Why Isn’t My Band Getting Signed? What Do I Have To Do?
There are so many stories of bands getting signed, whether it's overnight or after struggling for a long time. What is that secret missing piece that will help a band get the attention of a management team, or a record label? Thanks to a link from a friend of mine, Zak, there's an agency with some tips on what local bands are doing wrong.
Here's some of what The Lowry Agency says bands are doing wrong:
Not Booking Enough Shows
If your band isn't booking at least 80 shows a year on your own and making money, they feel you're not serious. If they don't think you're serious, why should they be interested?
Poor Promotion/Misuse of Social Media
Use your social media outlets to promote your band and your shows, don't use the band page for silly personal posting, use it to promote your shows and brand. Also, print flyers for shows, posters if you can, and really promote yourselves as much as you can.
Skipping Gigs When You Don't Have To
They site people declining shows because they can't afford the gas to drive there, but can still buy beer and party, etc. Don't let this happen to you.
Not Having Press Kits
Just sending links to your social media pages and website isn't good enough. You need to have a press kit in both electronic and print forms for the big boys to look at you. Take a look at some of the EPKs on YouTube and band websites for some ideas of what they're looking for so you can put something together. It shouldn't have to cost tons of money to put something together and look like you're serious and trying to be professional. Here at KLAQ we get TONS of stuff with no information on it. "Play my song!" with no band bio or information with it!
Expect a Contract
A lot of bands seem to think they can just get companies to help them without a written contract detailing all the terms of the agreement. They don't want to spend any money or time on you and have you walk away successful after their hard work helped you get there. It might be your music, but other people will be working hard at what they do to get it out there for you.
FOCUS ON YOUR END GOAL
This is the most important thing you can do, as all of the other things will fall in line from here. Don't waste your time and money on crap that doesn't get you closer to your goal. Don't take money you get from gigs and buy alcohol, drugs, computers, games or other crap. Reinvest in your brand, get yourself another step closer to your goal.
Want to see more information and tips from them? There's more on this blog from The Lowry Agency. Check it out, there's some good stuff there!
Here are some of the things I've noticed happening with bands (both big and small) that can help keep things on track to get signed as well.
Be Good To Your Fans
When people take a moment to say they loved your show, buy a CD or shirt or something, or even just see you walking around and tell you they like your band, be good to them. Acting the rock star and thinking you're above someone because you're in a band and they're not is stupid, no matter how big your band is. These are the people that buy your music and pay to see the shows, so essentially they're signing your paycheck. Treat them with respect and they'll spread the word for you as well, generating more fans for you. This will look good to management and labels.
Keep The Drama To A Minimum
For some reason, you put an instrument in someone's hand and a ton of drama comes with it. People fight over songwriting credits, monetary splits, perceived egos, girlfriends...the list of crap people dramatize is long indeed. When drama enters the band, inevitably things get ugly, members can leave/get kicked out, and this doesn't bode well for people you contract with. It can affect your working relationships with agents and labels, leading to you getting dropped quickly.
Get Good Production/Artwork
Make sure when you put together your recordings that you get them recorded decently and mixed well. I hear a lot of the local music that comes through here, and some CDs I've heard had great music on them, but are hard to listen to. The old days of the boom-box on the floor in the middle of the garage doesn't cut it anymore. There are so many low-budget ways to get good recordings done.
Don't scribble something with a pen on a ruled sheet of paper as your CD artwork, either. It's just like eating a meal - if the food doesn't look good, you're not going to want to eat it.