Personality Dynamics: Why Communication and Respect Are Vital For The Health of Your Band

[Editors Note: This article was written by Patrick McGuire.]

 

Many serious bands happily sacrifice money, relationships and careers in the hopes that they’ll find an audience for their music. But while focusing on the musical parts of being in a band is important, the way the musicians who form a band respect and communicate with each other is just as vital for acts that hope to create, record and perform music over the long-term.

Bands break up for all sorts of reasons. Some musicians throw everything they have into music for a few years only to give it all up when they can’t find the success they’d hoped for, but others upend otherwise perfectly good projects because they simply can’t work with the other musicians in their band anymore. It’s become routine for bands with massive talent and untapped potential to call it quits because they fail to focus their efforts on communication and mutual respect.

What Bands Do and Don’t Do Well

When musicians set out to create new projects, they probably think about making music and not much else, and this makes sense. If the purpose of a band is to create music, it should exclusively focus on writing, recording and performing, right?

Bands obviously need to spend time developing their identity as musicians, but alongside non-musical relationship skills like communication, openness and respect. Musicians in newer bands with plenty of enthusiasm and energy tend to be great at writing lots of songs and playing shows, but they’re notoriously bad at making goals, being open about feelings and speaking up when they feel unheard or disrespected.

Blame it on the male-driven culture behind so many bands out there or the fact that making serious music requires musicians to frequently enter vulnerable territories they’re not usually comfortable in, but most bands are simply not great at being open with how they feel about things, and this is a big problem.

All Relationships Take Work. Why Would Your Band Be Any Different?

Whether you realize it or not, a band is a relationship unlike any other. Falling somewhere between a friendship, marriage and creative business partnership, the personality dynamic behind every band is completely unique. But like all other relationships, it takes effort and sacrifice to keep a band healthy and together.

The work that makes the other relationships in your life possible is similar to the work you’ll need to do to keep your band healthy and on track. Some bands, most famously Metallica, even go as far as to get professional counseling for their issues. Your band might not need therapy, but you will have to learn to speak openly and respectfully to each other if you want to stay together.

Opening the Lines of Communication

It can be awkward and unnatural for some musicians to open up and talk about their needs and feelings, but for bands to be successful, they have to be able to really talk and listen to each other. Communication in band settings is so vital because making music with other people is complicated on every level and there’s often so much at stake.

Bands routinely deal with everything from complicated finances and contracts to spending months together touring crammed together in a small van or car. Sure, at band practice once a week you’ll be able to stay quiet and let some things you’re not happy with slide, but when you’re on tour for two months promoting an album you’ve just put a couple thousand of your own dollars into, it might be a little harder to hold your tongue. Opening up the lines of communication now will keep you from saying things you might regret later.

Respect, Openness and Empathy

Musicians in successful bands find ways to respect and empathize with each other, even when it’s not easy to. Under ideal conditions, it doesn’t take a lot of work for some like-minded musicians to be kind and patient with one another, but like in any other relationship, people show their true colors in the face of real challenges.

Who you are when the van breaks down or when your band blows the show? It’s more important for that person to be kind, open and respectful to your other bandmates than the person you are when things are going swimmingly. Easier said than done, of course, but the effort here is the important thing.

Taking Stock of the Health of Your Band

It can be uncomfortable to address underlying issues in your band, but ignoring them will only make things worse. Setting aside time after rehearsals is a good way to make time for getting things off your chest, making plans and opening up a dialogue about what your band is doing and where you want to go.

Rather than waiting for disasters to appear and become unmanageable, getting in the habit of creating opportunities for respectful dialogue now will help your band stay together and make music for years to come.


Patrick McGuire is a writer, composer, and experienced touring musician based in Philadelphia.

Wednesday Video Diversion: January 3, 2018

Happy New Year, all! Welcome to the first Hump Day of 2018 – while it should be the most energized we’re going to get all year, it’s entirely likely that half of you are falling asleep as you read this. Fear not – we’ve got a great line up of TuneCore Artist music videos to kick off the new year in style:

Morningsiders, “Cherry”


Tim Myers, “Lover My Love”


Temple Agents, “Listen What I Say”


Team Unlimited (Leezy), “Direct Messages”


Ships Have Sailed, “Drive”


The Undercover Dream Lovers, “Come Home”


Anna Clendening, “Relapse”


Jae Tips, “Arms Reach”


Wala Why, “Enemy”


Jose Alfredo & Valeria Cid, “Si Me Besas”

A Look Back at TuneCore in 2017

Where did this year go?! It feels like just last week we were cheering about all the accolades and big moments that made up TuneCore’s big 2016, but here we are entering into a new year once again.

One thing that never seems to change is the ability of all the artists that make up the TuneCore community to shine. We’re thrilled to have spent another year helping artists take control of their journeys, build their fan bases and collect 100% of their sales revenue.

Along the way, TuneCore made its presence known at events and conferences around the world – connecting with artists to advance the mission of helping them get heard and get paid. It’s always exciting to see the artists who use our platform for distribution gain traction and show the world why it pays to be independent. So join us in taking a look back at 2017.

GRAMMY Nominations


TuneCore artists, songwriters and arrangers are making some serious waves in the GRAMMY nomination pool this year. Check out some of the awesome noms received by independent artists from the TuneCore community and join us in congratulating them:

SZABest New Artist, Best Rap/Sung Performance, Best Urban Contemporary Album, Best R&B Performance

Sylvan EssoBest Dance/Electronic Album

Julian Lage & Chris EldridgeBest Contemporary Instrumental Album

August Burns Red  – Best Metal Performance

K. FlayBest Rock Song

Raul MidónBest Jazz Vocal Album

Miguel ZenónBest Latin Jazz Album

Tina CampbellBest Gospel Performance/Song

The Walls GroupBest Gospel Performance/Song

CeCe WinansBest Gospel Performance/Song, Best Gospel Album

Marvin SappBest Gospel Album

Alex CubaBest Latin Pop Album

Los Amigos InvisiblesBest Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative album

Aida CuevasBest Regional Mexican Music Album

Blind Boys of AlabamaBest American Roots Performance

The Infamous StringdustersBest Bluegrass Album

Lisa LoebBest Children’s Album

 

TuneCore at SXSW, A3C & Midem 2017


As we have been in the past, TuneCore was in attendance at some of the music industry’s most important events and conferences this year. It’s always incredibly meaningful for us to connect directly with artists, labels, and managers to talk strategy and success – and of course where TuneCore fits into that conversation for them.

At SXSW, our team held down the Artist Gifting Lounge for four days where we were able to hold one-on-one consulting sessions, introduce our artist services and distribution options to newcomers, and shoot the breeze with artists during one of the busiest events of the year. At night, that same team was out on the streets attending TuneCore Artists’ sets and showcases all over Austin.

In other rooms of the Austin Conference Center, TuneCore’s Director of Entertainment Relations Chris Mooney chaired the Transforming Online Popularity to Offline Success” panel. Additionally, Director of Artist Entertainment Relations Amy Lombardi could be found running the “Creating For a Cause: Music For Action & Awareness” panel.

 

Across the pond, TuneCore’s VP of International Marie-Anne Robert was invited to speak at a distribution-focused panel during Midem 2017. Being able to chime in during one of the largest publishing conferences in the industry is always a massive honor, and Marie-Anne advised artists on the importance of making sense of the data from streaming services and how it can help influence business decisions.

Later in the year, members of the TuneCore team hightailed it down south to Atlanta for one of the biggest and increasingly important events for independent hip hop: A3C Fest 2017.

With so many independent artists popping their heads in and out of the Loudermilk Conference Center in downtown Atlanta, TuneCore took advantage of this opportunity by hosting “Music Made Me Industry Talks” that included a combination of hip hop artists, producers and music industry professionals. Topics included distribution, beatmaking, business planning and radio promotion.

International Highlights


TuneCore’s International team was busier than ever in 2017. Brand managers across Europe were busy meeting with and informing artists about the benefits of using TuneCore during our first-ever “TuneCore Indie Tour” – stopping off in the UK (Manchester, Birmingham, and Nottingham), France (Marseille, Nantes, Lyon, Paris, Lille and Annecy), Germany (Hamburg, Dusseldorf, and Dortmund), Austria (Vienna) and Romania (Bucharest).

 

Aside from connecting with artists on these tour dates, TuneCore also established new partnerships with like-minded, artist-friendly European startups like the CapiTalent, Arezzo Wave Love Festival, Music on Stage, Les Etoiles du Parisien, NME, Focus Wales, Liverpool Sound City, SPH Bandcontest and the Reeperbahn Festival. Partnerships like these have allowed us not only just reach more international artists and labels, but also helped create more exclusive opportunities for them to take advantage of.

 

Music Made Me: The TuneCore Podcast


By promoting articles written by experts active in the music industry today, we like to think the TuneCore Blog is a strong resource for independent artists seeking information that can help them further advance their careers. Education is a key component of getting ahead in this game, and in the summer of 2017 we branched out into a new medium by rolling out “Music Made Me: The TuneCore Podcast”!

Each episode is hosted or curated by a member of TuneCore’s team and features conversations with artists, managers, publicists, music supervisors and more – all with the goal of getting the right kind of information into the hands of those who need it most.

Haven’t had a listen yet? Be sure to catch up on this year’s episodes and subscribe to keep up with all the exciting upcoming episodes we’ll be sharing in 2018 and beyond.

#2018Goals


Finally, we’d like to say congratulations to all of our TuneCore Artists on their successes. We appreciate you working with us for digital distribution, and we’re excited to find new ways to support the independent community.

In fact, we’d love to know what you’ve got planned for 2018. Let us know by sharing your #2018Goals with @TuneCore on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram

Thanks, Happy New Year, and see you in 2018!

Wednesday Video Diversion: December 20, 2017

Happy Wednesday! We’re slingin’ more TuneCore Artist videos like we do every week. And of course like every week we’re also acknowledging weird musical history moments. For instance, did you know that on this day in 1969, folk legend Joan Baez was sentenced to 45 days in prison when she got picked up by the coppers during an anti-war protest? Fight the power, Joan! Anyway, here are some awesome TuneCore Artist music videos:

Tayong, “Easy”


PJ Harvey & Ramy Essam, “The Camp”


Carter Winter, “Stay With Me”


Anna Clendening, “Boys Like You”


Tiwa Savage, “Ma Lo (feat. Wizkid & Spellz)”


Joyner Lucas, “I’m Not Racist”


Ron Pope, “The Last (feat. Carli Babel)”


Myles Erlick, “Serious”


Jim Manser, “C.R.U.S.H.”

Digital Marketing Tools & Resources for Independent Musicians [Part 1]

[Author: Raj Shah *

Part One of a two-piece article that aims to break down tools that independent artists can utilize in their digital marketing strategies – all available at their fingertips!

The hard truth about success in music is that the modern artist must be 51% marketer and 49% musician.

In today’s world, the overall difference between the thousands of up and coming artists and the millions of amateur artists trying to make a name for themselves isn’t talent, it’s marketing. Specifically, an artist’s ability to nail digital marketing.

If you can generate an income from music sales, gig bookings, and merchandise, then you’re ready to leap to the next level where people know you, find you, talk about you, and hire you on the regular.

If you’re an amateur that’s looking to take that next step and start marketing yourself more seriously, this guide will provide a list of actionable tools and resources to get started.

While only 1% of musicians blow up, surpassing the “tipping point” and becoming household names, the rest of us still have the opportunity to make a respectable career as professional artists. Digital marketing helps you do just that.

Build Your Own Website/Marketing Hub

If you don’t already have one, get yourself a website. At the heart of every digital marketing strategy is a website – one that you own and have full control over.

Your website sells you and your music in your sleep. It should showcase your bio, shows, events, and your latest and greatest tracks. A website with blog content is even better, as it radiates your expertise, lessons learned, and the niche you’re working to carve in the industry.

Putting all your eggs in someone else’s basket, ie. putting all your content only on sites like SoundCloud or Youtube, is a risk you shouldn’t bet your career on. Social networks that are the hottest thing today might not exist tomorrow. They could have a change of ownership or start charging you a fortune.

Yes, keep creating and promoting profiles on these sites. Just don’t make them the heart of your marketing strategy.

Put your website at the core of everything you do and any prominent social networks or apps second.

Creating a Site from Scratch on WordPress

You don’t need technical chops to build your own website these days. You can easily fire up a WordPress site with a decent managed host like Pressable or Flywheel. These run for about $15-25/month but are worth the investment.

There are cheaper options but managed hosting services provide better support, security, performance, and updates.

Next, choose a decent WordPress premium theme for musicians, bands, or DJs. Here’s a showcase to choose from.

Need some more in-depth help getting a WordPress site up and running? Here’s a step-by-step guide to setting up your website from WP Beginner.

Website Plugins for Musicians

Plugins add unique functions to your site without the need for any special coding. Plugins are lifehacks if you use them wisely.

Consider adding these plugins for musicians to your site to allow your visitors to play music, pay for music, book you for an event, and more:

  • WooCommerce – set up shop and get paid for your music
  • Audio Album – let visitors play songs and see your albums
  • Calendar Event – show off your upcoming events
  • Social Icons Widget – showcase social icons for your Facebook, Instagram, SoundCloud, Spotify, Youtube, and other profiles

Here are a couple great lists of helpful plugins for you to consider adding to your site. Most of these plugins are free, but sometimes the developer might offer a paid version with additional features.

WordPress is built on open-source collaboration, which means it’s constantly being improved and new plugins are constantly rolled out to solve site owners’ challenges.

Pro tip: Plugins are tools, not toys. Don’t get caught up experimenting with so many plugins that you waste precious time you could be using to create new music or content.

Alternatives for Building Your Website

As simple as WordPress is, maybe you don’t want to spend your time and energy building a website from scratch.

A great alternative for building websites is Bandzoogle. You pay monthly, as low as $9, and in return you get a professional site, fan data, built-in mailing list functionality, and the ability to sell your music, merchandise, and tickets. Here’s the list of all the features covered.

How to Promote Your Website

Your website is a powerful branding tool. Try searching some of your favorite artists on Google and you’ll notice their website often ranks #1. This usually means that whenever they do interviews or promote upcoming events, journalists and bloggers are linking to their website.

Spread the word about your new site. Once you have a website, keep it updated with fresh content. Don’t limit your blog to news about your music, merchandise, or events. Use the blog to discuss happenings within your niche and build a following.

Encourage conversation, respond to comments, and listen to the audience for new insights. Share your posts on social media. Give shout-outs to others in your space, and maybe they’ll give you a shout-out too. These are all excellent ways to promote yourself and your website.


*[Raj Shah is the Senior SEO Manager at TakeLessons – a site dedicated to providing affordable and accessible options when it comes to learning instruments and languages. Check out Part Two of this article tomorrow!]

New Music Friday: December 8, 2017

TuneCore Artists are releasing tons of new music every day. Each week we check out the new TuneCore releases and choose a few at random to feature on the blog.

Is your hit next?

Follow Music Made Me – a Spotify playlist that’s updated every Friday with new releases from TuneCore Artists – stream it below!


Wolves
Story of the Year

Alternative, Rock


12.23.95 (Acoustic)
Jimmy Eat World

Holiday, Alternative


Light Work
Rich Jones & Vapor Eyes

Hip Hop/Rap, R&B/Soul


Big Business (feat. k Trap, LD, ASAP, & Blade Brown)
Carns Hill

Hip Hop/Rap


Hell No
Von Sell

Alternative, Electronic


Roll The Dice 2
Niko G4

Hip Hop/Rap


From Now On
Vedo

R&B/Soul


Dear John
Robert Ellis & Courtney Hartman

Folk, Singer/Songwriter


Shoot This Arrow
Kate Voegele

Pop


Prune, You Talk Funny

Gus Dapperton
Pop


Untitled EP
City Of the Sun

Alternative, Instrumental


Eva Green
Pink Fireball

Rock, Pop


96
Fear of Missing Out

R&B/Soul, Hip Hop/Rap


Love You Down
SWIMM

Alternative, R&B/Soul


Live From the Hurst
MRG

Hip Hop/Rap, R&B/Soul


Notos
The Oh Hellos

Folk, Rock


Summer Salt
Curtiss King & Gosh Leotus

Hip Hop/Rap, R&B/Soul