“A goal without a plan is just a wish” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Musicians are pretty cvlt and cool, but no musician is too cool to hold a band meeting. There must be a reason that you’re in a band, whether it be purely for creative expression, active touring, making killer albums, fame and glory or just to hang out with your band mates, whatever the reason it is imperative to ensure you are on the same level as the rest of the band, therefore effective communication is a must.
You might jam with the band every week, you might even be best mates, so of course you can chat about things every time you’re together, but it’s easy to get sidetracked, miss people’s opinions or forget topics you’ve discussed. If you want to have a long lasting band with happy members, you should be having at least a couple of official ‘meetings’ each year.
So how do you get started? Easy, just book a time that everyone is available and have a BBQ or go out for a few drinks. But let them know, “this is a good chance for us to go over a few things”, and whilst it might appear ‘nerdy’ or ‘lame’, everyone wants to get the most out of their band, so if they decline there is some serious concerns there.
Next up, put together a document with all of the topics you want to cover. Email it around so everyone can add their own ideas, then print a copy of the final version for each band member to hand out at the gathering after you eat your delicious sausages and steins of ale.
Here’s my take on what to include..
This is a chance to look over the successes and failures of the band since the last meeting. Successes may be a few awesome shows, good reviews, merch sales etc… Failures might be slow writing new songs, blowing out budgets or lack of online presence.
The most important part of your meeting is right here, setting goals to know what everyone wants to achieve. This is where you come together to make sure the members are all working towards the same objectives. Some examples;
- New album release in second half of the year
- Sign to a record label
- Play x amount of local shows
- Play an international tour
- Sell x amount of merch
- There is no right or wrong answers here, no goal is too big or too small, the idea is to brainstorm and see where everyone wants to go. Discuss as a group to set something to aim for!
Songs / albums
- How much music do we already have?
- What’s working and what isn’t?
- How much should we be writing?
- What style/direction do we want to take?
- What songs do we want to add to the live setlist?
- Is our writing-method working?
- How do we each learn the songs?
- Do we need a demo, single, EPs or album?
- Are we recording any covers?
- Where should we record?
- How many songs are we recording?
- What recording methods can we use?
- When is it due to be released?
- Who will do the mixing and mastering?
- Who can do the CD art?
- Where can we get CDs pressed once it’s done?
- How can we sell and distribute it?
- What upcoming shows do we have confirmed?
- What setlists will we play?
- Are there any possible gigs on the horizon?
- How can we find more shows?
- What sort of gigs should we be accepting/declining?
- What is best about our live show and what needs improving?
- How often can we rehearse and where?
- Can we book our own tour?
- Can we get on someone else’s tour?
- Are we applying for support slots?
- Can we play overseas?
- Can we play festivals?
- What do we currently have to sell?
- Are people buying much?
- What new items can we get?
- Who is responsible for the artwork?
- Where can we get it printed?
- Who is responsible for merch stands at gigs?
- Do we have an online merch store?
- Can we give away things for free (stickers, magnets, badges etc)?
Marketing / Online Presence
- Website – Is the information up to date? Are we posting regular news updates? Are we getting enough traffic? Is it linking to other relevant pages?
- Social Media – Are we increasing likes on Facebook? Do we need an Instagram or Twitter account? Who are the admins? What are we posting?
- Downloads/Streaming – Are we on iTunes and Spotify? Can we sell music on bandcamp? Do we need a Soundcloud or Reverbnation page? Are our songs on YouTube?
- Mailing List – Are we collecting fan emails and postal addresses?
- Radio / Print – Can we send our music to radio stations? Are we archiving playlists? Is our CD getting reviews? Are we doing interviews? Can we advertise gigs in magazines?
Labels / Distro / Promoters
- Do we need to approach record labels?
- Do we need a booking agent?
- Should we send out info packages just so they know about us?
- Is our bio up to date?
- What to send and how?
- Is our music equipment up to scratch?
- Do we pay for it ourselves or with band money?
- Can we apply for endorsements?
- What gear can we take on tour?
- Should we be sharing gear with other bands?
Photoshoots / Video Clips
- Do we have a current band photo?
- What do we want to look like?
- Where can we do it?
- Do we need a music video?
- Who can take photos and do film?
- What will we do with pictures and videos?
Finance / Budgets
- Are we in the green or red?
- Where has our money been spent?
- What are we saving towards?
- Do we have a bank account and ABN?
- Can we apply for a government grant?
Find out when people are available throughout the year so you know when you can play gigs, tours, rehears, record etc. Nothing worse than working hard on booking a show then finding out someone will be away on holiday.
Other notable tips
Take all ideas on board
Do no fight amongst one another
Listen to others when they speak
There will be disagreements, nut these out before moving on
Don’t be disheartened with criticism
If you can’t all agree on something, someone must make an executive decision
Work as a team!
Make sure you are writing down notes throughout the meeting, so later on you can put together ‘minutes’ to email to the band. This should contain everything that was discussed and allocate duties to each band member to achieve all of the goals. Remember, you will get together again in a few months and revisit the notes of this meeting and compare it to what has actually been achieved!
So there you have it, play nice!
Anything else you think needs discussing? Reckon band meetings are for pansies? Let us know below.