Unsigned Acts and Drawing Fans

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I look all around the country and I see so many Musical Artists & Bands looking for places to play, hoping for as large an audience as possible, wanting to be heard, wanting to gain new fans, wanting to earn a living doing what they love to do – which is: Creating and Playing their Music.

Naturally, they are going to go where they can be hired, which most of the time consists of different Bars, Clubs and other drinking establishments…

Well, in theory, this should work pretty well; the Artist has places to gather and nurture fans, and they’re doing what they love to do – play Music. But, as I’m sure most of you have found out, this rarely works very well, unless you’re in a “Covers” Band…

Why? The 1st of a couple main reasons is actually very simple when you really look at it…

I remember quite well my pre-teen and teenage years, when I was a potential Music fan like anyone else of my generation, and therefore I was introduced to, and developed a taste for Music, and the Artists of that time who delivered it.

This Music seriously affected me in one way or another in these formidable years. Music, and the Artists who presented and represented this new music to me, appeared as one entity. And this entity, and the other influences at that time of my life really affected me and became a major part of my life during this ever-important time of my life. A time when I, this young, growing person, became ME.

That was MY Generation, but you and every other generation living and growing socially and otherwise through these same important preteen and teenage years, accumulated your own tastes, including whom you are or were influenced by, etc. You, like me, and everyone else, are attracted to certain kinds of music and the lifestyle associated with it, and you create, and start putting together your tastes which you associate with this very important part of your life. Your social, and therefore your musical life, are formulated together – by Music, and the Musical Acts that brought this Music to you…

So, let’s look at the situation and do some simple math:

On one side we have: Unsigned Acts who are usually forced to play where they can, most often in Clubs, Bars, what have you. Clubs, in most localities, require your potential fans to be ages 21 and above where liquor is served. And, of course, the establishments want/expect you to draw lots of fans, to drink up and make them money.

The problem is, that in these types of places, most of your potential fans, being over the age of 21, are already pretty set in their tastes. They want cover-bands and songs from their generation, or they go to arena-type concerts where the “Stars” whom they associate with these songs that made up these important years, perform.

Now, on the other side we have: Those potential fans under the age of 21 who are stuck listening to what ever is programmed into their head for them to hear, usually coming from the Major Labels, or their Subsidiaries. Too many of these younger people have no idea what they are missing because they are not given the opportunity to see and hear some great local unsigned acts that they could discover and call their own, because they can’t see these Artists and hear their Music – because they’re not allowed in the door!

Yes, there is, of course, a seemingly obvious answer to this problem. But all-ages shows have their own issues, and only partly solve the overall situation even when these type gigs are available… The real answers run much deeper…

The 2nd main reason it’s hard to draw new fans revolves around the word “Perception”. Perception includes, in part, the Artist’s perception or view of their “job”, and how it affects the potential fans perception of the “Unsigned Artists Scene”.

Now, please understand, the problem of perception and the answers to this problem do not lie totally on the Artist’s shoulders, but also fall on the Artists’ Managers, Venues, Promoters and Fans, which I will also cover later and throughout…

It should also be made clear here, that Artists should still care about attracting both the over 21 crowd as well as the younger potential fans. For everyone, even those over 21, there is still the need to discover something new and different, something “to do” that people will know will at least be a lot of fun; an escape.

And one main perception problem I see with Artists is one that most do not think of, or have a very narrow slant on:

“The Big Picture”.

Too many Artists believe their job is to just write and learn songs, practice them, go out and sing and play them.

An Artist’s actual performance aim should be to entertain people, to help people escape from reality, that is, to help them forget about their busy and/or crazy and/or problematic and/or boring life, to grab them and take them with the Artist on a mini-vacation – that both the Artists and the Fans will remember even after they leave the show…

So, I have the following questions for you Artists:

1. “Why should your potential fans really want to come to your shows – even if they knew you existed?”

2. “When they DO get to see you, what will make them not only want to see you again, but also want to buy your CDs and Merchandise?” And…

3. “Will they love you so much that they will want to tell others, via texts, print, internet or however, “You Gotta See This Band!”?

And, there’s NOTHING like Word-of-mouth!

Yes, what are YOU, the Musical Artist/Group/Band, offering them that’s special and really stands out? What is so unique about you that will grab their attention and keep them as fans.

Well folks, with the advent of all this computer and networking technology, you’re not only competing with a ton of other Artists, you’re also competing with quite a few other forms of diversions, entertainment and escapism, like Video Games and countless others.

Now, let’s not forget, there’s always the basics, because as they say, “You can’t polish s***….” You obviously have to be talented as Songwriters and Artists…

But when you practice, what else are you doing besides learning songs? Whether you know it or not, you are developing [hopefully] your own “Sound”. A Sound that [hopefully] makes you sound like YOU, and no one else. That when you hear the first 15 seconds of a Performance, you are not just grabbed in, but they also know who you are!

Your Sound makes up one integral part of your overall “Image”. And, your image is a major point to consider and develop, especially nowadays. Your image could be described as: What you play, the way you play it, the way you “come across” to people, and the way you look.

Therefore, although during practice music is usually the main area of concentration, there are other just as important considerations that most Musicians don’t think about. For example, does your Group look “wasted”, dead, or very much alive? What does your equipment look and sound like? What kind of relationship do you wish to develop with your audience? Are you just Singing and Playing – or Performing, communicating with your audience and drawing them in to you?

Simply put, what will affect your potential fans perception of you? Where once they know you exist they will talk about you to no end…

But there’s one more very important Perception Factor that must be overcome that is necessary to draw your potential fans out of the closet, so that you actually have the chance to give them a chance to get to know and love you…

Now, “Promotion” is the most obvious step that comes next in most people’s minds. Artists promoting themselves, telling their fans and potential fans that they’re playing at this venue or that venue.

But my question to you is, “What is it you’re actually promoting?” That is, when you’re promoting yourself, what will be your potential fans perception [what they think] of what you’re promoting? Will you just be one more “a****** artist” playing somewhere?

Let’s step back to that “Big Picture” we discussed earlier and take it a few steps further. What is the perception that your still-in-the-closet-potential-fans will be expecting that will make them want to come out to see you?

Well, we’re playing at so & so’s club or bar or venue.” In other words, “Come out to our gig”.

Let’s face reality, if people have never heard of you, why should they come out to see you? What are you offering them that a thousand other unknowns can’t [or don’t] offer? If you perceive your appearance as “just a gig”, what do you expect your potential audience to see it as!

It’s useless spending lots of time, energy and money promoting something if people’s preconceived perception will be, “Oh, why should I go there, never heard of them, no one’s talking about them, so they must be boring, a waste of time – forget it.”

My point: When you go out to see a favorite star performer in the big arenas, are you going to their “gig”? Or, are you going to, what is perceived to be a “Can’t-Miss EVENT???

Now, it is up to the Artist, for one, to make it appear as one! And to appear as one, it should BE one! And it CAN be one, WHEN the Artists perceive it as one!

Every performance at every venue should be thought of, and looked at as an EVENT, a SHOW, a SPECIAL OCCASION, an EXPERIENCE, an important reason for people to leave their house, put gas in their car, pay the cover charge, etc., and come see you.

You must start thinking of your performances as if you were performing at a scaled down arena show. You have to take those “extra steps” ensuring people that your performance and your “show” are special, and that you’re not just another band getting up in front of a microphone and playing and singing. Lots of people can get up there and sing and play, but most of those Artists will get nowhere in today’s Music Scene.

Unless you’ve been in a cave over the last few years, you’ve noticed that this is a Visual Society, inundated with multimedia that is competing with your band – and people often don’t have to leave their houses anymore to be entertained.

“Hey man, I’m a serious Artist. I’m not selling out for no one!”. Hey man, yourself, I’m not asking you to give up any integrity! I’m just asking you to come ALIVE! I’m not asking you to be anyone but yourself. I’m just asking you to look at this performance as a fun and rewarding event. And if you don’t see it as one, how do you expect anyone else to think it’s one?

All you need to do is wake up, make a slight attitude adjustment, and take whatever extra steps that you can conceive of and can afford that fits your image and makes your show stand out.

Now, it is not up to just the Artists to make your shows stand out…

Hey, Artists’ Managers, street teams, representatives of every sort: What are YOU doing to help? Are you looking at each performance as a special one, and are you being just as creative on the biz and promotion end as your artists are on their music end? And are you making sure the Venues are on the ball?

Hey, Venues & Promoters: What are YOU doing to make people’s perception be that you’re the “In Place” to go to be entertained? And, are you being just as creative on the biz and promotion and public relation’s end as the Artists are [or should be] on their music end?

To sum it up, the Artists, Managers, Promoters and Venues must work together to create this perception: an event that people will be coming to that will be extra special!

But we’re wasting a lot of time here unless everyone involved understands and takes the steps to ensure that everyone’s perception doesn’t become just another let-down. You can’t, and shouldn’t even try to fool your audience. You actually have to make this event be not just another event, but an event to be remembered! And, you CAN!

The Day has come. The Artists/Bands, Promoters, Venues are all ready to stage an EVENT. An EVENT people will talk about – a “Night to Remember.”

“So, I guess we really need a ‘Gimmick’…” NO! Gimmicks are basically useless because people can see right through them, and they are needless as well. “Gimmicks” are looked at as Gimmicks; “Great shows” are looked at as Great Shows!

It is true that, just like all songs need great “hooks”, your show can have a hook, but it should be a natural hook. Some examples being a CD release party, a guest performer, someone’s birthday party, and the like – and there’s no harm in coming up with one each show.

One of Professor Pooch’s Laws: “Be Just as Creative on the Business Side as You or the Artist is on the Creative side” fits here. My favorite hook? Three or four Great Bands with Great Songs and Great Performances!

Your Gimmick should simply be providing a Great Event with Great Performances. Simply put, you need Artists and Venues that create a Great, Natural Vibe that hypnotizes the audience into wanting to come back to that Venue and/or to see that Band!

Every Night, every Gig should be treated as Special. And if Everyone is in a great state of mind, and if Everyone is prepared, and if Everyone gives their all, your Events will be remembered – and in a positive way.

What the Artists, their representatives and the venues are [or should be] trying to create is “word-of-mouth”, because excited word-of-mouth travels faster and better, and with more integrity, than any other form of promoting yourself to the masses. You are directing it to the people who matter – the fans who like you, who know people who will like you and what you bring into their lives…

Now, let’s break it down into roles:

Attention Artists [and Artist Managers]: Go out and see one or more of your favorite, successful Recording and Performance Artists and watch their show very carefully. A Great, Successful Band knows their songs are Great Songs, and the right songs to play at that Venue/Event, and the songs flow really well together.

Why/How do they know? Simply put, a Great Band is prepared and takes care of all that beforehand, usually at rehearsals. The only thing on a Great Performer’s mind when they step on that stage is, “This is gonna be a Great Show!” And they Make it one!

In short, Every Performance at Every Venue should be treated as a Special Event! Great Events must become a Habit!

Here’s a true story – and an important lesson:

I was out to see an unsigned Band at this Club several years ago, and I met a friend there. It was early in the night and we were the only two customers.

To make a long story, short, the band played a basically disinterested set. After my friend left I went up to them and asked them, “Hey, You guys are much better than that – what happened?” They responded with “We were warming up and there were only a couple people there, so…”

And I told them, “Well, you just blew a great opportunity – that person who just left was a Senior Vice President of Columbia Records!”

Actually, it doesn’t matter if my friend was Joe Shmoe. If the Artist had put on a great performance, Shmoe might’ve loved the band and gone out and told others. And never forget that the Bartenders and Waitresses are people, too! People who love music! People who might spread the word! Great Performances must become Habit Forming, and nothing else is acceptable!

Are you ready and prepared to deliver a Great Show? Were you ready early in the day, or did you wait until the last minute to get everything together? Nothing like that rushed feeling for setting you up for a rotten mood. Be prepared early so that you’re relaxed and ready to give it your all!

How tight is your set? Does it move right along without your musicians just standing around? People have a verrrry short attention span nowadays, and there can be no delays trying to figure out which song to do next, checking to see if everyone’s ready, or whatever.

Your mind should be totally on your audience, not yourself, and you should be expressing how you feel, communicating with them through your body, mind and soul.

And besides treating your fans to a great performance, you should treat your fans really nicely before and after the show. And, not only your fans, but also the Venues, Promoters and their staffs. If you treat them really well, wouldn’t that make them want to treat you very well, also? And want to have you back again?!

The way you act at every event creates good or bad “PR”. PR stands for “Public Relations”, which is not the same as Promotion. Promotion is hitting someone over the head with flyers, ads and the like, and Public Relations is how you spread your name every day of your life by the simple, normal means of being yourself.

Attention Venues [and Promoters]: The Venues are just as responsible for a successful event as the Artists! Besides being known for the quality of the acts you book, you, the venues and promoters, too often depend on the Bands and their Management and/or Street Teams to handle all the promotion, etc. You should put just as much into pushing the Event and should be just as well prepared as you expect the Artists to be.

And how do you treat your Artists, let alone your customers and your own staff? Are your Bartenders and Waitresses friendly, sociable and “up”? Is your staff ready for, and looking forward to a fun night ahead – instead of just going through the motions? Do you have a Venue that your staff feels is worth talking about to their family and friends? There’s that “word-of-mouth” again.

Note: Security/Bouncers should also have the same fun and friendly demeanor, with the only exception being if and when they may have to “switch hats” when needed to keep the atmosphere, safe. Ambience, “vibe”, the “feel” of the club, call it what you wish, is reflected by all the people working there, and this will help determine if all your visitors feel comfortable or not. Just doing print or internet ads doesn’t create a great Vibe – happy, sociable employees create a great vibe and make your Venue a fun place to be.

Also, most venues do little to spruce up the “room atmosphere”, when a great décor, specials on drinks, special finger food, special whatever will also really help you bring more paying people in. It benefits you as well, having your place be the Venue to hang out over all the other places.

To sum up it all up, when all the Venues, Promoters, Artists, Managers and Street Teams treat Every show like an EVENT, you all will then have done your part in creating “A Music Scene.” The “In Thing” to do which will help all the Artists be seen and become successful. Which will, at the same time, help the Venues be seen and become successful. Which will likewise make the fans come out of the closet and want to become part of this Scene – because they know they will be Entertained! Entertained with the help of the Universal Language…

© 2019 David J. Spangenberg

Written by David J. Spangenberg [“Professor Pooch”].
Please visit www.professorpooch.com for more Music Business content like this.

Email David at: Pooch@professorpooch.com


Published on in Industry Shreds

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  • How do I protect my tracks from piracy?

    The Go To Hear platform has in-built security which means that tracks can only be played on Go To Hear unless you sell them as a download.
    • Members can only listen to a track or read your blog by visiting the Go To Hear platform.

    Members/non-members who try to copy your content/music to use elsewhere will be stopped by our encrypted protection system.
    This means your music can only be shared by using our share creation technology – the links created by this mean anyone who clicks on a link to your content anywhere on the web will be brought back to your content on Go To Hear.
    If they aren’t already a member then when they sign up as a platform member they will be attributed to you as one of your affiliates – so it’s you who makes the money not people attempting to illegally copy and use your music.

    This technology is designed specifically to protect artists and other content creators to ensure that the people who create the content always get the reward for their work.

  • Where’s my music download for music I’ve bought?

    You can find your purchases and download them at any time from the purchase section (also visible in your member menu).

    Please act responsibly with tracks you pay for, we want you to enjoy the music you buy and ensure others show artists the same support.  Together we can make the music industry a fair system once again.

  • How do I manage my music?

    • Click your profile icon (located at the top right corner of the screen)
    • Scroll down the menu and click on Manage music or Add music

    Important Note: The above features are for Musicians only.

  • How do I share/promote my music to earn?

    • Click your profile icon (located at the top right corner of the screen)
    • Scroll down the menu and click on My artist page
    • Scroll down to your tracks
    • Click the share button for the track you want to share
    • Click the share buttons (Twitter/Facebook/Linkedin/Share with a link) and share the track to your followers.

    NOTE: You can create new links each time you share something or copy old ones.

    To copy old links and share them again, just copy the url from the Link ID in your dashboard .

    You can reuse any links like this, for your music or any other artists music you’ve shared.

    Don’t forget you can earn from sharing other member’s content, not just your own.

    If you share other member’s content you will automatically share any affiliate rewards with the content creator.

    That means your fans can share your content too, and you will both share the affiliate rewards.

  • How do I upload music?

    Adding a new track on Go To Hear is easy:

    • Click your profile icon (located at the top right corner of the screen
    • Scroll down and click on Add music
    • Enter a track name
    • Select the track to upload from your local storage
    • Select a track image to uploadnot compulsory
    • Select a track genrenot compulsory – but it will help listeners find you
    • Select a track moodnot compulsory – but it will help listeners find you
    • Enter a track pricethis will be used later when we enable track sales – you can allow free downloads, just enter 0.00
    • Add any track comments – not compulsory but an opportunity to share info with your fans, like your inspiration for the track

  • How do I delete music?

    • Click your profile icon (located at the top right corner of the screen
    • Scroll down and click on Manage my music
    • Scroll down to your track
    • Remove the tick from the visible button – this will hide your music from all members


    • NOTE: If you wish to physically delete music or any other personal data from our system then please contact support with your request.


      This is easy to do, log in and click on the support button on the bottom right of the screen or email admin@gotohear.com we will be happy to help.

  • Can I charge for my music?

    Yes.

    Streaming:
    For streaming your tracks are charged at $0.02 per stream over 30 seconds.
    You will receive $0.0185 of this $0.02
    There is a hosting and streaming fee of $0.0015 which is just to cover our costs, not to make huge profits from artists.

    Sales:
    We allow you to set a download sale price when you add your music, this is the price you set to sell your track for download ownership.
    You can also set a commission to encourage other members to generate sales for your music.

  • How do I sell downloads?

    Sales:
    We allow you to set a download sale price when you add or edit your music, this is the price you set to sell your track for download ownership.

    You can also set a commission to encourage other members to generate sales for your music.
    When members share your music and new members buy this music the member who created the link to your music can generate a commission for themselves.

  • Music licensing – how does it work?

    By signing up to the Go To Hear platform you’re granting Go To Hear and its members a non-exclusive direct licence to play and promote your tracks.

    This license allows our members to market & promote you and your music.

    IMPORTANT: Our unique security and revenue model prevents anyone from ‘giving away’ your music or cutting you out of the deal.

    Ultimately our platform’s aim is to protect your music, yet at the same time harness your fan base, widen your audience, and help you earn more money from what you are really good at… making music.



    More details of our Terms and Conditions can be found here

  • Share & Promote

  • How do I promote a music track?

    To share any music track and earn…

    • Find a music track you want to share
    • Click the share button next to the track
    • Select one of the share types that appears (Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn/Share with a link) and promote to your followers.
    • It’s unique, it’s fast, it’s easy and it automatically tracks your affiliate sign-ups and rewards.

    Our sharing system is a unique blend of easy sharing, share tracking and encrypted music protection.

    We’ve created an easy way for you to share your music or any other artists music and earn via affiliate rewards or sales commission.

    Our smart system also enables any member to share your music and it automatically shares any affiliate revenue between you (the creator) and them (the sharer).

    Any members who sign up via your links, or links to your content will be classed as your affiliates and via this process you can earn affiliate rewards (see note below).

    NOTE: During our key growth phases members will earn our crypto currency (GTH) for all sign ups that are attributed to their account.
    Eventually the platform will have dispensed all of it’s reward tokens, at which point future reward mechanisms may be used or we may offer affiliate rewards paid in US Dollars ($).
    It is our intention that at this point our crypto voting system will enable members to vote on how the reward system evolves.  Go To Hear isn’t a platform run by oligarchs it is an eco-system designed to transition towards a blockchain protocol offering transparent decision making by it’s members.

  • How do I track and follow what I have promoted?

      • Click your profile icon (located at the top right corner of the screen
      • Scroll down and click on Dashboard
      • Scroll down and you will find a list of all the tracks and articles you have promoted, the URLs, and where you have promoted them.
      • You can then keep copying and sharing your unique links (the URL associated with the Link ID) to promote wherever you like, whenever you like.

    NOTE:

    Stats are live for visitors that follow your share links and links that others have shared to your music/content.

  • How do I promote an article (blog post)?

    Our sharing system is a unique blend of easy sharing, tracking and protection.

    It enables a fair system for you to share your articles or another members articles and earn via affiliate rewards.

    Our smart system also enables any other member to share your articles and this automatically shares any affiliate revenue between you (the creator) and them (the sharer)

    To share any article and earn…

    • Find the article you want to share
    • Click the share button
    • Click one of the share options from the list that appears (Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn/Share with a link) and share to your followers.

    You can then use the unique link created to share wherever you like and either earn commission on music sales or affiliate rewards (see note below).

    NOTE: During our key growth phases members will earn our crypto currency (GTH) for all sign ups that are attributed to their account.
    Eventually the platform will have dispensed all of it’s reward tokens, at which point future reward mechanisms may be used or we may offer affiliate rewards paid in US Dollars ($).
    It is our intention that at this point our crypto voting system will enable members to vote on how the reward system evolves.  Go To Hear isn’t a platform run by oligarchs it is an eco-system designed to transition towards a blockchain protocol offering transparent decision making by it’s members.

  • Writing Articles Blogs Reviews

  • How do I write an article/blog/news/review?

    • Click your profile icon (located at the top right corner of the screen)
    • From the menu that appears select Write new article

    From there it’s easy to write a simple article… (please keep it music related 😉 ).

    • Enter the article title
    • Select an Image to use & upload it
    • Enter your Article Content (copy/text) and format as you prefer.
    • Click on Create

    To edit an article once it’s created then just view your Articles via the same menu.

    Note: We do reserve the right to remove any article that is deemed inappropriate.

  • How do I edit or delete an article I've written?

    • Click your profile icon (located at the top right corner of the screen)
    • From the menu that appears select Articles

    From there it’s easy,

    • click on edit or delete to alter one of your articles.

    Note: We do reserve the right to remove any article that is deemed inappropriate.

  • Playlists

  • How do I create a playlist?

    • Go to any track that you’d like to add to a playlist
    • Hover over the track image
    • Click on the 3 dots on the right
    • Hover over add to playlist and a box should appear

    Then either

    • Select a current playlist from the drop down (if you already have playlists)
    • Click – Add track to playlist

    Or

    • Enter a new playlist name
    • Click Create playlist and add track

  • How do I delete tracks from a playlist I created?

    • Click your profile icon (located at the top right corner of the screen
    • Scroll down and click on Manage playlists
    • Select Edit Playlist Tracks for the playlist you’d like to edit
    • Click the remove tick box for the track you want to delete from the playlist – caution! it will be removed as soon as you click the tick box