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Promoting Your Band

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by SuperDuperStar, Sep 9, 2004.

  1. What do you guys do other than the usual playing bar/club gigs and internet site to promote you band? What have you done in the past that may have been a little different that payed off or could have if it were not for x, y and z?

    My band is releasing an album soon and I'm looking for some new ways to get our music out there. Whether that be trying get us playing in a situation we would not normaly play or ????????????????? I don't know what.

    So let's hear it.
  2. hire a few friends or wierdos, whom ever will do it, and get them to run around naked yelling the name of your band, and I guess the name of the album would be good too :)

    "No publicity is bad publicity"

    *not in band, but I think it is a good idea
  3. If you guys are well known around your area or if you get a lot of hits on your website try to start a street team. That usually helps because you can get others that like your music to help you guys out by passing out flyers or passing the word out about your band.
  4. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Make sure to have a 'release party' for your album! See if you can get a club to sponsor it, and make a radio ad part of the deal.

  5. MichaelScott


    Jul 27, 2004
    Moorpark CA
    Your website is very nice looking.

    Maybe you should give us some clues as to what you are doing now to promote.
    How do you currently promote and how does that promotion pay off in your website hits and fans that show up to your shows?
  6. For promotion right now we are not doing much. Most of the shows we have done have been for showcase purposes and jumping on the bills of friends bands. Every show we play we do seem to get a another one or two people joining our mailing list. We are not in a situation where we can play multiple nights a week and go on shoe strig budget tours so we need to find alternate or more effective ways to promote.
  7. MichaelScott


    Jul 27, 2004
    Moorpark CA
    So how many times a month does your band alone book a gig?

    Your site also didn't say how long you guys have been together (maybe I missed it).

    Also, How many people are hitting your site a month?

    This may not be the case with your band- but I've seen the vast majority of bands out there who ask the same question you do at the wrong time in their band growth (which is why I am asking so many questions- I want to figure out where your band is).

    The question is:

    "How do I get people to buy my newly made CD?"

    When they should really be asking themselves:

    "How do I promote my live shows to get a large base of fans?"

    Too many bands out there worry about cutting a CD before they play enough live shows and get a large following. This is like putting the cart before the horse. But people do it because of peer pressure (friends wanting something to listen to), It is less stressful then live shows, and there is this impression that once you cut an album you are one step closer to getting a sweet record deal and “discovered.”

    All those assumptions couldn’t be farther from the truth. If you look at the history of almost every single successful band they have all started by doing a tremendous amount of live shows and grassroots promotion. Once they had a huge rabid fan base that came to all their shows THEN they cut a CD. And they never had to worry about promoting and selling their CD because they already had the fan base that was begging for it.

    Some opinions from me:

    1) It is harder to get people to come to a live show then to get them to listen to your CD for the same amount of time. So if you can attract people to listen to you live you’ll have a better foundation for growth. Selling 100 CDs isn’t an issue when you have 300 people coming to each of your shows.
    2) Promoting every week for your up and coming live shows is a big pain in the rear- that will not bring you noticed results for a long time. But people WILL see them and eventually your name will spread. Promoting in the same fashion for a CD won’t be as successful because the topic isn’t dynamic. If 1 person that sees a new flyer can recall seeing your band’s flyers for 10 different venues he/she might think, “Wow this band has been around for a while and does lots of shows. They must have great music to play these many shows.” They won’t think that about a CD because anyone can cut a CD now days.
    3) Mass-producing a CD without a fan base that will buy it immediately is really expensive. You are better off promoting your website with some mp3’s on it till you can establish a following.
    4) If you are getting 10,000+ unique visitors to your site every week, if you are packing each venue you headline with fans (not friends- there is a difference), if you have venues calling you to book shows for 2 months in the future because you rocked the place so hard last time, if you wish there was more Friday and Sat nights in a month so you could stop saying “Sorry we are booked” to venues… then maybe it is time for you to cut your first album.
    5) If you are asking “How do I promote my album?” It probably isn’t the right time for you to be doing an album.


    Just my opinions.
  8. Mike A

    Mike A

    Oct 3, 2002
    Now... that was a fantastic post.
  9. funkmuffin


    Aug 18, 2004
    Akron, Ohio
    Two or three things we've done to promote the band over the years have really paid off.

    First, we have a digital camera with us at every show, and our guitarist goes table to table most nights, and takes pictures of each group of people (with their permission...). Then, tell them that the pictures will be on the website at www.yoursitehere.com by Sunday night, and since everyone wants to see their picture on the internet they go check. You can't get to the pictures without seeing where and when our next gig is two or three times. GREAT marketing tool. We have people email to say "Thanks for our picture!".

    We also found a place that would print the band name on silly little things -- we chose sunglasses, and for 1.50 each, we got sunglasses that said "The Sugar Daddies" on the side of the arms. Sold 350 pairs in a year at $3 each! Even if noone ever wore them (I wouldn't have...), we got some $$ in the band fund, and people remember the band, cause we sold them something. $3 is a lot less then $15 for a t-shirt, which we also do, but the glasses went WAY faster.
  10. We have been booking a gig about once a month for the last little while.

    Our band has been together for about two years

    I don't know how many hits we are getting on our site at the moment. I'm not in charge of the web site.

    The CD was made for demo purposes, but we figured we could get some copies made up make some dough. The cost was minimal. A friend owns a studio and an Indy lable/distributor fronted the money for the manufature of the CDs. We did a 4 song ep demo almost a year ago and it took us about 2 months to sell 200. Pretty fast considering how few shows we played. I know all we have to do to get people to buy the album is get ourselves in front of them. We played a local radio "in studio" and had to turn away dozens of people because the manufacturing was delayed on the album. The 30 samplers we bruned up went pretty fast (by request only).

    It's just that with our situation we are can not play every other say of the week. Frankly a band does not have to do that to get picked up. There is a balance between having something everyone can "get" and 5000 - 10000 indy sales that will turn heads. We are looking for a balance. My personal goal is between 1500 and 2000 sales.

    One alternate way of promotion we are using right now is we have our CD at a listening post at one outlet of a Large retail book chain that our drummer works at. We have sold ten off of that in two weeks alone. Just people comming in taking a listen and buying it. Not bad for a completely unknown band. Best story from that was having a guy buy it for his son, lady at the check out told him who was in it. Our drummer signed the album for him. Two days later 2 of his son's friends came in a bought a copy each. :)

    We are well past the decision to release an album and in far to deep to pander to our friends and family. Like I said we have certian consraints on the band that do not enable us to play our butts off. We only have a small amount of time when all members can commit to being with the band. If we spend all of that playing shows the developement of the band will suffer. All of the songs on the album should be obsolete in 6 months.

    Some different things I'm looking to do include, setting up various strategically themed charity shows to get the most amount of local press out of them. Next summer I'm looking into getting a contract to play at a campsite that caters to 19-25 years olds on long weekends. Other members are exploring the "hussel your CD on the streets" option.(we live near toronto).

    As far as making merch at low cost or making up buisness cards with band info on them. How has that worked for anyone who has done that? Did the increased hits on your site result in sales and increased attendance at your shows?

    Yeah, keep them Promotion ideas coming!!!!!! :D
  11. Mike Money

    Mike Money Banned

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan
    Not funny, not cool, and not something people should have to read here.

    - Smash
  12. Thanks for the tip Mr. Money. Go ahead and try that with your band and let me know how it works out.

    Anyone else have some interesting (read non jackass) promotion ideas?
  13. Corwin81


    Mar 18, 2003
    Ames, IA
    stickers are good for promoting.

    My band made up a flyer based on an image on our CD cover that had our name(Parallex), website(parallex.org) and "Have you heard it?" and posted it around campus. One of the radio stations around here has been saying our name quite a bit since we played one of their tailgate parties, so we decided to act on it. People seeing the name would jog their curiosity and they'd check it out.
  14. josh_m


    May 5, 2004
    Davie, Fl
    Free is good, my old band ended up eating a lot of money but we recorded a two song demo and burned them at home (made 100 more whenever we would run out) and just gave them out for free, even if people weren't staying at a show to watch us they would take a cd and have a listen, the CD had the name of the band, our website, and the songs written on it. We also made some stickers that had the name of the band and the website on it and just walked around and whenever we saw a pretty girl asked if she wanted a sticker (pretty girls tend to have lots of friends.) Before we did the stickers we did something similar with paper flyers, a friend of ours was taking a commercial printing class in school so we had flyers with the band name, the website, and a picture of us and put them up on bulletin boards and handed them out to people whereever we went. We would sometimes make deals with other bands, they thank us at a show we'd play together and we'd thank them the next time we played, if you show that your friends with the bands youre playing with a lot of times their fans will stay and watch you when they normally wouldn't.
  15. I think stickers are great. I personally remember them better if I have a sticker.
  16. Yeah I'm not to keen on the Free CD thing. We did it for a few shows when we were waiting on our Album to be pressed. I've seen quite a few bands do that and at the end of the night when the venue clears it's just a waste land of discarded CD's. Even if they request one it still has no real value to them and they have no incentive to keep in on them till they get to listen to it.

    Stickers are good to, but I would rather sell our CD have the people leaving with our music. Much better chance of turning people they know onto the band that way.
  17. josh_m


    May 5, 2004
    Davie, Fl
    We never had a problem with them being thrown away at the show, and we'd always ask for an email address whenever someone got them and if they gave us one wed follow up a few days later asking if they listened to it and what they thought. We even had people burning copies for their friends, the good side was it saved us money (even if it was only a couple cents a cd) but the drawback was we arent sure exactly how many copies got out, we passed out about 400, but i know several people who have copies that werent made by us and copies that had our mp3s on them as well.
  18. Ok I like the getting the persons email when you pass out the cds. Could work the same with selling CD's. Put them on the band mailing list. Gonna run that by the band. Thanks.

    Ok what else have you guys done to sell CD's, wierd shows you played that payed off with increased awareness in you band, odd promotional stunts? Let's hear 'em.
  19. Anyone??
  20. Get friendly with your local free periodicals.

    get friendly on chatboards in and around the area, and abroad...ask questions of people from different areas (much like here) and ask for hot spots, be it clubs or whatever that might yet again have their own discussion boards...set up a buzz there....

    stickers. free at your shows. a must.

    Mailing lists at your shows. Collect e-mails and send out short letters to your potential fanbase.

    blogs. hit them often.

    use links all the time.

    see if you can get like-minded bands from said blogs and webrings to add your link to theirs and vicey-versey.

    get in good with mom & pop shops that are music friendly (be it music stores or CD nooks) and ask to hang posters and other stuff, and ask if they're local-friendly on their racks...in fact, do the same with the bigger chains too...I know HMV and Media Play are local-friendly....

    try alternate media outlets. Call tele producers and see if they scout certain agencies when looking for bed-musics for programming...or hook up with your own agencies.

    Also, realise the days of live-play exposure being your breaking oportunity are going away fast. In clubs that is. Try and hit the college scene. Colleges have money. Colleges have recreation centers where someone on the committee might be cool enough to want to host live bands...

    look into local access programming to see if they're any enterprising music-related people who might want to host homebrew videos.

    get yourself a video / electronic presskit together with a copy of your record(s) and send them to cooler slightly underground magazines to review (Big Takeover, Amplifier and the like come to mind)

    flyer for no reason.

    get yourself out there and talk to people. be excited and ask them their interests and work your band into the conversation somewhere along the way...

    local radio! College Radio!!!

    CD Rom freebies at shows. hey, they're like less tyhan a quarter a piece, and a few minutes of your time nowadays. People like free. Free is good, and often an incentive for later partings with their hard won cash.

    Look abroad. Overseas. Find like minded bands there too, and swap links or hit their message boards too.

    I know alot of this is grassroots and obvious, but you gotta do the work to make it work.