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Knowledge junkies (Part 2): Business, marketing and the internet

Last time on the Knowledge Junkies series I talked about the educational, physical and personal areas of improvement a musician should work on to become successful. This time around I will be talking about more technical topics. A musician in short can be viewed as a product that provides a different array of services. But it is not enough to be the best in the market; you have to become part of the market. What do I mean by this? Well, no product can ever make a profit if it’s not sold. So, in short, we have to learn how to sell what we have to offer as musicians. How do we do this?

· Marketing: This is the tool utilized to display what a product has to offer. In this case it’s the way to get our names out in the world. This can be the difference between staying in your basement playing for the walls or living your dream. Don’t be afraid of buying different books on the subject and reading as much literature on the subject online.

· Social media: In today’s day and age the web is a musician’s best friend. There is a ridiculous amount of social media sites out there like Youtube, Twitter, Reverb Nation, etc… Learn how to use these in your benefit. There have been innumerable cases in Youtube alone of artists being found out just from a cool video. If one of your videos goes viral, you are set to begin a great career. Heck, there are people that make a living just by posting weekly videos on Youtube.

· Writing: You’ve probably noticed that most of our favorite players have at least written an article piece for a column in a magazine. What does this mean? It’s a good idea to get a good writing background in order to be able to do these fairly well. Next time around, don’t skimp out on your English essays at school. Eventually they come in handy.

· Web design: In order to be looked upon as a professional you must have a personal site. It should work as an online resume displaying what you have done and the different aspects of what you do. And well, unless you come from an economically sound background; it’s good to learn how to work with it yourself.

· Video editing: Since I mentioned Youtube, I have to mention that posting videos is not enough. Good quality is a must since competing with thousands of other people is kind of hard jejeje. And well the best way to do this is by learning the craft on your own. Again most of us aren’t made of money.

· Business: Once you have your empire setup the last thing you want to happen is for it to be stolen by someone a bit better informed and with tons of malice. So it’s a good thing to get yourself a bunch of music business books and get informed quickly. (I like “The Musicians Handbook” by Bobby Borg and “All You Need to Know About the Music Business” by Donald Passman)

· Working with a budget: If there is one lesson that you must learn as a musician; (and probably life in general) learn how to work with a budget. This means, don’t be irresponsible with the money that you have. And not only that but be creative in ways to make your pennies into dimes. If you have some dough on you, don’t just go crazy spending it on remedial things that you can do yourself. Spend it on the things that are the most important; things that will eventually pay for themselves and help you turn a profit.

· Booking gigs: Last but not least, probably the reason most musicians exist; to play. As with everything else gigs don’t appear out of the blue. Sure, there are instances where you might get a call out of the blue to play. But it’s probably because there is already a foundation that has been put in place. Get out your pen and paper and start visiting and calling different venues. Making sure to have your band or artist proposal in hand. And even a demo if needed.

These are just a few of the different aspects of the music world that a musician must deal with, that is, if you plan to make a profit out of your music. But don’t worry if it seems like a lot to grasp at the moment of reading this, it will eventually hit you little by little and you will have to deal with most of these at different times. It seems like a lot, because it is a lot, but it can be done and it is possible with tons of work. Time to go online and do some research!!!

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