Your Live Show Can Keep Making You Money Long After You Leave Town

A live show is the culmination of years of practice, grind, networking, and connecting with fans. It’s… a big deal. Now imagine posting photos from every show on your website. Photos of playing, with fans, load in, sound check. Then post the link on all your socials.

Remember – your website can have links to… your store. Where you have things for sale.

Imagine driving 1000+ people to your site every night, and then selling a few shirts. Or a record or two?

You do realize all the websites that cover shows are making money off you, right? They get on social media, “hey, check out our photos of so and so from last nights show in NYC!” They drive traffic to their website where they have banner ads, and prominent links to their Patreon site.

That could be you. You could be getting those eyeballs, turning casual listeners into rabid fans. Rabid fans buy merch.

The “content” you’re making sits on your socials. Yes, it looks pretty, but it could be working for you long after you leave the 3rd stop on your tour. Sell $100 per night through your website over 20 nights, thats $2000. Instead of just getting 2000 likes.

And here’s the thing – you don’t even have to do this yourself.

Since you’ll still be posting your thoughts and photos and all that to socials, you could have someone build those posts every night, without a lot of input. Let them curate the band’s photos, and maybe some social media posts from those in attendance.

Post the link on socials the next day, and drive a few hundred people to your site.

Hire someone (like me) to manage and build that. Make some money. Or, fuck, take this idea and do it yourself!

Just stop shoveling all of your life work onto social media for the likes, and the engagement, thinking the algorithm will magically make you go viral and somehow you’ll sell a shirt.

Note: this post started off as an off the cuff Twitter rant (here), which I then copied and pasted into WordPress. This post can now be updated, linked to, and read for years to come. Turn your social media posts into evergreen bits of magic on your own site!

We Got The Moves

Summer is winding down, but this has become my summer anthem.

Usually I’m not a fan of the “harsh vocals” switching the “clean vocals” and all that stuff that “the kids” seem to like so much, but this just works for me. I mean, the visuals do it, too. Such attention to vibe and style and wit and sass. I love it so much.

You Can Hit 399

Via @tankcrimes

Post your Bandcamp link maybe more than once during the lead up to the release of your album. Selling 400 is possible!

But what do a lot of bands post?

“Spotify rates are awful,” and also, “listen to our new single on Spotify.”

Neither message will help you sell a fucking album.

I absolutely don’t believe in “no one buys albums” anymore. People are buying albums. They just ain’t buying your album.

1. Don’t ask, don’t get. If you don’t include a link and make it stupid simple to order, you’re not gonna make the sale.

2. Don’t treat it like a commodity. You’re not just selling MP3 files and vinyl records.

3. Supply / demand. There’s a lot of copy cat, generic bands out there. What are YOU doing to set yourself apart?

4. Are you “engaging” your fans? You’re not Radiohead. Take a minute and reply to some of the people who already buy your music and come to your shows. Unpaid interns can hit the Retweet button, which makes it worthless. Take a minute and reply and make someone’s day.

Just my thoughts, as no one has all the answers, or else they’d be a zillionaire. But give yourself a chance: make it as easy as possible for fans to support you.

Talk Dirty To Me

Music fans get band names as tattoos.
Then bands / artists get on social media, and woo you with sexy lines like, “OUR DIGITAL ALBUMS ARE 50% OFF THIS WEEKEND.”

Come on. You’re not selling MP3 files. You’re not selling records. You’re selling the soundtrack to a generation.

People FUCK and make babies to albums. To music. They listen to your track at the gym for inspiration. It’s the soundtrack to summer. Winter. Music is fucking LIFE.

Is that too lofty? Too grand?

Some kids follow bands on tours. Night after night. Some adults do it, too.

So as a band, with all those drops of blood, sweats and tears, miles on the road, sleeping on floors, working horrible jobs to afford an amp, and you’re pick up line is, “BE SURE TO FOLLOW ON SPOTIFY.”

I know not all messaging can be poetic and grand. Sometimes you have to formally announce something. 100% I get it.

But come on! Coke commercials are just selling sugar water. Your music has the ability to capture hearts, and it’s a lot more interesting than a soft drink.

WEEKLY LOOP for SEPTEMBER 12, 2021

Everything is a loop, it seems. We keep making the same mistakes, the same choices, the same levels of misery. Happy Sunday!

https://www.instagram.com/p/CTlLe7iDHbv/

LIKES

  • “I just cannot accept that my dad’s life or anyone else’s is a fair price to pay for our “back to normal,” @Amber_Coffman
  • “9/11 hits different riding up on 700k deaths no one cares about,” @Mollyissilly
https://www.instagram.com/p/CTplApgIznu/

WORK LIKES

  • “Now when I feel overwhelmed by work I take 2 deep breaths and say, “this is what you dreamed of. That’s what this work is for. And if this specific job isn’t it, we won’t say yes to this again,” @aundrelarrow
  • “The next big recruiting platform in tech is the 32 hour work week,” @gabe_g2i
https://www.instagram.com/p/CSt-iGELsCY

MUSIC LIKES

  • “*wakes up, puts on old school metal tee* man I love this band. wonder if their singer thinks the Moderna vaccine is a plot to inject microcomputers into the bloodstream,” @mountain_goats
  • “The label I work at had ITS BUSIEST YEAR EVER in 2020 and that momentum has carried,” @turnbullet666
  • “If you’re an artist, you will be an artist no matter what. I don’t think you have a choice,” Jasamine White-Gluz via @HandDrawnDrac
  • “When you focus on building your own shit, all the doors that were once closed start opening organically,” @Breezyb215
  • “You’d be surprised how many people are willing to pay $10 for an album when given the opportunity,” @BigSto

I moved Metal Bandcamp Gift Club back to it’s old school, Yahoo style layout. If you have a birthday and love giving gifts (and sometimes getting gifts), you should check it out.

stopped using Whoop after just five months. There was nothing wrong with it, but my head needs less numbers and things to feel guilty about these days.

May your week be filled with good food, and cool evenings on porches.

Had a Good Time with Whoop

Back in June I said Whoop changed my life, but lately I’ve fallen out of love.

It’s still a great device. A great tool. It’s helped me improve my sleep habits, and the importance of recovery. I love all that. It got me back on track with running.

Lately, though, it just doesn’t bring me any joy. It’s not really adding anything, and at $30/mo, that’s not good math.

My buddy Dino put it best – if it helped you create some good habits, it was worth it. He’s right.

I had a run coach once. That wasn’t forever. And neither is Whoop, I guess. That’s okay.

I run because of skies like the one above. I run to blow off steam, to work out some of the stress of life, and work, and everything else.

Adding a Garmin watch, and the Whoop… oh wait, gotta make sure they’re both charged. Wait, this one is saying HR is way up, this one is stuck at 80bpm. What?

Yeah.

I just want my running to slow and low, without adding more stress to my day. COVID has really crossed off a lot of the big races and events that I’d do this fall. I’m going rouge, going solo, keeping to myself, and running with some good people, that’s about it.

A season for all things. I’ll still recommend the Whoop to anyone who asks. It’s just not for me anymore.

The Social Media Party Sucks

I’ve been trying to nail down “community” with Metal Bandcamp Gift Club for a while, hoping to get back to the glory days of Twitter back in 2016.

I tried out Circle, but at $40/mo that was a steep learning curve. It’s a GREAT product, but I’m not looking to monetize and charge our audience for access.

So we started using Discord a bit, and it’s been nice to start having some conversations without spending more time on a social media network.

As you can see above, I’ve been linking notable albums that came out each day, however many years ago, just as a jumping off point for conversations (see, ‘We Love Anniversaries‘ for more on that). Maybe it leads to someone checking out an old album for the first time. Or they buy an album from three years ago.

I’m working with my friend Jocelyn and her Creative Guts community. There’s a Discord, with some conversations going on. It’s already led to an actual video call with something, and that’s more than Twitter in recent years, for me at least.

It just feels like with socials, you’re on a merry go round, and there’s a million things going on around you the whole time. Or a food court. So many choices.

But with a Discord, or a website, or an email newsletter, when you read that thing, that’s it, you’re reading that thing, and I believe there’s value in that right now.

Getting back to these conversations that aren’t in the public space. Putting the interesting stories, helpful articles, links to new releases – bringing them to the community first, rather than social media.

That’s how social media blew up. Everyone brought their best items to the party, so everyone kept showing up at the party.

Lately, though, that party sucks.

We Love Anniversaries

So you didn’t release a seminal record 20 years ago like Converge did with ‘Jane Doe,’ huh?

Notice all the articles written about that? All the buzzzzz from people chiming in on social media, expressing how time flies, and all that?

People love anniversaries. People remember bad anniversaries (deaths, divorce, etc). For whatever reasons our brains are wired to appreciate them a bit more, which is why they do so well on social media.

“Hey! This album turned 10 years old today!”
“Today is when we started our first European tour!”
“Our drummer has a birthday today!”

It’s free and easy, and it doesn’t feel like click bait because it’s just 100% true. Putting out an album five years ago, or releasing a video during a pandemic – that’s hard.

https://allfather1.bandcamp.com/album/century-sessions-vol-1

So document all your big moments – those first out of state shows, the first demo, the first print review, your singers birthday, the first guitar you bought (or the most recent one). I mean, be cool about it – don’t go overboard, but you can use this to mix things up a bit.

Bonus idea: write a post about the notable anniversary on your site. Write a paragraph about that first album, that first show, whatever. And of course, be sure to include photos, video, and a bit of text. Get everyone from the band to write a little bit. Hell, do a Zoom call or a podcast, and put that in there.

Then, when you post the anniversary to social media, include a link back to this new post!

Magazines and websites write big posts like this because they work. I mean, it helps if you’re Converge or Slipknot, sure. But start where you are – neither of those bands became who they are overnight. They did it one fan at a time, and that’s exactly what this helps with.

Connect In Ways The Giants Can’t

I wrote this back in 2014, in my Novelty & Nonsense email newsletter:


There are “social media tips” everywhere. Most will tell you to automate, schedule, blast, post every hour – every 30 minutes! Post more Instagram photos, images on Facebook, special deals every morning on Twitter. Day and night. Mind your time zones. Fill those schedules. Program your entire week. 

Let’s think about analog and digital for a moment. Slow vs fast.

:: There are Keurig coffee machines, and people who wait five minutes for pour-over coffee.

:: There are burgers you order from your car, and there are sustainable restaurants with hour-long waits. 

:: Stream music on your smart phone, or flip over a record when Side A is done.

One is not better than the other. Some people choose one, some people choose the other.

What do you choose? What does your audience choose?

:: The person who enjoys fashion and style may likely want to be inspired, not be reminded daily of your sale. Inspire, don’t annoy.

:: The person who enjoys fine coffee can only “like” so many photos of latte art per day. Tell great stories, stop dumbing it down.

:: A person that buys $22 magazines (like Offscreen Magazine) may not have need your 13 updates per day.

This flies in the face of the, “we finally reached 10,000 likes!” boasting, but stop imitating the corporate brands with your online marketing. That’s not you. You have the ability to connect with your audience in ways the faceless giants can’t afford.


We keep hearing about “being authentic,” even way back in 2014, and it’s even more true today. You don’t need to pretend to be something you’re not.

Don’t “fake it till you make it.” What if that fake-ness attracts a fanbase that you despise? Or you make work you’re not proud of. Do you think it’s going to be easy after five or ten years to suddenly change course?

Be who you are – there are thousands of people out there waiting to discover you.