Being a musician doesn’t just start and end with music, you gotta do 100 other things like making band merch and promoting your band. Knowing how to promote your band is simply a must if you want a career in music. Otherwise, you’d be gone into oblivion. Even the most talented musician would not survive if they won’t promote themselves, especially today when everyone is competing for attention.
So how do you do it?
Here’s a checklist on what you should you do to promote your band:
Sell Cool Merch
Merch is a thing musicians should never pass up. Aside from the fact that it gives extra revenue, it also is a good promotional tool. Music band t-shirts are very much common now. A cool unique print of your logo or band name printed on the shirt worn by your fans would already catch attention especially if you are a band that has a number of fans in the same place.
To make sure you make good quality shirts, you should know the basics of t-shirt printing. You need to know what printing type goes with what type of clothing material so that you can give your fans durable and high-quality band t-shirts to wear. You should also be very careful when you decide on a design if you choose to have dark colored t-shirts. It can be really risky when you are not careful because it will look like a cheap t-shirt, especially when you have fading designs.
We make bulk t-shirt printing here at Unified and on-demand t-shirt printing with our sister company Swaggin.com.
Have a catchy website
Always have your band’s website pretty updated and if you don’t have one yet, I suggest that you create one now. A website is very helpful for you and your (potential) fans because your website would be where every information about your band will be posted, your personal bio, images, and music. Sure social media platforms are there but your website is your home in the online world. What sets it apart from social media is that you can transform and personalize it to suit your band’s image/ branding.
Your website is not only a way for your fans to know about your band more or be updated about the latest happenings and tour dates; your website can also become your online store for your CDs, vinyl records, and merchandise like your band t-shirts.
Another good thing is that you can add a mailing list sign up form. This is HUGE! Email marketing is still very relevant today. There are potential fans that would not dive into your music just yet but are interested in your band. They may have heard your music at a time when you guys are on a break from doing tour or live gigs, and that would be a disadvantage since they don’t have new news about your band. Your mailing list would come in handy when you come back, especially if these potential fans have given their email.
Be active on social media platforms (But just choose one or two)
This is basic. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tiktok have millions of users so you have to be there! But don’t just post music stuff, you gotta have something else to “sell.” Take a look at Lizzo! That girl’s IG page is filled with funny, twerking, body-positivity videos that people go gaga over. It’s not related to her music at all but to her as a person. But who she is helps promote her music.
Fans love talking to their favorite artists, and a simple like or reply under their post, or tweet would literally make them roll on the floor screaming. It makes fans feel that they are appreciated by their idols so I suggest having this kind of engagement with them. It may even get fans of other bands curious with your band since, I’ve said, fans love being communicated with by the artists they idolize.
However, there’s a trick. You should not spread yourself too thin by giving all you’ve got to each platform. Choose one or two and just be consistent. Although most people now have accounts for these three platforms, most cannot keep up and be active in these three platforms and choose to settle on just one. So I suggest you to be equally active on these three social media platforms.
Do streams or live videos
Get connected as intimately as possibly with your fans. It will make them feel that they are recognized and appreciated by someone they love and idolize. You can up your game by doing streams or lives. Fans love seeing artists act like normal human beings do, so maybe you can do a live on Instagram or Facebook with you cooking your meal, making your music, or just talking before going to bed.
If your fans know that you have members that love playing games then game streaming is another way to do it. Before doing the stream, you can promote your song or band, briefly. During the stream, you can have your band’s music play in the background. It would also be great to collaborate with more known game streamers this way their audience might check your band out, especially if your band members have endearing characters.
Get your songs playlisted
This is a great way to get your music out there. Have your songs added on playlists from popular music streaming sites like Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music and more. It would be great if you have your songs added to popular playlists. This would really boost your music streams and may even add to your royalties. It can also help you add people into your fan base especially if your music is something that has a catchy tune, or unique beat.
Buy Ads on Spotify
This will require you to spend some money but it’s quite effective if you feel that your song would pull in people that are not even into your bands genre. There are gems like that you know, songs that are from genres that some people don’t like but can still attract the same people who do not like it.
I say that this is effective because people who use free Spotify, have no choice but to listen to ads. Most people find gems in those ads and some are even shocked that some of the artists they know had released new music. So in some way, casual listeners who are not updated with your band’s whereabouts will be notified of your new release. So if you feel your music can catch non fans’ attention, then go and buy those ads.
Post videos on Youtube regularly
Posting videos of covers and original songs would be good content. Most people are using youtube these days, especially with the pandemic. With repeating people and content they see, who knows, they might click on your video if it is recommended or stumble upon your video while searching songs.
I suggest you also post videos of lyric videos of your songs, this way fans and casual listeners won’t have to go and search up your songs lyrics. At least when you have a lyric video, the views would go to your channel instead of a song lyric channel. I would also like to add that music videos are a must, if possible make it unique and intriguing. Let your fans work their minds on what’s the underlying story and connection of the music video to the song. This will keep them engaged and entertained.
Have Live Gigs Regularly
When this pandemic is over, regular gigs would be a good way to promote your band. It would be good to have repeated gigs in different locations, this way people from different places would repeatedly hear your music and may just, days after, hum your music’s tune or sing the lyrics out loud. As the human mind easily picks up repetitive patterns in a song, songs get stuck easily in our head. This is a great advantage to musicians because people who experienced the last song syndrome, most of the time, love the songs they get lss-ed to.
Gigs can also be considered as mini concerts and if your fan base has already grown, visitors of your gigs venue might get curious of your band. It’s because fans would surely show their support and may even cause a slight commotion, that will surely attract other people’s attention. This can also be a way to communicate and be with fans in person.
The pandemic, even though it’s tough for all of us, has its benefits too. One of them is that everyone is stuck on their screens which means you can easily connect with them if you just have a good strategy and excellent content. Of course, sell them your stuff while you’re at it. Merch, download cards, CDs, custom vinyl pressing…we can offer all of these as we wait for concerts to be back.
James Hill is a veteran of the music industry. He first worked at Warner Reprise Records then later joined Interscope/ Geffen Records where he managed producers and songwriters and got his first platinum record for Keyshia Cole’s The Way It Is. He is now helping indie artists with branding and manufacturing through his company Unified Manufacturing, a CD/DVD, vinyl pressing and merch company in LA.