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Promoting original bands

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by bassbully, Apr 27, 2009.

  1. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    I was wondering if any Tbers who are in original music bands had any tips on how you promote your band. I am using only myspace which is ok and has worked but i feel we need more. I looked into Sonicbids after a large festival was using them but i dont know if i buy into the hype. I was used to booking cover bands a couple of years ago which was easy IMO by using myspace and a cheap demo of cover songs . I feel original music needs much more detail and a good recorded CD which my band is working on finishing now. We have a few recorded songs on myspace although the lineup has changed the songs are mostly the same.We are looking to book nicer events ,winerys, better clubs , coffee houses, festivals etc. Any help would be great.
  2. Online tools such as Myspace and SonicBids may have somewhat changed the landscape of booking bands, but I still find the tried and true method of contacting venue bookers over the phone or in person to be the best method. It depends, though. Everyone has a different level of comfort working online.

    Regardless, make sure your demo is good and the tunes are appropriate for the venue or you're dead in the water before you start.
  3. Mo'Phat

    Mo'Phat Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2003
    San Diego, CA, USA
    Myspace and Facebook are both all well and good, but not necessarily geared to music fans.

    Another place to consider is radio station websites. Many have message boards or chatrooms, and the people that inhabit those places are pretty into music in general. Put your band information in your signature and start chatting. Not necessarily pimping your band in every post, but striking up conversation with people.

    In my opinion, promoting original music at the beginning is all about making friends. Making friends who will actually go to where you play is key to having happy venues and repeat gigs.

    Myspace is far too worldwide to adequately promote your act locally. Local radio gets you into your audience.

    Also, local radio DJ's (not necessarily the popular drive-time show guys...but the skank shift guys at night or early morning) would love a break from the tedium of button pushing. Having a local band come in who is conversational, charismatic, and interesting is a great way to fill some air time. But, you must have a great demo that can be played, or you must have a solid acoustic song or two. Have a gig coming up or a web address to visit, and it will help.
  4. Mo'Phat

    Mo'Phat Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2003
    San Diego, CA, USA
    PS: University radio stations are perfect for guerilla attacks. Just show up and knock on the window. DJ's who have game will bring you in and feed you more questions than you can answer (where'd you get started, who came up with the name, who gets all the groupies, etc.) and if you bring snacks or coffee, you now have a fan on your side.
  5. wnelson


    Aug 15, 2007
    its all about connections ....we usually meet bands that fit our genre and book venues with them....its always good the collect booking information from the place you want to play...in my experience ,they greatly appreciate it when you can present yourself and have other bands ready to jump on board for the same night....its less work for them to fill up a bill.....its the greatest way to do it my opinion...

    also if your using myspace,i highly suggest to set it up like an eletronic presskit.....ready to email to local venues,along with the other bands that you have on board....

    if you email a venue and they dont reply (which is alot) then go up there in person with ready made presskit to present them....a nice cover letter,bio with band photo and a EP....try to go up there as soon as they open so its dead and they have plenty of time to talk to you and maybe set a date...

    we also print our flyers at 11x 17 in full color....(because i work at a print shop)...and two weeks before the show we go up to the venue and post it there and hit up the other areas that live music is big,and put up posters all over....pretty much where ever will let us hang flyers....the idea is to at least get the name of the band in someone's head...they may not ever come out,but they can at least say ''hey,ive heard of them''

    whatever it takes!!!

    also sign up on last fm.com
    and pure volume.com

    another decent source for free streaming media

    good luck
  6. Korladis

    Korladis Banned Supporting Member

    Go to lots of shows. Make friends with the bands there. Try to get booked with them if they have an established fan base.

    It's all about exposure. Myspace is great and all, but you still need to do footwork.
  7. Lazylion

    Lazylion Goin ahead on wit my bad self!

    Jan 25, 2006
    Frederick MD USA
    My band found Sonicbids to be a complete waste of time & money. YMMV, of course.
  8. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Thanks to all some great feedback and ideas! the radio station ideas are great and something i need to look into since we have two Universitys within 15 miles of each other. My band is working on a regular promo kit with photo etc now which will help. I love doing it the old foot to pavement way and will continue to do so. What about using local booking firms etc? I have just found out original music needs more that the old coverband send a set list and cheap demo i was used too.... and i can see why now.
  9. dystopiate


    Feb 21, 2008
    New York City
    Endorsing Artist: Spector, Aguilar
    What are you and your band looking to do? If you want to play shows within a small radius you may apply some very different tactics than if you're willing to get out of town for a couple of weeks at a time or longer.

    I've witnessed plenty of good and bad marketing ideas in the bands that I've been in. The best ones all seem to be:
    -Rolled out meticulously
    -Require that you're working relatively little for your return.

    Let me qualify that last one. There's still plenty of work that goes into most good ideas, but if it's taking up huge chunks of your time without a significant return, it's probably not that great an idea. I know guys who spent hours, days, months just adding friends on myspace. More friends/fans is nice, but it was still, comparatively, a waste of time. "Relatively" is the key part.

    Be creative with your marketing. If lots of other people are doing it, it's probably not going to pay off very well. I only know a couple of bands that have something that sets them apart in their marketing. I only know a couple of bands that are making money.
  10. buddy bands and not being afraid of talking on the phone or in person. talking to the venue owners before and after the show, playing the show like you give a crap, being respectful.

    my band got one of those mass-adders for myspace that just adds the crap out of people in an area we're about to play a show in, and we make sure to leave them messages and comments where applicable.

    That and a good cd will get you started.
  11. Korladis

    Korladis Banned Supporting Member

    Very good point here. Show up early and be professional and respectful to the venue owners. Show that you are glad to be playing there, be easy to deal with and the venue owners will like the idea of you playing there again. Build up a rapport with them and they might throw you a bone in booking. The gig I filled in for the bassist of my friends' band was from some perspectives a failure because it was un-cancelled at the last minute (half the bands had dropped out) and drew very few people. However, it was doing the person who runs that venue a favor, and so she told them that very night that if their schedule was free, she was booking them on two big shows coming up with fairly well-known, big draw bands. One of the bands that was supposed to play there likely won't be able to for quite a while, because they didn't show up.
  12. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI

    This statement is very true. There's a band around these parts that is absolutely horrible IMHO, but the front man has connections with one of the hard rock radio stations in town. They get pretty sweet gigs, and exposure on the radio (not getting played on the radio mind you, just plugged).
  13. D Rokk

    D Rokk Banned

    Feb 19, 2009
    Delta Quadrant
    purevolume and myspace are great tools but they arent the only tools.. a real website is important. too many bands forget this. a myspace account IS NOT a website.

    but you cannot stop at online exposure. some dude who "digs ur sound" but lives 2000 miles away isnt going to make ur show, sorry, not gonna happen..

    promo kits are great, get urself a street team... leave copies of ur demo laying in coffee shops.. graffitti ur name on overpasses... kidnap record executives kids and hold them for ransom until they give you a record deal.. watch the movie airheads and take notes..

    with these simple steps, you too can be a rockstar!
  14. loend68

    loend68 Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2008
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses, T.C. Electronics
    A recent discovery of mine is www.reverbnation.com. Even without paying for premium services there are alot of useful tools once you start looking around.

    +1 on making connections, schmoozing, and being respectful!
  15. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    I guess i should of layed that out...huh :)

    We are not looking to be rock stars or go on tour. We are looking to do well locally and regionally. We all are working guys 2 are in the medical profession and we have time to play but 2 gigs a month maybe 3 at most on average. We are looking to get the music out have fun and create a good sound. We are looking also to play more upscale clubs,winerys,coffee houses,bistros etc...no dives or at least few. Money although its great is not a big deal and we are OK with this. We hope to sell our CDs and make a few bucks but in my area coverbands struggle and original music really suffers money wise.To be honest we have been getting a few offers so far and only playing 2 hours in stress free type gigs, laid back places which we dig.

    I started this thread after seeing the better places want more and there is big demand for the better artists in my area for these original music venues. Most are booked allready till the the 1st of next year. We got on it late and need to throw our hat in the ring so to speak for next year.

    Our guitarist is the main singer songwriter and writes great stuff. We all want to promote his music together and enjoy it. The band is laid back and fun. We hope to just get a following and be known as a good solid band with good tunes and see where that goes. Thanks Again!
  16. dystopiate


    Feb 21, 2008
    New York City
    Endorsing Artist: Spector, Aguilar
    Since you're looking to stay local and mostly have fun, it's important that you have a base audience that you can build on. This base audience is going to be friends, family, and any fans you may have from other projects (i.e., fans of you, not necessarily of the other project per se). I recommend facebook over the other social or musical networks for this. Facebook is more personal and less cluttered. It's not easy to garner new faces via FB, but it's easy to keep the old ones coming back.

    You may have to make your bones playing a few smaller places first, but you may not. It depends on how well you gab and make friends, really. If you can convince the places that you want to play that you have a following and/or you're better than the other bands that they have the option of booking, you can go a long way on that alone.

    Some places will let you "audition" on an off-night. Most people will tell you that the owner/manager is looking to see how well you draw on an off-night and extrapolate to how well you'll draw on a good night. That's sometimes the case, but if you play well, and you have a few drinks with the guy/gal and are personable and professional that's often all you need. This has always shocked me. I think it's beacuse most places that have live music don't have it because it drives business, they have it because they're enthusiasts. Remember, most bands are filled with jackasses or wanna-be rockstars. Promoters have to deal with these people all day long. Having a good band made up of cool guys can make a promoter's night, even if they could have booked someone with a better draw.

    Also, I'm not sure how much ground you're looking to cover, but IME playing the same area more than once every 2-3 months is the fast-lane to reducing fan interest and aggravating promoters. You may need to spread your shows out to different parts of your radius since you're staying local.
  17. Mo'Phat

    Mo'Phat Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2003
    San Diego, CA, USA
    Agree with Dystopiate. Staying local can lead to oversaturation and really, the only way to avoid that is to make the particular bar/gig/theme/night be an event.

    I did a steady house party gig for awhile, and it was the first Friday of the month, and it was 40 oz. Friday, where everybody needed to bring their own 40. After a few months, the place was packed...people told their friends who told their friends, and it became an event, rather than just going to see the band play.

    Establish a relationship with a bar and propose an off-night event. Give it a cool name, come up with drink specials, contests, radio sponsorships, and be prepared to be the only band all night...meaning you will probably have to work in a bunch of covers. If you can do anything for the bar to increase their traffic on an off night (and they really didn't have to do any promotion or put in any thought), they will have you back and will try to help out for the next one. Name your drink after your band, have it be easily made...either a cheap/ironic mixer or cheap/ironic beer...things like that.
  18. Mo'Phat

    Mo'Phat Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2003
    San Diego, CA, USA
    PS, if you ever get a venue that has an attitude or is a place your partygoers don't want to go, you can just take the party elsewhere. You'll have leverage and a proven commodity to present to another venue. "Hey, look how many people we got on a Tuesday night....look at all the booze they drank. What's your take on a normal Tuesday night? We can just bring the whole party to your place."
  19. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Thanks again all. I have allot to work on and some great ideas. We are going to look into some travel to some college towns but it might not be untill fall or even next year. The nice thing is there is allot of coffee shop ,bistros and winerys in my area to spread around at. The trick is getting into them first.
  20. Smu573


    Dec 6, 2002
    U.S.A. Chicago Il.
    EDEN Artist
    artistdata.com communicates with all of the social networks for you. This way you do not have to continuosly update the same info per network. It also sends press releases to local press for the gigs you have booked. It communicates with myspace, facebook, bebo, reverbnation,jambase, and many many others. It will also set up tour intineraries, included the location and numbers of local instrument shops, and other useful locations.


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