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COVID-19: 5 Tips To Keep Your Music & Songwriting Going

COVID-19: 5 Tips To Keep Your Music & Songwriting Going

During this time of quarantine and isolation, how do you keep things going so you can prepare for the future, while providing some grounding as we all make our way to the other side of the curve?

I thought I’d compile a few things that will not only help now, but down the road as well.

Ari Herstand has some great tips in his article “9 Things To Do Now That Your Gigs Are Cancelled Because Of Coronavirus”.

A few more (or expansions) from me:

Live Stream Concerts
You’ve got a few options, so I thought a break-down here would be helpful.

  • Facebook Live
    • Engage with your audience
      • Say hello to commenters by name and reply to their comments and answer their questions while you’re broadcasting.
      • Pin great comments to the top of the chat.  This will encourage others to participate.
    • Broadcast for long periods
      • The longer the better so folks have a chance to invite others and discover that you’re live.  Think 5+ minutes minimum.
      • The Indigo Girls broadcast for 90 minutes until they crashed FB Live with 65K people watching! Wahoo!
    • Tell people ahead of time that you’re doing it
      • Create a graphic for your FB header/cover art and a post graphic
      • Schedule for 3PM live event:
        • Update cover art (2 days prior @ Noon) – make sure your notifications are on so your friends/fans are notified.
        • Every 4 hours create a new post with new information. Are you doing new songs, old songs, favorites, etc.  Ask people to like and share.
        • Create a FB event and be sure to include a “Purchase Tickets” link if you are charging.
      • Consider giving something away during the event.  E.g., special link to a song or songs no one can get anywhere else.
    • Make sure your sound is good
      • There’s nothing worse than bad video AND audio
      • Consider using your PAs output directly into your iPad, mac or phone
    • Include your Pay Pal and Venmo info in the description
      • Doesn’t hurt to comment the info as well
    • Go back and engage with the comments that were created during your concert!
      • Most views will come after you post
      • Reply and comment, thumbs up or hearts – give back some of the love!
  • StageIt
    • Go sign up
      • Once you’ve signed up, you’ll see “Performer Sign Up” in the top nav bar.
      • Click and indicate your performer name.
      • That’s it – you’re done!
    • They’ve got great tools to help you create shows.
Get Your Songwriting Business In Order
If you’re a songwriter or performer, now’s the time to make sure you’re registered with a PRO (Performing Rights Organization), have your copyright in place for any songs you’re releasing, getting your marketing plan done for your album release.

  • No – your internet performances don’t count as a live performance with your PRO if you’re with one already.
  • If you’re not with a PRO, get on it now so that when live performances start again, you’re set up and you know how to use the system to enter your performances.
  • Copyright rates have increased to $65 per submission, and there’s a limit of 10 titles by common writers. E.g., if you’re the only writer on 10 songs, you can submit all 10 for copyright for the $65 fee.  If you’ve got ten different co-writers on 10 songs, those would be considered separate submissions.  Albums are a collection of works.
Create Your Marketing Plan For Gigs
Do you get frustrated when you’ve got to scramble to post FB notifications about upcoming gigs, or get your newsletter out, or put together your paid ad program?

Now’s the time to put a schedule together that you can follow easily down the road. Decide your cadence and actions now. Write them down. Create the plan now so you’ll have simple steps you can follow when we’re all back in the bars.

Ari Herstand’s book “How To Make It In The New Music Business” is great if you’re creating an independent music business for yourself.


Pick A New Genre
No, not forever, just to study and adopt into one of your own songs while we’re all social distancing to diminish COVID-19.  Pick up a Merle Haggard song or three, or maybe five Kris Kristofferson songs, or maybe four blues tunes from Albert King.

Dig into the lyrics, melody and how to play them.  Note what jumps out at you and pick two things to apply to a new song.

You see how this is working, right?  It’s all about the songwriting!


Read A Bio, History Book Or Watch A Documentary About Your Genre
Rediscover the heritage of the genre you’re in, and what can you bring from the past into the present that pays homage?

Build it into a new song.

I’ve been watching, and re-watching, the Ken Burns film Country Music.  It’s the music I grew up with, and introduced me to lyrics from songwriters like Dolly Parton, Haggard and Kristofferson. Lyrics became a passion thanks to those songwriters.

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