November 28, 2018
We have been working hard to create goals for 2019, and our keyboardist and manager, Anna, wrote a blog about our plans, along with some helpful marketing and strategy tips!
I’m passionate about music strategy, from recording and releasing new music to planning shows and making budgets. Before managing Chloe & the Steel Strings, I had little idea as to how much planning goes into creating a sustainable music career, and I’m still learning every day. I wanted to take some time to highlight our goals as a band for 2019, and provide a few helpful music resources for fellow musicians and managers.
Releasing More Original Music
When Chloe started recording her first acoustic album we had no plan for when to release the album, or how to market it. Over the course of this year, however, we have done what seems like constant research to find the best information on how to release and market a new song.
I found an amazing resource for release strategy, thanks to Amber Horsburgh and her ‘Bases Get Aces’ music marketing checklist. Her spreadsheet is broken up by time-frame, from 3 months out all the way up to the release day, and highlights key sales and marketing tasks to follow along the way. Though this checklist is a bit more detailed than what your small band manager might need, it’s interesting to see how a label would utilize their teams to create a large-scale marketing campaign.
For Chloe & the Steel Strings, we are planning on releasing a new single in early January 2019, and another in March 2019, before we release our second album next summer. We’re excited to continue using these resources to help our music reach as many people as possible!
Purchasing a Touring Vehicle
We’re in the process of booking shows and festivals out of state for Summer 2019… and you know what that means: packing up all of our gear and 5 people into my Volvo station wagon! Just kidding.
We recognize that within the next 6 months we’ll need a more efficient and safe way to travel to shows. Because of this, we’ve been raising money for a touring vehicle, and are excited to have reached the $1,000 mark! We have been using tip money from shows, proceeds from all merch sales, income from busking, and donations to our Go Fund Me campaign to work toward our ultimate goal of $10,000.
If you would like to donate, please check out the link above to learn how you can earn free merch with your donation!
Booking Smarter Shows
When we first started playing live, we would sometimes play 7 shows a week, and some shows were more rewarding than others.
It wasn’t until I read musician and music strategist Ari Herstand’s book How to Make It in The New Music Business, that I learned how to book smarter shows. In his book, Ari discusses how there are 3 motivations for booking a show: Payment, Career Building, and Enjoyment. He asks his readers to rate a potential show on a scale of 30 points, 10 for each motivation type, to judge how beneficial a show will be, in what he calls the “Perfect 30 Test.” According to Ari, a show shouldn’t be booked unless it meets at least 15 points on the scale.
For example, playing a small original music venue may be 4 points on a Payment scale, 6 points on a Career Building scale, and 9 points on an Enjoyment scale. Combined, that show earns 19 points, and therefore is worthwhile to book.
In the past few months I have been applying this knowledge to Chloe & the Steel Strings, and we are now playing an average of 3 shows per week, and ones that are much more rewarding monetarily, personally, and professionally.
Enjoying the Process
The transition from playing music for fun to playing for money can be tough. What was once an emotional outlet and hobby turns into a job; it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by stress and the pressures of wanting to see quick success.
When we feel overwhelmed, Chloe and I remind ourselves that we started Chloe & the Steel Strings for fun, and that we play our best when we’re on stage smiling and enjoying ourselves. When we stop worrying about things we can’t change, and start focusing on the “why” behind our music (thanks Simon Sinek), we are the happiest and most successful versions of ourselves.
We feel blessed to be doing what we love, and honored that our musical passion can bring joy to others. If you’d like to keep up with Chloe & the Steel Strings on our journey this upcoming year, we’d love for you to join our mailing list, follow us on social media, and check out our Spotify to listen to our new song, Wouldn’t Wish on Anyone, out now through all major distributors.