Saturday, May 12, 2012

7 Must-Haves for Music Marketing

Believe it or not, whether you are beginner or pro, some acts do not have all 7 of these. Let's think of 7 for a lucky rabbit's foot kind of approach to Music Marketing. So let's "hop" in:

1. Contact info including your email and/or phone number on your website, Facebook and/or ReverbNation site. This is not rocket science, yet some acts do not list their real email addresses on their Facebook, Reverbnation or websites. How is someone that wants to book your band, or reach you for a list-minute question going to find you? If you do not want to list your phone number, that's OK. How will someone reach you when they want to do business with you? Please put your REAL email address within your Facebook, Reverbnation or website description of your band.

 2. Offer High Resolution pictures online. High resolution pictures are good for printing. Low-resolution images are good for the web. If your act is booked, or featured, and the Publicist/Promoter needs a high-res image to make a poster, article, blog post, etc. it's your job to make sure they have the right picture at the right time. An easy site to host high-resolution images is Make an account, upload some high resolution pics, and then offer the link on your website, Facebook, Reverbnation, etc. in an easy-to-find way. Add the text: "High resolution images available at this link: _____". The images can also be the images you approve of. This way you control what images are being used to promote your music. If you need good images, use Craigslist to get a college student to do a photo shoot on the cheap. Try to offer at least 3 good images to choose from.

 3. Use the online sites to make a presence. Create a Facebook, Twitter and You Tube Channel. Try to use the same name for each, if possible. Make a Bandcamp, Reverbnation and Sonicbids page. This won't lead to gold at the end of the rainbow, but learn what each site does best and use it when needed. Try to use the same images for each site so people recognize it immediately. There is simply no good way to book your band unless you have a home for your music online. You cannot simply send mp3s to booking agents, and expect to be taken seriously. Present yourself on their terms. They want to see you online, in about 10 seconds. Reverbnation is free to make an account. So is Myspace. Sonicbids costs money but is solid.

Keep in mind there are two purposes to your online sites. A) To present yourself to the industry: promoters, booking contacts, venues, labels, partnerships with other bands, etc. B) To present yourself to fans. Make sure they can find your live show information and product information quickly. BOTH of them should be able to contact you easily-- see #1 again.

4. Name your email attachments with clear names. When you do finally get a big gig, and you need to send the Promoter, Venue, Publicist, etc. your sacred promtoional materials, such as pictures, press releases, posters, etc. PLEASE label the files clearly. What is easier to find "joesession454738_edit.jpg" or "BlueFace Band Promo Image for 6.7.12 Show at Viper Music.jpg". Help people out who may be searching for your informaiton on their crowded C drive. Also try mentioning your genre in press releases. What is easier for the music critic to understand: "The Pillow Band Press Release.pdf" or "Rock.Pop 4.3.12 The Pillow Band at Good Theater Press Release.pdf"? It doesn't have to be long, but please make it clear.

 5. Don't tell a club you will bring 300 people and bring 5. This is common sense but be honest about your draw. Ask the promoter: "How can I bring in more people? May I ask your advice?" Promoters, if they have time, want to help you bring more people to their club. Be honest. You will get more opportunities when you approach your goals with honesty. Ask for help. When you're in over your head, know it. Pull back and redouble efforts. It's OK to say NO.

 6. Get really good at your instrument. You would be suprised how many decent, perfectly good musicians become frustrated when they have to jump through all these hoops in #1-5 to not be treated like the "great" and "phenomenal" musicians that spent millions of hours studying, expanding and honing in on what they do.

7. Have one really good video online. We don't need to see 15 live shows with shaky camera work. Drop $200-500 on a professionally shot live performance video. This is NOT a music video. It's a live video of your act performing in a studio. Use the sound board recording. Point people, industry contact and fans to this video.

More Tips About Promoting Online...

As this can get very in-depth, you may want to read "The Zen of Social Media Marketing". If you are not big on reading, see #6 and hire a Publicist. Chances are though, you will have to do hours and hours of research on online promotion to get to the point of having a Publicist. That's just the way it is. Think of online sites as your own magazine, where you can put any information and pictures you want about your act. Then, play shows to get people to go look at the magazine. While they are leafin through, they may find out about products they want to buy, or an event they want to come see. Kind of like what you do when you're reading a magazine. It's all fodder. Make lots of it. Keep in mind what the goals of your act are. Once you know your goals, make lots and lots of content.