In my last post, I touched briefly on how you need to look at your band as a business.
I get it, for the most part, your skills are creative in nature. Realize those creative skills could wind up earning you and your band thousands and thousands of dollars. Accordingly, you MUST think of your band as a business. Granted, you might have some business skills, you might be quite savvy actually. Do you want to spend the better part of the day focusing on business stuff or do you want to focus on what really drives your talents as a singer-songwriter?
So who do you surround yourself with to handle the business side of things?
In addition to being your biggest cheerleader they are going to:
- Help with major business decisions
- help with the creative process
- help in assembling the rest of the team
- help with the coordination of tours, shows, road crew, etc.
In short, your manager is the buffer between you and the outside world.
This is your money person. He/She collects it, keeps track of it, pays the bills, invests it, and makes sure the tax returns are filed. Be very CAREFUL in picking this team member for obvious reasons. Many use a family member early on. The key trait in this role is TRUSTWORTHINESS.
Don't think of your attorney as the guy who simply looks over contracts and gives advise on the law. A good entertainment attorney will help shape the artists' business lives. They will be instrumental in drafting the agreements for all the other "team members".
This might be the role that most bands tend to handle themselves. The booking agent is the one in contact with the various clubs and venues in order to get the band in front of PAYING consumers! Most booking agents are not interested in getting your band a gig at a local dive bar in front of 100 people. You become interesting to the booking agent when you're playing to crowds of 500 or so and the agent sees a way to get you in front of 1,500.
This is another role many bands take on themselves to save on expenses. Most charge a flat fee to push one song to the radio stations. Depending on how much you want to spend the push might be to one city, state or region. Why is radio play important? Many venues don't want to book a band unless that band is getting play in the local market. Flip-side, many radio stations don't want to play a song if that band is not somehow connected to the area (playing shows). Accordingly, don't overlook the importance of booking gigs and getting radio play. The local stations that are not owned by big conglomerates are your best bet here. They have more flexibility to play what they want and enjoy promoting local talent.
Of course, not every band is going to have all of the above as part of the team. Admittedly, every one of these people is going to get a piece of the pie. Lots of start-ups fill the above roles with family, friends and sometimes the band members themselves.
It's your band, have fun with it. You don't have to go out and hire all these role players at the start. HOWEVER, if you want this dream to become a reality, focus on your true talents and let the suits handle the business stuff.