BUZZ PROMOTE: Survival Guide for Bands
Buzz is a survival guide to the present day live music landscape. A rapidly and radically evolving music industry is changing the rules for emerging bands across the country. As more and more forms of entertainment compete for a limited amount of audience attention, it is increasingly important for musicians to market and package themselves professionally.
a survival guide for bands 3 PROMOTE You canâ€™t rely on somebody else to create your buzz for you. It is very respectable to start your own buzz. Ideally fans will catch on and increase the buzz. GRAPHIC LEGEND BAND LINK WEBSITE LINK ii COMMUNITY LINK 04 PROMOTE - STEP 3 05 BUZZ by SF Intercom 010 PROMOTE - STEP 3 011 BUZZ by SF Intercom 012 PROMOTE - STEP 3 013 BUZZ by SF Intercom and the earth is deep, so the hearts of kings are unsearchable. Buzz brings professional design directly to new bands, helping new musicians distinguish themselves. Buzz distills and distributes essential wisdom gathered from fans, bands and industr y professionals. art director STEFAN ARONSEN assistant designer ZEN ZENITH: PLEASE DO NO FIGHT executive editor IAN TUTTLE field editor BR ANDILEIGHA ROBIN STR ACNER collaboration OLIVIA PARIOT: WIRETAP MUSIC collaboration MIKE G: WIRETAP MUSIC fourth executive advisor LIAN NG third executive advisor CAROLINA DE BART0LO second executive advisor TROY ALDERS first executive advisor BR AD RHODES photo assistant AMY SCANDURR A photo assistant STEPHANIE TR APP contributing writer KENDALL DIX: ATTORNEY AT LAW contributing writer LINDSAY GARFIELD: OR, THE WHALE contributing writer IAN STAHL: ER A ESCAPE contributing writer AMY WILSON: CPA IN TR AINING special thanks to MOM & DAD, BROTHER, SISTER, FAMILY, FRIENDS, JACOB HENNESSEY-RUBIN: MOR AL SUPPORT, OLIVIA: WIRETAP MUSIC, ANTON: JUDGEMENT DAY, GR ANT: BATTLEHOOCH, ZEN: PLEASE DO NOT FIGHT, PETER: EAROFTHEBEHOLDER, JUSTIN: PUNCHFACE, DAMON: PAR ANOIDS, PEARL STARBIRD, NIANA LIU: WATERCOLOR MAPS, CASEY KOERNER: ARTIST, LAR A DE GARIE: ARTIST web design STEFAN ARONSEN digital director JASON ROBINSON web editor MICHAEL HER AUF web video YOUTUBE.COM/SFINTERCOM social network MYSPACE.COM/SFINTERCOM social network FACEBOOK.COM/SFINTERCOM president STEFAN ARONSEN email STEFAN@SF-INTER.COM phone 415.894.2302 cfo OLIVIA PARIOT consultant MIKE G mailing address PO BOX 423525 SAN FR ANCISCO, CA 94142 general info INFO@SF-INTER.COM office number 415.894.2302 web SF-INTER.COM BUZZ MAGAZINE IS PUBLISHED BY SF INTERCOM AND FEATURES WIRETAPMUSIC.COM The goal is to help new bands and struggling bands become more viably successful. Buzz utilizes existing social networks to connect with bands; this ties the book into a rich web presence that ser ves as an interactive clearinghouse. Buzz is the lifeline linking bands to their audiences, venues, labels, and producers. art director executive editor web Stefan Aronsen Ian Tut tle sf-inter.com/ buzz opening mail • PO BOX (32) • MYMail (34) • DEADT WEETS (38) • THROUGHOUT SF (44) • Busking (50) • • • • • CD DESIGN (56) 1st How-To (58) 2ND How-To (60) Insiders Scoop (62) buzz, buzz, buzz… (66) booking shows insiders scoop contributing writers • The good acts find a way… (70) • Spend time getting better (72) • Say hi to petro for me (74) • TEN SURVIVAL TIPS (78) • Pirate Cat Radio (94) • Soundcheck (95) • L ast Words (102) buzz guide the scene & be seen last words CONTRIBUTORS Troy Alders: Advisor firstname.lastname@example.org An art director at LucasFilms and teacher at the San Francisco Academy of Art, Alders ser ved as a sounding board and filter throughout SF Intercom’s development. Favoring simplicity over noise, Alders took Aronsen’s original goal of “I want to fix the music industr y” and honed it do a doable task: “I will create a sur vival guide.” Overf lowing with an electric energ y, Alders is good for advice on ever ything from hairstyles to relationships. brandileigha stracner: field editor email@example.com Opinionated and bold, Stracner takes advantage of her job as an intern at Live 105 to attend and critique as many local shows as she can handle, which is just about all of them. Stracner looks for a personal connection between band and fans, and her inter views, writing, and professional connections built solid relationships among many indie bands and Buzz Magazine. Amy SCANDUrRA: Contributor firstname.lastname@example.org Scandurra’s soft-spoken mild manner belies her inner rockstar. When she’s not too busy dancing with explosive exuberance at local, live shows, Scandurra contributes commentar y and photography to SF Intercom. Her passion for, and deep knowledge of, indie music make her a go-to guru for friends and fans alike. jacob hennessey-rubin: Design support email@example.com There’s something profound in that first friendship in a new city. Hennessey-Rubin has remained a constructive, insightful ally to Aronsen and SF Intercom even as his personal focus has shifted from graphic to industrial design. Acting as a personal curator of over 200 blogs, Hennessy-Rubin kept Aronsen’s own finger firmly planted on the indie music pulse. Special thanks: stephanie trapp, amy scandurra, olivia: wiretap music, sam: perfect machines, daemon: paranoids, jeff moller: moller, sean: vitamin party, jeff: new centuries, carlos: here here, anton: judgement day, casey koerner: artist, lara de garie: artist, niana liu: watercolor maps, shayna rader: editor stefan Aronsen: art director & editor-in-chief firstname.lastname@example.org Though no band would ever hire Mr. Aronsen for his musical skills, plenty have already hired him for his design skills. His ability to brand, market, and package bands and musicians has earned him jobs at two successful music labels as well as with numerous independent musicians. He has learned valuable lessons, first-hand, along the way. He has seen that while different bands face different obstacles, one constant in the music industr y is the sheer level of difficulty in sur viving. OPENING WORDS: Buzz!!! QUICK! Take this off my hands! It’s been making that noise for a while now! You hear it too… Right? It’s the sound of amazing advice. You didn’t think it was going to be so loud? Obviously you’ve got to expect that when you put the advice of so many brilliant fans, bands and industr y professionals in one place it’s going to be loud. So take it… Take it far from here, read it, and share it with a friend. ZEN ZENITH: ASSISTANT DESIGNER email@example.com Home-schooled and hugely huggable, Zenith is lead singer of the talented indie band Please Do Not Fight. His eye for clean design kept Buzz Magazine looking sharp. His personal involvement in the indie music scene kept its voice authentic. His spirit aided SF Intercom morale when obstacles presented. Zenith splits his time equally among making music, teaching guitar, and leading events for fellow “unschooled” folks. 024 PROMOTE - STEP 3 025 BUZZ by SF Intercom 026 PROMOTE - STEP 3 027 BUZZ by SF Intercom 028 PROMOTE - STEP 3 029 BUZZ by SF Intercom Communication is the key to the success of any major endeavor. Buzz believes that by opening up communication between fans, bands and industry professionals, it can help bands become more viable. 030 PROMOTE - STEP 3 Be in a band because you love to make music. If you are doing it to get girls, you are wasting everyone’s time and space. SAM CHASE: Perfect Machines GET SHIT DONE I recommend bands get together outside of rehearsal, maybe once or twice a month, to do some planning and keep things moving in the direction ever ybody wants to go. This is the time to fuck the abstract and get some specific shit done DAEMON: Paranoids ORIGINALIT Y GOES A LONG WAY My contribution will revolve around band names: 1. Perhaps one piece of advice is to not name your band after one of the member’s last name. Especially if the last name has the same pronunciation as a 19th centur y composer. It’s also not a ver y interesting stor y when people ask how you got the name. 2. I’d also say it’s best to not name your band after a company or brand name that already exists… If people search for your band and find something else, that won’t help you. 3. And besides some originality goes a long way. You want your band to be unique, right Stefan? JEFF MOLLER: Moller CD IN THE MAIL How are we promoting our band? I mailed out our CD to college radio stations (I tried to do 12 a week). Each CD included a hand written note. In that note I mentioned the radio friendly tracks, contact info, etc. It cost about 2.75 with postage and bubble envelope. We then had business cards printed up, and put four downloadable songs on our website. Then we Handed out the business cards and told people to check out the free songs. We’re making about $30 a month from CDbaby and Itunes. Are most recent experiment is advertising on Myspace. Close to 100 dollars a month, but it’s too early to tell if it’s effecting our itunes sales. SEAN: Vitamin Party 032 PROMOTE - STEP 3 WHO IS YOUR CONTACT With so many bloggers and music websites and writers out there, its important to have a promotional plan as well; thereâ€™s no way that oneâ€™s music can be emailed (or physically mailed) to ever y writer in the countr y so a group can benefit from planning who to contact and when to make the most impact. JEFF: New Centuries 033 BUZZ by SF Intercom Here Here Indie / Rock http://www.myspace.com/hereheremusic So survival tips huh? Well I am far from being a disciplined musician but I will give it a shot and if the rest of guys read this message maybe they can add theirs. 1. Be honest about the music that you make. Real music lovers will see right through you and your music if it comes if it comes off as fake. Plus, why would you want to make music that you don’t believe? 2. Be realistic. The times when you would get a ridiculous budget, make a record and sell millions of records are almost extinct. Unless you are Justin Timberlake or Coldplay. So don’t see music as a bank because the chances of becoming the next Colplay are slim. 3. You don’t need tons of money to put music out there for people to hear. You don’t need to go to a fancy studio for your record to sound good or sella million copies or whatever your goal is. It is so easy to do pre production in a home studio and refine your songs so that when the time comes to record you spend less time in a studio and save some dough for merch or that tour van rental. So be efficient. 4. No record label needed. I think that the music industry has changed so much to the point where you no longer need a record label on your side. Eventually if you are selling tons of records you might need to get with a label for distro. but before then it is more important to have a PR team on your side. There is way more value in having folks help you put your name out there as a band or solo artist than a record label that has so much control over your art with very little in return. Once again there are exceptions but for the most part holding out on getting on a label for as long as you can is best. 034 PROMOTE - STEP 3 5. Have fun. If you donâ€™t have fun playing shows and making records then why play? It should be a blast to share your tunes with other folks. OK, so those are the tips/rules that I think I try to implement with my band. Hopefully this helps and thanks for coming to our show last night. Carlos 035 BUZZ by SF Intercom www.facebook.com/finishticket FINISH TICKET sfintercom Buy an address stamp … Then you can cut up old show flyers … stamp them … Now you have new double sided business cards. less than 5 seconds ago from web bignoise @sfintercom Believe in your music and always challenge yourself to be the best at what you do. Promoting yourself is then easy as walking. 1 day ago from web tomblanco Job search tip: What if they ask about other places that ur interviewing at? IF U MENTION A DIFFERENT CAREER PATH/INDUSTRY, IT MAY = NO JOB. 1 day ago from web Zillaman Hell yeah … Quality music and promo should equal great sales. Look @ weezy and tip. 1 day ago from web Pricemeister Tip for #bands: make your name bigger than the album title … or people will start to think your album name is your band name. 1 day ago from web musformation When Your Funds Are Low - Employ Your Fans For Cheap Volunteer Labor, 1 day ago from web stevessummoned Burn demos like crazy for tour. 1 day ago from web ReekDude Music industry tip … spend your money with the right people … don’t let ANYBODY sell you just ANYTHING. 1 day ago from web pearlstarbird You know technology is killing out spelling skills when “Which horror Villian are you most like?” is a trending topic. VILLAIN not VILLIAN 1 day ago from web ipickmynose @sfintercom if a blogger replies to let you know he didn’t like your music, politely accept it. 1 day ago from web ii Photo by Stephanie Trapp: http://www.StephanieTrapp.com www.myspace.com/twentyminset 20 MIN SET BUTTERFLY BONES www.facebook.com/thebutterf lybones BOOKING SHOWS The hardest part of booking shows is knowing where to book shows. Attached are a couple good venues in: THROUGHOUT SF 043 BUZZ by SF Intercom Instruments are very unique and define the band they belong to. BOOKING SHOWS: THROUGHOUT SF Cafe du Nord Ask any San Francisco band for a top-5 venue list and Café du Nord will probably be on it. After descending a ver y grand staircase into the classy, plush venue, you’ve arrived. A big dance f loor, limited seating (only available with dinner reser vations), and a slick bar round out this crème de la crème of live music experiences. The Independent This glorified warehouse strips the indie music experience down to its essence. The venue is a huge room with concrete f loors and cement walls. You had better rock your audience or get’em drunk. And don’t try to swing it unless you’re pulling in crowds topping 200. The Fillmore The Fillmore is legendar y world-wide. If you’re combing through this survival guide you’re probably not there yet. But don’t smash your loop pedal yet. Put the Fillmore on your goals list and, meantime, go see a show here. The free apples at the door might not be laced with LSD anymore but at least you get a free poster if the show sells out. www.cafedunord.com 2170 Market Street San Francisco, CA 94114 cross street: Sanchez district: Castro/Upper Market Tel: 415.861.5016 www.theindependentsf.com 628 Divisadero St San Francisco, CA 94117 cross street: Grove St & Hayes St district: Western Addition/NOPA Tel: 415.771.1421 www.thefillmore.com 1805 Geary Blvd San Francisco, CA 94115 cross steet: Fillmore St district: Japantown Tel: 415.346.3000 044 PROMOTE - STEP 3 ii Bar reviews made possible by Ian Tuttle: www.sf-inter.com/archives/category/venues 045 BUZZ by SF Intercom COMMON WEALTH 046 PROMOTE - STEP 3 www.myspace.com/commonwealthrock BOOKING SHOWS: THROUGHOUT SF Bimbo’s 365 Club A f lashback to the good ol’ days of the 50’s, this place is both classy and rock’n. However the f lashy looks comes with a price, don’t book this place until you can draw an audience of over 200 fans. When that day comes, call me. Broadway Studios This location does not typically host independent bands, it does however host events, and like most venues is open to suggestions. If you can draw a large crowd, you might approach them. Be advised they don’t promote your show, and they do not have a regular crowd. You’re going to have to promote your show double time. The Warfield Admittedly if you’re reading this survival guide, you aren’t going to be booking a show at The Warfield. However. Put it on your list of places to play when you go on tour with Vampire Weekend, Weezer or Green Day. www.bimbos365club.com 1025 Columbus Ave San Francisco, CA 94133 cross streets: Chestnut St district: North Beach/Telegraph Hill Tel: 415.474.0365 www.broadwaystudios.com 435 Broadway San Francisco, CA 94133 cross street: Montgomery St district: North Beach Tel: 415.291.0333 www.thewarfieldtheatre.com 982 Market Street San Francisco, CA 94102 map cross street: Golden Gate Avenue district: Market/Tenderloin Tel: 415.567.2060 ii Bar reviews made possible by Ian Tuttle: www.sf-inter.com/archives/category/venues 047 BUZZ by SF Intercom BOOKING SHOWS: THROUGHOUT SF You should track down that band that’s always playing at festivals and stuff. Super sweet, like the Black Keys, guitar and drums. I don’t know their name. Also, Judgement Day played on the street outside Great American, and now that guy plays with Bright Eyes. So you should talk to HIM. Anton is his name. MIKE: Geographer www.facebook.com/Geographerfan 050 PROMOTE - STEP 3 ON THE STREET BUSKING STEFAN Aronsen: SF-INTER.COM on a suggestion from a friend … I tracked down Anton from Judgement day. We met for coffee at Philz and talked for 2 hours about music licensing—publishing—marketing—recording—promoting—dist Then Philz closed so we went to the Homestead to wash all the infor mation down with beer. We chose Homestead because one of Anton’s fr iends recommender it for it’s Monday $1 beers. That fr iend is Broke Ass Stuart … and low and behold … who should be sitting at Homestead 3 beers deep and starting on his fourth … but the man himself. We sat down Anton introduced me … Next thing I knew I had polished off 3 beers and was order ing my 4th. At this point I wasn’t counting Stuart’s beers. I got ever ything Anton said on tape … if you want to hear it … you just need to v isit w w w.sf-inter.com. I will leave you with a tip from Anton: “As far as one big tip goes I’d say, Always remember, the point is to have fun” ANTON: Judgement Day www.facebook.com/judgementday ii Above, far left: MISSION - San Francisco neighborhood Watercolor painting by Niana Liu: www.nianaliu.com 051 BUZZ by SF Intercom www.myspace.com/thematches THE MATCHES THE KEY Is being connected. but where to start â€Ś there are so many online networks. my advice â€Ś join them all!!! ran ndom 2 YEARS AGO A MAN IN SHORT SHORTS WALKED UP TO ME AT THE RICKSHAW AND SAID “DUDE … YOU LOOK GOOD!!!” AND FOR THE FIRST TIME IN SF IT WASN’T A GAY PICK UP LINE. HIS NAME IS JAY, HIS BAND: MUSIC FOR ANIMALS. HE GAVE ME A FREE CD, WITH THE INSTRUCTION, “WE NEED TO WORK TOGETHER!” ABOVE FAR RIGHT: Music for Animals played at Noise Pop in 2008. I love the bands that play at Noise Pop. Buy CD at: http://tigerlegs.bigcartel.com/ 056 PROMOTE - STEP 3 Visit Music for Animals at: http://www.myspace.com/musicforanimals 057 BUZZ by SF Intercom Follow these Six steps in order to achieve ultimate success on the web: Step One: Buy your domain name. I purchased sfinter.com at namebargain.com, but you could use godaddy.com or any other name supplier. (i) Fans will type your new www.bandname.com into their web browser and instantly find themselves at the existing profile of your choice, such as Myspace. (Which I might add was free and can host widgets including stores, stats, mail and more.) Also keep in mind social networks have a shit load of people that just naturally migrate there. How many people are hanging out on your website that they don’t know about yet? Step T wo: Maybe you don’t need a website. Can I suggest simply pointing your newly purchased domain name at your Myspace, Twitter, Youtube or Facebook. Most hosts will do this for a low cost of 10 dollars a year. Step Three: You don’t care? Ok fine! Buy web hosting. I use Host Monster for a lot of my personal web sites. (godaddy is easy, TOOLS TO GET STARTED 1. keyboard and mouse 2. a big glass of milk (you may also substitute booze) Laughing Squid is local.) Step Four: Option (a) put a wordpress on your page … simple easy and updatable. Option (b) Make friends with a graphic designer. Put him on the list for all your shows, give him free cds, and introduce him to girls. (or guys if your designer is a girl or gay.) (i) Obviously tell your designer to make the site easy to update and include links to all the places your band can be found on the Internet. Web hosting comes with free e-mails. USE THEM. I do not want to send an e-mail to PRETTYBOY1@HOTMAIL.COM. 3. a credit card (ask your mom if you can borrow hers.) 4. a computer with internet 5. about 30 min of free time. 6. a cell phone to call for help. Step Five: Stop designing your web site. You’re a musician, write me a pretty song. 058 PROMOTE - STEP 3 I buy all of my domain names from: http:www.namebargain.com 059 BUZZ by SF Intercom 060 PROMOTE - STEP 3 You’re sharing a drum kit, you shared a smoke, why not share a flyer as well? ONE Club card printing will print a 1 sided f lyer for $60 dollars and a 2 sided f lyer for $65. Do you really need both sides of the f lyer or are you just taking up space? I think I know the answer. Three So on your next f lyer, band A and Band B share 1 f lyer and save money while creating a network and duplicating promoting possibilities. T wo Might I suggest sharing /selling one side of your f lyer to another band with a show before or after your show. (Obviously not a band with a show on your night!) This will share cost and create a community between you and the band you’re helping to promote. It also creates combined efforts, when you’re f lyering you’ll be advertising the, when they f lyer you’ll get advertising. TOOLS TO GET STARTED 1. A need to promote 2. a second band 3. some good images 4. a good printer (clubcard.com) 5. a code for 10% off (intrcm10) I buy all of my marketing material from: http://www.clubcardprinting.com/ 061 BUZZ by SF Intercom 062 PROMOTE - STEP 3 I wasn’t lying when I said there were a ton of social networks. join them all, even if you’re not active … it’s good to have a presence. 063 BUZZ by SF Intercom 064 PROMOTE - STEP 3 These sites are local, they care about your success more than anybody else. Well … not more than your mom … or your grandma … or maybe your girlfriend … but they care about your success second to all the ladies in your life. So show them some love and visit their sites and be in contact with them regularly! 065 BUZZ by SF Intercom BUZZ, BUZZ, BUZZ, BUZZ, buzzzzzzz!!! STEFAN ARONSEN: SF INTERCOM you can use a can and a string, land line, perhaps a cell phone? It doesn’t matter how you do it … but you do have to connect and you must promote. I spent weeks thinking about how people connect. There are so many signals f loating around us. Which one of those signals is going to be you? How are you going to be louder than the other signals? Are you going to be louder? These are a few of the questions I asked myself. Start asking yourself these questions … Set a goal and then accomplish them. Then when you have established your gaols, give me a call, we can talk them over … you know network! Have your people call my people, we’ll do coffee. (Don’t use the cans, mine isn’t currently connected!) When I was designing my logo, I kept thinking about how ever ything sends a signal. I drew ever ything I could think of that had signals coming off it. Then I made my mark and included the signal logo. 066 PROMOTE - STEP 3 067 BUZZ by SF Intercom 068 PROMOTE - STEP 3 SILENT COMEDY www.facebook.com/SilentComedyMusic It’s as easy as walking. That’s what a Bignoise told me in response to my question about what he was doing to promote his music. If it’s as easy as walking … how much walking have you been doing lately? Likely none! Well … what are you waiting for? Get to it! Go out now… bring 10 CDs and don’t come home till you’ve sold them all. We’ll talk again in a couple hours. If you need some advice, just hit up Powell St. on the weekend. the rap artist are always out there pushing their music, attempting to get some money for their latest project. Learn from them, ask them some questions. They have a lot to learn from indie music and you have a lot to learn from them. Community On the 2006, P introdu new lo find. O sic sce cisco. the pot At this m music. ing for resurge method traditio stream “figure and cab many b lost alo leasing the ban tours a me, the unsigne exciting on the video p help a l a large the tec 069 BUZZ by SF Intercom proverbs by the ng of Ju- the good acts find a way to engage Waldo - Rickshaw Stop f God to o search glory of ens are I love the rickshaw stop, it is one of my favorite places to see a show. thus i thought “how great would it be to get some success/failure stories from waldo … the owner!!! ~ stefan At the simplest level, it’s about bodies. So from the bottomline venue point of view, your bullet point #3 is the most important. It’s a business, and we make money if there are people walking in the door with cash in hand, and leaving with less cash. When we’re writing the rent check, it’s that simple! That’s the most tangible aspect of what a band brings to the table. When a band succeeds, especially a local band, we immediately think, ‘what good promoters they are!’ And when they fail, the first thought is, ‘see — there was no promotion!’ As far as intangibles go, there are really two items (sorr y, they don’t start with P!) talent/personality/attitude Talent is kinda like por nography … hard to define, but I know it when I see it! Attitude is a combination of how easy the band is to work with, how good they are at communication (esp in advance — did they let us know they would be late for sound check and that they added a hor n section, or are they just going to show up and say, ‘whatever’), and how mag netic their personalities are. On that last point, it’s a matter of just being likeable! You can get away with a lot of shortcomings in other areas if you have that magnetic personality. Now here’s a shortcut that we use, in determining the value of a band: we have no idea about what’s good and what isn’t. Aesthetics and talent — they are ver y ambiguous, and nowadays anything is arguably valid, musically. So that makes it a bit simple; we don’t have to evaluate on aesthetics. We just have to evaluate how many bodies the band is going to bring! But back to the three benchmarks: bodies, talent, personality There’s that old saying, “pick any two”. (Like, you can have your car repaired — fast, correctly, cheap: pick any two.) In a tough economy, we’d love all 3, but we’ll take any two! So in some cases, we get a ver y nice and talented band, but we lose $$. Or we get an arg uably talented band of assholes t hat br ing a good tur nout. Or we get a band w it h g reat stage banter and a good tur nout, but tr y as I might, I can’t make it sound passable at all. We’ve had any number of t hese instances. In rare cases, we get all 3! Or zero out of three, at the other extreme. So these are the examples I’ll illustrate. All 3: sold out, phenomenal band, nice guys! It’s a pretty rare thing. These guys pulled up in a van, loaded their gear in, had a quick sound check, said ‘hey it sounds great on stage!’ Ate dinner and came back and just simply KILLED IT at showtime. Then they did not get falling down drunk and got on task and moved on to the next gig. They did this their first time at rickshaw (first California gig!) and then 8 months later did it again. Their name is Vampire Weekend. They are playing somewhat bigger venues now! Zero out of 3: Another band on tour; missed soundcheck, presales were abyssmal; we are guaranteed to lose money. Showed up late, entitled attitude, lots of demands. Hit the stage late, sounded atrocious, no one is really playing together, ever yone is making signals at the sound man — most of which are contradictor y. After show, a screaming match on the topic of ‘you (the venue) are the man, and you’re holding us down!’ Their name is Extra Golden — perhaps they have had some good gigs elsewhere, but they couldn’t pay us enough to host them again. Perhaps I have strayed … so to get back to your original framework and question, when all the advance work has been done—water under the bridge and all that—and now it’s show time. Perhaps the promotion wasn’t ever ything that was hoped for. Perhaps the gear isn’t working as well as you hoped. Perhaps soundcheck was not as locked down as we all wanted. Perhaps the van got broken into last night. What do you do? You PLAY THE GIG and put your heart into it!! Enthusiasm and being in the moment are what carr y the day at that point. If talent is your strong suit—so what if the guitar broke a string. A compelling musician can make magic happen regardless. If personality is your strong point—be charming and draw the audience to you! is deep, ngs are rom the es mate- mith; re- rom the and his ablished ess. lf in the d do not ng great r him to p here,” umiliate bleman. en with ring [b] or what you to e end if ue your bor, do r man’s ho hears and you our bad n is like settings rring of t of fine s rebuke Like the harvest hy mes- 070 PROMOTE - STEP 3 ii The art on this page was created by Casey Koerner: http://www.caseykoerner.com/ (In fact we’ve had two touring acts who had their van broken into and gear stolen in the 24 hours before hitting our stage, but still put on so-good-it’ll-make-you-cr y performances.) And then there are bands — many bands — that hit the stage and seem so tentative, seem like they’re playing a rehearsal, and don’t offer anything compelling to the audience. It’s a real common downfall, and it always mystifies me. I come from the old punk rock school where the goal was to get SOME KIND of reaction from the audience. Throwing shit at us? Great! Playing for yourselves, with no focus on the audience impact? I don’t get it. Of course there’s shoegaze, but even then the good acts find a way to engage the audience, even if it’s in a non-obvious way. I guess I’m asking for a strateg y that involves the audience somehow, even if it’s an oblique strateg y! Good luck! Waldo 071 BUZZ by SF Intercom proverbs by the ng of Ju- word of mouth Matthew Kent Ronan f God to o search glory of ens are is deep, I have noticed a number of artists Are spending more time promoting than they do honing their craft. My opinion is that it is better to focus your energ y into being a better artist. The best artist that you can be. The better you get, other people will promote for you. Michael Jordan doesn’t need to tell people he is a good basketball player. I know that if there is an artist that I love, I automatically tell people about them. In the age of billboards and banner ads, word of mouth is still one of the best ways to effectively share media, or anything for that matter. I think it’s better to spend more time getting better, and letting the word of mouth do it’s job. I have definitely not arrived there though, it’s just my personal opinion. I remember hearing that Dashboard Confessional got started as a side project, and people just started copying, and sharing tapes to get his music spread around. I think free EPs or something at first to get your name out. That would be something to look into. I usually tr y to take advantage of any free classes that I can. (Academy of Art Summer workshop, Apple store downtown, Calumet, etc.) I haven’t come across music performance classes for free, but Production and Recording stuff. You can sit in on free lectures at the apple store. The annual Macworld usually has a number of free lectures as well. City College San Francisco is nearly free (Minus your books) ngs are ove the for the the king’s throne ver, and ve through lf in the d do not ng great r him to p here,” umiliate bleman. en with ring [b] or what you to e end if ue your bor, do r man’s 072 PROMOTE - STEP 3 073 BUZZ by SF Intercom n, coper; arth is udah: It SAY Hi to Petro for me! Alex DiDonato- Finish Ticket f kings. searchith; re- When I discovered FINISH TICKet, i also noticed they were playing a show with petros from DIzzy balloon, so I said to say hi! ~Stefan That’s funny that you say hi to Petro, because as I was reading your email, he was actually in my room. Cool coincidence. He says hi back, by the way. Well yeah, we book and promote our shows as well as play them. It’s a tough process, but in the end, it’s always worth it to be playing a great show with a huge crowd applauding. I guess I can offer some advice: Don’t be afraid to contact venues. Make yourself sound appealing to the venue; make them want to have your band play. Also, talk to other local bands! Exchange shows, set up shows together, help each other promote. Once you get into the stream of local bands, you develop tons of new friendships among other bands and gain a lot more opportunities to play. In promoting shows, make sure ever yone knows about the show for a couple weeks before it even happens. You should start promoting up to 3 weeks before the show starts. Go to ver, and esence, hrough esence, at men; ome up 074 PROMOTE - STEP 3 ot her local shows and pass out f liers, email all t he fans about t he show, post a bunch of info about t he show on your website. Get people talking about your show. I personally love going to local shows. They’re a great inspiration, and a few of my favorite bands are local. The last one I went to was the Ghost and the City CD release show with Picture Atlantic and Battlehooch at Bottom of the Hill in SF. It was an awesome show, because I love Picture Atlantic and was interested in seeing Ghost/City again. The most memorable show this past year was definitely the Matches last show at the Fillmore in SF. The Matches put on an incredible performance; it was a wonderful way to end a wonderful band. Plus I crowd-surfed for the first time. It was amazing. Going to shows is a good idea for any local musician, because you can pick and choose different ideas to bring into your own music and performances by what you see other bands do. More advice(?): On booking shows, I would just say that you really have to make an effort to tr y and get on good bills, or come up with a good bill of bands. Really put your band out there to be accepted by venues in any way that you can (as long as you don’t get to the point where you’re obnoxious). As far as playing shows go … people can always tell when a musician is passionate about his/ her music. So be passionate about it! Pour your heart out onstage. The crowd came to see a show, so give them one. If you can include crowd participation, all the better. Hope this advice helps you out in some way. Thanks for contacting us! ALEX: Finish Ticket www.facebook.com/finishticket FINISH TICKET 075 BUZZ by SF Intercom www.myspace.com/rattlesnakes RATTLE SNAKES BUZZ GUIDE most bands buy stickers. This survival guide is proof that most bands have stickers â€Ś and they love to put them in the bathroom. why is that? Has it proven to be a good marketing ploy? 078 PROMOTE - STEP 3 079 BUZZ by SF Intercom 1 _ DE VELOPE A BUZZ: y o u c a n ’ t r e ly o n s o m e b o d y e l s e t o c r e at e y o u r b u z z f o r y o u . i t i s v e r y r e s p e c ta b l e t o s ta r t y o u r o w n b u z z . i d e a l ly f a n s w i l l c at c h o n a n d i n c r e a s e t h e b u z z . 2 _ DON’T RELY ON OTHERS: t h i s i s n o t c o n t r a d i c t o r y f r o m w h at i ’ v e s a i d b e f o r e . y o u d o n e e d t o r e ly o n o t h e r s f o r h e l p . y o u m u s t n o t r e ly o n c l u b s t o p r o m o t e y o u . y o u n e e d t o be promoting your shows. 080 PROMOTE - STEP 3 081 BUZZ by SF Intercom 3 _ PROMOTE BY WORD OF MOU TH: f ly e r s c o s t m o n e y , p o s t e r s c o s t m o r e m o n e y , a d v e r t i s i n g c a n g e t r e a l ly e x p e n s i v e . h o w e v e r t e l l i n g s o m e b o d y a b o u t y o u r s h o w d o e s n ’ t cost any thing. 4 _ CRE ATE MORE THAN JUST FLYERS: o n c e y o u ’ v e t o l d p e o p l e a b o u t y o u r s h o w , y o u n e e d t o c r e at e p r i n t m a r k e t i n g . y o u m i g h t a l s o c o n s i d e r g u e r i l l a a n d g r a s s r o o t ta c t i c s a s w e l l . 082 PROMOTE - STEP 3 083 BUZZ by SF Intercom y o u r p r o j e c t s a n d e v e r y t h i n g y o u ’ r e w o r k i n g o n . d o n ’ t b e m o d e s t , y o u ’ r e a r o c k s ta r ! 5 _ SHAMELES SLY PLUG YOUR PROJECTS: n e v e r b e b a s h f u l t o t e l l p e o p l e a b o u t y o u r s h o w s , 6 _ LE A K BA ND INFO TO BLOGGERS: y o u a r e y o u r o w n g o s s i p c o l u m n . i f y o u ’ r e r e l e a s i n g a ne w cd, r ecording ne w songs, m a k ing a v ideo … t h i s i s i n f o r m at i o n b l o g g e r s w i l l e at u p ! 084 PROMOTE - STEP 3 085 BUZZ by SF Intercom 7 _ BE ON THE STREET: p r o m o t i n g i s n o t a l l d i g i ta l . p l a c e y o u r d i g i ta l p o s t e r s t h e n g o t o t h e p e o p l e . t h e p e o p l e y o u w a n t at y o u r s h o w s a r e a c t i v e a n d n o t s i t t i n g at t h e i r c o m p u t e r . thank the bar owner and the booker. be e x tr a nice to the sound guy and thank him as well. 8 _ TALK TO PEOPLE AT SHOWS: e n g a g e y o u r f a n s , l e t t h e m k n o w t h e y a r e i m p o r ta n t t o y o u . 086 PROMOTE - STEP 3 087 BUZZ by SF Intercom c u r r e n t ly i n a p e r i o d o f t i m e w h e r e f r e e i s t h e n e w t e n d o l l a r s . f i g u r e o u t w ay s t o g i v e i t a w ay a n d s t i l l m a k e m o n e y . 9 _ GIV E IT AWAY FOR FREE: t h i s i s p r o m o t i o n a s w e l l a s a w ay o f o p e r at i n g . w e a r e 10 _ CONSIDER A LTERN ATIV E A DV ERTISING: s o m e s u g g e s t i o n s w o u l d b e t o c o n s i d e r u s i n g w e r e i n s u r a n c e . d o t h e y m a k e f ly e r s ? adverting utilized outside the music scene. perhaps you can advertise your band as if you 088 PROMOTE - STEP 3 089 BUZZ by SF Intercom www.myspace.com/mummlers MUMMLERS opied by he glory t a mat- are high ings are e silver, mith; re- nce, and THE SCENE & BE SEEN Making a record STEFAN ARONSEN: SF-INTER.COM hteous- nce, and s better han for n. What bands want to record … some do it in their bedrooms, others do it in a professional studio, both work … SO WHAT will you choose? So you’ve never recorded a cd? Or maybe you’re new to San Francisco. Likely you could research the web and find a place to record, duplicate and package (or find 50). Why do research that somebody has already done? That is the exciting thing about being part of a community. You just need to reach out! Somebody will be there to grab your hand. We profiled two places that do recording. If you go to sf-inter.com you can find our more about places to record. As well as a list of places other bands have gone. I suggest contacting your favorite band and seeing where they recorded, duplicated and packaged. You’ll get a first hand account of the ups and downs, then you can copy their success. ring [b] the end u argue another y shame tation. 092 PROMOTE - STEP 3 HEY YOUNG BELIEVER www.facebook.com/HeyYoungBeliever 093 BUZZ by SF Intercom THE SCENE & BE SEEN PIRATE CAT RADIO BY: STEFAN ARONSEN MONKEY Daniel Roberts rigged up the first iteration of Pirate Cat Radio in his Los Gatos bedroom when he was 13. Several years later, he started illegally broadcasting Pirate Cat’s eclectic mix of music and news on 87.9 FM in San Francisco’s Mission neighborhood. San Franciscans know Roberts, as “Monkey,” which is shorthand for Affenmensch. Affenmensch is German for “monkey man.” The name has a lot to do with what a hellion Roberts was as a kid In April 2003, when Roberts began broadcasting in San Francisco, he didn’t hide from the authorities. Instead, he argued that his station was operating legally, based on a provision in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations that allows unlicensed broadcasting in times of war—and the War on Terror qualifies, does it not? You can’t hear Pirate Cat on the radio anymore, but you can visit them for a bacon late and listen in their location on 21st and Florida, or tune in at: www.piratecatradio.com 094 PROMOTE - STEP 3 ii Visit Pirate Cat Radio at: www.piratecatradio.com SOUNDCHECK BY: STEFAN ARONSEN A aron Axelsen Catch Live 105’s Music Director Aaron Axelsen in the mix every week on Soundcheck, 8-10 p.m. Sundays on live105.com. Aaron’s passion for new music makes it possible for him to predict and, in many cases, even dictate the tastes of listeners of all ages and demographics. Most Live 105 listeners credit him for their introductions to hundreds upon hundreds of great but virtually unknown bands, a fair share of them from the Bay Area. Many of these bands’ careers may never have gotten off the ground without the exposure afforded by a single spin during “Soundcheck,” a weekly showcase for emerging artists. Aaron also runs Popscene ever y Thursday night at Rickshaw Stop, a nightclub on the edge of Tenderloin and Hayes Valley. Aaron uses Popscene as a second vehicle to introduce fans to local live bands. Live or on the radio I highly recommend looking up and following Aaron Axelsen. ii Visit Souncheck at: www.live105.radio.com/shows/soundcheck 095 BUZZ by SF Intercom www.myspace.com/eraescape ERA ESCAPE 098 PROMOTE - STEP 3 099 BUZZ by SF Intercom 0100 PROMOTE - STEP 3 0101 BUZZ by SF Intercom 0102 PROMOTE - STEP 3 0103 BUZZ by SF Intercom Buzz is a survival guide to the present day live music landscape. A rapidly and radically evolving music industry is changing the rules for emerging bands across the country. As more and more forms of entertainment compete for a limited amount of audience attention, it is increasingly important for musicians to market and package themselves professionally. BUZZ is produced by SF Intercom