Think Professional, Be Professional, Stay Professional!
Most of us are not working with such intense any regularity that we can quit our day jobs and devote all our attention to playing our music. If you can and are, you can stop reading this. If you aren’t, can’t or in some cases won’t, please, by all means continue.
You know the tour doesn’t last forever, and with the challenges currently facing touring bands/ musicians, the goal is to remain professional in both attitude and presentation even if you aren’t making the millions or even the thousands you thought you’d be making.
A few items you might want to consider so you can remain solidly in the game, grounded and above all, professional.
Be Uber Prompt: Look, the bottom line is show up early, not on time. If the rehearsal, session or whatever is at 3 PM, and you show up at 2:30 PM, you’re already late! While this might sound like common sense, plenty of so called, often delusional “industry professionals” do not adhere to this concept. Of course in most cases they aren’t EMPLOYED industry professionals for very long with that type of behavior.
The thing is, while being professional at all times, being prompt and more over prepared when you arrive, is the industry standard…period. Oh yeah, if you really want to score points, win friends and influence people ( or clients), make sure you bring emergency items just in case…batteries for microphones, extra guitar picks, cables, heck even spare drum sticks. You can’t imagine how cool and again, professional you’ll appear to the rest of the participants if you are able to anticipate their needs by providing any of the aforementioned items.
Be Reliable: This industry is full of people who promise everything and deliver nothing; don’t be one of those people. With the variety of devices enabling us to connect with anyone at any time anywhere, it’s no longer acceptable not to return phone calls, emails or texts. Not responding in a timely manner is the 21st Century equivalent of the big “dis,” supreme rudeness. If you’ve made plans, follow through with your end of the bargain; if you don’t want to do what you’ve agreed to do, at least respect the individuals or individuals to let them know. In the world of professionalism being reliable is paramount. Conversely anyone who doesn’t take the time to get back with you isn’t serious and not worth your valuable time. Finally, believe it or not the preferred, most professional method to respond is still via phone. Sure you have the option of texting, or emailing, but to to insure the message you send and receive is the accurate and more importantly the desired one, a phone call is still king.
Establish Your Brand as a Business: The entertainment industry, just like any other operates by time tested standards with few exceptions. Regardless of how the actual styles of the product (music) changes, these “cannons” of the industry remain constant. One of our current fascinations/innovations is social media, it’s free and user friendly. For example you can update various accounts from say, your phone and it automatically sends the same update to all your other social media outlets.
An actual dot come website is necessary…it’s almost like having an online business card. Like that business card your site should offer important information about you (the artist or band)…all the “who,” “what’s” and “when’s” are the most important. And remember, all your updating can be done remotely via other sites. You can, for example keep your Twitter feed on your home page for regular updates, and all your other pages with touring info, music videos, and so on can be automatically updated with widgets from ReverbNation.
Speaking of business cards, they are still a effective, reliable staple of doing, well, business. Sure you may have a Smartphone and every other electronic device known to modern man and that’s fine. But believe me, nothing says: professional” like a business card. And, like your website it can be simple.
Only Release Your Best Stuff. By that I mean music, content. Too many times I’ve received mix-tapes, EP’s and even full Cd’s oozing with sub-par presentation. You know what I mean. Bad mixes whack songs …just overall amateur presentation. Sure you have a web presence, but that doesn’t mean your site is a launching pad for your studio experiments. Competition is much too stiff nowadays to think you can release some nonsense and think someone’s going to buy it, much less listen to it for any length of time. And once they leave, they rarely return. You don’t want to publish demo quality songs. Unless you know how to get the most from the equipment you have, your basement tapes, mad scientist experiments whatever, aren’t going to cut it. This is also true for your videos, photos and web layouts. Those shaky phone videos you’ve posted on your site from some drunk, high, or otherwise unprofessional, say to your public, you don’t care. And if you don’t why should they? Your music should always be radio quality.
So there you have it, just a few suggestions to assist you in maintain and in some cases hopefully improving your professionalism.
Read more about Careers in the Audio Industry here.