Practical tips for musicians during the COVID19 Shutdown

Some practical tips to keep the creative juices flowing and fires burning

Let's get this out of the way now - the ability to earn money has just gone *poof* for most musicians for the coming months. There's nothing we can do about it so we might as well accept it and clear our minds so that we can move on.

But, while the entire country is shut down, there's no reason for a career musician to stop cold. In fact, this is the PERFECT time to take stock, relax, and start preparing for when the wheels are able to start turning again. It won't last forever (as long as people learn to fucking social distance!), so how can we best use our time.

1. What other jobs can you do?

I'm not going to pretend that there are musical jobs out there at all right now. If you're thinking about online lessons, remember that there will be 1000 other people out there doing the same thing. Ideally, we'd like to keep some money coming in so, if you're so inclined, try and get some work helping the fabric of society at the moment as delivery drivers or anything else like that which has suddenly become the most important job to keep society going! It doesn't have to be full time - or every day - see what's around so keep a little cash coming in if you need it.

2. How can you improve your product?

If you're a solo artist or a band, or wanting to build yourself up as a solo artist or a band, now's the perfect time to sit down and plan it all out.

Maybe you need to revamp your website, or you need a website built? Maybe you need to re-record some new demo material? Where-as I'd normally be advocating recording in a facility, room or theatre somewhere - see how great you can make a space in your house. Have your family help you to film it.

How about bringing some new tracks into your repertoire? It's a great time to learn new stuff, or maybe revamp your backing track library?

If you can do all of this yourself - awesome. If you can't, hit me up - I can do you a professional website and edit your footage into something awesome. Need some help with it - speak to me.

3. Write write write

If you're a solo artist/band producing your own material - sit down and write. We're always so consumed by the speed of modern life and the need to earn so, suddenly, when we have nothing else pulling us away from writing - let's write.

4. Record your EP.

Just because the studios are shutting down, doesn't mean that you can't record. Studios like White Room are set up for mobile recording. In fact, I've written lessons about it for Degree and BTEC students! With Cloud Collaboration built into Pro Tools, or just simply using Skype to communicate, it's just as easy to maintain a producer/artist relationship when you're on 2 sides of the computer screen as it is when we're in the room together. It might just take a tad longer while the assets are transferred between us!

5. Interact with your fanbase.

Whether you're a band or an originals band, keep the interactions going with your fanbase. Everyone will need some distractions over the coming months so keep active on your social media and properly interact with people. It's only going to 'boost' your reach and build your fanbase. Host acoustic performances, AMAs, discussions - or film yourself writing or recording. Keep the content flowing and use the time to actually interact with your followers. As I said, it'll only help to build your profile.

6. Patreon Performances.

If you have the means to properly broadcast a performance "gig", and you have a significant following, go for it. You might be one of the only musicians in society at the moment capable of earning money from your work. If you've got a good fan base that would want to see you play, perform over a social media or video platform, putting access behind a patreon or website paywall. You don't have the charge a fortune - a couple of quid maybe? Who know - if you get 60 people paying you £2 for a performance, that's £120 for your gig! Probably more than you've ever made at a promotor ' come and play for exposure' show!!

7. Improve your marketing and marketing skills

Being a musical product requires a lot of marketing. As I said before - look hard at your web presence and see where you can improve. It might be that you only have a Facebook page to advertise yourself. Businesses need websites, there's no doubt. A lot of musicians ignore this.

Spend some time taking a marketing course online too. You'll likely find a few and maybe even Facebook's marketing courses.

If you need some tips- hit me up.

8. Learn some new skills or brush up on skills

Being a musician is very much about being multi-skilled these days. Brush up on instruments you don't play often, or learn about recording.
There are plenty of people out there looking to make a little money (just like you!). Put yourselves in their shoes and, if it's affordable, take a lesson or two in something new.

9. For the Producers and Engineers

Now's the time to refresh your portfolio or refresh your sales portals. Get to some mixes you've been meaning to and give your public profile a bit of a polish. Spend some time practicing some new skills - Mid/Side processing is always the one people ask about.

10. Finally - spend some time with your family and friends (even if it's vid-chatting).

We're always too busy to see each other and hang out. Right now, we're not.
Take advantage of it. Play some games together (RK1 ChimeraDK if you wanted to join me on Xbox Live!), binge watch some shows or movies together.

It might not be an exhaustive list of money making tips, but it's key to remember that we won't be in this forever. You have 12, or so, weeks of isolation ahead of you so use it wisely. Want some ideas? Hit me up.

I'm unapologetic in the fact that I would very much like a little work to do over the next few weeks. If any of my services will be useful, please do get in touch. My life for the past 25 years has been music, making music, performing music, teaching music, building bands, marketing and music business.

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