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The Biz

Published: 2007/01/21
by Allen Ostroy

The Great New Year’s Debate and Taking the Next Step

Happy New Year everyone! I’ve never really had a New Years resolution although my lifestyle and personality certainly allow for many possibilities. I guess if I had to choose one it would be, “Do it better!” However that sounds like a Nike commercial so I guess I’ll just stick with nothing. I was able to see a ton of music in 2006 and look forward to seeing even more in 2007. Did you see music on New Years Eve? Did your band play? How many of you in bands played but wished you hadn’t?

Should a Band Play on New Years Eve?

I was sitting in a bar chatting with a local musician and he was telling me that his band really wanted to do a New Years show but didn’t know where to do it or how to pull it off. They didn’t want to just play at a local bar but didn’t have the following yet to book a special room. He also said that half of his friends already had plans that included seeing another “big” band somewhere else. I suggested that if they really wanted to do a show then to do it in the local bar and make it a blow out for everyone there. Go above and beyond and create something that their friends just couldn’t miss next year. If that didn’t sound appealing then just do something else and not force the New Years thing. Especially in the beginning and especially on New Years Eve it’s better to do something safe that you know will succeed than to force something that may be a bummer.

New Years Eve is a night that every band on the planet wants to play. Ringing in the New Years on stage is special but there is more pressure than normal to deliver “the best show evah” because it’s New Years. If you’re playing in a bar it becomes tough to compete with a flying hot dog or thousands of colored balloons dropped from above. But every once it a while you nail it and you know it! Everyone there, whether it was a crowd of 50, 200, or 5,000, was on the same vibe and the band delivered and it was magic. You wished it would have been a normal night with less competition and your friends checking out Trey in Atlantic City missed it and you can’t believe it! Some of the bands I’ve worked with took New Years off because there was just too much going on and decided unless it was a chance of a lifetime or worth a pile of cash that the night was better spent with family and friends. I gotta respect that attitude of not forcing the show.

But with that said if you’re in a band and you played on New Years Eve and had the show of your life send me the story. I’d love to hear it! If you can deliver a great New Years Eve show you’re half way there on your performance chops in my book! Kudos! Those shows are far and few between and your story will be worth the read. Send them to Keep sending me your music business questions and I’ll do my best to answer them. Let’s make 2007 over the top!

Taking the Next Step as A Band

Hi Allen,

I was checking out the Biz articles on, which I read regularly for tips on the music biz that I still to this day try and make sense out of. I wanted to write to pick your brain on steps for a regional band to grow. We have done fairly well for ourselves, particularly in our Florida market, and Orlando specifically, where we are based. In our 2 year history we have opened for acts such as Rusted Root, Silvertide, Mofro, and Johnny Sketch & The Dirty Notes, released a full length album, put on a NYE Festival with 7 bands and approximately 800 attendees, were named band of the week by High Times, and booked a 2 week U.S. East Coast tour with virtually no outside help. (Myself and the other guitar player handle all of the band management) As you can imagine, there is so much work involved with wearing every hat that it can become tiring and frustrating.

Our musical style is roots rock mixed with reggae groove. We get compared to Little Feat and The Beatles. We are unique in that we sing 4 part vocal harmony, which is virtually non existent in the jam scene today, and our writing style is focused on the song more than it is coming up with ‘jamming vehicles’. We are at a cross roads where we need outside assistance to grow organically and get the word out, as we have reached our limit with our own resources. Could you recommend some logical steps that could help a young band like ours take the next step forward?

I appreciate you taking the time to read this and would welcome any feedback you have to offer. We have online samples of our music on the cdbaby site, and I would be happy to send you a copy of our album if you are interested.

Thanks and Regards,

Andrew Ranieri


I absolutely understand your frustration. You’ve got some things going on so why aren’t the management companies and agencies beating down the door? By the time you get this response they may be. Things happen very fast in this biz and interest in you can turn on a dime (pardon the clich It’s a long fuse but once it’s lit the explosion can be huge and one person’s interest can turn into ten very quickly.

However, with that said my suggestion is patience. I know you don’t want to hear that but you don’t want to just get someone for the sake of getting someone. You want them to want to work for you. If you continue building the foundation of the band and making things happen you will get “noticed.” Being patient and making them come to you gives you:

_ More experience and knowledge about management and booking this will help you to evaluate how your management and agent are doing once you have them. It will also help you understand and appreciate what they are doing. Musicians who don’t do work for themselves typically don’t understand or appreciate what a manager does for them and ends up jumping from management to management which isn’t helpful to their career._

_ More bargaining power when working out the deal between you and them._

_ More choices because as I said earlier when you turn one head you typically turn two or three._

If you don’t want to wait any longer then you can do what you just did and contact management companies. And on that note, please send me a copy of your album. You can also get a hold of the management companies of the bands you are playing with and see if they’ll check you out. You’ve obviously made some contacts so network. When you’re booking a show tell the talent buyer you’re looking and ask for their suggestions. If they give you one then ask if you can use them as a reference. It’s all relationships but organic growth takes time and it appears that you are doing some good things on your own.

I hoped this helped. Please keep in touch!


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