Remember that time when a certain music producer wrote blog articles that helped upcoming Songwriters, Music Producers, and Recording Artists reach their music goals?
I’m back! That’s right, it’s that time of the year again ladies and gentlemen and I have plenty to share so let’s get right into it.
Let’s play a game. The rules are simple. Start by picking your character below:
The Music Producer:
You’re tired of artists asking you for free beats. You make great demo records to shop for major artists but don’t have many connections and or the right resources to get your music placed. You’re looking for more artists to produce for but are having a tough time finding talented artists in your area.
You have hundreds of songs written. Your phone is full of voice notes. You’re looking to work with established artists but you know how competitive it is to get your songs picked up and released by a major label.
The Recording Artist:
You’ve released EP after EP. You’ve spent money on videos, photo shoots, your wardrobe, tours, but still don’t get the support you’re looking for. Thanks to YouTube and social media, you have fans all around the world and your targeted ads let you know in what region most of your fans are located.
To win this game it’s quite simple. Play the game on a different level!
What do I mean by this?
TRAVEL! Go where the work is. How do you think I got my first platinum-selling record?
Pick a market or country that you want to visit or where you have fans and use the internet along with social media to look up musicians, publishers, managers, and labels in other countries. Reach out to them and introduce yourself. Tell them who you are, what you do, when you plan on visiting, and that you’d like to collaborate/meet with them during your visit.
Don’t know what to say?
Outreach Message Template
Try something as simple as this:
My name is _________, I’m a (Songwriter/Producer/Artist) based in (City Name, State). I checked out your (YouTube/SoundCloud/EP/Single) and I really like your sound!
I’ll be traveling to (Country Name) in (Month) and I’m looking to collaborate with talented musicians like you while I’m there. Is this something you’d be interested in?
Here’s a link to my (SoundCloud/EP/New Single/YouTube):
Highlight a recent music accomplishment that you’re proud of, i.e. your video just hit 10,000 views.
Hope to hear back!
If you’re a recording artist, do the same thing to book meetings with management companies, publishers, and record labels. Be sure to alter the language a little to fit with whomever it is you’re reaching out to.
Pretty simple, right?
After that, buy your ticket!
Money is no excuse for you not traveling. There are plenty of sites that allow you to buy discounted flight tickets to almost anywhere in the world.
Use sites like Google Flights, Scotts Cheap Flights, and SkyScanner to find flights for anywhere around the world for less than $1000. Earlier this year I had a record go double platinum in Finland so I decided to take a trip to Scandinavia. I paid a whopping $375 and flew from Los Angeles to Sweden round-trip! Spent an extra $90 for a round-trip flight from Sweden to Finland.
Not only did I visit an amazing country, I worked with some of the biggest songwriters and artists in Finland. I’m talking multi-platinum award-winning musicians. After that, I flew to Sweden, made some amazing records, and met with the Director of A&R’s at Universal Music Group Publishing – Scandinavia.
I even filmed the entire trip and all of my studio sessions to share my experience with musicians like you!
Watch my 3 part docuseries Rellevant Presents: Scandinavia below:
*Side note* Now’s the time when I mention you should also have your passport. If you don’t have one, it’s easy to get. Just go get your passport photo taken and take the photo to your local post office. Fill out the application, pay the $110-$140 fees, and receive it in the mail in a few weeks.
Where to Stay
The obvious choices are hotels and hostels but this can be expensive and that’s not what we’re here for.
If you use CouchSurfing you may end up spending $0 and making some lifelong friends in the process.
Want to know the secret to keeping this trip under $1,000.00? GO WITH A FRIEND!
Why spend extra money when you could be splitting it with another musician friend. For example, my Scandinavia trip was for 11 days, 5 days in Finland, 4 days in Sweden, and 2 days of traveling.
Guess what I spent total by using AirBnb and splitting the cost…
So if my math serves me correct, I spent:
$375 – Flight round-trip from LA to Sweden and back.
$20 – In-Flight Meal
$90 – Flight round-trip from Sweden to Finland and back.
$223 – Airbnb
$708 – Total with $300 left to spend on food, partying, and transportation.
Did I mention this can all be categorized as a business expense!? Meaning when you file your taxes, you can get the money you spent for this trip reimbursed, making the trip nearly free! To learn how I’ve set up my business to write-off expenses like flights, housing, and meals, click here and I’ll show you step-by-step video instructions.
That leaves $292 to spend on food and transportation. If you really want to do things right, pick an AirBnb that is central to everywhere you plan on going. This will save you money on transportation.
As far as getting around is concerned, it really all depends on what country you visit.
Your first option is walking! This goes hand in hand with what I mentioned about picking an AirBnb that is central to where you’ll be. The closer you stay to the action, the easier it is to get there. Walking will also allow you to experience the city as the locals do and can be quite fun.
Aside from walking, the most economical decision would be to buy a train or bus pass that will last you the length of your trip. Most countries have an established metro system for public transpiration. Buses, subways, trams, even cable cars are all ways a metro pass will help you get around. All you have to do is Google your destination and follow the timetable and directions, just like any GPS.
Your second option would be to use Uber. Although Uber isn’t legal in every country, most countries allow this service and it’s no different than using it here in the United States.
Your final option is taking a taxi but I must warn you, taxis in other countries are known to be expensive. An additional risk is if the country has a native language that you’re unfamiliar with, you may be overcharged.
When traveling out of the country one thing you have to keep in mind is how you’ll communicate with people once you get there. This includes talking, texting, calling, email, etc.
The first thing to consider is if your cell phone is unlocked, which it should be. If it’s not unlocked, simply Google instructions on how to do it, search YouTube on how to or contact your service provider for instructions.
Having your phone unlocked allows you to insert a new SIM card and have service in that country. One of the best parts about buying a new SIM card is you can buy them with prepaid minutes or data plans and they’re usually pretty cheap. Not to mention, outside of the U.S. most stores and restaurants typically have free wifi, just ask for the password.
Now that you've got your phone situated you have a couple of options to send messages and make calls. If you have an iPhone your iMessage will come in very handy. iMessage allows you to send messages to anyone with an iPhone as long as you have wifi access or a SIM card. You can also use FaceTime and FaceTime audio to make calls.
Another option, my favorite option, is using WhatsApp.
WhatsApp is an all in one app, messenger, contact library, phone, camera, and more. As long as the person you're looking to get in contact with has the App, you have multiple ways of doing so.
Send voice messages, pictures, videos, update your story, share links and documents, music and more all through one app. See what I'm getting at? This app is very popular around the world so chances are, most of the people you already know and the people you'll be meeting in other countries has this app.
The second thing to consider is if you're traveling to a country where English is not commonly used. If this is the case, you'll be facing a language barrier but this is a simple obstacle to overcome.
Google Translate is your best friend when it comes to interpreting different languages. Although it would be a great idea to take the initiative and learn some of the basic phrases, words, and questions in the native language, you can get by with only using Google Translate.
This app allows you to type or speak into it and it will translate your words into any language of your choice. You can even have a back and forth conversation where the app will interpret your words and repeat them back to the listener in their language, then do the same for their reply to you.
Pretty cool if you ask me.
Now, you can’t go all the way to a different country and not explore the city to get to know the culture. When it comes to food, entertainment, history, and adventure, Trip Advisor is there to help with all of it.
Trip Advisor is like the Yelp of traveling. People from around the world create an account and rate their experience at places like restaurants, museums, tours, hotels and more. You can find additional information such as prices, hours, and contact information all within the app. You can even go as far planning your itinerary inside the app and share it with others.
Next, you do everything I mentioned above and enjoy yourself. Begin by saving up, even if it's $50 a week, and researching different music markets. Start checking on YouTube and Instagram for musicians in different countries that have a somewhat large following. Follow them, comment on their posts, send them a DM and begin building.
Not everyone will respond to you or follow you back but who cares? It’s a numbers game at the end of the day. The more people you reach out to, the more responses you’ll get back.
I for sure didn’t get to where I’ve gotten by giving minimal effort. If you want to learn how to do what I’ve done and build your music passion into a successful music business, click here and sign up for a FREE Trial of my course “The Untold Music Guidelines.” Stop wasting your time guessing on what to do to get more fans, exposure, and money by learning from my experiences. Sign up today!