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The Weekly Batch

Musicians are expected to be everywhere these days. We’re interacting on social networks, following up on blog comments, keeping our profiles on countless music sites up to date, and checking our stats and analytics with a variety of online tools. It’s enough to make a lifelong indie yearn for a label – one with a marketing department!

Most of these items don’t need to be addressed daily, but they do need to be performed on a regular basis. Tasks that have to be done on a given day, I schedule. Everything else is relegated to The Weekly Batch™ (note: not actually trademarked). I tackle the entire list as a single to-do item on Friday afternoons, when I find it hard to do much of anything else.

Here’s my latest iteration:

1. File Maintenance

  • Archive completed projects to my FTP server
  • Empty my downloads folder
  • Clean out my Dropbox

2. Mailing List

Export new email addresses from Bandcamp, Earbits, Jango (now called Radio Airplay), ReverbNation, and NoiseTrade, and import them to FanBridge.

To expedite the process, I have the relevant pages of each site bookmarked in a folder. When it’s time to update my mailing list, I select “open in tabs” and work through them sequentially.

3. Weekly Bookmarks

The main event: a 20+ item folder of bookmarks cataloguing my online presence. A to-do list within a to-do list within a to-do list!

Artist Profiles

  • Last.fm – reply to shouts, accept friend requests, check play stats
  • Hitlantis – watch my bubble grow, monitor wall
  • OurStage – enter monthly channel competition
  • Grooveshark – check play stats, reply to comments
  • YouTube – check play stats, reply to comments
  • Jango (Radio Airplay) – allocate play credits, read comments
  • Facebook - scan for posts by others I may have missed

Analytics

  • Next Big Sound – a quick glance at my stats
  • Musicmetric – same, particularly global rank
  • Klout – check for new perks (I recently got free $300 headphones!)
  • TwitterCounter – a clean view of my Twitter growth
  • Google Analytics – see how people arrive at my sites
  • Songtrust – check for royalty payments

Advertising

  • Facebook Ads – check the performance of promoted posts
  • Twitter Ads – happily paying $0.01 per new follower
  • Vagex – check referral credits (haven’t used any on my videos since my article)
  • Amazon Seller Central – review my inventory and pricing
  • ReverbNation Opportunities – review and submit my EPK

Blog Posts

Whether I comment on a running site or the Ableton forums, I bookmark each post to check for replies. If it’s time-sensitive, I’ll subscribe to instant notifications. Otherwise, it can wait until Friday.

4. Evernote

Place any new clippings in their proper notebook. Evernote is my filing cabinet for basically everything: articles, receipts, project notes, contracts, manuals, song ideas, etc.

5. Financial

Review and categorize the week’s financial transactions in Mint.

6. Weekly Review

The framework around which the entire batch was built: a simplified knock-off of a key element of David Allen’s Getting Things Done.

  • Process “In” Items – sort through loose papers and notes for to-dos
  • Calendar – scan current and next weeks for to-dos
  • Gmail Labels – review labeled emails (Awaiting Reply, To Do, Confirmations, Unpaid Invoices)
  • Mastering Projects – update my master list (pun alert) of mastering projects
  • Review Someday/Maybe List – when in doubt, delete
  • Plan Next Week – figure out what to do with my life, in 7-day increments

You're all done.

If you choose to roll your own, it will obviously look quite different from mine. But musician or not, we’ve all got files to back up, sites to check in on, financial transactions to review, and goals to define.

As overwhelming as this list appears on the screen, it usually takes me about 40 minutes. I don’t always explore every link, but the beauty of the system is that I won’t forget to.

What do you think? Is this something you’d consider trying for yourself? Would a daily or monthly batch make more sense? Let me know in the comments!

Photo by Stacy Spensly

24 thoughts on “The Weekly Batch”

  1. I don't believe that musicians need to be 'everywhere' online these days. Most music sites/blogs and networks are visited by musicians themselves only, while the public ignores them all. Pick the most important ones and life becomes a lot easier.

  2. It's amazing how much of this has to be done, Brian, merely to keep one's head above water. In any case, I'd like to echo what Pieter said. I'm convinced that many of the music sites are a waste of time and only visited by indie musicians trying to win fans. The average Joe looks for music on YouTube, if he looks for it at all. Not sure what the solution is, but I think a long-term strategy has to be built around finding people where they are (Facebook, YouTube), not where we imagine they are (ReverbNation, etc.) and enticing them to listen to our music.

  3. Absolutely! To be fair though, I've only got 7 sites in my artist profile bookmarks, two of which are Facebook and YouTube. As for the others…

    We're all on Last.fm whether we like it or not, and I use it to track my personal play stats as well. I get a lot of traction on Hitlantis for unknown reasons, so I make a point of checking in. I've won an OurStage channel competition before, so taking two minutes a month to re-enter the contest isn't a total waste. I reply to comments on Grooveshark, so obviously in that case I'm "finding people where they are." Last but not least, I get several email signups a week through Jango, so I want to keep my credits allocated.

    So I feel justified in including them all, but if I weren't already on them, or weren't seeing results, I'd cut them in a heartbeat.

  4. Of course, sometimes — like today — I feel the exact opposite. If being everywhere means winning a new fan here and a new fan there, why wouldn't we want to be everywhere? It takes time and organization and discipline, but the alternative is to wallow in obscurity.

    !?!?

  5. A lot of bands have too much product and spend too much on recording. Ours is certainly guilty of that. But when money and time are in short supply, I think most of us would rather spend it on the music… :)

  6. This can be challenging especially when your day job sometimes is a 12 hour day. This also tells me I am on the right track. I just signed a one year marketing and promotion deal with a smaller label. I was doing and continue to do many of the things you list. I am looking forward to sharing some of these responsibilities with the label. Your list will make me more efficient. Thanks!

  7. It's true. Nice little glimpse into the day-to-day, and I only do probably 1/2 to 1/3 of this stuff. Keep sharing, love the articles, and have taken advantage of tons of stuff since discovering (particularly ReverbNation's promotion via facebook…best investment along with Jango).

  8. Hi Brian, just came across this article in my continuing research into further my career. Cheers for sharing this mate, I find that keeping track of everything gets VERY time consuming, especially on a daily basis. And at one point I was getting on every social network in existence, now I'm trimming the fat so to speak and only using the important ones. Reading this has inspired me to clean up my act a bit and network a bit more effectivly, so I'm going to try your method with my own stuff and see how it goes. Thanks mate! Really appreciate you sharing this information.

  9. Brian Hazard Hello again Brian :-) so i did try it out, and it works a treat, I find now I don't spend hours on end checking things out at random, I've also gotten better at networking with people, it's great. I have one question; do you recommend ReverbNation for managing e-mail lists? It seems like you can't send things like mp3's photos etc direct to fans, you can only direct them to links on your reverbnation page. is this the case or am I missing something? I'm in the process of streamlining my whole online process and could use some advice with this issue. thanks again for all the advice! :-)

    1. I used ReverbNation’s FanReach for years, and it’s great, but I decided to try FanBridge as well. Not necessarily because I thought it would be better, but at the very least it would make for a good article. While FanBridge has a lot more features, I might even opt for MailChimp if I were starting from scratch. All of them will do what I need. While you can “attach” mp3s to FanBridge emails, a lot of my subscribers had problems downloading the mp3 the last time I tried it. Better to send them to your own site or Bandcamp!

  10. I envy on you organisation skills. I can’t get past of cleaning Donwloads folder :) Then again, i do write and “release” new song every week so that eats my little free time. I have day job that allows me to hang on internet forums and blogs hours a day :D That time could be used more usefully. I do check stats on Soundcloud multiple times a day :) I don’t have any social media accounts for my solo project so no need to worry on those.

    For my band i have FB/BC etc pages but haven’t posted anything there since we haven’t done anything new for a while. There is quite a bunch of emails in Band Camp from downloders/buyers ,but i’m not into email lists. I personally hate promotional emails so it would be hard to send one.

    On FB do you post as you write or schedule the posts?
    I have been thinking to revive my bands account by creating schedule of posts for each song of our last album with stream and free download link. I just don’t get around to write the texts and not sure what schedule would be lest annoying for the fans. Once a week? Two times a week? Bi-weekly?

    My new solo music project for weekly tracks:
    https://soundcloud.com/boulder-d4sh
    From downtempo electronica to house and big beat.

  11. Checking SoundCloud multiple times a day? That seems… excessive. I can’t justify dropping by more than once a week. If you really need the dopamine hit on a regular basis, why not create a daily folder with all your social media sites, and commit to only checking it once a day as a reward for getting MAJOR TASK X done?

    I can’t stress enough how important it is to maintain an email list. Facebook continues to charge more money to reach our fans, to the point where artists are giving up and bailing on their pages. You don’t need to worry about annoying your fans by posting too much from your page, because you’ll be lucky if 10% of them see it.

    As for scheduling, occasionally I’ll schedule a post for the next morning, but I haven’t been on top of it lately. In a perfect world I’d schedule all my Facebook and Twitter (can’t do Google+ that I know of) posts for the week on Sunday, and throw in extras here and there when inspiration hits.

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