So You Want to Be in a Rock & Roll Band? - Phase 6 by Sal Canzonieri
Welcome to my sixth column in Loud Fast Rules magazine. This column will be all about being successful in the music business based on my experiences from playing music since 1975. I'm going to be real and no holds barred about every facet of the music biz from the top to the bottom. It's pretty much advice and discussion, what sucks and what is great. I'm going to tell you what other people won't. Feel free to contact me and let me know what worked for you, if you have some good advice for people.
There are many aspects to the music world, and every one of them has things that happen in them that can either totally fuck you up or can be great if things work out right for you. These are: the people in the bands themselves; the booking agents; the promoters of the shows; the clubs, halls, etc.; the lawyers; the recording studios; the record producers; the A&R people; the radio stations and the DJs; the internet and music websites; the music shops that carry supplies and instruments; the record labels; the distributors; the record stores; the merch manufacturers; the music press and the fanzines and newstand magazines; and the audience. So, in each column I am going to talk about one of these aspects and it ain't going to be pretty!

Phase 6 - Going to the Top

Let's review what I've discussed so far in each of my previous 5 columns, before you start with Phase 6:

Phase 1- Putting Together a Quality Act, in that issue I talked about understanding that the music business is made to rip bands off and how to adjust your attitude around this. I said that it is crucial for you to understand the difference between Goals and Results, and how SUCCESS is the RESULT of achieving all your goals, it is not a goal in itself. I gave the steps involved in the physical act of putting a band together, from picking a name that is going to work right, not a shit name that is going to kill your success, to tradmarking your name correctly, to setting up a website; to how to do a band photo the best way.

The Result of doing these steps for a year is that you have a Quality band with people actually noticing your songs.

Phase 2- Getting Popular, in that issue I talked about how in the beginning it is more important to get popular than anything else. Most importantly, I discussed why writing great songs is the only real way to get popular and achieve ultimate success and why. Also, I talked about how to continuously improve your live show; how to get bigger bands to help you out; why to record with small labels to get noticed; how to get better shows; how to get more people to come to your early shows; how to get useful press; and lots more.

The Result of doing these steps for a year is that you will be headlining on a weekend night, will have good press, and will get steadily more popular.

Phase 3 - Intensifying Your Popularity, in that issue I discussed how to go past being a beginner band, which included: why & how to quality reviews and have the press on your side; how a label's distributor is the MOST important part of the deal; using the internet to your best advantage; why you should use artists to do your posters and record covers; getting started the right way with merchandising; what slot to play on a bill; how to get out of just playing in your town; joining ASCAP; moving to a mid-sized label; dealing with contracts; why to play festivals as much as you can; and so on.

The Result of doing these steps for a couple of years is that you will be a popular record out, and you will have a strong enough fanbase that you can sell a lot of records, and you will start actually making some money instead of losing it like dumb bands do.

Phase 4 - Now or Never: Grow Your Following, in that issue I detailed information that is necessary to grow your audience. I talked about how not to be stupid and weak when dealing with places to play if you have a decent sized following; trading shows with bands to get out of town; why doing small tours is best; wearing other band's shirts on stage (stupid thing to do); putting out digital albums on internet record labels; why you need a publicist; the supreme importance of doing interviews; knowing your audience to the fullest; when to do cover songs; booking agents and managers, if and when they are needed; putting out records overseas; and other stuff.

The Result of doing these steps for a few years is that you can get signed to a decent record label, word of mouth gets many more people to your shows, you sell a lot of merch at your shows and records online, at your shows, and in record stores, you have a strong image, and you have a strong strategy for touring.

Phase 5 - Going National, in that issue I mentioned knowing when to quit and why; double checking how its going for your record sales, fan base, press, and anything that might be holding back sales; doing strategic touring by region of the various markets; how to make sure your label's distributor will care about your band; and one of the MOST IMPORTANT things I have every discussed: how to take matters into your own hands and be your own label and how to get financing to keep your band rolling!

The Result of doing these steps are that you are generally much more popular, you are earning regular money for all your hard work, your fans are very committed and do much to help your band, you get offers from bigger labels, AND you can Do It Yourself.

(continued on next page)

(c) 2006 BGT ENT / Sal Canzonieri