Have a Promo Package
Just like when you send a demo to a label , to self promote your music, you need a good promo package. Your package should have:
- A press release detailing your news
- A short (one page) band bio
- A CD (a demo recording is ok, or an advance copy of an upcoming release)
- A package of any press coverage you have had so far – press coverage begets press coverage
- Your contact information (make sure to include an email address – people may hesitate to call you)
- A color photo, or a link to a site where a photo can be downloaded. The press is more likely to run a photo if they don’t have to chase it.
Another way to stand out from the crowd is plain old free stuff. Even press people and label bosses love getting something for nothing, and you’ll whip your fans into a frenzy (and get new fans) by giving stuff away. Some ideas:
Put some money behind the bar at a show and give free drink passes to all the industry people who come to check you out.
Give people on your mailing list an exclusive download once a month (be it a new song or an alternate version of a song)
At gigs, raffle (for free) mix CDs made by the band – everyone who signs up to your mailing list at the show gets entered in the drawing.
Get your name out there. Make up some stickers, badges, posters, lighters or anything else you can think of that include your band’s name. Then, leave the stuff anywhere you can. Pass them out at your favorite clubs, leave them on the record shop counter, poster the light posts – go for it. Soon, your name will be familiar to people even if they don’t know why, and when they see your name in the paper advertising an upcoming show, they’ll think “hey…I know that name, I wonder what that’s all about..”
Keep Track of Your Contacts
As you go through all of these steps, chances are that you are going to pick up a lot of new contacts along the way. Some of these contacts will be industry people and some will be fans. Never lose track of a contact. Keep a database on your computer for the industry people you have met and another database of fan contacts. These databases should be your first port of call for your next promotional campaign – and these databases should always be growing. Don’t write anyone off, even if you don’t get much feedback from them. You never know who is going to give you the break you need.
Promote your music on Twitter
Twitter is another excellent venue for getting in touch with your fans, promoting your content, and getting more people excited about your music. To promote your music on Twitter, you should actively update your timeline with new information about events, promotions, and album releases. Here are some other things to try as you promote your music on Twitter
- Live-tweet events. If you have a unique perspective on something, from your own concert to the Grammys, use the live-tweet to keep your fans engaged.
- Provide links to your videos or music.
- Master hashtags to get more people interested in your music.
- Take engaging photos that catch your followers’ eyes and make them want more.
- Take the time to reply to your fans. Reply to them publicly and let everyone know how much you care about your fans and make them feel special for reaching out to you by sending them DMs with more content.
- Use the Vine app to promote your music through videos. Celebrities from Paul McCartney to Enrique Iglesias are already using this App
Promote your music on Facebook
The best way to promote your music on Facebook is to create a Facebook Fan Page. This will allow you to connect with your fans and to separate your personal life from your professional life. Use your Facebook page to give fans basic information about your music, to provide exclusive content, and to give information about upcoming releases, concerts, and anything else your fans would like to know about your music. Here are some other things to keep in mind as you promote your music on Facebook
- Don’t annoy your fans by reposting the same information many times over. Once should be enough.
- Use “likes” as a gate to distribute content like videos and downloads. If a fan “likes” your link, then he can listen to more of your music.
- Connect with your fans. Ask your fans for feedback, and take the time to respond to your fans’ comments. This will make them feel more connected to you and your music.
- Reach out to other artists on Facebook. If you know a more popular artist or an artist whose music has a similar but larger fanbase, ask if he can promote your music on his page; this will drive up your likes.
- Create events. Use Facebook to create events that invite your fans to your latest concerts. Even if the venue has already created an event, this will help get the word out to more people.
Distribute your music online
Have your music readily available on Spotify, RadioAirplay, Deezer, and iTunes. That way, you’ll look like a real professional the next time a venue manager or fan asks where he can find your music. Use audio drops when you distribute and promote your music. This means telling your listeners where they can find your music at the beginning or at the end of every single, or at the beginning and end of every album. Here are some outlets to distribute your music:
Take Advantage of Email Marketing
Email marketing is something I’m surprised I don’t see more musicians taking advantage of. My guess is this is either due to the lack of understanding of how to use it, or because of the cost involved. Or both. That said, bear in mind it could end up being one of your most effective ways to communicate with fans, so once you start building up a fan base you should give it a go.
Don’t Promote a Bad Track
Perhaps the most important lesson for upcoming producers is that you can’t have a great buzz for a bad track. It is very hard to recover from a crappy track that is over-hyped. I think I first heard this from a record label executive from L.A., but it’s kind of obvious.
I suggest getting feedback from respected people in the industry and other music enthusiasts before releasing.
When you try to self-promote your music, it loses effectiveness due to your blatant bias. However, when you promote someone else’s music, blog, idea, or book, suddenly you gain a lot of credibility. Other musicians will appreciate the free press and be encouraged to do the same for you.