Bernard's Hot Tips for the Biz


 

 

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Music Connection Feature Story

 
HOT TIPS
   
In the music business you often hear the phrase, ďYouíve got to pay your dues.Ē While that may be true (to a certain extent), it doesnít have to be painful, or last a long time. There are many ways to achieve your goals; and, with ďBernardís Hot TipsĒ youíll find shortcuts and reality checks that will make your ďduesĒ go down easier.   

 

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Inside A&R

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- A&R speak - What are they really saying?

- Ten A&R Dont's

- Twenty-five Things A&R Wants You to Know

TEN A&R DONíTS

 

1. HOMEWORK

DO NOT pitch your music to every A&R rep in the universe. Youíll waste time and money. Each rep tends to deal with specific styles of music and work with certain genres. Learn what they like Ė read liner notes, research industry articles or, simply, call their office and ask.

 

2. NETWORKING

DO NOT hound A&R. Donít cop an attitude if they donít respond. Theyíre one of the busiest workers in the biz, and youíre not their priority - yet. Instead, establish relationships that are relevant to your career. A&R prefer dealing with people they know, trust and like.

 

3. PHONE CALLS & E-MAILS

DO NOT send anything without calling first. But, donít call too often, or take 20 minutes to tell them how great you are. Donít be rude to their staff - they can be your best friends. If A&R wants to contact you, they will.

 

4. PROMO KITS

DO NOT send volumes of paper and expect anyone to read it. Keep it simple. Remember, itís about the music. A CD, photo, and one sheet of paper with a brief bio, media quotes, accomplishments and itinerary (tours & shows) is sufficient. If A&R want more, theyíll ask for it.

 

5. CONTACT INFO

DO NOT forget your contact information. Put it on EVERYTHING. Items get separated. Donít just note your Website - include your phone and e-mail as well.

 

6. PET PEEVES

DO NOT wrap your package so that only a blowtorch will open it. Donít try to be too clever or cute. Unusual packages might get attention, but generally indicate desperation (and lack of quality). Donít leave the shrink-wrap on your CD. NEVER send food. Donít lie about your age Ė theyíll find out. Donít just list songs on the CD label, print them on the insert and/or sleeve too.

 

7. DEMOS

DO NOT send a ten-song album and expect A&R to listen to the whole thing. Do NOT ask A&R to listen to songs 3, 6 and 7. They will listen to the first song and, if they like it, the next. So, put your BEST SONG FIRST, and the rest (no more than 3 songs) in order. A&R often listen while driving or doing something else, so your songs better catch their attention - quickly.

 

8. IMAGE

DO NOT send crappy photos. Itís better to send nothing. Donít confuse A&R with an image that conflicts with your music. Image goes beyond appearance. You must project WHO you are as an artist and WHAT your music represents.

 

9. SHOWCASES

DO NOT showcase before youíre ready. Get an objective opinion first (like a review from Music Connection Magazine). A poor live performance could cool down industry interest - no matter how much they like your music.

 

10. DONíT BEG

DO NOT expect a label to save you, make you or break you. Thatís a huge turn-off. A&R are impressed with artists who accomplish things on their own. It shows them youíre a proven and marketable talent that could generate income for their label. Build a story and buzz around your act and youíll get industry attention (and help your career in general). Acts that simply focus on their music, and couldnít care less about a deal, are usually the ones that get the most offers.


 

By: Bernard Baur

 

 

                       

 

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