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How do you generate interest in a new and never heard of before music group??

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by bassbrock, Sep 17, 2008.


  1. bassbrock

    bassbrock

    Feb 20, 2007
    Callahan, FL
    ===LONG POST ALERT!===
    A quick summary for those without the time to read the whole post: Where do you begin when you are just starting out as a band, what do you do to generate interest, get gigs, and get people listening to your music and knowing about your group?
    ===END ALERT===

    Hello everyone,

    What methods of promotion and techniques, tips and tricks, etc would you utilize to generate interest for a new band or music group in your area? And for the moment I'm speaking locally, not generating national interest. This question is also interesting in today's economy, also considering the sad state of the music label business. If the answer is to get signed to a label, great, then answer accordingly. If not, I'm interested in other ideas you may have.

    For me this is a chicken and egg question. If you start out trying to get booked at multiple local venues, you are often asked where you've played before and what type of crowd did you draw. What if the answer is "Well, we've never really played anywhere before, and we've never drawn a crowd!" How do you overcome this obstacle?

    I'm in an as-yet-unnamed group that has been quietly and dilligently working on a project of our original songs and music. We've done our best to put a CD together as professionally as possible in a professional studio, trying to skip the 'demo' CD quality and go straight for 'commercial quality' CD.

    Now the question is, what do we do now? We want people to listen to the music we've made and we want to be able to play the music live for people in our regional area venues. We now believe we are ready or close to ready to share our music with the world, at least locally. I've shared some of the music with a few friends and some strangers, and they've all loved it and wanted to hear more, so I know the music is likable, and strikes a 'chord' so-to-speak with people. We just don't know where to begin to gain any exposure and generate interest in our music.

    Where exactly do we start? We've considered flyering local neighborhoods with singles from our CD (as in free CD giveaways) by putting them in bags and hanging them on people's doors, and then inviting them to come a show (if we can get booked). We figured we could send our full CD as a demo to any venues that we would like to play at and use that as 'collateral' to speak for us instead of saying "Yeah, we played at X venue and drew a crowd of X size." We figure we could let the music speak for itself. Just check out our CD, see if you like us and let us play at your location.

    I do realize we have to start somewhere, and I imagine it is at the bottom. A further development of this question would be, how do you get offers to open for larger, more popular and more well known regional and national bands that come through our regional area? I imagine that would also generate interest and gain us some exposure for our music.

    We have some members of our group that have the attitude like that baseball movie - "If you build it, they will come." Basically implying that all we've got to do is throw up a website, a MySpace, etc and people will start stumbling upon our music. And we have people telling us to get our CD to CDBaby so that our music will be available there and by extension available on iTunes, and then people will 'stumble upon it' - but how do people stumble upon it if they don't know to look for it to begin with? See what I mean by chicken and egg?

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions and constructive criticism.

    Oh, and one more thing, lets throw out the 'if only we had enough money' obstacle. Lets assume, for the sake of conversation, we had an unlimited budget for promotional purposes. And that our interest in sharing our music is not primarily to earn money, but first to just generate interest and get people listening to us and coming out to see us at shows.
     
  2. baalroo

    baalroo

    Mar 24, 2008
    Wichita, KS
    Well first, ALWAYS plaster your myspace/website in your signature... and mention your band to anyone who will listen.

    The best way around here to get started is to get to know people in the "big fish" bands of your genre (or related genres)in your local area and simply ask to open for them. It's usually fairly simple to leach fans from established local acts.

    Honestly, it has a lot to do with what type of music you play, a jazz trio will have a lot different strategy than death metal band... so what type of music do you play?
     
  3. You have to sign up for this guys mailing list and check out his blogs going back +1. Tells you everything to do right and what not to do!!!!



    http://www.lefsetz.com/
     
  4. bassbrock

    bassbrock

    Feb 20, 2007
    Callahan, FL
    Good point, however I'm not interested in just strategies for a specific type of music. I'm interested in _all_ the strategies, not just ones that would work for the music we play.

    Regarding our style, hard to put a finger on it. The music we have been working on ranges across multiple styles and breaks genre boundaries. Generally we are mostly a light rock type sound with lots of different influences. Some songs sound influenced by Radiohead or Dave Mathews Band; others have harmonies influenced by Little River Band, and still others with melodies and arrangements influenced by the Beatles. One song we have sounds influenced by Tower of Power or James Brown but without as much funk and no horn section. Some of our songs are a piano-jazz type feel, with a Norah Jones type vocal on them... very up close, breathy and personal. One has a punkish-Green-Dayish type sound. And we are a decently sized group - We have a total of four singers, two who sing as lead singers, one male, one female that switch off on different songs. The other two singers sing mostly backup the majority of the time. Lots of harmonies in choruses and doubling in verses. We have a piano/organ player, lead guitarist for burning leads or frilly fills who plays keyboard on some songs, a rhythm guitarist, me the bassist and a grooving, hard hitting drummer/percussionist who plays congas and so forth on occasion. Have I helped narrow it down? :)


    Wow! Thanks for that. Signed up and checking out his blog archives now. Thanks!
     
  5. bassbrock

    bassbrock

    Feb 20, 2007
    Callahan, FL
    I like this idea. Could you suggest how you would start such a conversation? In other words, how would you ask the question? How would you introduce yourself to this band, being that our band is completely unknown? Would the 'big fish' bands that we would ask, would they be interested in knowing of our experience or would we expect them to ask to hear some of our music first? Would they ask where we've played previously, etc?
     
  6. baalroo

    baalroo

    Mar 24, 2008
    Wichita, KS
    IME, especially with the "scene" you're refering to (which is the same "scene" I'm a part of), most of the bigger bands are happy to give small upstarts a shot. My advice is to find a band that you think you'd mesh well with sonically and just go to a few shows. After each show make your way up to a few of the guys in the band, introduce yourself, and let them know what you thought of their set. After they start to recognize you mention you're in a band they might like, tell them you're looking for some opener spots for playing shows and that you would love to play with them some time, drop a CD to them, and make sure there's some contact info inside. If you're decent they most likely will give you a call. You'd be surprised how much (in the local scenes) the "bigger" bands have control of who plays the opening spots. Often the venue won't have much at all to do with who opens and they'll just trust the band to bring someone along. (again, YMMV)
     
  7. bassbrock

    bassbrock

    Feb 20, 2007
    Callahan, FL
    Interesting, didn't realize it worked that way. You are right, I am surprised, I would've figure the venue chose the openers.

    I'm curious how this works with national acts, lots of times when national acts come to town here in Jacksonville, FL, the opener group will be some local band. How does that even happen? In fact, you'll often know far enough in advance to hear about it on the radio and if you happen to catch any flyers or posters the local opener for the big name will be in the ad or on the flyer.
     
  8. Seriously am considering this: Get a flat bed semi trailer, put the band on it with instruments, a banner with your name, power etc and pull up in front of a venue when a national concert act is in town. Play a mini set outside as people are going in to the big show. Of course you have to tip off the local media to get maximum exposure.

    I am assuming you play rock as I believe this would be more of a stunt for a rock band. Maybe country rock too. Probably not jazz. :meh:

    I actually could do this for minimal cost because my company owns semis, generators etc etc. Just getting a big enough set of balls is the final piece of the puzzle.
     
  9. bassbrock

    bassbrock

    Feb 20, 2007
    Callahan, FL
    Ha! That's a great idea. My concern would be if the fans walking into the other show didn't like the music. I wonder if you would have to have a permit too... and would there be a risk of violating some noise ordinance or something. Don't want to be breaking the law!
     
  10. deggial

    deggial

    May 27, 2008
    Athens, Greece
    The "if you build it, they will come" approach does not work, in any business field. Essentially, you will have to actively advertise your material to the local community.

    There are quite a few ways to do this. First of all, you can use Myspace and add any local venues to your friends list. If they accept, it is quite likely that they will also check out your music and maybe consider you for a live show. Similarly, use Myspace, Facebook, etc. to associate yourselves with bands of similar music style.

    Making contacts with other local musicians is something that definitely helps, as they can introduce you to venue owners or, the well known ones, ask you to open for them. Forming such connections is probably the best advertisement you'll get.
     
  11. Bochafish

    Bochafish

    Jul 26, 2008
    Chicago, IL
    10 years ago my band did something like this. Phish was playing 2 or 3 nights at Deer Creek IN. Our band called the local campsites, and talked one of them into letting us play the campsite lodge at night. It was an extremely fun experience, even though we didn't get too much love from the Phish fans. We met a lot of friends and made a few contacts that got us into other venues on the midwest college scene.
     
  12. bassbrock

    bassbrock

    Feb 20, 2007
    Callahan, FL
    Unfortunately for some reason I can't convince the one or two members of our group that this is the case. They really think that all they have to do is make the music, record it, and 'get it out there' without actively participating in the promotional advertisement of the music process.
     
  13. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

    Sep 10, 2008
    Pomona, SoCal
    Seriously, you have to do footwork to get recognition, especially in a tough, over crowded market. Set up a myspace page, post some music, make a real web page, post more music. Make some business cards with all your contact/myspace/website info on there, even a brief description of your music. Hand those out to EVERYONE.

    When its time to gig, make up flyers and hand out thousands. Here's an idea somewhat like the "pull up a stage and hijack the show" thing. Find a big act playing a week or so before your show. Head there a little late, after the show has started, and hand a flyer out to EVERYONE that leaves, even better if the big act is in a similar genre.
     
  14. my usual plan for getting a band on it's feet is as follows.

    get good, so we feel comfortable playing together and have a decent repertoire of songs and make some decent quality recordings at home or in the rehearsal room.

    do a myspace, push that as hard as we can to get a presence with local music fans, bands and promoters, utilising any existing contacts or useful friends along the way.

    play support gigs with as many people as possible, and give out free cds at shows.

    never turn down a decent gig where people may see us for the first time.

    obviously skip the first step, as you've got your stuff together and recorded well. In my experience, a well recorded demo/album is always an asset, but the sound quality of initial recordings is less critical than the strength of the songs and most importantly getting it in people's faces at shows and online! personally, i love it when i can d/l mp3s from band's myspace, so i can give it a proper listen on my ipod... professional looking promo pics and a well designed myspace will leave you more likely to get more than a glance from people who are bombarded with bands left right and centre although this doesn't replace good old hard work, postering and flyering gigs, playing anywhere you possibly can etc, even for free if you have to sometimes.

    good luck!
     
  15. bassbrock

    bassbrock

    Feb 20, 2007
    Callahan, FL
    Thanks chrisisnotevil, those are all very helpful suggestions and I will be briefing my bandmates on them.

    So far, everyone keeps mentioning MySpace as extremely integral in the promotion and advertisement process. Not trying to be stupid, but is MySpace really that influential and important in band promotion these days? The reason I ask is I rarely discover new music on MySpace... most of it that I've sampled in the past I rarely like and tends to have an extremely 'amateurish' sound to it. We also have some non-internet generation band members who ignore the internet angle completely and think it would be a waste of time.
     
  16. von buck

    von buck

    Feb 22, 2008
    wolcott ct.
    Get a name, ASAP. when someone asks what your doing you can't iust say, "oh we got an interesting project going on" You need to say I play in '"The XXXXX's" We have some gigs coming up,I'll let you know.
    Tell your band mates you can't use "build it and they will come" if no one knows you built something.

    Andy
     
  17. von buck

    von buck

    Feb 22, 2008
    wolcott ct.
    You're playing with my father?


    Andy
     
  18. "Luke, I AM your father...

    And quit calling yourself Andy, it pisses me off so badly that it makes my voice raspy!" :p
     
  19. baalroo

    baalroo

    Mar 24, 2008
    Wichita, KS
    Simply put, yes it's very important. I very rarely CAN'T find any band I'm ever looking for on myspace. If you have a band you need a website so people can easily check out your music and access info about you. Of all the possible locations you could have said site, myspace is the most obvious and high-profile. It's basically a ramped up business card/press packet/demo tape/merch booth/fan club/mailing list all-in-one for the digital age. You don't HAVE to have one, but IMO it's just plain stupid not to (no offense meant to anyone).
     
  20. deggial

    deggial

    May 27, 2008
    Athens, Greece
    Yes, it is important, but of course not a guaranteed way to success. It is, plainly, a good way of advertising music, similar to word-of-mouth advertising.

    If someone stumbles into your Myspace page and likes your music, he'll add you to his friends list. His friends will see the addition and will consider checking you out, as it is quite likely they share the same music interests.

    Considering that at the very least Myspace is a free service that allows you to upload your music so that people can check it out, there is no reason not to have a Myspace page.
     

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