Learning How To Run Your Band Efficiently and Ethically

So, you’ve decided to start a new band. You’ve already found the right people for the job, decided on your sound, and started rehearsing. You’ve got all your equipment lined up, and now you’re just excited to start gigging. You’ve got venues in mind and you’re already connecting with other similar bands in the area and getting ready to put together some shows, but there’s a little voice in the back of your head reminding you how each of your previous bands descended into chaos and ultimately bit the dust. So what can you do? How can you do things differently this time, to make sure your band succeeds? If you want to be successful, then the most important next step is learning how to run the band professionally.

Here are a few tips for running your band professionally, and smoothly, to ensure its success.

Define roles.
The first thing to do is define roles. Every member of the band should know what’s expected of them to keep the group running smoothly. Utilize each member’s specific skills and talents when choosing the right role for them. Have a math-nerd bassist? She can do the finances. Have an artsy drummer? They can handle the graphic design (or sketch something out to give to a graphic designer on Fiverr). Find a way to harness everyone’s skills so you can operate as one big, awesomely functional mega-tron. Brainstorm together what roles need to be filled and who should do them, as well as what each job entails. No one should be in any confusion regarding the role they play and how you’re each working together toward a common goal.

Choose (or hire) a Band Manager.
Egalitarianism is great, but let’s be honest…one of you is the leader, or at least the most organized one. That person should assume the role of band manager. You can also consider hiring a manager, but it’s best to wait until your band has some real traction. This can happen pretty quickly though, and when it does, it’s a good idea to hand the administrative stuff over to someone else so you can focus on creating beautiful music for the band and your countless admiring fans. Managing your band properly is necessary to be successful. The band manager’s responsibilities (at various levels of success) can include:

a) Scheduling gigs, events, and appointments
b) Promoting or marketing the band
c) Solving disputes/conflicts within the band

And eventually:

d) Hiring other personnel such as touring agents, accountants, lawyers
e) Negotiating contracts with concert promoters, radio stations, and record labels
f)  Dealing with negative publicity

Treat your band like a business (because it is one).
You should consider your band a business. The manager and everybody else within the band should have a business mindset about the band from the very beginning, even when the money isn’t coming in yet. Have a treasurer or accountant (even if it’s one of your band-members). Get together your merch to sell and make sure you actually make a profit on it. Promote yourselves! Reach out to the press and sell tickets to your shows and sell your music online. Set up a Patreon. The sooner your band can support itself, the more time you can spend on it. You don’t need to wait for a recording contract to be a self-supported band these days. Make sure you have financial frameworks in place so that you know where the money is going and what you need to spend it on. Do not wait for money to start pouring in before determining how to handle it. Consider contracts as well, whenever making any deals with outside partners. Connect with sponsors. Act like successful artists would. Determine who owns the music and contractualize it.
A couple of things worth stating in a contract are:

- The amount of money each member should get from the band’s income.
- The amount of money the band should reinvest into its operations.

These are just a few tips for thinking about the management of your band as it grows. You can always ask more successful bands and musicians for their advice as well. Keep learning and adapting as the band grows, and at the very least try to learn from your own past mistakes.

Guest Post by Allie Mazon