How To Have a Successful Musical Band

Freshlyground formed in early 2002, and is made up of seven talented and diverse musicians from South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
Freshlyground formed in early 2002, and is made up of seven talented and diverse musicians from South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

Once one has finally reached the decision of making music a career, you might decide to put together the next ‘Boyz II Men’ or the next ‘Westlife’ or the next ‘Freshly ground’, this has to be influenced with the right principles.

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Kudakwashe "Five star General" Chikwanda
Kudakwashe “Five star General” Chikwanda

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Firstly as a new band or group you have to decide on exactly what is your purpose or goal of the group. It has to be crystal clear whether you want to play professionally or semi-professionally or just to make a ‘name’ as an ‘outstanding band’.

Freshlyground formed in early 2002, and is made up of seven talented and diverse musicians from South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
Freshlyground formed in early 2002, and is made up of seven talented and diverse musicians from South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

Not everyone has the same idea that a recording contract with a record label is the ultimate goal. Some people have well-paying day jobs and do music as some form of recreation. If your goal is to be a professional band these wouldn’t be the people to engage. It’s obviously important that the kind of people you need in the band are people with the same line of thought as you.

The ever Creative and Talented all Female Band From Bulawayo Nobuntu
The ever Creative and Talented all Female Band From Bulawayo Nobuntu

Once you have the right people on-board it doesn’t end there, at this stage you have to decide the business structure of your band. Now we should understand that being a band doesn’t merely mean you just meet and have jam sessions, play at functions etc, it involves a lot.

Mokoomba Talent,creativity and well travelled Zimbabwean Group
Mokoomba Talent,creativity and well travelled Zimbabwean Group

Let’s take a look at some of the things involved in such endeavours:
The band is there, who takes care of all the expenses of travelling and accommodation of the band? If the money comes from the performance fees then it means this band has automatically qualified to be a company.

Westlife
Westlife

In that case who owns it? Hence the need of an organisational structure.
There will be assets to be acquired for the band. This is a tricky scenario in most bands, either the band members voluntarily bring in their own instrument or put together money to purchase the band gear.

Rickey Charles Goodrich Former Pearl Jam manager Stole $380,000 from band (Picture: NME NEWS)
Rickey Charles Goodrich Former Pearl Jam manager Stole $380,000 from band (Picture: NME NEWS)

At first when all is well it seems exciting and often everybody forgets the implications that follow. Who covers for stolen or damaged band equipment? ‘Beep’ red light right there! Imagine you are at a gig and a fan or personnel trips over a code and the microphone falls and is damaged, any insurance? Who do you blame?
In forming a band you have to consider who legally owns the name of the group. You might be a founder member or band member but still you don’t have the LEGAL rights to it.

Jackson_5_tv_special_1972
Jackson_5_tv_special_1972

When the Jackson Five decided to leave Motown for Epic Records they where shocked to find out that Berry and Motown legally owned the name ‘Jackson Five’ and in that regard they prevented them from using that name with the new record company. It has to be clear who owns the legal rights to the name.

 
In the band also, there has to be set rules and procedures for rehearsals and gigs. You wouldn’t want to yourself  to be in a scenario where you are suppose to go for a gig and one band member tells you are they have been called back to the office by their boss.

 
The reason why most bands break up or don’t last long is they always want to treat the band as a social gathering, it’s not so! a band is an institution and it has to be run by a legal and solid system.

 

 
More to come in our next article! God bless you!

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Kudakwashe Chikwanda aka TheFivestarGeneral is the Founder of RokCity Records a registered label in Zimbabwe and Botswana. A musician and music promoter, has worked with a number of established artist from Southern Africa including Martin PK (RSA); Matthews Matsetse (BW); Tebbie aka The Gospel Queen (BW); Dr Tawanda (ZW) among others. His label has worked closely with PK Records (RSA), FreeNation Inc. (Nigeria), Roc Lefatshe (BW). He also studied Music at The Academy of Music in Bulawayo. A staunch supporter of FC Barcelona and Dynamos FC. A devoted Christian, member of Christ Embassy and also a writer at UrbanCulxure Magazine. Follow me on Twitter: @fivestarphd, Instagram: @fivestarphd & Facebook: facebook.com/fivestarphd or Kudakwashe Chikwanda