Posts Tagged ‘how to be awesome’

Sorry for the lack of bloggage last week, I was off in sunny Wales with my 1 year old nephew, enjoying sun, sea, sand and an almost complete lack of internet connection! It was a lovely bit of time off which was much needed. Some top things have occurred while I have been away, chiefly among them for me the fact that those lovely, lovely peeps over at York Music Guide wrote a fabulous review of Tales From the Undertow, thus making my entire week 🙂 Additionally, when I arrived home, our house had not been swamped with raw sewage in the rainstorms. Many reasons to be grateful this week!

Sunny Wales :)

Sunny Wales 🙂

Anyway. This week’s post.

I spend a lot of time reading and writing about what artists should do to present a professional image, so for a change, I thought I’d look at what people putting on music events should (and shouldn’t!) be doing.

1) Communicate clearly with the artist

It’s not rocket science, this, but it makes the whole thing go much more smoothly. I get very twitchy when I’m approached to do a gig, I agree to do it, and then radio silence ensues. Ideally contact your artist 2-3 weeks before the gig to agree sound check times and requirements, and then again a week before to confirm everything.

2) Do what you agree/offer to do

If you say: “hey, come do this charity gig – I can’t afford to pay you, but there’s free drinks /food/promotion/a shout-out on social media about how awesome you are in it for you” then DO IT. Not doing it is a slap in the face for the artist who has given you their time and energy. If you can’t offer anything, that’s fine too, but don’t offer and then back down. That’s just bad manners.

3) Where possible, pay!

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been approached with: “There’s this night I’m putting on which I think you’d be great for – we’ve got no budget but it would be great practice/experience/exposure..” If you have no budget, get a budget. Then get acts you want and pay them. If you don’t think I’m worth paying, then don’t ask me to play at your venue. I work very hard to write and rehearse my material, and I don’t need to “practice” in front of an audience just so you can claim to be putting on some music.

The exception to this is charity events. If you are organising a fundraiser, then sure, I’ll come play. But see point 2 above. If you offer any perks to people giving their time to help you out, see them through. Don’t just disappear and forget. That pretty much guarantees that next time you need a couple of acts for your fundraiser, we’ll already have plans.

4) Spell the artist’s name correctly

I’ve had a wee rant about this before. It’s pretty appalling how often venues can’t get it right, even after communicating with me by email or on facebook, where the correct spelling of my name is easy to see. Also under this banner of shame fall people who link to my personal facebook profile, instead of my musician page, or who don’t use the contact information I give them for promotion. It all comes back to clear communication. If you aren’t sure how an artist would like to be represented, ASK them. If you want material for promotion, ask for a press pack. I have one and depressingly I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been asked for it. But it has everything you could possibly desire for promotion in it.

5) Share promotion with the artist

So you’ve organised an event and you’ve set up a Facebook event and you have some posters, great! But you aren’t the only person with a vested interest in getting bums on seats. The artists don’t want to play to an empty room either. Yet time after time I have to chase promoters/venues for event links, poster images, running orders.. share the promotion. As soon as the event link is up and running, get it to your artists, and if it’s a facebook event, set it so they can invite people too. Send out poster images so that they can print a few off and display them at work or college. In short, make promotion a collaborative effort. A friend of mine does ticketed gigs and sends a few to each artist to sell. This provides extra incentives for the artist to get people through the door, but it also shows that the organiser cares about getting an audience together. It’s hard to feel good about poorly promoted events, but if everyone is invested, the event is much more likely to be a success.

6) Have the appropriate equipment

This comes back to point the first, about communication. It’s understandable that some venues simply won’t have everything. I played at a cheese shop and a florists last year, both of which, unsurprisingly, were effectively “unplugged” gigs. But I knew in advance so it was fine. But pub venues especially: if you haven’t got a PA, or microphones, or whatever, either let artists know before you book them, or get some equipment, especially if you are routinely planning to put on live music events.

There you have it. Putting a night on depends on the venue, promoter and artists getting it right. We need to work together for the best event possible. Following these tips will help keep your artists on board for gig after gig.

I shall leave you with the following: Here is a track from Tales from the Undertow. If it whets your appetite, please consider popping across to Bandcamp to acquire yourself a copy of the EP 🙂 And then tell your friends how awesome it is!


Have a great week!

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Please indulge me, dear reader, in writing about a personal bugbear of mine in this installment. It is this.

My name is not “Casey”.

Nor is it “Cassie”, “Cassey”, “Kacey” or “Katy”.

My name is Casee Wilson. My website is http://www.caseewilson.co.uk.

You may think I am having some trouble with my own personal identity. And it’s true, after a couple of gins it’s entirely possible I might get confused. My point here, however, is that other people, without the aid of gin or any other mind altering substances at all, seem to be completely unable to present my name correctly on promotional posters, websites, or flyers for events that they have invited me to play at.

In the last 24-36 months, I can count on one hand the number of events for which my name appeared correctly on the promotional material, and those were the events *I* organised.

The problem is that this is my brand. My artist name is what brands my website, my blog, my CDs, my facebook page, my soundcloud profile. It needs to be consistent, so that people start to recognise it. Pubs selling Pepsi would be sued, rightly, if they had signs for “Pepsee” or “Popsi” on the drink dispensors, so why should it be different for a musician? The same consideration needs to be taken.

Here’s why you, as the promoter/events organiser, need to be sure you are spelling the artists names correctly.

1) It makes them feel valued. 

When you don’t spell an artists’ name correctly on promotional materials, it makes them feel that you don’t care about them. You didn’t care enough to take the time to check their website, or ask them how their name is spelled. This is not hard information to find, a simple email or tweet: “Is this how you spell your name?” or “Is this how you want to be known?” A matter of moments. And if you can’t be bothered to spend those moments, why should the artist feel you give a damn about them? They start to feel like they’re just filling a space in your night and that’s all they are to you.

2) It sets back their promotion.

As I said above, it’s all about branding and repetition of seeing that name/brand. But if I’m “Casee Wilson” at one gig and “Casee Robertson-Smythe” at another gig, and “Katey Willson” at yet another, my branding is shot to hell. There’s a reason artists have websites and web presences, we’re trying to build a brand. Please don’t destroy all the work we do.

3) It confuses fans.

If an artists’ branding is shot to hell, so is their identity in the eyes of the fans. Market research has shown time and time again the the best way to attract fans, music sales and gig attendances is to be consistent, again and again. Lack of consistency in how we’re presented by a promoter/organiser destroys the relationship we’re building with potential fans, who almost certainly don’t know us well enough to know that our parents are ex-hippies and gave us names without thinking about whether anyone else in the world would spell them correctly. As a promoter, it is your responsibility to help us continue to present a consistent message about who we are.

4) It makes a mockery of finding our websites after the event.

My partner, who is also my web master, has actually designed my website so that any variant on the correct spelling of my name will actually go to my site. But I’m lucky. I have someone with the skill and know-how to make that happen. Many people don’t. Many people are using very basic, self-maintained sites, and rely on people entering the website name correctly. Punters after a gig may only have the poster or facebook event to look back on to find the spelling. Make sure it’s right. That way you’re helping grass roots artists to be found and followed up by the people who enjoyed seeing them play at your event. In short, in a seemingly tiny way, you are helping someone else’s career. Great for karma! Much better than:

4) It makes you look like a douche.

It really really does. Promoters have an unfortunate reputation for being top class a***holes. Don’t add to it. Be different. Appearing professional should be your watchword at all times, otherwise artists will stop wanting to work with you. A good promoter/organiser pays attention to the details, because that’s where the devil is.

In short, an artist’s name is important. To them, to their fans. Get it right. It’s not hard and it will allow you to stand out as a professional, instead of as a rank amateur who doesn’t care.

I leave you with a few thoughts from Mr Loudon Wainwright III, “They Spelled My Name Wrong Again”…..

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