Promoting Your Music The Easy Way
So you are in a band?
As musicians in today's world it really is a struggle to stay ahead of the curve. It seems everyone can play an instrument and play it well to boot. In the 80s and 90s getting your music out and exposure for your band was as simple as gigging and getting that one song on the radio. Now that is still a vital need but with the popularity of the internet and the massive amount of record labels that have popped up over the last decade it is becoming increasingly more difficult to get your music heard, at least by the right people. I should probably elaborate on that just a little bit before we move to much further.
Now a days it is actually easier to get your music heard. Youtube, Facebook, and even Myspace offer aspiring artist the opportunity to be heard and seen. The catch is with so many acts trying these methods it is nearly impossible to achieve the right audience and really break out. There are exceptions with artists such as Justin Bieber and PSY but reality is even with the millions of daily hits on Youtube there is no real guarantee you will get the attention you are seeking.
We all want to have our music heard and enjoyed. I can't think of a single artist who doesn't want to know that their work has been appreciated. Of course old methods are still needed today such as sending our recordings to local radio stations in hopes of getting some airplay, or one can never forget gigging. It has always been my feelings that gigging is the most important part of music. The live experience is something a studio LP just can't match. We must still follow the old millstone techniques that those who came before us trusted their musical fate to, but today we have a few other options to lean on when we need them. Like I mentioned it is a bit difficult as there are literally millions of artists out there trying to get their very own piece of the musical pie and with so few pieces being served we need to make sure we go above their efforts to ensure we get our far share.
So how do we secure our own means of exposure and get the word out on our own music?
Party Over Here
Playing live at parties can be either trivial or an exciting moment in your life. I will admit some of my favorite gigs have been at parties over the years. I will have to tell you that getting booked at parties in this day and age, the age of the DJ is hard. But why not book your own party? I am sure it sounds hard but let me explain. Almost every city has a community center or gymnasium that can be rented by the general public. These places usually charge by the hour and don't set to many people back as they are priced for birthday parties and bingo nights. Who says you and your band can't go ahead and chip in and rent one of these such places for a few hours one weekend. Maybe charge 1 or 2 bucks to get in, or sell some sodas and chips. Even if you make it a free occasion you will see a few faces in the crowd who will develop a genuine interest in your music.
Party gigs are great for exposing new fans to your sound and working the bands ability to adapt to the live setting. Hosting your own party gives you full say so over your set, when intermission is and of course what can and can't be sold at your gig. These events are very prime ways to obtain more fans. I always suggest that you set up a table at the door with a notebook and pen and start asking people to join your mailing lists. What you don't have a mailing list? Shame on you, but we will discuss that a little on down the road.
Tips For Posting A Great Video
- Be original and creative
- Never force the video on anyone
- Keep it fresh and realistic
I mentioned youtube a little earlier but really it is not as simple as just uploading a music video or a video of your song playing over static images. There are tricks and tips that can maximise the amount of eyes that are introduced to your music. Let's first look at how we can capitalize on a few popular posters to the Youtube universe.
Let's say a song about a hometown has a few million hits and you have a song about your hometown, and if you play country I bet you have several. Why not place that video up as a video response to the popular video. You are in many ways promoting the video for both your song and the poster's song and getting residual hits from the original video. This is a great way to get a lot more views and possibly develop a fan base outside your general area of operation.
The wonders of Youtube do not stop there. We have all encountered the video that seems to have been muted by Youtube or some outside copyright agency. This is a sad trend but one that will likely continue. Why not contact the poster of the muted video and offer them one of your songs to use in place of the song that had been removed? Simply ask that if your song is used they link to you in the description and tell about where the song came from. This method is a very good tactic to get new listeners that otherwise may have never even known you existed. It sounds like a lot of work which it is but ion the long run you could very well generate some major traffic to your cause and increase your fan base.
I will assume you have a band website. Most bands do. I suggest not doing this until you have at least achieved a nominal following and have done one or two shows. The site will be the base of operations for everything you do as a musical force. I would recommend that you start to use your site to offer viewers free downloads of your music. Now the fun part, those who subscribe to the newsletter get exclusive cuts of the music or even behind the scenes videos of the band. These offers keep people interested in what you are doing and will keep your band modern and fresh.
Mailing list also keep your fans in the loop to upcoming releases and performances. Having a way to stay in touch with your audience is a great resource. I suggest setting a table up at every gig you have that allows people to sign up for your mailing lists. This could be a newsletter or even just a way to update people to your upcoming events.
Of all the social media tools out there Facebook seems to be the one most people are relying on. The site allows people from every walk of life to have access to each other and be able to share thoughts, photos, and in our case music. Facebook allows us to accumulate a ton of friends all of which will see the music we post on our walls, but the biggest aspect that works for musicians is the ability to start a band page and join groups. The band page is great for listing events and getting to really meet some great fans, or at least the best version of meet one can do on the internet.
I want to give you a few tips for using groups. It seems to many aspiring musicians turn groups into a personal bulletin board. If you join a few music groups respect the people who also use them. I find that if you have an event coming up one post every few days is acceptable but not one or two a day. I can't even begin to tell you how much this irks me. I see concert schedules for the same band 8 or 9 times in a roll posted literally minutes apart and I can't help but think why would anyone respect that group.
Also never post updates as two users. If you announce the release of a new single as your band don't go to the same group under your personal account and post the same thing. Respect goes a very long way in the music world. Always be courteous and respectful to the people who use the group and don't ever go on bragging about how great you are. I see groups brag about how great they are gonna be before they ever have one practice. It is sad really. Keep it real on these group pages and you will achieve so much more.
Wrapping It Up
As I mentioned earlier we still have to utilize fliers and cards and all that jazz to get the word out but if we are smart we can stay ahead of the game. Getting attention and keeping it are two separate things. I hope you have learned a few things from this article and look forward to writing more of this nature in the near future.