I try my best to help other musicians through these blog posts. Everything I write about is either current common practice and / or stuff I have tested out my self. So who am I to give you advice? Do I have any number one hits? No. Do I have massive record label backing me? No. And if those two things are what you are after, I might not be able to help you.
But what I do have is nearly Twenty years of experience at the grass root music marketing. I know how to build a following in a niche markets. I have built a touring circuit out of scratch. I learned to build websites back in 1998, as the band I was in at the time did not have the money to pay for one and since then have gone to design and manage all the websites of every band I ever played with. I know how to use social media sites in an efficient way. I know where to spend money on your career and where not. I learned how to record music, again out of necessity, but the fact that I have passion for it helped a lot. I have played thousands of shows, from a crappy pub gig to a festival audiences of several thousands and I still do all the time. I would consider my self successful at what I do.
But I also am not scared to share my mistakes and blunders. Music business can be one of the most egotistic, hype filled industries out there. Everybody like to think they are bigger than they are, everybody like to make you believe they are bigger than they are. I have played to a nearly empty venues in the past, I know what’s it like. And I have no desire to convince the world how “great” it was. I have learned from the experience, how not to end up in that situation anymore. And I am willing to speak the truth about these experiences.
I still fail, regularly. But I do know that most people I work with do have respect for me. This is not out of some hype I built, but from their personal experience working with me. Whether its fellow musicians, bar owners, booking agents or festival organisers, they know what they get when dealing with me. They know I take pride in what I do, they know I never look for any hassle and if I can, I go out of my way to help them. They have respect for me, because I earned it over and over again. Not because I demand it.
What really bugs me from time to time is seeing people demand respect, on a professional level, when they have not earned it. Don’t tell me you have a great experience in this and that, if you have nothing to show for it. Don’t tell me you are the best sound engineer around if you have no recordings to prove it. Don’t tell me your band is the best live act, if you only have done hand full of shows six months ago. Don’t tell me you are as good as the rest, but because you refused to play “the game” in the industry, you never made it. The reason that the “others” did figure out how to play “the game” is one of the reasons they are better than you.
It is not what you say or think you can do that defines you. It is what you do that defines you. Earn respect, don’t expect it.
The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get EIGHT of his songs for free go HERE