YouTube: 5 Videos Every Artist Should Have

YouTubeMost artists attack their social media the same way: get on Facebook, start a Twitter feed, open a YouTube channel, etc. Unfortunately, many of these artists stop there. Creating these pages is only the beginning. A Facebook profile (or, preferably, a Fan Page) or a Twitter account is not going to magically bring people out to your shows or to your website to purchase music. If a page isn’t updated regularly with interesting content, fans will lose interest; with access to an unprecedented amount of music, fans have the luxury of being fickle with whom they support.

“A picture is worth 1,000 words.” If that is the case, then a video is priceless. That being said, YouTube is free and easy to use, leaving artists with no excuse for failing to update fans regularly via video posts. Think of your YouTube channel as your own reality show that you control. Keep it interesting with these 5 different types of footage to ensure fans subscribe for future viewing:

Live Show
Fans will be more likely to come check out your live shows if they get a taste of what they can expect. Keep these tips in mind when filming:
• Make sure you have a person dedicated to getting a clear shot
• Shoot when there is a decent size audience (25+ people)
• Decide on what song to capture ahead of time
• If your show consists of dancing or lots of movement, try mapping out at what points in the song the camera should focus on you, and at what points it is better to scan the audience
• Use a good camera; try to stay away from camera phones unless yours has exceptionally good focus
• Keep a steady hand or use a tripod; shaky or unbalanced footage is a turnoff

Music Video
Every artist should aim to put out at least 1 music video per album, preferably of the lead single (or most catchy single). No one says it has to cost millions, or even thousands. Think outside the box and plan it out. The most popular videos on YouTube aren’t always of the highest film quality, but of the highest creativity. You can find tips for planning out a great video on a budget here.

Personal Diary
It’s not always about the music. Many fans support an artist because they relate to them on a deeper level. Allowing fans to get to know you outside of your music is a great way to connect with them beyond the stage. If you are not comfortable opening up on camera, try staying behind the camera and narrate something interesting you come across during your day, or interview other people you think your fans might enjoy checking out. With so much reality TV out there, fans expect a certain level of transparency with their entertainment.

Behind the Scenes
Speaking of transparency, an easy way to connect with fans is to take them on your journey with you. Everyone has at one time or another secretly wished he/she could be a rock star. Show your fans what’s involved in your day-to-day process by filming pieces from the recording studio, sound check, or on set of your music video or photo shoot. What may seem mundane to you will seem like a nice escape from another’s reality.

Haven’t gotten that call from Rolling Stone yet? Who cares! Your YouTube, your rules. Make your own press. If magazines and blogs haven’t knocked down your door to review your work, have a friend interview you and post it on your channel. Come up with a few key questions (How did you get started? What is the meaning behind your album title? What’s your favorite song to perform live?) and practice giving succinct, interesting answers. When you’ve nailed down what you liked, post it up! You may even want to break up the interview into sections (1-2 questions per clip).

And there ya go!

Play around with these different types of footage to get yourself started. Make sure your channel has all the proper information in the profile section, and all other social media sites are listed for easy access. You also want to label and caption each video for fans to identify and share. Happy filming!

10 Reasons Why All Musicians Should Have Their Own Website

Branding is one of the most important things an independent artist can do to stand apart from the competition.

Since the digital takeover, artists have more resources and tools at their disposal than ever before to build their own brands.

While social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are essential to growing your online presence, you should not rely on them as the only components of your online branding strategy. Give your brand the solid foundation it needs with your own domain.


Here are ten of the many reasons why every musician should have their own website:

1.    It makes you look professional and serious about your career.

2.    You can setup business email addresses ending in your domain name.

3.    You are in control of everything from content to advertising to the user experience.

 4.    You can make more money by creating your own e-store to sell your music and merchandise.

 5.    You can completely customize the design to fit your brand image.

 6.    Having your own domain gives your brand a stable home base, so you don’t have to rely on the existence of third-party websites. 

 7.    Registering your domain name prevents others from claiming it.

 8.    You can increase your online following by promoting and driving traffic to your social media profiles and pages.

 9.    Hosting only costs $5-$10 a month and there are many inexpensive (and even free) options for designing your own site if you cannot afford to hire a professional.

10. You can strengthen your fan base by creating your own online community where you can interact with fans through message boards and offer them exclusive content.


If you have more reasons you’d like to share, please let us know in the comments section below!

The Business of Music: Writing Emails

No matter the situation, learning how to communicate effectively through email is a vital skill to have while networking your way through the music industry. A well-written email can make the difference between getting a reply from that producer you want to work with or getting ignored. Follow our guidelines below to create a well-written email that will help you make the connections you need to further your recording career.


Set Up A Business Email Account

Don’t send business related email from your personal account. It doesn’t matter how tame or crazy your address is, you want to show people that you take career seriously by spending the little extra for a professional email account that ends in your domain name. Luckily, there are ways you can connect your new account to your personal email provider like Gmail, so all of your emails are in one place.


Research Your Recipient

Before writing your email, read up on the person (or company) first to understand what they do and ensure that they can actually help you with what you need. Check out their website and social media pages. Not only will this research save you the time and embarrassment of emailing the wrong person, but it will also give you some extra information to put in your email to show the person that you know and respect their work.


Use the Subject Line Wisely

The recipient might decide just based on the subject line alone whether or not they want to read the email, especially since they are likely bombarded with emails on a daily basis. You want your subject to be as eye-catching as it is descriptive. When in doubt, just be straightforward. For example, if you are writing to a blog about interviewing you, the subject line might read, “Setting Up Interview with (insert artist name) for (insert blog name).”


Avoid the Copy & Paste

Take the time to personalize each email and you will be doing yourself a favor in the long term. Never start your emails with a non-specific salutation like “Dear Sir or Madam” or “Dear Company.” Always find out to whom you should address your email. Go on to explain why you want to work with this person (e.g. you found their blog interesting, you love their production, etc.). Your recipients will appreciate the effort and a little flattery always goes a long way.


Be Clear & Concise

Remember that those you are emailing may be extremely busy. They could be checking their email via a phone while in transit or in the middle of a meeting. Keep their attention by keeping your email short and sweet. After a brief 1-2 sentence introduction, state the purpose of your email and make sure to include all necessary info. For example, if you want to book a gig, tell the booking agent what dates you are interested in and what type of setup you need. This will cut down on unnecessary back-and-forth.


Write Like You Mean Business

It is very important to establish the right tone in your email so as not to offend or turn off the recipient. We’ve actually received entire emails written in all caps with multiple exclamation points. This style of writing is often interpreted as aggressive and loud. To avoid this bad email etiquette, use standard capitalization and punctuation rules.


Link Up Your Email Signature

Your email signature is the perfect place to promote your sites. Setup a signature for all your emails that includes your name, contact info, links to your website, Facebook Page, Twitter account, and any other relevant site you want people to check out. Don’t forget to update this signature if any of your URL’s change.


Prepare Your Attachments

Your file name should include both your name and what the file is. For example, “(Artist Name) Press Release.” It is important to do this so that the recipient can easily identify your files. Also, make sure that the files are in a universal format. Saving your materials as a PDF will prevent them from being edited or changed by anyone. If you are sending multiple files or large files, consider compressing them into a properly titled zip file to save space.


Check It Twice!

We cannot stress enough how important it is to proofread! Typos are not only unprofessional, but they can change the meaning of what you are actually trying to say. While most email programs have built-in spell checks, they will not pick up “there” when you mean “their”, and you will want to double-check the spellings of proper names and places.


Now you’re ready to make a great first impression! Don’t forget to make note of who you have contacted and when. It will make it easier to set reminders for follow-ups.

5 Steps to Keep Track of Your Social Media Profiles

One of the most common problems Vicki and I see artists having when trying to promote their projects online is keeping track of so many profiles! In today’s world of online social media, it is difficult not to have a Twitter account, a Facebook account, a LinkedIn page, etc. For an artist, add to that list a ReverbNation account, a Bandcamp page, a YouTube channel, and (possibly still) a Myspace page. Below are some tips to keep in mind to help artists like you stay on top of all the social media messiness that comes with promoting an album or show.

1. Make a List of ALL Accounts

As an artist there are many “staple” sites in which it is crucial to maintain a presence, such as ReverbNation, PollStar, Bandcamp, and of course, Facebook. There are even sites that you may have had to create a profile for simply to access other people’s music, making it easy to forget every site. Do a Google search of yourself to see what comes up and make a full and complete list.

2. Make a List of Usernames & Passwords

As many of these sites use emails as usernames, it is best to link as many sites as possible to one email address in order to keep track of email updates and notifications. While you may want different passwords, keeping them all related to one another for easy recall is also helpful.

3. List the Purpose of Each Profile

While many profiles may feel as though they repeat the same information, it’s important to know why you are on a certain site. If you can’t think of why a site is beneficial to the promotion of your music, is the profile worth maintaining?

4. Narrow Down to What You Can Manage

Be realistic of what you can handle, especially if you are a D-I-Y artist. If some profiles overlap in purpose and benefits and you’re likely to not spend time online updating these sites, narrow down your list.

5. Get Organized & Simplify Your Life Online

Figure out what works for you. Whether it’s a spreadsheet, post-it notes, or an app like Hootsuite, find a way to stay organized and up to date with your online promotions. An editorial calendar is also a great way to plan out your Facebook posts and tweets for the upcoming days or even weeks.

5 Things to Consider BEFORE Promoting Online

One thing that most artists fail to take into account when promoting an album or video is a realistic timeline. While it is important to create hype and keep your fans up to date with your latest news, doing so prematurely can lead to a lack of credibility if and when your project changes or gets delayed. In order to avoid such blunders, keep these five tips in mind when preparing for your next release:

1. This Is Not A One Man Show: As they say, it takes a village. Unless you are truly a one-man show, you most likely will have to coordinate with graphic designers, printers, and studio engineers, just to name a few, in order to complete your latest project. Each business or person has a set of deadlines and responsibilities for which they are accountable. While you may imagine your album being done in two weeks because that is the only project on your plate, the others may see it being done in two months as they may have other projects in their queue to complete first.

2. Confirmation Date + 7: Each of your vendors may have their own set of obstacles that threaten their deadlines. Your printer’s equipment may overload and need to be replaced; the engineer’s software may get a virus and need to be rebooted; your video editor may come down with the flu. Not only do you have to give yourself a buffer to complete your part, but you have to add in buffers for their parts as well. Make sure to get a confirmed delivery date in writing from each vendor, and then add a week to each confirmed date in your timeline to be safe.

3. Plan of Attack: Once everything is done and delivered to you, what will you do with it all? What is your overall goal? How many albums do you hope to sell (or need to sell to break even)? Consider the purpose of each social media site you are active on (Facebook, Twitter, Pollstar, Bandcamp, etc.) and determine what you will do on each to get the maximum benefit out of each site. Which sites will have videos? How often will you post the link to your music? An editorial calendar is an important tool for mapping out posts and promotional campaigns beforehand.

4. Unfinished Business: Nothing is worse than sending someone to a site that is incomplete. Make sure ALL social media profiles are complete. This includes an avatar, a link to your music, and a short bio, at the very least. And PLEASE, remember to spell check!

5. Call in the Troops: Do not expect that just because someone did the graphic art for your album cover that they are going to help you promote this project all the way through. Unless already a close friend, most vendors stop working on a project once they have completed what they have been paid to do. When you are ready to roll out your new campaign, make sure you have a group of supporters ready to retweet, share, and forward your hard work to their contacts and followers.

Keeping these tips in mind will help you set realistic release dates for your music, staying credible and reliable to your friends, family, and fans.