As we work our way through the shutdowns within the music industry due to the Coronavirus pandemic, we’ve been discussing some ways to find opportunity in this time of uncertainty – to level up while we wait for things to level out.
In times of uncertainty, there is also opportunity.
This period of quarantine is an opportunity to regroup, rebuild, and level-up.
If there’s a silver lining, this is it.
This is an opportunity to #AMPLIFY your efforts to create new content and interact with fans while you’re not busy playing shows.
But how? What can we do as creators to take advantage of this suddenly clear schedule with virtually $0 budget?
Sounds basic, because as creators, it’s what we do. But it’s certainly easier said than done. It’s easy to get depressed, scroll through Facebook for hours on end, exhaust your entire Netflix list, and not do anything of substance.
Here are some concrete ways you can take advantage of this opportunity by creating:
Create social creative content.
Keep in mind everyone’s home, not out and about. And everyone’s eyes are glued to social media right now. We’re bombarded with news and coverage of the outbreak, but yearn for levity and distractions. We’re also yearning for personal interaction.
Therein lies a fundamental opportunity to connect with your tribe and strengthen bonds, turning a passive audience into fans and fans into die-hards.
Record a short video for your fans. Record a quick 30-second video saying hello so they can see your face and hear your speaking voice. Record yourself playing a song and upload it to your socials (or even better, do it live as a Story post.)
Take it a step further and get the band together and live-stream a concert in your rehearsal studio. Plan ahead (choose a specific day and time), promote it on socials for a few days, and then play the show. Try to make it a weekly thing, and stick with it for a month or so in order to gain traction. It doesn’t have to be long, a 30-min set is fine.
This goes for blog content, too. Start with short ideas – jot them down and just brainstorm. Then, expand on those ideas into brief blog posts. The key is to talk to your target market in an honest and human tone, and be consistent with your posts. Once you get back on the road, do a weekly recap of shows with some behind-the-scenes info and pics so fans can get an inside look at your touring life.
Our in-house creative team is here to help with social graphics.
Create new income streams.
If we learned anything from the sudden suspension of live shows, it’s that we musicians need to have multiple streams of income besides shows.
Some ideas? Lessons – especially video lessons. Studio work. Merch. What other music-related things can you do during normal downtime when you’re not playing a show? Learn how to repair and tech? How to sell? Start a music-related side-hustle of some sort. Do this now while you have the time so you’re more insulated if anything else happens down the road.
Create cool new shit.
Record a new riff or a new groove. Write a melody or some lyrics. Collaborate with a friend or another artist and write a song together, sending tracks back and forth. Create a simple music video for one of your songs. Record yourself playing a cover with your own spin. Better yet, do it live.
Create a new look.
Downtime like this is a GREAT time to rebrand. Chances are you were thinking about the need to revamp your look anyway, but maybe you couldn’t find the time. Since virtually all shows are postponed, you’re suddenly on even playing ground with other artists. With everyone’s eyes glued to socials, you have an opportunity for more eyeballs, shares, and interactions than ever before.
Lean on our in-house creative team (we’re still working!) to take care of your new branding package – we can do everything from a new logo to album art to new merch design to a new website.
Create a new site.
Now’s the time to take an objectively-hard look at your website (if you even have one.) Your site should be the central hub for all your fans. Your socials are an extension of this but should lead fans back to your site for the most comprehensive list of tour dates and to purchase merch.
You can use some plug & play services like Squarespace to create site on your own, or lean on our in-house creative team to do the hard work for you, making sure the planning is done correctly, the look is cohesive with your brand, and all elements are optimized.
Create & sell merch.
While you’re off the road and not making merch money, it doesn’t mean your sales should stop. In fact, with everyone online and not out and about, your online sales can actually increase. Your fans still want to support you.
Make sure all of your tour merch is loaded into your online store. (If you don’t have an online store yet, have us build you one.) Create something new that’s an online exclusive, and sell it at a tight margin. Promote it in your personal social videos.
Even if you’re not a recording artist, you can still capitalize on your fan club with merch — even signed drumheads, autographed set list, used sticks and guitar picks. A merch item can also be an online lesson or a recorded instrument track on their next song. Think outside the box. Small, inexpensive items work great as well – stuff like stickers, buttons, gig posters, etc.
Worried about fronting cash for merch design and printing? We offer a few different financing plans, including no payments for 6 months (interest-free). If ever there was a time to take advantage of deferred payments, this is it.
Interactions turn a passive audience member in to a fan and turn a fan into a die-hard. Consistent interactions, whether they’re in person or online, are critical to your fans getting to know you on a personal level. Use social media to give access to the people who want it.
Do a quick 15-second Instagram Story post saying hello or playing a quick riff. Reply to all comments on your posts, and retweet and favorite tweets when appropriate. Repost fan pics with credit. Hold a contest for fans to pick the next 5 songs on this week’s Facebook Live virtual concert.
Interactions between band mates and other musicians shouldn’t stop while the tour’s on pause. Keep the lines of communication open. Check in on your friends and neighbors.
A step further. use the new free time to deepen connections with those folks who you haven’t made time to keep in touch with. Find a mentor and ask for advice and constructive criticism. Reach out to some other players of other instruments. Pick up the phone and talk like we used to back in the day.
What will you create?
Comment below with some more ideas.