Songwriting Tips, News & More

Keeping Things Cheap As A Musician

Posted by Jessica Brandon on Fri, Mar 05, 2010 @04:03 PM

by Brandon, Sonicbids Member Relations Representative

I’m a pretty cheap guy. This doesn’t seem to help much in the dating scene, but can quite useful as a musician, instruments cost hundreds of dollars a piece and unless you’ve reached a certain level of success, it’s difficult to pay that back quickly, if at all. So, when starting out you’ll want to minimize your costs as much as possible while gradually increasing your presence both locally and (inter)nationally. I’ve found quite a few ways to do so, and thought I’d share them. Obviously the possibilities are endless, so feel free to comment here and share your ideas as well.

 

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF FRIENDS AND STUDENTS

Hiring big names for collaborations is great for quick exposure, but if you’re short on cash, there are alternatives. Friends, local contacts and students are great ones for several reasons:

 

1) They (in most cases) know you already, so you can form a personal relationship in addition to a professional one.

2) They may even be more motivated to help out (students in particular – see below).

3) They are less expensive to hire.

 

If you have a brother who’s a marketing genius, for instance, perhaps try to get him on board to help you with marketing your project and creating your brand.

 

I also mentioned this in my last post, but colleges are a cesspool of many things, including budding young talent. Aspiring art students are looking for their big break in graphic design, photography or illustration — hire a student who understands your branding goals to do your artwork for you. Since they’re just starting out, they won’t be as expensive to hire as a renowned artist, and may do equally great work.

 

EMBRACE TECHNOLOGY WITH YOUR WEB PRESENCE

A couple of ideas here:

 

1) Email your Electronic Press Kit. It’s free to do with your Myspace or Sonicbids account, and you can track when the recipient actually opens the electronic press kit unlike in a normal email. This is a good way to save cash while getting that closure you need.

 

2) Build a cheap website. While sites like Sonicbids, MySpace, Facebook, etc. allow you to promote your band and its identity, you’ll want a home site on the internet, which helps secure that identity at an easy-to-find location (yourbandname.com, for instance). Building a website seems daunting at first, but there are tons of cheap/free services out there to help make this relatively painless, both on your brain and your wallet. I’ve personally found Wordpress, known for its blogging capabilities, to be an immensely powerful site-building tool as well, and it’s totally free to use. Check out a great example of a Wordpress-powered site for Sonicbids band Stereogrove here.

 

BE SMART ABOUT PROMOTIONS AND TOURING

When The Seedy Seeds came by the Sonicbids office recently, I had a good conversation with Brian, one of the masterminds behind the band, who mentioned their small, incremental touring method, rather than going all-out on a massive national tour. This is a smart way to approach touring: there’s no sense in blowing all your cash on a great tour and then not being able to afford another one after that, losing that expanded fanbase you just got in a matter of weeks. Try a shorter approach to touring, by doing short, frequent trips to very specific targeted regions. Also take some time to study the music scenes of those regions: there’s no sense in playing metal in a city where indie rock is all the rage.

 

Again, there’s a ton of possibilities here. This is just a start, so please comment away, or feel free to reach me and the Sonicbids Member Relations Team.

Tags: sonicbids, Myspace, cheap musician, indie musician, music promotion, twitter, facebook, purevolume, soundclick