Promoting Your Band: Quick advice
There are plenty of ways to promote your band, both good and bad. Listed below (in no particular order) is our advice on getting your band noticed.
- Open for other Bands
- Play Open Mics
- Play festivals, battle of the bands, etc.
- Play for free
- Consider getting a booking agent or band manager
- Get a good website
- Get Promo Merchandise
Get in touch with other local bands that are more established. Offer/ask to open for them. You'll get a built in audience, and promotion is what it's all about at this point. Plus, it's a great way to learn the ropes from the established local indie bands.
Relatively easy to schedule, and great for live show experience in front of an actual audience. Size of your audience will vary. Always a good idea to scout out the venue first or you might be setting yourself up for an audience in the single digits. (Yes, that can and does happen). Play the same venues on a consistent basis, let the regulars get to know you, and (assuming you're any good) you'll be on your way to building a fan base.
You'll get big audiences, which is both good and bad. If this is your first show and some people in your band are a little sketchy on where the changes are in a few songs... well, you don't want to let several hundred or thousand people know that you're just starting out. Practice a lot, make sure you're tight on every song, and have your set list ready. And put on a good show - be fun to watch on stage (practice this part, too). Yeah, your music might be great, but if your lead singer just stands there and you don't make a huge impression, then you've wasted a great opportunity. And again, don't play festivals with a crowd that's wrong for your band. Pick shows that make sense, not just the first thing that's available.
If you're in this to make money right away, start playing weddings (seriously). Otherwise, realize that clubs and bars have no idea who you are, and assume that you can't draw anyone to your shows (which is probably true). If the club or bar owner is trying to make a profit, they want people to come pay a cover charge and drink/eat. With no draw, just booking you is a risk. Are they really going to want to pay you to play as well? Most will give you a percentage of the cover (if there's a cover). But once you do start drawing people make sure to mention this to the club/bar owners. Then you have some room to negotiate (and if you're drawing, most likely they've heard of you by now). Be honest. Don't say you normally draw 50 when your best draw was 40 and all the rest were 10. You might get that first show, but you won't get any more.
If you live in a larger city you can consider getting a booking agent or manager to handle the promotion for you. Of course they will take a percentage, but that's the good part. More money for them means they're getting more shows for you. If you live in a smaller town be wary. Your choice of agents (if you can locate any) will be pretty slim and their credentials may be non-existant. Judge based on their past results and make a detailed timeline of expected results over the next month, six months, and year. Without letting your agent know your goals, you won't get the outcomeyou want. Re-evaluate your agent periodically. Are you playing as many shows as you want to? Are you as well known as you want to be? Does this match what the agent said 6 months ago?
Seems obvious, but getting a good website can easily be overlooked, put off, or done poorly. Start by making sure your domain name is easy to remember. (Get your own domain name, rather than a shared one, if possible.) If it has more than one slash / in it, it's too complicated. Include a list of your upcoming shows, and update this part regularly. How can you expect fans to show up if they don't know when you're playing next? Include details: the location of the show, directions, and the time you're expected to go on stage (especially useful if it's an all day festival). Check your e-mail and answer it. The last thing you want is to send out a buch of presskits and not respond to an e-mail from a label until 2 weeks later, or get a last minute offer to play a big show and miss out because you didn't read your e-mail. Include a blog if you have the time to do it - it's a great way to get feedback from fans. And finally, don't overcomplicate your site. If you know you don't have time to update your site every day, don't make a daily news section.
Yes, we are promoting Bandmonster here. (Rule #1 for bands and businesses alike: always promote yourself!)
Stickers are a great tool - they're cheap and popular. Consider giving them away, because everyone likes free, and more people will visit your site and advertise your band on the back of their car, bookbag, etc.
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