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May 25, 2011

Apple For Teacher - the bitch

Filed under: Band Promotion — ian @ 10:00 pm

http://www.menendezuk.com/ are set to release their new album “Apple For Teacher” on the 4th of July 2011 - Just thought I’d give ‘em a mention ;)

May 19, 2011

Music Marketing

Filed under: Music Marketing, Band Promotion — ian @ 4:17 pm

One of the aspects I find So frustrating with my simple approach to supporting bands, is the bizarre lack of comments and feedback I get to my helpful [haha] email replies. For instance, I received an email from the chancer Sean, asking: "I’m interested in taking advantage of your offer to help with the marketing and promotion of our debut album. Despite having great and very original content in the way of music and videos, we have a lot to learn about marketing. We have just released a CD, but failed to market it well. We would like to make up for it! Any help you could offer would be greatly appreciated."

I explained that "I only really help bands with their Website Promotion, not Music Marketing," and said, "I’ll do my best to give you my thoughts on marketing and promoting your album." I visited their website and social networking profiles and I discovered a number of obvious music marketing mistakes. I would like to share my thoughts with you all, I’m talking generally - this isn’t my actual reply.

Firstly, in the email they sent, the link to their website was not clickable - it’s a very common mistake - do you expect people to CutnPaste? All you need to do is add on http:// to make www·YourBandName·com clickable! Links and linking are very important, Always* provide clickable links.

Poor linking is a frequent theme that runs through the entire list of bands’ websites and social networking profiles. Your Website should be the Hub of your Music Marketing Effort - Link To It.

Secondly, It almost doesn’t matter what your website looks like, if it lacks a music marketing focus then you are doomed. It must be Immediately Obvious how to buy the album - Top Of The Page.

Create a uniform and consistent advert that includes an image (album cover) and some textual blurb that includes: your band’s name, album name, price details (we all want to know what it costs!), number of tracks, genre. Example of included information: Menendez, Menendez Mini E.P, CD/album: SALE PRICE £1.99 Free UK p&p, 6 harmonious & hypnotic tracks, Post Rock (!also use this inf. for image alt text!) Here is a real example:

Menendez Mini E.P. SALE £1.99 Free UK p&p, 6 hypnotic post rock tracksMENENDEZ
MENENDEZ SALE  £1.99

The Menendez debut album moves smoothly between the perfect pop harmonies of download single "Beef Jerky" through to the hypnotic Krautrock-like "Living on the Shore". Album of the week in Organ magazine who described it as "a beautiful album, rather special, compelling …having it in your life will make your life just a little bit warmer and richer than it was yesterday". BUY NOW

Consistency is a key word. And in my view a big problem for many bands. On one level bands are too consistent - boring; they have the same information everywhere - try to come up with three or four different slants, with the main and most important copy included on your website - note: I lifted the Menendez blurb from the Lebatol shop, not good, it’s lazy! But then there can also be a lack of consistency and confusion, e.g. by using different images for album covers or by giving out mixed messages about price and genre - genre is also a big part of music marketing (branding, identity) - it is important to get that part sorted out so you can take advantage of your niche.

Thirdly, in the case of the band who contacted me, they abbreviate their band’s name; this is another common problem among bands who have long names, often abbreviating their name to an acronym! Promote your full name at every opportunity (think about what fans will type into the search engine to find you), by using acronyms and diminutives just to save typing, is weakening your brand. Maybe you should have thought of a better band name!

Fourthly, recruit an extra band member to help with networking and music marketing - it will not cost you, it will pay you.

Lastly, I have a project in motion - 101 Resources for Marketing Music - which is a webpage with a number of links pointing to websites that will help you to get your music noticed:

Where To Sell Your Music There are a lot of websites that give you the opportunity to sell your music; I suppose CD Baby is the most well known, they allow you to sell your CDs and downloads online through iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, etc. When joining a sales network always look-out for the Terms & Conditions. BTW Chris Rockett of Promote Your Music has written an article: How To Set Up A Music Sales Page In 5 Minutes, that includes a nice little, worth a gander, video.

Where To Get a Band Review or Interview It’s really important to get your music reviewed, most bands crave honest and positive reviews from respected sources, music magazines and music bloggers are good places to start as they’re always looking to discover the next great band. Some reviewers make a small charge for their services.

Where To Break News - Do a Press Release Promoting your music with a press release is actually easier than you think, there are quite a lot of free press release distribution services. But results are usually measured by your newsworthiness - therefore, much effort is required!

Join Forums & Post You will get the best results from talking about your music and your band in genre related forums and newsgroups if you become a part of the community. Always spend time reading before posting, don’t just blunder in and blatantly plug your CD/album - that’s very bad for business! Create a short signature that includes a link to your website.

Where To Create a Blog, Comment & Aggregate To market your music via a blog, you must start your own blog - it’s not correct to only post spammy comments on other people’s blogs - that’s not blogging; note: the promotional value of a blog comment is measured by what you have to say!

Where To Get Links To Your Website The best place to get a link is from a local band who are the same genre and share your lifestyle. Linking in my view should be organic. Organic linking is natural and balanced, it’s linking with websites that are relevant and related to yours using a wide variety of different methods. Organic links tend to receive much more traffic than non-organic (unrelated) links.

Where To Post Your Gig Dates Look for a website that promotes local gigs like the London based London Gigs - these type of websites (like: UnsignedBandPromotion) need Your support to keep going - use them.

Get Your Music on Internet Radio Airplay is the big endorsement for your music marketing. Podsafe Music Network (now Music Alley from MEVIO) is a music discovery resource for podcasters, it’s a good place to start. But there are shedloads of Internet radio stations - search for and find a genre related station, spend some time listening before contacting.

Create a Profile to Promote Your Music We’re talking Social Networking here! I love the tantalizing list of services that many of the websites claim to offer: a friendly community, profile with bio, MP3 upload/hosting, news, press release, gigs/events calendar, directory, promotion tips, radio play, forum, blog, message board and shopping. plus: music marketing, music promotion, music distribution, record label for unsigned artists & bands - "you will be heard by the major record labels, indie labels, film studios and publishers" - says it all, they promise you the world and give you adverts!

Well Sean I hope that helps you a little. If you have got a specific question, please feel free to ask and I’ll do my best to answer it fully and promptly. Ciao 4 niao Ian x

…I haven’t heard a fucking dicky bird from him!!

May 4, 2011

Build A Team Of Online Support For Your Band

Filed under: Band Promotion — ian @ 8:43 pm

I was scan reading @scottyhons‘ blog post Managers and the When on MicControl when the last paragraph caught my eye and struck a harmonious chord, “The DIY mentality isn’t only about doing everything yourself. It’s about being educated enough to make the right decisions about you and your team. So when it comes to adding a manager, yes, it should be about capacity. But, it should also be about filling in the skill gaps that you and your band mates simply don’t have.”Don’t forget to read Scott Honsberger’s article.

Do-it-yourself, noobie, indie bands, which is how most bands start out, have always needed help. Somewhere on UnsignedBandPromotion or in an uncertain location, aeons ago, I wrote something that sounds like, “Recruit an extra band member (a Promo sapien) to help with Marketing, Promotion, Website Development and gathering intel at gigs.” A dedicated and ‘fully included’ member of the band who is capable of handling all things Media, would lift a massive load off of the band’s shoulders. But, a promo sapien is Not a manager, @scottyhons again, “Management should (and usually does) happen organically, and the truth is that most artists are found by management, not the other way around.” True. Hiring a manager shouldn’t be on the top of a noobie band’s list - improving music and performance should be! So, along with your promo sapien media angel, it is a good idea to build a circle of contacts and support (esp. industry professionals).

A common question I get asked is, “Can you help us get our music noticed?” I may reply with something like: if you are having trouble getting noticed, start off by seeking criticism about your music from an independent and qualified person whose opinion you value and trust. Then act on their advice - it’s time to call in some help from your contacts and support network because you probably ‘Can’t Do It’!

…For instance, when a band is first starting out, it can be really hard to get your first review; you may send out loads of emails and demos and yet get no response! Music magazines (the main reviewers) get so many requests it’s almost impossible for them to review them all.

Hello! Steve Fenton, the editor of The Mag (a music magazine speciallising in new music) to the rescue; if you are looking for your first review, or just want an honest opinion of your latest recording, you are guaranteed to get a review every* time when you submit your music through The Mag’s Website. And to help you out a little more, I have negotiated an awesome 50% discount on the guaranteed review service, which means you can get reviewed for about the same cost as sending a CD through the post (£1.75ish)! To receive the discount type in our Discount Voucher Code: UNSIGNED when you upload your tracks at: The Mag - Music - Get Reviewed

Even though getting a manager may be a goal for many bands just starting out, it’s easy to interact with a professional and committed team online, Scott Honsberger, Jon Ostrow and Steve Fenton are just three of a massive list of dedicated music industry enthusiasts, here are a few more: Michael Brandvold, Chris Bracco, Martin Devaughan, Ariel Hyatt, Derek Sivers, Danny Dee and Madalyn Sklar.

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