Articles by B.D. Lenz

CHATS WITH CATS

The Publicist: Scott Thompson

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My previous column at All About Jazz called, Mind Your Business, covered the aspects of managing your own music career as a DIY jazz artist. Throughout that twelve-part series I covered such topics as booking, promotion, and touring. I've had to learn all of these skills on my own and figured there were artists in the same position as myself that might be interested in what I had learned along the way. Having completed that series, I now look to ...

MIND YOUR BUSINESS

Part 12, Just be nice!

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I've truly had a great time writing these “Mind Your Business" articles and want to thank you if you've been following along. I genuinely hope that people have gotten some useful information and inspiration from them. This will be my final installment in this series as I feel like I've covered everything I wanted to say on these topics. Throughout my columns I hope I've given you the tools to push your career even just a little further. I hope ...

MIND YOUR BUSINESS

Part 11, Be Prepared

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When I was younger I was a Boy Scout. I really enjoyed the experience and learned a lot from doing it. Probably one of the most important lessons I learned from scouting is one the simplest. The Boy Scout “motto" is be prepared and following that has helped in many situations I've faced as a bandleader. It's obviously expected that you'll bring your instrument and musical knowledge to a gig. But I'm going to suggest some other items to bring ...

MIND YOUR BUSINESS

Pt. 10, Video and the Evolution of the Press Kit

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I first started booking gigs for my band during the days of mailing tapes: manually copying cassettes and their inserts, then delivering an armload of clunky packages to the post office. If someone had the ability to burn CDs on their own computer and mail something digital, that was a big deal! Then came the rise of the online press kit and the ability to bypass cranky postal workers. The electronic press kit (EPK) is still relevant and saves a ...

MIND YOUR BUSINESS

Part 9, The Boring (Must Do) Stuff

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When most people think of leading their own band, they imagine the freedom of playing their own music, the adulation of fans, and the exhilaration of touring the world. What they don't often imagine is sitting in an office writing up contracts, requesting deposits, and filling out insurance applications. These dull tasks aren't why musicians started playing in the first place. Yet this columns is about the logistics of running a music business, and sometimes boring paperwork is just as ...

MIND YOUR BUSINESS

Pt. 8, PR for Dummies

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I've often thought to myself: “Miles Davis never had to deal with things like mailing lists, and websites, and posters... and press releases!" While this is no doubt true, we live in a different world than Miles Davis did and we're not Miles Davis. Throughout this column I've tried to stress how, in this modern age, you can manage the entirety of your career all by yourself. An important aspect of any artist's career is Public Relations. PR ...

MIND YOUR BUSINESS

Pt. 7, Touring Logistics

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In my last column, I covered the first step of booking a tour: getting the gigs. And while it's easily the most important part, it's really just the beginning of the road. There are matters including transportation, lodging, gear and PR, amongst others, to still contend with. Logistics isn't the most exciting of topics, especially to an artist. These details might make your eyes glaze over like playing “Giant Steps" in all twelve keys, but if you're managing everything yourself ...

MIND YOUR BUSINESS

Pt. 6, Touring: Booking the Gigs

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Booking a tour for your band might be about the most ambitious (and insane) endeavor you will attempt as a musician. To do it requires that you apply many of the skills that I've covered throughout my columns, including booking, networking, PR and use of social media, as well as some I haven't, such as tour management, driving...and psychotherapy. I've booked many tours for my band throughout the US, UK, and Europe, and if you're doing it all ...

MIND YOUR BUSINESS

Pt. 5, Digital Drink Coasters?

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In the previous installment of this column, I discussed the undertaking of making a record on your own. In particular, how to fund it and how best to spend those funds. Now it's time to talk about what happens once those boxes of CDs have arrived and are cluttering up your basement... Now what? How do you sell these things or will they just become expensive digital drink coasters? Well this is the eternal question and there's no ...

MIND YOUR BUSINESS

Pt. 4, Making Your "Kind of Pepper"

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In this DIY age we find ourselves in an unprecedented situation, where releasing recorded music to the world is available to anyone with a computer and an internet connection. The gatekeepers who have traditionally chosen what the public ought to hear have found a gate that's become really large. That, along with the decline of record sales, means there aren't as many labels in existence and the ones that are rarely take chances on new artists. But, this change in ...

MIND YOUR BUSINESS

Pt. 3, Brick Walls And Railroad Tracks

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I wish someone had warned me about the two biggest press kit photo clichés before I perpetrated both. These are either getting your picture in front of a brick wall or next to railroad tracks. They're easily the most overused backdrops in all band press kits and, like every other offender, I believed I looked thoughtful and profound when in fact I looked like a transient waiting for the 5:30 express. I've seen others where a guy is holding his ...

MIND YOUR BUSINESS

Pt. 2, Booking 101

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“Hi, [insert club name] my name is [insert your name] and my band is amazing. Please book us on [insert date] and pay us [mucho $$]." If it were only that easy. Throughout the years, I've learned that booking gigs is often as exasperating an endeavor as listening to the Kenny G Christmas album. It requires specific strategies depending on the type of gig you're booking (i.e. club vs. festival vs. private event). Previously, I talked about ...


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