How I Grew My YouTube Channel’s Subscribers From Zero to 5,000

[Editors Note: This article is written by Nate Maingard. Nate is a modern troubadour and live-streamer. He’s been on the music scene since 1998 and right now he is in the top 50 musicians on Patreon. He is a guest lecturer at SAE, Ovation Award Winner and Gold VIP live-streamer on Periscope. This article is part of our collaboration with MusicpreneurHub.com – a platform providing answers to questions from music industry professionals.]

 

This may not be what you expect. I’m no YouTube superstar, with millions of views and professionally produced content. I’m just a simple human sharing the things I love…and I’ve been blessed to come to know a wonderful online community of people who enjoy what I share. And so, here’s how I grew my YouTube subscribers from 0 to 5,000!

Be Consistent

It took me a long time to learn this simple lesson, but the truth is that every single successful person I’ve heard talk about success says the same thing: BE CONSISTENT!

Just. Keep. Creating.

One of the ways I do this is to release a new video on the same day every week. I’ll be the first to admit I still don’t get this right a lot of the time, but when I get in the flow of it, this brings me so much stability, and is great for my subscribers too!

Consistency also helps me with ‘imposter syndrome,’ or, the feeling that I’m a fake and should just give up because I don’t really matter and my art sucks anyway, (not sure if you ever feel that, many artists do).

Anyway, creating on a regular timeline means I’m generally too focused on what I’m doing next to worry about whether or not people are going to love what I’ve already done! It keeps me passionate, forward-looking and motivated – which are great alternatives to ‘depressed in bed binge watching Netflix while I think about how much more I should be doing with my life’.

Every Person Matters

Social media has a tendency to get us so focused on the big numbers: how many million subs, watches, likes, comments, etc. – but you’ve got to remember that each interaction is coming from a real, unique, beautiful human being! Someone has taken time out of their own busy, complex existence to connect with your creations. This is HUGE!

I do my best to respond to every single comment with thoughtfulness and gratitude. I thank people for sharing my creations on Twitter when they tag me. I respond to emails from people who have been positively impacted by my art. I message every new patron to give a personal ‘Welcome’. Yes, these things take a lot of time and YES IT IS WORTH IT!

We are all individuals, we all want to be seen and heard. Be grateful to those who take the time to connect with your work, and they will reward you by sharing more of their precious presence with you.

Make Beautiful Things

I don’t know what beauty is to you, and I’m not here to tell you what it should be.

All I know is that the world needs more people sharing their perceptions of beauty with the world. The most important thing is that you create what you believe in, what you are passionate about, what makes your heart race and your eyes light up. THAT is what I want to know about from you!

If you are authentic about what you share, that will resonate with other people like you out there in the world. These are the people who will become your tribe, your foundation, your support.

Be prepared to suck when you begin, everyone does. There’s an amazing talk by Ira Glass about this, I highly recommend you watch it.

Ask For Support

How do people know how to help you if you don’t tell them?

Be sure to ask your audience to subscribe, to comment, to share!

Ask for their opinions, and listen to their responses. Make them a part of your journey from the beginning and you won’t have to do it alone, you’ll have a whole community of collaborators excited to be a part of your journey!

These are the people who will celebrate your successes, and support you in your failures. All it requires is for you to be open, honest and authentic with them.

In Closing

Be consistent, treat people with care, make beautiful things and ask for support!

These are the approaches and attitudes I have found to serve me in my own journey, and I’d love to hear if they help you on yours in the comment section.

Wishing you well on the road, and I look forward to seeing what your heart brings into this world.

Budget-Friendly Ways Indie Artists Can Enhance Their Photography

[Editors Note: This blog article was written by Michelle Aguilar.]

 

Photography is one of the most powerful modes of artistic communication. It conveys and reveals to us the raw and special details of life. It’s basically what we tend to rely on in those final attempts to visually describe, share and appreciate events that cannot otherwise be done in more immediate ways.

Just think back to a favorite artist or figure; it’s likely that you may associate them with an image in mind, the way we all might picture Jimi Hendrix shredding a guitar as he usually is in photos. It’s easy to see this especially in the digital world, where, as an artist, most of your searchability and promotional material is found.

So what can you do to make sure you’re giving your band’s/work’s photography the appropriate attention, even on a budget? Read more to learn various budget-friendly alternatives for adding an extra kick to your photo galleries.

Make use of your current network

As fiction writer Dan Simmons puts it, “It occurs to me that our survival may depend upon our talking to one another.” Let’s reverse back to the early 1900s. During that time, the study of marketing had just begun to emerge and almost all strategies based on these studies had only an emphasis on tactics for simply selling more products and services with little regard for what customers really wanted. Thus word-of-mouth was the most effective medium. It was the only way people expressed and got what they wanted.

This is still very relevant today, considering that 90% of consumers are more likely to trust and buy from a brand that is recommended by a friend. How does this all connect to making use of your current network? By expressing your needs to those in your immediate network, you increase your chances of finding someone who’s a professional photographer, a freelance photographer, a photographer just starting out, etc. By doing this, you are broadening your resources, landing affordable prices and receiving better service.

Reach out to a photography class

There are plenty of colleges, schools and programs where students are training to become photographers. You can easily search up locations in your area and find contact information. Try speaking to staff and suggesting that perhaps someone from the class might be interested in doing shoots for a band, show, or event. Leave your contact information and depending on the conversation, you can even ask permission to come into class on a certain day to introduce yourself and make the announcement.

You may mention that you’re willing to offer a small payment, but maybe wait and see if it’s really necessary. Most of the time, students are looking for experience and opportunities to expand and develop their portfolios.

Teach yourself how to edit

While this might sound scary since the first thing that may come into mind is a time-consuming program like Photoshop, there is no need to fret. There are much simpler and cheaper alternatives. For simple creations, check out either of these websites to design digital banners, touch up photos and create collages.

PicMonkey

Price: 7-day Free trial, $47.88 per year billed annually or $7.99 monthly

PicMonkey includes features like photo editor, portrait retouching, design maker, and collage maker. The photo editor has basic advanced and editing tools, prime photo effects and filters, and other tools such as text, graphics and textures. The portrait retouching feature offers touch ups for skin, mouth, it even changes hair colors and removes blemishes and wrinkles. The design maker offers a variety of templates for different types of content material. The collage maker allows you to combine photos in a unique way for any social media platform.

BeFunky

Price: Free basic account, $34.95 per year billed annually, or $4.95 per month billed monthly.

BeFunky features photo editor, collage maker, graphic designer, and touch up. Each banner template comes pre-sized for the dimensions required by Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The neat thing about BeFunky is their emphasis on video tutorials, blog articles providing inspiration, tips, and solutions for challenges that are bound to rise with editing.

Post an ad

Craigslist still remains the most popular classified site in the U.S. It’s simple to navigate. All you need to do is create an account that only requires an email and the rest of the steps are self-explanatory. In your ad title make sure you use words that are straightforward. Start your search with “photographer” or “freelance photographer,” for optimal search results, rather than using extra words surrounding it like “need photographer” or “looking for photographer.”

As a freelancer myself, Craigslist has been a great client outsourcing tool, it spreads the message quick and provides a wide reach, depending on the timing of course. Sometimes you’ll hear back, sometimes you won’t. Just try to be consistent.

Ask your fans

Lastly, always keep in mind that fans can serve as a great resource for just about anything. Reach out to fans and see if anyone who is really into your music wants to help out by taking photos. Depending on the type of photos you need, and if you don’t have the funds to pay them you can mention to them the perks of helping your band out with photography, like free entry to gigs, photo crediting them on all your social media platforms, referring them to other bands, and overall continuing a professional relationship with future pay when circumstances are best fit.

Of course you can always try and negotiate pricing if they want to charge and you can afford a little pay. The goal is of course to help you stay within your budget.


Photography shouldn’t necessarily require expensive tools and equipment. With thorough research on available alternatives, you’ll discover the countless resources available to help customize and improve your photography. Your fans and those that so-fortunately stumble upon you or your band will appreciate you for it!

5 Reasons Venues Aren’t Writing You Back

[Editors Note: This blog was written by Patrick McGuire. Patrick is a writer, composer, and experienced touring musician based in Philadelphia.]

 

It can be a hugely frustrating experience to reach out to a venue in hopes of booking a show only to hear nothing back. When you’ve spent months or even years creating music, it can be annoying or even downright disheartening when a venue won’t communicate with you and give you a chance to play. But like with everything, there’s two sides to every story, and there might be some perfectly good reasons why music venues aren’t giving you the time of day. Here’s a list of five possible reasons that venues aren’t replying to your emails:

1. You don’t have enough experience

If you’re new at making music, you might have a misinformed notion that the music industry is different than other industries in the fact that it’s not centered around money, but you’d be very wrong. Venues might not be getting back to you because you don’t have enough experience playing music. And if you’re new and inexperienced, the chances of you bringing people to your show, or more importantly, money through the door, are slim, and venues usually aren’t willing to take that risk. Like all of us, venues have bills to pay, and they can’t afford to bring bands in with no following and experience.

So, how do you get venues to give you a shot if you have no prior show experience? Build up your experience performing any way you can. Hit up local open mics, house shows and try to get your foot in the door with the smaller venues you want to play. And when you’ve built up some relevant experience, highlight that the next time you write venues.

2. Your communication skills are bad

You might not think that being able to write emails that are clear and grammatically correct is that important of a skill to have as a musician, but it’s absolutely something that could mean the difference between a venue booking you or not. Venues and show promoters get dozens of emails every day that are riddled with spelling errors and nonsensical sentences, and trust me, they hate it.

It’s even common for venues to get emails from bands who forget to add links to their music or even their band name. How can a venue book you if they don’t know your band’s name? If you put yourself in the shoes of a booking agent, you’ll see the need for emails to be written thoroughly and with things like your band’s name, the show dates you’re interested in, a link to stream your music and some relevant information about your band included.

3. Your music sounds bad

You songs might be awesome, but venues probably won’t give you a chance if they’re recorded poorly. Remember, venues get inundated with hundreds of requests from bands every week who want to play their stage. If your band’s music can’t compete with all the other music the venue’s booking agent listens to, why would they let you play?

If the recorded music you have posted online consists of demos you recorded on Garage Band, it’s time to invest some money and professionally record just one of your songs and share that with venues instead. You’ll be shocked at the difference this will make when it comes to booking shows.

4. The venues you’re trying to play are too big

If your band routinely draws 50 or less people to shows, landing a spot on a bill at a 2,300-capacity venue is going to be to difficult or even downright impossible. Again, from the venue’s perspective, why would they take the time to respond to your email if it’s clear you’re too small of a band to work with?

Instead of taking it personally, keep building your performance experience and work toward packing the shows at the smaller venues you work with. It never hurts to ask, but big venues can’t afford to lose money on a small band, even if they like their music. When you’ve built up your following, larger venues would probably love to have you. But until then, work towards selling out those smaller clubs.

5. Your band is unprofessional

If your band has earned a bad reputation in your scene, venues will be hesitant to work with you. Things like repeatedly showing up late to shows, talking through other band’s sets or not promoting your shows will earn your band some detractors, and their poor opinion about you will spread through your scene and venues will act accordingly.

If you’re new to music, the people working at venues might seem unrelatable, but they’re just like you and me in the way that they want to work with people who are kind, respectful and reliable. If your band has conducted yourselves in an unprofessional way, it could be the reason venues aren’t getting back to you.

How To Book A Gig Yourself…and Be Invited Back

[Editors Note: This blog was written by Rich Nardo. Rich is a freelance writer and editor, and is the Director of Public Relations and Creative at NGAGE.]

No matter what anyone tells you, we have yet to figure out a digital musical experience that can equal the fan connections a band can conjure through their live show. There is something in our DNA that is profoundly impacted by live music. Maybe it’s the shared experience with those in attendance or the nostalgia a concert can create for a certain time in our lives.

Or maybe it’s something more primal; the process of syncing our natural rhythm to live drum and bass as it pulse through our bones. Either way, performing is still undoubtedly the best way to create loyal fans and combat the current “musical-flavor-of-the-week” culture we live in.

Still, developing a live following is no walk in the park. You’re going to need to dedicate hours-upon-hours of time to tightening your set and tirelessly promoting your shows. It’ll get tedious, and success won’t happen overnight, but if you work hard you’ll eventually graduate from dingy bars and VFWs to better rooms. On top of that, I can honestly say nothing can match the indescribable feeling you’ll get from performing in front of a room full of people and, if you’re lucky, the dedicated following you’ll gain from gigging out.

Here are some tips on how to book that first gig, and how to get invited back!

1. Be Professional In Your Pitch

Yes, the promoter knows that you’re self-booking. They still want the comfort of knowing you will take the night seriously. Keep in mind that they’ve probably gotten a few hundred other “booking inquiries” that week. Ask yourself what’s going to make them offer you a slot on one of their nights over those other bands? Some ways to be professional include:

  • A succinct, clear subject line (i.e: Booking Inquiry – The Beatles October Date @ MSG?).
  • Be informative in the body of the email. You should include a description of your music, where you’re from and any performance history. It is also necessary to include a link to where the talent buyer can listen to your music and check out your socials.
  • Don’t have typos!
  • Follow up approximately 3-5 days after reaching out if you don’t hear back. Also don’t hesitate to pick up the phone. Sometimes that’s the best way to cut through the clutter of acts hitting up a promoter.

2. Stay In Touch with The Promoter Ahead Of Your Show

Nothing makes promoters more nervous than booking a band and not hearing from them again until they show up at the venue night of. Give the promoter updates on what you’re doing to get people to come see your band. Also share any promotional assets such as Facebook events or flyers with the promoter as well. This way they can take comfort in the fact you’re promoting and maybe even help get the word out as well.

3. Promote On Socials and Ask Your Friends

Actually promote, don’t just show up! Be active on both yours and the band’s social media accounts. Also don’t discount the value of hanging flyers (particularly in the venue) and calling/texting your friends. Sometimes those IRL invites are more memorable than a Facebook invite.

4. Help Book The Bill

This isn’t as important as a lot of the other points on this list but it’s definitely a plus. Promoters are usually booking a bunch of dates at once. If you can book the rest of the band’s on your bill it takes the work off of the promoter’s plate and gives a better chance of the bill being cohesive.

5. Bring Your A-Game

Put in the work before the show to have a great performance. At the end of the day that’s what’s going to ensure people want to see you again and get your band invited back to play on better bills.

6. Communicate With The Promoter Night Of

Introduce yourself to the promoter when you get there and thank him/her for having you. Thank him/her again at the end of the night and let them know you’ll reach out about subsequent dates.

7. Follow Up After You Performance

Give it a couple of days after the show and then email the promoter. Thank him/her again for having you and then see what upcoming dates he/she has available. If you can get in this routine with a few different promoters, you can put a nice little circuit together for yourself.

8. Don’t Overbook

Space out your dates in any given market! If you play too much in the same area, you’re going to most likely divide your draw. Obviously when you first start playing, do as many low profile gigs as possible to find yourself as a performer, but once you’ve achieved a level of confidence in yourself that you care about draw, try not to play your own market more than once per month.

Promoters will not be happy if they find out you’re playing next door in a week. Neither will your friends and fans be as inclined to come out and support if you’re ALWAYS playing out.


Keep these eight things in mind and you’ll be well on your way to building your live career!

5 Reasons It Pays To Collaborate

[Editors Note: This article was written by Suzanne Paulinksi, an artist consultant with over 10 years in the music industry and owner of The Rock/Star Advocate.]

 

They often say, “Teamwork makes the dream work,” but what does that actually mean? Sure, we all know the benefits of growing our own team to carry out our own vision, but what are the real benefits to working with others who don’t work for us?

In years past, as I tried to get former businesses off the ground, I had been approached many times to collaborate with other business owners. More often than not I said no, afraid someone else would cloud my overall vision or try to usurp whatever I was currently working on and take it for themselves. I also had bad flashbacks of school projects when group work meant me busting my ass and four or five others benefiting off of my all-nighters.

So I pushed ahead on my own.

After two businesses failed to reach their full potential, I realized it was time to get out of my own way and realize the potential of combining forces. It’s one thing to hire internally and have a team help execute your vision – in fact, it’s crucial – but it’s quiet another to work with someone else who is in your same position (the captain of their own ship), but who brings a different perspective or skill set to the table.

Whether you’re a business owner or a songwriter, when it comes to true collaboration, it’s no longer about making your vision work, it’s about doing what works, period.

You don’t have to abandon your vision, but you do have to be open to improving it.

If you can trust that it’s just as important to have people who work with you as it is to have people to work for you then you can profit (in more ways than one) from these five benefits of collaboration:

1. Opens you up to a new or larger fan base: If you’re an artist who is trying to build their fanbase, positioning yourself to be a featured artist on someone else’s track or reaching out to share a stage with an artist who has already established a tour can get you in front of others who may not be familiar with you, but who are already primed to be potential fans of yours. Don’t stay up on other musicians as a way to “keep an eye on the competition,” but stay informed on who’s making moves as a way to keep an eye out for collaboration.

2. Opens you up to more prominent industry attention: Especially if you’re in the songwriting business, collaborating with another writer who already has the ear of industry decision makers can elevate your chances of getting their ear as well. That’s not to say you should only work with people who have reached a certain recognition – working with someone else who is on your same level can be just as beneficial. Not only are two brains almost always better than one, but creating something from two different perspectives can give your project the unique spin needed to make others listen.

3. Gets you a life long partner in this industry who has your back: Creating art is a very vulnerable process. Creating art with someone else can create an almost immediate bond. In an industry that can be very unforgiving, forming a close relationship with someone who can 100% relate to your specific position in the industry can be invaluable as you grow together.

4. Makes you better creatively and professionally: As I said above about not needing to abandon your vision, but being open to improving it, collaboration causes you to reflect on what you bring to the table and push further. A strong collaboration will force you to dig deep and put it all on the table. Much like an accountability buddy when trying to finish a task, when there’s someone to answer to you’ll try harder. On a professional note, knowing how to work with other personalities and talents is never a skill you should let get rusty.

5. Gives you a great story: When you bio is all about you, it becomes a snoozefest. Everyone loves a good love story in the movies, and everyone loves to hear how a song or project came together from a successful collaboration, especially if it’s an unexpected one. It gives you plenty of content to share and drip out as part of your promotional campaign. It makes cross-promotion a no-brainer, once again getting your work in front of a larger audience.

A little bit of skepticism with who you choose to let into your creative world is healthy, but paranoia or being overly controlling has never served anyone in the long run. Remember that in the end, it’s all about presenting your fans with the best version of yourself and sometimes it takes others to bring that out of us.

Here’s to making the dream work!