it... the essential guide
mega stars Oasis showing some attitude live|
it's every musician's dream to get signed to a record deal and hit the big time.
how do you get into the same league as big name bands?
The music business
is notoriously competitive and unforgiving.
For every Oasis and Badly Drawn
Boy, there's dozens of artists vying for the attention of industry executives.
a few tips on how you can set out on the path to rock stardom and perhaps even
become the next Joy Division or Tractor.
So you want to start a band?
Perhaps you've written
a few songs and played some gigs, but making the leap from singing in the back
room of your local pub to the big time needs more than just good luck and raw
Do - Form a band and write
some songs. Start gigging, develop a list of your best songs and record them in
a studio or at home on a good computer package.
Do - put yourself
in the picture. Use websites like myspace and other online promotional tools to
get your name out there.
Do watch out for sharks and rip-off merchants.
Check the credentials of whoever you're working with.
make friends and influence people e.g. music journalists, management companies
and A&R scouts.
Don't rush things - take it step by step. Have
a goal and work towards it. Don't start gigging until you're really tight and
Don't go in with false expectations - be realistic.
BPI 'When Will I Be Famous'
First of all, be prepared
for a huge amount of hard work and dedication.
You'll also need a game plan
- an idea of the sort of music you want to make and how to promote it.
several different routes you can go down depending on your age and the type of
music you're playing.
Young bands -
one of the easiest ways for under 18s to get involved with music is through school.
schools have a school band, an after school club or music department where you
can fine-tune your skills.
Alternatively, ask your music teacher for advice,
and take singing or musical instrument lessons.
Find out about special
rock summer schools that take place locally around North West England.
for like-minded pupils to form a band or duo on the school notice board.
you're well rehearsed, promote your gigs in schools or community centres.
to college - there are many excellent music and performing arts courses
at colleges and Universities throughout North West England, but be prepared to
learn some music theory.
Check out the University of Salford, MANCAT and
the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts.
There are also courses in event
management, music technology and the business side of the industry if you want
to work behind the scenes in studio production or promotion.
bands - recruit like-minded individuals via school, college,
ads in music shops and classifieds, or via Internet sites such as myspace.
Badly Drawn Boy went solo to achieve success|
Write your own
songs, rehearse till you're really tight, and start gigging to build a fan base.
Mature bands - you'll probably have
been gigging for a number of years and have a decent back catalogue of songs.
you've established a local fan base, build your audience through myspace, internet
marketing and mailing/texting lists of fans.
Start playing gigs in London
and around the UK, become more selective about gigging at higher profile venues
and events in your own town or city, and get your name out there.
tenacity, hard work and determination are important - keep on building your skills
and song writing.
Be critical of your own performance, be original and get
advice from people who know what they're talking about.
There's no magic
formula but here are some basic tips:
- don't be afraid to experiment and don't bore the listener - use a Dictaphone
or computer kit to record basic ideas. Don't copy established bands - there's
only one Oasis!
Gigging - don't gig
before you're ready. Make every gig a special event - create a buzz. Be well rehearsed
and well prepared. Plan a great introduction. Keep your set short and sweet (20-30
minutes) - make people want more. Get the audience involved - make them excited.
- publicise your gigs, new songs and music. Develop your own website, fanzine
or online community (via myspace or others). Produce your own posters, flyers
and promo. Use word of moth - build up a mailing list.
- once you're more experienced, turn heads with headlines in the local and national
media. Send CDs, press releases and biogs to music papers and radio shows who
specialise in breaking new artists and bands e.g. Radio One and NME for rock bands.
Local papers can be useful too as can regional TV as long as you have a news 'hook'.
- take a long, hard look at your overall 'look' or style. Do you look like a rock
star? Do you look cool? Develop a strong image - try something fresh and different
to stand out from the crowd. Consult an image stylist or students on a fashion
Creating a buzz
So what's next? You've got a decent live set, you've impressed a couple of hundred
fans, and you've fine-tuned your songwriting skills?
business - once you've created a vibe, start contacting record labels
and managers but get some good gigs and reviews in the press under your belt first.
to do your homework - check that you're sending out the right type of music to
the correct label. It's no use sending a new metal CD to a R'n'B label!
out the names of A&R people - invite them to gigs, and arrange meetings if
Division - a Manchester institution|
heaven - when sending out CDs, keep it simple with three tracks not
two hours of material. Include a biog and contact details.
Many scouts don't
get past the first song so put your strongest first.
Follow up with a phone
call to get feedback.
Never send out dodgy quality recordings - make the
package look and sound as professional as possible.
online - the Internet provides a great opportunity to publish and distribute
your own music - sites such as myspace are hugely valuable.
a manager - a good manager with excellent links to the music industry
can be worth their weight in gold, but remember that most charge a commission
of around 20%.
A final word of advice...
Beware of rip-off merchants and poor deals - not every manager or record label
will have your best interests at heart. Read the small print on anything you sign!
Join the Musicians' Union, consult a music lawyer before you sign a deal and always
check the credentials of whoever you're working with.
* Be focused - keep
your feet on the ground. Read serious music magazines to keep up with the business.
you've built up a massive fan base, made friends with the music industry and signed
that deal, you're ready to crack the world.
But remember there's no substitute
for talent and hard work... and with a little luck, you might just get noticed!