Hi people! I have a special treat for you all today… an awesome guest that has an amazing life story and great insight into the “music business.” Read below for all the details, he has given all of us some extremely helpful advice!
Our special guest: Musician/Producer/Engineer/Public Relations/Artist Management
I am SUPER excited for my special guest today! Remember how I mentioned I would be attending a Symphony X show by Chicago, IL a few weeks ago? Well, MUCH to my surprise… I received an email from one of my mailing list subscribers saying that he was working for Symphony X and to stop by and say hello at the show. What a small world it is!!!
Our special guest blogger today is Alexander Ford from World Entertainment Inc. and Knife Fight Media. I think Alex and I instantly hit it off because we both have so many interest and we both like to keep busy with our different projects! This is just a great example of how online marketing and social networking can really open doors for you to meet and interact with new business contacts and friends.
I had a great time rocking out at the show, and Alex graciously agreed to give us all a bit of his background in the music business and some awesome free advice to “up our games” and take our music business success to the next level. Thanks to Alex for being such a great sport and dishing out useful tips! It would be fantastic if all us could learn from his example and remember how awesome it is to share helpful information with our fellow business contacts and musical colleagues… let’s all help each other to succeed in this business!
Without further delay, here is the message from our special guest:
Alex: I wear many hats! First and foremost, I am a Musician/Producer/Engineer, but as most in this industry my own art plays second fiddle to my primary jobs…PR/Management.
I have been a part of the music industry since my conception (my father was a musician/self manager, then several years after my birth he realized he was missing way too much, so he looked into full time band management.), you could say I was born into the business, needless to say after years of trying to find my own path with music, I decided to go to school for Music (I attended The Hart School – University of Hartford, CT , Regents College, London UK, and graduated from Monmouth University with a BA in Music – Business ) after I graduated, I interned at several recording studios and a PR/Marketing company for the US Branch of a European Record Label (A German Music Label, at the time it was considered the largest indie label in the world), after a summer internship, they offered me a job in PR/New Media/Marketing.
I worked at the Marketing company for 4 years, my job was in PR/Marketing, but they gave me the distinction, “Head of New Media”, the job was great, basically it was left to me to monitor and make sure we were involved in every new; social media platform, internet forum, app, and future technology that fit our roster. Which gave me unique access to all the artists we worked with. My time there was great, but the knowledge and experiences I gained working there helped me to do my own branching out through networking and using social media (at that time it was in it’s early days, myspace was number 1, and facebook was just for college..lol..), this proved to be my saving grace. Unfortunately, poor decisions made in Germany caused the company (the German side, which funded our Marketing) to declare Chapter 11, which meant our US company would have to downsize and eventually change its name (to disassociate with the German company’s situation).
In the wake of the former company which stood as reminder that the old business model was over, a new company was forged, this new company would be flexible, focused, social, forward thinking, and above all brand focused. It was at this moment that Knife Fight Media was born! Our goal was for a focused, brand by brand co-venture specializing in the development of marketing and promotional campaigns for frontline and catalog products, along with tour and special events marketing. KFM provides a wide range of media services to clients by expanding the traditional PR model to focus on maximizing sales potential; this is achieved through closely working with artists and managers to enhance their product line and brand image from conception to delivery of the finished package. We offer full distribution options in both the digital and physical marketplace throughout North America. The company has launched successful campaigns across a wide array of genres including rock, metal, blues, jazz, goth and electronic.
Around the same time I started working at the Marketing company, I started interning for my father at his Management Firm, after about a year of answering phones, making copies, and getting coffee, he started to teach me how he runs his firm, with the advise; “this is how I do it, learn it, and then develop your own path from it.” Well after 5+ years of work I am a Manager at World Entertainment Inc, where I manage several clients (God Forbid, Powerglove, VANISHER, Last Perfect Thing) and help with the day to day duties with other Management clients on the roster (Morbid Angel, Kings X, Symphony X, Nile, Unleashed, Kreator, Grip Inc, Dave Lombardo, dUg Pinnick, and Tapping the Vein). Needless to say I have ZERO free time, no one thanks me, and I love every single second of it..:)>
Jenna: I asked Alex if he could give us all some of his personal tips for bands trying to get to the next level and “up their game” so to speak. Here’s his awesome advice! The important thing is to take action on one of these items THIS WEEK! Don’t just read it and move on, use some free industry advice to your advantage!
Alex’s 3 Tips for Bands trying to up their game!
1. Get a Map put a pin on your best market(s), measure out 250 Miles, draw a circle from point to point. Spend as much time as possible developing these scenes with live shows, promotion, meet up’s (social get togethers, acoustic performances, etc), no matter how many fans you have online, it don’t mean shit if you can’t get them out to the shows!
2. Friends are not Fans, Fans are not Friends! This goes for everything, engage your fans and empower them, your friends are good for initial support but don’t count on them to pony up money every time you play, you end up burning bridges and when you really need them, they aren’t there.
3. Focus on your ability to pull off your sound live! You can make the best sounding record in the world, but its gotta translate live.
Jenna: Alex is so awesome that he also wanted to share two super cool apps with us that he uses for his clients and recommends… check it out!
This app gives you access to all Google online apps; Google Drive (Google docs; Word, Excel, ect.)
I use it to keep real time Merch logs and share docs privately with people. Android users I don’t need to tell you about Google docs, but access it however you like the thing is great!
(Jenna: I didn’t find G-Whizz in my app search on my Android, it’s possible it is only for iOS to access Google Docs?)
This app is 10 bucks, but worth every penny! It is a complete inventory system, point of sale device, it takes credit card sales, tracks cash, credit, and email sales. I used it on the Symphony X tour and it was easy to use, once I set it up, and I was dead on the entire tour with my counts and sales. Only problem, it doesn’t work with Square yet, but you can still export your data and use Square on another device.
(Jenna: We will be going over Square in an upcoming newsletter… It is an app that I think EVERYONE should be using!)
Please check out Alex’s work and upcoming projects/tours/etc. on the following websites:
(Jenna: He also had some nice things to say about my newsletter, and I really appreciate that!)
Alex: I subscribed to Rock Socially on a whim, not even really knowing how I got on it. But after the first few email blogs I was hooked! I actually found the tools and tips to be; refreshing, easy to use, and insightful. Like Lefsetz , you don’t preach unless you truly believe it’s the utter truth. Rock Socially delivers,and best of all the knowledge is here if you want it, no pressure, but if you take it…it always makes something easier.
Jenna: Alex, thanks so much for your insightful and amazing advice (and your nice comments about Rock Socially!!) I really appreciate you taking the time to write it all out for my blog. I can’t wait to see what other projects are in store for you in the future, best of luck to you and your many endeavors!
Here’s a pic of Alex and I at the Symphony X show.
This weeks feature is Pastel Jack! Make sure you give them a like on Facebook!
Here is an introduction to the band:
Pastel Jack are a four piece metal band from Hull, in the UK. Since they have been together they have won Battle of the Bands in 2008, played many great shows up and down the country, recorded a 6 track E.P ‘Ghost in the Machine’ and now have their debut album ‘Trojan Horse’ for sale. Stop by their Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Pastel-Jack/7625915799
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