How to get your band through a global pandemic seems to be of everyone’s mind right now. It doesn’t seem like the Covid-19 pandemic is going anywhere soon.
Without a doubt, the music business worldwide has seen many changes throughout the decades. The last major rupture came with the advent of digital files and subsequently online streaming.
Important to realise, the live sector was still going strong. This is crazy: live concerts made the majority of musicians income.
Up until the corona-pandemic forced touring to come to a halt. Here’s the deal: of course the situation is dire, but I personally don’t believe in panic or dismay.
Music is older than most things on this planet. Try this little crazy mind-game to cheer you up.
Ok, so birds sing, right? And technically speaking, birds are just tiny dinosaurs. Therefore, it can be speculated that dinosaurs kind of sang, too!
I hope this little excerpt did cheer you up!
Treat your band like a business!
Nonetheless, back to the music business. Here’s the kicker, you can manoeuver your band or music project through this testing times.
How? Treat it like a business!
In the first place, it’s already in the name! Music Business. However, most people think of the music business as only being populated by record labels, distributors or publishers. In reality, musicians and bands are as much a part of the business as anyone else is.
Why it will help you to treat your band like a business
For once, being in a band or a musician can mean that you are very much focussed on the creation process. Don’t get me wrong, this is great!
Working on your art in an authentic and meaningful way is the first step to success. However, sometimes it can be beneficial to get out of your head and to literally put the business hat on.
This can give you the opportunity to keep an eye on the broader picture as well as it will help you evaluate your success journey. What is more, it will enable you to spot growth potential.
Above all very valuable steps that you need to take in order to get your band through a global pandemic.
Planning is key to get your band through a global pandemic
Don’t just stop here. Moreover, use strategic planning in order to get your band through a global pandemic.
There are many different plans you can draw in order to help you keep an overview. Here’s a neat selection that might help you.
Make sure to adapt all plans to your very specific needs. There isn’t one master blueprint for the music business.
However, there are tried and tested scripts that can lead to you to the next step in your career.
- The Release Plan:
This plan should be every musician’s basic plan. What do you want to release? In what form, only digital or do you also want to press vinyl? When do you want to release your music? Those questions are important to ask because they can lead you to your next tasks. For example, if you plan on releasing your music also on vinyl. That means that you need to figure out which pressing plant you will contact. Also, in this vein, it would be good to think about a suitable distributor for your music. If you are not so keen on going down the DIY route, reaching out to a record label could be the way to go. Again, having a release schedule is key in order to get a distributor or record label being interested in you.
Planning your release is important to run your band like a business
- The Promotional Strategy:
After you’ve figured out your release plan. The next step would be to draw a promotional strategy. Actually, this is the plan where you determine how to sell your music. Do you want to do it on your own and for example, try playlist marketing? Do you plan on releasing singles that you want to pitch to Spotify and co.? Or would you rather hire a PR expert in order to help you out? Is there a YouTube channel that you can use and promote your music through clever content production? Perhaps you can create a Lyric Video ahead of the single release, then a snippet from Behind-The-Scenes that leads into The Official Music video.
A Social Media Plan can help you schedule your posts in advance
- The Social Media Plan:
If you decide to work together with a PR company, they will likely take care of this. However, if you decide to go down the DIY route, it is wise to have a social media plan. Even if you don’t have any release coming up, this one plan you should always have in mind. Why? Because building your fan base online is a task that requires steady love and care. What is more, building up the follow & subscriber numbers can take time. Being persistent and being present often is key to drive the numbers higher. In the first place, a good social media plan should give you a clear overview of your accounts. Secondly, it should help you to plan your posts for different platforms. Also, scheduling your post ahead can save you a lot of nerves and time. Make one day a week your content day where you produce all your posts and even videos. Then, go to town with filling your posting schedule. Make sure to take at least half an hour a day to answer all comments and to leave a like where ever necessary.
- The Digital Strategy:
Planning a digital strategy is a bit of an advance task. However, one that is worth it. It connects the different other strategies like the social media plan and the release schedule and merges it to one big strategy. Also, the digital strategy includes anything like from your webpage to your metadata management. What is more, it includes steps like target audience research. This can help you a great deal to identify potential growth. After all, if you only plan on selling your music to the fans you already have you will never get new ones!
The mother of all plans is the financial plan!
- The Financial Plan:
The financial plan is of the most neglected plans as well as ironically one of the most important ones. To be fair, most bands just start out because they love making music. Perhaps founded in early teenage years, you just simply like to hang out with your friends and make music. Chances are you never really thought about a financial plan, even though you played music professionally for a long time! For once, financial planning is nothing that is thought in school extensively. The so-called financial literacy is even lower amongst womxn and female-identifying people. What does that mean? It means that knowing about money and keywords about finances is not a standard. Important to realise, you can change that yourself! And a good starting point is your music project. Knowing exactly what step in your releases schedule will cost you what amount gives you the power to plan ahead. As well as it empowers you to earn more money yourself. This is crazy, the more you immerse yourself in handling money the easier it will become. There’s a common misbelieve that if someone really loves your music, they are willing to work for free. It may be true that if you love one’s music you are willing to work crazy hours, for example. In reality, everyone has rent to pay and health insurance to cover. Good people cost good money! If you want the best possible team to work for you, make sure to have a solid financial plan in hand to cover all expenses.
Plan for emergencies as much as for successes!
- The Emergency Plan/ The Success Plan:
Equally important to the financial plan is the emergency plan. What happens if your project doesn’t get through? Are there any digital side hustles you can pick now in time to cover unexpected situations? How high is your emergency fund? Could you divert your flat into a flat-share if all hell breaks free (seriously, only then)? Being prepared for the worst-case scenario can actually give you a self-esteem boost. Knowing that you have a plan in hand no matter what can be a freeing experience.
In like manner, it could be a good idea to actually have a success plan, too! What happens if your digital strategy works out brilliantly and the release of your new album becomes like a tidal wave for you that you can’t handle anymore? This is crazy, a lot of bands fail not because they lack success, on the contrary! They fail because they don’t have a plan on how to handle success. Prepare a list of people you would like to work together in case of success. Which one is your dream record label? Who do you think is the best manager for you? Have your assets ready and your EPK (electronic press kit) updated at all times. Equally important, if you have multiple people in your band, make sure to have all necessary discussion out of the way beforehand. Being on the same page with your bandmates is vital!
Having a practise plan can safe you a lot of nerves!
- The Practise Plan:
I kept the hardest for last. You’re welcome ;). Here’s the deal: any business needs to train regularly. No matter if you have a group workshop with your colleagues about time management. Or if you do a bit of eLearning yourself at home. Keeping on top of things is important. Your instrument or singing is no different! Regular practising is not only good for your mental health or songwriting, but it is also good for your business. For once, you can steadily improve your musical skills. This is crazy, there are over 40.000 tracks uploaded to Spotify every week! If you want to shine through with your music, it needs to be of high quality. The best way to achieve this? Practise! It gets better, regular practising can actually prevent injuries. A topic not many musicians talk about. However, if you can’t play music anymore because the injuries in your hands or throat get too bad then this is the end of your business!
Getting down with planning is not sexy but will have a long term effect on your career
Most artists know where they want to go in their careers. They say things like, “We want to headline stadiums,” or “we want a platinum single.” Far fewer artists know how they’re going to reach those goals. Success in music requires planning, and that applies to all facets of your career.*source: James Shotwell
Here’s the thing: you can’t cut corners if you want to have success in the music industry. Or if you want to get your band through a global pandemic, as a matter of fact. Treating your band like a business and subsequently getting the necessary planning in is vital. Not only will it give you a clear overview of all task ahead, but it gives you also a feeling for the scope your project is in. What is more, being prepared for all eventualities gives you not only peace of mind. It frees up energy that you would otherwise waste on worrying. That energy is better invested otherwise.