Does Your Band Have a Full Team In Place?

Brandy Reed pic for  blogAdvice from RPR Media Senior Publicist Brandy Reed

Happy 2013 to everyone! I am excited to be back on Prescription Bluegrass with all of you to talk about the independent music world and all it has to offer. I appreciate all the great comments on my last blog and if my insight has helped any of you formulate a plan to move forward with your art…I am a happy girl!

As I began to think about what I would write about next I realized that I had been having a handful of conversations with some of my colleagues over the last month about “the team.” This topic has surfaced enough times that I feel it needs to be addressed so that you who are reading this can see the bigger picture.

In my last blog I outlined the top ten things every artist should know about promotion. Among the ten items three of them included team members, which are a booking agent, radio promoter and a publicist. These are only three important parts that make up a well-oiled machine. Image634943612840431216Others include a good manager, tour manager, merchandise person, a fan club president or street team president and your web guy or gal.

I say well-oiled machine because that is exactly what it is when you have all your team members in place. It reminds me of the saying “it takes a village to raise a child.” Well...it takes an able team to raise an artist/band as well.

Trust me when I tell you that I have been doing this long enough to have seen the difference between an artist/band with one good business person on their side and an artist/band with a great team around them. In my experience, the artists/bands that I have worked with that put their team in place were able to grow their business exponentially year after year. The ones that had only a few members on their team or no other members at all were never quite able to expand and reach new levels of their career.

You can have the very best manager in the business or the very best publicist with a star-studded roster of clients or a top notch booking agent with a national reach, but one person alone cannot launch your career without all the other parts being added and function correctly. It’s like an engine that you are relying on to get you down the road. You have a good solid block, pristine cylinder heads and all the pistons are firing just right, but you don’t have the alternator and your timing belt is out of sync. You may get a little ways down the road like this, but it will be a rough ride and you will soon sputter out and stop dead.

BUILD YOUR TEAM. Your goal, as I mentioned in my last blog, is to get your music heard and make a living off your art. To make your music the proverbial “day job.” This is just like building any other business. It takes time, commitment, personal and financial sacrifice, unrelenting dedication and a team. It’s been said that the first two years will make or break a business so try and have realistic goals and time-lines. Be as creative as you can possibly be, but also think logically about the “next steps.” Familiarize yourself with the business and all its working parts. Talk to people in the business that can help you and then decide if it is something you need, don’t need, or don’t need right now, but might in the future. And BUILD YOUR TEAM folks. You may think that you can do it all yourself, that you know what is best and how it all should be done, but as I said before, no one person can do it all as there is always much to be done.

Now some of you may be saying, “You don’t have to have a team to make it. There are tons of people who have become celebrities overnight all on their own.” This may be true in the realm of reality TV and YouTube sensations and in that case go ahead and try and get your fifteen minutes. More power to ya.

When any of my artists have vented about not having the right gigs, not making the money they feel they should make, not getting the media attention they feel they should have, and I know Image634943616603466450they don’t have a good team around them, I tell them to start a brawl at their next gig with some fans and make sure they go to jail over it so I can write a press release about it.

…Or release a sex tape…those are still pretty popular, but kinda running on fumes at this point. Or Twitter some crazy, ridiculous, disgusting comments that will piss a lot of people off.

These are the kind of train wrecks that people are so addicted to by nature and love to gossip about and it can get you in the spotlight for a minute.

When I talk about building a team I am talking to the real artists out there who really have what it takes to go the distance, are willing to accept the hard sacrifices of this kind of life, are dedicated to creating a catalog of great original music, who always have an eagerness to sharpen their skills, are willing to bare their souls on stage every night and who want to build a real business around their music.

You are the ones that will come to understand the value of a great team. How important it is to have people on your side that are loyal and who you can trust to take care of the day-to-day so you can concentrate more on your music. People who can see your bigger picture and have constructive ideas about how to go about it. People who can open doors for you that have otherwise been unavailable. People who can help keep your nose clean and your image fresh. People who can prevent you falling into financial death traps. People who can be the cogs moving your wheels forward. It’s all about momentum in this business. It is crucial that you understand this.

Your team can help provide the momentum that is absolutely key in forward progression. If you are not moving forward on a consistent basis with your career, you will be left behind. People have commented to me that I am in the business of creating stars. I say I am in the business of creating legends. Longevity is my goal with any artist/band I work with and if there is a great team working towards that…legendary status is a very possible reality.

I was told at a very young age by my mother, and I am sure many of you have heard this before, that “If you love what you do you will never work a day in your life.” She continued by saying in her own words, “That way, the bad days won’t be so hard.”

Although my mother has imparted some downright brilliant words of wisdom to me throughout my life, these made the biggest impact. I love what I do. Some days are real hard and come complete with break downs, self-loathing, insecurity and a flat out desire to give up. But I can assure you that when you are able to jump all the hurdles in a dash towards the finish line, there is nothing more exhilarating. To build a successful business that is steeped in passion and driven by commitment…well, that is the American dream.


Anonymous said...

Great article, absolutely the best piece of advice for any artist/band. The team around them is just as important as the music.

Anonymous said...

you really know what you are talking about! Hopefully the musicians out there will read this a understand what it means to do things right so they have a much better chance of "making it"! Again, you astound me with your wealth of knowledge and a simple Step by step way to sucess!! Cudos!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Thatis exactly correct. If these artists/bands would listen they would be further down that perverable road to sucess

Anonymous said...

This is a piece to cut out and tape up on every fledging musicians mirror. Getting the cover of "Rolling Stone" doesn't happen by wishing and hoping --or on the back of one tireless publicist working 24/7. It's definitely talent yes--but the "team" helping deliver the artist across the goal line is the big secret behind every successful career. Brandy Reed is among the best --