S: So You Want To Be in a Band...
BC: By reading this guide, you'll learn the basics of how to flourish as an indie band in Columbus's music scene.
FC: So You Want to Be in a Band... | By Grace Crumrine
1: Pick a band name that’s memorable and unique. Bandname.com can be used to check if your name is already taken. Also use GoDaddy.com to see if your band name can be used in a domain name. | First off, you need to find some friends and form a band. | Welcome! Through this guide, you'll learn the basics on how to flourish as a band in Columbus's music scene. | 1
2: Recording Your Music | Chart from Indie Band Survival Guide 135 | 2
3: If you decide to record at home, some programs to use are GarageBand and Reaper | If you do opt to record in a studio, here are some tips: | -Ask other bands where they’ve recorded to get recommendations for a studio. Finding the right fit is done largely by word of mouth. -do your research on sound engineers by asking around, or listening to local cds from the library | 3 | Garageband
4: -Come prepared to record so you don’t waste time and money practicing during studio time. -Make sure all your gear is in good working order (it wouldn’t hurt to bring an extra pair of strings, etc.) -Come with an idea of what you want to get accomplished. | 4
5: Local Recording Studios: -Blue Moon Studios -CDR -Central City Recording -Electraplay -LakeHouse Studios -Musicol -PaperTiger Studios -Relay Recordings -Schwab Studios For a complete list of local studios, go to Cringe.com (under "contact listings" then click on "Studios") or Cowtownmusic.com/studios.html List compiled from the Columbus Music Co-Op Workshop, So You Want To Make Music in Columbus | 5 | Schwab Studios
6: Booking Shows | You must be the ones to get your band out there, unless you’re lucky enough to have an agent or manager. | Don’t take it personally if bookers don’t respond to your emails or contacts. It's okay to be persistent and try again. | Before you contact a venue, have the time, date, band order, and desired cover charge in mind. | 6
7: Offer to be an opener. Look around on the internet for local bands looking to fill an open night spot. | Some bands may take the option of being an opener for no pay; the pay off would be getting exposure. It’s up to you and your band mates to decide this one. | 7 | Although Bon Jovi is not a local band, I came across this ad on the internet for an opening spot in one of their shows.
8: Look at alternative venues such as coffee shops, libraries, or stores. Consider doing festivals, benefit shows, and open mics too. | Watch and see where your favorite bands like to play. | 8 | The Columbus Music Co-Op Youth Committee held an acoustic open mic night at a deli shop!
9: Try swapping shows with a band from another city. They'll come to your city and play a gig with you, and then you’ll swap, visit their city, and play a show with them. This presents opportunities beyond your local music scene. | Always take care of the out of town band, and make sure the show is well promoted. Let them play the middle ‘prime’ spot. (So You Want to Make Music In Columbus? 6) | 9
10: If you book the show, typically you should play last. | A member from your band should introduce themselves to the other bands as they arrive to the show. Each band should get about 1 hour. (So You Want to Make Music In Columbus? 6) | Do your best not to go over your allotted time. | 10
11: Put out flyers everywhere (you want repetition.) Use internet tools such as facebook, email, twitter, and youtube. | Facebook is becoming one of the most popular ways to spread the word about a show. Utilize this power by creating an event on facebook for your bands shows. | 11
12: Avoid pay to play gigs, where the venue requires you to sell a certain number of tickets for you to be able to play. | Be wary of playing with the same bands over and over again. Expand your horizons to get more exposure. | Every 3 weeks is the most you should play shows. | 12
13: All Ages Venues | -Bernie's Distillery (all ages sometimes) -Dan Dougan's Listening Hour -Espresso Yourself Music Cafe -Goodale Park Music Series -Junctionview Studios -Kafe Kerouac -Legion of Doom -Lost Weekend Records (record store) -Monster House -Metronome House -Scarlet & Gray Cafe -The Shelf (alternative art space/venue) -Used Kids Records (record store) -Wholly Craft | List used from the Columbus Music Co-Op Workshop, So You Want To Make Music in Columbus | 13
14: For a full list of venues, go to Cringe.com (under "contact listings" -click on "venues") | Other Booking Resources: www.donewaiting.com (under "Hype" or "Columbus Music" forums) www.cowtownmusic.com | 14
15: Merchandise | Things to sell: Tshirts with your logo on them | Stickers (you can put your web address on them and they can be handed out for free) | Sites like CafePress or Bandwear offer other products on which you can print your logo. | 15
16: Submitting to the Press | List comes from the Columbus Music Co-Op Workshop, So You Want To Make Music in Columbus | 16
17: Submit your top 2 to 3 songs. | Ask favors from friends, like creating a poster for your band but make sure to give them something in return. | Don't overwhelm the receiver by putting in promo items like stickers or buttons. | 17
18: List comes from the Columbus Music Co-Op Workshop, So You Want To Make Music in Columbus | 18
19: Submitting to Radio | Follow the same guideline as submitting to the press. | Indicate 1-3 songs that are your best when submitting your cd. Make it easier on the radio station. | 19
20: Local Radio Contacts | List comes from the Columbus Music Co-Op Workshop, So You Want To Make Music in Columbus | 20
21: Internet | Create a Brand- It’s a communication of your band's identity. It allows for accuracy, impact, repetition and consistency. (Chertkow 33, 34) | Your brand consists of your name, logos, photos, artwork, your story, your tagline, and your music. You'll use these components over and over again for your websites, albums, videos, MP3s, press kits, posters, merchandise etc. (Cherktow 34, 35) | 21 | The Rolling stone are a good example of a band who used branding. Whenever you see this logo, you automatically you think of the Rolling Stones right away. There are albums, buttons, tshirts, and other merch sold that have this logo on them.
22: For your story, you need an interesting way to introduce your band to people. Find an angle to work with. "You should have multiple versions of this story, like a one page and a paragraph version. Prepare an “elevator pitch” version that can accurately describe who you are and what you sound like—all in the time it takes to ride an elevator." (Chertkow 43.) | 22
23: Get a website! Use your band as the domain name. Update it periodically. | Know your audience, use Google Analytics or your website services features to see web statistics . | Lead with your strongest music—pick your best songs to give away or put up on a website player. Allow some songs for free download. | Track who’s talking about your band, it can give you valuable info about your audience. Google your band name to see what's coming up. | 23
24: Ditch splash pages, they’re just another thing to click through. | Use images for each story/blog post, it gets readers more interested than just reading text. | Facebook is fast becoming one of the most popular resources for getting the word out. Keep your fans updated with news and shows. | 24
25: Have a mailing list to update fans. Limit mailings to no more than twice a month to keep fans eager to hear from you. | Start a blog with lots of pictures to create a more personal interaction with fans. | 25 | Twitter is a useful tool to quickly touch base with fans and create more personal interactions.
26: Selling Your Music | Locally | Nationally | -Used Kids Records -Magnolia Thunderpussy Records -Lost Weekend Records -Spoonful Records -Dreadful Sound | -Cdbaby.com -Bandcamp.com -iTunes -Amazon.com | 26
27: How to use online stores effectively | -Make comparisons to your music with major bands -Utilize good reviews and put quotes from them in the description -Make song samples if the store will let you. If not, put samples on your website and link them to the store | -Put links on each page of your website to your online album stores. Make it easy for people to but your music. -Link back to your website from the storefront so customers can find out more about your band and albums. | 27 | (Chertkow 151.)
28: There's never been better time to be a musician. | There are countless niches for your music. | There are easier ways to get heard today other than the traditional method of TV and radio. | Fans won't care if you have a record deal or not. It's all about genre, publicity, talent, and quality. (Chertkow 6) | 28
29: Resources Used | - - -. The Indie Band Survival Guide. New York: St. Martin's Griffin, 2008. Print. Columbus Music Co-Op. So You Want to Make Music in Columbus? Columbus: Columbus Music Co-Op, 2011. Print. Gelinas, Nate. E-mail interview. 21 Jan. 2011. | For more information: indieguide.com columbusmusiccoop.org (contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org) | 29
30: Photos Used | Bribe. N.d. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Apr. 2011.
31: John Schwab Studio Mixing Console. N.d. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2011.