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. 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. Vistaprint.com is a good website for
picking designs and ordering affordable, decent-looking business 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
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.
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 CD's 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 smart phone
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
A pen and notepad
Because sometimes your smart phone 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
Now, you’re ready to leave the house. But don’t forget your instrument!