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Career Advice

What Musicians Should Carry at all Times

What Musicians Should Carry at all Times
A Guest Post by

As a working indie musician, you’re frequently on the go. But even when you aren’t gigging and maybe enjoying some down time, you’re never really off the clock, because you never know who you’re going to run into. When you work for yourself doing what you love it means you should always be prepared to switch into networking mode at any time, be it in an airport lounge Bangkok, or hanging out in a club down the street. There are some things you should never leave home without.

An over-the-shoulder bag
You’ll need a comfortable, nice bag to sling over your shoulder, in order to carry all the things listed below.

Music Distribution Business cards
These aren’t to give out to fans but to exchange with music biz people that you’re networking with for gigs, etc. When someone hands you a business card, you should be able to hand yours back. It’s proper etiquette. The cards should have your full contact info, including a mailing address and a website. is a good website for picking designs and ordering affordable, decent-looking business cards.

Promo cards 
These are postcard-sized fliers to hand out to fans. Don’t put your phone number or a street address on these, just a promo pic, your website and social networking sites, along with any upcoming releases and/or gigs.

Press kit
When you run into a member of the press, a radio personality or promoter who may be interested in your act, you should have a press kit handy in your bag. You can just hand it off (ask permission first) instead of mailing it. If all you have is an electronic press kit (EPK), include a link to it on your business card. Or, ask for an email address to email them your EPK.

Thumb drives
It’s becoming more common for acts to put press kits and mp3s on thumbnail drives. These should be given to industry professionals, not the general public.

Always keep a handful of your CDs on hand to give out to industry folks, sell to fans or drop off for consignment sales should you happen upon a cool, indie-friendly record store.

You’re a musician, so you should always be checking out new music wherever you go. Having a good pair of earphones allows you to be polite and keep the music to yourself in public spaces and cramped quarters with others, such as in an airplane cabin.

A smartphone
If your phone is smart, it makes your professional life a lot easier. Having access to the world of apps, the internet and other features when you’re on the road is immensely helpful to musicians. For example, let’s say you’re onstage, the electronic tuner dies and you can’t tune by ear. There’s an app for that. In fact, there are many tuning apps for that.

A pen and notepad
Because sometimes your smartphone dies and you need to write something important down without powering something else up.

An extra cord/cable/guitar picks
It could be a power cord for a keyboard or a guitar cable. Or picks. These are things that often go bad or get lost and can easily fit in a knapsack.

Now, you’re ready to leave the house. But don’t forget your instrument!

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