The first ever Nashville Music Business Camp was a HIT!! This event is going to be around for a long time. Anything that puts people first and encourages the music community is a MUST for Nashville. The NMBC drew artists and songwriters from out of town as well as local musicians. The attendees were showered with industry tips and tools, filling their arsenal of strategies and encouraging perseverance in the music business.
From tips on how to conduct radio interviews, to booking gigs, to finding personal style, to understanding the importance of music law and beyond – the sessions were jammed with knowledgeable insights. Nashville veterans Shannon McCombs and Kat Atwood were just two of the presenters I had the chance to learn from. Being a first class celebrity interviewer, Shannon was able to moderate a discussion on media and marketing strategies with Kat, the Publicity Director for Music City Media & Marketing.
Kat shared how the Internet is changing the way an artist represents or sells their material. Print media is down; however, online magazines and websites are great avenues to generate awareness. Vehicles like MySpace, Facebook and Twitter are all necessary tools to use when marketing. Get out there and establish a following. You could become the next Colbie Caillat. She was discovered by an intern at a record label while they were exploring MySpace. A local example of this, Kat pointed out, was Sarah Darling. A newly signed artist/songwriter blazing her way to stardom.
They said you have to learn the business. The more you know, the more relevant and knowledgeable you will be. Learning the music business helps you discover your own sense of how you want to run things, increasing your personal business savvy. Don’t rely on others to care as deeply about your career as you do. Get out there with guerrilla marketing and get things done. Do your research and know who you have to talk to and contact.
Secondly, networking is a MUST. If you associate with negative “all talk” influences that is what you will become. Contrastingly, if you connect with driven, talented people you will be known for that. Along with being associated with the right people comes the importance of your reputation. You generally will be considered trustworthy and dependable if you hang out with that type of person. The opposite of this could ruin your reputation in a town built on good faith and networking. Industry talks to industry – it is hard to recover from bad press.
Kat also suggests that you “go for it” on the Internet and write your own bio. She said sometimes people will have someone write their bio for them and they won’t read it. Then they will get in a discussion with someone in the industry and they won’t know the answers to their own questions. They stress the fact that you need to know what you want to talk about. Select five good talking points. One of the most important talking points is – know what your music sounds like.
Having a clear definition of yourself as a writer or an artist is helpful to new fans. If you said my music sounds like Alan Jackson meets Kiss then you would definitely have the attention of the listener. When you are a new artist you have to know how to interpret your sound so a new listener will want to hear your style. For example Sara Evans meets Frank Sinatra, now THAT I want to hear.
In their session, Shannon and Kat talked about branding and how perception is everything. Every time you appear online or in person – someone is making a judgment of you. They watch what you say, how you react, what you wear, and what you choose to make as a priority just to name a few. If you want to be an artist, don’t wait until a record label gives you the title, just be one now. Know your personal style or look. Speak up at a photo shoot when the photographer wants you to wear lederhosen and hold a large snake and it makes you uncomfortable. You were given a “gut” for a reason. If this isn’t what you were going for, don’t waste their time and your money!
Come back tomorrow for Part 2 of their priceless insights!