Hiring a Qualified CPA Accountant

I’ve been in the music business for a long time. I’ve played many shows, had many fans, and release a lot of records. All of these things do one thing. They create income and problems for independent musicians like myself. I have no clue how to file my taxes, make estimated payments, or make sense of all the bookkeeping things I am supposed to do. That’s why my advice to any young musician is to find an accountant who knows what he is doing. I looked online and found many CPA reviews that are quality, but I was looking for something in particular.

There are many different types of tax accountants out there, but you need a music industry CPA who knows something about the traveling business of a musician. I found a great tax CPA who used to be a guitarist in a band and now owns a tax and consulting firm in the Northeast. After talking with him, I know more about my business and have a good understanding of what I need to do to keep it running. I also know what makes a qualified CPA.

First, the accountant has to pass the CPA exam. I didn’t know it was as difficult as it is, but apparently it’s one of the hardest standardized tests. There is an entire industry devoted to CPA exam courses and reviews to help people pass the exam. It’s kind of amazing that any type of test could be that hard. There are several popular review companies out there including Becker, Roger, and CPAExcel.

Finding the Top CPA for Your CourseAfter someone passes the exam, they have to fulfill some level of training and requirements before they can be certified and licensed in their state. My CPA told me that it is similar to becoming a lawyer or doctor. First, you have to get your degree. Then you can take the exam. Then you can do the work requirements and get your license.

Don’t let all of this fool you. Some accountants are good and some don’t know what they are doing. I found this out the hard way when I was audited a few years back for my band income. Going with a lower level accountant will save money on CPA products and services, but it won’t necessarily be the best for your business. My current accountant straightened everything out and now I am well taken care of.

Needless to say, it’s important to know a good accountant and have a good relationship with one. Unfortunately, the music business is just that. It’s a business and sometimes we have to treat it like one. Getting to know your accountant and having a close relationship with him or her will help you make the right business decisions that will make your band go farther and maybe even make it big. I hope this helps. Email me if you want to know who my guy is. I’d be happy to refer any musician to him.


Album Release Party

new-dan-recordEvery musician, whether you’re a traditional one or a traveling act, dreams of cutting their own album. It sort of encapsulates all of your hard work and puts a seal on it. When I was in college, we would always play around in the recording studio, but we didn’t have the know-how or the experience to record and mix a quality record, so it was always a long-standing dream of mine to create my very own album.

Thankfully, three years ago I was able to fulfill that dream when I released my debut album. Now, I’m onto my second album, and I have to admit, I am very excited about it. In just two months, I am having an album release party in my hometown for everyone who has supported me through my career (and even those who didn’t ;]). After that, I plan on going on a nationwide tour, going to different bars and coffee shops to sell and promote my new album.

Every tour is fun, but I usually have the most fun on kickoff shows. There is always a great energy in the air when you’re playing your new music for the first time live and the crowd is really feeling the vibes you’re putting out. You don’t have any of the mid-tour fatigue and you’re really amped up for the months ahead. Ahh, you really cannot beat how fun kickoff shows and album release parties are.

So since I am having mine in a few weeks, let’s talk about my upcoming album.

My new album, titled Days of Summer Past, is a project that I have been working on for about five years or so, even before my first album was released. I started writing most of the content when I was in college during my summers working on and off campus. It’s a very carefree album that reflected my outlook on life back then and to a certain degree now. A lot of my college experiences were really what shaped me and formed my opinions of the world, of music, and of life. But the main themes of the albums focus on the late nights I had in college summers just hanging around with friends, getting pizza and 2 a.m., pulling pranks on other classmates, cherishing those around you, and just living life a day at a time.

After all, there is only so much we can play for in life, especially as a musician. I don’t know when my next gig will be sometimes, and who knows how long I can keep doing this, but I know that I’m blessed for each and every day that I am here and am able to spread my message with the music that I create. That’s what important to me, and I really think that message comes out through the music. Or at least that is what I was going for.

So if you’re interested in joining the party, by all means stop on by to hear some brand new music for the very first time, and if you like it, please pick up a copy of my latest cd. I will have 500 pressed up for the party, and the first 50 people get free copies!

See you there!

Being a Traveling Musician

traveling and performing musicOver the years I have had some long touring summers that seemed like they would never end. Don’t get me wrong, I obviously love being a musician and being able to travel the world with my craft is an absolute blessing. I don’t know too many people whose full-time job it is to go traveling from town to town exploring all that this world has to offer. Most of my friends who I went to college with are stuck in their corporate offices working under fluorescent lighting wishing they could get away. So in that sense, I am so happy to be doing what it is that I’m doing.

But like I said, sometimes being a traveling musician can be hard. Spending weeks upon weeks on the road away from home is tough, but the worst part by far is not being able to sleep in your own bed. Hotels are great but they’re just not the same as your own bed.

But enough about the downsides, let’s explore the wondrous world that is being a traveling musician.

When I was a kid growing up, I always wanted to travel the world. I loved studying history books and learning about all of the great sites that America had to offer and I wanted to be able to visit them all. I can still remember that when I was ten years old my one dream was to take a cross-country road trip. Little did I know what I would doing that full-time just 15 years later.

I remember my first tour. It was a nine state tour spread out over 2,000 miles. I started in Texas and went all the way up to Seattle. Boy was that and experience. I had never been to Texas, Arizona, Oregon, or Washington before that tour and I had the experience of playing three shows in every state in just the matter of a few short weeks.

Playing my first show in Texas was definitely an experience. I wasn’t exactly sure how the crowd would react, being that country is so big down there. Now, I’m not exactly a country act, but I’m not too rock and roll either. I like to think I have a little bit of Johnny Cash in me, but a little bit of the Rolling Stones too. You know what I mean, a nice blending style that is influenced by all of the greats? Of course who doesn’t think that about themselves, though, ha!

I played at a western style bar and after my first song I still couldn’t get a good read on the crowd, but after my third or fourth song the crowd was really feeling it and they were singing along and dancing. One of the most rewarding things to a musician is to see new listeners enjoy and appreciate your music. Traveling to a brand new city where people have never heard of you or never heard a single song enjoy what it is that you’re making. Having those people support your music, that’s what it’s all about.

College Jam Bands: Getting to Know Your Style

jam bandJam bands are some of the best ways that you can really find and discover yourself as an artist. The first jam band that I got involved in was the start of my sophomore year in college and it was one of the first moments in life that I realized I wanted to pursue a career in music long term.

A jam band is really unlike any other group to play in and it’s really different than any other type of show you can play at. It’s a much more intimate setting than—say—a stadium or a nightclub. The crowd is usually smaller and oftentimes interacts with you while you’re playing on stage. Sometimes they’ll request songs, sometimes they won’t. But the main thing that sets a jam bands apart from other bands is the relationship that you have with the other people in the band.

We shouldn’t really be too surprised when a “jam band” is basically exactly what it sounds like should we? What does the term “jam band” conjure up in your mind? When I first heard it, I just thought of a couple of guys getting together and jamming out. No official set list or songs that need to be completed, but just rocking out together. Well that’s exactly what they are and that is exactly why they are such great groups to be in for beginning artists. They allow you to test out new genres and figure out which ones you like playing with best. Not only do they let you test out new genres, but jam bands (at least the ones that I have been involved in) have been all about the music. Most of the time we focus almost exclusively on the music and lyrics are almost an afterthought, if we have them at all. This really allows you to dig down deeply into what you like as an artist and where you want to go with your music.

Of course, jam bands aren’t for everyone. A lot of people view them as “hipster” type of bands and try to write them of as a simple fad, but they’ve been around for a long time, so the critique of them being “hipster” isn’t all that accurate. They’re just recently becoming popular and widespread making them popular right now, but not necessarily hipster. That and jam bands can cover any and all genre types, not those that are generally thought of in the hipster, indie music scene.

In the end it all comes down to the music and jam bands focus almost exclusively on just that. I, obviously, am a big fan of them and encourage everyone to join one or start one of your own. I think it is a great experience to try at least once in your life. You’ll meet some really incredible people and it will always make for a good story. If you have different thought than me on them, let me know below. What do you think of them?