Thursday, September 14, 2006

Starting Out on the Right Foot

OK so this may come as a shock to some of you, but I do know a thing or two about going from a hobbyist to attempting to be a professional Live-PA. Let's emphasize "attempting to be" for the time being and jump right into my second topic here: The progression to a viable Live-PA project. This will probably be similar for most bands out there or other musicians as well, but this is a Live-PA blog so fuck them.

Before you're out there gigging and playing parties and whatnot, there's a ton of cool stuff you want to do. The first is usually think up a cool name to call yourself on stage. Do a thorough search online for the name you want - make sure you use multiple search engines too just in case one misses it. MySpace, Google, Altavista, MSN, Yahoo, and AskJeeves are all good starting points. Have fun with it and try to make it as relevant or irrelevant as you want it. If you want to show that you're a no-bullshit anti-commercialist (or you make snobby IDM noise), just use your real name. However you might have a problem like David Bowie did (his real name is David Jones, and there was already a pretty popular Davy Jones in the Monkees when he was starting out). So if your real name really is David Hasselhoff, you don't have to put a bullet in your brain right away (though you may be tempted), just perform as David H or how about something cool like DAZZLEHOFF.

Just to make sure you get maximum exposure, go to any web hosting company and register your name with a .COM before somebody else does! .COM is the most easily recognizable way to find whatever whacky stuff you're looking for. If I wanted to find Daft Punk, I would probably type into the address bar - sure, they're French and all, but I didn't think to put and for Front 242 I wouldn't put I'd put (unless you're Canadian, they love those .CA websites up North). Build your site later, but register the .COM and the MySpace pages first if you can. When I registered I did it through , but that's just my personal preference.

Next is the legal part which isn't as tricky as it is a pain in the ass. I don't know anything about laws outside the USA, so skip this part if you're from out of town. What I do know is that in order to TRADEMARK your group and legally own the name, you have to make yourself a business first. This involves all sorts of things. First, you have to fill out a legal form (in triplicate - 3 times) that states you're conducting business under an assumed name (your stage name). Then, you file it with your county clerk's office who notorizes it and they keep a copy for themselves. You take the second copy to your bank and open a business account under the assumed name (the third copy is for your records, keep it safe!). Once you have all of that information ready, then you can go to the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office - and follow their instructions for sending in your cool logo and band name. Then you are OFFICIALLY in business and you can claim things on your taxes as business expenses, sue people that use trademarks too closely related to yours, etc etc etc

It's never too early to get these things set up if you're serious about creating live electronic music with the possiblity of leaving your day job someday to do it. Also, these steps aren't too complicated - they don't even involve a lawyer - so it's a good ground to start on. Making yourself a legit business should be as important as learning MIDI implementation and playing your gear live!

Tags: .:Digital Geist Online:.

-Alex K / Digital Geist

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