Monday, October 6, 2008

Book Review: The Indie Band Survival Guide

Book Review: The Indie Band Survival Guide by Ariel Hyatt of Cyber PR

A few weeks ago, I threw a book launch party for my friends, Randy Chertkow and Jason Feehan to celebrate the launch of their new fabulous book, "The Indie Band Survival Guide," published by St. Martin's Griffin here in New York, and I was honored to be interviewed and prominently featured in the PR chapter. Weighing in at 329 pages, it is jam-packed full of incredible information.

"The Indie Band Survival Guide" is a book that all artists, independent or not, need to own.

Randy & Jason are founding members of the Chicago based independent band Beatnik Turtle, and this book started out as their blog where they chronicled their personal experience releasing a whopping 18 albums, touring, building a formidable following, and writing music for film and TV. This book was not motivated by money or a desire for fame. It came from the 12 years of experience as independent artists that they achieved directly by releasing albums, and as they learned along the way, they wrote it all down. As their lessons and experiences grew, so did their blog, and because of their blog a literary agent approached them, and they got a publishing deal.

It was very hard not to write a hundred page review of this book├é… Randy & Jason share exactly the same philosophies and opinions about the realities of the 'new' music business and their insights are striking and very important to understand to stay ahead during this wild west time of the music business.

When I started Ariel Publicity in 1996 there was ONE conversation that took place at all music festivals like SXSW and in my office and anywhere you went where there were musicians present. That conversation was: "How am I going to get signed?"

The first key point this book makes is: Back in the day when getting signed was the principal goal of all artists, the entire game was all about winning over just a few key record executives in the business. Today, the rules have completely changed and this is no longer true at all. It's now the sole responsibility of the artist to take on what an entire staff used to do, and there is a lot to take on.

This book begins by reminding artists that you don't have to do it all alone, and that technology is wonderful and helps empower artists, "but it's not the technology that will get your music listened to, booked, distributed, played, seen, and publicized." It's people. People make things happen for musicians...

Here are some highlights that struck me:

- Randy & Jason take you through the myths and realities of old-school music business versus the new music business, including how commercial radio works and why independent artists will have to spend between $20,000 and $100,000 to get commercial radio airplay

- Why signing to a major label makes no sense in this day and age

- Why networking is key and how it doesn't have to feel icky

- How to use your fans to help you network and get the word out about you

- People who have met you or seen you play live are likely to be in the minority of people who will listen to your music now that the Internet is the number one medium for music delivery

- The importance of a good website and why just having a MySpace page is a big mistake and how to plan it soup to nuts and how to make people return to your website over and over

- A complete guide to blogging and micro-blogging and the benefits

- The ins and outs of social networking

- How to create a CD, home studio versus pro studios, everything about CD manufacturing and merchandising with a complete bulleted list, which they provide so you don't even have to think. You just have to follow the list and get your CD released

- Copyright laws and trademark your rights to the songs and recording in a handy flow chart that breaks down every aspect, from sampling to who pays you to trademark

- Why multi-tasking is totally necessary for artists in this day and age and why having multiple income streams is what will make you money in the long run.

- The death of the big splash - The new approach for releasing albums is slow and steady wins the race

- How to get booked at clubs and house concerts, charity events, festivals, college gigs and weddings

- How to get your fans to help you get the word out

This book is an indispensable goldmine and a must-have for every independent musician's library. No matter what level you are at in your career, you need to own this fabulous book, The Indie Band Survival Guide.

Here is a free preview on their website:

Don't miss out on a chance to change your music career for $14.95 - buy this book today!

Amazon Link:

Check out photos from the release party on Flickr!

For music, pix, video, and more info, go here

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