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June 2, 2011

A Conversation With Ross Barber Of ElectricKiWi

Filed under: website promotion, Band Promotion — ian @ 8:13 am

Ross Barber (ElectricKiWi) and I met through Twitter (@rossautomatica) - it feels to me like we’ve put our arms over each others shoulders and we’re weaving down the road together singing and having a laugh, but at the same time being serious about our journey and we’re each of us striving to reach to our destination - so there’s bound to be a little bit of jostling ;)

Ross Barber - ElectricKiWi

UBP: We opened our friendship by talking about flyer design, which I’m interested in because I promote the idea of bands using a Vertical Rectangle Banner Ad. (a reduced A6 flyer) - a good combination I feel! Ross, what are your thoughts on the different sizes of flyers, and how do you feel about turning them into website banners?

Ross Barber: Hey Ian, I think it’s a good idea to reduce physical flyers into an online format. As more and more people are discovering music online than ever before, online promotion cannot be ignored. I would say it does depend on the design of the poster/flyer as to how well it will transfer to a digital environment. As you mentioned in Band Flyers and Banners, it can be difficult to read when a poster has been re-sized for online use. It could be a good idea for designers to create a separate version once the background image has been re-sized. This would not take up a great deal of time and would maximise potential exposure for the band in question.

For use offline, I think varying sizes of posters and flyers are great, too - particularly if the designs are creative and can match the band’s style. For example, cutting posters into different shapes if the band’s name is associated with a particular shape or object. Different poster sizes work for different locations so it’s always a good idea to have at least 2 different sizes for the purpose of maximising the number of places you can advertise.

If the flyers can double up as both an offline and online method, then even better! I’ve always said that it is so important not to ignore either environment for promotion as each is extremely valuable and together they can be even stronger. They enhance each other massively when the strategy is right!

Terra Naomi Music

UBP: Thanks for the flyer, it’s an ideal working example. Yeah, I totally agree with you, promoting and marketing your genre, style, image, aura and brand simultaneously using both online and offline methods, can have an ultra-powerful effect.

Cost is always in the back of my mind, different sizes, full colour etc. cost money; one of the reasons I recommend bands should start with a simple A6 flyer, is so they can self-print four to a normal sized sheet of paper (A4) in monochrome and slice them accordingly; most bands don’t have much money - I’m aware there is also a professionalism issue here! Most venues use a local printer who may also do the designs, how do you feel you fit in with this, who are you targeting?

Ross Barber: Cost is always going to be an issue. I know that money is an issue, particularly if a band is dedicating a lot of their time to their music and don’t have another source of income. Even someone who does have a steady income may not have the extra funds available to spend on flyers. I do think that high-quality flyers which are relevant to the band’s style can make a big difference when it comes to promotion, so I would say that if they can afford to spend some money on a design which reflects their music, they definitely should - it could be very good value for money.

As for the venues who may have printers and designers in place - there is not going to be much we can do in this situation. The downside to this would be that often the designs may not represent the style of music as accurately as an in depth consultation with someone who designs specifically for musicians and bands would do. I’m not sure how you could combat the venues who will only allow flyers made by their chosen agency, though - that would be something I would look into when the situation arose.

UBP: Well from a band’s point of view, a venue who promotes their gigs is brilliant, a band can still, and should, produce their own flyers, it’s all part of branding.

Even though you’d never know it from my websites, I love art and have had a life full of art and fashion. What initially attracted me to your website was the Jackson Pollock-esque, James Brooks-ish, abstract expressionist header image. The ‘era’ of the 1950s to the 1970s (with a little 1930’s surrealist movement thrown in) is my main love and influence, what are your main influences and how do you reflect them in your artworks?


Ross Barber: Bands should take advantage of any promotional services the venue can offer, absolutely, but I agree that they should have their own flyers made wherever possible.

As for my inspiration, it’s a difficult one to place. Unlike you, I’ve never really been that involved in art. It’s strange though because I love graphic design but don’t think I could cite any specific artists or eras that inspire me. I would say I am inspired mostly by artwork I see everyday - whether it is online or elsewhere. I do love abstract and experimental graphic design and have always liked combining elaborate abstract designs with grungy textures and patterns.

Music gives me a lot of ideas too - I often get images in my head when listening to music. Listening to instrumental bands like Explosions in the Sky or This Will Destroy You never fails to conjure up a few ideas! Sometimes they are vague such as a basic colour palette to start with and sometimes they are more complete visions. It varies so much! I always try to match the visuals with the audio so there is a level of consistency and branding to some extent so I try and listen to the artist’s music while working to keep the vision focused!

UBP: A while ago I was sitting and chatting to my wife, when the thought suddenly popped into my head ‘What colour is rock music?‘ and something odd happened, I could see the colours! I wondered how this would translate into branding as well as marketing and promotion. It does! Almost! Sort of! Wow!

Do you see/feel the differences between Marketing and Promotion? I ask this because of the way you present your website (BTW., that’s not a negative criticism). Also, one of my hobby-horses is ‘local band promotion’, how do you interact with your local bands in Glasgow?


Ross Barber: Haha, I wouldn’t solely rely on the ideas that music creates, but I definitely think there are certain colours that are more appropriate for a style of music than others. It’s funny though, because music and art affect people in different ways - what one person "sees" music as could be something completely different from what another sees. This could be a fairly interesting topic to research!

I would say I have a pretty good understanding of marketing and promotion. Marketing has more to do with defining your target audience and presenting the product (in this case, the gig/website/album etc.) in a way that will appeal to the audience. Promotion is more about spreading the word and advertising in a sense. I offer an online marketing service, which is mostly about ensuring that a band’s website has copy which is going to be SEO friendly while also being engaging to their audience. I do provide online promotion services, marketing and promotion do go hand in hand. The services I offer are tailored individually as everyone has different needs.

I’ve only recently moved to Glasgow and am still getting to know how the music scene works here. It’s definitely different from the small town I moved here from! I do most of my interaction online at the moment and have made quite a few connections this way. Before starting ElectricKiWi, I had done quite a bit of writing for The List magazine and which introduced me to a lot of new bands and allowed me to connect on a slightly more professional level.

I’ve always embraced the internet as a networking tool. I started building websites and participating in online communities around 12 years ago. I think I maybe spent too much time online when I was younger and as a result find it far easier to make connections via the internet first, I would say in all honesty that I’m perhaps a little shy and reserved in social settings at first which is why I find it harder to introduce myself in an offline environment than online. Online I can showcase my abilities far easier than I could in a real-life setting, I guess!

UBP: Interesting name ElectricKiwi, where did that come from, do you have connections with New Zealand?

Yeah, small town band promotion is completely different from big city promo. Bands who come from London say, have a big advantage in terms of getting gigs and fans, over bands who come from the provinces - I was talking with a London based band who were trying to make it big on the internet, they’d ‘forgotten’ where they lived!

The most common question I get asked by bands is, "Can you help us get our name out there?" How would you respond to that?

Ross Barber: The ElectricKiWi name has been around for a long time. I originally purchased the domain about 8 years ago and it started off as a personal blog, then it evolved to include and showcase my own music. I decided a few months ago to relaunch it as a design and marketing service. As for the name itself, there is no real meaning behind it. When I decided to buy a domain, I wanted an unusual name and just tried pairing random words…ElectricKiWi was the result!

You’re absolutely right. Bands in larger cities have a greater chance of getting gigs but at the same time there is so much competition it can be harder in some cases to stand out.

When a band asks for help "getting their name out there", I think it’s important to know if they mean locally, nationally or internationally. I would offer some assistance or advice in on-site and off-site SEO to ensure their website ranks for the most appropriate and effective keywords, encourage them to network and communicate with their target audience and other bands/venues in their local area to start with. Without a big budget, it is usually going to be a slow process building up a large fanbase and becoming known either in their area or elsewhere. Of course it is possible but they have to be dedicated and be willing to stick it out for the long haul!

UBP: Put the elasticated stockings on, We’re Going Long Haul - that’s So True :)

Ross, I really like your individual and personal approach when engaging with bands, and I think that you have got it absolutly right when you talk about, encouraging bands to start off by networking and communicating with their target audience, other bands and venues in their local area. It’s always a joint effort between ‘us’ and the band :)

ElectricKiWi - I’m disappointed! I was expecting tales of travel into the mystical heartland of New Zealand, hey-ho, what’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet - actually I’m not so sure that’s true anymore after watching ‘Secrets of the Superbrands’ presented by Alex Riley last night!


Get in touch with Ross Barber for graphic design, web design and online marketing and promotion - he’d love to help you with your band’s next flyer campaign. Ross: ElectricKiWi, Twitter, Facebook.

In Conversation With The Music Industry,
Unsigned Band Promotion
Helping musicians and artists get their websites noticed by fans, search engines
and the music industry in half the time they could do it on their own.

May 25, 2011

Apple For Teacher - the bitch

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

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.

March 24, 2011

Mastering the Music Website Lifecycle

Filed under: eBook, Band Promotion — ian @ 5:45 pm

FREE eBOOK on how to make manage and maintain a successful music download website
Download “Mastering the Music Website Lifecycle” now! OK., Easybe’s free eBook has been around for quite a while, but it’s still worth a read. The authors, Alfred Himmelweiss and Graham Ball have given me their permission to update the eBook so, watch this space.

“Mastering the Music Website Lifecycle” subtitled, “How to make, manage and maintain a successful music download website”, guides you through the process of setting up and running your website; if you already have a website, there are plenty of tips and tricks on how to make it even better.

The Easybe 1-2-3 Music Store no longer exists.

March 18, 2011

Giant Musician Promotion Resource To Help You CRUSH IT!

Filed under: Band News, Band Promotion — ian @ 12:19 pm

Thanks Chris Rockett from for including Unsigned Band Promotion on your Mega List of  Musician Promotion Resources

February 14, 2011

Twitterific Affiliate Marketing

Filed under: Marketing — ian @ 3:49 pm

One thing that gets my goat is clicking on a only to find some crappy affiliate style site at the other end - it always makes me feel like I’ve been schnookered. And it usually gets me thinking about MySpace’s ‘msplink’ and their daft attempt to ‘protect’ their users from URL bait and malware etc., but I really hope Twitter doesn’t go down the same road.

I’ve got absolutely no problem with affiliate marketing though, I’ve been doing it for around seventeen years, since 1994, and in that time, I’m sorry to say I’ve made many faux pas, however, one affiliate lesson I’ve learned is, ‘trickery is bad for business’.

I had a short ‘conversation’ with a musician after he tweeted an alluring affiliate style teaser, and I paraphrase: “Hey you guys, here’s some great music promotion ideas I’ve been using - Check Them Out!” And after we ‘chatted’, he asked “What should I be doing?” Having already looked at his background, I took that as an example of Socratic irony! UNFOLLOW and block!

February 1, 2011

Euro bug fix for Easybe 1-2-3 Music Store

Filed under: Band News — ian @ 11:16 pm

I’ve been having an interesting conversation by exchange of emails with Ben Williams of Liturgica about a Euro bug fix for Easybe 1-2-3 Music Store! This is a bug they found that causes albums for sale in the store to default to Euros at -0.00 - i.e. offer them for free in Euros! Liturgica have fixed the bug and are willing to formalize it as a patch with a script to run, etc.

That’s totally awesome of you Ben.

And as Ben says, "With the apparent demise of Easybe, it looks like we’ll have to provide our own support!"

Personally, I would try and find another music store, maybe Bandcamp? However, I know Bandcamp has its critics!

Anyway, here is Ben Williams to tell you all about it:

"This is the bug that changes the user setting for currency from that selected by the Administrator to a Euro currency setting (that is, if you set albums and tracks to sell in Dollars, they change to being shown for sale in Euros). This bug is further compounded by showing Albums and Tracks for sale in Euros at 0.00, giving the impression to customers that they are free (i.e. no charge).

"Liturgica are making it available on our site at no charge to Easybe 1-2-3 Music Store users: Euro bug fix for 1-2-3 Music Store - CLICK HERE

"Full details can be found in the Readme file."

Well done Ben :)

January 28, 2011


Filed under: General Musings — ian @ 3:15 pm - Shorten urls, share files and track visits - which is handy, I like :)

January 9, 2011

Social Networking Traffic

Filed under: website promotion, Band Promotion — ian @ 2:40 pm

I got a Facebook message reply from Lisa the other day that asked, "what’s the point of having a fucking website?" Then a couple of days later I read Michael Brandvold’s well written and informative Music Think Tank article, How To Use Facebook & Twitter With Your Official Website, Case Study Coincidence?

I referred Lisa to my 101 Reasons Why Your Band Needs A Website, but I’m thinking that I wrote it ages ago and it needs a bit of updating and some more explanation:

Firstly, I think many people are somewhat confused about the definition of a Website. Simply, a website is a set or group of web pages that are linked together by a common domain name (URL, e.g:, it is hosted on a web server(s) and it is usually owned by one person (partnership, business, company etc.). So, your Facebook page, MySpace page etc., are all part of someone else’s website. MySpace isn’t YourSpace, it’s Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation’s space. By relinquishing web ownership, you also give up your potential advantage. I do say in ‘101 Reasons…’, "Owning a website shows credibility, control and professionalism; and if you want to be taken seriously by the music industry, you need a website." But let’s get real, there’s nothing professional about owning a website anymore, every self-employed person who comes to our house (gardener, window cleaner, my wife’s hairdresser etc.) has got one; and there is especially nothing professional about having a website and directing the visitors to a social networking website. It is the way you use your website that makes you look professional. I will go further and say, "it is very possible for an ordinary, mediocre musician to succeed because of the way they make use of their website." For instance, if we miss the window cleaner, we can pay him online (+10% and maybe give him a tip)!

Ownership is a key to your success. You own the ©copyright of your website and the Contents therein; that is important, because when you join a social networking website you share your copyright by accepting their terms and conditions. Meaning: subject to your privacy settings, you will grant them a limited worldwide license to use any Content that you post on their website. But, it’s not only about intellectual property rights, you also have to behave accordingly. When you own the website, your only limitation is you yourself.

"A website is for business." Most of the social networking websites allow an element of ‘free’ e-commerce, but that’s it; however there’s more to doing business than selling a few downloads or T-shirts. The real business of a website is achieved by Understanding Your Website’s Statistics (numbers of social networking: page views, comments and friends are all meaningless); it will enable you to target your ‘fans’ more accurately. Every time someone visits your website, their (Internet client software) browser talks to your server’s software, and passes on vital information about that visitor and what they are doing on your website, like: what page the visitor entered and exited; information that is not available from your social networking pages. Typical stats information would be: Unique Visitors (maybe sign-up details. Inf. gained from cookies [can be inaccurate]), Page Views (number of page impressions), Referrers (who links to you and how much traffic they send), Search Strings (what words people are using to find you in the search engines) and Traffic Data (sites, IP addresses, users, geographical, what browser, etc., it can be all tech stuff like visit timeout - handy if you know how to interpret it!). If your web hosting service only provides basic stats, try Google Analytics, they’re free.

Websites and web business can be about small percentages (remember all the fuss about ‘the long tail’?). Social networking sites never allow you to gain online advertising revenue generated by ad serving applications like Google AdSense and affiliate links, actually what they are doing is cutting into and reducing Your online advertising revenue - they become a competitor!

Lastly, IMHO, MySpace went into rapid decline in ‘07 with the introduction of msplinks. Added as a security measure, msplinks filter outgoing links by using a redirect to help prevent and warn against spam, phishing, etc., of course it also prevents users from posting links in MySpace comments to promote their websites and increase their search engine ranking! It is taking the emphasis away from promoting your website (if you had one) Lisa, and that’s my gripe, your website should always be at the top of the promotion, marketing pyramid, with your many social networking pages forming the foundation. As for forwarding or redirecting your URL toward your social networking profile page? Lisa that is Bollocks. Promote yourself, not MySpace, Facebook or whoever!

Point your social networking traffic towards your website then branding, building and targeting an audience, fan/customer relations and statistics will all have more of a positive meaning.

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