songs for good

Songs for Good: Music as a Power Tool for Civic-Engagement and Community Building

In addition to the COVID-19 outbreak, protests around the world had recently gathered from all parts of the globe to mourn over the ruthless deaths of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Tony McDade, and thousands of others who deserve justice. There’s no questioning this: a lot has happened in the past three months. Despite this, the sense of community & strength has been inspiring and empowering. And within the music community, many people are finding ways to contribute in providing their support the best way they know how to — through music, itself. Gigmor has partnered up with Songs for Good — a nonprofit songwriting contest that focuses on highlighting & amplifying the concept of civic engagement leading up to the 2020 Election (and throughout the forthcoming years, in general). We’ve recently had a virtual chitter-chatter with Co-Creator of the organization, Nate Dewart, about the primary objectives of the platform in addition to the goals he and the rest of his team has in store.

Especially during these crucial times, we see that one of your goals is promoting the idea of “bringing out your voice” in this contest. Let’s get a re-cap on what’s important to you and your organization as well as its mission, vision, and values?

Nate: Absolutely! Our mission is to amplify civic engagement movements in 2020. We wanted to amplify this sense of pro-democracy and encourage youth-led music-engagement movements through music as our main medium. With this songwriting contest, we aim to evaluate these submissions and choose the winning contestant’s piece and get that produced & promoted with all of our partners like Gigmor! We felt like this would serve as a great fuel in getting people to participate — especially during this pivotal moment of the year of this anti-racism awakening that we’re going through. This platform can help serve as a coalition: we build the foundation up, and we get it up and running from there!

How are you currently measuring the success of a submission?

Nate: For our criteria, we’re looking at their submission based on these three criteria: 

1) A piece that’s universal amongst all.

2) Something that can be easily learned.

3) Something that is found inspiring & powerful. 

For as long as music has been around, we’ve seen that it has a long tradition of fueling participation within all of these communities, and we find music as a key element to establishing movements throughout the globe. And you can find all these different types of music in many forms — from grassroots to church gospel and etc. You can use such simple tactics like creating a simple beat with your hands, or building up a simple chant that reflects the thoughts & concerns of a community, and it’s really amazing to see those simple tactics create a ripple effect that bonds people to fight for something that can further unify a group of people. In terms of the submissions revolving around the theme of pro-democracy, we wanted to leave this as an open interpretation for our contestants as they’re creating their pieces. We get these amazing inputs from all of our artists, and we eventually create this as an output for our neighboring organizations. 

Now, we’ve noticed that you’ve extended the deadline for these submissions up to July 15th. Even so, we’re wondering how do you plan on using your platform once the contest ends? Is this something that you and your team are planning on working as time runs forward? 

Nate: We created this contest with the primary focus on the 2020 presidential election; however, we also see this project as something that’s continuously evolving, and even when this contest ends, we plan on disseminating these winning submissions amongst our movement partners, our music/creative partners, and many more platforms within the music & civic-engagement communities that are willing to share these submissions. And especially seeing how songs have so many benefits for people — both formally and informally — we find it important that we share these pieces to bring upon more of an awareness of the current matters at hand in addition to empowering people who feel like they have a lack of representation. 

How are you currently driving traffic on your platform at the moment?

Nate: As mentioned for the previous question, we plan on sharing this with our partners and other platforms that are willing to help us share these submissions; however, we also have a team of incredibly empowering advisors that are promoting this contest, and we also share this across all of our social media platforms: 

facebook.com/songsforgood

https://www.instagram.com/songsforgood2020/

https://www.tiktok.com/@songsforgood

As we build on these social media platforms, we’re also looking for more Review Panelists that would be willing to work alongside us with this mission. We also have a mailing list our subscribers can, well, subscribe to! This mailing list not only provides songwriting updates & inspiration but for any general updates to our 2020 Challenge. 

As we share this through all these mediums, we’re emphasizing the concept of policy-making and we’re working on making that connection through music in order to make that connection with our fellow music organizations in order to move forward with this. We’re focused on making these grassroots connections with the mainstream culture we have today, and we’re reminding people that we’re aiming to bring the music forward with this sense of purpose in these pieces. 

This is all exciting to hear & learn about! Now to dive a little bit more internally: how do you build and develop talent & elevate people to be at their very best? How does the company continue to invest and grow people to be at their very best as you’re promoting this contest together?

Nate: What’s really great about this team is that everyone comes in with shared values. Given that this platform is all voluntary work, it’s really amazing to see this shared drive & set of values amongst the entire team. And with everyone’s shared interests, it’s definitely helped us build this strong connection between us as a team while we’re working together on this one goal — this goal of knowing that something amazing can come out of this and the fact that we all know how purpose-driven music can be and how it connects people on a deeper scale.

And lastly, we wanted to leave room for anything you would like to add? Every piece of input is highly valued, and we want to thank you for the time to do a deep-dive on SOG!

Nate: I just want to mention how I always find it intriguing that music can be constructed in a variety of ways, yet it can drive towards one specific design or one specific reason. I think this platform is a great way to re-invigorate all these styles of music as a means of community-building and putting a powerful sense of intention behind it. And thanks for this chat! Highly enjoyed it. 

Do you have any thoughts, suggestions, or comments you would like to share with Gigmor or with Songs For Good? What do you think about music being used as a vehicle to drive this passion for community-building? Leave your comments and question down below!

From the archive: A Quick Dive Into Facebook Live

marketing ideas

3 Virus-Proof Marketing Ideas

Guest blog post by Leonard Patterson, Indie Band Coach

Here’s the truth: No one knows when the pandemic will end, or what the word “end” even means. Anything published or announced is an estimated guess at best. And that’s not just effecting performers like musicians, DJ’s, and bands.

According to a survey conducted by the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), a recently established advocacy group for music venue owners and promoters: “90 percent of independent venue owners, promoters and bookers say that they will have to close permanently within the next few months, if they can’t get an infusion of targeted government funding.” (npr.org)

But even if you can’t plan your calendar, book gigs, or plan tours, there are still solid marketing ideas you can be implementing right now to grow your fanbase. I believe it was Tony Robbins that said “energy flows where attention goes”, and if we continue to focus on what we don’t have — gigs, control, stages, normalcy — that’s where our energy will start and end.

So let’s focus on what we do have control over and put plans in place that don’t depend on being face to face. Here are a few marketing ideas to help you accomplish that.

  1. Deliver Recurring Content

Create a recurring series to stay connected with your non-local fans. Seriously, we have an opportunity to “become the content not the commercial”. How can you show up and provide value to your fans? Whether it’s a consistent concert series, weekly hangout, trivia post, etc. 

Also, consider this: you don’t have to be everywhere. Not only do you have access to all of the tools you need to connect with fans, but any one of the social platforms has enough of your target audience to fuel and fund your passion.

Want tips on how to create the best recurring content – download the free checklist here and check out the blog post: ++ How to Get More Fans Tuned Into Your Band

  1. Connect Via Email

Start or revive your email list. I know it seems like extra work, but having an email list gives you an opportunity to connect with your fanbase. It doesn’t have to be a lengthy, elaborate, polished newsletter either. In fact, it’s probably better if it isn’t. 

Send a weekly email to say “hey”, share a recent story, and link to your most recent social media post. The truth is sharing through social media is “one to many” dynamic where email is “one to one”. Plus you actually own your email list. If Facebook decides to change their algorithm or if

Instagram crashes, you can still communicate with your audience via the email address by which they opted in to your list.

I’ve used several email providers over the years but always seem to end up back at Mailchimp. I would encourage you to sign up for a free trial or two and see which platform works best for you.

  1. Launch a Facebook Group 

Consider launching or revitalizing a Facebook Group around your music/band or even you as a brand. It definitely takes work to maintain, but is a free way for you to start a community geared around you and your art. 

Plus, if you haven’t seen an ad or even a commercial, Facebook is all-in on groups. They’re rolling out new features to enable people to communicate more easily, including the ability to connect via Zoom style rooms right from within groups.

marketing ideas

This could be a really painless way to stay connected with fans inside your group without the need for streaming software or cumbersome sign ups. Both group admins and members will be able to create dedicated group Rooms from the Groups composer, and be able to host video chats of up to 50 people at a time.

These are just a few marketing ideas you can start today that are essentially “virus-proof” in that you can implement them regardless of that the current #StayAtHome orders are at the time.

What things have you started since “lockdown” that you plan to continue? Let us know in the comments and stay safe out there!

———————

Leonard Patterson is a former front-man for a 6-figure party band, a booking agent with 1000’s of shows under his belt, and a certified digital marketer. He launched Indie Band Coach with a mission to help indie bands create, curate, and automate their social media to share their music and get better gigs. Subscribe to the Indie Band Coach YouTube Channel and get more tools, tips, and training to help you on your journey. 

content share social media

5 Types of Content You Can Easily Share on Social Media

Guest post by Leonard Patterson, Indie Band Coach

5 TYPES OF CONTENT YOU CAN SHARE ON SOCIAL MEDIA AND EXAMPLES OF ACCOUNTS THAT USE THEM

Question for you! I know it may have been a while considering the whole stay at home season we’re in, but think back to when was the last time you invited someone over to your place?

Chances are you probably cleaned up a bit before they got there because you wanted to make a good impression — swept the floor, washed the dishes, cleaned the bathroom… you know, the usual.

Now, let’s look at your social media as your online place. How many people are visiting you on social media and what impression are they getting? Right?

So before you randomly spend more money on Facebook ads (i.e. inviting people over), let’s take time to make a plan regarding what they’ll see when they get there! Trust me, I’m just as guilty as the next Facebook Page admin, but it all goes into that initial first impression and will help you build your brand!

Here are FIVE types of content you can share on social media! Use this guide to find your ideal “social mix” online and be sure to follow the accounts that do them well.

📺 ENTERTAINING CONTENT

Your audience wants to feel something — anything. Especially with everything going on right now. So depending on your personality, this could take on humor, action, performances, etc. It’s all up to you but this is one of the best ways to keep your fans tuned in!

Entertaining Examples

  • Behind the scenes pics and videos
  • Tik Tok videos and challenges
  • Music videos and livestreams

This Life. We Lead. is an example of a fun, entertaining artist with great content AND great music. He’s a teacher by day and hip hop artist by night and often uses both as a backdrop for his Instagram / Tik Tok skits. I could have also easily placed him in the inspiring category as well for his recent release of “Black Lives”.

++ Turn Your Audio Into Visuals with the Wavve App

Gigmor Live on Twitch Another example of entertaining content is of course Gigmor. The team has taken an obviously non-ideal situation (lack of booking live shows) and turned it into a weekly series for artists to share their talents. Not only do they host Gigmor artists every week, but host other channel’s videos when they’re not live on air themselves. 

💯 INSPIRING CONTENT

Of course, you can randomly post interesting quotes for #MondayMotivation, but is that really enhancing your message? If you take some time to curate content that means something to you and you can add your own value, maybe it is?

Inspiring Examples

Think about all types of inspiring content your audience might enjoy, like:

  • Your music
  • Resources to help your audience
  • Motivational passages or videos
  • Links to uplifting stories

Rock/Star Advocate I’m so happy to have gone to the DIY Musician Conference a couple of years ago. I had a chance to attend a session with Suzi Paulinski, owner of the Rock/Star Advocate and one of the truly inspiring accounts on the interwebs. Her whole focus is sharing tips and easy-to-apply resources to help artists focus on their career.

📚 EDUCATIONAL

There are some great accounts sharing educational content for musicians, but what kinds of things can you share as a musician that would help educate your fans?

++ June’s Virtual Courses: Classes & Lessons to Power Up Your Musicianship

Educational Examples

  • How-to videos on your side hustle
  • Local and/or social causes
  • Music industry news
  • Top 10 Lists on interesting topics
  • Informational posts about a passion of yours — cooking, sports, day job, etc.

Ellen Allard is an award-winning children’s composer who also happens to be passionate about health and gluten-free living. When she’s not composing, chances are she’s cooking which she turns into educational recipes and resources for her fans!

✅ Content Tip: Think of it like this – how would you answer the following question: “What’s a topic you could talk about for 30 minutes with absolutely no prep time?”

If you have a couple of topics that pop in your head that get you excited, they just might be great contenders for content your audience might enjoy!

Cherries On Top: One of the educational resources for musicians that you should definitely visit is Cherries On Top! Amy shares amazing tips on growing your fanbase, creating content and branding your band!

Other musician resources you should check out…

  • @artistcollect – one of the best educational resources for musicians to help you with marketing, management, and of course, your music
  • @indepreneur – these guys & gals are serious about helping you grow and monetize your fanbase
  • @popofcolouragency – Clarence helps artists every day with great content and offers services like awesome artist bios

📲 ENGAGING CONTENT

When it comes to engaging type of posts, what we’re really talking about is the structure. So, an engaging post is any type of post that encourages fans to interact. One thing to be careful of here though, is the difference between “engagement” and “engagement baiting.” Social platforms are cracking down more and more on posts that ask viewers to comment a specific word or phrase or ask for specific responses.

✅  Content Tip: Think about engagement as conversation. What are some questions you might ask someone in real life? What are some genuine things you might like to know from your audience? Is there a way to weave it into a story or anecdote?

Engagement Examples

  • Open/closed topical questions (see below)
  • Opinion polls — most if not all social channels have built-in poll features
  • Caption this type posts
  • Choose between two options (“this or that”)
  • Instagram Stories stickers – polls, questions, challenge, swipe, ask me anything, etc.
content share social media

Sharon Lia Band uses a great example of a combo type post. 

You can see the “topic” is actually about Pat Benatar, but it’s also talking about inspiration while also encouraging interaction. This post was a decent success for the band as it generated approximately 20 comments from fans.

💰 PROMOTIONAL CONTENT

Over the years, as I’ve helped 100s of bands book shows, the promotional content seems to be the go-to, fallback type post — “come to my gig”, or “tune in to my gig” might be more appropriate at the moment. 

“A closed mouth never gets fed.” — Unknown

While you don’t want to bombard your audience with straight promo posts, you also can’t be so shy that you never ask them to buy anything or support you. Instead, use a mix of the content we’ve shared here and mix up the type of promotions you’re doing so it doesn’t get to be redundant.

Promotional Examples

Don’t be afraid to give direct calls to action to encourage your audience to:

  • attend shows
  • viewing livestreams
  • buying merch
  • joining email list
  • following you on social
  • Buy. your. music!!!

Dee Rivers Heminway does a Radio Show where she interviews talented musicians and artists. She’s always got great guests and promotes her livestreams on her channels. 

content share social media

Something to note is that these are tools, not rules. You may or may not have content that fits nicely into one of these categories, and that’s perfectly fine. This is all about finding your “social mix” and “cleaning up” before your fans come over!

Other blog posts that might be helpful…

++ How to Succeed on Social Media with Consistency

++ How to Start Streaming

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Leonard Patterson is a former front-man for a 6-figure party band, a booking agent with 1000’s of shows under his belt, and a certified digital marketer. He launched Indie Band Coach with a mission to help indie bands create, curate, and automate their social media to share their music and get better gigs. Subscribe to the Indie Band Coach YouTube Channel and get more tools, tips, and training to help you on your journey. 

Turn Your Audio Into Visuals With The Wavve App

Guest post by Leonard Patterson, originally published on IndieBandCoach.com

If there’s one thing that’s needed right now, it’s for artists to be able to express themselves. If we’re going to turn this “mess” into a “message”, it’s going to involve music. One of the ways I like to repurpose content is with the Wavve app, so I wanted to introduce it to you. I wrote a blog post about it in 2019 and updated it earlier this year.

So whether you are writing a protest song, sharing your message on a podcast, or starting a new YouTube series to express your opinion, I encourage you to get creative and get your message out there. A lot of musicians are out of work and there’s no telling when (if ever) things will get back to normal.

++ Help Gigmor Find Musicians Paying Gigs

WAVVE MAKES IT EASY FOR INDIE ARTISTS TO SHARE THEIR MUSIC AND THEIR MESSAGE BY TURNING SONGS INTO SOCIAL VIDEOS FOR INSTAGRAM, FACEBOOK, YOUTUBE, & MORE.

This post contains affiliate links for any paid plans on Wavve. Indie Band Coach may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Video: It’s No Longer Just “Nice to Have”…

As an Indie band or musician, promoting yourself and your music on social media can feel like an uphill battle. Social media is becoming an ever increasing noisy place and it takes great content to stand out.

One of the best ways to connect with your fans on social media is with video. All of the major social media platforms are turning their algorithms to promote video content because that’s what your fans are watching. In fact, Facebook alone generates 8 billion video views on average per day (Social Media Today) and native videos on the platform have 10 times higher reach compared to YouTube links (SocialBakers.com). 

Unfortunately, most indie bands are on a budget which means things like professional music videos and promo videos seem too far out of reach. But having videos as part of your music marketing is no longer something that’s just “nice to have”, it’s a must.

Even if you’re an iMovie pro, uploading video files, overlaying your music, and editing it all together can be a time-consuming task. That’s why I’m always looking for innovative ways to help you promote and share your music and livestreams online.

And the good news? We came across an awesome online platform called Wavve which will help you quickly ‘up’ your video content game and is a great tool for livestreaming for musicians.

Social media graphics, video, and promotional content just got easier. If you are an indie musician trying to grow your fanbase and promote your music, this tool can help you make it look like a million bucks.

What’s Wavve?

Wavve is a web application that helps you easily combine a clip of your favorite track with an image to create animated videos formatted for social media. Wavve offers a library of waveform animations to choose from when designing your video that “move” with the audio so fans will know it’s a video that has sound.

Check out how DTOWN used his album artwork and new single to create an Instagram video with Wavve.

Are you not on Instagram yet? No worries, your Wavve account comes with options designed for all social media.

++ How to Succeed on Social Media with Consistency

Within Wavve you’ll upload your content into “card templates” which determine exactly what your video will look like. You can save these templates to your account and update/edit them anytime you want:

  • Horizontal: This video size is perfect for Youtube & Twitter. 
  • Square: Great for Instagram & Facebook
  • Vertical: Perfect for Instagram Stories & Snapchat

Once you select a size, all you need to do is upload an image and add the animated sound wave (8 styles to choose from). You can adjust the size and shape of the sound wave, change its color and place it anywhere on the image you’d like. Wavve also allows you to add additional text directly on the image.

Here’s a quick video on setting up your first Wavve social video…

Get started and setup your account here

Once your template is set up how you want it you simply upload your track, trim it down, and Wavve generates the .mp4 video. You’re only about 5 minutes from a promo video for your next single that you can share with your fans!

++ HOW TO GET MORE FANS TUNED IN TO YOUR BAND

Here’s just a little design inspiration from music makers using Wavve:



Country artist Stoney LaRue used Wavve to help promote some of his Summer tour dates.
Including a soundwave graphic on the post helped his fanbase know they could also hear his track. Even if you have a blank image, you can still add text and even captions within Wavve.


Toronto-based DJ/Producers Funk X Rish used Wavve to premiere their new mix on Instagram.
Adding the animation on top of your album art would be a great way to keep your branding while also introducing clips from your release.


LitSounds is a group of music creators in the NYC area. They used one of the new soundwave animations to highlight their latest drum loops.
Take advantage of the new features in Wavve to create quote graphics or even string several videos together to make a short lyric video.

If there’s any doubt that your fanbase is listening and watching, consider this: More video content is uploaded in 30 days than the major U.S. television networks have created in 30 years (Source: WordStream).

Some of the newer features included in your Wavve.co account include full customizable progress animations. Check out this video from the Wavve.co YouTube channel that shows you the various uses and styles of progress animations.

Get Wavve

In my role as a booking agent and band manager, one of the most frustrating things I notice is that a lot of really great, hard-working musicians have very little music on their social sites. 

Pictures are great and stories are awesome. But whether it’s your next single, an upcoming tour, or your new Spotify playlist, your fans are begging for you to make video and livestreaming a consistent part of your music marketing.

Wavve is free to try by signing up here. You’ll be able to upgrade when you want to start creating longer videos and posting more content per month.

More from the Gigmor Blog:

++ How To Start Streaming

++ Product Update: Gig Booking Calendar

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Leonard Patterson is a former front-man for a 6-figure party band, a booking agent with 1000’s of shows under his belt, and a certified digital marketer. He launched Indie Band Coach with a mission to help indie bands create, curate, and automate their social media to share their music and get better gigs. Subscribe to the Indie Band Coach YouTube Channel and get more tools, tips, and training to help you on your journey. 

June’s Virtual Courses: Classes & Lessons to Power Up Your Musicianship

Over the past two months, COVID-19 has affected the music industry with a ruthless amount of hits — pushing the entire music community to quickly adapt to what we now call the New Normal. Despite these abrupt changes, it hasn’t stopped musicians and event professionals from concocting a large array of innovative ideas to continue performing, entertaining, connecting, and feeling. Wendy Parr, the founder of The Artist’s Circle and one of the industry’s top artistic/vocal coaches with over 28 years of experience addressing vocal creativity & exercises, has curated 4 classes and crash courses to help fellow musicians hone in on their skills for the upcoming month.

Want to focus on singing, technique, style, performance, and songwriting? — Scheduled for this upcoming Monday on June 1st at 11 AM PST: The Artist’s Toolbox workshop is a 1hr. Q&A session that addresses any songwriting questions any musician/music lover may have. This workshop focuses on not only providing practical tools for developing songs, a style, a sound, and a specific craft, but it also allows other members of the music community to virtually connect with each other during the shelter-in-place period. Registration for the class can be found here: “The Artist’s Toolbox — Songwriter Edition” Q&A Workshop

Or are you trying to develop your authentic style and keep that “passionate spark” ablaze? — On June 20th going from 10 AM-12 PM PST: Beyond the Notes is an interactive, 2-hour-long workshop that’ll dive deeper into utilizing your music and voice as a vehicle into enhancing your authentic self & expression with specific activities and vocal tools that’ll help you empower your personality to its fullest. More information on the course can be found here: “Beyond the Notes” Workshop

Does taking a 6-week-long course sound like a better option for you to hone in on your authentic self? — Starting on June 26th with every Tuesday up till July 28th: The Ride dives into the nitty-gritty details, tips, and hacks on creating your authentic brand and give you access to tangible tools that’ll ensure your artistic legacy. Interested in registering? You can find more information in this link, and if you think you’re up for the ultimate challenge, make your request via email right here. 

Do you just want to take a mental-health day and practice self-love for yourself? — featuring Chris Tai Melodista, a Meditation & Movement Coach: The Practice of Self Love is scheduled to be on Saturday, June 27th starting at 11AM PST. This workshop will dive deeper into using specific tactics that’ll help boost your confidence, mind, and focus that is essential to accessing your authenticity & clarity — all for the sake of growing your creativity and business. More information can be found in this link.
We highly encourage you to register for any of these courses! Just because we’re stuck at home, it doesn’t mean we should stop expressing ourselves to our fullest…and it surely doesn’t mean that we should keep it in our own bedroom. Do you have any questions regarding the courses? Do you have other innovative ideas that you’d like to share so that we can keep a lookout in the future? What are some other concepts/techniques/subjects we can focus on that’ll help you develop your musicianship? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

More resources for indie bands and musicians