No, not like that. I’m afraid this is all about a different form of grunt and grind, but at least I have your attention and I know where your mind’s at!
No, this is about the grunt and grind of roles within a band (if you’re a solo artist, keep reading and I’ll explain how it affects you at the end). You might think you already know the roles – Brian’s the lead guitar, John’s on bass, Roger on drums and then there’s whatsisface the lead singer. Not those roles. They’re the cool sexy bit. The bit that makes you do the other bit, the bit that isn’t as sexy – that's right, this bit.
We’re talking about who looks after the bookings, deals with the punters, the finances, promotion, social media, website and so on. If you want to be a successful artist, these are all things you can’t take for granted. It is the bit that makes you stand out and separates you from the crowd.
Of course, you can pay someone to do all that for you, but when you start out that’s probably not viable.
If you want the band to be successful as well as continue to… well… BE, then you need to get this stuff sorted early. If you don’t, you will definitely find that some people are doing much more than others or worse, some things are not getting done at all. It’ll lead to unnecessary arguments which are way less fun than the necessary ones about the bands direction and whether Tom Morelo is a better guitarist than Jimi Hendrix.
The best thing to do is to get it sorted out up front. That way, everyone knows where they stand, no-one is assuming someone else is doing ‘it’ and nothing gets missed ( and everyone pulls their weight). There’ll be some stuff that’s obvious. One of you is a social media slave and is happy to keep everything up to date. The other is a geek who will look after the schedule and make sure everyone and everything is at the right place at the right time (let’s face it, that’s probably the bass guitarist). But, the other stuff that needs doing is just the old ‘shit sandwich’. It might not taste nice, but everyone has to take a bite. Share it out and get it done.
Here's some stuff you need to consider in the ‘Who does what?’ game.
Organiser – keep on top of the schedule, keep everyone informed, make sure everyone is available or a dep is booked if not.
Business– how much do you charge (later post on that one folks, stay tuned), who are your ‘competition’, how much do they charge, how much is the right amount?
Sales– yep, you’re selling yourself (and another one for a later post) and your band. The better you are at selling the better everything else will work, so someone better be doing it. You need to know how you get your gigs and make sure people find you when they come looking. Don’t just lie in the sun with your tongue out hoping a fly will land on it.
Social Media– Keep it up to date. Get your message out there, every gig, every review, every track – just everything.
Website– this is often bundled with the above, but it’s not the same. A good social media presence is not the same as a good website. They do different things. Have a plan – social media should drive to your website; the website should drive to your booking (or vice versa). It isn’t a vanity project, it’s not your pat on the back ‘look what I can do!’. It is a tool to get bookings. Never forget it.
Brand– again, like sales, this is important. Someone needs to look at what you do and say to themselves - why do people book us? Why are more people going to book us? If you’re a tribute band, this bit is relatively easy. But if you’re not, you need to make a decision here. If you think these things happen by accident – they don’t. It affects what you wear, what you present and to an extent what you perform.
Merch– everybody loves merch, but somebody needs to create it. Who is that? Merch is a double bubble benefit. First and obvious – you sell it, you make a little side money. Second, if you’re doing stickers, tees, hoodies etc, the people buying are doing your advertising for you, so the merch better achieve two things:
Make sure your name is visible.
Be noticeable and desirable.
Alright, that’s probably three things really, so maybe I’ll create another post on this later.
Leader– there’s always a leader. Don’t pretend there isn’t just to seem collaborative. Everyone has their role to play and every role is important. The leader role isn’t more important than any other, it’s just another role, but it is still as important.
If you’re a solo artist, guess what? You get to play all the roles – whoopee! Which hat shall I wear today? But be assured, you better either own all those hats, or find someone to support you that owns a few. Overall it is a bit tougher to wear them all, but at least you get to be leader and don’t have to share your booty!