independent music promotion

01/23/2013 01:00

When you tell an independent musician the only way to survive without a major label is to market and promote his music it is like telling him he has terminal cancer. They end up taking that bit of truth as a death sentence. I believe they think this way on account of most artist think that the business side of music is linear thinking, boring and dull. This does not fit in with their out of box thinking and creative personality. Not to mention nobody wants to come across as a bad used car salesmen.So let's come up with some creative techniques to market your music. Find us at independent music promotion. vWhen you start to see CD sales increase, hits on your website, and more people at your concerts you will begin to see the fun in promotion. Feel free to play with these tips, have fun and be creative, but more importantly use them.Creating your story so it is news worthyAnnouncing the release of another new album is not going to create much buzz for you and your music. The entertainment section of your local newspaper gets this drab news from every other artist in town. So how do you create a story that is news worthy? What is your news hook? Here are a few examples that might give you some ideas.I recently helped two sisters out by producing and co/writing their first original song. The song was dedicated to their dad who is in Cuba defending our freedom. The song was written from the girls perspective and reached into the hearts of all the families who have parents that are off in foreign countries while serving the United States of America. This story instantly caught the attention of local radio stations as well as the paper.So what's your news hook? Do the lyrics in any of your songs tie end to any current events or trends in your neighbor hood? Has anyone in your band won any awards, dated a celebrity or done anything note worthy?Here are a couple examples of free press that artist received in various publications and the news hooks they used to get it.1. 12 San Francisco bands got some local ink when they worked together to create a calendar. Each month featured a different band with interesting and humorous facts that happened to each band on various dates. Could you use this angle for your band?2. Silverwolf Records got coverage for its Homeless Project, a compilation CD of songs about the homeless. Does your CD have a noteworthy theme?Blurbs and short takesWhile pursuing a featured article and a review for your new album is a must don't overlook the power of blurbs and short takes. Everyday there are hundreds of music magazines, ezines, and local papers that need to fill certain editorial sections with music related items of interest. Here are some ideas for that:1. I once put on a show with another local artist who had their own independent label as well. Their label was called Home Slice Music and mine was New Destiny Records. We put a theme to the show and called it a Slice of Destiny. Combining your efforts with other bands, record labels or a group of sponsors and adding a theme opens the door to more exposure.2. I remembered working on booking my band at this venue who only booked national acts. After nearly three years of persistence they booked me and my band. I used that as a noteworthy bit of news for my local paper.3. How long has your band been together? How many gigs have you played? How many CD's have you sold? These are all possibilities for your band to make headlines with. Something for you and your fans to celebrate.4. I remember hearing this story about a band that got pulled over by some local police searching them for marijuana. They told this story to the paper and used it to book a tour. They called the tour "Got Weed?" They ended up using something that could have been forgotten into a great marketing tool.Take matters into your own handsDon't wait around for things to happen, make them happen for yourself. Conceive, create, and organize your own musical event. Here are some ideas:1. Create a CD release party with you and other artist in your area who just released a new CD. Find a local venue or a music store that supports local and regional music. Offer some free, cheap, food and soda. Have someone be the designated speaker and host for the evening. Introduce each act separately and play one to two tracks from their new album. Open up the floor to allow the guest to ask questions about the band members, songs and the process of making the CD. Offer special discounts to those who attended that may want to buy a CD that evening. Try and promote this to the local paper as a safe and easy way for local music lovers to sample the areas music without bar hopping.If you can't tell by now I am a big advocate of working together with other musicians to create a scene. Musicians and bands should be more of a family. I hate how some areas treat music as a sport by competing against one other instead of working together.2. Try putting together a multi act unplugged show at an unexpected venue. Try to think of places that your target demographic will hang out at. Such as: Boys and Girls club if you play pop music that appeal to a young generation. Perhaps skate shops if your music targets that demographic. Other ideas could include: Borders bookstores, art galleries, the mall, Christian book stores, new age retailers, hip clothing stores, etc.You are an independent businessYou have to realize as an artist that you are an independent business owner. If you grasp this you will start to think like one and find your part in contributing in your local community.For a town to thrive the local business owners have to help each other. A local sandwich shop is going to cater to the lunch hour of other local business. The local print shop is going to help out as well with the marketing of other local business.How do you fit into this? Maybe you area a smooth jazz guitarist or a pianist and your music seems to relax people. Perhaps you can see if there is a massage therapist in town that wants to take a listen to your music. Give them a copy to try out on their clients. Have it playing in the background while the clients are receiving their message. If they like it you can have your CD for sale in the massage therapist office. Maybe your music is new age. Try finding a local bead shop, or rock shop. See if they want to play their free copy in their store and have your CD on display?Create a musical seriesFor example if you are an instrumental artist living in Aspen Colorado try making a four part series with the first release entitled Winter in Aspen, followed by spring, summer, and autumn. I have heard of other artist doing well with this concept. It seems local distributors like the idea based on the fact they will receive another product from this artist. If the buyer likes what they hear on the first release it will also encourage repeat customers. Plus they know each release can generate more sales of the other CD's.Consider the series concept when you are in the planning stages of your next recording project. This out of box thinking also makes a great media hook. Your music will stand out from the rest when it comes to an editor making a decision on what story they will print.Making the most out of your live showsFliers are a long time tradition for bands at live shows. However I have found them to be tedious work with little rewards. If you are going to hand out something at the live show try making it a little more interesting so they will not toss it into the garbage.Try putting your web address on it with a secret URL that will expire 2 days after the show with free downloads, huge discounts on Cd's, as well as an informative page telling them where they can buy all their gear: Hats, T's, Stickers, etc.Another idea would be getting a stamp made with your bands website. Have someone at the door stamp all the hands that come on in to your show. Tell them about signing up for your mailing list, and the free mp3's you will be offering them on your site. If they forget about it they will certainly remember it the next day when they see that stamp on their hand. It may take a few days before that ink washes off. Great promotion for you and your website!Radio promotion for your showOffer the local radio station free copies of your CD to give away for promoting your show. Stations love freebies to give out because it gets the listeners to call in and be interactive with the Disc Jockeys.Giving free copies to record stores for in store playGiving away promotional copies to local record store managers to play is a no brainier. However you would be surprised how many people overlook this one including myself. People go to these shops to do one thing listen and buy music. If you music is playing there is a good chance they will come up and ask who is this artist.People love limited editionTrue lovers of art and music want to get their hands on limited edition volumes. Try this out on your next CD release. Try limiting a small amount of signed copies of your CD's to 50 or 100. Staples have these great certificates for this purpose and you can number them and sign them to make it authentic. Include an 8x10 glossy and some other memorabilia to make it a little sweeter deal. Maybe call it a "Fan Pack." This can truly inspire the die hard fans to order even faster. By making it a limited time offer fans will be more apt to spend money on your new release.I hope a few of these ideas will spawn the creative juices inside of you. Remember be pro-active when it comes to your musical career. Make something happen for yourself.    Visit us at our website for more.