Farewell, Fan Landers

Categories: Fan Landers

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Not Jessica Hopper
If you follow either her or Pitchfork on Twitter, you may have already guessed what's coming next: Fan Landers is no more. Its author, Jessica Hopper, has been hired out to greener pastures to tend more copy as Pitchfork's senior editor and editor in chief of its slick, new-ish print product, The Pitchfork Review. And though it pains us to say goodbye to her column, which has run every week in this space at the Voice for well over two years, we couldn't be happier for her.

Every week here she'd help bands sail the rough, unpredictable waters of the music industry with the kind of sage advice we desperately wished we'd had back when we were in a band, which was frequently our only note when she'd turn the column in every Monday -- "I wish there was a resource like this back in the day!" She's helped many an act in her time as Fan, whether she was advising them how to use Twitter, or how to better budget; she always shot straight and pulled no punches. Let's take a look back at some of our favorite Fan Landers columns, shall we?

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Why Fighting Critics of Your Band on Social Media Is a Bad Look

Categories: Fan Landers

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Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, and worked as a publicist, and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her -- confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to internet microfame.

Dear Fan,

Our singer handles the Twitter and tumblr for the band and normally what he posts are just updates about the band, but last week he went off on a local critic that gave our new EP a bad review. He blasted him on Twitter, but the worst part was that he then took the review apart on tumblr, line by line. He didn't ask us or even tell us he was going to and seems to think the writer deserved it because the writer was "unfair." We don't live in a big city, there are only a handful of music writers in town, and this was not a bridge that should have been burnt. Should we apologize? I don't think he'll delete the tweets even if we begged him to. It's super embarrassing.

C.

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How Bands Should (and Shouldn't) Use Twitter

Categories: Fan Landers

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Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her -- confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Dear Fan,

Is it weird to hit up music writers, bands or venues on Twitter with links to your music? I see other bands do this a lot and I'm wondering if this works.

Jarrett

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What's the Best Way to Book College Shows?

Categories: Fan Landers

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Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records and worked as a publicist, and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her -- confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to internet microfame.

Hi, Jessica,

My band Mooner will be releasing our debut album in March 2015, and we're shooting for shows at colleges or in college towns on weekends in the spring, following the release. A site I frequent, indieonthemove.com, sells a subscription to a college booking directory. It appears they keep a bunch of names and emails up to date and just let you have them. I'm curious if this method is worth the money. I've heard that booking college shows is a notoriously difficult task, and I'm not sure if emailing the same people that anyone with $60 will be emailing is worth the time it takes to write the emails. Is it even worth starting this process without a booking professional that already has these connections?

Thanks for your time,
Lee
Singer/songwriter 

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We Offended a Club Owner's Girlfriend -- What Now?

Categories: Fan Landers

fanlanders_headerrrrr.jpg
Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist, and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her -- confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to internet microfame.

Dear Fan,

Last week we were playing a major venue in our hometown where we have just started playing in the last few months. The girlfriend of the guy who owns the venue was hanging out backstage and she was just wasted, bickering with people, making a bit of a scene. She misunderstood what our singer said as he was trying to politely get her out of our dressing room so he could change, and totally freaked out, called him a "rude asshole" and saying we would never play the club again. She has a rep for being a diva. I don't even know if she was sober enough to remember our band name, but I'm worried. Staff of the club were around but the owner wasn't. What do we do? Apologize? Ignore what happened? Call the owner and offer our side of it? We want to keep playing there.

Greg

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Should I Join a Trust-Fund Kid's Band for the Money?

Categories: Fan Landers

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Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, and worked as a publicist, and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her -- confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Dear Fan,
I play drums in a few local bands. One of them is a touring band, but all of them are money-losing operations, which sucks, but none of them are the kind of music that is going to be popular. There's a dude here in [redacted] with an indie rock band. Not terrible, but not really my thing. He's a big fan of one of my bands and asked me if I would join his full time. The thing is, he's a trust-fund kid and playing in his band is a salaried gig. The money is better than my temp job. Everyone in the scene knows his deal (the band's "van" is a Lexus SUV) and so joining the band would be embarrassing. I'd have to quit my other bands, which sucks. Should I do it?
Andrew

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Help! Our Singer Thinks He's Billy Joel! (He's Not)

Categories: Fan Landers

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Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her -- confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Dear Fan,

Without consulting the band our singer has gotten himself a keyboard and started playing it in practice. He's got almost no piano abilities and is winging it, one or two fingers at a time and has a hard time singing while he's playing. That is only part of the problem! The keyboard sounds like super shitty fake piano. He brought in a couple half-baked new songs and wastes a ton of time at our practice tinkering around and trying to figure it out. The songs are all ballads because he can only play and sing OK if he does it super slowly. Our band went from being fun to being horrible and he doesn't even notice because he thinks this keyboard is the best thing to ever happen to us and it is kind of ruining everything.

Kimber


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Songwriting Advice From Successful Songwriters

Categories: Fan Landers

fanlandersheaderrrrr.jpg
Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her -- confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Hi Fan,

I'm a singer songwriter who has recorded a full album of original material with a great producer. The feedback i've been getting has been extremely positive. I am not trying to become a recording artist. I really just want to write and have other people record my songs. How does an unknown songwriter go about finding a manager/ publisher with the rolodex to pitch songs to popular artists?

Thanks,
Baxter


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How Do I Break Into Playing Shows in a Big City?

Categories: Fan Landers

fanlandersheaderrrrr.jpg
Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her -- confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Hi there Fan,

I'm an independent recording artist in Joshua Tree, California, looking to make my debut after a successful Kickstarter project and my album being almost complete. Canvassing Los Angeles for gigs as an opening act is somewhat daunting, especially since my album isn't yet released. Do you have a word of advice on how to get my promo, such as it is, in front of more people?


Thanks,
Dana Larson


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How Should My Band Navigate Our Rising Popularity?

Categories: Fan Landers

fanlanders_headerrrrr.jpg
Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her -- confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Hello Fan!
    
My band just embarked on our first 3 month tour after being together only 7 months. I know it sounds silly but we must have angels because we survived New York. We even obtained a show at a renowned state fair on a sponsored stage...Huge! The band has even garnered a lot of great press. Call it post-tour blues but we just don't know what to do next. We have a lot of genuine fans who all give us the "you will make it" speech but I know how slim the chances are. Our manager also happens to be our producer so we can record at any time. Do we record an album and distribute to stores? I'm the guitar player and composer so do I get with the singer and write more? Do we need to work on our marketing or even try to get in touch with record labels? Festivals? We just need some guidance because as you can tell, I don't even know if I'm asking the right questions. Any help would be awesome!
Theophilus

See also: Help Us Negotiate With the Record Label

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