Setting up your business
1. Establish a name, logo, and contact info. Buy a domain name and create a website. Create facebook, twitter, gmail, and pay pal accounts. Reserve practice space and establish a schedule.
2. Clearly mark ALL equipment (especially cables) with band name and phone number. The drum kit logo is a must! Also create ID badges for managers or band helpers.
3. Decide what type of band you are. All members must agree. Are you a band that wants to play locally and plans to stay locally? Are you a band that wants to become famous? Do you play covers, originals, or both? (many local bands start out playing 60% original, 40% covers.)
4.Determine business roles for each band member. Try to use each member’s strengths when deciding their role. At least one person should be in charge of Marketing, Booking shows, Equipment, and Money.
5. Now that you are a real band, focus on your music. Read at least one book on how to create a successful record. Don’t spend hundreds of dollars recording a song that has a long intro or runs more than five minutes long – the music industry will reject it. These books will help you understand what music becomes famous and what is wanted by the industry.
6. Create a set list. (Take note of what equipment you practice with so you don’t forget anything the night of your first gig.) The set should be at the very least, 45 minutes. I encourage bands to perform at least one new song a month, even if it’s a cover. Eventually you should have 2 hours of songs.
7. Practice. I say this because so many local bands do not practice enough. Local bands should practice at least once a week on show weeks and twice on weeks with no shows. Once that set list is perfected, its time to book a show.
8. Book your first show. Contact colleges, universities, newspapers, charity events, bar and restaurant owners and booking agents and any music venue about your new band. See if any of them would let you play-even for free.
9. Once you are a gigging band, start registering for music conferences locally and regionally. It’s a great way to gig swap in different cities. Also, many times the judges are in the music industry. Continue to promote your band! Hang up fliers anywhere legal!
10. Now that you have a following, it is time to record music and create merchandise. Merchandise and CDs should be ordered in small runs. I know several companies that specialized in short run CD duplications with demo sleeves. Pick your two best songs to focus on. These songs should be short (under 3 1/2 minutes). They should be the songs your audience likes the most, not what your band likes to play the most. Merchandise items to consider ordering are baseball hats, cigarette lighters, stickers, shirts- NOT underwear.
If you followed these ten actions you should be a band with a name, web presence with fans and shows- and a record.
Comment if you want me to expand on any particular subject.