Episode 21 – The Street Team

Posted: 19th July 2014 by IreneB in Fans, Marketing & Promotion


The street team is a great promotional tool for indie artists, what is it?

In the vynil, cassettes and CD eras, the street team  (ST) was a group of people that would “take the street” to promote the musicians they liked, either by passing out flyers, put posters up and collect names and addresses from fans so they could send the fanzines to their homes.

Nowadays, even though street team members are still doing some of those things, the main focus of the ST’s promotion strategies are focused online.

How to create a street team?

Well, it is not difficult tho find those followers that support you in every concert or event you do, why don’t you ask them to be your street team? I am sure they would be thrilled!

You still don’t have those kind of fans? Don’t worry about it! I am sure you have some family members or friends that will be more than willing to help you either being your ST o creating it!

What can a street team do?

As I said before, there are several fields that your ST can cover, both online and offline:


– Facebook:  The ST memebers can help administrating the Facebook page, posting different things, inviting people to the page or events, promoting your music on other FB pages (no spam please!)
– Forum:  There are different forums and chats about the different music genres, I suggest your ST members to register in those forums and start talking about you, so people that are into your genre can know about you!
– Twitter: Very well known are retwits and hashtags, but your St can also promote you by trying to make you “trending topic”, even if only in your city or country, or promoting your latest single or next concert by different hashtags like #livemusic, #Barcelona (or the city where you will be playing) #rock (or your genre), #newsingle, etc.
– Radios & Magazines/Blogs: You can ask your ST to contact radios to demand your music, or maybe write the editor of that music blog or website so they may feature you there.


– Post posters: At high schools, colleges, coffee houses, depending on your genre!
– Pass out flyers: Same as posters, they can pass out flyers to your next gig or maybe about your album.
– Word of mouth: As easy as that, they talk about you to friends and other people, new people know about you and… maybe they like you!


You might need a hand at your concerts and I am sure yous ST will be more than willing to help you! Not only you can relax before your gig, but it can also mean they get to be around you backstage, or in the soundcheck. How cool is that for your fans? P

– Help organize: Put some of your promotion flyers around the tables, get your merch ready for sale, etc.
– Merch sales: You’re going to be rocking the house, who’s gonna take care of your merch table? Maybe your ST?
– Ticket sales: Either at or outside of the venue, before or while…
– Counting attendees: Sounds silly, but a lot of venues will pay the artist based on the attendees, so just to make sure the promoter honors his word… have your ST help them count! 😉
– Collecting emails for your newsletter: Pen and notebook, have them go at it!

What do you do to thank them?

It’s obvious that all this free promotion cannot be paid with money, and you have something better than that: your music! There are many ways you can get your ST something special that no other group of fans will have:

– Free music: Send them a coupon they can use to download your album for free, or maybe some unreleased song/songs.

– Special performance: A very private and special performance for your ST, that nobody else has access to.

– Invite them to your studio session: As a special treat, invite them to your studio session.

– Add them to the guest list on your show: This is an obvious one, if they help you for free, why would they have to pay to come see you at your show?

These are just a few ideas of how to get a ST going, hope this helps you! Let me know how it goes!

I have to confess that the first time I stepped into a studio I didn’t know what I was doing, so I didn’t know any of the things I am going to to tell you now. The truth is I was so excited I probably didn’t warm up, I didn’t stop when I should’ve done it, etc. (No, really, I didn’t…) And that is why I don’t ever want you to listen to those recordings… lol!

After that experience I’ve been lucky enough to record in different studios, plus I’ve co-owned one for 4 years when I was living in the States. So I’ve learned from my mistakes and others’.

Here you have a few tips to make the best of your studio session:

– No matter if you’re a singer or a musician, warm up before you show up to the studio: You waste more time than you think warming up your voice, fingers, etc. if you’re already in the studio. It’s better to come ready from home, so you’ll get to the studio and your overall performance will be much better in less time. .

– Practice before you go to the studio: Same idea here, if you know your parts, lyrics, melody, etc. before you show up the session will flow much better. We know there are things that come up at that very moment, creativity wise, but believe me, you’ll feel way more comfortable if you show up with as much knowledge about the song as possible, and that’ll let your mind come up with even better impros!

– Do not force the machine (yourself): As a singer or musician, you are a human being with a body that has its limits. Studio work is a physical and mental work, and your body gets tired, so don’t force it! Know yourself and your limits… If you see that your singing or playing turns worse after a few hours of work, it’s much better to take a break than to keep going. Better to work for two 4 hours sessions than a loooong 8 hour one. Don’t ask your body to run a musical marathon!

– Don’t be late: First off, because I highly doubt the studio owner lets you make up for the wasted time; second off, because you make other people (producer/engineer) wait for you; and finally, because it shows your lack of professionalism.

– Bring everything you need, and double it up: Don’t as the studio owner is he’s got guitar strings, drum heads or extra cables, it is your responsability to bring everything and enything you might need for the session, only you know what works better for you. And have everything ready the day before!

– If you’re sick, cancel: This is a common mistake for  a lot of musicians, specially singers. They think to themselves “it’s just a cold, I’ll pull trough…”. Wrong. Like I mentioned before, a studio session is a physical endeavour, so if your body is not 100%, your performance won’t be either. If you’re sick, please, let the engineers and producers know, apologize for the inconvenience and cancel your session. Trying to go through it being sick won’t help anybody, it’ll only make you waste yours and other people’s time. .

– Don’t bring “extras”: When I talk about extras I mean your family members, friends, etc. Keep it to a minimum. In general, I recommend it to keep the session to yourself, the producer and engineer. If there are more members in your band, you can obviously bring them too if that makes you comfortable. Nobody else is needed, just because the more people, the more nerves, the more nerves the more takes, the more takes the more time… Less people, less problems!

– Treat other’s studio even better than if it was yours: Don’t bring alcoholic beverages, don’t leave things around, take care of the equipment, etc. This is common sense but sometimes we forget. Studios have normally places to hang and eat, drink, chat, etc. Use those spaces for what they’re for.

That’s all folks! Now go kick some a** in your next studio session!!

Collaborations between musicians have always existed: Musicians with sings, composers with lyricists, singers and rappers and even collaborations between a couple of singers or musicians. It’s always an enriching expirience to collaborate with other professionals in the music, since it allows us to learn from each other.

However, just like in every other field in the music industry, there are some things you should have in mind when entering into a collaboration, so the result is not only a beautiful song, but also a great experience for both parties.

Today we’re gonna talk about the different aspects of collaborations. Just as an example: If you collaborate on somebody’s album as a composer or lyricist, or as a singer, what are you entitled to? Should you charge? What is somebody else is participating in YOUR album?

Also, we should think twice about who’s going to collaborate with us, if he or she fits in our mind set, if he or she is the right person, if it’s worth to invest in this collaboration, etc.

– Collaborations between composers/programmers/productores & singers: A very common thing, specially now, since most producers or programmers have their own home studio, so do artists!  So… let’s get to it!

… if you are a producer/programmer/composer and you collaborate with a lyricist: The best thing to do is not to wait to talk about “business”, once the song is done and depending on who has done what. Think about it… If you did the music and he/she wrote the lyrics or came up with a melody, what’s fair? Just open a dialog about it, normally it’s a 50-50% deal, but you might feel the percentages are not really right that way… just talk about it! Once this is done, copyright the song and publish it as agreed. It’s that easy!

… if you are a singer and collaborate with a producer/programmer/composer: If the producer didn’t charge you for his work and you recorded for free there, you should know that, unless agreed and signed differently, HE owns the sound recording and he is in his right to put a price tag to that song, or its license to use it. Sooo… better talk about it than regret it later, sign a small agreement with whatever you talked about and the song you just created together.

– Collaborations between singer and rapper:  Grey area in this practice, so let’s talk about it:

…if a singer or rapper collaborated with you on your record: Unless diferently agreed (with sales royalties, just to name an example), YOU should be paying the collaborator.

…if you collaborate on their record: Then, you should be the one charging them.

My recommendation is, for a better experience, try to pay people that collaborate with you, in advance if at all possible. They are professionals (try for them to be at least! This is your record!) and they have to pay bills as well. Also, no matter what agreement you make, draw a small contract so everything is tied up so there is no missundertanding in the future… we avoid the whole “hear say” part of “you said you would pay me this and that and now you’re NOT”.

Last, but not least, advice on how to choose who you collaborate with:

– First things first, you should like his/her work and it should fit you: Try to surround yourself with people that make good, professional music. Also, think about it, are they inside your genre? does it fit you? You are able to experiment, of course, but don’t just work for the money part… if a genre doesn’t fit you, just don’t do it. Also, do you guys have a good collaboration experience? Sometimes you meet great musicians, but your character just doesn’t fit with theirs, your genres don’t work together, you don’t agree with each other, etc. Just follow your feelings, if it don’t work, it don’t work! No matter how much money is involved…

– Be careful with opportunists: Let’s be real, they DO exist. Be aware of people that ask you to collaborate with you. Are they for real? Are they really feeling your music or are they just trying to take advantage of who you are? Use your common sense to catch the opportunists!

– At the same time, don’t be an opportunist yourself!: Maybe you have the opportunity to do a collaboration with somebody bigger than you but you’re not convinced about them, do you like them as artists? If not, why are you doing this collaboration? For the money? The fame? Is it really worth it? In my case, I preffer to say no to a collaboration with somebody big than to compromise my principles. That is just my prerogative! Who I am! I preffer to do collaborations with people that I consider good artists & adhere to my beliefs. Do you?

Well, I hope this is good advice for you, now go ahead and creat great music with whoever you decide to do it with! :)

Unless you, as an artist, are a producer as well, all artists need the guidance of a professional producer. A person that can give our songs a fresh, new sound, according with our vision or idea of what we want our music to sound like. Here’s a few things an artist should have in mind when looking for a producer (please, pardon my scattered version of this blog in the video…you get the points, right?):

What should you ask yourself?

1) How much money do you have for production? In other words, what is your budget?

-> When looking for a producer, you have to write down your budget, not only for production, but for other expenses that will come with any project (travel expenses, mixing and mastering, studio time…). So write down how much money you’re going to spend for every portion of the expenses. Example: If you have $30,000 for a full album count on leaving $2,000-3,000 out of that for other expenses like travelling or mixing and mastering. Unfortunatelly, I’ve seen too many artists that didn’t have things like these in consideration and once they had their album produced they didn’t have a budget for mixing & mastering or other expenses, so they were never able to release their album, sad, uh? Budget your project!! It is important!! So you know how much money you’re playing with…

Note: Of course, I always recommend paying for your production, because that way you will OWN YOUR MASTERS (Sound Recording) and you will be in control of your music.

2) Are you willing to travel?

-> This comes hand in hand with the first question, but I had to talk about it… Let’s just say you are in Florida and you’ve found a great producer, one that you want to work with and has the exact sound you’re looking for and… he’s right there as far as your budget for production but… He lives in Los Angeles. Are you willing to travel for him? Can you afford your travel expenses? Think about it! Because you might be adding costs that you cannot afford…

3) What’s your direction/genre?

-> Make sure you have an idea of what you would like to do with your music. Have an idea of a direction and definetely know where to fit as far as genre, because you will need that to find the right producer. You don’t want to start approaching ANY producer just because they are good producers, they might not be the right fit for you!!

What should you ask the producer/s?

First things first, you should approach more than one producer, because in case you can’t work with one (because of budget or other common reasons), you’ll always have a wide array of other producers that may work out for you.

1) Who have you worked with?

-> You always want to have references when talking to a producer, who’s he worked with before you? Is he the right fit as far as genre? Make sure you check on them, I know it sounds distrusting, but there is a lot of hearsay in this business, you want to know that whatever artists your producer has worked with have really worked with him and it’s not just bragging without fundament.

2) How much do you cost?

-> You want to make sure you have the right budget for the right producer. Also, if a full album is way too much, talk about EPs, singles or maybe payments? Yep, there are producers that work as a car payment, you can pay them a monthly amount until the full payment is made. Talk about options, if you’re really interested on working with this one producer!

3) Do you mix and master?

-> A lot of producers nowadays mix and master their own projects, but there are others that don’t. Make sure you know what the bottom line is as far as mixing and mastering. If the producer doesn’t mix and master, make sure you have a separate budget for that purpose, you don’t want to find yourself with a full album produced, but no money to get it mixed and mastered!!

4) Do you own a studio?

-> Same happens with studios, some producers work out of their own studio/home studio, others need to rent a studio to do vocals, drums, etc. Ask if you need to pay for studio time and/or you need to find a studio to record at.

5) Do you need an engineer?

-> Most producers nowadays are their own engineer, others are not… just ask, you might need to hire an engineer… you never know!

In conclusion, there are a lot of other questions you can ask, but I think these are the most important ones. Make sure you don’t sign anything before you get all the asking out of the way and… KNOW… If you sign something you cannot go back and try to get out of paying…Make sure you know what you’re signing and make sure you’ve chosen the right producer!!

Thank you for watching my videos and reading my blogs, see you in the next episode!!!

As I’ve been receiving LOTS of emails and questions lately, I thought this would be a nice way to answer to them without having to write a CRAZY long email to each and everyone. Also, I thought this would help, because most of the questions you ask are the same, so this way I answer to all of you at the same time!

This first volume of Q&A I want to dedicate to answer the questions of songwriter Kevin Belna, that took the time to watch ALL of my videos and ask me some questions (a lot actually, which is really cool! I get to do two videos! :D). Here are some of the questions I answer in this volume:

– There is publishing and distribution deals. Is there a possibility that a distributor takes care of some of the advertisement?

– How does a distributor deal with currency change fees?

– I am a songwriter, if I write something, and a producer programs beats to the music… Is he entitled to share copyrights?

– The same with studio musicians, record labels, publishing companies… Are they entitled to copyright shares?

– How does a publishing company split the publishing?