The best advice we can give is try doing it yourself. Management skills are really important to learn if you’re an artist – it’ll help you when you become massive because you’ll understand what a manager does, know how you like things done, and understand where they’re coming from when they ask you do annoying crap. If you really can’t handle doing your own stuff – find someone who is organised, committed and likes your music. Get them to help out/ take on a managerial role until you’re at a level that will attract a manager.
Remember when looking for a manager – these are people who make money from managing your affairs. If you’re in a band that’s not yet making a good amount of dollars it’s less likely you’ll attract a manager, unless you’re doing something they particularly love or can see money in down the line. In these circumstances the manager will probably come to you.
This is kinda the same deal as a manager. Essentially – a record deal is someone seeing they can make money from releasing your music. This is the rule, and while there are exceptions (a lot of record labels release music for the love, not the money), it’s most likely you’ll be looking for a label with the purpose of making the dollar.
How does this happen? Well – it comes down to marketability, and your music. Rarely will a record company approach you with wads of cash to make a record. We suggest saving up and making a record, mostly because you want to. It doesn’t have to be recorded in the nicest studio and it certainly doesn’t need to be big budget – just get yourselves something recorded. You can use this as a demo, an EP, or even an album. Once you’ve done the recording think about how you want people to hear your record. You might consider releasing and distributing it yourself, getting someone else to distribute it, or getting someone else to release and distribute it. These are all completely appropriate options and whether they’ll work or not depends on you.
If you’re set on someone releasing your record then, once you’ve recorded some or even all the tracks you want on that album, send it to labels you think could give it a good home. Keep in mind that record labels receive shitloads of music daily, and you need to make yours stand out – make it easy for the label to see how it fits with what they’re doing, and why it’s a good idea to release it. Include a pic of you/ your band, a good bio, and details of the recordings.
One thing to remember is if you don’t swing a sweet record deal it doesn’t mean your music is good, and that you’re not going to be successful.
If you’re offered a record deal please look over it with a fine tooth comb. Any “deal” will come with an agreement. An agreement is a nice way of saying a contact. Which is legally binding. Once you’ve signed something you are, in most if not all cases, bound by it. Talk to a lawyer or Arts Law if you’re unsure about something in this area.
Playing live is crucial to developing your craft, and your name. It’s also a shitload of fun. But how do you get a gig or book a tour?
1. Approach venues. You’re after the venue’s booker.
2. If you’re having trouble with venues, try organising a full line up and then taking that to the venue. Think of some bands you know and would stylistically work well with if you were sharing a stage, and suggest a full line up to a venue. You may have more luck if you’re a bit more proactive than a plain ol’ “gimme a gig” approach.
3. Approach bands you like who you may or may not know. Hopefully if you like their music there’s going to be some common ground between your band and theirs, and it’d make sense for you to play together. Go for a band that’s maybe a little bit more well known than yours, so you can play to their crowd and grow your fanbase. Aim small. Don’t expect to be playing the Hordern Pavillion with the Presets first off – try your local pub with a band you’ve already seen play there to start with.
4. Enter some band comps! Seriously. They’re a great place to develop your skill, build an audience, and get comfortable on stage. You might even win something?
5. Give Open Mic nights a try. The more you play live when you’re just starting the better. And play around – don’t just play the same venue. The more audiences you play to the more chances you have of building your audience. You’ll also come under the nose of more venue bookers, which is totally a good thing.
6. (and this is our favourite option) DIY or die! Seriously – find a venue, book the room, and put a show on yourself. This doesn’t have to be a pub – it could be a community hall, a cafe, a bowlo, a creek bed – whatever. If you’re under 25 you may be eligible for an Indent Partnership Grant to help you put on the show. Check them out here – they’re one of our projects and they’re totally awesome.
It’s a good idea to have a demo and a press kit before you start approaching venues. Give them an idea of what you sound like, where you’d fit in a bill, and if you’ll fit in with their venue. There’s no point in playing your violindie to a metal crowd.
Once you’ve done all this, and done it well, booking a gig will be easy. Even better, someone else might do it for you. That’s where a manager, an agent, or both come in.