Here’s an interesting question that I found in my inbox recently:

“I’m a keyboardist but my vocals are not the greatest. What part of the industry should I be looking to get into? And how?”

This is the kind of question that a LOT of musicians are asking. So it’s important for me to address it.

But what I want to point out about it is the fact that this is fundamentally the wrong question to ask.

First of all, this question is laden with false assumptions. 

If your vocals are not the greatest, that doesn’t automatically disqualify you from doing what you want to do and relegate you to being assigned to a particular part of the industry by someone else.

It may just mean you need more vocal training.

Secondly, I’m not here to tell musicians what they should be. 

That’s not my bag, baby! **cheeky British accent**

I’m here to help you realize your full potential in doing what you WANT to do. That’s where satisfaction and happiness come from.

Let me tell you a story:

I should NOT have been an athlete.

I come from a long line of short, chubby, nerds. And I’m not particularly coordinated. “Clumsy” is pretty accurate.

But after watching Greg Louganis dominate the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, I KNEW I wanted to be a diver.

We didn’t have any youth diving programs in my area so the opportunity didn’t come until I got to high school, where we had a team but no coach.

The older divers taught the younger divers. And we watched the training video “World Class Form” pretty much every day.

Needless to say I didn’t become a world class athlete in high school. I became proficient (at best) on the 1-meter springboard.

Then, when I decided to go to the University of Michigan for college, I wrote the diving coach a letter asking if I could walk on to the team there. 

I had no idea at the time that I was writing to one of the most renowned coaches in the history of the sport. Dick Kimball coached divers in EVERY Olympics between 1958 and when he retired in 2003. Including several gold medalists.

And I definitely wasn’t at a skill level that warranted joining the winningest team in NCAA history (in ANY sport).

But Kimball didn’t care. He only cared that I give it my full effort, and was coachable. So he graciously allowed me to join the team and he treated me just like anyone else.

By the time I graduated, I had not only learned to do the same dives as the Olympians on the 3-meter springboard, I had come to specialize in the 10-meter platform. 

I finished as high as 4th at the Big Ten Conference Championships and as high as 17th at the U.S. National Championships. (I bet you didn’t see THAT coming)

Kimball even told me that turning me into a REAL diver was one of his proudest accomplishments.

Of course none of that would have ever happened if I had asked somebody else which sport I should participate in. They would have probably told me to join the mathletes or the debate team. 

I decided to pursue what I WANTED to do and worked with a great coach who helped me realize my full potential. And I accomplished a lot more than I ever thought was possible.

I realize that’s a pretty long-winded answer as to why I can’t tell you which area of music you should pursue. So I’ll keep the answer to “How?” short and sweet: 

Work with a world-class coach who helps you realize your full potential.

Which is exactly who I am to musicians in the Musicpreneur Apprentice Program.

Are you ready to pursue your dreams?

http://schwillyfamilymusicians.teachable.com/p/musicpreneurapprenticeprogram/

A while back, I went out to see a hard-working Schwilly Family Band at a venue near my house.

They dazzled the crowd with grace and charisma in a way I hadn’t seen before.

They get booked a lot, playing about 300 shows a year.

They had one of the most diverse and interesting merch setups I’ve seen in a long time. ALL homemade stuff. Even the CDs.

They were truly impressive in every way, so I figured they must be making some pretty decent money.

But alas…

As it turned out, they were still struggling to make ends meet and to make sure they had enough gas to make it to the next city.

It only took a short conversation in front of their awesome merch table to get to the bottom of it.

They had implemented the genius idea of DIYing their merch. Really beautiful and creative stuff. And a GREAT way to save on costs.

But then they undid their efforts by WAY underpricing their stuff.

Here’s the deal:

DON’T try to be the “Walmart” of music. They have to move a LOT of volume to make up for their small profit margins. And you’re not ever going to move that kind of volume.

You make premium art, which should be reflected in your pricing.

If you have the time and creativity to make your own merch (or anything else related to your business), that’s great! Use that as an opportunity to lower your costs… NOT your prices.

Otherwise you’re just undercutting other musicians, undervaluing your own work, and reducing the perceived value of music in general.

And worst of all… you’re being your own slave labor!

Put a value on your time. Account for that in your pricing, and pay yourself for your work.

I promise that REAL fans will be happy to pay what your stuff is worth. And those who aren’t, must not be that into you. So there’s no reason to cater to them.

It kind of reminds me of an unsubscribe message I got recently: “Thanks, but I’m trying to save money”.

I didn’t bother to respond to her, since she has opted out of receiving my free advice.

But I’ll happily give that advice to you…

“Saving Money” and “Making Money” are two VERY different goals. But it’s a LOT easier to save money when you’re making money (as opposed to saving it as a way of avoiding spending it).

As Adam Carolla (an actual rich guy who started out poor) says:

“Focus on making dollars, not saving pennies.”
When I was working for “The Man” just to make ends meet and living from paycheck to paycheck, my savings account was full of dust.

But now that I MAKE money and pay myself first by funneling 10% into a secret savings account before I even touch it, I have enough in there to cover a few months worth of expenses if anything goes wrong.

If you want to learn REAL business skills (which are often at odds with conventional wisdom), that’s exactly what I teach in the Musicpreneur Apprentice Program.

If you want to start MAKING money so that you can start SAVING money, the best thing you can do for yourself is invest in an education that will teach you how.

Click Here To Join The Musicpreneur Apprentice Program

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

I’ve got good news and bad news for you.

Which do you want first?

I hope you said “bad news” because that’s what I’m starting with.

It’s a difficult truth that a lot of musicians have a hard time swallowing. But an important part of my job is delivering difficult truth’s and helping musicians move past them.

Here goes, like ripping off a band-aid:

You will never be able to only make music if you want to make a living at it.
I know it sucks to hear that, so let’s get on with the good news:

As soon as you swallow that pill, you’ll be able to start moving towards a profitable AND fulfilling music career.
If you ask anyone in the music in-DUH-stry they’ll most likely tell you that the sky is falling and it’s practically impossible to make money as a musician anymore.

The truth, however, is quite the opposite.

What is becoming impossible is the sustainability of large corporations with huge overhead in the music in-DUH-stry.

All of the non music-makers and middlemen that have been banking on the
“traditional” music in-DUH-stry are having the rugs pulled out from under them and scrambling for the last pennies of a dying business model that’s based on “mass marketing” and “mainstream appeal”.

The REAL truth is that there has never been a better time in the history of music to be a professional musician. Demand is higher than ever, and opportunities abound…

IF (OF COURSE there’s a big fat “IF” attached to it)…

IF you are willing to LEARN HOW TO and DO THE WORK OF building your own entrepreneurial business around your music…

In other words, IF you are ready to become a Musicpreneur.

You still have to make great music. But that’s just the entry point. There is more great music happening right now than ever before.

Contrary to popular belief, that does NOT mean that there is more competition. What that actually leads to is more demand for a greater variety of music.

Think about it. You’re not selling cell phones. People aren’t just going to pick one and then be satisfied for 2 years.

You’re making music. And the digital age means that people can literally (not figuratively) carry around all the music that their hearts desire.

What REAL music superfans WANT is to connect directly with music, and musicians who inspire them, heal them, and give them permission to be themselves. And REAL music superfans are STILL happy to pay for it.

So the only questions that remain are:

~Are you willing to let go of the traditional music industry model and start creating your own rules?

~Are you ready to learn what it takes to build and manage your own business, focusing on creating the music you want to create, and serving a community that loves what you create?

~And are you willing to do the work?

If you answered “yes” to ALL THREE questions, then you’re ready to join the Musicpreneur Apprentice Program. So click here to enroll!

Ever been in a creative rut? It’s something I struggle with regularly. When I’m in a creative funk, nothing feels right. Everything sucks. I feel like I’m beating my head against a wall…and the Muse is mocking me. I begin to wonder, “what if my best work is behind me?”. Fear creeps in. I feel like I’m trapped in a dark pit of…. nothingness. And I hope to God I can climb out.

Maybe for you it’s not that strong. Or maybe it is. But we’ve all been there. There are days when our creativity flows, when the Muse dances along with us, and inspiration is offered up to us like a holiday gift from the Universe. Those days are intoxicating, right?

But then there are days when the well runs dry. Every song lyric falls flat. Every chord progression is lifeless. Nothing feels new. Nothing excites our curiosity or our playfulness. Everything is dull and gray.

In those days, what do you do? How do you grow your creativity? How do you feed and water and nurture it? In my experience, I’ve found three basic starting points that have helped me.

Get outside voices. Innovation is literally everywhere. Steve Jobs once said ‘creativity is just connecting things’. When I need a fresh shot of creativity, I immediately look for outside voices to inject into my soul. I recently asked my FB tribe for suggestions on audiobooks (I like to listen while running, driving, etc.). Fiction. Non-fiction. History. Psychology. Drama. Graphic novels. The response was amazing! (Not only did I receive about 30 widely-varied suggestions while I slept that night, it also gave me a priceless insight into my community…). I grabbed 2 random suggestions (someone in my community actually ‘gifted’ me a book on Audible.) and got started. Sometimes I ask for music suggestions. Sometimes it’s a random TED talk or artist interview on YouTube. And sometimes I ride my bike to our community library and pick a random children’s book. I watch Telemundo TV shows. I buy a coloring book. I do whatever I can do to make my right brain chart new territory. For me, it’s not necessarily about the source of the voice. It’s more about exposing myself to a new voice. That’s helped me gather enough ‘escape velocity’ to blast out of the rut I’m in.

Get out of your head. Yes, creativity can be difficult sometimes. It can take effort. But remember, all creativity is play, not work. You don’t work a violin! The moment my creative endeavor becomes ‘work’… I’m done. Finished. Kaput. You see, work comes from our head, but play is in our soul. The moment I can get out of my head and return to ‘play’, I’m free. When I’m creatively stuck, I create something disposable. Something that no one will ever see or hear. I write a bad song. I record the most horrible drum track I can play. I pull 20 random words from a random website and write a silly song. I draw a terrible picture. I build something out of Play-Doh or Legos. Whatever it is, I focus on the ridiculousness of play, remembering that play, like art, is its own reward. It doesn’t need justification. Recreation is recreation.

Get into your heart/emotion. Emotion is the seat of passion. And emotion creates motion. When you’re stuck, you gotta get moving, right? Pick an emotion and go to that place where you feel it can intensely (a memory, a hope, a fear, a dream ) and create something from within that state of mind/feeling. Typically, I think anger and love are the two emotions we can tap into quickest. (Remember, the goal is to get moving quickly.) Ask yourself, “What makes me angry?” Is it injustice? Is it wounds you’ve suffered? Is it something personal? Political? Cultural? Whatever it is, hop online and read up on the latest statistics or events about it. Get really pissed. I mean, like, Hulk-turning- green-pissed. Now go write. Vent. Vomit. Purge. Sit down at your notepad or keyboard and freakin’ bleed. The same can be said for the emotion of love. Going through pictures, videos, memories or even gifts that belong to a loved one can stir up powerful, passionate emotions. It can be even more powerful if that loved one is no longer living. (My mom passed away just before Mother’s Day this year, so this has been especially helpful for me lately.)

Do YOU ever get stuck in a rut? These are just three starting points that have helped me. What do YOU do when you’re stuck creatively? How do YOU approach it?

I would love it if you’d leave your thoughts.

For most of human history, musicians have been community leaders. Creating connections, opening minds, and giving harmony to the voice of the people.

People would gather around them and rally behind them.

Celebrity is relatively recent. It’s about a lot of people loving you from a distance. It’s a product of large-scale, corporate marketing.

The internet, and the content that we’re able to share with it, gives us the ability to go back to being community leaders.

It’s about a FEW people loving you up close. And about those people being enough.

With the “celebrity” model, 1% become super-rich while 99% either remain destitute or have to maintain a “day job” to support their families.

With the “community-leader” model, being a musician is a respectable middle-class job where anyone with enough musical and entrepreneurial skills can make a place for themselves.

Which kind of musician are YOU trying to be?

I don’t think I’ve ever been a fan of any “Battle of the Bands” setup, but I’ve been a judge for a couple of them. People asked, and it was something to do.

After one such outing, a band that didn’t win was curious as to what had prevented them from reaching the top of the podium. Having conferred with one another, they had identified at least one potential “deal breaking” problem – and they asked about it:

“Do we need better equipment?”

The answer that day was “no.” The answer for most bands on most days is “no.”

What they had failed to do was to play as a team, and that made their perfectly adequate gear SEEM like a problem area. (To be specific, you couldn’t hear anything the fiddle player was doing, because nobody would give the poor guy any space.) So, of course, the answer is to spend money on a bigger, fancier amp for the fiddle player, along with some extra doodads and geegaws to fight the inevitable feedback that results from trying to make a fiddle SCREAMING LOUD…

…Right?

People, please.

Their gear wasn’t fancy, but it was adequate and working. The only upgrade they needed was teamwork.

Now, yes, there’s a point where instruments, amplifiers, and their associated accoutrements just can’t do the job. However, that point is best identified as an “absolute:” The setup just sounds terrible, or it’s constantly breaking down, or it’s too hard to use. If that isn’t the case, though, then it’s very likely you’re facing some sort of issue with working together properly.

If your band doesn’t sound right, but everything seems to be working decently for everyone individually, you most likely need to put your wallet away. Before you spend any money on stuff, spend time on becoming a team.

I was talking to a musician last week who was complaining about how, although he’s a well-respected musician in his local area, he can’t get anyone he meets online to take him seriously.

“I’ve got a website and a link for people to subscribe and get free music. I’m giving away 7 of my BEST songs! But I can’t get anyone to sign up. And the few that do, never buy anything,” he told me.

I checked out his music and he plays quite well, actually. So I know it has nothing to do with his skill.

The next obvious culprit was his online presence. So I took a gander at that and some of the reasons he hasn’t yet become an internet sensation were glaringly obvious.

First of all, giving away 7 polished studio versions of your best songs attracts the wrong type of fans. That’s the kind of offer that attracts “freebie-seekers”.

Those are the people who will gobble up all the free bonus content that you give to your community and then submit a spam complaint when you make on offer to buy something.

You don’t want those leeches in your “fanmunity”. And it’s up to YOU to curate a community that will support you financially.

That’s why I rejoice whenever someone that unsubscribes complains about how my emails have no value and I’m just trying to sell them crap. Those people obviously don’t appreciate what I have to offer. And all of my solid advice is wasted on them.

So I’m glad to see them go.

You should have the same standards for your own fanmunity. You deserve it. But its up to you to take ownership of making it happen.

The other problem with his offer is that fact that when you give away 7 songs from your studio albums (even if they are from a mix of albums) you devalue your music and take away their incentive to buy it.

I know music biz teachers who will tell you otherwise, but the truth is that there is NOT a “magic number” of songs that will make your subscriber bonus attractive to the kinds of fans you want.

There IS, however, a “magic word”.
The next thing I looked at was his website. The first thing I always look for on a musician’s website is the squeeze page. And he had no such thing. In fact, the subscriber opt-in form was all the way at the bottom of his site in the footer.

NO WONDER no one was signing up! They couldn’t even figure out where to subscribe if they wanted!

Of course you SHOULD have an opt-in form on your website. But NOT in the footer. Make sure it is visible near the top of every page so people can see it without scrolling.

But if you’re really serious about growing your email list, you NEED a squeeze page. The sidebar opt-in form is small potatoes compared to what you can do with a squeeze page.

Let me put that into numbers for you:

For the standard sidebar opt-in form that you see on most musician’s websites, about 2%-4% of the people who see it will subscribe to their email list.

A squeeze page, on the other hand, will convert more like 30%-40% of the people who visit it into subscribers. Especially if you set it up how I show you.

The next thing I looked at were some of his social media profiles.

And they were pretty plain. Certainly not optimized to help him get any email addresses. His header image and profile pic were basically a picture of him playing guitar on a background of a different picture of him playing guitar.

He hadn’t even filled out his bio!

Optimizing your online presence is crucial to be taken seriously as a musician online.
No matter how well you play, no one is going to hear you if your online presence makes you look like an amateur.

That’s why “Online Presence Optimization” is one of the first modules in the Musicpreneur Apprentice Program.

And for those of you who are considering joining, I’ve decided to make the replay of the webinar I did on that topic available for you to preview.

In it I tell you all about the “magic word” and how to attract the RIGHT kinds of fans…

I show you what a squeeze page is and exactly how to make a great one…

I even show you how to set up your social media profiles in a way that directs traffic toward your email list…

And a bunch of other important stuff, too.

Click here to check it out…

And if you’re ready to take ownership of your career, go ahead and…

Click here to enroll in the Musicpreneur Apprentice Program.

If you haven’t read the first part of this two-part article, please do so by clicking HERE.

Now it is time to get into what happened the night of the show…both the great and the not-so-great.

I was driving to the venue in Ohio and had just pulled off an exit when it began snowing…HARD. I immediately began worrying about the weather impacting attendance but held out hope knowing that the band had played the venue two times previously and had packed in a large crowd both times.

And then it started snowing even harder. Fortunately I pulled into the venue’s parking lot and saw quite a few vehicles there. It wasn’t as many as I hoped to see but at least it wasn’t a ghost town and we still had about an hour to go before the band would take the stage.

DRESSED FOR SUCCESS

This is something that warrants a bit of discussion. I have a very low tolerance when it comes to how some music artists dress and present themselves during shows. I’ve had to lay into several clients over the years because of the lack of effort put into looking great on stage.

And, yes, it is a discussion I had with Amanda at one point after watching videos of some of their performances before I was brought in to help with their shows. They didn’t look BAD in those previous shows…they simply looked too casual. I always tell artists that there is a visual expectation that most fans carry into a show (whether they are conscious of it or not).

So it goes without saying that I was extremely excited when I walked into the room where the band was preparing and saw everybody was dressed to kill and the ladies’ hair and make-up were totally on point. They looked fantastic, the best I had ever seen from them…and I made it a point to yell as such upon seeing them.

Seriously.

You never know who is watching you perform at any given time and what it might do for you down the road (as you will see was the case for the band at the end of this article).

SHOWTIME

The band took the stage at 9:00 pm and the plan was to do the three-song FB Live broadcast at the tail end of the first set, which was expected to be around 10:00 pm.

The band hired a professional AV company to come in and set up a rear projection video screen on which we could show the FB Live broadcast to the crowd in the venue. That was set up to the side of the stage because the layout of the venue did not allow us to place the screen over the stage (which would have been optimal for what we were doing).

People were continuing to trickle in and the crowd was growing but it still wasn’t where we were all hoping it would be at the start of the first set. Making matters even more difficult was that a lot of the audience members who were there seemed a bit allergic to the dance floor and the area directly in front of the stage. And all of that seemed to be sapping some of the band’s energy as well. I had dinner with Amanda and Michael a week or two after the show and Michael admitted that the unexpectedly lower attendance was deflating when they first walked out on stage.

But they did exactly what they needed to do: they continued to perform with energy…something that would pay off as we got further into the night.

This is when things became interesting.

I was sitting with Alyce (the young lady tasked with operating the camera during the broadcast) and we were keeping an eye on where the band was in the set list. It wasn’t long before I realized we were running behind schedule. Even though the band promoted the FB Live broadcast would start around ten, it looked more like that spot in the set list wouldn’t come up until closer to 10:30.

They realized the time issue as well because there was a sudden jump in the set list and the band skipped several songs to get us closer to where we needed to be prior to the start of the broadcast.

Which created another problem that required quick thinking.

As you will see from the broadcast video below, the FB Live broadcast started with Jones Family Reunion, a song that kicks off with a female audience member being brought up on stage to take part in a fake marriage proposal from Nathan. When the band skipped several songs, they went straight to the song in the set list that was directly before the start of the broadcast. And one of the songs that was skipped was an acoustic piece that allowed Nathan to leave the stage long enough to find an audience member for the proposal at the beginning of Jones Family Reunion.

That is when Alyce said “uh-oh” and asked me what we should do. My response: We grab the first female who walks by our table to ask her to help out.

That is exactly what we did. We had to work quickly because not only did we have to get a fan on board with going up on stage in front of everybody, we needed to hurry and have her sign release forms due to the fact that the images and video of her on stage would be used for the broadcast and various marketing for the band.

So I had to ask the young lady to help out, explain to her what we needed her to do on stage, talk her through everything on the release form, have her sign it, flag down Nathan while he was performing and point to the volunteer so he knew he didn’t have to worry about finding somebody, signal to him that I was taking her back stage, and then rush her to the back stage area all in the time that the band performed that three-and- a-half minute song.

And then we ran into another hiccup. As the last song before the broadcast was wrapping up, I was standing back stage with the volunteer and Alyce, who was suddenly having a difficult time maintaining a strong Internet signal on the phone that would be used for the FB Live broadcast.

Where the venue was located, 4G access was spotty due to it being in a rural area. The venue did have open wi-fi, which had sufficient strength earlier in the evening, but the signal strength began going up and down as we were getting ready for the show to begin. The phone we were using belonged to Brittany (Amanda’s sister and the band’s keyboard player) so I made the decision to attempt the broadcast using 3G and instructed Alyce to run up on stage to have Brittany make a few adjustments on the phone.

Here is something you need to keep in mind when attempting any FB Live broadcast from a venue. A lot of artists don’t have unlimited data and FB Live broadcasts are demanding since you are live streaming both video and audio. So those artists have a tendency to use the venue’s open wi-fi. In many situations that isn’t a bad approach but you have to take into consideration that a large crowd also attempting to access that open wi-fi at the time you are doing your broadcast can slow down the signal and it could potentially impact the quality of your broadcast. Even worse, you might find yourself being booted from the signal in the middle of it.

The problem can become even more severe if patrons of neighboring businesses are also attempting to access the venue’s wi-fi, something that is quite common. I remember staying in a hotel room in Nashville for CMA Fest and the hotel’s wi-fi signal was horrible on our side of the building so I had to utilize the wi-fi from the Taco Bell location next door for the entirety of my stay. Sometimes you just have to plan for the data usage that comes with a big FB Live broadcast and suck it up.

Back to the show.

Amanda instructed the audience prior to the start of the broadcast while Alyce set up the phone with Brittany and we shuffled the volunteer on stage. As soon as we went live on FB, the folks from the AV company projected the broadcast onto the big screen set up next to the stage and we were good to go.

THE BROADCAST

For as much energy as the band showed despite a lower than expected turnout, the start of the FB Live broadcast was like a switched had been flipped. Their energy instantly went to another level. People in the crowd who had been sitting down looking at their phones began looking up at the stage. They became more vocal over the course of those three songs and they slowly began making their way to the dance floor. Additionally, all of that momentum carried over into the last two hours of the show and totally changed the dynamics of the audience’s engagement with the band.

One of my favorite things about the broadcast came in the form of a comment a fan left on the Facebook Live feed, when she proclaimed the show the best she had ever seen at that venue. People had their phones out taking pics and video of the show and posting them on social media. They were doing exactly what we wanted them to do.

Here is the entire video of the FB Live feed…

In addition to the Facebook Live video, I also shot video of the performance from in front of the stage. I missed the first minute of the first song because I had to escort the volunteer for the proposal from the back stage area and, for some reason, my phone cut off at the tail end of the final song but much of this video will be repurposed for the band to use in a sizzle reel when attempting to get booked for other shows.

For any of you who are interested, the Facebook Live broadcast was captured on Brittany’s
phone, which was an iPhone 6. The video I shot from the front of the stage was done on my
phone, which is a Samsung Galaxy S5.

And for those of you who remember the picture of Amanda on Nathan’s shoulders during
rehearsal (it was included in Part 1 of this case study), here is the same shot during the actual show.

SOME THINGS ABOUT THE SHOW

One of the first things you will probably notice is that we did NOT throw the beer mug through the section of the drum shield in front of Frank’s kit. Michael contacted a company in California that manufactures the stunt glass that we wanted to use but it was going to take too long to ship it to Ohio and still have time for the glass to be cut down to the size we needed. So while we had to shelve that specific moment in the show for the FB Live broadcast, it is something we will look to implement in a show later this year. It is too good of a card to have up our sleeves to go unused.

There are some things I would like to see us do a bit differently next time. For the next
broadcast, I would like to see us utilize a three-axis stabilizer for the phone and camera. If you don’t know what that is, it is a device that holds the phone in a manner that completely
eliminates any bouncing. The user holds onto a handle bar and can move their arm all over the place and device revolves around the phone keeping it in one spot. You can get them on
Amazon with some of the better quality ones costing between $100 and $200. There are some cheaper alternatives but many of them don’t use multiple axis points for keeping the phone
steady. I’ve heard many people say that using them efficiently requires a little bit of practice so don’t chance busting it out of the box ten minutes before a show and trying to use it if that broadcast is an important one.

Another slight change I would make when doing something like this again is make sure we hold the camera on each musician for just a bit longer before moving to the next person. Alyce did a fantastic job operating the camera, mostly considering it was her first time doing it and we had limited time to rehearse it.

The engagement between the band and the camera went much better than even I anticipated. It totally changes the dynamic of doing a FB Live broadcast from a live show. Viewers are no
longer observing from a vantage point off to the side. With this approach they feel much more wrapped up and invested in the performance.

While the band struggled to get people out on the dance floor during the early part of their first one-hour set, doing the broadcast from the stage caused a radical shift in the crowd that carried on through the entire show that night. And the band even got caught up in it all, with Michael at one point getting down on his knees and playing guitar while people in the crowd threw popcorn up so he could catch it in his mouth. Below is a pic the band took during a guy/girl sing off…

And when I left the venue not long after the broadcast, I snapped this picture of the crowd
dancing…

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE

Remember earlier in this piece when I said you never know who might be watching your show and to what it could lead? Prior to this show, Michael had spent the last two or three years
attempting to get booked for two big shows that he had been targeting. One was at an important venue at Geneva On The Lake (a tourist hot spot on Lake Erie) and the other at a major festival near Mentor, Ohio. He couldn’t even get them to return his calls.

The night we did this show, an individual with ties to both the aforementioned venue and festival was in attendance. He was blown away by what he saw. Within 24 hours of this show taking place, both the venue and the festival had contacted the band. One of them booked them immediately and the other is working with the band to find an agreeable date for them to perform there. Two to three years of frustration trying to get on those people’s radars was erased just like that.

This was within 24 hours of the show!

Now the band is working to take the video we captured from both the broadcast and from what I shot in front of the stage to create a short sizzle reel. That will be used when they attend trade shows attempting to get booked at festivals and college campuses. The video WILL get them a lot of shows. We also plan to add that video to the band’s website and electronic press kit and find ways to use it on social media. Keep in mind that while the audio in the videos isn’t the greatest quality, the live audio will NOT appear in the sizzle reel as it will be replaced with one of their songs playing in the background.

Compared to the number of views many of the band’s previous Facebook Live videos generated, the broadcast of the three-song set had nearly 300% more views! BOOM!

We have several big shows to prepare for that will be coming up over the next few months and we have to keep the live show fresh with new elements. The first big show is scheduled for May and that will be the band’s first experience with including pyrotechnics as part of the show. I’ve also told Amanda to prepare for the intensity of the shows to become far more physically
demanding. We are even making plans for her to perform on top of a large truss 40 feet in the air. We are also working on a bunch of ways to implement video into the show.

All of this came from a simple 12-minute, three song set created specifically for a Facebook Live broadcast. We went outside the box in what we wanted to present, did something a bit different from the normal, planned it out and rehearsed it, and then executed it in spectacular fashion.

The band has even captured the attention of an independent label based in Nashville, one that is made up of an incredible team of people with considerable experience in both the music and radio industries. The label even invited them to do an acoustic showcase during Country Radio Seminar in Nashville (that performance is taking place the same night I am writing this).

For Amanda Jones & The Family Band, 2017 is going to be an extremely pivotal year