Self-Promotion in Music: What’s Your Ticket to Success?

Music self-promotion

You just recorded your band’s debut or new album and all you want to achieve is to get people listen to your music, buy it or talk about it? You want to raise awareness on your work through the media? Bragging about your best song yet on Facebook won’t take you so far. So what you shouldn’t and what you should do.

  • Sending out your unsolicited demo tracks to a bunch of record labels in most cases mean that you’ll not get a record deal. It’s simply like that nowadays. Instead focus on building your own music identity by giving more effort to the creating process and interaction to your small but trusted fanbase. This will help you expand the fanbase, and when that happens you know that you are on something good.
  • Make contacts in the music industry with people who know how the whole business works, but do not ask them questions like “How to get signed?” Every label has certain expectations from the artists they are working with that are connected with – if not commercial success – how not to lose money. You need to know what is the right way of doing things. Engage with the PR representatives, have them back up your work and build connection between the media and music fans.
  • Engage with the other bands of the similar genre orientation. The “Scratch-my-back-and-I’ll-scratch-yours” principle in the music industry (as it is) is fairly good for the bands that are about starting their careers. Every band wants more people are connected with their music. If A band shares a song of B band on their Facebook page, people will check it out and A band will get new fans. So, make a first step.
  • If your recording is finished, create a promo package with following info:
    • a press release detailing your news on the album/EP;
    • a short (one page) band bio;
    • a CD (a demo recording is fine, or an advance copy of an upcoming release);
    • a package of any press coverage you have had so far;
    • your contact information;
    • a photo;
    • links to your website, Facebook profile, YouTube channel, ReverbNation, Bandcamp, etc.;
    • think about creating a video EPK.
  • Create a distinctive image of your band, as visual experience is the first impression you get from both the media and mere mortals. Having a good visual concept (album art, logo, photos) is definitely a good start for a band aiming to achieve something.
  • Try to find something that will make other people check your band – you are the only one who can give them reason to do so. There are other bands looking for the same as you. Standing out from a bunch is hard, but if done in a right way, you are in a better position than your “competitors”.
  • Organize a give-away event. Giving a CD or a t-shirt for free by hosting a give-away intrigues people and makes your band engaged more with them. Think about it.
  • Playing live (if you tend to do so) is one of the most important segments in self-promotion. Work on your stage performance.
  • Never lose a track of the contacts you made. You will get in touch with the media representatives over the time, so make sure to keep their contacts for the future press releases or review submissions.
  • Sometimes a large promotional campaign is needed. Set your goals and your budget and ask a PR agency for help.
  • Be patient. Media exposure – what are you looking for – doesn’t come over night when you are doing things on your own. Give time to magazines, webzines or radio stations, as it’s most likely that they will not feature your album or write something about it the next day after you sent them a copy. And whatever you do, don’t spam them with a question “When the review will be posted?”. That knows how to be counterproductive.
  • Work hard.

What are your tips for the bands that are just starting out their music journey? What is your opinion on self-promotion? Let us know in the comments below.

Nikola Savić is a prog enthusiast, blogger and author, in addition to being the founder of Prog Sphere, Progify, ProgLyrics and the ongoing Progstravaganza compilation series.

1 Comment

  1. Drayen

    November 26, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    Thanks for the tips ! As I’m launching my new Jazz Rock / Fusion album, it’ll be useful !

    BTW, you might want to check it out : http://www.drayen.com/guitariste/en/downloads/kissa-i-le-drayen-labie-album-5-titres/

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