the music industry is to get your music featured on blogs and music websites. To do this you need to contact the writers and editors who decide which artists should be featured, and as they all get a huge number of emails from artists, managers and PR companies every day you need to make sure yours stands out from the rest, much like if you were applying for a job.

Here are my top 5 tips on how to PR your music to websites and blogs:

1. Rather than sending impersonal emails to every music site you can find, do some research and pick out the sites which are influential in your particular area of music. They are more likely to like your music and their readers are more likely to be interested too.

2. Build a relationship with the writers and editors you've chosen to target via social network sites. Engage in conversations with them about music, then subtly encourage them to check out your music if they don't do it of their own accord.

3. Make sure your PR emails are easy and enjoyable to read, with all the relevant links included. You may write a really interesting email about your band but if you don't link to your new song or video then I can guarantee the recipient will move on to the next email in their inbox and never think of you again.

4. If you want websites to support you, then you need to support them. If they write about you, make sure to post a link to the article on your website and social network sites. Website owners are always checking their stats so they'll notice if you send them lots of traffic and will want to write about you again.

5. If you don't hear back, don't be discouraged as most websites get far too many emails to reply to them all. However, definitely don't keep sending the same email again and again as this is extremely annoying to someone who already has a very busy inbox.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Business: Sentric Music

If you're writing your own songs and playing gigs but aren't yet at the level to be signed by one of the big publishing companies, you should look into signing up with Sentric Music. Sentric is a company which provides all the services a music publisher usually offers, but rather than having a selective roster they are open to "any artist/songwriter of any level."

By signing up to Sentric you will hear about sync and licencing opportunities, for example to have your music played on a film soundtrack or TV advert, and if the Sentric team are impressed they might feature you on their blog or podcasts. But the main thing Sentric does is make sure you get the royalties you are owed, as every time your music is played live, on the radio or even in a shop you should be getting paid for it (even if it is a very small amount at first).

Signing up for Sentric doesn't come for free. Although there isn't a fee to join, you do have to pay them 20% commission on any of the income that they help you to receive, and 25% on any sync deals you make. If you or a friend have a good knowledge of how the royalty system works, you may be better off keeping track of things by yourself, but if it's totally new to you then Sentric could be a big time saver and allow you to focus on the music.

Find out more and sign up to Sentric here.