So you want to be the next Clap Your Hands Say Yeah? The Brooklyn-based fivesome sold more than 100,000 copies of its self-titled debut album and are about to release "Some Loud Thunder," their follow-up.
Billboard breaks down eight tips for creating the next DIY success story, drawing from the efforts of CYHSY themselves.
1. Place an ad for a bassist/HTML coder.
Bassist Tyler Sargent used to work as a Web programmer. He built CYHSY's Web site and made sure the band's music was available online. Additionally, he early on created a basic transaction system that allowed the band to process orders from retailers and distributors. He also created a password-protected application that allowed the band to manage its press and guest list.
2. Double as a designer.
Guitar player Robbie Guertin creates all of the band's artwork and merchandise.
3. Have a friend you can trust in the music business.
CYHSY is managed by Nick Stern, a former publicist for Atlantic Records. Stern and the members of CYHSY all attended Connecticut College together.
4. Let the press come to you.
Stern is adamant that the band never solicited coverage from blogs or the press. Instead the band's policy was to service those who reached out to them, or expressed interest in the music.
5. Don't quit your day job.
At least not right away. While being working stiffs impacted the amount of time the members of CYHSY could initially devote to the band, it also gave them financial flexibility that helped allow them to be choosy when it came to issues related to touring and signing to a label.
6. Think globally.
Stern was a big believer from day one that the band needed its fortunes to not solely rely on U.S. sales. The band was also pragmatic that its no label credo couldn't work overseas. As a result, the band signed a deal with Wichita Recording for worldwide distribution.
7. Embrace the MP3.
Before the release of both "Clap Your Hands Say Yeah" and "Some Loud Thunder," the band made a small number of MP3s available through its Web site and seeded the blogosphere in the process. With the release of "Thunder," the band is taking its MP3 strategy one step further by offering the album directly through its Web site in the MP3 format for two weeks ahead of its availability in stores.
8. Have a vision.
Savvy business acumen and a DIY ethic are great, but it must include a creative center. Frontman and principal songwriter Alec Ounsworth drives the band's artistic mission.
Want to learn more about CYHSY? See the cover story of Billboard's January 13 issue.