Hails metalheads! My name is Fang VonWrathenstein, vocalist for the unsigned band Lords of the Trident (http://www.LordsOfTheTrident.com). Every month or so, I’ll be handing out my sage advice to other unsigned bands on how to take their band from the garage to the next level. I’m no industry insider, but I’ve been around the block a few times. Have an idea for a topic, or fervently disagree with something I write? Email me at LordsOfTheTrident@gmail.com.
We’ve finally come to the end of our series on using google apps to manage your band. If you haven’t read the previous articles yet, then you’re only getting ⅓ of the data, so go back and brush up before coming here to read…THE FINAL ARTICLE.
Today’s Topic – Google Apps MotherF#@$%, do you speak it? – Part 3
Let’s assume you’ve read my last two articles, taken the advice to heart, and now are completely booked for the next eight months. You’re planning your European tour. Ladies are banging your door down, demanding your attention, and insisting you write more songs! But wait…you only have one practice a week, and your drummer has a day job! How the heck are you going to collaborate on writing a whole new album’s worth of songs, and keep these crazy, relatively attractive females at bay?
Easy! Simply do what we do – collaborate using the POWER OF THE INTERNET! Take a video of your guitarist/bassist/whoever playing the new song, and upload it to YouTube. “But Fang, I don’t have a YouTube account!” Surprise! Your band’s google account is a YouTube account as well! Use your camera or your phone to take a video, and then when you upload the video, change the posting status to “unlisted”. This way, the only people that can see the video will be the people who receive the link, and your secret new triple-platinum single will be safe from the prying eyes of your lady-fans. Now simply copy the YouTube link, and paste it into an email to your band.
This is a quick and easy way for guitarists to practice new songs on their own, because they can see what the other guitarist is playing (make sure to film the fretboard while they play!), and they can practice with the video over and over again. It’s also good for the singer, because they can use the video to come up with a bunch of different vocal melodies and lyric choices without driving the other members insane.
Speaking of lyrics, google also gives us musicians an easy way to collaborate on lyrics (or just about anything else) using google docs. And I know, some of you people out there might be saying, “collaborate!? On LYRICS!? Are you insane!? My lyrics are like my CHILDREN man!”
Calm down there Kanye. Having a second set of eyes on your lyrics is usually always a good thing. But you’re not always able to be in the same room with your collaborator at the same time to re-work your lyrical masterpiece. Luckily, there’s an easy solution.
Go into google docs (docs.google.com), and create a new document. Start writing those lyrics. When you’re done, click on the “share” button in the upper right of the document, and enter in your collaborator’s gmail address. Make sure “can edit” is selected, and hit “done”. They’ll get an email that the document is available to be viewed and edited.
Now here’s where the cool part comes in. If you and your collaborator are both looking at the same document at the same time, a chat bar will appear. You can chat back and forth with your collaborator, suggesting new ideas for the lyrics. And even cooler – if someone makes a change in the document, the person viewing it will see the change happening in REAL TIME. This is something you really have to see to believe – it’s surreal.
You can share your document with as many people as you’d like, so you could potentially have the entire band helping to rewrite lyrics, if that’s your style. And just like all other google documents, your lyrics will auto-save the second you make any changes. So if your computer crashes, all of your changes are safe, and stored permanently on the cloud.
Alright, so now you’ve got your new songs, your new lyrics, and you’re ready to start performing. Hopefully, if you don’t suck, you’ll be making tons of new fans at your performances. And if you’re a smart manager, you’ll be thinking about how to keep these new fans well-informed about your next show in the area. Thankfully, google also give us an easy and free way to do this – an email list using Google Groups.
Step one is to make an email list signup sheet. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy, just blanks for entering a name and an email address is fine. You also might want to make a large notice at the top of the page to “PLEASE PRINT LEGIBLY”, as you’ll be entering these into the computer by hand. Make sure to mention the email list during your set. You might want to give away something small, like a sticker, for each email sign up. Ok, got a bunch of emails for you list? Good!
Step two: go to groups.google.com, and sign in with your band’s google account. Create a new group, and call it something descriptive, like “MyAwesomeMetalBand’s OFFICIAL Email List”. Fans will be able to see this page publicly on the internet, so DON’T name it “Email list full of suckers who signed up at our stupid show”. Go through the steps and set up your group’s administrators and settings. Once you have everything set up, you’re ready to enter email addresses.
On the right side of the page, click on “invite new members”. Type in each member’s email address, separated by a comma. Once you’re done entering emails, type up a nice, professional welcome message. You may want to write this message in google docs so you can save it for later use. Once you invite the members, they will receive an email inviting them to be part of the group. They HAVE to confirm their participation by clicking on the link in the email, so you may want to reference this in your welcome message.
When you use google groups, you’ll want to differentiate your members based on location, so that you’re not sending an email to people in Chicago every time you play Milwaukee. There are two ways to do this. Either create a different group for each city that you play in, or add a tag in the title of each email you send. For example, your title could be “[MyAwesomeMetalBand Email] (Chicago) – Two shows this weekend”. While you’re technically still barraging everyone with emails, those in different areas are able to see if it applies to them immediately.
And if you ARE going to email everyone on your list all the time, please make your emails interesting and/or funny. Tell a story, tell a joke, share pictures – give your fans a reason to read your emails. Remember that you’re trying to connect with your fans on a very personal level.
Now you should have enough internet tools and tricks up your sleeve to quickly and easily manage your band. And guess what? You didn’t spend a dime, all thanks to the power of the internet! Now go out there and take the world by storm! When they ask you how you did it, tell ‘em “two words: Fang VonWrathenstein”. You should also tell them to buy my album. 😉
Are you a band that owes your success to my pearls of wisdom? Do you wish there was some way you could pay me back? Well there is! Buy the Lords of the Trident’s album off AmazonMP3, iTunes, or BandCamp, watch our music videos on YouTube, and visit us online – http://www.LordsOfTheTrident.com.
Want to email me directly? Tell me how good/horrible my advice has been thus far? Email me at LordsOfTheTrident@gmail.com. If you give me an idea for an article, I’ll send you a FREE album as a reward!
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