Tips for getting booked at Festivals

Summer and music festivals go hand in hand. After seeing so many cancel the past two years, it’s wonderful to see musicians and people feeling safe and excited to attend and participate in festivals.

For musicians, getting booked at a festival can be a great way to attract attention to your music. You can reach a new fan base as well as make new connections in the industry. Although the thought of getting booked at a festival seems like a daunting task, with some simple steps you could be securing your spot at the next festival quickly. 

Here are some of my tips:

  • Target the right festival. Be selective, do the research and choose the right festivals for you. It’s much better than using the scattergun approach. Location wise, if you’re just starting out, I highly recommend staying local (same city or same state) as festivals might like to promote local bands.
  • You will need to have a strong electronic press kit (EPK) and have your links organized. Festivals are going to want to see you are relevant with some sort of fanbase and brand.  A well-maintained website shows that you are serious about making a name for yourself. Have some good photos on your site, links to social media, streaming sites and videos (live and produced).
  • Familiarize yourself with each festival’s deadlines and requirements. Some might ask you, “why should we pick you”? My advice is to give an example of a recent gig, a quote from a review of your music, or share some impressive numbers, like your music video hit 100K views in one day.
  • Keep yourself organized. I opt to have a spreadsheet to track deadlines, where my client has submitted and when we need to follow up. It makes checking in on the status of each much easier than trying to remember where you are with each submission.

Festivals receive hundreds, if not thousands, of submissions for just a handful of opening slots so if you don’t get picked don’t get discouraged. Learn from it and get ahead of it for next years’ submissions.

Hope you have a great summer festival season.

Cheers,

Fiona

TikTok isn’t going anywhere

I hope you’re doing well this Saturday morning. Today, I’d like to share my thoughts on TikTok – a platform I haven’t spoken about yet, embarrassingly enough.

I get asked consistently what social media platform is best for promoting musicians. When social media was at its height of growth in the latter 2000s, the answer was, “Get on everything!”. Now, I find that people are focused on working with certain platforms that tailor to their niche and desired audience. So, this could mean for you a focus on Youtube and Facebook, or a focus on Twitter and Instagram, or an overload on TikTok.

I’ll admit, I’m a TikTok viewer, but not a user (I blame my age). I also understand that it’s not going anywhere and it can be the best platform for some musicians if their niche lives there.

With almost a billion active users, TikTok is now an integral part of the music marketing landscape. TikTok allows users to upload short videos usually around 15 seconds, which is recommended (but can go up to 60 seconds) to a scrollable feed.

Below I put together what I feel are the best ways to get started with TikTok. I’m by no means an expert, but maybe this will encourage you to get started with TikTok if you weren’t sure before.

Download the app and get to know it, follow other musicians, see where they are succeeding in and engage with content that you genuinely like. 

– Add your own music to TikTok. To distribute your music on there, you need to work with your digital music distributor and make sure your music is being sent to TikTok. Hot tip: Cover songs make up a large portion of TikTok’s most shared content amongst fans and users. The reason why cover songs are a great way to grow your audience is that they draw listeners in through the familiarity of a well-known song.

– Take fans ‘behind the scenes’ in your posts. People love ‘raw, uncut’ snippets of everyday life and to be part of the journey.

Hashtag everything! Your song titles, your artist name, as well as more general music-based hashtags.

– It is important to note that unlike Facebook and Instagram the focus isn’t on making yourself look perfect. It’s about being real, being authentic, having fun and inspiring others to create because of it.

– Follow trends and take part in challenges. If you see that you are interested in a trend and have an idea for a cool video, feel free to create it and share it, nothing is off-limits. 

– Keep in mind, that if you post at least two or three times a week and stay active, TikTok will be more likely to promote your content.

– I hope these tips will encourage you to dip your toes into TikTok if you’ve been thinking about connecting with your fans there!

Happy TikToking,
 

“NFT, yeah you know me!” (Sorry, couldn’t resist).

I thought I would talk about something relatively new that could affect the music industry in a major way in the very near future …..NFTs.

What are NFTs? 

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are digital tokens stored on a blockchain that can record the ownership of a wide range of digital or physical items, from digital art to event tickets or even music. As well as a token, NFTs can be coded in a way that allows for royalty payments to the creator, which makes them a highly interesting technology for musicians. Songs, albums, music, lyrics, and soundbites can all be NFTs.

Experts say NFTs will be especially transformative in shaping the future of music. NFT sales totalled $25 billion in 2021, compared to just $95 million in 2020. Read more here about how NFTs could define the future of music.

How does it work?

NFTs are a kind of cryptocurrency, but instead of using money, they use assets like art, tickets, music or merchandise. NFTs operate on a blockchain, which is a publicly accessible and transparent network — meaning anyone can see the details of any NFT transaction. NFT could be defined as a rare collectible that is stored digitally. Artists and musicians can create NFTs themselves to auction off as various forms of digital media to their fans who pay using cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum and others. A musician or band will decide what they want to sell to their fans, be it an audio file, concert tickets, merchandise or something else. Then they will inform their fans of the release of their NFT drop, and put them up for sale at whatever value they would like to sell their works.

How will it help?

For years, musicians have been poorly compensated for their music. The typical revenue split of  50/50—with only 50% of revenue going to the entertainer and the rest shared among agents, lawyers, and distributors. Despite the ease with which people can now listen to music, according to a study, artists receive only 12% of the money made by the entire music industry. This is where NFTs are making all the difference. NFTs could have a huge effect on streaming platforms that simply don’t earn artists enough. We could see an era when artists are able to do business directly with retailers and sell their NFTs like they used to do with self-made CDs.  Fans who buy the NFT become an owner of the musician’s work. They are then able to store the music NFTs in their crypto wallets, and if they want, may sell off the NFT to a higher bidder in the future. Despite being the owner of the NFT and being able to sell it, the musician who created the NFT can earn from the re-sales of their work as well, which is one of the most powerful ways music NFTs can empower musicians.

“NFTs will give artists another outlet to create exclusive content for fans in a more artistic fashion. In the future, we’ll see the value of songs appreciate, like Basquiat paintings.” – Dallas rapper Rakim-Al Jabbaar

Currently, there are only a small number of musicians who are exploring the uses of music NFTs such as  Kings of Leon, Tory Lanez, Aphex Twin, Ozuna and Belave. . However, with increased knowledge by musicians and fans, the opportunities for artists to benefit from NFTs are growing substantially. Read more here about the Kings of Leon being the first band to release an NFT. 

Water and Music wrote an article about the various strategies that music NFT platforms use to attract, onboard and retain their fans, collectors and artists in an increasingly competitive marketplace if you’re interested in learning more.

I know I’ll be keeping a close eye on how musicians are working with NFTs and how it could potentially help your profile relevance and garner new audiences!

Cheers,

I Spent $100 on Playlist Submission Sites – Here’s What Happened

Today I wanted to share with you a “case study” – if you will – on getting your music added to Spotify playlists. Spotify playlists continue to be a great way for musicians to gain listens, new followers and engagement with their music. But, getting on them or finding quality playlists is not easy.

One of my clients had a release last month and wanted to try and get the track on Spotify playlists with a budget of $100. So, here’s what options we had and what happened.

Getting on an official Spotify playlist wasn’t an option to attempt since my client released the track immediately, and to be considered for a Spotify playlist, you have to submit it at least 2 weeks in advance of the release. They only consider unreleased tracks for their playlists.

So, moving on from that…we researched several sites that offered playlist submission services. We ended with moving forward with the following 3: GrooverSongrocket and Submithub. We split the budget across the three.




SUBMITHUB – Submithub allows you to submit tracks and music videos to blogs, record labels, radio stations, Spotify playlists and YouTube or SoundCloud channels.

For $27 we bought 30 credits and submitted them to 22 curators. Granted, we had some layover credits from previous campaigns so we were able to submit to what Submithub calls ‘Premium’ curators, so in total, we used up 54 credits. 

Results: We got a 100% response rate, and got approved for 1 playlist.

Would we use them again?: Overall, yes. Set up was simple and was reasonably priced. I also liked the fact you could see the genre match, quality level and influence level of each curator. The filters are great too so you can really narrow down what could work for you.

GROOVER  – Groover is a French company that guarantees feedback and visibility from blogs, radios, playlists and labels. 

We spent about $40 USD and were able to submit to 17 curators. We do have some credits left over.

Results: As Groover’s about statement says, you do get feedback, but we’ve had 0 success on placement.

Would we use them again?: No. It really seems better suited for music that you’d like feedback from vs media placement. Set up was quite simple as well, but you are overwhelmed with 1500+ curators, so it’s important to filter down to exactly what you’re looking for.




SONGROCKET – With Songrocket, you can pitch your music as independent, label, PR agency or management to Spotify playlist curators – so they are focused on what we were looking for.

We purchased a plan for $45 where we could pitch up to around 20 playlists / 9 unique curators.

Results: We got a response from 9 curators so far and one playlist placement.

Would we use them again?: Probably not. While setup was simple and appreciated, the cost didn’t match its value.

A runner-up site that we considered using was MusoSoup, however, they required a press release which we felt was not worth our time to write out for a cover song release. This might make more sense for a track that we’d really want a lot more media push around.

How many more plays did we get on the track after those two playlist adds? It was just under 400 additional plays that we gained from the 2 playlists this campaign earned.

Overall, it was really interesting to see how far $100 (actually, a little more) could take us with these playlist submission sites. With anything, I’m sure it depends on the timing, genre and quality of the track, but it’s safe to say that with a limited budget you’re looking at limited results. It would take a lot more money to gain more plays using this strategy.

Cheers,

Ads on a Cover Song – Should You Do It?

February is here and I don’t know about you but things are in FULL swing for 2022 already. Releases, tours, etc. are all being carried out and there’s definitely an energy going around. It’s exciting – and quite busy! But the good kind for sure.

For one client in particular, she is strategizing to cater to more private event bookings and looking to enhance her content to showcase her skills for those types of events. She brilliantly created a medley video, where she performed dozens of cover songs within minutes. It’s entertaining and does exactly what she needs it to do – showcase her range for performing live.

With this video, she obviously wanted to release it and get as many views as possible before pitching it to event bookers to show that she has an impact with her music. Usually, you would put out the video and then to grow views exponentially, place advertisements on Youtube, Facebook and Instagram. However in our conversation about this strategy we both stopped. Cover songs are not exactly approved by these platforms to post and place ads on (unless you have the license set in place). And this was more complicated, this was 15-30 seconds of multiple cover songs! Plus it was not an official release meaning no license was obtained at this point.

We both hit up Google but the answers were too vague or mostly just about cover songs / licensing. We knew we could likely post the video without getting it taken down, but advertising could be a different story. Her page already was shortly suspended for another release earlier this year so she wanted to be very cautious about this.

I reached out to colleagues in the industry:
“You should be fine if you cleared it with the distributor.” 
“Not likely to come down but highly unlikely to be allowed to monetize someone else’s copyrights”
“It’s definitely not allowed to be used as an ad. Whether or not you can get away with it is another story.”


I also remembered the “mash up star” GirlTalk who was very popular in the late 2000s, how he sampled thousands of songs without licenses, and was hit hard with cases of infringement. He came out hot after the trails of the recording industry cracking down on illegal downloading. In the end, he came out fine as it was deemed that his samples were short enough to not hurt the original release. In short, if you heard the sample in his music, odds are it only made you like the original track more. If you haven’t heard of him or his story, watch the documentary about him and copyright infringement here.

RiP!: A Remix Manifesto (2008) - Watch on Kanopy or Streaming Online |  Reelgood

Back to my client, we discussed what could work for us and still help her reach her goals of getting this video in front of as many eyes as possible.

We decided to post the video on Facebook, Instagram and Youtube, but only placed advertising on Youtube. While advertising on Facebook and Instagram would have been nice, it was highly likely those platforms would either not allow it or take down the video. And Youtube developed a monetization system to allow rights holders and content creators to bypass the usual licensing process for cover song videos.

And…we’re still standing today, all profiles and videos live.

It also made more sense to focus on one video to grow views on, and thinking ahead, we’d most likely be sharing a Youtube link to future bookers vs a FB or IG link.

I wanted to share this story because we couldn’t find the answer when we were looking, and my hope is that this can help other artists make a decision when posting their cover or medley videos.

Cheers,

Do’s and Don’t’s of Job Posting

I hope you all had a recharging holiday season and already kicking down doors in the new year! For some of you, I’m sure you are looking at your business and building your team. I myself have been there and have learned along the way on how to bring the best possible applicants to the table. SoOo, today I wanted to share some of those tips so when you’re posting a job for a VA or anyone else for your team, you are creating attractive and effective job postings. 

Here are my do’s and don’ts of job posting descriptions.DO: Write a good job description

This might be obvious, but you do have to go beyond the ‘Musician seeking Virtual Assistant’ or ‘Seeking Graphic Designer’. You want to be clear and concise in your job description. When writing a job posting, focus on the essential details. Include key responsibilities of the job and be specific with what you are looking for. What helps me is to sit down and write out all the daily, weekly or monthly tasks I expect from the person as this is the ground level of what the job entails.

DON’T: Start hiring before you are prepared

You want to make sure that you have the right accommodations to expand your team. Growth is great, but you must have a clear idea of what you need and what can work for you financially. You don’t want to go in blind or lead candidates on.

DO: Clarify what’s required and what’s desired

Some skills may be essential for the success of the candidate; others are desirable but can be learned on the job. Make it clear which skills fall in which category to help applicants make the right choice when deciding to apply. This is also an opportunity to hear from them how they would handle learning a new task!

DON’T: Make the application excessively lengthy

A survey found that 60% of applicants who thought an application was too complex or long would likely not even try to apply. As mentioned in the first “DO”, keep it clear and concise. A somewhat long application is perfectly fine in order to be thorough, but at a certain point applications can simply become far too extensive. 

DO: Get enthusiastic

Enthusiasm can show through how your job description is written and can really sell on applicants to apply! Discuss growth and expansion opportunities that that person can be included on if both of you are successful!

DON’T: Try to eliminate bad candidates

If you’ve had a bad fit in that role before, it can be tempting to write a job posting to turn away similar candidates. Avoid this urge; instead, write for the ideal candidate, not the “not bad” candidate. Keep negativity out of your job posting.

DO: Reply to all candidates

Even if it’s not a good fit, do try to reply to all candidates. They deserve to know if you’re considering them for the job or not. And make sure to be timely about it. Taking weeks to respond is not professional to an applicant.

I hope you find this helpful in your endeavors of building your team! If you have a job description you’d like me to review, shoot it over! I’m happy to give feedback and help you build your support team. :)Cheers,

My 6 favorite resources of 2021

We are here in December of what has been quite a year, and I just want to say I’m very grateful for you being here. I thought it might be nice to reflect on the year and share what my six favorite resources and tools were and why. If you haven’t used any of them below, hopefully they can help you out in your career!

Indiepreneur – https://indepreneur.io/
Indiepreneur was founded by musicians and offer real and practical advice for marketing your music in today’s world. I specifically enjoy their podcast that continually gives great ideas. I highly recommend you subscribe to their feed today.

Ecwid – https://www.ecwid.com/
Ecwid is an e-commerce platform and I just enjoy how SIMPLE the set up is on their site and integrating with your existing website along with Facebook and Instagram. I actually enjoy using this platform so I try to recommend it to anyone looking for an e-commerce solution.

Thrivecart – https://thrivecart.com/
This is a pricey one, but I personally saw my client earn her investment on it (and then some) within months of signing up. This platform creates fast and easy to use landing pages where you can promote products or events and easily grow your email list. It’s worth the price if you’re looking to invest in landing page strategies in your business.

LinkTree – https://linktr.ee/
I think every musician should be utilizing this tool for their social media accounts. If you’re not familiar with what LinkTree is, it’s the ability to create one link to promote multiple links. So, you could add this one link to your Instagram profile, and it could include your latest release, your merch, your tour dates, and whatever else you want to promote. And you don’t have to change the link whenever you want to promote something and include #linkinbio.

SweepWidget – https://sweepwidget.com/
Without the ability to go on tour, some of my clients were left with merch sitting in storage all year. As an idea to push out merchandise as well as grow their audience, we offered contests during the year! Depending on what my client wanted to focus on, we’d have some sort of gate where they had to follow them on Spotify, or give their email address – they had to do something in order to enter. It’s a win win for everyone!

Ari’s Take – https://aristake.com/
Ari Herstand is someone I’ve followed since I’ve started working in the music industry (ahem 10+ years ago?!?). I still reference his blog today, and his best-selling book “How to Make It in the New Music Business” is fantastic. My favorite post is the one he did comparing all of the distribution options.

Have you used any of the tools or resources above? Are there others you think are even better? Let me know…and see you in 2022!

Cheers,

Sync Licensing Tips for Beginners on Songtradr

Hope your November is starting off well – I can’t believe we’re basically at 6 weeks left of work of the year. Only 6 weeks! I’m looking forward to tackling the last goals of the year and relaxing for the holidays. I don’t know about you, but I think those holiday decorations are going up sooner than usual. 🙂


Today I want to share with you an interview that my client, Robyn Cage, did with Digital Music News on Sync licensing. She’s gotten her music in films (a Tyler Perry film!), movie trailers and commercials with the use of the platform Songtradr.

There are some really great tips in there to help you navigate the platform and to get your music licensing! For some musicians, it can be the most lucrative part of their revenue! Read the full interview here.

Cheers,

What I’m working on…

I hope you all are having a good beginning to October, beginning of Q4 and beginning of the fall season. It certainly does not feel like we only have 3 months left of this year before we come to 2022! It’s flying by for me! I’m optimistic though for the new year for the music industry opening up more and more. Just seeing pictures of the Austin City Limits this past weekend was wonderful to see people out and about and enjoying the great new artists of today! That crowd for Billie Eilish, WOW.

Anyway, while things have changed as far as the type of work I’ve been doing this past year, it still really is great that I’ve been able to continue supporting my clients through their other revenue streams outside of performing. I’ve also gotten a lot of people reaching out to me over the past year and in 2020 of other VAs seeking to learn how they can support musicians like I do.

This solidified a project that I’ve been sitting on that I knew needed to happen now. I realized, I need to release my own course on how to be a VA for musicians!

So…I’m really excited – and anxious – and all the feelings that entrepreneurs get – to share with you that I will be releasing an online self-teaching course for VAs, or anyone, to take and learn what I’ve learned over the 7+ years working closely with independent musicians.

I’m hoping to help other VAs find their niche and bring REAL VALUE to other musicians needing support. I’m hoping to help musicians learn more about what it takes day to day to support their independent careers.

I hope to share this course with you before the end of the year – I’ve taken my own advice and have a great VA of my own to kick my butt into high gear to make it happen. And I can’t wait for you to see what we create. 🙂

3 Ways Musicians Are Wasting Time ⏰

I hope your September is starting out strong, happy, and healthy.  It’s been an interesting last few weeks as I’ve watched major fall tours cancel, leaving my clients’ tours currently up in the air. I don’t know what the outlook will be for live music this fall, but my hope is that people can come out to shows and enjoy live music again. It might be wishful thinking for that to happen this year, but one must hope, right?

For today’s note, I decided to look back at my older blog posts (I’m almost at 100 posts!) and see what could be updated. I was reviewing one on how musicians can waste time on coordinating rehearsals. So, I thought I would revisit that topic and dive into the top 3 things I see what musicians waste time on.

1. Sticking with traditional methods and not investing in online tools
For example: I dread giving out paperwork to bands, promoters, and venues when there is no online signature tool. Most folks don’t have a printer anymore, and most don’t know how to add a signature to a document via their computer. So, without the ease of being able to sign a document online, naturally getting those documents back to me takes much longer than needed.

Find processes in how you run your business and look at where you can streamline them. You might be surprised at the many low-cost, sometimes free options you have to make your business run faster. Have your VA do the research for you to save that step!

2. Doing everything on your to-do list yourself
I love to-do lists, but I understand that I don’t need to do everything on that list myself, or in the same day. If you’re about to tackle a release or a new project, take the 30 minutes to just jot down everything that’s involved, no matter how messy it looks. From there, you can map out who could do those things and also prioritize the tasks that must get done during a certain time frame or before another task can be accomplished.

If you’re creating a list more to put out some current fires in your business, pick 1-3 urgent tasks and make sure to resolve them that day. Save the next important items for tomorrow, or delegate to your VA what they can handle that day, and save the rest for tomorrow. Always just try to do the next right thing for your business.

3. Not investing in support
Both of those time-wasters above involve not using a support person or a team of helpers. If you’re at a point in your business where you are doing more day-to-day work than working on your craft, recording, focusing on the revenue streams for your business, you’re not using your time efficiently. You have to be focused on the parts of your business that only you can do – and that’s not updating inventory in your store, creating a new flyer for your online show, and setting up a release for distribution. 

You don’t need a full-time or a part-time person on staff – sometimes the support you need can be found with a quick job post on Upwork or Fiverr to take it off your hands that week!

These three things will apply not only to any independent musician but any business owner because if you are a thriving independent musician, you are also a business owner. You must think of yourself that way if you want to have success in the industry.

So, utilize your resources and run your successful business!

Cheers,