Marketing is all the activities and processes of planning, communicating and executing a product, with a price, the promotion and the placement of an item to an end user. Your music is your product which you are then supplying to the end user – the music fan. Between you and the fan is a big space on how to bridge this gap. You may think that if you just get a record deal with some label, your prayers are answered and this instant bridge is built across that space. This is for the most part, not how things work today.
As an aspiring indie or unsigned singer, songwriter, or a musician in a band you can not do just a few things to promote yourself and expect success in your music career. Offline and online music promotion and marketing exposure is an ongoing process in this DIY age. Music companies are looking for artists that already have fan bases, sold CDs, and are proven ready to move up to a higher level. Presented here are more than 100 tips and ideas for you to think about and tweak as you will, to get noticed, gain fans, and get heard. You have to find a way to stand above the crowd, for talent alone is not enough.
Promo Tip #1 A music artist must start somewhere, that’s usually locally, but it’s better to not just dive in without a plan. But begin you must. Create a plan with some ideas and set goals as to what you need to accomplish weekly, monthly, and yearly. Start small and make it progressive. Reach bench marks and keep at it.
Promo Tip #2 Image is everything. Image is the complete package – artist/band name, look, performance, merchandise, and style, to how that brand is marketed. A stage name can be a descriptive statement of the image you or your band project. Be unique and interesting to look at in some way….build your own unique stage persona.
Promo Tip #3 Word of mouth has always been the best promotion – tell people what you do. Get people talking. Create your buzz by just giving enough info to get people interested, but hold some secrets close.
Promo Tip #4 Those that promote the most win.
Promo Tip #5 You may be a truly great talent, but without getting out there and consistently marketing yourself, networking, meeting the right people, maintaining your image, and being humble, your talent will only get you so far.
Promo Tip #6 Be innovative in your promotional efforts! The Internet has made it possible to hear a LOT more music, from a LOT more artists. You are now a very small fish in a very large pond – you will need to find a way to stand out, above and glow in the dark. Think beyond the box on every promo tip.
Promo Tip #7 Learn web basics to use the Net to your advantage. The Internet thrives on links, quality content, keywords and consistency. Properly use the tools of the Internet to build your online brand.
Promo Tip #8 Create a web site. Buy your own artist name or band name URL for your web site, keep it simple, easy to remember, make sure it loads quickly and is easy to navigate.
Promo Tip #9 Submit your web link to online music directories, search engines, good music resource sites, in the best possible descriptive category. Use niche sites like tour date sites, lifestyle, regional, music magazine, music ezines, music Blogs and similarly themed sites.
Promo Tip #10 Use Myspace, Tagworld, Frappr, Facebook and any of the good social networks and extend your fan base. Update on a regular schedule.
Promo Tip #11 Go beyond the social networks and sign up to the best indie and unsigned music artist sites. Add a full profile, good photos, your best music, update the info regularly and DO NOT REDIRECT them with only a little info to find out more at another site. These indie communities are built to attract music biz personnel as well, to browse for the talent needed for various projects. While you have the viewers attention and time, have the important info right there, don’t waste their time with a redirect link! Include a link to your main site, if they want to learn more they will go to it.
Promo Tip #12 Hand out your CDs (or demos). Have your web link printed on the CD. Include your band name and contact info as well. Remember, your name on the work is more important than the name of the work. Hand the CD to club owners that feature your type of music.
Promo Tip #13 Send press releases and reviews of your shows to local print newspapers, magazines and event papers. When writing press releases, read up on “press release tips” and the like to tweak your presentation.
Promo Tip #14 Professional photos mean you take yourself seriously. All photos in your press kit should be quality photos, not just your main bio picture. The money spent on a photographer that can capture your music “image” is money well spent.
Promo Tip #15 Collect addresses and email addresses (email is free!) to keep your fans current on what you are up to. When building your lists, try to list their location – city, state and zip with a bit of personal input about that fan. This is a great way to create a more personal and targeted mailing list without bombarding people that are too far away to attend a show.
Promo Tip #16 Practice and practice and practice. Longevity in the music business means learning new things, constantly creating, and always improving.
Promo Tip #17 Zero in on your target. Know where they hang out, where they shop, what they do for fun, and hit them where they live – online and off. Your audience is a specific crowd of people so don’t waste time being where they are not.
Promo Tip #18 Play, play and play some more. Get gigs in one part of town on Friday and another part of town on Saturday. Do mini tours outside of your town.
Promo Tip #19 Create your own support group of family, friends, and school mates – communicate well with them on your plans and goals to help spread the word on you, where you plan to go and how you plan on getting there. Delegate tasks to the appropriate people.
Promo Tip #20 Online send out press releases and reviews of shows via all appropriate sites.
Promo Tip #21 Get online air play. There are a lot of indie radio webcasts, join sites and do what you have to do to get on the playlists.
Promo Tip #22 Create an interesting banner to drop in your forum signatures or other online locations. Many message boards will let you leave a link and/or banner in your signature, but don’t like blatant advertising.
Promo Tip #23 Brand your name across the world and be ever mindful of the image you wish to portray whenever out in public or online. When it’s in print, it’s permanent.
Promo Tip #24 There is such a thing as overkill, in that it is better to describe your band/music as “we sound similar to the Beatles” rather than “we are the biggest thing since Led Zeppelin!” (or better than). So word your description accordingly.
Promo Tip #25 The music business is in the business to make money. If your career is in music, know when to be businesslike.
Promo Tip #26 Learn every area of the business you are in. Knowledge is power.
Promo Tip #27 You must network. Meet people, get out there, shake hands, listen to them as well and let them know about your music. Build those relationships.
Promo Tip #28 Be on friendly terms with other bands and artists in your area.
Promo Tip #29 Create a “street team”, online and/or offline…they are core people that wish to help you further your marketing efforts. Give away free tickets, CDs or merchandise to your street team as incentive.
Promo Tip #30 Announce every song, every CD, decent chart position, contest win, top sales on releases, announce anything and everything to stay in the public’s eye. If you can’t write a decent article up for the press release, get someone that can. Write a review of every gig and get feedback from local VIPs, fans, whomever matters and include the best quotes. Is it news worthy? Write and promote it. Get the most mileage you can from your promotional tactics.
Promo Tip #31 Never mail your CD without a purpose or a contact person’s name on it and expect miracles. Far better that the contact person knows to expect your CD, his or her name is spelled correctly, and you are mailing it to a company that actually works with your style of music.
Promo Tip #32 Wear your band! Get a jacket, t-shirts (etc) and add your band name or logo on it. Wear it everywhere and be a walking advertisement. If you have a niche fan base, think of a merchandise item that they need that of course has your name on it!
Promo Tip #33 Create an interesting band logo. It can be a conversation starter or a potential contest question.
Promo Tip #34 Join a Songwriting Circle. This is a local idea (though it is possible through the Internet), to meet with other songwriters in your own area and share your songs. You can get feedback on your work, share ideas and tips, possibly collaborate on work, learn about what’s happening locally, help each other in many ways. If you wanted to start your own circle or look for one, you could use Craigslist for your Wanted or Needed post. Most ask that you be open minded and dedicated, with a willingness to listen and give feedback.
Promo Tip #35 Burn your best song as a single. On the CD and cover include ALL contact info, website, names, etc and distribute that CD wherever you go, for free.
Promo Tip #36 Have a custom vinyl car wrap created about your music/band and put it on your car. OR a use a magnetic door sign for your vehicle will work as well.
Promo Tip #37 Cross promote online on your web sites with local bands as well. You give them a boost on your site and they give the same back to you. Ask other people to LINK TO YOUR music site from their website!
Promo Tip #38 Introducing your band whether in person or online has a lot of similarity in speech writing techniques, in that you have to grab the reader or listener or viewer in the first 30 seconds. Your opening line needs to have punch, snag the audience and reel them right in. Remember the rock group KISS and “Are you ready to Rock?!!” Find your attention getting line and use it. Don’t fall victim to the less inspiring, “um, hi guys, um, we are the ‘Example’ band…”
Promo Tip #39 Use Internet class ads as well as local newspapers to promote upcoming events and possible collaborations with others. Print papers and magazines need advance notice so plan accordingly.
Promo Tip #40 Create an online newsletter, with content of value to the receiver. This is an invaluable way to keep fans informed on gigs, news, gossip, new releases and other great info. Send out your newsletter about once a month.
Promo Tip #41 Be outrageous or controversial. Shock value can work, but it can backfire too. Can you maintain the image? It has worked for many, but was a disaster for many more. Think this tip out.
Promo Tip #42 Create a fan club online and get them to spread your banners, links and provide content for them to spread.
Promo Tip #43 Who are the VIPs in your community – who are the popular people in your area? Get to know them, give them a free CD and invite them to your show. When they speak, others will listen.
Promo Tip #44 Create a video and get on YouTube. Place your video on all relevant video sites. Video Scrapbook (or Diary) your music band’s progress, accomplishments, and jam sessions. This could make for good clips in other projects.
Promo Tip #45 Have a CD, digital download and other merchandise for sale. Generate some sales so you have something to invest in other areas of your marketing effort.
Promo Tip #46 Have star quality, but don’t be a big-head. Let people know you are professional and have the ability to be a long lasting star in this business.
Promo Tip #47 Never Spam email.
Promo Tip #48 Have a press kit ready to send out or email. Have it neatly organized with a brief bio, a short description (about 30 words or less) on what you sound like, full length bio, quality photos, music samples, current press releases and quality newsworthy items, song lyrics, radio airplay and chart position information, and detailed contact information.
Promo Tip #49 Join online music groups and newsgroups.
Promo Tip #50 Be a bit mysterious, hold back and leave them wanting more. Timing is everything for some info, releases, etc.
Promo Tip #51 Create a music slogan of up to 8 words (less is better) that quickly, accurately and in a catchy manner describes your music in a real way.
Promo Tip #52 Give a review to get a review, honestly is the best policy, but never brutality. Many times someone will return the favor and it shows your knowledge, your twist, on the music created.
Promo Tip #53 Print up posters and/or flyers about your upcoming show and post them wherever your type of fans would hang out and include your web link, show date, name of CD, where CD can be purchased.
Promo Tip #54 Get into podcasting and videocasting yourself or making your music available for podcasting.
Part 2 of 100 Tips to Marketing Your Music continues the remaining promo tips plus some bonus ideas!