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Band Promotion

     
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The absolute first thing that you must decide even before deciding to promote your band is "Why am I doing this?" Is this something you really want to succeed? Are you willing to put your heart, soul and every single second of your life into making this band successful? The answers to these questions must be a resounding YES. Otherwise you're probably just wasting time.

Once you've decided that you're willing to do whatever it takes, you must face the fact that your band is a business. You must treat it like a business from the very beginning. Taking this standpoint makes the promotion end of things much clearer. Look around you at other businesses. How do they promote themselves? Most, if not all, of the standard business promotions will work for a band.

Probably the first thing every band does is flyers. Flyers are cheap and they work. How about using business cards? While not quite as cheap as flyers to produce, they're just as effective and much more businesslike. People generally keep business cards, while they rarely keep flyers. Don't forget that there are two sides to a business card and it's not that expensive to print a slogan, demo offer, or other information on the back of your cards. If you have a computer and printer at home, you might want to look into printing cards yourself. Card stock is widely available at office supply stores and is inexpensive.

While you're still thinking about flyers and business cards, don't overlook press releases. A press release is a simple statement about what you are doing at any given time. Send them information when you are involved with a big show, when you're recording a new demo, etc. Send them to local newspapers, radio stations, to anyone you want to keep informed about your band. Start keeping copies of not only your originals, but of any clippings from newspapers that print your items.

Eventually you will want to put together a press/promotion package of your band. The industry standard is to have an 8x10 black and white photo of either yourself (if you are a single artist) or the band together. Don't wear lots of patterns. It's usually better to wear solid colours...stay away from white around the face. Wear colours that are bright.....They tend to show up better in black and white. Try to look natural. Don't over smile. Don't back light your photo's, as it distracts from the pictures' subjects. There are very good professional photographers that can give you suggestions...You'll do fine if you remember K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid).

Along with a photo you'll need a brief biography on each member of the band as well as an overall biography on the band itself. A little introduction about who you are, where you come from and where you're going. What is your purpose and goal, what is your experience? All of this framed around the idea "why you should hire me." Typically each band member writes a small paragraph about themselves and their own personal experiences so that the reader gets an idea of the personalities that make up the band.

One way to both promote your band and get free publicity is to contact local charities and non-profit organizations. Offer to play a benefit for them. If they agree, you not only get a gig but you'll get great promotion mileage. Anytime you can play a benefit - do it. Then announce it to the press, including all radio and television stations in your area. One good benefit can give you free advertising for months. As with any business, the primary focus should always be keeping your name out in front of your target market.

Make friends with your local reporters, DJ's, the receptionist who answers the phone at the radio station and newspaper, anyone who might be able to assist you with anything. Most of these people are very nice and would probably enjoy your music. It will definitely pay off big if you're nice to them. Send them things. Along with your press release send a handwritten note or card thanking them in advance for passing along your information. If you have a demo tape, send them a copy with a handwritten note asking for their feedback. If you have T-shirts, send them one. Whatever you send them, always send along a handwritten note either thanking them or asking for their opinions on something. This makes sure you stay in their minds. It flatters them to think that their opinions matter and they will be more inclined to do more for you. Don't waste their time, however. Don't become a nuisance and send them things too often. You have to realize that these are very busy people, appreciate that and only send information to them when you have something to report.

Most areas have public access television. For a nominal fee you can produce your own TV show. While this does offer somewhat limited exposure it can reach a different marketplace for your music. Not to mention that you can then put "as seen on TV" on all your flyers, business cards, press releases, etc.

Demo tapes and CDs are great marketing tools providing they are good enough, sound quality wise, to adequately show off your material. If you have a demo that's lacking in sound quality (noise, etc.) there are people experienced in re-mastering and post-production who can probably fix that.

Treat your band as a business and you may be rewarded by a successful band. Treat your band only as "play time" and it's likely that's all you'll get -- time to play. Always remember your objective: to expose as many people as possible to your band and your music. As long as you remember that, you can find an almost infinite number of methods to achieve your objective.

Are You Being Ripped Off?
We've all heard about these so called Artist Promotion companies who advertise in the back pages of the musical press offering performers a fast track into the big time. The music biz has always been about the mixing of cash and talent. You bring your talent to the deal and the record companies their investment. While not all of these outfits are deliberately setting out to rip-off unsuspecting musicians, have you ever heard a positive report from anyone who has paid for their services? Therefore, before considering using the services of one of these companies, ask yourself the following three questions:

1) Do you ever buy compilation CDs featuring unknown bands and styles of music and that record shops want to stock a product like that?

2) Do you believe that a demo which has previously been rejected by a record company would subsequently be accepted if offered in CD form, or accompanied by a photo, CV etc.?

3) Do you believe that someone who is paid 500 to try to achieve a result will work as hard as someone who receives 500 if and when they achieve a result?

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