Another blog in our series on music promotion.
I was asked recently to advise an artist who is a good friend of the studios on how to promote their new track. Like many artists, she’s gone down the route of releasing her own tracks and has been doing pretty well up until now. She’s about to release her second album and wanted some advice on how to maximise the buzz. When considering creating a buzz for a new release, I have some simple rules, which have always worked pretty well. Start by making a list of all the the tools available to you to help you promote the tracks.
Download sites (eg iTunes, Youtube)
Merchandising (T-Shirts etc) ***
Local Press Interviews
Paid for media
Business cards *
Magazine advertising *****
Radio Advertising ******
TV advertising *********
These are all the things you could POSSIBLY make use of. The main constraint most of us have is budget. How much money do you actually have to promote your track? If the answer is next to nothing, then all of the items above with *’s next to them can be discounted. If there is some cash available for promotion, then the number of *’s indicates the priority of the spending.
As it is possible to record & make videos for free and use social media to promote them, you can get your music out there for zero cost and there are artists who have launched themselves doing this. For this to work, you need to have a good understanding of how social media works and what is hot.
Lets assume you have decent quality recordings of the tracks and a good video. You want to promote yourself and get your name known. If you can afford it, it is well worth getting a couple of hundred CD’s made with decent packaging. This can be done reasonably cheaply. It is useful to have a CD as fans like to own product and if you meet someone who could help your career, it gives you something to give them.
Let assume that you have just finished your recordings and are ready to launch your music on the world. How do you do it? I’d always advise an artist to get a plan together and try and make as much use of what you’ve got as possible. The end game is to build up a following, get as many hits on your website, as many downloads and as many cd/Vinyl sales as possible. The way you achieve this is by making sure as many people as possible. If you just put the stuff on iTunes/Youtube and wait for things to happen, you are unlikely to get any response at all. You need to work.
I always say work on a six week cycle, with day 1 being when the tracks are finished. Give yourself time to get the message across. That is why it is necessary to get business cards with your facebook/myspace/Twitter and youtube details as well as your phone number and email.
Prior to week 1, make a list of as many magazines, radio shows, TV shows which feature the type of music you play and work out who at the magazines etc would be receptibe to your music.
Use social media to announce that the tracks are completed. Say that they will be released on a date (in week 5). It is good to release the music slightly before the gigs so your fans have heard some of the music
Contact promoters (if not already done) to book gig(s) for week 5/6
Get CD’s manufactured.
If you have budget, make sure any adverts are booked, otherwise you may miss deadlines (especially for monthlys).
It is always tempting to put stuff up early, Resist this if you can, but if any industry or press contacts need to see or hear the material, send them a private youtube link
For the next four weeks, get out and get seen as much as possible. Never go out without CD’s, flyers and business cards.
Get the website shipshape with stuff advertising the new launch. Make sure your twitter feed is on it !
Contact press (local/National) with press release announcing gig dates. Make full use of free listings on sites such as Time Out to give maximum visibility.
Send Cd’s out to any press contacts with gig details. Try and make the packaging stand out. Also contact any radio shows which play indie or new material, often these shows are evening or late night. Say you can come in for a personal appearance. Do your homework. Don’t be afraid to try.
Make sure website is up to date. Put new photos on the site. It is always good to take a few pictures in the studio. Keep bombarding the social media networks. Try ringing around people you’ve sent press releases to). Go to a few gigs locally and dish out leaflets. If you’ve got a few mates, give them (or even better sell them) t-shirts. This raises the profile of the band.
This week is the most important. In the next two weeks, you will be launching the new material and doing gigs, so you have to make sure that this week, you are on the phone to contacts, tweeting, posting on facebook etc.
This is the week when you launch your material. I would personally launch internet music on a Tuesday. It is a night when people are at home. If you can, rope in a few friends and ask them to tweet about the new tracks at a given time. Set a time when the tracks will be available for download. Try and coordinate this with a new webpage etc & the Youtube video launch. Depending on your profile, do a few gigs building towards a keynote gig in week six. If you have an album, only launch a couple of the tracks and say that it is the single release, release the full album the following Thursday. If you have paid advertsing it should run in weeks 5/6 to give people enough time to plan to get to the gig (only do this if you are certain that the local gigs will not affect the number of fans going to the keynote gig. If you have the fan base, a tour or mini tour would be ideal).
Keynote Gig(s) & full album launch. Hopefully the press/radio plugging you’ve been doing will also bear fruit.
Make sure that you keep tweeting and posting.
Yup, we said it was a six week program but if the previous two weeks have gone well, you need to build on it and make sure all of the reviews & other comments are retweeted and linked to on Facebook.
If you found this blog interesting, checkout this blog by professional music agent Dennis Lowry http://lowryagency.wordpress.com/2012/01/25/creating-a-buzz-its-your-responsibility/