1. re: getting a sponsor

    "how do I get corporate sponsorship for my Band? E.g. gear, song in a commercial, Warped Tour" - russell in chicago, il

    i wish i could tell you a good “DIY” way to do this, but the truth is that you should probably just hire a manager. i mean, clearly you’re not worried about “selling out” so you should have no “ethical” problems with hiring a guy to promote your band. and let me tell you this: once you get a manager, you’ll realize how much time you’ve been wasting trying to get everything done yourself! i personally think that most bands should have managers, because (let’s face it) most people in bands are space cases who can’t manage to brush their teeth in the morning, let alone negotiate a major licensing deal. i think even bands who are just starting out would do well to hire managers, because it let’s them focus more completely on making music, while someone else is out in the world representing them, getting their music in blogs and magazines and tv commercials, booking shows for them, and just generally networking on their behalf. think about how much easier this makes life for the band. they don’t have to worry about pulling together an image or managing their brand. they have their manager, who is hopefully aware of market trends, to tell them what is hot, what kind of music to play, what to sing about, and how to dress! this is not to say that as soon as you get a manager, you’re suddenly gonna have fame and fortune. in order to get a sponsorship, you’ll probably have to work up to the next level of management. the first manager will do pretty well for you, maybe get you on some blogs, get you a record deal with national distribution, book you a regional tour, basic “pay your dues” stuff. it won’t be until you get your SECOND manager (once you have a bit of cash) that you’ll start getting your stuff in tv shows and getting noticed by corporations. once that happens, you’ll be on easy street, then it’s just a matter of choosing the right sponsorship, and working your way up from smaller brands (like Ernie Ball or Taco Bell, who sponser a LOT of bands) to the big guns like Apple (who only sponsor the top bands like U2 and the Beatles). i think this is probably the most common way of getting sponsorship (i.e. get someone who is well-connected to do it for you!)— however, hear me out on this possible shortcut. what if you’re band made a fake “commercial” for a product your band likes, then puts it up on Youtube and it becomes a viral clip? i’m not even sure how you’d go about it, but if you’re subtle with the advertisement and make the video weird and cool, it just might get you noticed by that company, and then maybe they’d offer to sponsor you. that would indeed be a creative “DIY” method of getting a sponsor. but, i have never seen this happen, it is only a theory! anyway, good luck, man!

    -Band Aid

     
  2. Re: friends kicked me out of my band

    this is my last day as “Blogger of the Week” on Breakthru Radio, and in honor of that, i am answering a question from Thompson, the guy who interviewed me! once again, here’s the interview link: http://breakthruradio.com/#/post/?blog=53&post=294&autoplay=1. and here’s the question!

    "In the 10th grade my "best friends" and band mates kicked me out of the band for a girl with big tits and a strat. Granted, we were at an age when big breasts were the most important thing in the world, but I still can’t forgive them. Who was right?" - thompson in brooklyn, ny

    this is a sad story indeed. and as someone whose been on both sides of this situation, i definitely feel your pain. i’m gonna go ahead and say that you are right to be mad at your friends about it, but you should probably forgive them. it’s a well-known fact that kids/teenagers don’t know what they’re doing, especially when it comes to band-etiquette, so this kind of thing happens pretty frequently. that’s part of the reason why i started this blog! they just don’t understand that how they treat their bandmates (which at this stage are usually their friends anyway) actually matters, and that people take these things seriously. they are blinded by the prospect of success and the pursuit of the rock n roll myth. sometimes this can work out for the best, like when the Beatles dumped their best friend Pete Best for a more popular scenester named “Ringo” and became the number one band in Europe (then later America!). but more often than not, it just leads to broken friendships and broken dreams. so, unless they continue to behave this way in whatever bands they’re currently in (or in their regular lives), you shouldn’t hold their teenaged transgressions against them anymore. they probably feel as bad about it as you do.

     
  3. "Anatomy of a Blogger"

    hey guys, remember when i said i was picked to be “Blogger of the Week” on Breakthruradio.com? well, today they’ve posted my interview/playlist! you can listen to it HERE! i had a good time going into their studio and doing the interview w/ DJ Thompson when i went to New York over the Thanksgiving holiday (more on that later, maybe! but i’m not sure how much i can tell you guys…) i tried to answer his questions as best as i could, but i really wasn’t expecting to have to answer so many questions about myself! as you all know, i try to keep a low-profile so i can tell truths about the industry on this blog without getting into trouble! but i think i can start to loosen up with that a bit. it’s not like anyone will remember all the old bands i was in anyway!

    hope you guys enjoy the interview, and please tell your friends! here’s the link again: http://breakthruradio.com/#/post/?blog=53&post=294&autoplay=1

    -Band Aid

     
  4. re: turning ditties into songs

    "Dear Band Aid, I have a songwriting question. I can easilly come up with a few lines of little ditties in my head but then I cant turn them into full songs. What should I do." -Jane in Narberth, PA

    don’t fret, Jane, because this is something that happens to every newcomer to the songwriting game! actually, the hardest part of songwriting is coming up with the little “ditties” (or “hooks” as they’re called in the biz), so if you’re already able to do that, you’re in pretty good shape. that is the one thing of songwriting that can’t really be “faked”. it’s gotta come naturally. but turning those hooks into songs is something that just takes practice. when starting out, i’d recommend keeping your songs as simple as possible. whatever song element comes into your head (be it a chord progression, vocal line, rhythm, whatever), just make a little song entirely out of that thing (maybe just repeat it a few times). don’t worry about creating a “verse/chorus/bridge” for it. use what you have and build on that bit. and if nothing is coming to you, just bang on the guitar/bass/keyboard/voice until you hit something that sounds good! it won’t really be a full-fledged “song”, maybe just a “sketch”, as it could be very short and not have much structure. BUT after you do this for a while, you will probably have learned a bit about your own style, how you make the pieces fit together, maybe you’ll even be able to string some of your sketches together into full-blown songs! and i have also noticed that, often times working on a sketch, and just spending time listening to it over and over, will lead me to think of new hooks that can fit with the sketch, and BOOM, i’ve got a chorus part! it is a little different for everybody, but i don’t think there’s any special secret to learning how to turn a song idea into a song — it’s simply a matter of putting in the time and effort! but a lot of times, if you really love songwriting, it doesn’t even feel like work! hope that helps.

    -Band Aid

     
  5. re: next step after record release

    "What’s the next step after getting a record out?" - hammond in st. paul, mn

    first of all, congrats on the record, that’s a big step for any band! now, the obvious thing to do would be to go on tour. like i have said in previous posts, touring is by far the best way to get “known” across the country and to sell copies of your records (there’s only so many you can sell to your local friends). so if you haven’t done that yet, i would say that is the classic “next step”. the other obvious thing to do is to get it out to blogs, zines, radio stations, and any other promo outlets you can think of. if you look around hard enough, there’s a lot of good promo lists on the internet for any given genre (mostly compiled by bands and labels on various niche forums around the web- i’m not gonna post them because the communities generally wanna keep them private). HOWEVER, nowadays you should definitely try to be more creative with your promotional effort. maybe try making a “commercial” for your record on youtube. not like a proper music video, per se, but just a weird clip of your band doing something, or some abstract thing. i can’t think of an example off the top of my head, but i see them all the time on twitter. or maybe you could try doing a live webcast show from your practice space! that’s something i wish more bands did these days. and it would be a great way to get your fans excited about your new album without having to go to their hometown! something you could do locally would be to go to some random place in town and just set up and play (kinda like the Beatles rooftop show). that would be a good way to get the word out to lots of people who probably don’t already know who you are. anyway, as you can see there’s lots of options, and the more creative you get with it, the better (if you want the stuff to go viral)! creativity and cunning are the names of the game these days, remember that.

    -Band Aid