How would YOU spend £2,000?

£2,000

Simon Pursehouse at Sentric Music has just posted a blog post entitled “IF I WAS AN UNSIGNED/INDIE ARTIST AND HAD £2,000 TO SPEND ON MY CAREER, WHAT WOULD I SPEND IT ON?” based on questionnaires he sent to various music pundits around the blogosphere.  Click through and check it out, it’s interesting reading. Meanwhile for what it’s worth, here’s my own suggestion:

1) I would buy my band or artist domain name for the next 10 years via mydomain.com (for the .com) and from 123-reg.co.uk (for the .co.uk variant) and buy a ridiculously cheap two year web hosting package from bluehost.com. I’d then set up free accounts at Last.fm, Bebo, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Reverbnation, MusicGlue, Soundcloud and Bandcamp – and have them all linked to and from a page at my main web domain. I’d also include an email link for direct contact by both fans and business people (cloaked with javascript to reduce spam) and my manager’s phone number – see (5) below – plus streaming audio of my very best demos. In full, at high quality.

2) I’d buy a CD printer and a stack of blank white CDs to print on, and get 2000 beautiful looking full colour card CD sleeves with my band name on and the track left blank so it can be overprinted. That way the same sleeves can be used regardless of what tracks you put on the CDs inside.  These should just be single card pockets rather than a digipack, which makes cost, storage, transportation and postage much more manageable. It’s also the optimum size for industry/media professionals you send it to (who receive vast quantities of CDs every day) while still looking attractive and showing that you mean business.

3) I’d also buy Photoshop Elements so as to create professional looking on-CD artwork, (which would include the tracklistings on the CD). I’d also buy a box of Avery stickers so that I could print professional-looking info stickers to slap on the sleeves. See How To Send CDs To Radio

4) I’d then turn out various different promo CDs as required:
– to send to radio shows like Lamacq, Huw Stephens, John Kennedy etc
– to send to promoters, agents etc to try and get gigs
– to give away to friends & members of other bands to spread the word
– to sell by mail order as physical equivalents of digital releases
– to sell at gigs

5) I’d also buy a cheap PAYG mobile phone & sim card to receive calls for my “manager”. Either you or a friend can field these; many business people prefer not to deal with the artist direct.

6) And if I had a couple of hundred quid left at the end I’d buy a cheap Edirol or Line 6 personal two-track recorder with a built-in mic and small monitor speaker – so that I could record jam sessions and song ideas INSTANTLY and capture the magic of the moment.

Personal recorder

I’d carry it with me always. So many flashes of inspiration get lost in rehearsal rooms, or walking down the street, or waking up from a dream.  Actually, come to think of  it, this ought to be the FIRST, not the LAST £200 that I’d spend. All the domain names and promo CDs in the world aren’t worth shit unless you have killer songs in the first place. And the key to writing killer songs is to write often and badly.

Only one in ten songs are ever any good, and we all have to finish writing the first 9 bits of crud to get to the 10th which is the gem. Bashing em down quickly onto a cheap voice recorder liberates you from the tyranny of high fidelity. It frees the spontaneous spirit of inspiration within you – which will in the end produce your greatest work. Once you’ve written then next “Good Vibrations” or “Dry Your Eyes Mate” you won’t have to worry overmuch about promo – the world will very quickly beat a path to your website.

Tom Robinson

London-based broadcaster & songwriter, born 1950. His best known songs are 2-4-6-8 Motorway, Glad To Be Gay and War Baby; he has also co-written songs with Peter Gabriel, Elton John, Dan Hartman and Manu Katché. Read More...

8 Comments

  1. I think i’d spend it on an album launch night, and try using pluggers for the first time. Also to help fund a small uk tour…

    Finally i’d treat myself to a reflexology treatment, and chill. Its been 3 years since reflexology college, and i haven’t received a treatment in ages…

    Must make time to chill and enjoy oneself!!1

    Being a GENIUS is so tiring(tongue planted firmly in my cheek!)

    SKOPJE

  2. I like the fact that your options maximise control – nothing wasted on paying other people to do things you can do for yourself.

    But really the elephant in the bank is time – most of what you need is free but only if you’re prepared to do without the things mere mortals like to give their time over to – living, loving and all that.

    I’m encouraged.

    Anyone got a spare couple of grand?

  3. all great stuff -= AND drop a couple of hundred (maybe) on a screen printing kit – start making your own GREEN shirts, experiment with crazy, time consuming amazing glow in the dark scratch and sniff stuff – and some crappy one word stuff too – you can give them away with a copy of your cd…….then make some scenery, look great on stage then cut it up and sell it!!! then, buy a ticket to come and enrole in our amazing new school revolutionnumberthree.com!!!

  4. Val

    ooops! I spent already 2000 pounds! :-)
    my money went in:
    1)equipment: the cheapest possible to get an acceptable home demo.
    2)photo-shoot. I needed the right edgy image/lighting/expression to go with the music, so pics from friends wouldn’t do.
    3)cd press to distribute around and sell: ok, I have to admit I sent the artwork + demo to a duplication and manufacturing centre. there are good deals anyway!
    4)One single professionally mixed and mastered by a top engineer (very TOP :-) worked with Bjork, Eno and similar), who also likes my music and had the decency to stay in touch, so it’s also a good contact to have.
    5)Flyers, posters, business cards and similar promotional items.
    6)Stage clothes, haircut and makeup: I know you indie/rocking/punking guys can get away with a pair of jeans and cut your hair yourself, but for my music I need a slightly more involved look :-)
    I think that’s roughly all. somebody wants to give me some extra quid for a live voice effect I need to buy next? :-)
    xxx
    V

  5. Jen

    Hi

    This is Jen at Invisible Records. Martin Atkins, owner of Invisible, is working on his second book entitled Band:Smart. He came across this article and thought it would be good for the book. He was wondering if we could use a portion of the article in the book. You would get a contribution as the author in the book as well as Fresh on the Net for being the source. Please let me know if you are interested.

    Thanks!
    Jen

  6. Networking. I would spend the money on meeting as many talented people in the industry as possible to establish ties with people for creating, producing, and marketing music. Every step of the way requires insights and thoughts of others.

  7. …that’s a great, insightful list !!

    …I’ve never done anything about CD printers… or stickers, sleeves etc.. it is definitely worth thinking about ?

    thanks,

    James

  8. Tom

    For promoting your music to radio, physical CDs are less important than they used to be: it is now possible to score airplay with only digital files if your track is strong enough. But if you’re also a gigging musician, that tips the balance because having physical discs to sell at your shows is a vital source of additional income.

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