You must have realized by now that as an indie musician, you practically have to do everything on your own-including publicity. You barely have time to practice your music and ha! You still have to contact that editor, that music blogger, that radio guy just for 2 minutes of fame. Do not complain, now. Yes, it may not be easy (or fun) but it is part of the challenges of (new) musicians. I know it’s silly but you should embrace it with a big grin on your face knowing that this little bit of task right here is part of the big package.
Band Publicity is not the easiest thing to do and it’s not that most glamorous, either. But once we get more familiar with it, our instinct would somehow guide us what to do to make things easier (and hopefully more fun). Here are some tips on music publicity that new musicians can use:
Follow Music Blogs and online magazines. Check popular blogs and magazines that feature new artists that play the same kind of music that you play. You may want to scrutinize their kind of writing –whether they have the habit of bashing new bands or they’re tactful, whether they really do sound like they’re decent writers or wanna-bes, etc. Anyone can easily put up a music blog so you have to be cautious and selective. You might also want to check their traffic ranking in alexa just to know if they have plenty of readers. You do not want to be featured in a site with a 10 million ranking; you want many people to know more about you. List all the music sites in an excel spreadsheet, together with the editor’s e-mail, traffic ranking, physical address, etc. It is a boring job but you will need this list as long as you are in the music industry.
Categorize the Writers/ Journalists. While you are making that list, you should also take note of the journalists’ writing style. Is he loaded with positivity, talking about all the good things about certain bands, or is he/she hard to please and is not shy to express his negative opinions? This is necessary because right now, you still cannot afford to have really bad reviews.
Give the journalists what they need- easy to read, detailed, information. Sometimes journalists and bloggers get discouraged or just plain lazy when they see text that’s challenging to comprehend. Keep everything simple because when once you start to get too complicated with your words, readers would start to zone out and flip to the next page, switch to another channel, or close a website. These journalists read and interview a lot of artists and the best thing you can do to please them is prepare good answers. This is also necessary if you are in a band since you should come up with a uniform answer to some questions about the band (i.e, How did you all meet?).
Follow-up after one week. Once you’ve contacted a blog editor, music journalist, segment producer, or any press person, give them at least one week before you ask them what’s up. Do not be shy but do not come too strong either. On your first call, simply ask them if they received your kit. Be polite. Ask them if it is a good time to talk. Once they say yes, tell them you’re name, band’s name, and the date you submitted your stuff. Ask them if they plan to do anything with what you’ve submitted and when the perfect time to follow up again is.
Be direct to the point. Journalists are very busy people and you are a busy person, too so it is best that we keep transactions short but fruitful. When you contact these guys, make sure you keep it short, sharp, and direct. Make sure you can deliver what you need to say or ask in first sentence to save everybody’s time.
Prepare high-resolution pictures. Do not wait for the journalists to ask for your band’s pictures, hand it to them together with your kit. Save them in a disc and print 3-4 of the really good ones. Write short descriptions of each picture so they would know what to say about you. Remember, you are an unknown band. They do not know a single thing about you so you better give complete and correct information.
Hold your temper. Some journalists and press people, because of their power, develop fat egos through time. Some of them deliberately try to be mean just to test the newbies if they really are up for a career in the music industry. So when a journalists has a foul attitude, don’t take it too personally. As long as you’re not doing anything disrespectful, just shrug it off. Do not corner him and demand the respect that you want-it would just make matters worse. Show professionalism, instead and continue doing what you’re supposed to do. If a journalist puts you in a bad light, don’t complain right away. They are entitled to their opinion and you cannot do anything about it. Just keep on playing your music and keep on contacting other journalists. Forget about that one feature. Again, it’s just part of the game.
Keep good relationships with the journalists. Once you’re done with the interview and you have seen your beautiful pictures in the magazine or blog, business is over, right? Wrong. You just got your band a good contact and you should never ever let go of these people. In this industry, it is all about the people you know so once you have developed a good partnership, you should take care of it for life.
Publicity requires a lot of hard work- coming up with answers to the interviews, setting up appointments, dealing with the press people’s egos, coming up with gimmicks- but it is very crucial for your band to get noticed. I hope you will find these tips helpful and welcome to the fun and marvelous world of the Music Industry.
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