How to Land a Band (Part 2) - By Justin Autumn
Hello my friends, and welcome back to part two of the How to Land a Band series! If you haven’t checked out Part 1, I suggest you check it out now. So far we’ve learned that our most advantageous technique for scouting bands is our good old friend the internet. I’m going to give you a few of my own personal methods for finding leads, so please feel free to incorporate them with your approach and mix/match where you see fit.
Today we’ll be focusing on:
ReverbNation and Facebook.
Before we dive right into how to use these sites, there are a few components you want to keep an eye (and an ear) out for.
Know Your Own Talent Level
Firstly, you want to know your talent level and what you can realistically produce. Having an honest understanding of your skills will allow you to bring in the right clients to your studio. When I say skills, I’m going to umbrella gear into that description.
I know what you’re thinking, “gear doesn’t count as a skill!” Well, you’re right and you’re wrong. In actuality, your gear has no bearing on your expertise with your DAW. Perhaps you can fly through the Pro Tools hotkeys like a wizard and you have the elastic audio prowess of a freaking ninja, but if you don’t have the right gear, none of it will translate properly. It’s honestly the difference between Slash ripping a solo through a Les Paul or an out of tune Squier. The difference is, as producers, our finished product is indicative of our talents. So if something sounds ‘off’ when our records are all said and done, others will see that as a poor reflection of us.
When listening to a prospective band, make sure you can create a product that sounds even better than what you hear. If the quality outweighs what you’re capable of making, then your best bet is to move on and search for someone you’re more likely to land – there’s no sense in wasting time.
Here’s a great approach to Facebooking bands. Start with a local band that you either know, or have worked with. Sift through their page and look for past and future shows. Start a word document and jot down some of the band names you see. Once you have a comfortable list of bands, you can search for them on Facebook.
*Note: When messaging these bands be careful not to message too many acts from the same bill. Bands talk to one another, and if your name comes up, you may come off as more of a spammer then as a genuinely interested producer.
Search local. You can actually type in your Zip code and search for bands in your immediate vicinity! If you want to go even further, you can even search by genre. You may need to jump ahead a few pages to bypass some of the bigger acts. (It would be really hard to land Eric Johnson, or The Killers.) Honestly, since Facebook is the super giant that it is I would search for the band on Facebook and message them through the FB messenger. If they aren’t on Facebook, search for an email address or a phone number and go with that.
Currently Active Bands
One thing you’re going to want to pay immediate attention to is how active a band is on their social media platforms. I always cross reference everything to Facebook. If you search a band and they haven’t posted a status in 3 years, don’t waste your time messaging them, they probably broke up. Generally anything past 2 months is bad news, and remember, the more active they are, the more likely they are to record some new material.
*Note: On ReverbNation, you can actually search upcoming shows in your area. This is a great indicator of active bands.
Likes and Fans
The better you get at this whole messaging game, the more you start to understand your wheelhouse. For producers just starting out, you’ll want to look for bands in a similar position. For the most part, you’ll be more likely to land a band between 0 and 400 Likes on FB or Fans on RN. You can always aim higher, but it’ll save you a lot of time knowing exactly the types of bands you’re getting positive responses from. The more you produce, the higher your Like threshold will grow.
*Note: Starting your own producer page on Facebook is very helpful when it comes to band responses. If they see you’re established and have a respectable number of likes, it’ll make them more prone to work with you.
Potential of the Band
The last thing I like to check for when scouting is overall potential. If I see a band with a name like “Screaming Pussy Fart”, that’s generally a project I want to avoid. To me, they don’t sound like they’re taking things too seriously, so I don’t even want to waste my time. Trust me, once you start doing this for a long time, you’ll see that the names of bands really do represent their members.
First impressions aside, some signs of potential include great songwriting, (despite lackluster recordings), awesome content, (videos, posts, etc…) and an overall “wow factor”. You want to work with artists that you can push to the next level and help to reach their fullest potential. You’ll start to see how much of a difference you can make, especially when you work with artists who climb from 300 Likes to 3,000 in a matter of months. A lot of it is the band yes, but a ton can be contributed to the brains behind the scenes and quality recordings.
I hope you were able to take away some insight from this article, and I hope it helps you on your hunt for new projects. As we move forward, we’ll cover the next aspect which is writing the perfect message to a band. After that we’ll discuss how to respond to interested parties, how to bring them into your studio, and all of the up and down factors that go along with the whole hunting process.
If you learned anything from this article, please share it and leave a comment below. As always, thanks for reading!
This article first appeared on the myrecordinginternship.com blog and was reposted here by kind permission of its original authors.