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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

From "Local Band" To "Regional Band" To "National Band" in 5 Easy Steps

     I've decided that local bands ought to be called "new bands."  There is no time limit to how long a specific project can be in this category, the same way that at "new artist" for the purpose of the Billboard Chart is measured by sales over the length of the entire career.

     Activity by new bands is typically the form of becoming a "local" band, wherever they are.  Often the question is "What is the best way for new band with no track record to get noticed?"  Answers these days typically take the form of either "going local"- playing local shows, network with bands touring through your home market OR international: start a blog, start a record label, run a kickstarter page, etc.

     I would argue that both of these approaches are less efficient for a new band then trying to tour regionally.  First of all, touring regionally is cheaper then putting out a proper record yourself AND bears almost zero chance of "failure" provided planning is proper.  Second, this is the most efficient way to network with other Artists in your area- playing a show together attended by 5 people is typically a bonding experience of some kind.  Third, getting our of your home market allows you to improve out of sight of your home audience- and most importantly, keeps your number of local performances to a lower level.

 Almost every band in the world should be able to plan and save for a road trip of a week- if you can't do that, i.e. get a vehicle, save up money for expenses on the theory you won't make any money, etc. you may not be ready to take advantage of any success  you might have.

     So for any band in the US, there is some regional tour of about a week that makes sense.  For West Coast bands, it's up and down the West Coast.  For bands from Texas, it's going up to Oklahoma City, cutting across to Memphis and then playing New Orleans and Texas.  From this perspective, the ideal place to be would be in between Chicago, New York, Atlanta and East Texas (Houston/Dallas) because then you have the access to four different week long circuits with little muss or fuss.

   The only markets excluded by this approach are Las Vegas, Denver, Boise, Phoenix, Albuquerque and Montana/Wyoming and the Dakotas.  You could also break off Boston from New York and say that there is a fifth circuit centered on Montreal.

 So, step one- figure out which region you are in. Step two, play regular, but not too regular local shows with bands from other areas in the region.  Step three, use those contacts to book a regional tour.  Step four, put together a recordings with more then one song.  Step five, attract record label and/or booking agent by pointing to what you've already done WITHOUT HELP.

  If your a bedroom artist reading this, you don't need to get a band together to play local shows.  No one expects it, no one gives a shit, and paying a band is impossible until you're at step five.

  If you are wondering how this analysis applies to a specific project, please feel free to email me and I will dispense specific advice.

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