Come Party with our Cyber PR artists at SXSW!

We’ve got some great artists performing at SXSW. Stop by a show and have a drink with them!
All of the artists will be available for interviews as well while at SXSW please email Christina Duren [] to schedule an interview.

Strait Laces
Punk, Rock

Tuesday, March 16 Bruised Fruit Party @ Bull McCabes (714 Red River) – TBA
Wednesday March 17 Belfast Rocks Showcase @ Latitude 30 (512 San Jacinto Boulevard) – 12.30pm
Wednesday, March 17 Music Tech Mashup @ Rusty Spurs Saloon (405 E 7th Street) – 4pm
Thursday, March 18 Music Gorilla Party @ Treasure Island (413 East 6th Street) – 3pm
Friday, March 19 Music From Ireland Breakfast Party @ BD Rileys (204 East 6th Street) – 2.30pm
Friday, March 19  Official SXSW Showcase @ Wave – 8pm
Saturday, March 20  Irish Party @ Fado (214 West 4th Street) -1pm
Saturday, March 20 Party @ Lovey’s Loot – 7pm
Saturday, March 20 Closing Party @ Blu Lounge (360 Nueces Street) – 12am



Indie Max 100: Category 4 – Performance

38: Learn How to Rehearse

You know the rules to get a song on radio intro/ verse/ chorus/ verse/ chorus/ bridge/ chorus, 3 1/2 minutes long, etc. But live those rules change…it’s a different medium. You need to find the moments in the songs and develop them during a rehearsal. Rehearsals are a great place to take chances and be spontaneous.
- Tom Jackson

39: Play Shows Locally & Frequently First

I differentiate this from TOUR (which is what is the ultimate plan). The idea is build a HEADLINING (with smart opening slots also) following in each city which will show that you can sell tickets, give you the opportunity to become excellent at ENTERTAINING your audience, pay for the expansion into neighboring regions and to have some proof of your value for fickle promoters/ club owners and ultimately a booking agent (you should NOT plan on having success finding an agent until you can sell 250+ tickets locally). Play shows locally (all the towns within a 3 hour drive) frequently (but no more than 10-15 shows/year until you are selling approx 250-400 headlining tickets, then phase down to 3-4 times per year as you sell 400-1000 headlining tickets). Once you are selling 250 +/- tickets (more if you are a larger band with higher touring costs) expand regionally, then multiple regions until you can cover the whole country and ultimately other countries. Getting to a modest National stature (500-1000 tickets across the country) should take 4-7 YEARS of VERY hard work! Oh, and be professional: Advance the show, promote your own shows (digitally and physically) wherever possible, show up on time, and be NICE to everyone (no attitude when problems occur, and they WILL), respect the venue, make friends with all other bands on the bill, etc. Booking yourself WILL be frustrating. Be pleasantly persistent. Ask to play appropriate sized rooms and nights.
- Rob Gordon

40: Get Fan Generated Bookings

A Corey Smith’s email/text list grows, we have been reaching out to fans to generate bookings. This has generated both college shows and club shows. Fans are even starting Facebook groups to prove that they can get fans to the shows and then are working with us to book them. We would have never thought Shane Hines could get 50+ people out and now will be headed to Morehead to do just that. This group was started by a fan that saw him open for Corey Smith. We kept in touch with them via the mobile text program.

- Michele Samuel

41: Use

Eventful is very powerful. The first time I knew I was going to be in Seattle I sent a message to 75 people who demanded me on Eventful and w/in 24 hours I had a show set up at a venue that held 75 people. That show sold out. This made me realize you can tour in an efficient way instead of driving up and down the east coast to cities where people don’t know you. It’s much better to wait till people know who you are and you know they want you there.
– Jonathan Coulton

42: Play Gigs Where No One Else Plays Gigs

You won’t be making money in the beginning anyway so play in weird places that will get people talking (even if you get arrested). Getting arrested is great for your credibility and will make everyone talk about you and make everyone but the status quo like you.
- Tom Silverman

43: Prove To Each Venue That You’re Going To Promote

Conquer Social Media Before You Book Shows by setting up MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and make sure your music/email list is on it. You as the artist are the voice behind those pages, but don’t spend more than 2 hours a day on it. Make sure all of the above is in place before you book shows. Once a Show is Booked, Promote it! Otherwise no one will turn up and you may not get another gig. Ask the venue if fliers work well in their market and ask for a local media/radio list you can send the show to. Offer fans guest list in exchange for postering around town and sending in photos of their work.
- Emily White

Amber Rubarth would call each venue and ask them how she could help promote her show. She would then do everything that they requested and stay in touch with them to let them know that she was working hard to promote her own show and she fostered relationships with the venue owners and bookers while she worked for her own promotional benefit.
- Derek Sivers

44: 3 Critical Things To Bring To Every Show…

1. Make sure you have a physical piece of music to sell at shows
2. Additional merch
3. Have an email list sign up form
- Emily White

45: Gig Swap

Network with other bands in person and online to set up gig swaps with other artists to play in other cities. You host them when they come to your town and they in turn host you.
- Emily White

We are strong in some areas and other bands are strong in different areas. So, we often trade shows so that bands open each other shows and build tours around them to tap into multiple fan bases.
- Michele Samuel

46: Stay With Friends

Stay with friends on the road to save money. Be considerate – walk their dogs in the morning or cook them breakfast…. You will probably be invited back!
- Emily White

47: At Live Shows Employ Mobile Text Short Codes, Mobile Phones or Google Voice

Walking around with an email list requires manpower, time and generally does not get a great result. But, if you could have the fans text you during your performance and stay in touch with them that way. We use a short code and have the fans text to it during the performance. When they text they receive a link to download free tracks. We capture their text number and then keep in contact and get permission to continue a relationship with them after the show. The return has been a minimum of 25% of the audience.
- Michele Samuel

Offer up a Google Voice number from stage where folks can text in their email address. Or a mobile # where people can text their phone numbers straight to you. Next time you play in that area you already have a built in text-messaging list.
- Emily White

48: Create Moments, Capture And Engage Audiences, Don’t Just Sing And Play Songs

Your audience wants to feel something, not hear something. When people are moved, they remember and want to buy those moments to take home and relive. It’s about how you and your music affect people. Give your audience something to think about. The audience wants to forget about themselves. There are onstage skills, tools, and techniques to win an audience, and to keep them captured and engaged and wanting more. It’s all about an emotional connection with people!
- Tom Jackson

49: Exceed Your Audience’s Expectations Without Changing Who You Are

Like a great restaurant, your customers (audiences) have expectations. If a restaurant doesn’t figure out what the customers want, the restaurant will go out of business,
- Tom Jackson

50: Your Songs Don’t Sound the Same…They Shouldn’t Look the Same

An artist wouldn’t even think of using the same lyrics, rhythms, or tones for every song. Yet artists have a tendency to do the same thing visually for every song. Big mistake! 55% of communication is what the audience sees with their eyes. To the audience, if the songs look the same then they start sounding the same. If this is what’s happening, whether you realize it or not, you’re not getting the most out of your show.
- Tom Jackson

51: Know Your Role in the Band Onstage

Know what your audience expects. Players on a great football team need to know their roles in order to be successful. It’s the same with a great band. A great quarterback/front man is a leader. The wide receiver/ lead guitarist knows he’s supposed to deliver the touchdown. The lineman/ drummer holds down the fort. There are specific skills and roles for each person to know and work on in order to be great as a group onstage and win the audience.
- Tom Jackson

52: Meet & Greet: And Sign Autographs Till There Is No One Left Waiting

Sign and hang out and engage with folks post-show. Stay at the merch table till you have met every single person that wants to meet you and sign merch. That personal touch will be long remembered after you leave and those fans will bring their friends the next time you come through town.
- Emily White

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Making the Most of Music Conferences: The Musician’s Guide to Navigating SXSW and All Other Music Conferences


Six Steps to Maximize Your Conference Experience, Make More Music-Business Contacts, and Advance Your Music Career

Over my 13 years of attending SXSW I’ve seen plenty of bands who did get a coveted showcase and not only did they not get signed, but also they did not meet any key players in the business or benefit their careers in any way by showcasing.

Reasons for this included: They received awful showcase venues and times; they were busy loading and unloading gear, babysitting band members, or getting tanked at parties to make the journey worthwhile; or they opted for their measly $100 stipend instead of for the gold: the festival pass.

Here’s my musician’s South by Southwest survival guide to get your through one of the most massive and overwhelming conferences of the year. This guide is not just for SXSW; it’s also for any music conference out there!

Part of the trick is: Show up prepared. Know who will be attending and create some goals before you get there.

I believe all musicians should attend at least one music conference per year. They are expensive to get to. Think abut it this way: Music lessons were at one time expensive, and so was your equipment and those things are also vital for your career. Conferences are the best place to meet people who work in and around the music industry and are a relaxed environment to connect with vital people in.

For those of you who do not have connections in the music industry, going to a music conference is your chance. This is an annual business trip you should never miss!

Austin, Texas, a wonderful city, and its distractions are many. But, keep in mind that this is not a vacation. It’s a work-related learning experience, and with a little planning and foresight you can have a million-dollar conference.

STEP ONE: Before You Go, Get Connected! Get involved with some online communities that are SXSW-related.

Facebook Group:

MySpace Group:

Ning Group:

When you get there: tweet!

TIP: Use all of these sites and more social media sites to connect to individuals who may be attending as well.

LOCALS TIP: If you live in one of the towns that a conference is taking place in be helpful – offer advice on where to eat a good inexpensive meal in town, where to get an instrument repaired, find a rehearsal studio, good backline or offer up your couch and floor for a band to crash on.

SXSW site:
Use the SXSW Registrant Directory

Get registered to the South by Southwest directory and go through and determine who you may want to meet before you arrive in Austin A producer? A publicist? A manager? An agent? Drop them a personal e-mail using the amazing South by Southwest interactive tools Web site and introduce yourself. If you are playing, invite people to come to your showcase. Also post messages on the blog (and if you do blog and Twitter about it before you go!)

STEP TWO: Bring Business Cards, Fizzkicks Cards & Postcards Go armed with business cards. If you over the age of 18, you should have a business card, especially at events like this. Your business card should not just have your name and number, but should have good information about what your band sounds like, your Myspace page, your Facebook, and links to any other places people might be able to find you online. A photo of you or a band logo would also be highly recommended.

I know what you are thinking! It is very easy to unsubscribe once signed up and so it’s not a ploy at all. You are providing a quality offer and you are askig for their email address in exchange for it.

I love Fizzkicks cards because they double as a business card and a music-download card –

TIP: Put one sentence about your music (your pitch) on your card and the instrument you play. A card with a name and address is totally useless and unmemorable! Put a photo of yourself on the card or your band logo to add even more branding and recognition.

I suggest talking to your webs designer to implement this. aweber and 1 Shopping Cart are two systems that can be integrated into your site to deliver these results.

TIP: I do not recommend bringing a ton of CDs. People are overwhelmed with free CDs so it’s better to get people’s business cards and mail them a CD as a follow-up after you get home.

STEP THREE: Take Risks Introduce yourself to a stranger.
I “accidentally” met Tommy from Universal Buzz at a bar because I thought he was someone else who I was supposed to meet, and we’ve been colleagues ever since. Don’t be scared to take risks and meet people. Conferences are friendly places.

STEP FOUR: Attend Panels
It’s tempting to blow them off and hit all of the parties but you should make an effort to sit in on at least one or two panels per day, on any topic that interests you, and learn. Take notes.

STEP FIVE: Sign Up for Mentoring Sessions
Most conferences have amazing mentoring sessions where you can sign up to have one-on-one face time with the industry people that are paneling (and some of the most important people in the music business will be sitting there ready to meet with you). I never, ever would have met one of the most important editors at Rolling Stone had I not signed up.

TIP: When you do go to a one-on-one mentoring panel, be prepared to meet these people, and make sure that you have done your research and have specific questions to ask them.

STEP SIX: Follow Up!
The moment you get home, make sure to send thank you notes, e-mails and follow up with every single person that you met. If appropriate, add them to your e-mail list.

Never send your pitch or talk about business in the first initial e-mail. Get people to respond to your follow up by just being friendly.

TIP: If you do not follow up your trip and hard work will have been a waste of your time. Do not rip yourself off here!

There are plenty of other great conferences that I recommend including:

CMJ, New York City, NY

Atlantis, Atlanta, GA

Winter Music Conference, Miami, FL

Folk Alliance, Memphis, TN

Americana Music Conference, Nashville, TN

Taxi Road Rally, Los Angeles, CA

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Insurance For Musicians – How to Get Covered

bigstock--d-rendering-of-a-sea-of-umbre-17083079It’s been an insane summer / early fall – since our last newsletter I’ve lost my home in a fire – it was a freak accident I was at work when an old extension cord caused a spark and my apt is now a charred ruin.

So I now know the answer to “What would you grab if your house was on fire?”

(answer: my Snoopy I got when I was two, & my laptop)

Then I almost lost my mother who almost died in an accident – making the “losing my house” part of the summer seem like a picnic.

I am beyond thankful that no one got hurt except for my cat Mookie (pictured above), who was rescued by the awesome NYFD – after a week in the kitty hospital he came back home. And my mom is back home recovering and very very happy to be alive!

So the theme of this here newsletter is: INSURANCE – I can’t stress enough how important this is.

But – what do you do as a musician working in your own band / studio and how do you qualify?

Here’s what I learned and I have listed the services I found from easiest to the more complicated to navigate. (more…)