The following questions are helpful for any artist or band if they are serious about conducting their music careers as a business.
Thoughtful, honest, and detailed answers to these questions will help prepare any artist or band in writing bios, press releases (and EPKS), and fact sheets, as well as marketing plans that are necessary for getting the word out about your new release.
Answering these questions NOW will also help prepare you for any interviews that may come up as you work your music releases.
So, don't cut corners on some of the more detailed questions. THINK about your answers before you write any answers.
Here we go...
- Name of Artist/Band? (Include all band members names and instruments played.)
- Is your stage name trademarked?
- Have you registered your songs for copyright protection with the U.S. Copyright Office?
- Have any of your songs been published? (If so, by whom?)
- Have you affiliated with a performance rights organization? (which one? ASCAP, BMI, SESAC?)
- Have you signed up with SoundExchange.com? (Check out what they do!)
- What is your music background? 9Tell your story in a short and concise manner.)
- Do any band members belong to the Musician’s Union?
- Do you have a written ‘band agreement’?
- Why do you want to record and release your own music? (Be very honest.)
- Who is your fan/customer? (Analyze this question thoroughly.)
- What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)
- Do you write your own songs? (Discuss the songwriting process in detail.)
- Who are your musical influences? (Site specific examples.)
- How do you describe your music to people? (This is not a short answer.
- What image do you think your music conveys? ( Do not avoid the image issue!)
- What are your immediate music career goals? (Next 1 to 3 years.)
- What are your long-term career goals?
- How would you define the word “success”?
- Do you have any personal contacts in the music business?
- Do you have an entertainment law attorney to consult with?
- Are you looking for an independent label deal or a major label deal? (Why?)
- What live performance experience have you had? (Any industry showcases?)
- How do you rate your live performance ability? (Be very critical. No cliches)
- Have you recorded any previous CDs or posted any audio files on the Internet?
- What type of recording process did you use? Who produced your recording?)
- How did you sell your CD’s/Audio Files? (Consignment? Live sales? iTunes? CD Baby? Amazon.com? Tunecore? Through traditional distributors/stores?)
- Have you had any previous print or broadcast media exposure or reviews?
- Are you financially able to fund the costs of establishing your career? (Are you in debt?)
- Do you have a business license? (City, state, federal?)
- What is your current “business form”? (Sole proprietor? Corporation? Partnership?)
- Have you set up a system for tracking your financial activities? (Software system?)
- Are you aware of the tax deductions available for musicians?
- Do you have insurance on your band equipment and vehicles?
- Who handles your daily business activities? (Bookings, promotions etc.)
- Have you created a career, marketing, or business plan? (Is it in writing?)
Note: These creative and business-related questions are the questions I ask my clients to answer before I can help them through my consultation services. So, you should deal with all these questions for no other reason than to help yourself!
Christopher Knab is an independent music business consultant based in Seattle, Washington. He is available for private consultations on promoting and marketing independent music, and can be reached by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris Knab's new book, 'Music Is Your Business' is available NOW from the Music Biz Academy bookstore.
Visit the FourFront Media and Music website for more information on the business of music from Christopher Knab.