5 key ways to promote your band's tour

Touring is a hugely important part of gaining an fanbase. People who turn up for gigs are arguably the most dedicated music listeners you can reach; and as such they can also be the biggest evangelists for your act if they like the particular type of noise you’re making.

The problem is that touring is also (1) very expensive to do and (2) often incredibly hard work. And it can also be a disappointing experience (to say the least) if nobody turns up to your shows. So in this post, we’re going to give you a few pointers on how you can plan and promote a series of gigs.

1. Capture postcode data before you tour

When planning a national tour, a lot of bands take a bit of a scattergun approach to venue selection (emailing just about any venue they can find and playing anywhere that will have them). However, it makes more sense to take a more focussed approach, and concentrate on towns where you have the highest concentration of followers. So that you have this data handy, you need to ensure that in addition to the bog-standard name and email address fields, you add postcode to your mailing list sign-up forms, because you can then...

2. Use mapping tools to find out where your fans live

Assuming you have followed the sage advice issued in point 1 above, and have a truckload of postcodes handy, you can use mapping tools to get a visual overview of where your fanbase is located.

This is really easily done (and for free) with Google Maps - you just upload your mailing list and Google Maps will provide you with a map highlighting where all your fans are located - you might see that nobody likes you in Leeds, for example, while you are huge in Hull. Or if you fancy something even snazzier, try Power Map for Excel - this will let you play with your data in all sorts of visual ways. But even if you’re only able to put a simple table together based on your postcode data, the point is to create a system or use a tool that lets you find out where your fans live, because that way you can plan a tour around where the relevant ears are. You will also be in a position to say to promoters or venue bookers that you have X number of fans in town Y (and provide them with graphical / statistical evidence if needed!).

If you haven’t got a lot of postcode data to play with, all is not lost. If you have a Facebook fanbase, you can use the Insights > People tab to get a list of cities (and countries, if you’re planning a world tour) to get an overview of where your fan hotspots are.

3. Research the local media scene in each of the locations where you’re playing

As soon as you’ve confirmed your list of venues, make sure that you put together a list of local media outlets in the towns and cities you’re going to be playing. It’s considerably easier to get regional radio airplay and press than it is to do so nationally; but there always has to be a ‘local angle’. And convenient, by playing locally, you’re providing that local angle. Radio, as ever, is particularly important and if you can get on the airwaves of a radio station or two that are in proximity to the venues you are playing at, this can considerably help you boost attendance. If you can stretch to investing in a regional music press campaign to support the tour, so much the better (well, we would say that).

4. Make use of geo-targeting when promoting the gig online

If you’re using online adverts to promote your music (and in 2016, you really should be) the good news is that Facebook, Twitter and Google Ads all give you the option to target fans (or potential fans) in very specific geographical locations. This means that you can focus your ad spend on the areas that you’re playing your shows in, saving money and maximising attendance at the same time.

5. Remember to capture data at the gigs you play

The promotion doesn’t stop once you go on stage - if anything, at-the-show promotion is the key part (and purpose) of the tour: you want to make new fans after all. Ensure that you have a plan to capture data at gigs and that everyone coming out of the show knows your website address. You can do this via on-stage announcements, but there are more sophisticated ways to develop relationships with fans available (as such, you might find our article on data capture at gigs handy). All this is particularly important if you are playing a lot of support slots - you need to win over the fans of the headline acts, and capture their details (so that next time you play the same venue, you're headlining).

Hope you’ve found these tips handy. A final pointer, of course, might be this: don’t forget to rehearse…

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How to make sure you receive the radio royalties you're owed

Radio

With touring so expensive and streaming royalties so low, it’s become harder than ever to make money out of music. One area where it is still possible to generate decent revenue however is through getting radio airplay; but often, bands concentrate so hard on getting this airplay that they forget to take the necessary steps to ensure are getting paid for it - thus missing out on income that can in some cases be quite significant. So in this post we’re going to share a few pointers on how to ensure you definitely get the dosh that is due to you from that long sought-after BBC Radio 1 (ok, Hospital Radio) spin.

But first, let’s start with a question that many bands ask: how much does each UK radio station pay you per play?

How much do UK radio stations pay per play?

Well actually, radio stations don’t pay YOU per play, they pay two royalty-collection organisations:

These two organisations then dish this income out to you (or your representatives) in various instalments. And it’s worth noting that the amount of money the radio stations pay per play isn’t static - it boils down to the size of each radio station’s listenership, which of course varies year by year.

PRS per-play payment examples

PRS members can log in to the PRS site and view a very detailed set of figures from the PRS regarding how much each station is currently paying per the PRS play - there’s a few PRS examples below for the big music stations (July 2016):

  • BBC Radio 1: £13.63 per minute
  • BBC Radio 2: £24.27 per minute
  • BBC 6 Music: £5.25 per minute

PPL per-play payment examples

Obtaining ‘per-play’ data from the PPL is a lot harder - despite several trawls of the PPL website, I can’t find a simple overview of royalty rates per station. (I’ve fired off an email to them however asking for data - I will update this post with relevant info when I hear back).

In the meantime the I’ve sourced some pay-per-play examples from publishing company Sentric Music’s blog:

  • BBC Radio 1: £37.76 per minute
  • BBC Radio 2: £82.07 per minute
  • BBC 6 Music: £8.06 per minute

(Note that this data is from 2013, so a little out of date).

The PRS and PPL also collect ‘per-play’ royalties from thousands of other radio stations across the country (not to mention TV stations too, and many other sources).

It’s easy to see why getting your hands on these royalties matter…

Even the top-line figures above give you a clear idea of why getting your ducks in a row when it comes to radio royalties matters.

For the sake of argument, suppose you are fortunate to get a 4 minute track playlisted on Radio 2, obtaining 15 plays over the space of a fortnight. Combining the PRS and PPL figures gives you a total-pay-per-play figure of £106.34 per minute. Multiply that by your total number of minutes played - 60 - and you'd end up generating £6830.40 in royalties in just two weeks. And that’s just from one station - getting playlisted on Radio 2 often leads to playlisting on many other stations across the country too, which will further increase your radio royalty revenues.

Of course, deductions will need to be made from any income generated by radio play - depending on your situation, managers, labels and publishers will all be taking their slice of pie, but it’s a sizeable sum to kick things off with.

How to ensure you don’t leave your radio money on the table

So, now that we’re all drooling at the prospect of Radio 2 playlisting and making nearly £7k in a fortnight, it’s time to look at how you avoid leaving that sort of money on the table. Thankfully, this is relatively straightforward (if a bit time-consuming).

  • First, ensure that you become a member of PPL and the PRS. Without this membership, it is next to impossible to get paid royalties for radio play.
  • Second, obtain ISRC codes from the PPL for the tracks you intend to send to radio. These allow radio stations to identify you as the owner of the track.
  • Third, encode these ISRC codes on your CDs and MP3. Generally a mastering engineer or CD manufacturer can help you with the former, and you can use software like KID3 to add them to MP3s.
  • Fourth, register the individual tracks with PPL and the PRS. (Where PPL is concerned, you’ll need to have a list of all the performers on the tracks to hand, along with their PPL numbers).

Finally, you may find it beneficial to involve a publisher or a publishing administrator in proceedings, as they will be familiar with the whole process and may be able to speed things up, highlight any errors or suggest ways that you can squeeze a bit more revenue out of proceedings. As a starting point though, the above steps will offer some important protection against missing out on radio royalties.

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5 ways that bands can benefit from cloud computing

cloud-computing.jpg

I’ve often said that being in a rock-and-roll band is like running your own business (somewhat reluctantly, due to the very un-rock-and-roll nature of that statement). But insofar as you’re manufacturing something (music) and trying to flog it, it’s true.

And one thing that most successful businesses are relying on increasingly these days is cloud computing.

If in the unlikely event you’ve yet to come across this new fangled cloud stuff, in a nutshell it boils down to storing all your files online and being able to access them using any device; the implications of this are significant for all of us, and bands are no exception. So in our ever-helpful way, below you’ll find some tips on how musicians can make the most out of the cloud.

1. Timekeeping

Organising rehearsals, particularly when your band has lots of musicians in it, is a pain in the ass. But if you use shared calendars that live in the cloud, it instantly becomes a lot easier - so long as everybody takes a moment to update their calendars with their unavailability, it’s really easy to spot a slot where a rehearsal might actually be feasible. Google Calendar is included with both a free Google Account or the paid-for Google Apps for Work suite, and it's super easy to use - so get your band using it.

2. Backing up recordings

Every recording musician will know, particularly in this digital day and age, how important it is to back up recordings. When I first started recording onto a computer, I used to spend ages copying Pro Tools files onto CDs and DVDs to back them up. A dull and time-consuming activity, particularly with my crappy CD burner.

A solution like Google Drive or Dropbox can take all the pain out of backup, particularly if you’ve got their sync apps installed on your computer. You just save your recordings into your Google Drive or Dropbox folder and, so long as you’re online and have set up syncing correctly, it will back them up automatically to the cloud (note: to be extra safe, consider a third backup too, so that you adhere to the age old 3-2-1 backup rule).

3. Collaboration

The cloud is GREAT for facilitating collaboration. If, for example you’re backing up your recordings to the cloud as described above, you’re also making it possible for your band members to access and contribute to them without being in the same room as you.

4. Admin

Just like any other ‘business’ would, your band can use cloud productivity tools like Google Apps or Office 365 to stay on top of band admin. Both of these products allow you to contribute in real time to documents, spreadsheets and slides - all of which can be really helpful when it comes to sorting out your band finances, tours, setlists and industry contacts databases. And the great thing is you can access all that stuff wherever you are, thanks to the beauty of mobile devices.

5. Promotion

As mentioned above, you can use cloud collaboration tools to collectively compile a great list of music industry contacts...but the cloud comes in very handy too when it comes to communicating with them too: sharing music using the cloud is ridiculously easy. If you want to send a journalist or A&R guy a link to a track, you will do yourself no end of favours by sending them a Google Drive or Dropbox link to it, instead of attaching it to an email. If you’re clogging up somebody’s inbox with a 9MB attachment, they will immediately form a negative impression of you, no matter how good that 9MB attachment sounds. You can share all manner of other content stored in the cloud with contacts too - videos, EPKs, press releases, riders - the works.
 

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8 ways to get the most out of a music PR campaign

Hand holding microphone - accompanies article about how to make the most of a music PR campaign

Hiring a music PR company to promote a release is one of the best ways to raise the profile of your band (well, we would say that). But it can also involve a sizeable financial investment – and one which will obviously be felt most keenly by artists who are self-funding their projects.

As such, it’s important to make the most of any music PR campaign you commission, and in this post we’re going to give you some tips on how to do just that.

1. Make sure the music is top-notch before you approach any music PR companies

It sounds obvious, but before you even go anywhere near a music PR firm it’s important to ensure that the music you are going to them with sounds as good as it possibly can. The best music PR companies are actually inundated with enquiries from bands and have quite a choice when it comes to which clients to take on – to work with your chosen company, you’ll need to make sure that the material you present to your prospective music PR company is as sonically robust as possible.

2. Make sure your other band assets are top-notch too

Music PR firms won’t just base a decision about whether to work with you based on your music. They’ll need to see evidence that all the other aspects of your output – from your music website to band photos to the quality of gigs you’ve got lined up – are also strong. This may seem a little harsh (surely it’s all about the music, man?) but in fact it’s very important that a music PR company looks at ALL band assets closely…because journalists and bloggers sure as hell will. In short, if a music publicity company isn’t convinced by the quality of your band assets, then you can bet that newspapers and music review sites won’t be either.

3. Approach a music PR firm that works with your genre

If you’re in an metal band, it makes sense to look for a company with a track record in working on metal music PR campaigns. Don’t hire one that only does jazz. If a music PR company is interested in working with you, ask for examples of successful campaigns they’ve worked on in your band’s genre.

4. Shop around, and be cautious of PR companies that say yes to anything

Some music PR companies will say yes to any project – because they care more about getting business through the door than promoting quality projects. If you get the feeling that this is the case with a company you're talking to, ask some probing questions – why do they want to work with you? Which music publications do they see your music fitting into? What’s their track record in working with similar acts? Who’s on their roster at the moment? Are there too many bands on their roster for you realistically to get a look-in? Don’t be afraid to shop around – as when it comes to hiring a builder, get several quotes, evaluate them thoroughly and make the best decision based on the evidence. When you come across a music PR firm that’s incredibly enthusiastic about your music and wants to work with you, that’s great – but always let your head rather than your heart rule your decision on hiring them. Enthusiasm about a project is something you should definitely look for in a music PR company – it just has to be backed up with a sense that the enthusiasm is genuine and the company has a coherent plan to maximise publicity for your act.

5. Invest time in creating assets that will help your music PR campaign

As mentioned above the music press take band assets heavily into consideration when considering what to cover. So the more great stuff your music PR has to work with the better – an EPK, strong website, great band photos and music videos with strong production values will all make it easier for your music PR company to do the best possible job for you. (Having great hair also helps).

6. Listen to your music PR team's advice

It’s easy as an artist to get so wrapped up in your own musical talent and creations that objectivity goes out the window - and a good music PR team can help put that objectivity back into the equation. Perhaps a particular track would work better as a first single than the one you’ve got your heart set on? Perhaps a different band photo would be the best shot to distribute to blogs? Maybe a different running order on the album might help? Your music PR will have worked (hopefully!) on hundreds of previous campaigns and as such should have a good knowledge of how journalists and bloggers will react to certain types of content – so be aware that despite you being sure your band is better than Bowie, Lou Reed and The Beatles combined their knowledge of the media might just trump yours. Be open to advice.

7. Stay in touch with your music PR

Without overdoing it, don't be afraid to check in regularly with the person charged with working on your music PR campaign. The reality of the situation is that despite the best will in the world, when you hire a music PR team to work on a release, they're inevitably going to be working on several other releases too and the band that shouts the loudest often gets the most attention...so make your presence regularly known and ensure that your project gets as much time as everybody else's. Caveat: don't be a pain in the bum about it, as that can make your music PR team find you annoying - and may affect the effort they put into your project. Strike a balance between checking in about the important stuff and giving your team the space and trust they need to do their job properly.

8. Promote your music PR company and all their works

It may sound daft but as a band YOU need to promote your music PR company too, and the work they do for you. By that I mean ensuring that their contact details and website address are highly visible on any of your band assets – websites, promos, social media presences and so on. Same goes for any content produced or coverage attained by the music PR company on your behalf – you should ensure that the blog or news section on your site features your latest press release and any reviews, premieres or interviews secured by your music PR team (these should all be shared on social media / via e-newsletter too).

And now the obligatory plug: if you are interested in working with Prescription PR, don’t hesitate to contact us. (Just make sure you've followed all the above advice first).

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10 ways to make a good music video on a budget

So you’ve been making an album for what feels like a decade. You’ve gone through several difficult stages to get there: the writing, the recording, the mixing, the mastering, the sleeve design…and then some bright spark pipes up to tell you that on top of all that, you’ve got to make a bloody pop video.

Now, in days of music yore, pop videos were the preserve of the megastars. Flying Simon Le Bon to a tropical island and sorting him out with a pair of designer leather pants for a 70mm film shoot was not a cheap business. Fortunately, times have changed and making pop videos is more affordable than ever; so here a few tips on how to create a good one on a budget.

1. Come up with a good concept

A good concept will nearly always trump high production values. Take Fatboy Slim’s ‘Praise You’ video as an example. Shot, guerrilla style, for only $800 on the streets of Westwood, California – rather than an expensive studio – it was one of the funniest and most popular videos of the late 90s and contributed in no small part to the success of the track. Even if you are not able to get your hands on any professional video equipment to make a pop video with, if you can come up with a strong idea and shoot it on your phone…well, you may be onto something. And speaking of phones…

2. Go deliberately lo-fi

There’s nothing quite as bad (in my mind anyway) as a video that tries to look professional but falls short (I’ve made a few of them in my time). If you know that you’re not going to have a film crew and loads of lights handy (nor, indeed, Simon Le Bon or his leather pants) then think about going to the other extreme: make a deliberately lo-fi music video. Shoot on phones, camcorders or old super 8 cameras and be wear your graininess proudly on your sleeves. (Again, how good this will all work out for you will depend on your video concept.)

3. Consider making a lyric video

Half the point of having a music video these days is so that people can find your music easily on what remains the biggest music streaming site in existence: Youtube. If you can't afford to make and upload a beautiful cinematic masterpiece to Youtube, it's still important to put something up, and many punters will be happy with a ‘lyric video’ – particularly if your band writes good lyrics. Lyric videos are easily made with basic packages like iMovie and are ideal if you are really short on time and cash, because they do away with the need for pesky things like band members, lights, cameras, locations and extras.

4. Record a live performance

Another way of making a cheap music video is to record a live performance. Admittedly, this can be tricky or expensive if you’re hoping to shoot a full band in full swing – but acoustic versions of songs involving one or two musicians are easily performed, shot and edited. As with lyric videos, this gives you an opportunity to put your music on Youtube and in a relatively straightforward, cheap manner.

5. Blag favours

If you want to be a bit more ambitious with your music video, then blagging favours is the best bet – ideally from a mate who makes music videos for a living. But don’t just stop there: you can ask friends to get involved with your video as extras, ask a local venue to lend you their establishment as a shoot location, borrow a DSLR from your dad…and so on. And speaking of DSLRs…

6. For God’s sake, use a DSLR

If you’re shooting something yourself, the DSLR – or ‘Digital Single Lens Reflex’ camera – is your friend. Unless you’re taking the deliberately lo-fi path described above, then these cameras, which are easily borrowable or rentable (heck, you could even buy one), are capable of providing stunning, cinema-quality results. If you’ve got a clever idea for a video and want to up the production values a notch, then it’s definitely worth trying to get your hands on one instead of resorting to your iPhone.

7. Invest in some cheap lighting

One thing that bands always seem to forget about when making pop music videos on a shoestring is lighting. And, 9 times out of 10, it’s the lights that make the difference between something looking professional - and not. The funny thing is that lights are not actually that expensive to hire. You can hire a lighting kit for as little as £50 a day – and using one will make all the difference. It is worth, however, swotting up on how to light a shoot before plonking lights all over the place and shouting 'the camera, action' bit – ask the internet for some basic pointers before plugging anything in.

8. Limit the number of locations you use...

Rather than getting bogged down moving between several locations – which can eat up time, goodwill (if blagging favours) and cash – consider using one really cool, quirky location and making the most of it.

9. ...Or don’t use a location at all

You can save time and money by not going anywhere. Putting the band against a blank wall and getting them to pull silly faces, or plonking them in front of a cheap green screen which is later replaced by wacky visuals in a video editing program may actually yield better results than filming a group of musicians prancing around a warehouse featuring polished concrete flooring in a fashionable part East London (no matter how coiffured the beards involved). Alternatively, consider putting your video together using animations, archive/stock footage or photos.

10. Put a bit of dosh aside for post-production

Spending a little bit of money on post-production, particularly colour grading, can go a long way. ‘Grading’ a video is a bit like mastering a song – and can have equally transformative effects. Whether it’s a simple case of tweaking the brightness and contrast levels on each shot, or applying a particular colour effect to the whole video, grading can help lift the visuals no end - as can the addition of subtle effects like film grain (or indeed more radical effects like colour inversion or vignettes). Particularly if you are a novice to the area of video-making, or using less than ideal equipment, you can enhance results no end by investing a little bit of time or money on post production.

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5 ways that musicians can be inspired by the life and times of David Bowie

David Bowie

by Chris Singleton

The sad and unexpected passing of David Bowie has led to a huge number of tributes to the artist being made by the great, good and downright odd (Lewis Hamilton and David Cameron were big fans, apparently). And rightly so: Bowie was one of those very few artists who managed to not only entertain us with music but fundamentally transformed the very nature of it. He was a member of an elite club of artists – comprising, probably, Elvis, Lennon and McCartney and Dylan – who wrote the script for the evolution of rock and roll. It is no surprise that so many musicians – myself included – are profoundly influenced by him and his work; and for many of us in the business of writing songs, Bowie’s death this week has been felt particularly keenly. We are so used to incorporating him and his work into that very introspective activity of songwriting that his death robs us not only of a great rock star but something enormously personal too. A touchstone relied on or referred to during the creation of songs is gone; and for many musicians, it feels as though they have not lost an influence but a dear friend or uncle.

The good news of course is that Bowie leaves us with so much to celebrate and enjoy; so this post I thought I’d share a few ways in which musicians be inspired to greatness by the Thin White Duke.

1. Persevere

Given his legendary status, it’s easy to forget that once upon a time Bowie was just a mere mortal and, what’s more, a struggling, unsuccessful musician (like the majority of us!).  He spent much of the 60s going nowhere with a variety of different acts – The Konrads, The King Bees, The Manish Boys, The Riot Boys – before finally attaining success in the 70s. A huge part of his success was down to bloody-mindedness and a refusal to give up.

2. Be different

Thanks in no small part to Bowie himself, it’s next to impossible to be shocking in rock and roll any more. But it is still possible to be different – and more interesting than the average act. Whether it’s by putting on a quirky stage show, doing a band photoshoot that doesn’t involve a brick wall as a backdrop or wearing outrageous outfits for media appearances, there are still a lot of ways to differentiate your act from the average indie band or singer-songwriter. Theatricality and image were key to Bowie’s success – experiment a bit with both.

3. Appeal to head and heart

For me, all great music (indeed art) appeals to both the intellect and emotion; and Bowie was a master at getting his tracks to work on your head and heart simultaneously. Think of ‘Starman’ as an example: it’s essentially a hifalutin’ concept-album / art-rock song about a androgynous alien, but despite these foundations, its pulls enormously on the heartstrings. This is because it’s not only a song about the an androgynous alien but a track with a wonderfully melodic chorus that cannot fail to lift the spirits (this may have something to do with the fact that said wonderful chorus has more than a little resemblance to ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’, but we’ll ignore that for now). Same goes for another hugely popular Bowie track, ‘Heroes’ – a masterclass in experimental production techniques involving, amongst other things, pitched feedback, ‘multi-latch gating’ and low frequency drones…which somehow goes on to be a song that people walk routinely down the aisle to. Next time you find yourself being too cheesy or too clever in studio…well, try to be both.

4. Work with great people

It’s particularly tempting, in this day and age of ‘I’ve got a 128 track studio in my bedroom’ to try to do everything yourself. Don’t. Key to Bowie’s success was his respect for other musicians and producers – would Bowie’s music been remotely as good without the contribution of the likes of Mick Ronson, Tony Visconti, Brian Eno, Robert Fripp, Nile Rodgers, Rick Wakeman or Ken Scott (to name just a few great people he worked with)?

5. Appreciate silence

The age of social media brings with it the opportunity for musicians to form direct connections and conversations with listeners. In many ways this is a good thing, but it also brings with it the potential for too much communication, to the point where there is no mystery about a musician left, and no distance between artist and fan. Enigma and silence are powerful things and they can be used in an extremely impactful way, as Bowie demonstrated with the surprise release of ‘The Next Day’ in 2013. He used silence again to maximum effect with the timing of his last release, ‘Black Star’ which became far more potent/significant because it was issued immediately before a death that nobody was expecting. As Visconti put it, Bowie’s passing was, in its own right, a ‘work of art’ – and this was all down to how Bowie used silence. It is just very sad that silence from Ziggy, Aladdin, The Thin White Duke and David Jones himself is now a permanent fixture.

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TAD: a new app to help musicians put artwork together quickly

TAD App

We've come across a new iOS app recently which may be of interest to musicians in need of a bit of help with creating artwork for online releases (as well as those who are short of cash for hiring a designer). It's called 'TAD' - short for 'Thumbnail Art Design' - and in a nutshell, it allows you to use your smartphone to create a cover, quickly and easily, for a digital release.

Aimed at 'time poor musicians who aren't designers', it allows users to add text and other art elements to a picture of their band (or something else) and create release artwork within minutes. Filters are available for the images, as are sleeve templates based on classic sleeve designs. You can export the finished artwork in various resolutions, including 3000 x 3000 pixels (making it suitable for use with iTunes, Beatport and Spotify).

The best way to get a sense of what the app does is to watch the below video, which gives a simple demonstration of what it does. You can also find out more about the app on the official TAD website.

Ultimately TAD is a nifty little app which I can see a lot of musicians using on the bus to band practice. It's not really suitable for creating printed artwork and as such won't entirely replace the need for a graphic designer any time soon, but it definitely has its uses - even if only for playing around with ideas for sleeves. Certainly bands who only ever release music digitally will find it a very useful tool.

The app can currently be downloaded from the iOS App Store for free until 14 December, after which you can buy it for $1.99.

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How to find a good music manager

Brian Epstein

by Chris Singleton

One of the many questions we get asked at Prescription PR is this: how do I find a good music manager? Well, it’s not easy, but here are a few tips on finding a good manager, and just as importantly, establishing whether a particular candidate is the right fit for your band.

Where to look for a manager

Finding a professional working in your musical niche

The best manager for your band is arguably an experienced person managing a successful act that makes the same sort of noise as yours; an act that is operating squarely within your ‘niche’ and selling way more music than you. This kind of manager is most likely to have the right sort of label and live agency contacts that a band like yours needs to get things off the ground. With this in mind, it’s vital to get a good sense of what ‘niche’ you belong to, and to draw up a list of managers who operate within that niche. You can often find their details on the liner notes of their artists’ releases, or on the contact page of band websites; and resources like the Unsigned Guide, the Music Managers Forum, Music Week and Hitquarters can furnish you with further information about them (such as an all important email address).

By focusing on the key players within your genre instead of casting the net really wide, you can find the most effective candidates for the job of Svengali extraordinaire; not to mention minimise the time spent on pitches and the upset caused by hearing the word ‘no’ an awful lot.

Sod the professionals: ask a mate or family member to do it…

This sounds like daft advice – on first hearing. Who’d want an inexperienced drinking buddy or a pushy mother to be in charge of their career?

However, most of the difficulties new artists have with successful, experienced managers boil down to this: your manager is too busy catering for his/her successful acts to devote enough time to your project, and doesn't care about you as much as them either (as you bring in less dough).

A friend or family member, however, has the potential to care about you to the point where they'll prioritise your career over everything else.  And a bit of family pushiness can go a long way, as artists like Beyonce, Ozzy Osbourne or the Jackson Five – all of whom were managed by family members – can tell you (well, maybe Ozzy doesn’t quite remember). A huge part of successful management involves banging on doors, and you may find that somebody close to you is much better at banging on doors than a professional manager with only a passing interest in your career.

What to look for in a manager

So you've found somebody who wants to manage you! Great. But finding a potential manager is usually only half the problem: working out whether that person is the right sort of ‘fit’ for your act is another difficult challenge. It’s quite nice, you see, when somebody offers to manage you – particularly if they have successful acts on their books. In fact, it can go to your head a bit and lead to you rushing into a silly agreement with them. Don’t let it – because at best this can be a waste of time; and at worst, it can damage your career.

Here are some key questions you need to ask yourself about a manager before committing to work with them:

1. Are they good at their job?

The first question you should ask yourself when evaluating a potential manager is this: is the person who wants to manage you good at what they do? Just as you wouldn’t hire somebody with an interest in pipes over a qualified plumber to fix a leak, you should be cautious about working with a music manager who has never signed a band to a major label, landed a big sync for an artist or got an act on a seriously good tour. As mentioned above, passion and pushiness can compensate for a lack of experience, so don’t rule people out exclusively based on lack of a track record – The Beatles manager, Brian Epstein (pictured above), was not the most experienced manager ever, for example – but do bear it in mind. And avoid the worst of all worlds: where you choose to work with somebody who does not have a track record AND is not particularly fussed about working hard for you.

2. Are they TOO good at their job to give you the attention you deserve?

Having a manager with an impressive roster is a double-edged sword. It can open doors, but it can also leave you without a manager at all, if he/she is too busy looking after a bunch of successful prima donnas to devote any time to your career. As such, try to get a clear commitment from this sort of manager that they will actually give you a look-in.

3. Are they a fundamentally decent person?

Having a psychopath, megalomaniac or general shark type as your manager may in some ways be good for your career. But not if they are out to rip YOU off, or screw YOU over. Try to make sure that the person you choose to represent your interests does precisely that; this will involve picking somebody who you know will behave in a decent manner, at least where your career is involved.

4. Are they reliable?

There are a lot of nice, well-intentioned people out there who like the idea of managing bands without necessarily loving the legwork involved in doing so. Unsurprisingly, these types can also be spectacularly flakey – particularly if they have other stuff, or day jobs, on the go. If you’re dealing with a prospective manager who is really keen on your demo but never shows up at your gigs and takes ages to return phone calls, then alarm bells should be ringing  - and loudly.

5. Are they going to spend any money on you?

Given how hard it is in this Spotify and Apple Music era to make any money at all out of music, it is understandable if managers are unable or unwilling to invest large sums money in bands, and reasonable to expect the band to make a contribution to the costs involved with getting a music project off the ground. That said, if your manager expects you to pay for absolutely everything (every CD, every video and every Facebook advert) and will rarely if ever put their hand in their own pocket to support you, then proceed cautiously. At the end of the day managers need to put at least some of their money where their mouths are, if only to show you that they are serious about your music and give you confidence in the relationship.

6. What’s the plan?

Your manager should have a clear idea of which of your tracks he or she is going to pitch, to whom, and when; which gigs you should play; and how your new hairdo should look.  All this needs to be communicated with you very clearly. If you don’t know what your prospective manager plans to do with your career, or hair, avoid.

Suck it and see

If, having got satisfactory answers to the above questions, you’re happy to hire a particular individual as your manager, the most sensible approach for embarking on a relationship with them is ‘suck it and see’. Define a period of time that you’re happy to work with each other – say 6 months – and the goals that you want to achieve in that timeframe (both in terms of your manager delivering opportunities to you and you delivering good music and assets to them). Be clear too on the commission rates your manager can expect (usually 15% to 20%).

If, after a trial period you and your manager are both delivering the goods to each other – and remember, you have responsibility as an artist to put in the required musical effort too – then happy days; if not, get your pushy mother on the case!

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A simple but effective way to grow your band’s mailing list

Postboxes

A question we routinely get asked here at Prescription PR is this: “how do I grow my band’s mailing list?” Whilst it’s tempting to reply with “ask if your mum has more than one email address,” there is actually a simple trick for improving sign-up rates on your website, and in this blog post we’re going to share it with you.

Basically, improving data capture conversion rates on a website involves putting all the fabulous content you might have on your website to one side for a moment, and focusing on getting your visitor to do one thing, and one thing only: submit their email address into a form. So in essence, it means making a completely unmissable form the first thing your visitors encounter when they land on your site.

There’s essentially two ways you can do this:

1. By presenting visitors to your website with a full-page ‘welcome mat’ – a full-screen call to action that users see before any other content
2. By using a 'popover form' which appears over your content when your visitors arrive on a page of your site.

To see how welcome mats work, check out this Appsumo blog post (it’s a bit salesy but it explains the concept in simple terms). Appsumo claim that welcome mats provide up to three times the number of signups compared to forms placed elsewhere on a website.

To see an example of popover forms in action, you can check out a site we built for Five Grand Stereo. Note that a popover form is different from the old, annoying ‘popup’ box of yore, which opened a new window without asking you (and was routinely blocked by browsers). Popovers are a bit more subtle; typically javascript is used to present a form in the window that you are currently browsing in. Sometimes, to emphasise the form, the script will darken the content behind it until you’ve either clicked to remove it or have submitted your details.

When we’ve taken either approach with band websites, we’ve definitely seen a significant increase in their mailing list signup rates. (Now all that remains really is to implement something similar on the Prescription site.)

Finally, even if you’re successfully using welcome mats or popovers, you should still make an effort to position regular data capture forms prominently throughout your site – a visitor to your site might initially ignore the ‘in-your-face’ form but subsequently decide, upon having a peruse of your website that they do want your content…in which case, make it easy for them by having a prominent form on every page.

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What does Apple Music mean for musicians?

Apple Music

by Chris Singleton

With the arrival of Apple's new streaming service, 'Apple Music', the music industry looks set for yet another massive shake-up. Here are some potential consequences of its arrival for bands and artists...

1. Music bloggers just became more important

Because of the ubiquity of Apple devices, and the fairly strong likelihood that a significant proportion of their owners will opt in to paying for Apple Music, a much larger slice of the music-listening population is going to start consuming music via streaming. Apple’s aim is to get 100 million paid subscribers on its books (the current number of people streaming music via paid accounts is thought to be around 41 million) – and, unlike many of its competitors, Apple has the advertising funds handy to help it achieve this goal. All this points to the fact that we may well soon reach the point where streaming become a much more popular way to listen to music (in all probability the de facto way).

And with streaming becoming more mainstream, the journey from reading a review of an album to listening to it becomes a lot more straightforward for a lot more people – they can simply click on a link at the bottom of an online review to hear a piece of work that is being lauded or panned by a rock critic. Contrast this to the ‘old’ scenario where a music fan encountered an album review in a printed publication: in order to get their mits on the record, they would have had to take several steps – get up off the sofa; locate the album in a physical or online store; cough up cash; bring it back from the store (or wait for it to download); insert or transfer into music-playing device…and so on. Most people are lazy, so only a fraction of printed reviews ever led to people actually auditioning the music being written about.

But if an online review contains a link at the bottom to the whole album on a streaming service that is used by millions – well we’re talking about a different kettle of fish entirely. Reviews suddenly carry more weight, because they create an instant path between the music being reviewed and its consumption.

Yes, you could argue that we’ve already arrived at that situation thanks to links to Spotify, Soundcloud or Youtube accompanying reviews, but with the arrival of Apple Music we’re talking about a massive ‘upscaling’ of all this. Its introduction will, in my book at least, have labels and music PR companies 1) taking bloggers more seriously than ever before and 2) begging them to include Apple Music links alongside reviews and features.

2. It’s going to be harder to collect fans’ email addresses

Eh? What’s Apple Music got to do with the sign up form on my website? Bear with me. First, Apple Music’s arrival is going to kill off the MP3. Not right away perhaps, but we’re now way past the beginning of the end for the ‘Motion Picture Experts Group Audio Layer Three’ file. This means that people are less likely to get excited by your band’s offer of a free MP3 in exchange for their email address – partly because they don’t bother downloading stuff any more, partly because it's inconvenient or because downloading files feels well, a bit dated – and not in a hipsterish retro good way (give it time though: I suspect that in 10 years time we'll see a downloading revival in Shoreditch...).

And will offereing people a quick - albeit exclusive - stream in exchange for their personal data yield much in the way of sign ups? My feeling is no, not really: for all its virtual nature, the MP3 could still be considered a 'thing' of sorts, whereas a stream feels more like a bit of a fluffy cloud or something. Upshot? You’re going to have to be more creative about what you offer people in exchange for their email addresses.

3. You’re going to have to get your head around a new social network

As if having to be constantly witty on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and so on wasn’t enough hard work, you’re now going to have to engage fans via Apple Connect, which Apple describe as

”a place where musicians give their fans a closer look at their work, their inspirations, and their world. It’s a main line into the heart of music — great stuff straight from the artists.”

Whether or not Apple Connect lives up to this hype or not is another question, but it would be foolish – given the number of devices Apple Music will be pre-installed on – not to take it pretty seriously. 

4. Musicians may have less time to write and record songs…

So far, all indications point to Apple Music managing to both kill CD and download sales whilst providing minuscule financial renumeration to artists; as with Spotify, we’re talking about musicians getting a fraction of a pence per play. Amongst other things this means that bands are going to have to tour more regularly to make any dosh, and one potential consequence of this is that some acts will have considerably less time to hone their writing or production skills (that said, they might improve their chops somewhat thanks to all those gigs).

5. …but the songs they write may be influenced by way more artists

A lot of musicians I know decry music streaming – yet subscribe to a streaming service at the same time. There’s simply no denying the convenience of the format – hence the hypocrisy. As with listeners, so with musicians: we can expect a lot more of them to get into streaming simply because of Apple Music’s arrival on their iOS device. And this will provide access to a really wide range of influences that many songwriters might never have encountered (or been arsed exploring) before. This in turn has the potential to shape their music – and music in general – in new ways, making it even more post-post-post-postmodern than it already is.

6. You’ll have more data to play with

With Apple Music, you’re going to get more access to more data – as usage of the platform becomes more widespread it’s going to be easy enough, based on being able to see the number of plays you’re getting, to spot your popular songs from the duffers. What you do with this data is, of course, up to you: some bands recoil from writing anything that could be considered remotely popular, and those acts will be no doubt pleased to see yet more evidence that nobody is listening to their music.

7. It may mean that bands start to get slightly more cash from streaming

If the number of paid streaming accounts goes up – which is likely with the introduction of Apple Music – then so will the revenue generated by this method of consuming music. This means that musicians may make a bit more money from streams of their songs. But we’re still talking fractions of pences per play. Streaming in itself does not look like making musicians rich anytime soon.

8. Should you put your songs on Apple Music?

Musicians are caught between a rock and a hard place here. If you’re a ‘niche’ act (and who isn’t these days) with say, 1000 listeners who religiously cough up for each new album you release, then you may find that putting an album up on Apple Music decimates these sales – your die-hard fans are still human at the end of the day, and given the choice most will take convenience and ‘free’ over the effort involved in a purchase (not to mention parting with real hard cash money). But not putting music up on Apple Music closes off your chances of being discovered by a lot of new listeners.

Personally I feel it’s a case of using Apple Music (and indeed other streaming services) judiciously: putting back catalogue up there will make sense for a lot of bands, along with EPs and singles; but whether you want to go the whole hog and make a new album release immediately available on Apple Music will involve weighing up a set of pros and cons and looking at your specific audience carefully. If you are an indie band with a history of ‘surefire’ sales to fans that you can communicate directly with, then there is a strong case for releasing a ‘paid-for’ physical / downloadable version of the record in advance of putting the whole thing on Apple Music: to stagger the release, in effect. Crowdfunding is also a potential option. If you’re Beyonce, it’s another scenario of course, because you'll be in a position to negotiate more favourable terms with Apple for putting your music up on Apple Music (oh how they cowered when Taylor Swift got annoyed with them recently). Horses for courses, much like everything else in today’s multi-platform, multi-format music industry.

9. So is there any good news for musicians in all of this?

The best thing about Apple Music for musicians is the 'conversion' factor: it brings with it the potential to turn the person who might casually hear - and like - a song on the radio or at a friend's house into somebody who engages with your music more regularly, simply because your catalogue is very easily accessible on their iOS device. The difficult part, however, will be turning that engagement into a financially beneficial arrangement. And you'll have to remember that with accessibility comes disposability: your song will be 'just' one of millions on Apple Music (and will be perceived as such by listeners). This means that your music will have to fight even harder to be the signal in the signal to noise ratio. In a way, that could be a good thing: with the advent of mass streaming, we musicians will all have to raise our songwriting game to get heard. Again.

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Simple ways to promote your music on Soundcloud

Soundcloud

With over 175 million monthly listeners, Soundcloud is one of the most important sites that you can use to attract new fans to your music project. But how do you locate the ears of listeners and convince them to follow you? In this post we provide a few tips.

1. Make sure your Soundcloud content sounds great

An obvious point perhaps, but the music you upload to Soundcloud should sound as good as possible. Ok, fair enough, a lot of people use Soundcloud to showcase demos and alternative mixes of tracks with a view to getting feedback on work in progress, but the point is that whatever condition your track is in production values wise, there has to be something great about it – or it’s not going to attract attention, likes or shares. Posting demos is fine – so long as the tunes are good.

2.Make sure your SoundCLOUD content looks great

Many artists think it’s enough to upload a song or two to their Soundcloud profile and leave it at that, but don't neglect the visuals:

  • Use strong 500px x 500px artwork or photographs to accompany tracks
  • Include information about the band and relevant website info in track descriptions.
  • Make sure you use the space provided on your profile page to provide a biog plus links to your social media presences and official website.

3. Use tags

Ensure your content is tagged well. Tag your songs with any genre name that is relevant to your track; include similar artist names too (i.e., if you have a track that sounds like Frank Zappa, tag it as Frank Zappa). This is vital for ensuring that your music gets discovered via search.

4. Embed

If you’re providing audio streams on your website, use Soundcloud to embed your tracks (rather than using any built-in streaming tools or widgets). This immediately lets any site visitors know that you are on Soundcloud, allows them to follow you and provides you with the opportunity to get more plays. Furthermore, if you are sending your music to blogs and music sites, consider asking their owners to embed your tracks directly on their sites (i.e., rather than referring people to your website to listen) as this can greatly increase the number of plays you receive, and the visibility of your Soundcloud content in general.

5. Engage

Don’t just upload your music to Soundcloud and wait for people to discover it: it’s not quite as simple as an ‘if you build it they will come’ scenario. You’ll need to make yourself more visible to Soundcloud users in a more proactive way: by listening to other users’ tracks; commenting; and resharing them. Avoid doing this in a spammy way – if you’re sincere about things, you’ll have a much better shot of other users checking you and your content out (and sharing it with others).

6. Add a Soundcloud icon to your site

It’s quite common for bands to include cute little icons with links to their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages on their websites…only to forget to include one for Soundcloud. Make sure you make your Soundcloud icons as visible as all the others – given that you are a musician and Soundcloud is specifically about music sharing, it’s potentially a more valuable use of your website’s “real estate” than other social media icons.

7. Use groups

Soundcloud groups offer you a way to share music with like-minded creators / listeners. Locate groups that might dig what you do, then post tracks to them (you can also create your own groups). It’s very important that you post to groups in a respectful, non-spammy way, and ask for genuine feedback. If your music is appreciated, it will attract reposts, which will obviously help generate more exposure for and plays of your music.

8. Repost other music

Don’t just focus on promoting your music on Soundcloud – promote other artists’ music too: in effect, become a curator of musical content. If you are regularly posting interesting tracks to a growing audience, you have the potential to be a ‘tastemaker’ of sorts, with an audience that may therefore be more receptive to any of your own original music that you share.

9. Reply to comments

If people comment on your music, reply to them: this can foster a good relationship between you and people who like your music and this conversational approach may ‘convert’ somebody who commented on one of your songs to becoming a follower.

10. Be an active user

Whether you’re posting your own music, reposting somebody else’s or commenting on tracks you like, try to do it regularly. This increases your visibility as a Soundcloud contributer, makes you more noticeable and increases the chances of people listening to your music and following you.

11. Use Spotlight

If you’re on a Pro Plan, use Spotlight to pin up to five of your best tracks to the top of your profile. This ensures that you’re showcasing your best material to Soundcloud users, and potentially increasing the number of followers.

 

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Automate your band!

Marketing automation tips for musicians

by Chris Singleton

Whether you’re a wildly successful musician or a complete unknown, you are probably ‘time poor’ - you are either very busy with a successful music career, or subsidising an unsuccessful one by working round the clock in an unloved day job. Either way, you won’t necessarily have a huge amount of time on your hands to promote your music. This is where automation can come in really handy – and in this article, we’re going to look at ways you can automate your band’s marketing efforts and save a truckload of time.

1. Consider online advertising

Using online advertising isn’t a free way to automate your marketing – but it can, when done well, be very effective in driving traffic to your site while you are working in a call centre. If you are lucky enough to have some budget to put into Facebook, Twitter or Google ads, then it’s definitely worth experimenting with them to get more visitors to your band’s site or social media profiles (the aim, of course, being to convert these visitors into social media fans or subscribers to your mailing list). Usually it’s best to target fans of bands that you think your act would appeal to and offer some free content in exchange for a like, follow or email address.

2. Automate your e-newsletters

I’ve written about this regularly on this blog, so I’m not going to wax too lyrical about it again…but basically,  if you use a tool like Mailchimp or Mad Mimi to send out e-newsletters, then you have the ability to program in a sequence of automated ‘follow up’ emails to your fans. Everybody who signs up your mailing list can therefore automatically receive encouragements to follow you on social media; buy your merch; come to a gig and so on – without you having to worry about scheduling e-newsletters in automatically. You’ll find some more in-depth information on autoresponders here.

3. Use RSS to disseminate content

If you have a website worth its salt, it will contain a blog with an RSS feed. This RSS feed can be used to power all sort of stuff automatically – if you set things up correctly, your RSS feed can:

  • convert your blog post into an e-newsletter which goes out to your mailing list every time you add a new entry
  • share your new posts on Twitter, Facebook and other social media feeds
  • allow others to display links to your articles on their websites which are automatically updated every time you post new content
  • ‘ping’ news services and blog directories with new content
  • display your new posts to anyone using an RSS reader.

4. Be a slave to the algorithm: optimise your site for search

Every second of every day, algorithms are trawling the internet, sifting through sites and picking the best ones to plonk at the top of search results. Setting up your website in a way that gives it the best chance of being automatically discovered by one of these algorithms means that you may end up on the receiving end of a lot of web traffic without much effort . For some tips on how to go about this, you can read our article about SEO for bands (I’d also recommend that you check out our inbound marketing tips).

5. Split test to find out what content works best

You can use split testing algorithms to test what content works best for your band. Whether you want to find out which version of your website works best, what subject header for an email generates the most opens, or even which mix of a song appeals most to your fanbase, A/B tests can automatically ask the question and give you the answers.

A/B testing tools work by

  1. showing two different versions of a web page or email to a sample of your visitors / subscribers
  2. evaluating which generates the most engagement (be that in terms of how long people stay on a website or how many people open an email)
  3. automatically rolling out the best performing version of your content to the majority of your web visitors or subscribers.

Most e-newsletter tools allow you to split test out of the box; for running A/B tests on websites, check out Unbounce or Instapage.

6. Promote your gigs with Songkick

By using Songkick you can automate your gig publicity efforts to a degree. First, it allows you to make use of a widget that you can embed on any number of online presences (i.e., your website, Facebook, Bandcamp etc.) – meaning that once you’ve added a gig to the system it will automatically appear anywhere your widget is displayed.  Second, Songkick have a partnership with Spotify, Youtube and Soundcloud, so your gigs should automatically appear on those sites when people are listening to your music on them.

7. Use Hootsuite to schedule social media posts automatically

If you know that you’re going to be too busy to post on social media during a certain period, you can use tools like Hootsuite to schedule posts in advance – on multiple networks –so that the posts still magically appear even whilst you’re doing something else.

Not convinced by the power of automation yet? Well, you’re probably reading this post because one of three things happened:

  1. A search engine or social media algorithm automatically decided that you should.
  2. Our e-newsletter system automatically sent you an email about it.
  3. Our RSS feed and an automated tweet sent news of the article’s existence to the Twittersphere.

Automation rules...

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Five spring cleaning tips for bands...

gloves.png

by Chris Singleton

Spring seems to have finally arrived at Prescription Towers, with sunshine making a brief appearance and bunny rabbits running rampant around the office. As such we’ve been indulging in some spring cleaning (chiefly to get rid of the rabbits) and thought that you might like to do some too. So here are five things YOU as a musician can do to clean up your act...

1. Get rid of social media accounts that are no longer of any use to you

Given that there is a ‘next big thing’ in social media popping up every 5 minutes, it’s not surprising that artists have many disused social media profiles kicking about. I bet you a tenner that your band has a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud, Myspace, Reverbnation, Bandpage, Bandcamp, Tumblr, Instagram, Google+ and quite a few more social networks…but chances are, you’ve forgotten about most of them and you only keep one or two profiles updated. This means that you run the risk of potential fans or useful industry contacts doing a Google search on your act and encountering really out of date material and goofy pictures that you’re now embarrassed by. If you’re not using it, consider losing it; however, if you have a big following on a particular social network, it’s probably best to keep the relevant page alive – but bring it (and keep it) up to date.

2. Unfollow a load of people on Twitter

Most bands start off their life on Twitter by following a truckload of people in the hope that everybody will follow them back – but only a small percentage of users ever do. This leaves you with a huge following to followers deficit. So take the time to go through the list of people you’re following on Twitter and unfollow as many people as you can - you should unfollow people who don’t ever tweet or people who aren’t particularly relevant to you or your band. Doing this is beneficial for three reasons.

1) It makes your ratio of followers to following considerably better (which is helpful from a reputational point of view – it looks a bit rubbish if you’re following 2000 people and have only 100 followers).

2) It makes your Twitter feed more useful – it’s next to impossible to discern useful information from Twitter feeds when you’re following absolutely everybody.

3) It makes Twitter algorithms more effective for you – if you are only following people that are particularly relevant to your band (sympathetic radio DJs or journalists for example) then the suggestions that Twitter makes to you regarding who to follow will actually be useful ones.

For the record, you might want to check out a tool called Crowdfire (formerly Justunfollow) to help you with the above tasks – it allows you to identify people that haven’t updated their profiles in a long time as well as do one-click unfollows.

3. Update your website

Even if you have the swankiest website going, it will still look rubbish if you haven’t updated it in ages. Make sure it’s got all your latest gigs on it; a nice blog post or two; current photographs and so on. And if you know that you simply don’t have time to update a website (shame on you!) then delete any pages on it that require regular updating: it’s better to have a very simple website that is not out of date than a flashy one that is.

4. Sort out your file storage

I feel slightly ridiculous and not a little un-rock-and-roll in writing this, but simply because everything related to the music industry seems to be digitised these days, a band needs to have as good an approach to file management as possible. The one thing I have consistently found both as a musician and a PR person is that you will inevitably end up needing to access and send files relating to your band on a regular basis – A&Rs, journalists, fans, radio pluggers will all need digitised material from you regularly. If you haven’t got a cloud file storage solution, get one (Dropbox is probably my favourite for bands). And if you do have a Dropbox or Google Apps account, make sure all your folders are neatly organised and that key content is easy to locate. Again, not a very rock and roll thing to be thinking about, but you’ll be grateful for a nice folder structure when the Head of Music at Radio 1 comes calling asking you for new material pronto…and you can locate and share it with him immediately. Well hello, Mr Ergatoudis - another track you say? Certainly...

5. Clean up your mailing list

Take the time to go through your mailing list, ensuring that

  • all those email addresses collected at gigs on scraps of toilet paper are actually added to it
  • you are not using Excel or Word to store addresses and sending out emails manually but have invested in a proper e-newsletter broadcasting tool such as Mad Mimi, Getresponse or Mailchimp
  • your list does not include people who perhaps shouldn’t be on there: think twice about including friends and colleagues on every email about your band (here’s why).

There, that feels better doesn’t it. Nice and clean.

 

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Youtube for Artists is announced

Youtube for Artists

This week Youtube announced “Youtube for Artists”, which they describe as “insights and tools to help you share your music, engage your fans, and build a career”.

In reality, Youtube for Artists currently amounts to a small website containing

  • a suitably inspirational (if not madly informative) video about how every artist has the power to ‘make it’ thanks to the internet (if only it was quite that simple)
  • a brief overview of some Youtube features specifically for artists (some of which aren’t entirely ready yet)
  • some general tips on promoting your music videos.

The site feels a little half-baked right now BUT it is clear from it that there are definitely some potentially useful things on the way, chief amongst them a new ‘music insights’ tool which allows you to get an overview of where, geographically speaking, your videos are being watched – the idea being that you can take note of this big-brotheresque piece of information and plan tours accordingly.

Additionally you’ll find quite a lot of tips on Youtube for Artists about how to keep fans engaged with your videos, optimise them for Youtube’s search engine and access / make the most of statistics. When it comes to providing these tips, the Youtube for Artists site often points you in the direction of existing (and non-musician specific) help pages – this in particular helps give the whole enterprise its ‘half-finished’ feel, but these articles are useful nonetheless.

Finally, Youtube have also recently created a new feature called ‘Youtube Cards’ – these are not being introduced specifically for musicians but they are potentially very useful to them. These cards are essentially pop-up messages which you can use to add call-to-actions to your videos; Youtube somewhat hilariously describe said pop-ups as being ‘as beautiful as your videos’ (frankly, if your video is only as beautiful as a pop-up card, I would seriously worry about its quality). Despite this hyperbolic description, the cards do have the potential to be quite useful: you can use them, for example, to drive people who are watching your video back to your website, or encourage viewers to contribute to a crowdfunding campaign. If you are familiar with Youtube annotations, you can think of the cards as an evolution of those – they look better though, and are responsive (meaning they’ll display nicely across all devices).

Youtube for Artists currently feels as though it's in its infancy, and the Youtube Cards idea needs some development too - but it's good to see Youtube create resources specifically for musicians, and improvements are promised to both products. Any musicians keen on staying up to date with what remains the world's biggest music streaming site would be well advised to keep an eye on developments.

You can find out more about Youtube for Artists here, or click here for information about Youtube Cards.

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A neat trick to make ANY website promote your band: Sniply

In this article we're going to share a little trick that will let you make any web page shout about your band. Sounds too good to be true? Well, actually, for once you can (mostly) believe the hype.

A quick follow-up this, to last week’s post about solving the ‘lack of content’ problem. In case you didn’t read it (shame on you), the post was chiefly about how to come up with content that regularly keeps your fans entertained and makes you look, to industry contact eyes, as though you are serious about building an online presence and making the most of it.

A lot of the post focused on how you can create your own content, but those of you who were paying close attention probably noticed that there was a little section on ‘content curation’ – some tips on how time-poor bands can use content from other websites to keep their own social media presences looking fresh, keep followers engaged and create a ‘vibe’ about their act based on a shared band-fan interest in certain types of content.

Well, a few days ago I came across a tool that potentially multiplies the usefulness of any content you share significantly: Sniply. This is because it allows you to add a message and a call to action of your choosing which then gets placed on that page.

For example, say your band shares an article from a well-known news site about some topic close to your heart. Using Sniply, you can generate a link which places a banner on that page with a picture of your band, a call to action, and a button taking the user to your website / Facebook / Twitter. Or, even better, you can use Sniply to place a little form on the page that readers can use to join your mailing list. If this all sounds a touch confusing, take a look at the above screengrab, featuring  a Guardian exclusive album stream that we secured for one of our clients recently (sorry, couldn't resist a little plug for our music PR services...). At the bottom of the page, you’ll see a nice little form advertising Prescription PR and encouraging readers to take the very wise step of joining our mailing list. You can click here to see the above Sniply example in action.

If you’re feeling underwhelmed by what on the surface looks like just another pop up box, well, think about the implications of this tool when you share a piece of viral content with a large Facebook audience. With a strong piece of content  particularly if you are quick to share it the resharing potential is large...meaning you may end up with a lot of eyeballs looking at your mailing list sign up form (which, you’ve got to admit, looks damn pretty sitting on The Guardian website). Previously, they would have just seen the content: by using Sniply, you have turned it into a promotional opportunity for your band.

How useful Sniply is to you will depend on the kind of content you share, and how ahead of the game you are in sharing it, but it does represent a very interesting tool for bands that regularly share content with their fans online. If you're interested in using it, you can get a free trial here.

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Four ways to tackle the 'lack of content' problem

Content problem

by Chris Singleton

Back in the day, ‘content’ wasn't a problem for your average rockstar, or wannabe rockstar. Producing the stuff generally boiled down to doing what most bands are meant to do: releasing an album and playing some shows. Things got worse in the 80s with the invention of the pop video, but even at that, this sort of content creation was just a case of accompanying 3 singles from your album with some poorly-shot clips of you parading a mullet and a pair of leather pants in front of a some par cans and a smoke machine. Oh yes, whilst locked in a cage and playing a guitar with your teeth. Easy.

Fast forward to 2015 and it’s a different kettle of fish. Mullets are out, and content is now, to pardon a much-overused phrase, king. It’s not enough to record songs, make videos or play gigs: on top of that we have to ‘engage’ our audience with blog posts, photographs, live videos, vlogs, viral games, tweets, status updates, online gigs, alternate acoustic versions of album tracks…you name it.

As exhausting as making / doing all that stuff sounds, there is actually point to it – it can generate interest in your band, drive traffic to your website and help you make new fans. It also gives any industry contacts checking your act out a sense that you are serious about what you do online in an era where the music industry and the internet are increasingly joined at the hip. But how on earth do you tackle producing such a mountain of content? For most aspiring artists it’s hard enough to fit in recording music and playing gigs around a time-consuming day job; as such the thought of even keeping a Facebook page up to date – let alone writing a blog post about what the band cat gets up to on tour – simply instils dread (and doesn’t get done; probably a good thing though, as what the cat gets up to on tour stays on tour).

There are a few things you can do, however, which make climbing the content mountain easier:

1. Create a ‘content bank’

Don’t wait until you’ve got something to release before you start thinking about what sort of content you’re going to accompany that release with. Have it all ready beforehand. This means devoting a week or so to content well before you release any music. Try

  • going into a studio for a day and recording a load of acoustic versions of your songs
  • spending a day in front of your computer writing a truckload of blog posts about music or art that's inspired you
  • taking a load of ‘behind the scenes’ images of rehearsals, gigs, recording sessions and so on.
  • capturing footage of recording sessions and editing them into little ‘making of’ videos.

Polish it all up / edit it nicely and whack it in a Dropbox folder: this means that you have a 'content bank' containing a multitude of items that you can share regularly during a music promo campaign. By the time it comes to releasing your album, you won't be worrying that tumbleweed is blowing through your Facebook page at a time when it’s clearly meant to be conveying a sense of much-sought-after ‘buzz’. Having a content bank takes the stress out of content – bigtime.

2. Curate content

If you’re struggling with the content bank idea, or even if you DO have a lot of content ready to share, think about being a ‘content curator’. This means sharing other people’s content via your social media presences - this obviously takes a lot of the legwork out of content-sharing. The kind of content that you share can say a lot about your band though, so think very carefully about the links you post and how frequently you post them – but done correctly, content curation can create a ‘vibe’ about your band, convey a sense of activity and make your followers keen to stay posted to your feeds, simply because they’re interested in what sort of crazy / interesting  / downright disgusting link you’re going to post next.

3. Make some live videos – and kill four birds with one stone

It’s a good idea to make a live video of several tracks. Done correctly this can gives you up to 4 pieces of valuable content:

  1. Live tracks that you can give away or use as bonus tracks on releases
  2. Several video performances that you can whack up on Youtube and include in electronic press kits
  3. Well-lit photographs of your band (assuming you can convince a photographer to hang out that day)
  4. An experience that you can blog about (complete with lots of nice images and embedded videos)

4. Use Instagram

Being in a band is as much about the visuals as the music. This is generally speaking a bad thing (in my old fashioned book at least), but there is an upside to it: thanks to Instagram it’s dead easy to create and share very funky visuals that arguably say a lot more about who you are as an artist than a 1500-word blog post on your favourite type of guitar pedal. Don’t just take pictures of your bandmates though: share images of stuff that represents your act and its ethos – whether that’s pictures of vintage microphones or dramatic skylines. This means that when you’re completely stuck for something to say, or simply too pressed for time to come up with a Stephen Fry-style witticism, then you can still make an impressive statement about you and your music in a few seconds by posting a good Instagram picture. 

Finally, there’s always the mullet-cum-guitar-cum-cage video to think about too – that sort of stuff is probably due a revival.

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8 'band hacks' to make your musical life easier

Band hacks

by Chris Singleton

Maybe it's the age I'm at, but I’ve been reading a lot lately about various ‘life hacks’: little tricks such as putting glow in the dark paint on your phone charger so that you can find it easily instead of having a fumble in the dark, or dipping the top of your keys in paint so that it’s easy to differentiate the back door key from the front door key. These sort of things are meant to make us fitter, happier and more productive – but may spell an end to those late night fumbles. Ah well.

Anyway, in this post I thought I’d have a go at suggesting some 'band hacks' – some simple tricks to make running your band a little bit easier.

1. Automate your e-newsletters

When a new fan joins your mailing list– either at a gig or via your website – there are probably a few things you want to let them know about: for example, where to find you on social media; the URL for your merch store; and forthcoming gig dates. Rather than send out emails manually to every new subscriber, use autoresponders (provided by tools such as Getresponse or Mad Mimi) to schedule these in automatically - i.e., so that X number of days after signing up to your a mailing list, your new fan gets email Y. For example, a subscriber could get an email immediately upon sign-up with details of your Facebook and Twitter pages; a week later they could receive a link to an online store full of delightful t-shirts and so on.  All this saves a lot of time.

Additionally, if you know that you are going to need to publicise various activities at specific points in the year, you can also schedule in e-newsletters to go out on relevant dates with relevant information. This saves you having to panic about sending tour-related e-newsletters when you're in the middle of a rehearsal for said tour - it will go out automatically in the middle of that slightly-too-long guitar solo.

2. Use RSS to power e-newsletters and social media posts

RSS (Rich Site Summary / Really Simple Syndication) is a feed from a website that another website can use to publish content...and it’s your friend. If you have a blog on your site, for example, you can use its RSS feed to trigger e-newsletters, meaning that when you update your blog, your fans receive the latest content from it in their inbox. You can also use your RSS feed to send your content automatically to your social media profiles, meaning that when you add new posts to your blog, or images to your gallery, your Twitter followers see a relevant tweet as soon as the new content is live. And, if you make your RSS feed publicly accessible on your website, your die-hard-technically-savvy fans who naturally use an RSS reader (a ‘news aggregator’) to stay up to date with the music scene can enjoy news from your site in the list of publications they follow.

3. Use Google Alerts to find out when people are talking about your act (or not)

Google Alerts allow you to monitor the web for new content about topics of your choosing: in your case, the 'topic' is whatever your band happens to be called. Google Alerts is very easy to use: you just enter your act’s name and pick when you’d like to receive updates regarding any online mentions of the band (as-it-happens, daily or weekly). This means that whenever an influential blogger is giving your band a bad review, you’ll get a notification. The other thing that Google Alerts is good for – and I’m slightly reluctant to tell you this – is for keeping your music PR company on their toes, because you can use it to see how well they are doing with your online music PR campaign…

4. Use social media management tools to manage several profiles at once

If you are managing a multitude of social media presences, it makes sense to avail of the various tools that are available to manage them. I’ve talked about Hootsuite in the past as a way to administrate all your social media profiles in one place, and schedule posts in advance, but there are other nifty tools that can help you manage other aspects of social media. For example, Justunfollow is good for identifying people who might be particularly worth following (or unfollowing); it also allows you to create automated direct messages to new followers (be careful with this option however – the potential to annoy with it is large). Tweetadder is also probably worth a look too. There’s a plethora of tools out there to streamline your social media activity though – research them and pick the best one for your band’s needs.

5. Use a mobile device to capture data at gigs instead of a pen and paper

Using a pen and paper to capture email addresses at gigs is getting a bit passé. For a start, it’s often hard to read people’s email addresses when they are written using old fashioned hands that are under the influence of alcohol and operating in a dark and dingy gig venue. Secondly, assuming you can actually decipher the handwriting in question, you’ll have to waste time typing all these addresses all into your e-newsletter database at a later stage. A way of getting around this is to use a tablet at gigs (operated and safeguarded by a responsible individual) to capture the email addresses of attendees. The best option is to provide people with an online form that links directly to your e-newsletter service (Mailchimp etc.) but even if you don’t have a connection to the internet at the venue you're playing in, it’s still worth getting people to tap their details into an iPad – they can always be copied and pasted into your e-newsletter tool at a later stage and it’s a damn sight quicker than you typing up all those email addresses.

6. Use a project management tool to keep your band on track

Project management tools are not just for the office – they can be surprisingly useful for rock and rollers too. Web applications like Basecamp allow you to allocate a load of tasks to each of your bandmates (learn how to play in time, update the website, book the venue, chase the graphic designer – whatever applies), store files that are relevant to a project in one place (lyrics, chord charts etc.) and use automated reminders to cajole your fellow musicians into actually doing what they’re meant to be doing. Even something basic like a Google Sheet is useful for band project management - particularly if you make use of this funky 'reminders' add on.

7. Map out where your fans live – and plan your tours accordingly

If you’re being smart and capturing not just email addresses but postcodes onto your email database, you can use this data to view a map of your fans’ locations on Google Maps. This is very handy if you’re planning tours – you can focus on the locations where you are most likely to attract an audience, and book venues accordingly. There are various mapping tools available – Map a List is a good starting point.

8. Find out if music industry contacts are opening your emails using Sidekick

There’s a sneaky little tool called Sidekick which allows you to see who has been opening your emails and what they’ve been clicking on (either via real time notifications or a reporting tool). It’s very big brother in nature...but if you can put any moral qualms aside it’s very useful for working out whom to chase about your music (and when). For example, if you sent an email about your music to a blogger, you could used Sidekicks to see if it has been read and if your Soundcloud link has been clicked upon. Using that information you can decide whether another nudge is appropriate or not. If you're using the real-time notification option, you can see when somebody's opened or re-opened one of your emails, and use that information to send a seemingly coincidental 'Hi how's it going' chase a few minutes later...

Well, there we go - 8 band hacks to make running your band as straightforward as possible. Actually make it 9, as I have a final band hack for you: get more songs written by not spending all the time you saved as a result of these band hacks in the pub.

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In a band? Here's some new year's resolutions for you

2015 graphic

Happy New Year from Prescription PR! It being our first post of the year, we thought we’d suggest a few new year’s resolutions for bands and musicians.

1. Build a marvellous website

Keen readers of The Prescription will note that this was our first piece of advice to you at the start of 2014, but it’s as relevant as ever in 2015. It amazes me how many bands (including some rather well-established ones) think that whacking a few tunes up on Bandcamp and setting up a Twitter profile constitutes a decent digital presence, when a good music website allows you to do so much more (and says much more about you too). A strong website...

  • marks you out as a professional act that takes its career seriously
  • if SEO’d well, it allows you to be discovered by new listeners more easily
  • allows you to fully control your band’s online image and identity
  • facilitates blogging
  • allows you to incorporate more advanced functionality than you generally get on third party platforms like Facebook or Twitter onto your site.

If you don’t have a website, get one; and if you do, review it to make sure it’s looking as good and working as well as it possibly can for the year ahead.

2. Get your computer’s sh*t together

If you’re anything like me, you have a folder on your PC dedicated to your band…and it’s a mess. It contains a bunch of files that are strewn all over the place – you have band images in the audio folder; audio files in the gigs folder and so on. This situation is going to slow you down – so sort it out (I certainly intend to). Although file management is probably about as far away from rock and roll as you can imagine, if you do a bit of it at the start of the year, you will 1) feel smug and clean inside and 2) be able to lay your hands on that fantastic shot of your band standing against the wall looking miserable quickly when an A&R guy asks to see some photos of your act immediately.

3. Get tooled up

Make 2015 the year that you start using the right online tools to manage your band’s career. You can save a truckload of time by picking the right application for the job – here’s a few of our favourites to get you started:

  • Email and calendar management: Google Apps
  • File sharing: Dropbox (note: Google Apps allows you to do this too – not as well in my view but if you are paying for Google Apps, it’s probably worth using the file storage that comes with it)
  • E-newsletters: Mad Mimi or Getresponse
  • Ticket sales: Mitingu
  • Websites: Squarespace or Wordpress (or us!)
  • Social media management: Hootsuite

These are just a few examples: the point is that it is worth investing in some kit that reduces as much as possible the amount of admin associated with running a band. Don't work off a bunch of Excel spreadsheets to send e-newsletters, or an email system that clogs up your inbox with spam: get proper systems in place to make communicating with fans and music industry contacts as straightforward as possible.

4. Revisit your image

Given that the music industry often cares more about how its artists look than the actual music they produce, it’s remarkable that a lot of bands pay scant attention to image. Now I’m not suggesting that you devote 2015 to making yourself look more beautiful but it is definitely worth taking a moment to review how your band wants to present itself to the world this year – not just in terms of physical appearance (although sadly that is important) but in terms of the visual ‘assets’ your band produces – i.e., photos, websites, artwork and so on. What do they say about you? What do they say about your music? In an era where bands are increasingly doing everything themselves, from music production to website build right down to artwork design, it’s easy to lose an objective approach to image and imagery. So perhaps a good start to 2015 would be to do a review of all this, perhaps involving a third party who is not in the band (and ideally experienced in the field of fashion and design), with a view to defining your band's image strongly (and in a way that won't send potential fans and labels running for the hills).

5. Capture data – religiously

I can be pretty confident in saying that music sales are going to decline in 2015, with streaming becoming an ever more popular way to consume music. As musicians are making diddly-squat from streaming, this is going to make touring an even more important source of income for bands – and a huge component of a successful tour is a well-stocked database of email addresses. So don’t let any opportunity to capture data pass: be it on your website, at a gig or in a Facebook update, always ensure that you are encouraging people to sign up for your mailing list. And, with touring in mind, be smart about data capture too: make sure you’re capturing not just an email address but a postcode / location too.

6. Stay on top of the latest developments within the music industry

The music industry is now umbilically linked to the internet, and as such it is subject to a hell of a lot of technology-driven change; so much so that it is getting bloody difficult to stay on top of the latest developments in music promotion techniques (and the industry in general). There are several online publications however that you can follow to stay up to date on things – obviously we’d recommend that you subscribe to The Prescription (sign up form below), but there are some other great blogs which are regularly updated with very informative posts about the current and future state of the industry – some Prescription favourites include Make it in Music, the CD Baby blog, Music Week and CMU. Subscribe to or bookmark sites / blogs like these, because the more information that you have at your disposal about music promotion, and the more research you do on it, the better you're going to get at it.

7. Make a plan for the year

The start of the year is a great time to think about what you want to achieve and how you want to achieve it. Get the band together, and rather than going down the boozer, sit down with a coffee and try to map out a roadmap for the year. Maybe February could be the month you build a new site; March the month you plan a tour; April the month you start working on new material and so on. It’s easy to amble along and never achieve anything – this year, give yourself some clearly defined goals, and try to meet them.

8. And finally…do less

Yes, yes, I’ve just given you 7 extra things to do in 2015. But in general, try to do less. I’m not suggesting that you lounge about the house in your pyjamas all day (which admittedly is a jolly good lark) but that you look at all the efforts you put into your music (be that making or marketing it) and identify any areas where you’re wasting time. Are you agonising too long over mixes? Are you maintaining 10 presences on social media when perhaps focusing on 3 will do? Are you posting too many updates to your band’s Facebook page rather than spending time on the studio? In 2015, cut out or cut down on any activities that are getting in the way of making and sharing great music.

Good luck!

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Steve Albini on the state of the music industry

Steve Albini

by Chris Singleton

It's been a little while since I posted in The Prescription: many apologies for that, I've been very preoccupied with the build of the new Prescription PR website (we hope you like it). 

We're still beavering away on certain aspects of the new site so actually, you're not going to get a series of useful tips from me today. However, what you ARE going to get is a very interesting speech from Steve Albini - the keynote address at the 2014 Face the Music event in Melbourne - where he ruminates on the 'surprisingly sturdy state of the music industry.' In the speech he discusses the changes that the internet has brought to the music industry, and how he feels they've been overwhelmingly positive in nature for bands:

In short, the internet has made it much easier to conduct the day-to-day business of being in a band and has increased the efficiency. Everything from scheduling rehearsals using online calendars, to booking tours by email, to selling merchandise and records from online stores, down to raising the funds to make a record is a new simplicity that bands of the pre-internet era would salivate over. The old system was built by the industry to serve the players inside the industry. The new system where music is shared informally and the bands have a direct relationship to the fans was built by the bands and the fans in the manner of the old underground. It skips all the intermediary steps
— Steve Albini

You can read the full text of the speech over on the Guardian website or watch the video of it below. Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with Albini's optimism for the future of the music industry, the way he describes its past, present and potential future amounts to a fascinating read and I'd recommend that any band or artist currently working on a music project check it out (unless you're a Prince fan, for reasons which will become clear towards the end).

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Why bands shouldn’t put all their eggs in Facebook’s basket

Facebook-Down-Thumb.jpg

by Chris Singleton

An article in today’s Guardian caught my eye: “Ello might or might not replace Facebook, but the giant social network won’t last forever.” To save you the hassle of actually reading the article, Ello is a relatively new social network (an ‘anti-Facebook with a conscience’ apparently – given that it’s funded by venture finance capital, I won’t hold my breath about the conscience bit); it is growing at a rapid rate and might one day replace Facebook as the world’s dominant social network (or not).

I suspect that reports of Facebook’s death are likely to be much exaggerated at this point – however, it is worth thinking, from a band’s point of view, about what would happen if Facebook did pop its clogs; it could have serious ramifications for an act.

Right now, bands often focus on building up a Facebook following at the expense of a lot of other stuff. This is usually because a label wants to see a big one before getting the chequebook out (ooh er). As such bands go to huge lengths – sometimes spending a lot of money on advertising – to ensure that they have a healthy number of fans associated with their Facebook page. It makes sense on paper to do this: you get the ability to communicate with a group of people who might one day fork out for a t-shirt, and an A&R guy gets to think that you’re actually popular.

But what happens if Facebook disappears? It sounds like a crazy thought, but it’s not. We’ve been here before after all - remember getting RSI from clicking ‘add friend’ repeatedly on Myspace, and building up an impressive number of said friends…only for those friends (fairweather at best; saucy ladies punting saucy services at worst) to bugger off to Facebook a year or so later?

If Facebook does get supplanted by a newer, hipper network then you may find yourself in the situation of having spent thousands of pounds developing a following that is no longer there. You may have promoted your Facebook page religiously whilst on tour…only to find that the fans you made on tour can’t be contacted, because the only relationship you had with them was one that took place on a now defunct Facebook. This is not a good place to be in.

So how do you protect yourself? Well, by all means continue to advertise your band on Facebook; but don’t just focus on using advertising spend simply to generate ‘likes’ (this, after all, sort amounts to paying Mark Zuckerberg so that YOU can segment his database). Try to capture email addresses as well, by offering people content in exchange for their email address (at the moment, most bands just offer this content in exchange for a like). Or, if you are dead set on generating likes for your advertising spend, follow this up with some Facebook ad promotions aimed at converting the new ‘likers’ into subscribers to your mailing list (run an ad which offers them a second free track by going to your website and joining a mailing list, for example). At gigs, prioritise capturing email addresses over Facebook likes.

The reason it’s so important to capture email addresses is because 1) you are future-proofing yourself somewhat from the doomsday scenario of your Facebook following disappearing and 2) you gain more ownership over the artist-fan relationship – you are in control, generally speaking, of whether somebody sees a communication about your band or not (i.e., you are not relying on a Facebook algorithm). And email addresses allow you to invite people to follow you on other social networks too – you can generally just import your list and send out invites automatically. It’s much easier to convert an email address into a ‘like’ or a follow than the other way round.

I reckon our Facebook followings are safe for a little while yet; but it is worth thinking about what’s round the corner, and considering other ways to bombard people with information. Speaking of which it would be rude at this point not to invite you to join Prescription’s mailing list (please see below).

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