What Does It Mean To Be A Band Mentor?

I originally got this idea from my friend Jacob Tender in a article he wrote for AltPress titled “Bands Need Mentors”. The article talked about how younger bands are in need more guidance from experienced musicians and other people in the music industry who have come before them so they can be a positive influence on them.

I could relate to this article because I was once a young musician with no help or direction from experienced musicians in my local scene and not much, if any encouragement from my parents to pursue playing music for a living.

My band and I were figuring it out for ourselves. We would ask our peers that were on the same level as us for advice and help with where to print shirts and CD as well as where we could book more gigs in the area. We didn’t have any clear idea on how to properly release and gain new fans online other than posting our songs to MySpace and Purevolume. We didn’t know how to get onto iTunes at the time.

Today I know how to do many things that new bands don’t typically know how to do unless they been in a seasoned band before. What can we do as experienced individuals or groups to help teach bands the follow…?

  • Promote their music on social media (e.g. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Noise Trade, and Bandcamp)
  • Write their own Press Releases
  • Place a merch order
  • Distribute their music online through CD Baby or TuneCore
  • NOT take the first record deal they are offered
  • Book weekend tours and short runs independently
  • How to make money as an independent band
  • How to book local gigs and throw their own shows to make more of a profit to pay for records, merch and touring
  • How to create their own artwork until they can afford to pay a designer
  • How to set up their first website on Tumblr, Squarespace or WordPress until they can afford a developer
  • How to use stats on Next Big Sound, Google Analytics and Spotify to find where their fanbase is located
  • Create their own release timeline (Singles, EP’s and Full Lengths)
  • How to reach out to press outlets before having a publicists
  • How to get played on college radio and alternative stations
  • Interact with fans online vs. in person
  • Be apart of their local scene and the online community (e.g. Absolute Punk, Reddit, Facebook Groups and music blogs)
  • Publish newsletters and how to gather emails using Facebook, BandCamp and MailChimp
  • Finding the right director for music videos and other video content I will be writing about the topics listed above in future blog posts.

Facebook Tip: Not sure if you knew this or not but Facebook Groups for bands work really great. You can be more personal with fans in a FB Group by posting updates about the band using your personal account. Invite people to the group from the bands Facebook Page, Twitter and using email newsletters. You can ask your fans questions, upload media and link to events. A notification is sent out to all the groups members when someone posts in the group. I think anyone could get creative with it.

Those are just some of my ideas. The approach I want to take is to start a personal blog that is branded as a place for young and old bands to find advice on how to solve the problems they are having.

I’ve been working with a new metalcore band called Hold Your Breath the last few month on these types of things and it has been working well for them. I just want to be able to help a lot more bands at once if I can write how-to articles and share it to help bands find a solution to their problem.

If you got value out of reading this and want to talk about music, growing your fanbase or want to hire me to work on a project you can email me, or reach out to me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.