Step lights on the stairway to heaven

Photo illo by Korbl Klimecki

Alisha Kirby and Alisha Kirby

There’s no such thing as six degrees of separation within the music community anymore. At this point, everyone knows someone who is currently, was or is trying to be in a band.

Here are a couple of tips that nobody seems to give upcoming local musicians that can make or break their budding career:

Don’t play shows every week

This seems counterintuitive. You want to get your name out there and share your music with the world, which is great. But guess what? Even your best friend doesn’t have the time or money to see you play Marilyn’s on K or Luna’s Cafe five times a month with a $5 cover charge.

“I wouldn’t recommend playing more than twice a month, even to a new band,” said Brett Gulbrandson, former ARC student and founder of Aorta Music & Management. “I personally don’t recommend playing more than once a month. Bands need to keep their music something that is desired. It’s basic supply and demand.”

The more you play, the more people can think they can just put off seeing you until next weekend, or the weekend after that, until a pattern forms where you’re left explaining another small turn out to the promoter.

Find a middle ground with social media

Somewhere between spamming your fans and neglecting them altogether is social media nirvana. You always want to provide some sort content, be it videos, tour updates or new song releases, but it’s important to balance it out.

Don’t be that band that retweets every tweet where someone compliments you. You know who sees that retweet? The people who already like you enough to follow you. You’re tweeting to the choir.

But don’t abandon your pages just because you don’t have anything new to share. We as consumers have the attention span of a common flea, which unfortunately means you’ll be quickly forgotten if we don’t see or hear from you for more than a week or two.

“No one wants to see ‘check out our music’ as a status update every day,” said Gulbrandson. “Figure out reasons for fans to keep coming back to your page. (But) true fans are built from face to face time with your band. Hit the streets and talk to people, spread the word and make a connection with them. Social media should only be part of a band’s promoting.”

In a perfect world, it’s your music that will define your career. But the world isn’t perfect, and these things will impact how people see you. If you can work out the kinks in performing and social media it will help you out in the long run.