In May's article, we heard from David Codr of MusicPage.com about Artist Development. This month, we have part two of his helpful tips!
As always, if you have any particular topics you'd like to see covered here, or if you'd like to contribute an article to the FNO newsletters - drop me a line!
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Artist Development Part 2
By David Codr
After promoting or producing around 1,000 concerts, managing bands, booking
tours and scouting talent, you pick up a few tricks of the trade. That's how I
started doing artist development work. The gang at Festival Network Online
asked if I would share a few of my artist development techniques in this
Developing a New Market (Part 2)
Last month's article on Developing a new market was intentionally basic for our
less seasoned readers. But now that the basics are out of the way, we can delve
into real Market Development.
When an artist i am working with starts to develop a new market, one of the first
things I have them do is make a list of all the "players" in that market. Usually
the list consists of the talent buyers at the venues we want to play at, promoters,
local music writers and reporters, DJs at stations that may play the artist,
Program Directors for the same stations, area music website staffers, etc.
The idea is to identify all the people you want to work with there. Either to play
with or for, or people who can help you get your name out to local music fans.
Don't worry about how complete it is at first, its just a starting point. Your list
should expand and grow as you become more familiar with the market.
After you have your list, create a document for every person on it. Doesn't have
to be any specific program; Word, Pages, or even just an old fashioned piece of
paper. Since I've been watching a bunch of old James Bond reruns this week,
lets call it a Dossier.
Write the person's name at the top, followed by the name of their company
or where they work. Add their email, phone numbers, Facebook address,
Musicpage profile address and any other pertinent information.
What's pertinent? That will depend on each person. Ive seen artists add
birthdays, hobbies, interests, family member names, things the person likes and
dislikes - its up to you. The purpose of the Dossier is to collect and display all
sorts of info on this person that you can reference later.
Basically, the Dossier is another instrument in your arsenal. As a touring artist, its
hard to keep up with all the details for all the people you work with in your head.
The Dossier helps you "remember" things you may otherwise forget.
After you have a few Dossiers started, you can use them to start contacting these
people. I'm a big believer in developing personal relationships with the people I
want to work with. Its human nature, people like working with and helping people
I don't have any statistics for this, but imagine the overwhelming majority of
musicians only call music pros when they want something from them. This is
one of the reasons its so hard to get in touch with, or line up opportunities with
the people you want to work with. When you call, they know you are doing so
because you want something from them.
The Dossier's help you break that cycle. Each time you book a new show in this
new market, you pull out the Dossier's of the "players" in that market and start
contacting them. The reason of the call? To get together with this person next
time you're in town.
It's important to not start things out by calling and asking them to do something
for you (book a show, write about you, etc). Tell them you are starting to play in
the market and you wanted to buy them lunch to introduce yourself and see if
they have any advice as someone experienced in the local music scene.
I like to start with reporters as they are usually easy to meet for a free lunch, and
they can help you reach music fans in that market.
When you meet with them, don't sweat them or ask for anything (that comes
later). The point is to get to know them and if possible, gain valuable information
on the market from their first hand experience. If there are any noteworthy
nuggets of info about the person that come out of your meeting, add it to the
Things like birthdays or special events are things you should note, and call them
about later; "Just wanted to wish you a happy birthday," etc. If you want these
people to give a damn about you and your music, its always a good idea to give
a damn about what's going on in their lives.
If you aren't able to schedule a sit down with any of the "players" you have on
your list, keep at it. Sometimes offering to pick up a pizza and meet at their office
is a good option if they don't have time to meet you somewhere.
Remember, these are often busy people. Even if you never set up a meeting, you
are getting on their radar. And you're doing it in a different way than most artists
that contact them because you aren't asking for anything. In fact, you're doing
the opposite. You are offering to do something for them!
This will help you stand out among the other artists calling these people. As
someone who has promoted or produced over 1,000 concerts, I can assure you
that standing out or being memorable to the people you want to work with is
Developing relationships with the music pros who work in the market you
are developing can have lasting benefits. Not only will they provide you with
invaluable information, you are positioning yourself to work with them down the
- David Codr
In addition to running Musicpage.com, David gives artist development workshops
at Music Conferences and private events under the name Guerrilla Promotion.
If you have an industry related question for David, you can post it on his blog
If your looking for music industry access or promotion, set up your own free
Musicpage profile at http://www.musicpage.com/pages/new
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