Bands: You Cannot Crowdsource Your Way to Financial Success

Categories: Ask Fan Landers

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Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist, and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her -- confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Dear Fan,
Over the past five years my band has built up a modest fan base that largely includes all the wonderful people we have met in the process, and is bankrolled mostly by our three day jobs.

We just released our second album on vinyl. To pay for the pressing, we started a Kickstarter campaign. With only 73 backers, we were able to raise about $4,000. As I crunched the numbers (I'm a sixth grade math teacher on the side), I realized that a good portion of our fans were willing to pay much larger sums of money, than what their package was actually worth--and it sparked an idea.


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Quitting Your Job At 35 to Join A Band: Best or Worst Idea Ever?

Categories: Ask Fan Landers

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Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist, and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her -- confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Fan,
I currently have a steady job, a mortgage and an awesome girlfriend. However, I want to fuck my shit up by making the switch to being a musician full time again. How do I find balance in this transition?
Patrick

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What Happens When Being a DJ is No Longer Satisfying?

Categories: Ask Fan Landers

fanlanders_header.jpg
Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist, and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her -- confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Dear Fan,
Be completely honest with me: Is DJ NAME REDACTED BUT NO IT'S NOT STEVE AOKI past the point of making a fresh impression on people? Over the past year I've been falling out of love with DJing, and set the goal of producing way more music. Like, actual songs, as opposed to what I call "DJ music," and setting up a live show for performances. Basically, I want to make the transition from just being known as a "DJ" to an actual artist and producer. I've had this moniker for seven years now and a part of me feels that no matter what I'd do differently, it wouldn't get a new look from people since they might already have an idea of my capabilities.

I've been working on some new music which I'm really excited for, since it dives into some territory that my name currently hasn't been in (actual songs/me singing/etc.) and I've been thinking about possibly pursuing this all as a new project with a brand new name. DJ NOT STEVE AOKI will still be there, but I'd like for it to be more on the backburner. Is this a crazy idea?
Keep up the awesome work!
K.


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The Biggest Mistake Most Bands Are Making With Facebook

Categories: Ask Fan Landers

fanlanders_header.jpg
Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist, and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her -- confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Greetings Fan,
Our band recently changed our name after many years. We had our old name at the dawn of the Internet-band-craze-age, when MySpace was king. Back in those days, "real" bands didn't have much use for a social media presence. I find it disheartening that bands / side projects of bands I loved and still love -- whose heydays were long before the Internet (Six Finger Satellite, Fugazi solo projects Deathfix and Joe Lally, the Reigning Sound etc.) are on Facebook and such. Having to pimp themselves out in this manner like all the other dregs that play to the barkeep's cousin at SXSW. Can a band exist these days -- or more importantly can people hear your songs -- without social media? Are there examples of new up-and-comers who keep off the Internet, leaving a bit of mystique out there for you to find on your lonesome? Could there be a new trend on the horizon of anti-Internet? Am I an old person?
P.S. Our web handle, sans Zuckerberg: hobbyistband.com
Thanks for your time,
Marc


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The Best Ways for Musicians to Get Health Insurance

Categories: Ask Fan Landers

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Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist, and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her -- confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Fan,
What do the more responsible touring musicians use for medical care? What kind of plan is best for covering illnesses and hospitalizations the road, and at home? In what ways can a musician make informed choices about coverage and cost effectiveness?
Todd

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Advice on Keeping the Power in Your Record Label Negotiations from a Rep and Jawbreaker's Adam Pfahler

Categories: Ask Fan Landers

fanlanders_header.jpg
Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist, and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her -- confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Fan,
Is it common for indie labels, especially the bigger ones like Merge or Matador to keep the rights to a band's album masters? If so, is there a good business reason to agree to this?
John

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What Websites Should You Use and Other Band Management Basics

Categories: Ask Fan Landers

fanlanders_header.jpg
Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist, and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her -- confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Dear Fan,

I've recently started a solo music project after being in a band for 10+ years. Previously, there were four people sharing band duties such as booking, promoting, etc. Being just one person, I find there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done. How can I create a new "team" to help keep the gears in motion as I work to build a name for myself? I know all about street teams, contests and other means for getting people to help spread the word, but I need a core team that I can rely on. I don't know how to make this happen since I'm an indie artist and not able to offer pay or other big benefits. Any insight is appreciated! Thanks

Jordan

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How Much Money Should I Expect from Touring with a Mid-Sized Indie Band?

Categories: Ask Fan Landers

fanlanders_header.jpg
Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist, and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her -- confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Fan,
I started playing drums for my good friend's amazing music project. We have lots of respect for each other as musicians, I am excited to be a part of his vision, I love everyone in the band, etc. The project has a lot of support. He is on a nice label, has an amazing publicist, and just scored a great booking agent who will get us paying gigs. There is just one problem, though: tour and money. The tours that are being booked are on both coasts, for about three or four week increments. In order for me to be able to do this, I would need to make money. Like, enough for rent. And food. And my cell phone bill. Oh my dear Fan Landers, how possible do you think this will be? Do touring giggers make ends meet? Will I?
A Young Lady

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How Do We Convert From Christian Rock to Indie Rock?

Categories: Ask Fan Landers

fanlanders_header.jpg
Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist, and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her -- confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Dear Fan Landers,
We're a melodic indie pop band from a small college town in California. When our band first started, we had a great opportunity to put out two records on a record label that is known mainly for releasing Christian music. We figured it was a great way to get our music out into the world and it was; the label had great distro and treated us well. Even though we have since gone fully independent, we still can't seem to get any love from "cool" indie blogs and press outlets who cater directly to the people who would probably like our music, mainly I suspect, due to our former label associations, not to mention our home base in the hinterlands of California. How can we become "born again" in the eyes of the secular music press?
Daniel

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How to Get the Press to Pay Attention to Your Band

Categories: Ask Fan Landers

fanlanders_header.jpg
Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist, and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her -- confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Hey Fan!
My band Swearwords has been playing together for a while now- we're put out two well-received EPs and have filled some of the crucial rooms in Chicago. This year, we'll be releasing our first full-length and touring the midwest and both coasts. Any advice for keeping the momentum going and priming the pump before the next push?
Best,
Neil


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