Revised for 2012: Music Marketing 101
These are the tips and tricks you should really employ to get your band coverage… start here and the foundation will grow!
Record a demo, even if it’s in your garage or bathroom or your Nanna’s house.
We are not talking sending this puppy to record companies- we are talking having something to put on your
MySpace Reverbnation or Band Camp. You are selling an auditory product and no matter how schmick your photos may be or your bio, funny, ultimately people want to hear some kind of demo of your music. Yes, even dodgy ones. Have a MySpace Seriously, make sure you have a MySpace, write a bio and post a few photos and a demo song up. Then go and find bands you know, you would like to gig with, you have gigged with or like and send them a friend request. It doesn’t take much to start generating interest. Login, post photos, put your gigs up and keep adding friends as the more “alive” you look, the more professional you seem. Even if you have nothing to report, login on a regular basis so you give the impression you are active.
Have an Online Profile…somewhere!
MySpace may have died, but seriously, have a Bandcamp or Reverbnation profile, set yourself up with a blog or WordPress or get yourself into TripleJ Unearthed. People won’t care where you are so much as long as you are somewhere. Trust me.
Book events through Facebook
Set up a band page
which matches your MySpace and get your mates to join. Try and ensure it’s a fan page (yes, I know it’s hard with Facebook reinventing themselves all the time) because then you can be Fans of other bands and musicians without being friends. Don’t be a person so you can send unsolicited friend requests. It just makes you look unprofessional and needy. Send out event invites but don’t just expect that to be the end of things. Push it a little. It’s OK you know, marketing doesn’t bite!
Facebook has some really awesome groups to add your event links to, such as “I Want Live Music- So I Go to Gigs” as well as various venue sites and other places the punters go to find out where to go to see the right kind of music. Search by genre, city and click through on groups you have joined to ones they support and get the word out there. It’s really easy to do keyword searches and find what you need to join.
Write a decent bio, get some photos done and make use of them.
The hardest thing in the world is people getting out and selling themselves and bands are no different. But you need to do what you have to as presentation of your band is part of what will appeal to the audience you want. This is a fun, creative exercise, so don’t be afraid of asking writer friends, photographers or the artists among you to do some work for free for you. You’ll be surprised what you can achieve if you ask.
Stand Out from the Crowd
There are a lot of bands out there- some good, some not so. Your photos, bio and how you present yourselves will set you aside from the rest, so think about it. Bit of advice, people who have to look at over 100 cds per week (so any radio station) get sick of photos of people standing against a wall having a serious pout session into the camera, hearing about how you are the next Gods of Rock without evidence to back it up, or seeing quotes from your year ten music teacher of ten years ago about how they thought you would be the next Kurt Cobain. Keep it fresh, unique, honest and current!
For more tips on photos, check here
Make use of Community Radio Stations
Not just there for airplay, places like FBi, 4ZZZ, 2SER, 3RRR and countless other awesome community radio stations can help you reach your audience. Take time to understand how their gig promotions work, look at the giveaways they offer and send your press releases to them when you are on tour, releasing anything or have something of interest to report. And don’t sneeze at community radio either- bands like the Presets, Wolfmother, Mercury Rev and the Vines have all done their time saying thank you to community radio for giving them the all important first way into a wider audience.
Go and see other people’s music on a regular basis.
Beyond actually finding potential supports or headliners to gig with, going out to see other people’s stuff will help you work out where you fit in better with venues, genres and even nights that run in your city. Not only that but if you have an expectation people are going to come and see you, that starts with you checking other people out. There is nothing more annoying than a musician and band who beg for people to follow them yet barely go to anyone else’s events.
Blogs, Street Press and all that kind of thing.
It shouldn’t be any secret now that all of the street presses in the capital city have been bought by one major company who basically only publish anything without advertising spend. So where does that leave the bands who are just starting out and have no budget and cred? Well, pretty much in the same league as most of the bands in this country- alternative coverage. There are a multitude of different blogs you can appeal to, send PR to and actively become involved in. Whilst it is great to have an ad in Drum Media, you are far better off putting time behind getting the interest of blogs such as
Side Street Sydney, Music Feeds and others like them. These guys not only do it for the love of it, they also continue to support independent creativity in the country.
Rehearse Regularly and Take it as Serious Fun
For people out there looking for bands to play in who join you, or you join, treat their commitment of time with you with respect. We all hear the lovely rumours about it all being cocaine, strippers and getting as drunk as possible, but the reality is, most bands and musicians who have any longevity work hard at rehearsing, booking and touring- and therefore need you to be understanding what that commitment means. And the reason why this is a marketing 101 rule? Well, because if you piss someone off in even the smallest band, you can bet they will tell everyone they ever audition after you, gig with or even stand around having random horror stories about the guy who said he could play bass, turned up on valium and drunk, without his rig and proceeded to play the wrong chords in six of the eight songs before vomiting on their girlfriend’s shoes after trying to chat her up. Yes, true story folks.
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