Let me start by saying, I am NOT a real musician, and there is no reason you should take advice from me. I have, however, been getting more involved in the music community, learning tons of new stuff, and just finished reading Ari Herstand's How To Make It in the New Music Business: Practical Tips on Building a Loyal Following and Making a Living as a Musician.
If you're not trying to make it in the music business, you will still find this book fascinating. Like, I read Blake Snyder's Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need, even though I had no interest in writing a movie... and I haven't looked at a movie the same way, since. One incredible takeaway was that even the most creative art can often be boiled down to a science. How To Make It in the New Music Business was the same way -- except it contained a ton of actionable advice for someone like me, who mostly just plays the occasional open mic.
If you are trying to make it in the music business, this is probably the most useful, actionable book you will ever read about the actual process of becoming a full-time musician. It's full of step-by-step checklists, harsh reality checks, actionable advice, and even discussions about the pros and cons of living in each neighborhood in New York City, Los Angeles, and Nashville, and which clubs are and are not worth playing.
Since reading How To Make It in the New Music Business, I've noticed that many of the artists I follow on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter follow Herstand's advice to the letter, releasing posters, singles, lyric videos, and album trailers exactly on schedule.
I'm not super familiar with Ari Herstand's music... but beyond the nitty gritty business stuff, he is full of really interesting insights about charisma, social skills, and human psychology.
One that really made me say, "Wow," was this one:
When you're playing a show or talking to fans, never, ever tell someone it is nice to meet them.
Instead, say this:
It's good to see you.
As Ari explains, to you, this might be the thousandth time you've talked to a fan after a show.
But to them, it might be the second time they've had the chance to chat with a band they really like.
They took the time to come out to your show. They might have even bought your merch.
And you... don't even remember them.
Best case, that stings, and kind of sours their impression of you a little.
Worst case, they take it personally -- they never stream your music, download your EP, or go to your shows again.
Of course, authenticity is still important. I'm not saying to fake any kind of memory or relationship with the fan. Just that you change one word in your social script that might make someone feel special or important...
Which is the key to being charismatic.
It's not being interesting. It's making other people feel interesting.
Anyway, I loved that little insight, and wanted to pass it along to my readers. If you're an aspiring musician, I highly, highly recommend How To Make It in the New Music Business.
However, if you're looking for a book that will help with your actual songwriting, your must-read is The Addiction Formula: A Holistic Approach to Writing Captivating, Memorable Hit Songs, by Friedemann Findeisen.
It was recommended by my friend Ed at Nova Noir. One afternoon with him COMPLETELY transformed my writing and performing -- basically, I went from barely being able to convince people I know how to play guitar, to getting the whole audience to sing along while I played my originals at an open mic.
Ed knows his stuff. When he said to read The Addiction Formula, I ordered it immediately... so check back soon for my latest originals, which cover topics like my brother's wedding, complicated historical figures, and male love interests.
About the Author
Eva is a content specialist with a passion for play, travel... and a little bit of girl power. Read more >
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