Self-promotion in the music industry is a topic that has been explored extensively over the past 20 years. Some of the basic ground rules are the same that apply to any business or freelancer. Most people in the industry, however, bands included, don’t know a whole lot about it. Many prefer to hover around the topic of social media because it’s all they know. After all, once you call yourself a “social media coach”, there’s really not much room for expansion besides posting an analysis of every new Twitter or Facebook development/etc. Artists flock to new music technologies, discovery platforms, unsigned networks, indie authorities, and crowd funding platforms looking for the answer, and yet, the message generally being sent to the artists tends to do them a disservice. Promises, promises. Even the term “submit your music” can be very misleading. Submit it where? Well…the junk folder, to be blunt.
Entries in Marketing (125)
The start of just about every marketing plan in history starts with what’s known as a SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats). It just so happens to be my first go-to step as well when I’m taking a look at a new band.
Although I don’t always do it formally, a SWOT analysis is the best way to get a handle on a band’s current position in a market and what the next steps should be. Having one in hand will help you determine what the steps of your marketing plan should be and how best to approach the next 2-3 months of marketing for your band.
Today I want to talk about what I call “Facebook bands”. This isn’t a term, of course, for every artist on Facebook (some are fully professional and use the site extremely well), but rather a term to describe those who misuse Facebook in predictable and typical ways, dooming themselves to stay on Facebook permanently without any outside exposure. Self-imposed social media prison.
Written by Jem Bahaijoub
As a new artist it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the constantly evolving new media world. With new marketing platforms bombarding us every day, it’s difficult to see the forest from the trees. So what should you do to market your debut EP? How can you build up a fan base from scratch? Next time you feel a panic-attack coming on and start screaming “where do I start?!”, take a deep breath and remember that we were sociable before we were social. So cast your smiley text faces and FB invitations to one side, and go back to basics. The foundational elements of direct-to-fan marketing all started in the physical world….
Everyone says that flyering is dead and a useless waste of money. I’m here to tell you that it isn’t. It’s not that the people still hanging up flyers are mindless drones simply repeating the “promotion” techniques they’ve seen on TV that they think might work, it’s that they DO WORK. Flyering has to be done strategically though. There’s no use hanging up flyers without a plan in place. Over the next 12 weeks, you’ll be playing 4 shows (one show every 3 weeks) and flyering the hell out of every single one of them. By the end of the 12 week challenge, you’ll see an increase in your fan base, a huge increase in awareness, a clearer market segment that you can play to in the future, and hopefully some money rolling in as well.
Justin Timberlake recently released his first song as a lead artist in almost 7 years. That’s right; 7 years! To turn this release into an event, Justin and his team at Uprising Creative made a gorgeous landing page. I think it’s a stellar example of everything a landing page should be. Let’s take a look at how the landing page dresses up the release of “Suit & Tie.”
I’ve briefly touched on the importance of Tumblr in other posts, but I’ve yet to dive into what exactly Tumblr can do for your band’s promotion efforts. This ultimate guide will hold your hand through the sign-up process and take you all the way through to a point where you can use Tumblr DAILY to promote your music and gain new fans. Before you know it, your micro-blogging platform will be a major part of your promotion efforts.
Hello again my Think Tank friends, and welcome to part two of my beginners guide to music marketing. If you haven’t already seen part one, I suggest you check it out before going any further (Link opens in a new window). Part one looks at what music marketing is and why it’s needed, the power of leveraging established platforms to get your music out there faster, and types of online and offline platforms you could use to market your music to targeted fans of your genre.
If you know anything about marketing, you already understand that having a growing email list of fans can be your most powerful promotional asset. But, like any good tool, you have to know how to use it.
One of the great challenges with email is getting people to open and read your messages. It’s not the end of the world if your fans see your emails pop up in their inboxes but don’t have the time to open them. At least they see your name and are reminded of who you are.
But your real goal is to motivate fans to open your emails and further interact with you. So how do you do that?
Whenever I write an article about sponsorship or marketing, I always talk about finding your unique, target audience. As bands, we usually focus on the genre: people who like certain acts that resemble our music. Sometimes, we base it on the subject matter of the songs or even the band’s image image. However, have you considered just connecting fans who have a similar personality or interest as the band members? Using our passions and some concentrated effort, we can make new fans in some unexpected places.
I would love to take it as a compliment that so many bands send me email asking me to check out their music or come see them live. It should mean I’m important. Instead, I disregard most of it as spam.
Mile-long emails telling me about how so-and-so is the next hot artist blowing up all over my face. New album press releases that assume I have 40 minutes to spend learning all about how some artist “grew up in the poorest regions of such and such area before ‘rising to fame’”. It’s all hype that makes no sense given that you have only 80 fans on Facebook.
What is most annoying about these emails is that they’re not even addressed to me. They’re sent to the Earbits customer support email address, and have clearly bcc’d the rest of the world. Sometimes, they’re not even smart enough to do that, disclosing hundreds of email addresses to everybody else on the list. These untargeted, long-winded marketing pieces are lazy, in some cases costly, and completely pointless. Stop sending them.
Artists tend to be creative people. We write music, create dazzling visions of art, and express sentiments in the most unique ways. However, when it comes to promoting our art, something else happens. For one reason or the other, most artists fail to express any creativity in their business endeavors.
Here are five easy (non-internet) ways that you could promote your band. I hope that more than anything else, they get your brain going and inspire you to create ideas that work specifically for your art.
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(Updated January 13, 2016)