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WaterBear | The College of Music are proud to announce the launch of ‘The Dirk Lance Bursary'.

Formally the bassist of Incubus and currently the bass player for East of June, Dirk Lance has had a hugely successful career in the industry and is looking to give something back!

If you’re a bassist currently studying with WaterBear and would like the chance to apply for this incredible bursary, please find the application details and terms and conditions below.

"Some people have said, “Oh Dirk, it’s so wonderful that you want to help bassists with this bursary, you’re such a cool guy'. And they’re RIGHT! But unfortunately, bassists cannot supply themselves with strings and amps with thoughts and prayers alone. So, I’m supplying the cash baby, cause s**ts expensive during the zombie apocalypse"

To apply for the Dirk Lance Bursary, follow the steps below:

So you’ve played the local circuit. Perhaps you have previously booked your own DIY tour or maybe joined an established artist on a run of dates. You feel like your live set up is on point and you’re ready to perform in front of a booking agent; but how do you do it?

Having had success in achieving this whilst being an independent artist, as well as having first-hand experience of working at a Booking Agency. In this article, I’ll be advising on best practices to maximise your chances of showcasing yourself in front of an agent.

Where do I start?

Much like the rest of the music business, the A&R department from any avenue of the industry acts on two things. Hearing great music and the knowledge that an artist has started to build a team around them. The latter point is frustrating, it’s a chicken or the egg scenario but remember, you have total control over the first point. So crucially - and this should go without saying - make sure that only your best quality songs and recordings represent you online.

Now you’re probably used to looking out for support slots by paying attention to show announcements from your local promoters and venues. Say you’ve spotted a show with a headliner that you feel your project would compliment as part of a bill.  Well, if that show is part of a tour, nine times out of ten that artist will have a booking agent. The best way to find this information out is by looking at the ‘About’ section on the artist’s Facebook page. Let's say hypothetically that you’ve approached the promoter and you’ve been invited onto the bill at your local venue… now it’s crunch time. I’ll let it be known that an Agent will most likely appear at either their artist's hometown show or a show in the city that the agent resides.

What next?

When I was an independent Brighton based artist,  I had undertaken all of the aforementioned steps and as luck would have it, the agent that represented the headline band lived and worked in Brighton. So it was time to reach out. Now agents have very full inboxes, they are busy people and maybe not always looking for an artist to pitch to them. So the best thing you can do is keep your email concise, compliment their roster and attach links with a brief bio in the form of a one-sheet. You, of course, want to invite them down to the show also! Whilst you may not hear back right away, you can be sure that the invitation would have been received.  If you haven’t heard anything back a week before the show then a polite follow up won’t hurt. And that just so happened to be how my independent band ended up playing in front of a booking agent.

Where do booking agents look?

Some years later I would end up working for that very same agency and became involved in scouting and A&R co-ordinating. What I can say is that finding new talent is always at the forefront of an agents mind and they have many streams in which they keep across new and emerging talent.  The most important of which are networking with industry contacts, listening to BBC Introducing, Emerging Talent Spotify Playlists and reading independent music press.

Having a booking agent want to work with you will open a lot of doors and could be the catalyst that enables you to quickly have an entire team around you. They are the gatekeepers to good shows, tours and that all-important show guarantee fee. So when you do catch wind of an agent who wants to come and check you out… do. not. waste. that. opportunity! Rehearse four times more than you ever would and make your friends, family and fans understand the importance of their attendance. An agent will only come and see you once, so if you’re opening and playing to an empty room then I’m afraid you will witness them walk out the venue as you perform. And no one wants that, do they?!

Hello, I'm Ade Dovey and I have worked in the Venue and Live Music Industry for over 15 years. My professional background has focused on developing new venues to launch into the market. Mainly grassroots venues operated by independent companies and/or via third party teams such as promoters who managed venues alongside stakeholders, shareholders and private landlords.

In the build-up to the pandemic, I had moved from the multi-venue grassroots sector to coordinate events, content and live music in the Arena and Theatre venue realm overseeing various North West and North East locations such as Manchester Arena, Newcastle Utilita Arena, Leeds First Direct Arena, Aberdeen P&J Live Arena and Bonus Hull Arena (operated by ASM Global formerly SMG Europe). Within this role, I would be responsible to programme sustainable and financially viable events up to 21,000 Capacity. Ranging from Popular Artists, Sporting Events, Comedy, Live Cinema with Classical Soundtracks.

Before this, I coordinated many venues including Manchester’s Albert Hall, Gorilla and The Deaf Institute (for the company Mission Mars).  These venues focused purely on contemporary bands and DJs in and around 750 events a year over 200,000 ticket-buying customers in and out as well as being responsible as ‘Head of Programming’ managing a team of 10 professionals who coordinated ticketing, social media, support artists, administration, production and club events.

Inside the logistics of venue management

The main goals and objectives with working in one or multiple venues (as the main principles apply for one up to several) is to achieve a healthy calendar/diary system and point of contact for all departments in the event booking universe. In order to visualise this, you tend to adopt the mindset that if your venue had arms, hands, a nucleus and the ability to communicate well, then that is you as the programming manager. On a daily basis, you will be networking constantly and consistently with external promoters both locally and nationally ranging from new promoters and local allies up to Live Nation, Kili Live, DHP Concerts, AEG and more. At the same time, you will be coordinating many valuable and intricate threads of details in ticketing, marketing, production (Sound and Lights), logistics,  tour managers, event reps (show contact), drivers, local authorities, venue teams and staff as well as additional stakeholders (finance, business owners, IT, local press, interns, student union, human resources and more depending on the business model).

The role of programming manager

As a programming manager, the communication or systematic approach to having a healthy diary system is dependent on the quality of your resources. This includes contacts within the local music scene, national scene and band/talent knowledge and is essential you have motivation and a ‘mission statement’ followed by a plan knowing what audiences you want to attract based on your venues appeal and target demographic. It’s vital that your initial aim is to know what is to be expected of the quality of your booking approach so you can build and build on attracting the right promoters, booking agents and artists so that you create a vibrant cultural seasonal/annual listings which open the doors to more bookings.

The power of your voice

With technology forever expanding and goalposts moving it’s essential to focus on your tone and language online and in each establishment in order to speak to your audience and relate in order to not just book the right bands but to make sure it’s financially viable and within budget in order to obtain a sustainable and economically sound business model. Some venues are natural at developing this from the launch, however some older venues who want to adapt might struggle and require the right team and skilled staff to advance in the competitive market.

It’s also worth to note not all venues have adequate budget to employ resourceful staff and (as I have experienced personally) you might be doing a lot of the work yourself and once successful, usually after financial year 2, you can progress to outsource an assistant or reliable ticketing and social media staff. It’s very rare for one individual to be able to programme, production manage, ticket manage and be an expert on social media and often the dilemma is due to time management as the live bookings industry rarely slows down and you will need to be able to respond and communicate well with composure without taking a breath or even being able to put the kettle on.

Planning your year

Generally, you are at peak performance and business 9-10 months of the year and utilise the other two quieter touring periods to refresh your systems, analyse your approach and coordinate opportunities for the next busy year. The touring season tends to start from September and slow down just before Christmas, the NYE section is often quiet for bands but a great time to create business with DJ events. January is regarded as an admin month but a very busy period follows February into June. Festival season often counteracts the summer months programming but allows you to prepare for student return and making sure you’re booked up every prime day (Weds-Sat) and often battle out the calendar dates available with your reliable independent promoters.

Where do I start?

You might be thinking, how do I become a programmer? Where do you start? My advice would be to integrate with your local favourite venue and knock on their door or direct contact online about being interested in shadow experience at an event and/or offer your services for a period of time as an intern. There are many roles within a small or large venue organisation and often the case most venue programmers are found and recognised from having multiple experiences within the live sector but personality, trust and eye for detail are often your most recognisable attributes to an employer. But first and foremost is the drive, passion and love for music and making the venue a home for the day to all touring artists and touring personnel and making sure you have good relationship skills with all industry colleagues.

Video didn't kill the radio star.....will digital streaming? Unlikely.

Radio is and always has been a key media channel for artists and bands and the recent statistics from Rajar (Radio Joint Audio Research) found that some form of radio reaches nine out of 10 members of the public each week.  Along with editorial playlists on Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer etc, Radio is a key channel for getting your music out to a wider audience. In 2019, automation and algorithms are (some what soullessly)  re-shaping how we consume music so it’s refreshing that radio still has a key role.

Across the UK, Europe and beyond there are hundreds of DJs and Stations that are supporting the independent music scene and they want to hear your music. DJs from local to national level are key promoters of independent artists at grass roots level and they play a vital role in the music eco-system.

Below you will find a selection of some UK stations (on FM, Digital and Online) that are open to submissions from DIY / Independent artists. For the majority of bands starting out, investing in using a radio plugger isn’t an option due to budget but there is so much you can do independently to get your music on the air waves.

Before submitting your music to the radio stations below make sure you are happy that the songs you are sending out reflect your best work. If not, don’t rush. Take time on developing your songwriting, collaborate with like-minded musicians, learn and grow. If budget allows identify a pro producer to help guide you through the pre-production and production process. Also, double check that your music genre fits with that of the station.

Key tips:

(1) Separate to the list below --- Most UK, U.S & European Universities have campus radio stations that support new and independent artists. Draft a list of stations and send them your EPK.

(2) It is vital that you create a professional EPK --- check out our EPK blog in the News & Blogs section. A pro EPK will demonstrate that you are serious about your craft.

Submit your music to these UK radio stations

Amazing Music
Genre:
Rock, Alternative, Indie
Submit your music here


BBC Introducing
Genre: All
Submit your music here 


BBC 6 Music – Giles Peterson Show
Genre: Hip Hop/Rap, Dance/Electronic, Soul/R&B/Funk, Jazz
Email: [email protected]  

Folk Radio
Genre:
Folk/Country
Submit your music here

Hard Rock Hell Radio
Genre: Hard Rock / Metal
Submit your music here

Radio Reverb 97.2FM (Brighton)
Genre:
All
Submit your music here 


Rinse FM 106.8FM (London)
Genre:
Garage, Grime, Dubstep, House and Jungle
Submit your music here


Touch FM UK
Genre:
All
Submit your music here

If you are an artist or band starting out, magazines and online publications are an important media channel to consider as part of your single/album release plan. The reality for the majority of artists releasing their debut, is that they don’t have budget to spend on Music PR and Plugging. The vast majority of innovative and disruptive artists are DIY artists who create and manage their own work and are working with small budgets. There is so much you can do on your own to get your music heard if you have the right tools and a plan.

As we mentioned in our previous blog, the world has changed with the evolution of digital media, but music journalism is far from dead and still offers value and opportunities for artists and bands. Walk into any independent café/bar in any major city and you will find free print music and arts publications that are working to support their local arts and music scene. In Brighton, we have the likes of Viva Brighton, Brighton’s Finest, XYZ Magazine and BN1 Magazine who are championing and supporting the local arts and music scene. Apart from the free print publications, there is a diverse range of UK wide print & online magazines re-populating the landscape that are genre and niche-oriented. The vast majority of these magazines want to hear new music and are open to direct submissions  from new artists and bands. These magazines are independent in spirit and want to champion independent music and artists.

Our key piece of advice is to ensure you approach your release with a clear plan. If you are not ready then don’t rush. The music journey is a long one and good things take a little longer. You need to be resilient. Learn, Collaborate and Grow. Get in touch with our team in Brighton if you would like to set up a consultation to discuss how we can help you on your music journey or join us at one of our regular Open Days.

As we have mentioned in previous blogs, before you consider releasing your music to the wider world, make sure to spend time developing your craft. The next step is to spend time developing a Professional EPK (Electronic Press Kit).

If you are releasing a single (don't consider releasing an album until  you are selling out your local 150 cap venue and have established a solid social media following - at that stage consider approaching an indie label) your campaign should start 6 weeks before the release date. We would advise you to send your music to a minimum of 10-15 blogs, magazines, radio stations etc  each week in this build up period.

Some of the online and print publications listed below are genre specific (e.g Hard Rock Hell are not likely to publish a story about a folk singer-songwriter and it works the other way for fRoots) so make sure to double check the genre of each publication.

Music publications that want to hear your music:

The Line of Best Fit
Submit your music here

I-D Magazine
Submit your music here

Music Republic Magazine
Submit your music here

The Quietus
Submit your music here

Hard Rock Hell Mag
Submit your music here

Maverick Magazine
Submit your music here

Folk Radio
Submit your music here

Source Magazine Brighton
Submit your music here

Brighton’s Finest
Submit your music here

The Wire Magazine
Submit your music here

Hot Press Magazine
Submit your music here

fRoots
Submit your music here

Clash Magazine
Submit your music here

B3SCI
Submit your music here

 

 

Ok. It can’t be denied that traditional journalism, particularly print, has been greatly affected by the rise of new media. Music journalism hasn’t been immune to those changes. New media, using the internet, can source content from non-traditional sources and operate on different models. E.g. bloggers and influencers who bypass traditional publishers and platforms to build up followings and leverage advertising for revenue, rather than relying on the old-school models of employed and freelance journalists.  We’ve looked at parallel developments in independent music publishing and direct-to-fan marketing and distribution.

Consumers can access music journalism online from bloggers’ own sites, from music journalism and media websites, they can listen to podcasts, or watch vlogs on YouTube and the like. Often such content is free to access, and supported by advertising. Sometimes there may be subscriptions or paywalls.

There’s no denying that there has been a steady, progressive decline in music press circulation. That trend has claimed some major scalps, including the iconic NME which does continue successfully online but closed down as a print in March 2018, despite valiantly attempting to adapt by becoming a free magazine, supported by advertising and advertorial content.

Various hammers nailed NME’s coffin shut, including changing demographics and market, an ageing (and thus dwindling) readership, weakening influence and rep, and falling circulation. The final print issue came out on 9th March 2018.

When NME’s once-mighty cadaver hit the forest floor, some pundits and punters saw it as a sign of the end times for print music journalism. But if you look around, especially in the aftermath, you’ll find a diverse, thriving and healthy menagerie that’s repopulating the landscape. Walk into W.H. Smith, or large newsagent, and you’ll find shelves filled by dozens of titles; far more than was the case in the heyday of NME, Melody and Sound et al.

Now these latterday titles may have lower circulations than the giants of yesteryear, which used to command circulations in the hundreds of thousands, but there’s more diversity, often because these new titles are more genre- and niche-oriented. Arguably, NME’s demise was in part a failure to adapt to the new, more segmented and specialised marketplace; instead, it continued to try to pitch to a general audience, being everything to everyone, but sadly failing to hook loyal purchasers and subscribers as the more-specialised titles have done. Even going to the free price model wasn’t enough to save NME’s print form, despite the brand’s iconic standing.

So what strategies and tactics ARE working in today’s brave new world of print music journalism? First off, adapting to expectations of smaller circulations, such as thousands or tens of thousands than hundreds of thousands; also to more competitive markets, with competing titles, both in print and online, including free content. In order to survive and prosper, publishers and titles need to be lean, lowering overheads and using smaller teams. In terms of focus and content, they need to identify core specialisms.  In terms of writing, prints tend to benefit by offering quality, long-form journalism, with engaging writing style and depth, to set them apart from the more ‘disposable’ acres of free content online.

Established old school titles like Mojo are working to avoid NME’s fate by adapting and evolving. John Mulvey, for instance, editor of the 63,000 per month-selling title (stats from Bauer Media) believes that music press has to realise that they are now specialist publications, not mainstream ones. He’s also worked to add coverage of newer artists into the magazine’s remit, so whilst the ongoing stories of veteran rock and pop artists, traditionally favoured by Mojo’s readers, continues, new performers, material and trends also gets reported on.

The WaterBear interviews

As usual, we’ve gone out into the field to ask for first-hand, expert insider insights and advice.

Our first interviewee is Jonni Davis, Head Honcho of Hard Rock Hell, a.k.a. HRH: Europe’s most successful residential festival provider. HRH incorporates its own in-house media arms, including HRH Mag, HRH Radio and HRH TV. HRH Press also provides access to these straight-to-fan channels. They’re actively using multiple media and channels of communication, and (as Jonni tells us) are far from ready to write off print media and journalism.

Our second interview is with Christian Brown, editor of Maverick Magazine: The leading independent country magazine and website. Based in Kent, in the UK, and dedicated to country, folk, Americana, bluegrass & roots music, Maverick has published for over 13 years and puts out 6 issues a year, with over 20,000 circulation in UK, USA and Scandinavia.

WB: How do you see the current state of play of print music journalism and press? What’s the landscape like and how does your title fit into it?

Jonni Davis: Some say print has had its time: it hasn’t; it has just evolved, and funnily enough the fans know exactly what they want. HRH Mag was created by fan demand, as well as frustration from what was currently available.”

Christian Brown:  “Generally speaking, very positive. I firmly believe there will always be a place for print based music magazines, so long as they are meaningful. For example, you can pick up an old copy of Q and the features inside will still be as interesting to read now as they were then. Given that Maverick is also bi-monthly, that’s the goal we’re trying to achieve.”

WB:    How does print music journalism and publication differ from the online equivalents or alternatives? What advantages does it offer over its online competitors, such as bloggers, websites etc?

Jonni Davis: News travels fast. If it’s hot, it should be put out via a ‘push notification’ strategy and not be put in a mag that will be 4/6 weeks out of date, even before it’s printed. Mags are about creativity: thinking out the box and delivering stories that are not available elsewhere.

Christian Brown:  “It’s having something physically in your hands that you can read. Something that you can put down and pick up again with ease, rather than scrambling around to find a link on a website homepage that could be pushed down a fair way due to new content being uploaded. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with digital - NME for example have (very) successfully rebranded themselves online and it’s working out brilliantly for them, but people will never get tired of being able to hold something. Especially at a time where people are looking to cut down on their phone screen time, so having something in print form is a good alternative!”

WB:    How would you describe the relationship between print and online music journalism? Are they bound to be rivals or competitors, or can they complement or enhance each other? How does your title, for instance, make use of the web and social media?

Jonni Davis:  “It can have too much red tape, which end totally tangles up and takes away the parallel creativity and vision. That’s why I’ve got Print, Online, app, Radio ‘n’ TV working to the same agenda and timeline.”

Christian Brown:  “It needs to be strong and I would say that it is at this present moment. Competition is always healthy as it spurs you on to do better with your platforms. At Maverick, we make sure every upload is tweeted out and put on Facebook with the topic of the story tagged in the post and if that’s retweeted/shared by them, it really helps us with traction etc. We also make sure that with every gig we go to, an image is to be put on Instagram and that every picture we get with an artist goes up as well. As always, more could be done, but it’s something we’re working on.” 

WB:    What makes a music newspaper or magazine relevant, appealing and successful today?

Jonni Davis:  Talk to your fans. Understand them, then go above and beyond to stimulate and excite. It’s not rocket science!”

Christian Brown:  Honestly, not having it too accessible. Take NME as an example - in its heyday, it was probably the most important magazine in the UK. If a band/artist was on the cover, they were guaranteed Radio 1 coverage and at a time where we couldn’t discover things so easily at our fingertips, a weekly magazine was a godsend.

 “It’s no coincidence their downfall came at a time where social media/online was on the up and for a magazine so broad in their coverage, perhaps the writing was on the wall. Kerrang thrive as a weekly mag because the genre they cover is quite specific, whereas s had fingers in many pies and while that was a fantastic thing, it ultimately played a part in how things panned out for them.

 “I personally believe being bi-monthly is the best approach for a print-based music mag - people will pick it up six times a year if they like it, they probably won’t 52 times. It makes it more appealing having six issues a year as well, as what’s inside the mag gains more relevance and appeal on the basis it isn’t going to be forgotten about in a week.” 

 WB: We’ve seen several iconic titles like NME fold or pull out of the print market, but smaller, more niche-titles have appeared on the shelves and are selling. What’s your take on the niche-market model for print music titles?

Jonni Davis:  The model has changed and boutique stories are the beauty of a niche market, hence why they sell: they have the fan affinity and reward their loyalty by giving them what they want.”

Christian Brown:  “I think it’s great and I hope those fledging titles stick around and are passed down by today’s generation to tomorrow’s. So long as brilliant content is being produced, they have a chance. Our title is aimed primarily at country music, but also Americana - so you could say those are niche genres in the UK, despite their rapidly growing popularity in the country. Mainstream titles will do well if the content is there - a front cover with a major mainstream star is always going to shift magazines if it’s done right.” 

WB: Do you believe that that print music journalism will have to continue to change in order to survive and prosper? If so, how can it best do so?

Jonni Davis:  “Absolutely! But more importantly, in 5th gear, no time for prisoners: ‘Ready, aim, Fire!” is the currency!”

Christian Brown:  “I don’t think it necessarily needs to change as such - more to adapt as and when required in the future. People have been saying for years that print is dying etc, but we still live in a time where print publications in the music world are thriving due to how they’ve adapted with the times, not shoved things into your face on a regular basis, and reward those who choose to pick the mag up with the content inside.”

WB: How important is it for an artist or band to be getting coverage in print music media? What can they gain from it, especially what can they gain that they can’t get from other outlets?

Jonni Davis:  If it’s done from a new angle and not the same context, like all good stories, it can really help a fan connect with the tone and personality of the band and the individual. We shouldn’t have to wait for the autobiography when they are dead.”

Christian Brown:  “I would still say an awful lot. Cover stories are still a huge deal and the written feature element goes a long way as well as it’s far more interesting than a generic Q+A. Generally speaking, the ones who buy magazines are the ones who consider themselves to be core members of whatever genre the mag sits in, so to be introduced to that crowd is big for a band/artist.”

WB: What kinds of thing are you looking for that’s help get the band or their stories on your RADAR?

Jonni Davis:  “Anything out of the box, strong personalities, common sense, cool image, signature sound and a great big set of balls.”

Christian Brown:  “New releases, press releases, upcoming releases and tour dates are the big ones as you can see who is currently super relevant and who will be in a few months. These are the main things.”

WB: What’s your advice for someone wanting to make a career in music journalism? What are the best moves to make?

Jonni Davis: It’s changing that fast that I feel any individual should express their style from their own perspective via their own site/blog and then, if it fits the mag’s strategy and vision, they fuse together.”

WB: Do you cultivate contacts and long-term relationships with agents, PR specialists etc? How might an aspiring music pro go about building up such contacts and relationships? What are the good things to do? What mistakes do people make?

Jonni Davis: It’s always good to keep all your doors open and networking professionally can only help broaden your musical spectrum. It’s only after your first few meeting you’ll find out who talks any real sense.”

WB: The Guardian reported that new music prints are proving successful by adopting business models with lower overheads and smaller teams. What’s your opinion about that kind of leaner model?

Jonni Davis:Absolutely! HRH has a HUGE audience; our mag is free and high quality; its reach is ruthless, it’s curated by the fans and delivered with the HRH tone and personality. We have managed to make it work and it’s expanding every few months. All about the fan, band and market affinity.”

Conclusion

Thanks to both Jonni Davis and Christian Brown for their informed and valuable insights, and for the success stories of their respective publications, disproving the naysayer for print’s prospects. Proof that print music journalism still has a bright future, from which artists and bands can benefit.

The world’s changed, but print music journalism is far from dead and still offers value and opportunities for artists and bands. Jason Tanz, editor at large for Wired magazine put it this way: “…the answer is not to pine for the days when a handful of publications defined the limits of public discourse. That’s never coming back, and we shouldn’t want it to. Instead, smart news operations… are finding new ways to listen and respond to their audiences—rather than just telling people what to think.” (Wired magazine)

For a lot of musicians starting out and for small indie label owners, Spotify can be seen as one of those double-edged swords. Whether you see it as, the big corporation with too much control or the revolutionary tech company that has made it easy for artists to get their music to a wide audience across the world, Spotify is here to stay.

We’ve all heard about the small amounts of money that artists & indie labels receive for each stream on Spotify and a lot of people are frustrated by the low level of payment. What’s the point of being on the platform if you are making a percentage of a penny from each stream?.  The good news is that things are getting better for artists. As of 31 December 2018, Spotify had 116 million ad-supported users and 96 million subscribers and it had paid out a record £8.8bn (70% of its revenue) to rights holders. So, there is money being made and the traditional split of revenue between the major labels is slowly fragmenting with small indie labels and DIY artists carving out their share of the pie.

For artists and bands starting out, Spotify is not going to pay the bills in the short term but as a promotional tool it is an important one if you want to take your music to the next level. It can be very useful for getting your music in front of new audiences and it can be used as an effective tool as part of your single, E.P or album launch plan (important tip: if you are starting out, only release singles and build a campaign around each release). The reality is, for promoters, festival bookers etc to take you seriously you will need to have a professional Spotify profile.

Similar to our previous blogs on festival applications and submitting your music to music blogs our advice is always to consider Spotify as one element as part of a wider release plan. Your release plan needs to include at its core your best songs. Before you consider putting your music out to the wider world, spend time developing your songwriting, collaborate with a quality producer and invest time in your craft.  Be resilient, learn, collaborate and develop.

 Spotify - the basics

1. Claim your Spotify profile and upload a high-quality profile picture.

2. Include a brief but engaging bio. A lot of artists starting out do not have PR budgets so print out the bios of other acts that you view as being a few steps ahead of you in your scene. How do they word and structure their bio?. The reality is most of them have written it themselves with a PR advisor or they have a friend who is a good wordsmith. Did they get a review from a local magazine or blog? If so, send your music to that blog or magazine and get a review that you can use on your Spotify profile (refer to last weeks blog for tips on how to prepare your Electronic Press Kit.

3. The next stage is to upload one of your best songs (Don’t rush this stage. Spend time on your craft and only upload music when you have a release plan in place).

Growing your followers from Zero to 250 in a few weeks

1.Reach out to friends & family

If you have little or no followers then you need to proactively work on growing this number.  Once you have your new music uploaded this is a good opportunity to reach out to family, friends and social media followers with a link to your new tracks on Spotify. Be frank with them and explain that you are looking to increase your presence on Spotify and that every follower helps. If you are in a band with 4 other musicians, each of you should set a target to get 25 followers in the first few days.

2. Artist playlists and artists picks

The key priority for an artist on Spotify is to keep fans engaged and to encourage them to come back regularly to stream your music. The artist playlist feature displays to followers what you are listening to and the music that has influenced your sound. The playlist is also a good opportunity to show a bit of love to your local music scene. Share the playlist on FB, Twitter, Instagram etc and encourage the artists you tag to share it with their followers. Share this idea with other bands and get them to add you to their playlists. Collaboration is a key part of the music journey.

The artist’s pick is an album, or an individual song which can be pinned to the top of your artist profile playlist. You can use both of these tools to highlight your latest release or to just share with your fans what music has inspired your sound.

3. Gig listings & artist insights

Make sure to list your live shows through SongKick and they will automatically update on your Spotify gig listing. If you have a website, it makes sense to also use SongKick for the event listing here too so it saves you duplicating your listings (Note: The other good listing site is Bandsintown which doesn’t link to Spotify but has a good reach). The Spotify gig listing feature is one of the valuable elements of Spotify as it helps drive awareness to your followers about your upcoming shows.

The artists insights feature links nicely with the gig listing as it as it displays which cities/countries your listeners are coming from. These valuable insights will help you with tour planning.

4. Direct all social & web activity to Spotify – your call-to-action

If you are building up to your debut single, E.P or album release you will need to include your Facebook, Instagram and Twitter followers in the journey. In the weeks coming up to and after your release make sure to include a short url link to your Spotify profile, in all posts, particularly when you post on Facebook and Instagram. If you have a pro website copy the Spotify Followers button code into your site so that the call to action from your site will be for people to follow you on Spotify.

 

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Why We're WaterBear...

- ‘Water bear’ is the common name for a Tardigrade.
- Tardigrades are micro creatures, found everywhere on earth.
- They are the most resilient creatures known.
- They can survive and adapt to their surroundings, even in outer space.
- Their resilience and ability to adapt and survive inspires us in everything we do. We love them.

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