Artist/Band Interview Questions

The following questions are useful for any artist or band if they are serious about conducting their music careers as a business. Thoughtful, honest, and detailed answers to these questions will help prepare the artist or band in writing bios, fact sheets, and any press releases that are necessary for marketing and promoting their music, and will assist them in evaluating their current career status.

Answering these questions now will prepare you for the questions when they come up in interview situations later.

  • Name of Artist/Band? (Include all band members names and instruments played.)
  • Is your stage name trademarked?
  • Have you filed your songs for copyright protection?
  • Have any of your songs been published? (If so, by whom?)
  • Have you affiliated with a performance rights organization? (which one? ASCAP, BMI, SESAC?)
  • What is your background? (Who are you and your bandmembers? Tell your story.)
  • Do any band members belong to the Musician's Union?
  • Do you have a written 'band agreement'?
  • Why do you want to record and release your own music? (Be very honest.)
  • Who is your fan/customer? (Analyze this question thoroughly.)
  • What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)
  • Do you write your own songs? (Discuss the songwriting process in detail.)
  • Who are your musical influences? (Site specific examples.)
  • How do you describe your music to people? (This is not a short answer. Discuss it.)
  • What image do you think your music conveys? (Do not avoid the image issue!)
  • What are your immediate music career goals? (Next 1 to 3 years.)
  • What are your long-term career goals?
  • How would you define the word "success"? (This is not a short answer. Discuss it.)
  • Do you have any personal contacts in the music business?
  • Do you have an entertainment law attorney to consult with?
  • Are you looking for an independent label deal or a major label deal? (Why?)
  • Do you have a demo or press kit, or any promotional materials?
  • What live performance experience have you had? (Any industry showcases?)
  • How do you rate your live performance ability? (Be very critical. No clichÈs.)
  • Have you recorded any previous CDs/Tapes? (Which studios? Who produced it?)
  • How did you sell your CD's/Tapes? (Consignment? Live sales? Distributor?)
  • Have you had any previous print or broadcast media exposure or reviews?
  • Are you financially able to fund the costs of establishing your career? (In debt?)
  • Do you have a business license? (City, state, federal?)
  • What is your current "business form"? (Sole proprietor? Corporation? Partners?)
  • Have you set up a system for tracking your financial activities? (Software system?)
  • Are you aware of the tax deductions available for musicians?
  • Do you have insurance on your band equipment and vehicles?
  • Who handles your daily business activities? (Bookings, promotions etc.)
  • Have you created an actual career, marketing, or business plan? (Is it in writing?)

Throughout his fprty year career in the music business, FourFront Media & Music's Christopher Knab has shared his experience at many industry conventions and conferences, including the New Music Seminar and the Northwest Area Music Business Conference.

Knab was owner of a San Francisco music store, co-owner of the 415 Records label, and station manager at KCMU Radio in Seattle.

He currently provides a unique consultation and education service for independent musicians and record labels. His new book is entitled "Music Is Your Business".

Christopher Knab

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