Best of TrueDIY 2010

TrueDIY Best of 2010 Do It Yourself

A big thanks to everyone for watching the first 10 TrueDIY episodes over the past 4 months! For those of you that haven’t heard, TrueDIY will be transitioning from it’s current format to a monthly video panel.  The switch will allow us to feature a revolving panel of musicians and music professionals as we continue to sound off on relevant topics that we believe everyone in the industry should be aware of.

As 2010 wraps we’re busy cranking away with Indie Ambassador site development and planning for TrueDIY 2011. Topics and panelists for the coming year are coming together nicely, but don’t hesitate to suggest topics for us to cover! Until we launch the next installment in January be sure to check out an all-star list of quick tips from 2010 after the jump.

Catch more TrueDIY in 2011!

TrueDIY 1 | Mike Gill: Music Videos on a Budget

  • Use professional services wisely. Doing so is beneficial for many reasons, but mostly because someone with an outside perspective can come in and interpret your song visually with no previous influences. Find a creative director and consolidate services into a single, talented individual. This will help save you money!
  • If you don’t have the resources to shoot in HD, don’t worry about it! Use limitations to your advantage and be aware that many concepts and desired looks can be achieved in standard definition.

TrueDIY 2 | Luke Garro: Saving Money on the Road

  • Converting your diesel engine to run on grease will save you a lot of money, but don’t do it unless someone in your band has an innate knowledge of vehicle mechanics. Professional mechanics will often refuse to help you because you’ve deliberately altered your vehicle or because they have little to no knowledge on how the vegetable oil system really works.
  • Pick a street team captain for each market you want to play. In other words, find a die hard fan you trust will be able to spark local interest in the show for each new city you travel to that’s willing to spend their own free time flyering and spreading the word online. Optimally, this person is willing to work for no compensation other than something small like a free ticket to the show.

TrueDIY 3 | Ben Hoffman: Tour Management 101

  • A few weeks before you go out on the road, take some time to call the promoters you’re working with and make sure everyone’s organized and on the same page with show details including financial issues like guarantees.
  • Bring a GPS. Smartphones work for this purpose but no one wants to sacrifice their phone as a map for the entire tour. And in case all gadgets die, have some good old-fashioned paper maps lying around as a back up.
  • Make sure everyone in the band is mentally prepared for the road. Spending every waking moment around the same people will try everyone’s patience, so clear up any outstanding issues before you head out.

TrueDIY 4 | Ben & Aidan: Make Your Local Show Count

  • If you get full control of the night’s line up, make sure you book bands that will please the promoter and your fans. This can be a tough act to balance, but doing so will leave your fans with a memorable night and the promoter with pockets full enough to invite you back as soon as possible. Building solid relationships with local promoters is more important than lining your own pockets at the beginning stages of your career.
  • Do your research on bloggers and members of the press before inviting them to your show. Once you think you’ve picked people who are likely to give your performance a positive review, send out some well designed personalized invites detailing the night’s show and offering incentives for their attendance, such as free tickets or a free drink at the bar.
  • One of the most commonly overlooked methods of cheap grassroots promotion is street performing. Playing some tunes in a high traffic area is bound to give you tons of impressions and the opportunity to spread word about your upcoming show.
  • Create contests to grow buzz around the show. If the prizes are exciting (like a free ticket or t-shirt), your fans will be emotionally invested in the outcome and are more likely to talk about it and participate.

TrueDIY 5 | Spiritual Rez: Down Time on the Road

  • Although the road doesn’t always provide the ideal artistic space, it is still important to write and collaborate whenever the opportunity arises. Inspiration on the road can often lead to some great tunes.
  • It’s important to leave enough time between shows to allow for long distance drives, hangovers, and anything else that comes up. If a person in the band wants to stay up late and party, tell him or her to crash in the van so you don’t have to wake them in the AM. It’s also a good idea to have someone sleep in the van if you’re afraid it could get towed.

TrueDIY 6 (part 1) | Adam Ritchie: Approaching the Press 101

  • Give yourself plenty of lead time. That is, time to approach press. The magazine that you’re reading on stands today was conceptualized 3 to 4 months ago.
  • Know what you’re pitching and know what section you’re going for, i.e. concert previews, mp3 of the week, etc. Look at who writes those sections and send material specifically to that author. If you send your materials to an organization’s generic mailing address, you’re sending them to a black hole that is bound to end up in a landfill. You don’t want to litter do you?
  • When sending materials to press accounts, your packaging is very important. If you see a creative, colorful envelope sitting next to a blah, manila envelope which one are you going to open first?

TrueDIY 6 (part 2) | Adam Ritchie: A Crash Course on SEO & Licensing

  • Think of your official website as a slice of swiss cheese; it has holes to begin with. These holes can be filled with social media content. For example, your photos can feed in straight from Flickr, your videos can feed in straight from YouTube, etc.
  • When approaching corporations for sponsorship, first look at brands and see which ones are actively supporting music. You’re most likely to succeed if you pitch yourself into an already established program (i.e. Dew Tour) and it helps when your music fits nicely with their message.
  • When licensing your music to TV, film and commercials you’ll have the most luck with music supervisors that you have built a relationship with. Do your research! Watch for their names in the credits and contact them with a professional email or phone call.

TrueDIY 7 | How to Throw a Release Party

  • Reach out to sponsors. Use your network and see if anyone knows representatives from various beverage companies or restaurants. These companies are always looking to be involved in anything that gets their brand into the hands of potential customers in a non-invasive manner. These types of parties are the perfect place for brands to sample to new consumers on the cheap, so do some research and befriend these reps stat!
  • Involve additional activities. Your event is already based around a release of some sort, but it’s always a good idea to have more activities available to prevent your guests from getting bored. Video games, slideshows, anything of the sort is helpful.

TrueDIY 8 | Herra Terra: The Recording Process

  • You shouldn’t go into the studio and say, “This is what it’s going to be. You’re making art. It’s a chaotic type of thing.” Naturally, keep an open mind.
  • Learn to let go and say, “Ok, this is as far as we can go with this tune”.

TrueDIY 9 | JESP: Relocating to a New Market

  • Have materials prepared and organized before you leave the comfort of your home market. Having a logo, web site, business card, press sheet and recorded material on hand is essential. These tools will make networking in your new market much easier.
  • To market yourself most effectively in your new surroundings, seek out places(venues & hang outs) where your music is typically played. This can help you immerse yourself in a new market and should provide networking opportunities. It’s important to be involved with the scene personally in order to introduce your music personally. This organic technique should result in the maximum amount of exposure for yourself and your music.

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