About Me

A blog of practical, tested advice about being in the unsigned music industry. Hope it helps. Please follow me on Twitter if you want to keep up to date with the latest blog posts, http://twitter.com/#!/mbigtbf

Friday, 15 June 2012

Connect with the most important fans you will ever have

The hardest fans to make are the first 10. The first people who aren't your friends but genuinely like your music because its good and they connect with it are the hardest but most important fans you will ever have. Due to this it is vital that you interact with them and make sure they now how must you appreciate them listening to your music.

Why are they so important?

Initially your band will grow fastest through recommendations by people to their friends. Whether it be by linking to your songs on Facebook or telling someone about you, people trust their friends opinions and are much more likely to listen to your songs if recommended.

If someone that you don't know interacts with your band in some way, get in touch with them. Say thanks, and build a relationship with them that will ensure they recommend you and come back to hear more of your music. Also use this opportunity to ask them how they found out about your band because knowing which of your websites/methods of promotion are actually working is vital information at this early stage.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Exploit a lyrical niche to promote your band from a totally new avenue.

So far all the advice on this blog has been about how to promote your music to music lovers. However, I realised that if you have suitable lyrics, you can exploit them to find more fans who might connect with your lyrics.

Love songs, protest songs, a particular personal experience are all examples of lyrical content that can be used to promote your band from a totally new avenue. Did you just write a song about your recent breakup? Find places to share this song with others who have been through a similar situation and there is a high chance they will connect with your song and understand how you feel.

This type of connection with someone creates a deeper and more substantial connection with them that is likely to increase the chance of them both liking your music and listening to more of it.

So how do you find the right place to promote your music?

First thinking about which of your songs has the most meaning full lyrics, or the ones that people can connect with most easily. Whether it be an anti government lyrics or lyrics about motorbikes, summarise the content of each song and think about what kind of website you might find people interested in this content.

Then you have 3 options. First: post on websites/forums/blogs about how this song connects to the subject, maybe it inspired you or accurately reflects you feelings but you must post with 2 things:

            • a tone that suggests you are a fan of the music, not a band member shamelessly promoting their music.
            • a link to the place where you can hear the music. (Youtube is a good option because it can option be played without people having to leave the site their on)
The next option,  is perhaps more ambitious but to find websites that discuss your lyrical content and see if they are interested in promoting your music. You will really need to sell the benefits of doing this to them, for example you could talk about how it is another way to explore/express a feeling towards something. If this pays of it will be really good for you because a trusted member of a community is promoting your song which makes it highly likely that it will be listened to.

The last option is to find radios/podcasts that discuss your content and see if they are interested in using your music on their shows. Again you will need to work hard to find a good radio show (start small and local and build up) but if you do, the rewards will be huge. 

Sunday, 3 June 2012

How to promote your band using Facebook

I bet everyone you know has Facebook which makes it a perfect starting point for letting your friends know about your band by creating a group for them to like. It is probably the easiest way to keep people up to date with the activities of your band because after liking your page, no one has to make anymore effort to see what your up to because your updates will automatically appear on their news feed.

You may have seen recently companies offer something for you to win if you share their image or post. If its good then very quickly many people share the image and interest grows in the company. If you have something you can offer, whether its signed products, cd's, a music instrument, gig tickets or more then encourage people to share it and build interest in your band.

On your page you want images of your band, perhaps post a few images from every time you play a gig or album artwork. Also basic information about who you are and links to your website or where people can buy your music. Upload your music as well of course.

Warning: Don't spam people's news feed or post all the time. Facebook is popular because it is a place to interact with people without many adverts and if you post too often it begins to look like your only interested in promoting your band and people will be put off.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Build interest in your band using forums

Forums don't allow for advertising or spam but build up a reliable reputation and promote your band.

Start by identifying appropriate forums that will have the most number of people who your band will appeal to. Use this list of forums, http://www.big-boards.com/, to find forums that you think will be best. Start with the largest and read through them to find the biggest possible ones. Try and find ones that were as specific to your band as possible, whether it be by the genre of music the site is about or the lyrical content of your music. If you sing about love or politics, registering on suitable forums will potential increase the likelihood of people connecting with your music once they hear it. Another possible type of forum is music festival forums because these are obviously music lovers but the admin on these forums work for the festivals so it is possible to build connections with people who may be interested in getting your band to play at their festival.

Once you've registered with between 3 and 5 forums see if you can make a signature for yourself. A signature is a bit of text or small image that will be placed below your posts in the forum and is an opportunity to promote your band. Try and use an eye catching image if you have one but most importantly you need a link to somewhere that people can hear your music. If there is no option to use a signature, use a weblink as your location in your account settings because often your location is displayed next to your posts and if its a link people will see it and hopefully click on it.

Next you need to find the introduce yourself thread which almost all blogs have and post on it. Read previous posts to see the type of posts people are making so you can understand what is appropriate and people respond well to. If no one is promoting their band or linking to their own sites then try and be more subtle about the way you do it or don't do it at all.

Now you need to read a few of the threads already on the forum to see what people post about and how they post. People on forums don't appreciate spam or obvious self promotion so avoid doing this. Instead you need to build a reputation for yourself on the forum and show people you are a credible source of information/opinion. Interact with people repeatedly by reply to their posts and post on a range of threads. Post a few times a day for a while and then when an opportunity arrives, promote your self. However you should not need to explicitly promote yourself unless it is appropriate because if people start to see you as a credible member of the forum they will want to know a little more about you and follow the links to your band.

This marketing is free and only requires a short time each day. Post while watching TV and its not even extra time you have to devote to it but if you post well and frequently it will become another avenue to reach a potential audience. 

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

How to benefit from giving away free CDs

Who likes free stuff? Everyone likes free stuff! Especially consumers. But what about retailers? You could give away your CDs to people in the street or at gigs but the success of this is limited because you have to meet everyone to give them a CD. Giving free CDs to retailers lets them do the work for you.

How to give CDs away effectively

Retailers however make money from sales, and them passing on your CDs is unlikely to be an attractive prospect to them because it is of little benefit to them. To encourage them to pass on your CD they need to benefit so suggest them selling the CD for a £1 or £2, enough for them to make easy money, but small enough for customers to buy. Also if the shop is making easy money by selling your CDs, they may play the tracks in the shop or promote it more than other CDs giving you more benefit and publicity. Also the benefit of small music shops is that often they organize local gigs and this can be a platform for you to be part of the local gigging circuit and a way of getting on their radar.

Obviously there are costs involved in producing all these CDs and giving them away so selling huge numbers is unsustainable for your band. However I recommend starting by giving a shop 10 or 20 CDs to see how it goes in the hope that they ask for more, then maybe offer another batch for free but after that you can start asking for some money per sale because they know your CD will sell so they are guaranteed some profit. Before you give them the CD though, make sure it is as good quality as possible and showcases the best songs because it is unlikely that a shop will accept a 2nd CD if the first one is rubbish. Good luck

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Effectively giving away "free stuff"

How many of you clicked on this post because it said free stuff even without any assurances as to what this free stuff might be? Hopefully this demonstrates how people are attracted to anything that is free. Curiously people are more attracted to something labelled "free stuff" than "free CD" or "free flyer" because once they know what it is that is free they are more likely to reject it so if your aim is to get your product into as many hands as possible, label it free stuff. This also can work online. Once they have it in their hands or have clicked on the link then you have a chance to make a fan! I saw this in action when a friend of mine tried to give away gig flyers and when he said "name of the band gig flyers" he got little interest but by changing it to "free stuff" almost everyone had a look.

However, and its a big however, this kind of marketing is not directed at the kind of person who is more likely to enjoy your music because it is aimed at everyone so don't expect amazing results. Selective marketing is better, always think who your target audience is and how to reach them. Perhaps a better way to use "free stuff" is when you want to get as many fans as possible on, for example, your mailing list, interested in something

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Advice from people at the top of their game

Here are links to 2 videos, one by Frank Turner and the other by John Baizley and Pete Adams and the overall message they have is that the only thing you should care about is the music and if you don't love your band and the music, you don't have a chance. Sex and drugs should come after the rock and roll because without the rock and roll, you don't have a chance of getting the other things.
Well worth a watch, here are the videos:
Frank Turner
John Baizley and Pete Adams