Band Website Love: The Driftwood Sailors

Every week, we highlight one of our favorite websites on Bandzoogle.

Who: The Driftwood Sailors
What: 4-piece band rockin’ "old soul with a new groove"
Where: Rochester, NY
Why their website rocks: Their design is simple and clean, and their homepage is organized in a way that is easy to read. They have created a cohesive nautical theme using a colour scheme, font types and logo all tied into their band name. On top of that, the band keeps the website regularly updated with a blog, and makes great use of the YouTube video feature to promote their live shows.
Check it out at http://www.thedriftwoodsailors.com



Posted by Melanie on 02/24/2012 | 2 comments

Does Facebook Have a BIG Problem?

This is a guest post by Robin Davey. Robin is an Independent Musician, Writer and Award Winning Filmmaker. Follow him on Twitter @mr_robin_davey.

In this guest post, Robin Davey brings up an important point about promoting your music on Facebook: Is your content even reaching your fans? Chances are, not all of it is (which is why it’s so important to drive fans to your website). Here’s more about the changes to Facebook that might be negatively impacting your ability to reach your fans:

Does Facebook Have a BIG Problem?

A definite shift has happened to Facebook in the last few months. It appears the introduction of the new “Timeline” has brought in a new set of algorithms that control the content that we each see. Scroll down through your newsfeed and the majority of content is pictures and videos - personal updates now take a backseat.

This is due to Facebooks “EdgeRank” system that determines which content appears in your newsfeed. It also makes assumptions from your previous interactions who your friends are and ranks their importance above others. So replying to random people’s messages makes Facebook think you are best buddies. Hence, there they are, always in your newsfeed.

Sure there are options to somewhat manage this, but setting them for each person is as confusing as it is time consuming.

The problem increases the more friends we each acquire. The 500 million or so users that junk up Facebook every day means that, as you increase your amount of friends, the more susceptible you are to Facebook deciding what you should see. What used to be a personalized experience, is becoming lead by the perceived “majority thinking” of the Facebook population.

In this age of unlimited personal choice, is this not exactly what kills businesses?

The record industry suffered because it was so use to determining what you should hear based on the majority. So when the shift in music discovery and consumption came, the labels just didn't keep up. More and more people are leaving pre-scheduled cable and satellite for on-demand services like Roku. This is because people’s experiences are not determined by the majority, but by the individual, and if they have choice they will take the path that suits them.

Facebook’s heavy-handed managing of you and your friends is making the previously growing world an ever shrinking place.

And this is the problem Facebook now faces - it has just become too big that it has to somehow limit itself.

When Facebook first came along it seemed we had a new selectivity, a more controlled environment. A look at the facebook newsfeed now, and it is visibly becoming more chaotic each day. In fact, the endless photos covered in cheap text and “funny” quotes make it appear a jumbled mess. The neatness and simplicity has been hijacked, the reality is it is sprawling out of control.

Is this not what started Myspace’s demise? The decreased personalization of the experience.

No wonder Facebook is going public, it must be a sign that the end is near, a peak has been reached, and a shift is coming.

The simplicity that Twitter has with its limited characters and chronological timeline is increasingly appealing to those who want a cleaner experience. Though some may have gawked at it in the past as a gimmick, those wanting to see the news of the people they actually choose to follow, may well find it a refreshing and easy alternative to the quagmire Facebook has become. Similarly Tumblr, and now Pinterest, offer a much neater photo based experience. Google+ appears to suffer the same problem as Facebook, in that it is just not a succinct enough engine and already feels like it is failing to remain in control.

The past is a great predictor of the future, and just like we change our cars, phones, and even partners every few years, it seems a change in social networks is upon us too.

Where will you go?


So have you experienced a lack of response from fans on Facebook? Are you making sure to drive fans to your own website and get them signed up to your mailing list? Leave your comments below!

Posted by Dave Cool on 02/21/2012 | 18 comments

The Four P’s of Playing Live Shows: Promotion

The “Four P’s” is a term used to describe the traditional Marketing Mix: Product, Price, Placement, and Promotion. Well, I’m going to borrow from that expression and talk about the Four P’s of Playing Live Shows: Preparation, Promotion, Performance, and Post-Show. This series of blog posts will cover the things that you can be doing as a live performer to maximize each show. Part 1 was all about preparing for your show, and in now in Part 2 we focus on promotion:


The Four P’s of Playing Live Shows: Promotion

Before getting started, the first thing you need to do is take personal responsibility for the promotion of your show. Chris “Seth” Jackson wrote a great blog post called “How to Promote a Show: Don’t Rely on Anyone Else”. I highly recommend reading it. You really can’t rely on anybody else to promote your show; not the other bands, not the venue, not the booker, not your manager, and not even an outside promoter. To really get the best possible result, you need to do everything you can as a band to get the word out to your fans. Here are some of the ways you can do that:

List the show

Start with the basics: list the show on your website, your ReverbNation page, Facebook page, Bandcamp, and yes, even your Myspace page. Anywhere that you have a profile online, make sure the show is listed. You never know what site your fans are going to look at for details about your next show. You can use ArtistData to save time doing this.

You should also list the show in weekly newspapers, music blogs, and news/entertainment websites that feature event listings.

Blogging

One thing you can do as soon as the show is booked is start blogging about it. You can blog about booking the show, about the other bands performing, interview the other bands, talk about rehearsals, putting together your set list, how the promotion is going, any media you’ve received leading up to the show, and so on. This will not only create awareness about your show, but also drive people to your website, which is always important.

Newsletter

With Facebook’s use of complex algorithms to determine if/when updates are shown to your fans, and the short lifespan of Tweets, your mailing list remains the most reliable way to reach your fans. So be sure to send an update to your mailing list subscribers with details about the show. If you send the newsletter about a month in advance, you could then send a reminder a few days before featuring new content promoting your show (a blog post, video trailer, etc.)

Media & Publicity

If you have a budget, you can hire a publicist to handle outreach to the media, but that could cost anywhere from $500 to over $2000. There are online services like StoryAmp and StereoGrid that can also help you connect directly with the media. But if you’re like most bands, you’ll probably end up doing your own media and publicity. You can use resources like the Indie Bible or Musician’s Atlas to find media contacts.

You’ll want to start contacting media at least 6-8 weeks before your show. Journalists are extremely busy people, and receive dozens if not hundreds of press releases daily, so it usually takes several follow-ups to get a response, if you get one at all. Give yourself enough time to do the proper following up, and in turn, show journalists respect by giving them enough lead time to consider your story.

Facebook

Entire blog posts have been written about Facebook promotion alone, but be sure to cover the basics:

  • Facebook Events: Create an event for your show and post regular updates on the event’s wall (blog posts, photos, videos, press articles, etc.)
  • Regular updates on your fan page: Post the event on your wall, share photos from rehearsals, blog posts, and videos on a regular basis in the weeks leading up to your show to help create some buzz about it
  • Ads: Facebook Ads can help create awareness about shows and remind your fans that you have a show coming up. ReverbNation has a great new tool called "Promote It" which makes creating Facebook ads way easier. If you do create ads, set a budget and stick to it, it can be easy to get carried away and spend a lot of money.

Twitter

Once again, entire blog posts have been written about Twitter promotion, but use Twitter to post regular updates on your preparation for the show. Post info about the other bands performing, links to blog posts, links to any press you’ve received, post photos from rehearsals, links to videos, etc.

Run a contest

One way to get your fans involved and excited about your show is to run a contest. Give away a pair of tickets, a pre-show dinner with your band, backstage access, a post-show party, whatever you feel comfortable with and that you think your fans would enjoy. The more you can get your fans involved in the process and make them feel special, the better.

Photos

Post photos on your website, Facebook page, Twitter, etc. It can be photos from rehearsals, photos of the venue, of the other bands playing the show, a photo of your set list, even photos from soundcheck the night of your show as a last-minute reminder. Try using Instagram to make it even more social (for some great tips on using Instagram, check out Mashable’s 10 Instagram Tips For Bands, By Bands).

Create a video trailer for your show

Another way to get people excited about your show is to create a video trailer for it. It doesn’t have to be the trailer for the movie 300 (i.e. the best movie trailer ever), but it could be a compilation of live footage, a personal message from the bands, a tour of the venue you’ll be playing, etc.

Posters & Flyers

Not too long ago it was standard practice to put up posters in areas around the venue, and some bands still do. But just having a handful of posters to put up inside the venue itself can help create awareness about your show (and some venues still insist on it). As for flyers, besides at music conferences, it’s something I haven’t seen in years, but bands still sometimes hand out flyers at other shows leading up to theirs. If it works for you, go for it, but if you have a tight budget, save the design and printing costs and stick to online promotion.

Email fans individually

Reach out to people on your mailing list individually with a short reminder about the upcoming show. Even if you just do a little bit every day, it all adds up, and this personal touch will no doubt bring a lot of those people through the door.

Pick up the phone

If an artist knows me well enough to have my number and calls to personally invite me to their show, most of the time, I’ll go to that show. It means more to me than a mass email, or a mass invite on Facebook. Part of it is because I probably know that artist well enough for them to have my number, but it also shows a level of dedication to the show’s promotion. It’s always smart to cover your bases.

Image credit: http://poofytoo.com

Send a Hand-Written Note

If you have a person’s mailing address, try sending them a hand-written note (on the back of a promotional postcard is an easy way to do this). For a few album launches I’ve received a personalized, hand-written invitation from the artist, and it’s kind of fun when it happens. So if there are some key people who you want to have at your event, try sending a personal note. Even if they don’t show up, they’ll likely remember the gesture.



You Have LOTS of Competition

I know this sounds like a lot of work, and this blog post was really just an outline of some of the things you can do to promote your show. But here’s the thing: you have more competition now than ever before. Just take a minute to think about all of the other choices people have when it comes to entertainment:

Dozens of other shows

In my home city of Montreal, there are literally dozens of shows happening on any given night. I often get invited to 5 or more different shows per weekend night, it’s a little overwhelming. To get anyone to your show instead of another, you’re going to have to go the extra mile.

The multitude of other entertainment options

Going to the movies, going to see live comedy, going to the theatre, going to a festival, or simply going out for drinks with friends. These are all activities (along with many others) that people can do rather than go see your band play.

Staying Home

And arguably your biggest competition: staying home. People can simply stay home and watch a movie, play video games on their HD TV, have a house party, spend the night watching goofy YouTube videos, or have a quiet night listening to their favorite music while they relax on the couch reading a book. Let’s face it, it’s a lot easier than driving 10 miles, paying for parking, paying the entrance fee, buying a drink, staying out late, and being tired the next day at work, all to see your band perform live.


Even with all of these challenges, if you put in the work and take the time to make your fans feel special, you can pack the venue. Just make sure that when they do come to your show, you give them a great experience, which brings us to the third “P”: Performance. Stay tuned for part 3 of this blog series, which is all about making the most of your live performance.


So what did you guys think of Part 2? Did you find it helpful? Is there anything missing? Please leave your comments below...

Posted by Dave Cool on 02/16/2012 | 34 comments

7 Ways to Save Money When Attending a Music Conference

Paul Cargnello

Bandzoogle is gearing up to attend lots of music conferences over the next few months, and we know many members will be doing the same thing (get in touch if you are attending any of these events ). It can be expensive to attend a music conference, so this blog post will go over some ways you can try and save some money.

The following post is taken from my eBook “Attending Music Conferences 101”. From pre-conference planning, showcasing & networking, to the post-conference follow-up, it offers a step-by-step look at the music conference experience and how to maximize it from a musician’s point of view. The eBook can be downloaded for FREE: Download eBook


7 Ways to Save Money When Attending a Music Conference

Music conferences are an amazing opportunity to network, meet new people, and move your career forward. But, they can be quite expensive as well. Here are some ways you can save money when attending a conference so that it doesn’t totally break the bank:

1. Volunteer for the conference

If you plan far enough ahead, and if you are willing to sacrifice some of your free time while at the conference, offer to volunteer. Conferences are always looking for good volunteers, and they are often artists. You can sometimes get your conference fee waived, or at least waived on the days that you volunteered.

But be prepared to work hard. If you show up late and you’re tired and/or hung-over because of all-night partying, chances are you won’t be asked back again. Remember, you might be dealing with the very people who could be deciding whether you get a showcase or not at a future conference. Arrive early. Be extremely polite. Work hard. Make the conference proud that they chose you as a volunteer.

2. Split hotel room with someone

This one is a no-brainer, of course. If you’re attending a conference alone but want to save money on the hotel room, try and find someone to share the room with. Chances are that there are plenty of other like-minded people in the same boat.

If the conference has a Facebook page, post on their wall that you are looking for a roommate. Same thing for Twitter, follow the conference on Twitter and Tweet that you’re looking for a roommate, and politely ask if they could re-tweet (RT) to their followers. You could also tag your tweet with a hashtag # for the conference, so other people can find your tweet in a search.

Another option is contacting the conference by e-mail and asking if they know of anyone looking for a hotel roommate. Chances are they have received similar messages and can put you in touch with those people.

3. Bring your own food

One way to save money that your Mom has probably already taught you is to pack a lunch! Specifically, bring lots of snacks. While at a conference, you’ll likely do more snacking than sitting down to eat large meals, as you’ll constantly be on the go. Chips and candies are an option, but healthier choices like nuts, dried fruit, power bars, etc., will help you avoid burning out. Being at a music conference can already put a lot of stress on your system, if you add junk food and high doses of salt and sugar, you’re just asking for a crash.

4. Shop for groceries

When you check-in to your hotel, ask where the nearest grocery store is. Room service can certainly be convenient late at night, however if you plan ahead, you can save a bunch of money and find healthier options at a grocery store. Load up on the aforementioned healthy snacks, plus pre-made sandwiches (to save on time) and lots of veggies.

5. Go to showcases that have food

Run out of snacks? Couldn’t make it to the grocery store before it closed? Don’t worry, you don’t have to go to bed hungry. Many showcase venues/rooms provide food & snacks as a way of enticing people to come check out the showcase. Keep a look out, ask around, and check your Twitter feed, word spreads quickly where to find free food.

6. Getting to the conference: Carpool, Bus, Train

Sometimes travelling by plane is unavoidable. However, often artists will carpool together and make a road trip out of it. Similar to finding hotel roommates, ask around and see if anyone in your town is driving to the conference, or passing through on their way. Every year artists from my hometown of Montreal organize carpools heading to Toronto for CMW or NXNE, and sometimes even a long-distance road trip to Austin for SXSW or Memphis for Folk Alliance. If you’re on a tight budget, this could be a great money-saver.

If carpooling isn’t an option, look for deals to travel by train or bus. Often trains and buses will have free WiFi so you can also be productive on your way to the conference.

7. Stay at a cheaper hotel

Another idea to save some money would be to stay at a different hotel than the one hosting the conference. Use a combination of Google Maps and travel deal websites to find the best options. There will no doubt be other hotels close to the host hotel that are cheaper.


Have you done any of these things to save money when attending a music conference? Is there anything you would add to the list? Please leave your comments below!

Posted by Dave Cool on 02/13/2012 | 7 comments

Bandzoogle On the Road Again: SF, NYC, Memphis, Austin, Moncton, LA

SF Music Tech

Hello Zooglers,

Unlike the weather here in Canada, the conference season is heating up! We’ll be attending lots of events and conferences over the next few months, and we hope that we see some members while we’re out on the road.

We’ll be posting more info about these events in the upcoming weeks, but here's a glimpse of where we’ll be:


SF MusicTech Summit: February 13 in San Francisco, CA

CEO David Dufresne will be speaking on a panel at 5PM called "Social Commerce" along with Tamara Mendelsohn (Eventbrite, VP of Marketing), Jaclyn Ranere (The Orchard, Vice President), Marcus Whitney (Moontoast, Co-Founder & CTO), Mary Ku (PayPal, Director of Product Management, Digital Goods) and Melissa Adair (Spinlet, Senior Public Relations Manager).


A2IM Tech Day: February 21 in New York City, NY

CEO David Dufresne will be participating in panel discussions, happening from 4PM-7PM.


Folk Alliance: February 23-25 in Memphis, TN

CEO David Dufresne and Community Manager Dave Cool will be on hand giving a Website Clinic for artists everyday in the Business Center and Exhibit Hall. For complete details click here.


Memphis Music Foundation: February 23 in Memphis, TN

While in Memphis for the Folk Alliance, CEO David Dufresne will give a website clinic for local musicians during a workshop organized by the Memphis Music Foundation.


SXSW: March 15 in Austin, TX

Founder Chris Vinson will show off his Yoda-like web design skills in the “Website Demolition Derby”, where he’ll review websites live for attendees.


East Coast Music Week: April 15 in Moncton, New Brunswick

CEO David Dufresne will be on the panel “Social Media Mastery & Beyond


ASCAP EXPO: April 19-21 in Los Angeles, CA

Founder Chris Vinson will be on hand to offer a Website Clinic throughout the conference at the Bandzoogle table, as well as participate in panel discussions.


If you’ll be at any of these events, or simply live in the area and would like to have a Bandzoogle member meet-up for coffee/food/drinks, please get in touch!

Posted by Dave Cool on 02/10/2012 | 3 comments

Musician Website Love: Rupert Wates

Every week, we highlight one of our favorite websites on Bandzoogle.

Who: Rupert Wates
What: Full time, award winning song writer
Where: Born in London, Rupert moved to the US in 2006 where he tours continuously throughout the year, playing anywhere from 120-150 shows.
Why his website rocks: You instantly get a feel for who the artist is, and what his music is about.  The quotes on his homepage make you take him seriously, and want to learn more. His use of internal links took me on a well defined path through his site while I listened to the high quality recordings in his site wide player. This is a great example of a musician site that has style, and substance.
Check it out at http://www.rupertwatesmusic.com/



Posted by Stacey on 02/10/2012 | 2 comments

The Four P’s of Playing Live Shows: Preparation

The “Four P’s” is a term used to describe the traditional Marketing Mix: Product, Price, Placement, and Promotion. Well, I’m going to borrow from that expression and talk about the Four P’s of Playing Live Shows: Preparation, Promotion, Performance, and Post-Show. This series of blog posts will cover the things that you can be doing as a live performer to maximize each show. Part 1 is all about preparation.


The Four P’s of Playing Live Shows: Preparation

We’re going to start with the assumption that you’ve chosen a venue and confirmed a date with the venue booker. For tips about getting booked, see one of my previous posts 5 Ways to Impress Venue Bookers and Get More Gigs.

Once the gig is confirmed, here are some things you will need to prepare for the show:

Who will the opening band(s) be?

I guess the first question really is will there even be an opening band? The answer will almost always be yes, as the benefits are clear. An opening band can warm up the crowd, hopefully bring their own fans to the show, and help with the promotion of the show. So when choosing an *opening band, a few things to consider (*and if you happen to be the opening band, much of this advice can still apply):

Does their music complement yours?

There are two schools of thought: one being that you find a band that is similar to yours for a more cohesive evening of music. The other option is to go for something totally different to give the audience a very different experience from each band. There is no wrong or right answer, it really depends on what kind of show you want people to experience that night.

Would their audience like your band’s music?

Another consideration to make is if there is a potential for the opening band’s fans to like your music. After all, in an ideal case, you are going to gain some new fans that night.

Will they help with promotion?

When choosing opening bands, take into consideration whether they are a proactive band that works hard on promoting shows. What you don’t want is a band that will simply show up the night of the show, without having done any legwork to bring their fans, and simply play and ask for their money. This can be hard to avoid sometimes, but do some research, and ask around before making a final decision.

Do they have other shows booked around the same date?

You also don’t want the opening band to have another show scheduled within a few days of yours, or worse, the same night as your show (I’ve actually seen that happen many times, where an opening act books another gig for later the same night). It is completely demoralizing, and will likely result in that band not drawing as many people to the show.


The Devil is in the Details: Show Logistics

It’s a good idea to get the logistics for the show sorted out well in advance. This includes:

Compensation

What’s the deal at the venue? A guarantee? Percentage of the door? Pass the hat? A percentage of bar sales? Once you know the deal, work out how the compensation will be split with any opening bands. Do not wait until the night of the show to do this. Sort it out well in advance and save yourself the potential headache the night of the show.

Food/beverage deals for bands

What’s the deal for food and drinks for band members? Free? Staff price? Full price? Any limits on quantity of meals/drinks?

Guest List

Is there a limit to the number of guest list spots? Do you have to submit the guest list to the venue in advance?

Ticketing & Seating

What is the cover charge? Is choosing the price up to the venue or the bands? Are tickets sold in advance? If so, where are they available? Or is it simply pay at the door? Can people reserve seats?

Load-in time and logistics

What time is load-in at the venue? Do the bands load-in at different times? Is there a special entrance to load-in equipment?

Sound & Equipment

What sound equipment is provided by the venue? What are bands responsible for? Are the bands going to share certain equipment? Is there a sound tech provided by the venue? Can you bring your own sound tech? What time is soundcheck for each band?

Start & End Time

What time do the doors open for the public? What is the start time for the show? What is the schedule for the bands? Is there a specific time that the show has to be over by?

Door logistics

Who is taking money at the door? The venue? A volunteer from the band(s)? Is there a cashbox with change supplied by the venue? A stamp to stamp people’s hands?

Room set-up

Some venues offer different set-up styles for the room, whether it’s all seating, no seating, some tables with chairs, etc. Talk to the venue and decide on the best option for your show.

Merch table

Is there a table/space for merchandise? Where is it located? Is there lighting provided? Does the venue take a % of sales? Is there a cashbox with change supplied by the venue? Who is responsible for selling merch? Venue? Bands? Can you sell merch throughout the night, or only before and after the show?

Promo materials for the venue

What does the venue need from you? Posters? Flyers? Bio? Band photo? Press Release? Be sure to supply them with everything they need well in advance of the show.

Download a Sample Live Show Logistics Checklist to help stay on top of these details: Download Here


Build Your Set List

I touched on this in a blog post about how to find a booking agent, but building a set list is really an art unto itself. Your set-list will determine what kind of experience your fans will have. Some considerations when building your set-list:

  • Set-length: How long of a set will you play? Decide what length would have the most impact and strikes the right balance between giving a satisfying set, and leaving the audience wanting more.
  • Select the songs: Once you know how long your set will be, choose the songs you want to play that night, including for an encore, if it should come up.
  • Pacing: Do you have high-energy songs and low-energy songs? What kind of experience do you want to give the audience? Start slow then build? Are there songs where the audience can participate? Where do you want those songs to go in the set? Figure out how those songs can best work off of each other.
  • Song transitions: Make sure your songs flow well together and that everybody in the band knows when there will be a small break for interacting with the audience, and when you’ll be going straight into the next song.
  • Type of venue/seating arrangement: Is it a dingy bar, a night club, a fancy theatre, a coffee house? What’s the seating arrangement? This can impact the type of set you want to offer.

Once you’ve decided on your set list, rehearse it. Then rehearse it again. And once more. Make sure everyone in the band can play that set with their eyes closed and that they know all of the cues and transitions between songs without having to think twice.


Visual Presentation: On Stage & Merch Table

On Stage

You should also prepare what your visual presentation will be at the show. Does your band have costumes? A certain dress code? Will you have video projections playing in the background? A banner with your band name hanging on stage? A custom drum head with your logo?

For some good ideas for visuals at your show, check out Chris “Seth” Jackson’s guest post on the Bandzoogle Blog: No One Will Remember Your Band: 10 Ways to Stop Being Forgettable

Merch Table

How about for your merch table? Do you have an eye-catching set-up? Proper signage?

Here are some essentials to have for your merch table:

  • Signage: Your band name, list of merch items & prices displayed clearly
  • Cashbox with change (don’t rely on the venue for this)
  • Inventory sheets to track your sales
  • Pens/markers (for mailing list, signing autographs)
  • Mailing list sign-up: Email addresses are still the most reliable way to stay in touch with your fans, and the best way to convert fans to paying customers. So get those email addresses anyway you can, even offer a free sticker/pin in return, it will be a great long-term investment for your band.

Here’s an example of a great merch table setup, including proper signage and a mailing list sign-up: What’s Your Merch Setup (Grassrootsy Blog).

*Note: Accepting credit card payments at shows can increase your sales dramatically, as not everyone carries cash with them. Services like Square-up or Indie Pool (for Canadian bands) can turn your iPhone into a credit card swiper.


Preparing For Promotion: Give Yourself At Least 6-8 Weeks

Part 2 of this blog series will go into detail about promotional tactics you can use to promote your show. But for the purposes of preparation, you should give yourself a good 6-8 weeks lead-time to plan and execute the promotion for your show. This will allow you to take into consideration things like a media & publicity campaign, whether or not you’re going to go after sponsorship for your show, and promotional collaborations with the other bands performing.


So what did you guys think of Part 1? Did you find it helpful? Is there anything missing? Please leave your comments below!

Posted by Dave Cool on 02/08/2012 | 9 comments

Band Website Love: 5th Projekt

Every week, we highlight one of our favorite websites on Bandzoogle.

5th Projekt

Who: 5th Projekt
What: Ambient, psychedelic art-rock.
Where: Toronto, Canada
Why their website rocks: What’s not to love about this website? It displays excellent and consistent branding, has a great homepage with calls-to-action for their mailing list and a free download, plus the site features a nice, clean navigation experience. And to top it all off, their online shoppe highlights a nice integration with the Topspin store (one of Bandzoogle’s E-Commerce features), is well organized, and offers everything from a $3 vinyl sticker to a $45 deluxe package for their fans.

Check it out at: www.5thprojekt.com

5th Projekt
Posted by Dave Cool on 02/03/2012 | 11 comments

5 Ways to Get Your Music Noticed by Music Bloggers

5 Ways to Get Your Music Noticed by Music Bloggers

Andrew Zarick

This is a guest post by Andrew Zarick. Andrew is the Founder & CEO of StereoGrid, a music delivery network that allows artists to easily deliver music to and gain fans and insights from the dissemination of promotional music to music bloggers and press. He is also founder of rap blog 100BestRapSongs.com.

As both a music blogger at 100BestRapSongs.com and founder of StereoGrid, a music platform that specializes in helping artists deliver and disseminate promotional music, I've witnessed first-hand the good, bad and the ugly associated with artist PR and vying for music blogger and press attention.

Speaking as a music blogger, I often times receive upwards of 30-40 new music submissions a day. Many top tier bloggers receive even more than that. That means that your music submission, assuming you sent it via email, will fall somewhere in between the hundreds or maybe even thousands of other non-music related spam emails that the blogger receives on a daily basis.

There are a number of things that you can do as an artist or artist manager to give your submission a better chance of being opened, being viewed, being listened to, and then hopefully, being written about and shared.

Here Goes...

1) Understand Your Press List

Have the individuals on your press list written about similar artists in the past? Do they only write about pop music or do they also tend to write about up and coming artists? Do they only write about certain genres of music? Does your music fall within that genre?

A quick way to see if a blog has written about an artist you think you're similar to is to do a Google Search with "site:blogname.com artist name" - Google will show you a list of search results from that blog featuring that artist.

2) Have a Detailed Subject Line

If you're going to stand out from the crowd you better have a damn good subject line. Is your song a new release? Say so. Is there an MP3/Video attached? Call that out. Is your song featuring a big name artist that might be more well-known than yourself? Call it out.

Good Examples:

MP3/Video: Fatal Lucciauno - "Big Bro" (Prod. By Kuddie Fresh) + "Flawed" Freestyle
(Music Submission) Smoke - Goin Hammer (Feat. Chalie Boy and Gorilla Zoe)

3) Keep the Description Simple

Remember that the recipients of your song submission receive many submissions per day. They don't want to read a novel when determining whether or not to listen to and post a song. Tell a concise story about who you are and your music. Have you been featured elsewhere? Toured with a famous band? Have a famous cousin? Why are you different? Why should we care about you?

Confusion from Pigeons and Planes says,

"…the pitches that get my most attention are the simple ones that make it easy to check out the music. When it comes to indie/unknown artists, it all depends on the music. If I get an email with 20 attachments, a short story’s worth of writing, and links to everything the artist has ever done, I’m not likely to check it out. If I see a simple message with one song, and if I like that song, I’m going to do what I can to support."

4) Include Essential Song Assets

Music bloggers really like presentation. If you're lucky enough to have a compelling enough subject line to get an email open, further bring the music blogger into your world with well designed artwork.

Winston "Stone" Ford from The Couch Sessions makes the point,

"Any artist at this time needs artwork and presentation. If you actually have really good cover art, that’s what I gravitate towards and click on first."

Ensure that the blogger has all the assets they need to create a solid blog post. This means include links to music videos, external URLs like your website and social media presences in addition to your artwork and song description.

"Always present yourself professionally and keep a very strong brand image. It is all about keeping your brand and product as high quality as possible." - David Reyneke, Potholes In My Blog

5) The Infamous Media Player Embed

The most essential asset to include in your email is a link to your music. This is so essential that I'm giving it its own section. Realize that even successful bloggers sometimes have other day jobs that don't involve blogging. This means that a lot of work is done via mobile phone. Attach your mp3 file (or a snippet at least) to the email itself when sending so that the blogger can listen to your song while on the move. But don't stop there! Also clearly call out in your email where the blogger can go to get the media player embed code so that they can easily publish a media player with your song. If you want to get super fancy, include the actual embed code in your email as well.

The Most Common Mistake

"Spamming. Spamming is the biggest mistake that a lot of independent artists do. A lot of artists ask me, ‘how can I get noticed? How can I blow up on Nah Right? How can I blow up on The Smoking Section?’ Well, you have to create a buzz for yourself on your own. Spamming Nah Right, spamming me, sending me emails, sending me tweets is not going to help anybody. So what you have to do is create noise for yourself. When you create the buzz, I’ll be knocking on your door. Stop spamming. It simply does not work." - Trent Fitzgerald, Beats and Rants

And remember...

"Great music will always transcend, but to get it out there and help it in that process, you have to have a lot of things in place. A compelling story, identity, distinctive style, and aggressive personality. Put yourself out there with those bloggers/fans/community respect and engage them with no end." - David Johnson-Igra, SF Critic
Posted by Dave Cool on 02/01/2012 | 6 comments