the Musical Artist’s survival guide part 1: the music business and promoting yourself

Ok, I have been speaking about this for some time now. A few years back I put together a list of books and webpages I suggest for all independent artists. They will help you learn about the music business and make it easier for you further all your musical endeavors. I have read most of these books(really, I did. I’m not lying) and they can be found at the library and on sites like Ebay or Amazon. If anyone has any other books or webpages that you think are useful please let me know. I will start with the Books and include some webpages for the end.


The Indie Bible a book that is released yearly that has a list of contact information for record companies, radio stations, magazines, distributors and more that will work with independent bands. It is divided up Geographically and by Genre.

The Music Atlas Another Yearly reference book. Not specifically geared towards independent artists. But does have many resources such as record labels and other information broken up by Countries and States such as Clubs, music stores and newspapers and other great resources.


“Your Band is a virus” by James Moore

“I don’t need a Record Deal” by Daylle Deanna SchwartzA great guide for independent artists that was mentioned in my last blog entry. It will show you how to use all the resources available to today’s artists to become a success while using unique strategies to building a fan base and more.

“Ruthless Self Promoting in the Music Industry” by Jeffrey P. FisherThis book is one of my favorites. You will learn industry protocol as well as smart promoting and being able to get more shows and publicity for your band with all the tips you will learn in this book.

“Get It in Writing: The Musician’s Guide to the Music Business” by Brian McPherson A book to get you acquainted with copyrights, Mechanical and publishing royalties, Record deals and more. Also includes interviews from many music industry professional such as Rick Rubin

“the Billboard guide to Music Publicity” by Jim PettigrewA good read to show you how to get your band and releases the much need publicity and reviews in order to gain a larger fan base and presence both locally and nationally.

“Making Money Making Music” by Eric BeallA good book to learn everything you need to know music publishing and licensing.

“This Business of Music” by M. William Krasilovsky, Sidney Shemel, John M Gross and Jonathan FeinsteinA part of the Billboard music business series(which I suggest you read each one). This is a newly updated overview of each aspect of the music business including : copyrights, publishing, management and more. A must read for any musician, manager, publicist, agent or anyone else looking to have a career in music.

“This Business of Artist Management” by Xavier M. FrascongnaThis will show you what you should look for in a manager. It explains what a manager does and even has sample contracts for performances, artist management and more.

“This Business of Music Marketing and Promoting” by Todd Lathrop

“This Business of Concert Promotion and Touring” by Ray D. Waddell, Rich Barnet and Jake Berry

“Million Dollar Mistakes” by Moses AvalonA book that is packed with stories from many music industry pros that were brave enough to share what mistakes cost them dearly so can learn from them. A very good read.

“Guerrilla Marketing Excellence: 50 Golden rules for Small Business Success” by Jay Conrad LevinsonNot a music oriented book. But it was a book recommended by one of the authors of the books above. It will show you how to effectively promote your product, which in this case is your band, your albums and merchandise.

Webpages you can use to promote your music

Of course your web presence is important as well. Im sure every band is on Facebook. The best thing is to link your band’s facebook page to other music sites(some of which I will mention). I would recommend finding genre specific groups to post to as well as groups in your area. However, I suggest that you “don’t live in a bubble”. Like and share other artists posts, listen to other bands. We are all in the same boat, so if you just post and don’t reciprocate when someone else does than don’t complain when you get poor results. This Group is great for anyone who agrees with this method and wants more fans and likes: The Artist DIY marketing Co-op founded by Jim Rose And all of course are welcome to join this group that I helped co found as well Artists in your Neighborhood

TwitterAnother great way to gain fans(if you know how to use it) You will notice that you will get a group of loyal “reposters”, I suggest including them in any important tweets and include: “RT” which is short for Retweet or asking someone to retweet. Also, you will learn that hastags: # are important, I learned that you should keep it simple like #music, #rock or #video don’t expect to gain interest by putting #checkoutthissongwewerestayedupallnightrecording. More tips on twitter and getting more followers from this blog by Music clout on Twitter promotion

Reverbnation A good all around music site that offers distribution, ways to reach new fans, music charts and even pays artists. It has become the norm that most bands use Reverbnation

Bandcamp A great page for you to post and sell your music. You keep a bigger percentage of your sales then if you sold downloads through a distributor (a topic that I will discuss in further detail in another entry) and you can allow fans to name their own price are among the many features on bandcamp. A highly recommended site to be on.

Ourstage This page has features that include their own EPK(Electronic press kit) and monthly contests, some of which are divided by genre where bands can win cash and other prizes. Plus contest winners have another thing to add to their press kits.

Headliner A somewhat Co-op based site where bands help other bands with their promo campaigns and acquire “Band Bucks” for doing so that can be used during their own promo campaigns to promote a show, or release or what not.

Last.FM An internet radio site that has one of the largest music catalogs on the net. Artists can also make money from listeners downloading and streaming their songs.

Webpages for making your own merchandise

Cheap Buttons The names says it all! You can get friendly, fast and reliable service with button package prices starting at 20 dollars

Sticker Guy A great page to get stickers done fast and cheap.

Jak Prints A good page with good customer service for printing mostly anything including clothes, stickers, banners, and more

Cafe Press A page that allows you to set up your own online store for all types of merchandise. You can have your band’s logo on shirts, hats, Coffee mugs, mouse pads, clocks and much more

Spreadshirt A great page for having your band’s shirts printed. You can set up an online store to have shirts and other products printed with digital direct technology and fast shipping straight to your fans

Well, I hope this helps you get some more perspective into how the music business works and will help make it a bit easier for you to get your name out there. In closing I suggest that you be patient and friendly in all your dealings while climbing the ladder. As they say: you will meet the same people on the way up as you do on the way down. Best of luck to you all,Nate

And remember this when something doesn’t work out, oh well after all:

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