Panels: The Need to be Heard

Written by Aidan Rush Posted in: Panels on January 26, 2012

The title for this Rock Shop panel comes from singer / songwriter Audrey Ryan’s new book. A collection of tips for the DIY musician via interviews and Ryan’s own history in the trade, it begged to be brought into the bigger picture of Rock Shop. This month, Ryan, along with panelists Michael Creamer (manager), Will Daily (musician), and David Day (editor), talked about topics like when to branch out of your hometown, social media’s place in the promotional puzzle, securing press, how to handle criticism, Bob Lefsetz and more. Watch the video below, and if you only have time for the best info via bullet points, check out the quick tips underneath!

Rock Shop #14 Quick Tips

• Looking to start playing outside your hometown? Make sure you’ve made a name for yourself inside your hometown before branching out. There’s no rhyme or reason to this, but this month’s panelists recommend it.

• Check out Bob Lefsetz’ newsletter. A one-time industry lawyer turned writer, his newsletter is an often-critical observation on the evolving industry. It’s a great resource for independent musicians do be aware of.

• The Internet is great because if levels the playing field for promotion, but remember that it also gives anyone who comes across your music a chance at anonymous criticism. This is not a bad thing! If you wish to succeed in music, it’s essential that you take positive and negative criticism to heart in equal amounts.

• Social media is not going to make your career, and no site is going to blow you up or make you a better musician. For now, social media sites are just a piece of the puzzle, and you must regard each of them as such. Don’t spend time you could be using to write new material on your social media strategy instead.

• That said, all social media action must be relevant, interesting, and engaging to your fans. Staying honest should be a no brainer.

• Look at writing and playing as a career. If you want longevity in this career, that means you can't do everything in a day. Some artists try to do something different every day to further your career, whether that’s writing a new song, booking a show, taking a press photo, etc. It all adds up in the end!

• Don’t forget that other countries have independent record labels too! Audrey Ryan had a stint with an indie label in the UK that sent her touring across Europe many times. At the very least, she got to travel and play music for years. How many people can say they got to travel and do what they love at the same time?

• There isn’t a science to getting press for your album or show, but David Day (Editor of the Weekly Dig) says he enjoys getting short and sweet emails from the artists themselves that politely ask for press.

• Write, write, write and play, play, play and people will find you.

• Like-minded bands aren’t always the way to go when choosing an opening act for your show. Fans like a taste of something a little different before seeing the headliner, within reason. If, as an opening act, you can look at the crowd and legitimately expect 10% of them to return to a future show, then the night and pairing was a success.

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