Believe it or not, attracting clients is a huge part of our job description. I can almost guarantee that most up and coming producers aren’t even aware of the countless hours that go into finding a project – and it isn’t their fault. It’s just something that isn’t talked about.
Far too many young producers are obsessed with finding the perfect reverb technique for their vocals, or when they should be using parallel compression. And mind you, these things are important. But what good is practicing a skill set without the means to implement it? It’s the equivalent of practicing with a band for years, but never putting together a show. Sure that band may be amazing, but how will anyone ever know?
But how do I find the band?
The first aspect I’ll be covering in regards to messaging a band will be where to search. There are a few ways to approach this, so try to mix and match to see which ones work best for you.
Most producers are musicians first. And of course, that means having musician friends. If you’re looking for a project to work on, this is a great place to start. Ask your band friends if they’re looking to record any new material – if they are – tell them you’d like to produce their upcoming record. Working with friends is generally a great way to start, because you already have a good rapport with one another. This will make for a lax recording environment, and hopefully ensure smooth sessions. If they aren’t interested in recording at the moment, ask them if they know of anyone in the market and have them put in the good word for you. This is a huge word of mouth business, and the word of one band can go a long way. Be good to your friends and your clients, and they will be good to you.
Another technique that works (but I don’t generally recommend) is going to live shows. First I’ll go into the technique, then I’ll go into the reasons I wouldn’t use this as your go to. Talking to a prospective client one on one is an amazing technique that really can go a long way. Face to face marketing is a proven sales technique after all. They know that you’re genuinely interested because you are at their show – seeing them live! Nothing pleases a band more than hearing praise after they just put on a killer set. You can catch them at the perfect time, they’ll be on cloud 9, and listen to everything you have to say. Make sure you bring a few business cards along so you have something to leave behind.
Now, the reasons I don’t fully suggest this tactic is four-fold.
1) Bands can be temperamental after a bad show. If they had an off night and the crowd wasn’t responding appropriately, the band may be sour. You don’t want to catch them in a bad mood, because this will be your one and only opportunity to make an impression. If you make it under poor circumstances, I guarantee you won’t land the band.
2) They won’t feel special if they see you talking to every band. If you’re at a venue, you want to make it worth your while. But you also don’t want to seem desperate. If you’re talking to every single band that played a set, the others who played will take notice. If the main attraction sees you talking to the opening act (who they happen to think are a bunch of jabronis) well, guess what. You’re a jabroni by association. Not to mention the fact that the opening act will feel betrayed when they realize you’ve been talking to the enemy.
3) You don’t have home field advantage. Being in an uncontrolled environment like a bar or club can really work against you. The noise, lighting, and even mood can contribute negatively to a conversation. You’re better off talking on your own terms, whether it be via phone call, or in your own studio.
4) You can find more bands in a fraction of the time by searching online. In 3 hours at the club, you may see 5 bands play. If you’ve never heard of the bands, you’re just hoping for the best in terms of their talent level and playing style. If there’s nothing you dig, then the whole night was a bust. You easily could’ve sifted through 30 bands in those 3 hours, from the comfort of your own couch. Which leads us to our next technique…
Searching for bands online is probably the greatest technique for landing a band. There are so many different outlets you can use, and you can do it on your own time, at your own pace. You can check out Facebook, ReverbNation, Soundcloud, PureVolume, Bandcamp, and so many other sites. Now, techniques for finding the bands and messaging them are going to differ according to different factors. (I’ll cover this in next weeks article.) Once you find a band you’re really interested in collaborating with, you’ll want to shoot them an inquiry message. Feel free to write them your own personal note, and of course, I’ll be covering how to do this in this series, so please incorporate that as well.
I hope these techniques have helped introduce you to the idea of finding your own clientele. I’ll be going more in depth as these articles go on, so please stick with me. I’ll be going over online techniques for finding bands through different websites, how to write the perfect message, how to respond to interested bands, bringing the right band into your studio, and the up and down factors of working with potential leads.