Earlier this week, Hoag responded to a fan’s email with some pretty insightful pointers about how Full Service approaches making our way in this music world. Here is the email exchange. Later, when I complimented Hoag on his response, he said he just wrote what he thought I would write since he didn’t think I saw the message. The made me think that maybe he and I should switch roles for a while! Nice work, Hoagman – BS

Laura’s Email:

I just wondered if yall would be cool with befriending me and giving me a few pointers regarding the music industry. I am helping my best friend with promoting his band Gypsy Devil. And im completely new to this stuff but have been doing a lot of research. Just wanted to reach out and give it a shot. I know yall have been around for a while and being from austin yall were my first choice to ask advice. :)maybe even if yall could help me with listening to a couple of their songs and givinge feedback…im having a hard time writing the bio. I would appreciate yalls opinion.

Hoag’s Reply:

I’m not sure about reverbnation. i don’t know that anyone uses that anymore. as far as i’m concerned it’s youtube, facebook, itunes, and spotify for bands.

very cool that you are helping your friends’ band! most important thing with a bio is making it have flavor. avoid the words “unique”, “fresh”, and “blend”. Bios are so tough. Used mostly for press releases that–if you’re unsigned–get ignored anyway, or for booking purposes. Most important thing to get booked (if you’re just starting), is having music easily available on your website for clubs to listen to, that way they can match you with other bands on a bill at a stylistic level.

best piece of advice i could offer (and this is hoag, so bonesaw may also have wisdom for you) is to do shit that other bands don’t do. Look at what bands do that you think is annoying and go the other direction. Also, interact on a real level with fans. No spamming, no mass-stuff. It’s gotta be personal. It’s a long slow burn. Also, no time limits on “making it”, you do it forever, and you don’t give a fuck about money, at first at least. You give a fuck about making fans, and turning those fans into friends that would die for you cause that’s what you try to do for them.

Spend as much time being creative with your marketing as you do being creative with your music.

Use social media in ways that others haven’t figured out yet, or are too lazy to follow through on. Shit like “UStream” for instance.

Make awesome merchandise that is comfortable and will sell. Keep designs simple and catchy. This is a great source of income. Download “square” app to sell merch via credit card. Use “etsy.com” to sell your merch online.

Don’t play covers that everyone has heard other bands cover.

Not sure how much of this was needed or what if any applies to Gypsy Devils, but hope it helps! And what do we know, anyway? What works for us might not be right for another.

Hope to see you soon!

–Hoagie

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