Your Career Might Go Up in Flames!
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Nobody said the music
business was going to be easy.
is a jungle out there filled with: snakes, rats, rabid carnivores, sharks…well,
you get the picture. In the course of
your musical journey, there will be confrontations, arguments,
misunderstandings, and miscommunications.
You’ll get jerked around, ripped off and
disrespected. So, you want to be a
rockstar? Welcome to your nightmare.
But this is also a business
of good people, who’ll give you opportunities and chances and help you out when
you least expect it. That’s why it’s so
important that you, as musicians and as a band, act professionally and
respectfully regardless of the behavior of those you encounter. You don’t have to be a pushover and of
course, you have a right to defend yourself against the questionable actions of
others, but the music community can be a very small town and the behavior you
exhibit will follow you throughout your musical career.
On the flipside of that,
there are musicians out there who, either knowingly or unknowingly bring
negativity on themselves through their own actions. Short temperedness, egocentricism, brazen
entitlement, compulsive lying and just plain old psychotic behavior can brand
your band as troublemakers and deprive you of important opportunities that you
need to move forward in this business.
So, how can you make sure
that you’re doing onto others as you wish they would do onto you? What can you, as musicians do, to eliminate aspects
of your personality that may be causing bad blood between you and the people
you run across on your way to superstardom?
The following are a few tips
that may help you to make sure you’re exhibiting professional behavior at all
Be Timely And Courteous---Whether you’re playing out
live or emailing booking inquiries from home, there is never a substitute for courteously
or timeliness. At gigs, show up when
you’re supposed to, be friendly, treat others with respect, set up quickly, end
your set on time, break down quickly, be mindful of other bands on stage,
compliment those around you and don’t forget simple things like, “please” and
“thank you.” When you leave a positive
impression in people’s minds, you’ll be high on their list when it comes time
to fill an open booking slot, recommend a band for a review, etc.
Make Sure Your Actions Match Your Words---It’s such a
simple thing but you’d be surprised how many musicians seem incapable to doing
what they say they’re going to. If you
book a gig, show up and play. If you say
you’re going to bring twenty friends and fans to your gig, do it. If you reserve an ad in a local music
magazine, pay for it. If you write a
check, make sure that it doesn’t bounce.
If you say you’re going to send out a press package or a CD, mail it. It is true that many people in the music
business are distrustful of bands that they don’t know, and with good reason in
many instances. Build your good
reputation in the industry by proving that you will do what you’ve promised. Start small.
Once you’ve gain people’s trust, you’ll see more and more doors opening
up for your band.
Take The High Road---It may be tough but there’s
nothing to be gained from returning someone’s improper behavior with a heap-load
of your own. That doesn’t mean that you
need to let every industry slime-bag from New York to LA ride roughshod all
over your music project but there are ways to deal with the negative behavior
in this business without branding yourself with a label equally as
negative. Sending firm yet professional
letters, making intelligent and informed phone inquiries and, if need be,
taking legal action against those who have acted inappropriately are ways to
handle unpleasant situations without drawing negative attention to
yourself. Public scenes, yelling and
screaming, long-winded and ranting emails, threats and accusations and spiteful
actions may make you feel vindicated but it may chase away the good people as
well as the bad and that just sets your band back.
You Can’t Undo What You’ve Already Done---It’s much
harder to undo past bad behaviors, or reverse negative reputations than it is
to foster positive ones. It’s best when
starting out to avoid acting rash as a rule.
If you have a band member that is incapable of keeping his or her cool,
perhaps it’s time to rethink his or her place in your group. The entertainment industry has a long memory
and a spiteful tongue. Make sure when
people speak of you, they’re speaking well.
This may all seem like such common
sense that it isn’t even worth mentioning but you’d be surprised how many
shows, interviews, tours, and record deals have never materialized because of
burned bridges. You may have talent and
great tunes, but if your attitude sucks you’ll get passed over time and again. No one wants to work with rage-aholics,
egomaniacs or crazies. Don’t let anyone
think that’s what your band is about.
Sure it’s important to be creative geniuses but if no one likes you,
you’ll be performing your masterpieces in the garage for grandma and her
Pomeranian. Get smart and treat people
right and you may find yourself rockin’ all the way to the bank.
Sheena Metal is a radio host, producer,
promoter, music supervisor, consultant, columnist, journalist and
musician. Her syndicated radio program, Music Highway
Radio, airs on over 700 affiliates to more than 126
million listeners. Her musicians’
assistance program, Music Highway, boasts over 10,000 members. She currently promotes numerous live shows
weekly in the Los
AngelesArea, where she resides. For more info: http://www.sheena-metal.com.