Promoting Music and Bands

I mentioned on here several months ago that I had started up a new project as of August, 2011. That has been coming along nicely in the limited time we’ve had to dedicate toward it. In fact, we are starting to recruit more members, now that the base material has been written and assembled / structured. Exciting times, to say the least.

Of course, as you would expect, I am performing all of the material on a six-string fretless bass (the Green Monster I’ve posted around on here, Facebook, and elsewhere). I really had to work to get my chops up to an acceptable level for a couple of the tunes. We are not going the highly technical route, but rather, sketch out the groove first, and then let the technique be what it needs to be in support of the overall feel and sound of the song. The mix of worldbeat, jazz, funk, techno, and hard rock has blended even more melodically than we dreamed it would, and I can’t wait to share some of it both here and on stage.

Getting the Word Out About the Band

Now that we are building out the ranks, it’s time to start thinking about marketing and promotion. Of course, the first thing to tackle is our brand, a.k.a. the name of the band. We have some ideas already in mind, but won’t lock that down until we have at least a vocalist and perhaps also the rest of the rhythm section (we want both drums and percussion).

Once the brand / name is selected, it will be time to get the word out and build momentum.

Since I’m in this more for the joy of playing than for any financial concerns, we don’t plan to blindly accept any gig just to play out. If you’ve ever booked a show, only to play for an audience of three obnoxiously drunk guys on a Sunday night, you can surely relate.

How do you get the word out in lieu of filling up the calendar with shows? That takes a combination of creativity and business savvy. Luckily, my day gig is in Marketing, so I’m all over it.

Promotional Vehicles for Bands

In planning to promote a band, there are obvious vehicles to take on. I’ll list what we already have in mind, but I’m very curious what other avenues you’ve uncovered that are effective.

  1. MySpace Logo

    MySpace or Our Own Website?

    Web Site – this is one we’ve debated heavily. Many bands just opt to use MySpace or another online service to establish a presence. In fact, my partner in crime for this project is my brother Bart, who goes by the stage name Exstus and uses MySpace in place of a hosted website for his solo DJ/Producer act. This is a good idea for several reasons, such as free tools to share song snippets, ease and cost of setup, and the opportunity to rank on Google for your band name quickly based on the SEO value the site  has already established. But I’m an online marketing guy, so I plan to just pick a relevant domain, whip together a site in WordPress (which is what I built this site in), and manage it myself. Perhaps we’ll opt to use both initially and migrate to our hosted site over time. We’ll see. What works for you?

  2. Online Music Distribution Services – We will come out of the gates with 12 – 14 original tunes. Initially, those will be recorded on simple scratch copies that will suffice as demoes, but soon thereafter, we plan to do it right. At that point, we need to get the materials on CDbaby or another digital music outlet. I’m fully of the belief that music is content and needs to be treated differently than the way the old bloated music industry did it, so this should be more than enough for me. After all, I don’t have to make a ton of money up front if it drives people to the live shows. I’d rather play for large crowds and just about give away the songs to build a fan base. In the long run, it will be for the best.
  3. Social Media Profiles – This is where it gets a bit more hairy. I’m very involved in social media, as you might guess from seeing this blog with sharing buttons and the like. Social media can be very time consuming, so we’ll need to pick and choose what works best. I’d love to hear what you find to be the most effective medium online.
  4. Email List – I know email is starting to become less of a focus for the younger crowds, but they still use it nonetheless. What successes have you found with it? Does it still work, even if just for promotional activities? Do you have to mix in other stuff too? Free live versions of the tracks? Something else? I think this will be useful, but am not quite sure the best way to tackle it. Any tips that can help avoid any faux pas will be more than welcomed.

What Else Do You Use?

That’s the first list of tactics which come to mind when I think about band promotion. Of course, there is also the live show / live appearances angle, which has to be part of it. And networking is always part of the game in any business.
What else have you found valuable? Is there some social angle I didn’t mention that has been lucrative? What value are you getting – fans, followers, show attendance, song/CD sales?

Fill us in below, and let’s get a good conversation started. This will benefit each and every one of us.

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