By Cyrus Rhodes
© 2009-10, Cyrus Rhodes. All Rights Reserved. Used By Permission (Please do not reprint without asking permission!)
Hello. My name is Cyrus Rhodes. Over the past decade, I have been a guitarist in a touring band, a booking agent, a singer-songwriter, executive producer, an A&R Representative. Most recently I have enjoyed being a Syndicated Music Critic. Recently, I launched my own record label http://www.kataviarts.com/ based out of Seattle, WA. At the end of the day, I get a lot of fulfillment helping independent artists become more professional.
The biggest mistake I’ve seen bands make over the years is sitting around, waiting for record labels to show up, offer them a record deal, or make them millionaires. How about for now we put aside the Limousines, the Hot tub parties, & Playboy Mansion Invitations, and set a much more realistic goal for yourself: achieving success at the independent level first. I’m here to tell you before you sell out a Stadium, you must first sell out a local club. Before you mount a Gold Record on the wall, you must first sell thousands of CD’s from the trunk of your car. Before you conquer the world, you must first conquer a certain city or locale. If you're not willing to do any of the above, then this line of work is not for you. Many new bands and artists out there severely underestimate the amount of work required just to quit their day job. If your band does not gross a million dollars over the first year, does that equate to failure? Absolutely not. Setting realistic “milestones” or goals in anything you do is a stepping-stone to success. Being a hot artist or band has it's way of being contageous especially via word of mouth. If your doing everything right, typically other things have a way of falling into place. In any business venture you can even expect a certain amount of failure along the way. But if you stick with it, don’t give up, remain sharp, consistent, and even a little lucky - it can be the wildest ride you’ll ever experience.
Over the years I have seen firsthand what it takes to be a successful artist, musician, or band. There’s a lot of valuable information I’d like to share with you via my “BIZ TALK“ column.
From the top 10 things A&R Representatives look for when signing new talent, to the worst months to release your CD, to how to choose a mixer, to how to book a gig, etc. Whatever the subject matter, whatever your experience level, BIZ TALK covers ir. BIZ TALK offers straight forward, candid discussions about all things related to the music industry. At the end of the day I'm an advocate for the Independent Artist, and it's my motivation for creating BIZ TALK.
A short bio
Professional Rights Organizations (PRO) Affiliation -
A PRO is one of several organizations that are highly beneficial to
producers, songwriters and musicians and if you’re a studio owner or
operator, you should definitely have some background on them and what
they can do for you.
(GIGS & BEYOND) Maybe it's time you joined a Booking Agency -
Here's why it would be a good idea to have a booking agency on your side...
What makes for an Effective Band Manager -
Most agree - being a Band Manager is probably one toughest jobs in the Music Business. In all my years in the business these attributes generally equate to an effective Band Manager.
(GIGS & BEYOND) OK Maybe it's time we hired our own Road Crew -
Don't underestimate the value of a good road crew!
(GIGS & BEYOND) How to make the most of your Merch -
If you're like many artists, your distribution strategy begins and ends
at the merch table. But for too many acts, the at-the-show marketing
effort involves nothing more than a shout-out from the stage...
The day I gave my CD to a Coffee Shop -
Your CD in a coffee shop? This is a powerful marketing tool. Here's how I did it.
(GIGS & BEYOND) The night I gave my CD away -
I took a big risk in giving my CD away at a gig, not knowing what would happen next. Things changed. Here's how.
(GIGS & BEYOND) Legitimate Reasons for Reduced or Non-Payment from a venue or Booker -
Here are some legitimate reasons you or your band might get a non-payment from a venue after your show.
GIGS & BEYOND - Booking Letters -
An example of booking letters for you to check out.
GIGS & BEYOND - Tough Night? Piece of Cake -
Ask anyone who has been touring for an extensive period of time, or
played in a live circuit regularly - having a tough crowd, off night,
belligerent hecklers, whatever is just a reality of the music business. Here are some things that will minimize the impact they will have on you as a
GIGS & BEYOND - Be A Responsible Performer -
Don't want to get blacklisted by club owners, bookers and other agents? Remember and pay attention to your responsibilities towards the venue, the people in the crowd and even the opening acts. Here's how.
GIGS & BEYOND - Right Before the Gig -
So you've arrived at the set, set up and performed a blinding gig to a
lively and appreciative crowd. All that remains is packing up equipment
and collecting your fee right? Guess again.
GIGS & BEYOND - You got the gig now what? -
Here are some simple tips to help you avoid those awful 'oh no' moments,
especially if your band members are bad timekeepers, lousy with
directions or have short term memories!
GIGS & BEYOND - Pre-Booking Advice -
Here are just a few hints and reminders for anyone aiming to get their own gigs by telephone or “cold calling.” For most newer bands don't forget you have to start somewhere - so this article mostly applies to you.
OK maybe it's time we hired a Band Manager -
Any band or artist that's either paid their dues, or spent time on the Front Lines knows how much work is involved in becoming a paid professional. The more serious you are about it, the more you need an effective band manager.
OK - Maybe it's time we hired our own Sound Guy -
If you don’t bring your own sound guy you run the risk of handing your
sound over to someone you don’t know. Having said that I have seen many
so called sound guys that didn't have a clue. All in all it can make
for a long night.
Assembling an Effective Street Team -
Many bands have learned the power of “word of Mouth” via an effective Street Team. Street Teams' are a powerful promotional tool that has been adopted industry wide ...
If you suck at running live sound - please quit! -
Some Indies bands cannot afford either to buy either a quality sound system, or hire a professional. I get that. Also true - some smaller club owners don't even know what good sound gear is. That's fine as well. What I can't understand is this: if you are a club that offers a decent to premium “live sound” setup, HIRE AN ENGINEER THAT KNOWS HOW TO USE IT!
Something Every Roadie Should Read -
Sure being a roadie is the toughest job in the Music Business, but keep you head up, you just might be a Rock Star one day.
Be a Responsible Performer -
Many newcomers are unaware of their responsibilities towards the venue,
bookers, people in the crowd, and even opening acts. Having an incident
occur during the show could have disastrous consequences as you are
trying to build a reputation regionally as a professional.
GIG AND BEYOND - Contacting club owners -
Here's what you need to know in order to interest club owners in hiring you for a gig.
Beware of Mixers that say they can Master -
Despite what someone tells you - this is a very bad move!
Finding the right kind of Recording Studio -
Over the last few months you have written and rehearsed about 45
minutes of good quality music. It's enough material to now make a CD or
demo, but you only have about a grand in your bank account . Here are
just some of the things a good recording studio should provide.
Contacting the A&R Represenatives -
Chances are if your music is good, there is a A&R looking for it
right now. So why not put your music directly on their desk?
SXSW Music Festivals -
Music Festivals and Conferences are a great place for artists to come together, share their ideas, their music, their performances, and have fun doing it. Not only will you have fun, but you will have an opportunity to showcase your music, while meeting other artists and other prominent people within your local music scene.
The Basics of Legal Contracts -
In the Music Business a "handshake" or verbal agreement is quite
acceptable, not to mention it can even be used in the court of law.
However when things don’t go according to plan, I’ve seen the golden
handshake turn into bad situations in a hurry, especially when the
things that don't go as planned involve money.
Establishing a realistic set of Expectations -
O.K. how about for now we put aside the Limousine, the Hot tub parties
& Playboy Mansion Invitations, and set a much more realistic goal
for yourself. Let’s start by making a career for yourself an
Independent Artists first like we previously discussed.
Take the 5M's Pop Quiz -
Typically if you possess the 5 M's as a band or artist you definitely
have what it takes to become a signed professional. Read on to find out what those M's are.
Keep Your Eyes on the Ultimate Prize -
Success has a funny of leading to even more success.
How much the pro's didn't make on tour last year. -
Don't expect to make a mountain of money on your own concert tour.
GIG'S & BEYOND - Attacking the Local Club Circuit -
This article examines how new artists should approach the Local Live Circuit.
GIGS & BEYOND -The Importance of Live Exposure -
So where's the real money made in today's Music Business - Just ask the Police!
GIGS & BEYOND - Treat every show like it’s your last! -
The following is a true story about how a hot Seattle band blew one of the biggest opportunities they had in under 15 minutes, and didn’t even know it.
Commercials are a Big Waste of my Time – Guess Again! -
This article looks at how lucrative commercial exposure can be for any artist.
How to Choose a Good Mixer -
How to chose a Mixer right for your style of music.
Two Weeks In Nashville -
Two weeks in Nashville I will never forget.
CD Release Timing -
Summer time is go time!
Don't be a yes Artist -
Legitimate artists never beg!
Get Legal Representation -
The Importance of Legal Representation.
Press Packs -
What your press pack says about you?
Think Barcodes aren't important? Guess again!
Don't bonk during post production.
These components generally make for an industry standard mix.
The A&R Representative -
This article takes an in-depth look at the A&R Representative, and what role they play in the Music Industry.
POS is Never Wrong -
At the end of the day, it's still all about money.
PAY TO PLAY - The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly -
Is this something to consider or something to avoid? Read on to understand that pros and cons.
(GIGS & BEYOND) The Indie Bible can help -
Looking for ways to get you and your band out there along with valuable marketing tools? This is a great resource to check out.
Cyrus Rhodes is the President of Katavi Arts, a small record label based out of Seattle, WA. He also plays guitar for local band Seven Against Thebes – http://www.7at.net/. He is also a Syndicated Music Critic, Musical Producer, and A&R Representative for several prominent labels along the west coast. Cyrus is always on the look out for fresh, unsigned talent and will gladly give any band his fair and honest assessment. His vast network of musical professionals is designed to help independent artists become more professional.
For more information about Cyrus Rhodes - http://www.kataviarts.com/. Cyrus Rhodes musical projects include – Seven Against Thebes - http://www.7at.net/ & Drum Dynasty - http://www.drumdynasty.com/
(C) 2010. "BIZ TALK" commentary property of Katavi Arts.