Tips on How to Market Your Music or Band
At the very core, the principles of running a business and marketing a band to the point of making actual money are not that different. Just so happens that this business is music.
Remember that old saying that goes something like “build it and they will come”. It’s an old saying because in today’s world it should read “build it, MARKET IT… and they will come”. If you do not believe me then think about how many talented people you have come across that made incredible music in their basement, music that never made it out of their house. It’s like they’re waiting for somebody to ring the doorbell and say “I was just passing through the neighborhood with a briefcase full of money and wanted to see if you have a great song available”. You know it’s not going to happen. However, there are things you can do to get your music/band marketed and we will be discussing this in the following article.
Let us first establish what we’re looking to do. We need to market the band while at the same time making some money or at least not losing much on the marketing costs, all this while making sure that our efforts will be rewarded if things are done right.
Let’s look first at traditional marketing methods. Here we have things like t-shirts, buttons, stickers and any other solid tangible good that represents the band or artist. Obviously CDs enter the picture and so do DVDs. With the arrival of services such as Zazzle and others, you can sell your stuff without ever seeing it or stocking it. You simply create your design online and when somebody orders it they will print the design onto the shirt and ship it out. The quality is really good, but as with anything that helps make your life a bit easier, it will cut into your profits.
These items earn back money while promoting your music/band. After all, some dude dressed with your t-shirt is like having a walking billboard. Try to remember these simple rules as you design your products:
1. Very easy to read, clear and big logos work. If you’re a fan of warped letters and squiggly lines you should try to stay away from that. Nor should the public have to use a magnifying glass to read the name of your band. It doesn’t mean that your design has to be stale or boring, but stay away from stuff that you need to spend time and effort to make out. If you’ve ever seen a shirt for a death metal band you’ll know what I’m talking about. You want people to be able to read your name fast and easy. Same goes for logos. McDonalds is famous for it’s yellow arches. Mercedes, Nike and Adidas are well known for their logos. You may notice that their logos are based on simple forms/graphics.
2. Be sure to put your contact info on just about anything. The more contact details, the better. Your telephone number is good and so is an e-mail address. Some things, like t-shirts for example, do not lend themselves easily to this end, but there’s no reason why the website address can’t be present on everything.
3. Get people to give you their e-mail address in any way shape or form so that you can start to build your own e-mail list.
Now let’s look at some non-traditional methods. We have here some ideas for non-traditional promotion that will give you the most bang for your buck.
1. Club cards, more commonly known as postcards are great but before you run out and do these yourself try and see if you can get a sponsorship to pay for the cards. Here’s how it works: Find a business that is somehow tied into the scene you’re trying to reach. If, for example, you’re a rock band, a tattoo parlor or a store that sells punk clothing store might do the trick. Five thousand cards will cost you about 200 bucks. Pitch the idea as five thousand cards distributed as promo at your show for $200, with your band on one side and their business on the other. Don’t say stuff like you’re offering the back of the card, because in all reality the card has NO back. It has two faces. They get 5 thousand cards printed and distributed to people that are in their market and you get your card FREE! Works great for everybody.
2. If you find other active bands or artists releasing albums then work together and print small footers on each other’s posters. Your poster will have a small footer with gigs/releases of 5 other bands let’s say… Each of those artists will in turn feature a small note of your release/gig on their own poster. You will reach about five times more people without any extra expense.
3. Getting sponsorships may be a bit hard at first until you are better known in your market. Most sponsors look for artists with a following. If you have started to build a fan base then you can try to approach companies for a sponsorship. Offer space on all your marketing materials as well as promotion for the sponsor at your gig.
I hope this has given you some new ideas about how to promote your band. Stay positive and keep working at it.
About the Author
With experience from playing in bands to producing alternative rock music and managing artists, Stan Oldman has always been thoroughly involved in the music business. The current nyc band he manages is RED i CLAN.