The Deli's Guide to
BECOMING A ROCKSTAR

 

So you dropped in the Big Apple from who knows what exoteric village/city/country, determined to realize your dream of becoming a rock star, huh? Well, if you don't belong to that category of musicians who already know everybody and happen to be friends with all the best producers, musicians, engineers, managers, promoters, CD manufacturers etc., you might find some help here...

Before we proceed, let us tell you something we feel strongly about:
YOU ARE ABOUT TO START A SMALL BUSINESS
!

CHOOSE YOUR ROUTE TO SUCCESS!
or just start looking for help through our NYC music services list

The
PROMISING INDIE BAND's
route
The
DIY-IST's
route
The
MAJOR LABEL CONTENDER's
route

 

  1. Buy the Musical Equipment you need:
    Some prefer to try the stuff before they buy (i.e they go to standard music stores), while others are happy with reviews
    and prefer to buy online.

  2. Find a Rehearsal Space:
    The three most popular options are:
    A.
    The garage you don't have (hey, we live in NYC!).
    B.
    A space rented by the hour.
    C.
    A studio rented by the month and shared with other bands.

  3. Are you ready for the NYC Venues?
    Getting a gig is easy, unless you really suck. First impressions count, so put a friggin' decent cover on that CD you are handling out. After you have dropped off the CD at the club, don't be afraid to email the promoter to schedule a gig. MOST IMPORTANTLY: make sure you always bring at least 20 paying fans to your gigs, or that venue won't book you again.

  4. You might need a Recording Studio now:
    We all know you don't have money, but before you go for the cheapest option, make sure you're dealing with people who know what they are doing and - in particular - find somebody who seems compatible with (and hopefully digs) your music. Before you enter the studio, read this and this.

  5. Or maybe just a Sound Engineer to Help with Home Recordings:
    Same as above. If you own some basic audio equipment, you can record many things at home - but beware, studios sound better and it's not just about sticking a mic in front of your guitar... sound engineers can improve your recordings a lot.

  6. Producers can help shape your musical creations:
    If your music is REALLY great, you might be able to find a producer available to produce on spec and only charge you for sound engineering. Producers can be very helpful but... do you really need one? More about it here.

 

  1. You obviously need to visit one of the many NYC Computer Stores...
    Ah, the Mac vs PC war! Trust the Deli: they are both good, but cheap PCs don't work well for music.

  2. And Music Stores for your home studio
    DIY guy. You choose a route that is a curse. You are now a slave to audio software and hardware. You will spend the rest of your life craving a new piece of equipment you can't afford. Music stores and online shops love you... so go visit them!

  3. You might want to find Musicians who play what you tell them to play...
    We know you can't afford the paid pros (also called mercenaries by some craigslist-addicted naive idealists). Just look for people who dig your music on craigslist! - advice: be VERY selective: forming a band is like getting married!

  4. When you are ready, get out and play in the NYC Venues
    Playing shows under the radar in smaller venues around town might be a good idea. Booking 200 people venues when you know you won't bring more than 15 friends is conterproductive.

  5. Producers can always help...
    But DIYsts like to have control, so we might be wrong here... If you want more advice on this subject, go here.

  6. Or maybe a Sound Engineer who can make your record sound better.
    Definitely a good idea. Are you sure you can handle every single aspect of your music? A set of well-trained and impartial ears can only help you improve your recordings. Interesting advice here.

 

  1. We suggest you start with some kind of Music Training:
    To grab the attention of Major Labels you need to work on your instrumental skills and/or vocal performance, presence on stage, songwriting skills, posture and whatnot. Rock stars are rarely borne; they are more often made - the earlier you start learning the better.

  2. Look for a Producer:
    You want to record the perfect pop record, right? You need a producer then, no question. You need to work on songs, song structure, and arrangements. A producer can refine your tunes and give it the edge and character that's missing.

  3. And some Pro Musicians who dig your songs:
    Producers can find musicians who will play with you (for a fee). Or you can find them yourself. The trick is that while pro and paid musicians can nail a studio performance in a few takes, free or cheap musicians can take the whole studio time for just one song. So: what is cheaper in the end?

  4. Open Mics are a good training and can be a shortcut to success...
    If you are very very very lucky and very very very talented.

  5. And obviously the classic NYC Venues
    Not every venue is available to get your embarassingly commercial crap (hey, you are trying to get a deal with a major label afterall...) played on their venerable and legendary indie rock stage. Do some research before you submit your material.

AND FOR EVERYBODY:


7. Your Masterpiece is done... Don't forget that your tracks need Mastering:
Mastering improves the quality of your recordings through EQ and Compression. It's the main reason why your recordings never sound even remotely as loud as the ones from commercial CD's.

8. The visual component is important: be friends with Graphic Designers, Photographers, Artists, Stylists...
The guys can be very helpful. You know it, don't ignore it!

9. Without a Website, you don't exist:
Do we really need to tell you this? Stream your songs, show your sexy pictures, get people involved!

10. CD Manufacturers are waiting:
Most of the time, 500 copies are MORE than enough for starters. Don't use slim jewel cases or paper cases without a spine: considering the way CDs are stored, one without a proper spine is bound to be lost in the shuffle (even by DJs who might dig your music).

10b. T-Shirts often sell more than CDs.
Ask the guys from point 8 for advice. They MUST look kewl. The places that manufacture them go under the name "Screen Printing"

11. Internet Services are there to lure you:
Some are useful, some are useless - the choice is yours.

12. You might be interested in finding one of those Band Managers:
These guys open doors and chase opportunities. Finding a good one is as hard as finding a great rock band so... don't complain If you need advice in this regard, go here.

13. Booking Agents can help with touring:
By the way, you should organize you east/west coast tours before you find one. Of course, it's almost impossible to find one if you are not an established artist (managers deal with that in the first stages).

14. Radio Promotion can spread the word beyond NYC:
You should really consider this man. I mean: do you REALLY think the buzz your music will create will take it beyond your neighborhood?

15. Yes, man. It's time to shoot a Video!
Lucky you!

16. Oh No! You need one or two Enterteinment Lawyers!!!
That's no fun!


THE DELI MAGAZINE 2006