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 opening mail Stefan Aronsen Ian Tut tle sf-inter.com/ buzz • PO BOX (32) • MYMail (34) • DEADT WEETS (38) booking shows • THROUGHOUT SF (44) • Busking (50) insiders scoop • • • • • contributing writers buzz guide the scene & be seen last words CD DESIGN (56) 1st How-To (58) 2ND How-To (60) Insiders Scoop (62) buzz, buzz, buzz… (66) • 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) CONTRIBUTORS Troy Alders: Advisor email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 ORIGINALIT Y GOES A LONG WAY CD IN THE MAIL I recommend bands get together out- My contribution will revolve around How are we promoting our band? I mailed side of rehearsal, maybe once or twice band names: out our CD to college radio stations (I 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 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 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. ver y interesting stor y when people ask We then had business cards printed up, how you got the name. and put four downloadable songs on 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 032 PROMOTE - STEP 3 tried to do 12 a week). Each CD included 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 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 FINISH TICKET www.facebook.com/finishticket 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 20 MIN SET www.myspace.com/twentyminset 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 BOOKING SHOWS: THROUGHOUT SF Instruments are very unique and define the band they belong to. Cafe du Nord The Independent The Fillmore Ask any San Francisco band for a top-5 This glorified warehouse strips the The Fillmore is legendar y world-wide. venue list and Café du Nord will prob- indie music experience down to its es- If you’re combing through this sur- ably be on it. After descending a ver y sence. The venue is a huge room with vival guide you’re probably not there grand staircase into the classy, plush concrete f loors and cement walls. You yet. But don’t smash your loop pedal venue, you’ve arrived. A big dance had better rock your audience or get’em yet. Put the Fillmore on your goals list f loor, limited seating (only available drunk. And don’t try to swing it unless and, meantime, go see a show here. with dinner reser vations), and a slick you’re pulling in crowds topping 200. The free apples at the door might not bar round out this crème de la crème of live music experiences. www.cafedunord.com 2170 Market Street San Francisco, CA 94114 cross street: Sanchez district: Castro/Upper Market Tel: 415.861.5016 044 PROMOTE - STEP 3 ii www.theindependentsf.com 628 Divisadero St San Francisco, CA 94117 cross street: Grove St & Hayes St district: Western Addition/NOPA Tel: 415.771.1421 Bar reviews made possible by Ian Tuttle: www.sf-inter.com/archives/category/venues be laced with LSD anymore but at least you get a free poster if the show sells out. www.thefillmore.com 1805 Geary Blvd San Francisco, CA 94115 cross steet: Fillmore St district: Japantown Tel: 415.346.3000 045 BUZZ by SF Intercom COMMON WEALTH 046 PROMOTE - STEP 3 www.myspace.com/commonwealthrock BOOKING SHOWS: THROUGHOUT SF Bimbo’s 365 Club Broadway Studios The Warfield A f lashback to the good ol’ days of This location does not typically host in- Admittedly if you’re reading this sur- the 50’s, this place is both classy and dependent bands, it does however host vival guide, you aren’t going to be book- rock’n. However the f lashy looks comes events, and like most venues is open ing a show at The Warfield. However. with a price, don’t book this place until to suggestions. If you can draw a large Put it on your list of places to play when you can draw an audience of over 200 crowd, you might approach them. Be you go on tour with Vampire Weekend, fans. When that day comes, call me. advised they don’t promote your show, 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 ii and they do not have a regular crowd. You’re going to have to promote your show double time. www.broadwaystudios.com 435 Broadway San Francisco, CA 94133 cross street: Montgomery St district: North Beach Tel: 415.291.0333 Bar reviews made possible by Ian Tuttle: www.sf-inter.com/archives/category/venues www.thewarfieldtheatre.com 982 Market Street San Francisco, CA 94102 map cross street: Golden Gate Avenue district: Market/Tenderloin Tel: 415.567.2060 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 THE MATCHES www.myspace.com/thematches 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. Step T wo: (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 Maybe you don’t need a website. Can networks have a shit load of people that I suggest simply pointing your newly just naturally migrate there. How many purchased domain name at your Mys- people are hanging out on your website pace, Twitter, Youtube or Facebook. that they don’t know about yet? Most hosts will do this for a low cost of Step Three: 10 dollars a year. 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 Laughing Squid is local.) 1. keyboard and mouse Step Four: 2. a big glass of milk Option (a) put a wordpress on your page (you may also substitute booze) 3. a credit card (ask your mom if you can borrow hers.) 4. a computer with internet … 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.) 5. about 30 min of free time. (i) Obviously tell your designer to make 6. a cell phone to call for help. links to all the places your band can the site easy to update and include 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. 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 Three Club card printing will print a 1 sided So on your next f lyer, band A and Band f lyer for $60 dollars and a 2 sided f lyer B share 1 f lyer and save money while for $65. Do you really need both sides creating a network and duplicating pro- of the f lyer or are you just taking up moting possibilities. space? I think I know the answer. 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 SILENT COMEDY 068 PROMOTE - STEP 3 www.facebook.com/SilentComedyMusic Community On the 2006, P introdu 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? new lo Likely none! Well … what are you waiting for? Get to it! Go tours a out now… bring 10 CDs and don’t come home till you’ve sold me, the them all. We’ll talk again in a couple hours. unsigne 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. 069 BUZZ by SF Intercom find. O the pot sic sce cisco. At this m resurge music. ing for method traditio and cab stream “figure many b lost alo the ban leasing exciting on the video p help a l a large the tec proverbs by the ng of Ju- f God to o search glory of ens are is deep, the good acts find a way to engage Waldo - Rickshaw Stop 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 bottom- So in some cases, we get a ver y nice and talented band, line venue point of view, your bullet point #3 is the most but we lose $$. Or we get an arg uably talented band of important. It’s a business, and we make money if there are assholes t hat br ing a good tur nout. Or we get a band w it h rom the people walking in the door with cash in hand, and leav- g reat stage banter and a good tur nout, but tr y as I might, I es mate- ing with less cash. When we’re writing the rent check, it’s can’t make it sound passable at all. We’ve had any number mith; re- that simple! That’s the most tangible aspect of what a band of t hese instances. rom the brings to the table. When a band succeeds, especially a lo- and his cal band, we immediately think, ‘what good promoters they ablished are!’ And when they fail, the first thought is, ‘see — there ngs are In rare cases, we get all 3! Or zero out of three, at the other extreme. ess. was no promotion!’ So these are the examples I’ll illustrate. lf in the As far as intangibles go, there are really two items All 3: sold out, phenomenal band, nice guys! It’s a pretty d do not (sorr y, they don’t start with P!) rare thing. These guys pulled up in a van, loaded their gear ng great r him to in, had a quick sound check, said ‘hey it sounds great on talent/personality/attitude stage!’ Ate dinner and came back and just simply KILLED p here,” Talent is kinda like por nography … hard to define, but I IT at showtime. Then they did not get falling down drunk umiliate know it when I see it! Attitude is a combination of how easy and got on task and moved on to the next gig. They did this bleman. the band is to work with, how good they are at communica- their first time at rickshaw (first California gig!) and then 8 en with tion (esp in advance — did they let us know they would be months later did it again. Their name is Vampire Weekend. ring [b] late for sound check and that they added a hor n section, They are playing somewhat bigger venues now! or what or are they just going to show up and say, ‘whatever’), and e end if how mag netic their personalities are. On that last point, you to it’s a matter of just being likeable! You can get away with ue your a lot of shortcomings in other areas if you have that mag- bor, do netic personality. r man’s ho hears and you our bad stage late, sounded atrocious, no one is really playing toof which are contradictor y. After show, a screaming match of a band: we have no idea about what’s good and what isn’t. on the topic of ‘you (the venue) are the man, and you’re hold- Aesthetics and talent — they are ver y ambiguous, and nowa- ing us down!’ Their name is Extra Golden — perhaps they days anything is arguably valid, musically. So that makes have had some good gigs elsewhere, but they couldn’t pay us it a bit simple; we don’t have to evaluate on aesthetics. We enough to host them again. settings bring! s rebuke Showed up late, entitled attitude, lots of demands. Hit the gether, ever yone is making signals at the sound man — most just have to evaluate how many bodies the band is going to t of fine presales were abyssmal; we are guaranteed to lose money. Now here’s a shortcut that we use, in determining the value n is like rring of Zero out of 3: Another band on tour; missed soundcheck, Perhaps I have strayed … so to get back to your original framework and question, when all the advance work has But back to the three benchmarks: been done—water under the bridge and all that—and now bodies, talent, personality it’s show time. Perhaps the promotion wasn’t ever ything Like the There’s that old saying, “pick any two”. (Like, you can have harvest your car repaired — fast, correctly, cheap: pick any two.) In a hy mes- tough economy, we’d love all 3, but we’ll take any two! 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! 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 ng of Ju- word of mouth f God to Matthew Kent Ronan proverbs by the o search glory of ens are is deep, ngs are ove the ver, and for the ve the king’s throne through lf in the d do not ng great r him to p here,” umiliate bleman. en with 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. ring [b] I usually tr y to take advantage of any free classes that I can. or what (Academy of Art Summer workshop, Apple store downtown, e end if Calumet, etc.) I haven’t come across music performance you to classes for free, but Production and Recording stuff. You can ue your sit in on free lectures at the apple store. The annual Mac- bor, do world usually has a number of free lectures as well. City Col- r man’s lege San Francisco is nearly free (Minus your books) 072 PROMOTE - STEP 3 073 BUZZ by SF Intercom n, cop- udah: It er; f kings. arth is search- SAY Hi to Petro for me! Alex DiDonato- Finish Ticket 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 ver, and That’s funny that you say hi to Petro, because as I was read- them want to have your band play. Also, talk to other local ith; re- ing your email, he was actually in my room. Cool coincidence. bands! Exchange shows, set up shows together, help each esence, He says hi back, by the way. other promote. Once you get into the stream of local bands, hrough Well yeah, we book and promote our shows as well as play you develop tons of new friendships among other bands and them. It’s a tough process, but in the end, it’s always worth gain a lot more opportunities to play. esence, it to be playing a great show with a huge crowd applauding. In promoting shows, make sure ever yone knows about the at men; I guess I can offer some advice: Don’t be afraid to contact show for a couple weeks before it even happens. You should ome up venues. Make yourself sound appealing to the venue; make start promoting up to 3 weeks before the show starts. Go to 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 FINISH TICKET www.facebook.com/finishticket 075 BUZZ by SF Intercom RATTLE SNAKES www.myspace.com/rattlesnakes 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 . 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 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 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 , cost any thing. 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 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 . 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 082 PROMOTE - STEP 3 083 BUZZ by SF Intercom 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 , 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 ! 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 ! 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 084 PROMOTE - STEP 3 085 BUZZ by SF Intercom 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 . 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 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 . thank the bar owner and the booker. be e x tr a nice to the sound guy and thank him as well. 086 PROMOTE - STEP 3 087 BUZZ by SF Intercom 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 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 ? 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 adverting utilized outside the music scene. perhaps you can advertise your band as if you i t a w ay a n d s t i l l m a k e m o n e y . 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 088 PROMOTE - STEP 3 089 BUZZ by SF Intercom MUMMLERS www.myspace.com/mummlers opied by he glory t a mat- are high ings are e silver, mith; re- nce, and hteous- nce, and s better THE SCENE & BE SEEN Making a record STEFAN ARONSEN: SF-INTER.COM 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? han for ring [b] So you’ve never recorded a cd? Or maybe you’re new to San places that do recording. If you go to sf-inter.com you can the end Francisco. Likely you could research the web and find a place find our more about places to record. As well as a list of plac- u argue to record, duplicate and package (or find 50). Why do research es other bands have gone. I suggest contacting your favorite another that somebody has already done? That is the exciting thing band and seeing where they recorded, duplicated and pack- y shame about being part of a community. You just need to reach out! aged. You’ll get a first hand account of the ups and downs, tation. Somebody will be there to grab your hand. We profiled two then you can copy their success. 092 PROMOTE - STEP 3 HEY YOUNG BELIEVER www.facebook.com/HeyYoungBeliever 093 BUZZ by SF Intercom THE SCENE & BE SEEN MONKEY PIRATE CAT RADIO BY: STEFAN ARONSEN 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 A aron Axelsen SOUNDCHECK BY: STEFAN ARONSEN 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 ERA ESCAPE www.myspace.com/eraescape 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