One of the first questions I’m always asked is what should you send or show to someone in the music business to impress them. With the advent of Myspace, glossy laminated press kits became a bit of a joke. With the death of Myspace, it just became confusing–what you should show potential team members to get them interested in you? There are a few simple options you can present to anyone you aim to impress and if you’re worthwhile, these should help you make a great impression.
Demonstrate Your Progress With Next Big Sound
As stated before, many potential team members might not be fans of the genre of music they work in, so they like to see that your music will be easy to sell. Next Big Sound’s (nextbigsound.com) comparison charts can help you demonstrate whether your music fits the bill. These charts can clearly spell out that fans are listening to your music. You can show how much they’re listening to you compared to other musicians within your genre. Never before have you been able to so clearly show someone that your music has potential.
Lately, when lesser-known musicians ask for my help, I’ve been saying that if they can make the graph maintain at least a 45-degree angle for the next three months, I’m happy to give some advice on what they should do next. This is also a great way to motivate and set goals for your music to make some serious progress.
Understand What Makes You Special
Odds are there are tons of other musicians out there who are just like you. But there has to be a quality that sets you apart. I don’t mean something as crazy as being a polka band that dresses in costumes that look like Slipknot. You have to know what makes you special and be able to tell others in a way that gets them excited. Do you make party rock anthems that make LMFAO sound like Muzak? You need to be able to describe that in a compelling way. This doesn’t mean being an arrogant and bragging as much as it means being able to sell yourself. Without knowing what sets you apart, it’ll be hard to get doors opened for you.
What Do You Show To Someone You’re Trying To Impress?
This question is a nuanced one and will differ from musician to musician. Throughout your time in this business you’ll see different musicians get team members on board in all sorts of different ways. Many will never have to show a label or a manager a stupid press kit. Team members are interested in working with them strictly based on their accomplishments and hype. If you’re reaching out to potential team members who don’t know how amazing you are, it’s a good idea to have tangible and presentable evidence to show them.
- Music – Duh! That’s why we’re here. Give anyone an easy way to download and stream your record. If you’re going for physical promo packages, at least include a burned CD. Be sure to recommend a few tracks that give a first impression as opposed to your twelve-minute prog-rock closing track.
- Photos – Live photos and press shots are both good. If you’re too cool for school and don’t want to do press shots, you may want to skip the whole thing and just show some cool artwork.
- Bio – Who are you? Why does anyone care? A few short sentences that tell someone what makes you special and why they should care goes a long way. Your bio should be between two and five paragraphs that concentrate on your strong points and history.
- Metrics – If you’re experiencing a lot of growth on your social networks, getting tons of plays or having a huge uptick in engagement every time you release a song, this is great to show potential team members. Find one statistic or number from your social networks, concert attendance or sales that sounds impressive, dress it up and make it sound as awesome as possible.
- Video – Live YouTube streams and video updates are a big deal these days and they do a great job of getting your personality across.
- Press Clippings – Got good press? Let them know! If you have tons of it, show it off.
- Contact Info – It will never cease to amaze me how many musicians forget this part.
Jesse Cannon is a Brooklyn based producer, mixer and mastering engineer. He has authored two of the highest rated books on music on Amazon, Get More Fans: The DIY Guide To The New Music Business and Processing Creativity: The Tools, Practices And Habits Used To Make Music You’re Happy With. He is also the co-founder of Noise Creators a service that connects musicians with the best producers and other creatives in music today, as well as hosting the podcast of the same name.