“I have worked with bands in many capacities over the years. Some of which are now highly regarded as the UK’s biggest bands in the alternative market, with top ten albums under their belts. Developing artists is my strength and I have learnt a vast amount over the years through my own experiences as well as working with some of the top artist managers the country has to offer.” - Jay Huntley ( Dream Atlantic Records and Century Audio )
5 Tips in growing your band
Don’t copy what others did.
Develop your own sound.
Brand yourself properly.
Grow your social media.
Work with the right people.
Don't copy what others did
At a time in the industry where everything is seemingly more obtainable with more resources to hand than have ever been, it is easy to get sucked into what you think is the perfect route for your bands perfect life. You can try and be carbon copies of your favourite bands and do what they did, but you’ll be left disappointed in not getting the same results, you’ll coexist for a bit, then break up due to deflation. Sometimes bands just pop up at the right time and are just very fortunate anomalies. There is no right way to do things, but there is certainly a wrong way. If you can eliminate the wrong, then you’ve got half a chance.
Develop your own sound
What you have to remember is, just because you are a really good musician and the songs you write are good, it doesn’t mean you’re going to make a career out of it. Unless you subject yourself to pub cover band life, but don’t get me started on that. You need your own sound. You need people to be able to hear a song of yours for the first time and for them to think “hey this sounds like [insertyourbandhere]”. Of course that’s hard to determine when it’s your own band, you really do need a good ear for that, but you’ve got to be a realist about this stuff. What’s the point in putting all your blood, sweat and cash driven tears into something that will peak way too soon and fade into nothing?
Brand yourself properly
Once you’ve got your songs right, you have to think about the best way to market yourself. I can tell you now, branding is more important than you might think. The aesthetics should be as strong as the audio. Anything visual is what is used to attract listeners to the band, before they have even checked you out. No one is going to get super excited about listening to a band who’s branding looks like something a ten year old did at school. There are a lot of talented artists out there creating masterpieces for bands right now, take advantage of that and invest in it.
Grow your social media
You will need to invest a lot of time and effort into growing your social media channels for your band. There are very effective methods in doing this which I have used with many bands in the past. This is extremely time consuming, but super important upon the inception of your band. The way you carry yourselves on social media is important. You will be judged for it. You need to find a way to reach out to people that may take an interest in your band. Look for similarities in people’s music tastes to your own sound. Hashtags are your friend there. I won’t tell you exactly what to do in this blog post, as the methods I use are very long winded and will only work for certain artists, but experiment with it. If you’re good enough, people will pay attention.
Work with the right people
A lot of bands will choose to self manage and that is fine, usually that can only get you so far, due to the lack of contacts you have, but there are still big bands today that self manage! When you do feel that the band is at a level that you can no longer facilitate, then it’s important you choose the right person. There are an unfortunate amount of managers in the industry who just want to make money off of you and don’t really warrant the sum of money paid. A good manager will set you targets and organise every single little detail for your band. If they aren’t suffocating in spreadsheets on your behalf, they are doing it wrong!
What managers want
Managers want to see a strong work ethic and a huge desire to go full time with your band in the long term. They need to believe in your music and you as individuals to put in the work required. There also has to be something to actually manage. If you’re unwilling for them to take full control of your band, don’t bother. Think of it like a shop. The band manager is the store manager and they have to oversee all departments and at times draft in people to run said departments when the size of your band warrants it.
What agents want
An agent has a very different agenda to the manager. A lot of the time an agent will work with a band purely because of the reputation of the manager. What an agent needs to see, is that people actually want to come and see your band. You need to be worth tickets to them. No agent is going to book you a tour if no one knows you. You need to put the work in to make people aware of you, not to mention wanting to see you live.
When do you need a publicist?
There’s a lot of misconception as to the effect a publicist can have on your band. Publicists are expensive. Only ever use one if it makes complete sense to do so. If you do not have a manager & agent and lack the means to fill that void for your band, do not fork out money for a PR campaign. Sure, reviews might look good on paper, but believe it or not, reviews do not make you that much more popular. There are bands that have glowing reviews in magazines that haven’t even played outside their home town. If you do not have the resources or the knowhow to drive your band forward, do not dive into the world of PR.