Music Marketing: How To Market a Band Without Being Boring
By Duss Rodgers
It kinda sucks, and I’ve even been guilty of this sin as well, but when most musicians and music business “experts” discuss how to market a band, they tend to turn into corporate slinging business monsters. I’m sure you’ve heard it before – and probably more than once or twice from me – you’ve got to treat your music like a business. It’s the only way you’ll find any success in the incredibly competitive music industry.
The bottom line is that although this can sometimes take the fun out of being a musician, it’s 100% bang-on true. But… the good news is the methods you use to market your music don’t necessarily have to be boring and they’re certainly not difficult to put into action.
Event Listings: I Read The News Today… Oh Boy!
A great way to get the word out on your music is to pick up a paper or flip through a magazine and inside you’ll generally find little blurbs on events happening locally and even internationally. All newspapers and magazines have these buried in their wall of pages somewhere. You might think no one takes the time to read these but you couldn’t be more wrong.
These little tidbits of news are read by a ton of folks every day. In fact in our “news thirsty” fast paced lives we tend to read these little easy to digest “short takes” more often than those full page articles.
The point is, even though music reviews and featured stories in prominent media are a huge blessing for your music business career and there’s no doubt you should be trying to get your music covered in them as often as you can, don’t make the mistake of overlooking the “little blurbs” you find in newspapers and magazines.
Gossip columns, industry updates, local scene events and many other “smaller” bits of coverage in these media outlets are often overlooked by most bands and music industry marketers. Plus, these sections are often used to fill gaps in magazines and newspapers so if your event is handy for an editor to simply plug in to “fill space”, you might get your band some free press coverage.
It’s important to at least try to take advantage of these lesser known news coverage avenues and score your band some valuable ink. Remember, you never know who’ll be reading.
Be Newsworthy: Find Ways To Spin Your Stories Into Newsworthy Editorials
Now picture this. You submit a press release on how you and your band found yourselves stranded on the side of the road with a flat tire, ended up being picked up by a school bus full of young-blood new generation type hippies, which then turned out to be the campaign bus for the Green Party, and somehow you ended up playing a full set for their campaign rally…
Do you think this might be the kind of news that’ll catch the attention of a radio station or a music magazine editor? Heck I know I’d bite.
The point is this stuff happens! Not often… but we all know things like this DO happen sometimes. And just how you choose to get the news out is what makes the difference in whether or not your music marketing ends up working for you, or taking a nose dive into the editor’s waste bin.
It’s simply a matter of taking those mundane every day events that happen and finding an interesting twist that’ll help to make them newsworthy. Be on the lookout for a fresh new spin on events that happen to your band and slam ’em home to the media as often as you can. Any one of those awful things that can and DO happen to bands in the course of a music career can be spun and twisted into a positive newsworthy story. It’s all about creativity my friend. And I’m willing to bet you’ve got a ton of that to go around.
All things considered, knowing exactly what to and what NOT to include in your online band marketing and musician list building efforts is essential to your press release success. For instance knowing NOT to approach fans and media with lame ass press releases announcing your latest album and understanding that simply telling fans where to buy your latest album with no mention of how they can connect with you on a deeper level, rarely achieves the results you’d hope for.
Music Festivals: Hijack Your Local/National Music Festivals. Throw Your Own Party
There isn’t a band I’ve met who wouldn’t want to score a spot in one of the big festivals. I’m willing to bet you’re one of them. Whether it be a performance on the local indie band music fest or any one of the big ones like South by South West or North by North East… all musicians want in.
And who can blame you?
What better way comes to mind on how to market a band than instant media exposure in front of thousands – potentially hundreds of thousands – of open minded music fans. Good times my friend… good times.
But even if you don’t manage to squeeze your band onto one of the limited performance slots with the other 400-500 bands, you can still leverage some of that festival spotlight exposure with a little creativity and fair sized brass balls.
See knowing how to market a band isn’t ALL just about business.
I mentioned earlier that we music industry marketing types tend to look at things from a corporate business angle when it comes to making money with your music, but the truth is that music marketing can be a lot of fun too. What I’m getting at is that without a doubt, hands down, the most fun thing you can do as a musician… is perform. To get your butt up on a stage and do your thing.
So why not go with that and hijack a bit of the spotlight from that music festival.
Organize your own “Unofficial (Insert Music Festival Name Here) Festival Party”. You can potentially attract thousands of music hungry fans ready and willing to check out almost anything unique and original that’s going on in the area of your sub-featured music festival and all you have to do is let them know where they can find you.
Create a bunch of flyers, get on that guerrilla marketing machine, name your event the “Unofficial (Insert Music Festival Name Here) Festival Party” and hand out your promotions to anyone you find floating around the main event.
Make sure you include all your contact information including website, email, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram info on all flyers, and at the very least you should be able to drum up some additional attention from at least a few new music fans.
Organize and handle this effectively and you could potentially fill the “Unofficial Music Festival Party” venue you’ve locked down for your event. It’s this kind of inventive music marketing thinking that separates good bands from great ones.
Great bands have fun.
They have fun because they’ve figured out how to market a band effectively. Let’s face it, it’s a lot more fun to play music when you’re getting paid and you’re building a huge list of raving fans, than it is to perform in an empty club for one night every 2 to 3 months. Which band would you want to be a part of? No brainer my friend… a true no brainer.
Now if any of this seems a little daunting for you and you’d like more detailed step by step training on how to market a band more effectively, then check out and subscribe to my Catsask Magazine YouTube Channel where I add new music marketing strategy videos every Monday. It’s all about learning how to market a band, how to build your fanbase and how to make more money with your music for life.
And like I said earlier, it’s much more fun to market a band when you’re getting paid enough to drop that 9-5 job, so why not have more fun and do more of what you love each and everyday?
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