When a musician reaches a significant level of success, he may find he needs a personal manager, a business manager, a tour manager, a publicist, publisher, lawyer and many other people to help promote his career. Before that level of achievement is reached, however, the musician needs to learn how to build his own career. A person can learn a lot of this in school, but there’s no substitute for personal and practical experience, that is, for doing it yourself.
I asked Nate Roberts, a co-owner of the very innovative local music production company, LiveLIVE, how a band could stand out enough to catch his attention. Since three of the four co-owners of LiveLIVE are State University College at Oneonta music industry graduates, I had special interest in hearing Nate’s advice to young musicians.
What are the characteristics of a band you hire or invite to perform in your venues?
When I book a band I’ve never seen, what’s most important is whether they sound good live. They can send me some tracks that sound great, produced and mastered, but if they don’t have any clips on YouTube showing them bringing the house down, I’m probably going to pass.
It often comes down to energy and stage presence. Did everyone at the show have a good time? Do I think this audience is going to tell all their friends about this show and bring them next time?
Do you have advice about musicians starting their own business?
I would say to start small, specialize, then expand. Pick one aspect, like booking. Master it, then move on to booking other bands, maybe start managing one band until you’re really good at that. Then expand on that and so on.
What top five pieces of advice do you have for bands that want to grow in their success?