Starting a band is no easy task. There are so many things to think about – from booking gigs and promoting your music, to writing songs and finding the right musicians. It can be difficult to know where to start, especially if you’re new to the music industry.
In this blog post, we will discuss some of the most common mistakes new bands make when they’re starting out, and how you can avoid them!
Don’t Wait to Record a Demo
Some bands hesitate to put new music until they feel they have enough polished songs. But that can be a mistake! When you’re starting out, three of four songs is plenty to put on a demo. That’s the best way to capitalize on your band’s creative energy as you are absorbing influences and developing your taste. If you wait to put 10 or 12 songs on an EP, you’re going to find some of those songs stale and out of date.
“Focus on three or four songs coming from your latest influences so everything sounds fresh, current, and relatable. Get that out there,” shares an industry insider. “Don’t spend too much time trying to recreate or record songs that will start sounding dated.”
Don’t Be Afraid to Tune out the Noise and Opinions
“Too many people are swayed by everyone else’s input,” our expert shared. “If you feel very strongly about a musical direction or a certain sound, pursue it to your fullest extent.”
Remember, everyone has an opinion. But if you don’t play something you believe in, audiences will see right through it. They won’t connect. “If it’s not genuine, you can’t sell it. Play from your heart. Create what you feel strongly about.”
Don’t Pay Too Much for a Manager or Booking Agent
For new bands coming up, this can be a big pitfall. Managers and booking agents can be sharks looking to make a quick buck. Instead of paying a booking agent, focus on securing as many gigs as you can on your own. That way you can save that money and use it for promotion. Use it for a small band tour to hit clubs, colleges, or small festivals.
“Try to avoid the pay-to-play pitfall of many places,” our expert cautioned. This includes having to pre-pay for tickets for shows, paying for stage time, etc. “That’s just extortion and it’s worth it.”
You can probably do some decent self-promotion on social media and book gigs or even a small road tour on your own without a lot of professional management or oversight.
Plus, when you deal directly with the person booking the shows at the venue, the direct communication can be valuable. You can avoid “he said/she said” situations when it comes to expectations and payment on both sides since you’ll be speaking directly to the source. When you start going through middlemen, that can become convoluted and complicated, resulting in unexpected expenses or other unpleasant surprises.
Don’t Sign Away Your Rights
Our expert had some serious advice for new bands as they start tasting success: “Once people start approaching you with offers, whether indie record labels or major record labels, get representation.”
You need an experienced manager and legal representation who will see the benefits and pitfalls of various directions and companies and will make it their job to protect you. “When you’re young and you start out and someone waves a paper and pen in front of you, those deals aren’t always the best.”
Thus, once the offers start coming in, it’s best to have someone experienced in your corner to handle negotiations and make sure you’re not getting the raw end of a deal.
Some Takeaways on Mistakes New Bands Make
There’s no doubt that starting a new band is hard work. It takes dedication, time, and a lot of energy. But if you’re not careful, you can make some mistakes that will set your band back – or even doom it to failure. Hopefully, by avoiding some of these mistakes above, you’ll be better equipped to navigate your musical career.