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= Marketing Your Unsigned Band Megathread =


leftajarandy

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I'd love to find a guy like that, who would work to book 1,000 festivals instead of 2500. corporates. Your right, they have to think longer term. My agent's are also in the event business, so they are looking for the big event with other elements besides the music. They also do name acts, so they aren't that interested in developing bands. They won't lower themselves to book a club at all, no matter how it might help a band. Sucks.

Not necessarily so. My agent took some time with me to develop my region, and booked some lower paying thigs to start with just to get out there. Of course, lower paying to him is what I could have gotten for myself, had I been able to get the bookers to talk to me. The point is, he had me from 750/gig at smaller festivals to upwards of 1500+ in just a few months. Might not be huge coin in the Bay Area, but up here in the Northwest it's in the upper echelon of unsigned bands.


Ultimately, yes, an agent is in it for the money, but some of them are willing to look long term and work with the artist to develop them if they see potential. My agent only works with a few acts, and dedicates a lot of energy toward them. They're out there if you look for them.

 

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We are happy to play anywhere anytime at this part of our career, we are just looking to expand outwards.

 

I think based on the feedback we will look for a good agent, someone who understands that we will have to play the smaller shows in the early days to hopefully build a crowd when we come back to that town/venue. Our live show is 2nd to none in our local area so hopefully people will respond in the same manor as they do on our local scene in other towns.

 

What do you reckon is the best way to approach an agent then? just send him our press pack (http://www.leftajar.com/presspack.html)? it may need some work so any pointers would be greatly appreciated!

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I don't know, my kids are 25, 23 and 21, and they say they HATE being spammed by every band in the world. (I asked because I wanted to know if it's an effective marketing strategy) They get lots of them every week, starting on Wednesday...:
:eek:

My age group, it doesn't work so much because half of them don't check their facebook page more than twice a month!
:facepalm:



Pat, I don't get any spam on facebook at all..How do you spam? You have to be someone's friend to contact them other then a message..It's not like Myspace which WAS annoying!! What gives?

Also, I have to agree with that that it's about the song and that's what artists should be concentrating on. For the most part, good music promotes itself to the extent that we shouldn't have to waste our time twittering, facebooking etc all the time. I mean I tell the people who are interested what's up when I have new music etc but I certainly don't spam ANYONE! Man, that gets so annoying!! I do love to discover new great music though! Unfortunately NONE of it is the popular stuff everyone hears. Absolutely NONE!

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BlueStrat your opinion is one I respect very much, i've been visiting this forum a few years now and have always agreed with the majority of things you have to say.


I would deffo agree that the product should sell itself and for us it does. We are one of the biggest acts in our town (in terms of ticket sales at the major venues) but we've just spent several weeks unable to gig (due to our drummer breakings his collar bone) so we've been trying to generate interest without our main asset (our live show). We find that after shows we receive a lot of attention to our website and fbook so it does show we are leaving a good impression but there must be other ways to generate interest and new fans.


What I was also trying to achieve was a wider appeal geographically, we are looking to gig outside of our local area however many venues expect you to bring a crowd (which is catch 22, without a gig we can't generate the new fans base).

One of the things we are trying towards out of town gigging is a cover band, we found that getting an gig as cover band is much easier than an unsigned act and we are hoping that the contacts we make as a cover band (as well as potential fans) may lead to shows out of town.


I deffo agree with guido61, Facebook really does help generate fans for us (we are aged 20-24 and the majority of our fan base is in this age band as well). As well as generating new fans it also helps us retain current fans and encourage them to come to our next shows etc (similar to a mailing list).


I also see the point that "pushing yourself" on people is not always the best method, it is catch 22 again, do we just sit here and try to appease the people who don't like being "force fed" or do we try and push forward and appeal to the people who are looking for a night out or a band to check out. Me personally, I don't receive an over abundance of acts to check out and I will always give it a listen, i'm not offended by it and I can block/ignore messages if they persist.


I do agree that good music will sell itself but it can't be too much of a problem giving it a helping hand towards generating new fans and "putting bums on seats" at our shows.


Thank you for the additional postings and a special thank you for a good insight into another point of view (as opposed to accusing me of spamming, I genuinly did not start this thread for that reason and apologise if that is how it sounded).

 

 

 

Well based on 22 years experience as a full time musician I have to say the cover band world and the Original Band DO NOT COEXIST AT THE SAME TIME IN THE SAME SPACE. Meaning, you can start out as a cover band to get good and get experience..maybe learn how to write good tunes but when it comes time to try to be taken seriously for your own music, YOU WILL NOT BE!! I'm telling you, I've been there done that...You can't be an original band trying to promote your own material by doing cover bookings. Just doesn't work well AT ALL! In my own experience with trying it and everyone I have ever met and known in the US. Could be different over in UK but here you lose your Original Artist Cred....I think it's a waste of time and you should just push your own art.

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I honestly believe that the best way to "market your unsigned band" is to record your music as ideally as possible (pro studio vs doing it yourself) and then put it out there.

 

No filters, no gimmicks, no tricks: just your music and the listeners. If the music is good, then it'll spread. If it's not good, then no amount of marketing will lead to serious success.

 

Last.fm, Jamendo, Bandcamp---just throw it on there, and see what type of response you get.

 

My band never invites our friends to our band facebook page. My mom is not a fan on facebook.

 

We have 45 fans on facebook. But the thing is---we don't know these people. They're from different countries, they don't know us personally, but they are fans. They sought us out and clicked "Like" of their own accord, without our trying to bribe them with gifts.

 

To us, one real fan is worth 10000000000 friends who just want to be supportive.

 

YMMV.

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Some more great feedback!

 

@sventvg when you say they can't co-exsist (cover and originals), is this under the same name? Or as different acts? We know a band in our area who use the same name which I personally think is a problem? Is this what you mean or do you mean in terms of time available etc?

 

We are looking to do a completely separate name for the cover act and with the cash we bring in from that band (our first booking is for more than we have made on any unsigned show, even when taking cuts on over 100 tickets) we can invest it into our unsigned band. Would you still say this is unwise?

 

@niceguy I think self recorded v studio recording may be the best suggestion yet. Our cd does sounds a lot better than most of the studio stuff in our area (and Sheffield notoriously has a wide range of good places) but I know for sure there is one act who SUCK (in my opinion) live but they paid a fortune (

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I'd love to find a guy like that, who would work to book 1,000 festivals instead of 2500. corporates. Your right, they have to think longer term. My agent's are also in the event business, so they are looking for the big event with other elements besides the music. They also do name acts, so they aren't that interested in developing bands. They won't lower themselves to book a club at all, no matter how it might help a band. Sucks.

 

 

Well, I'm sure location has a lot to do with it. I'm in a completely different market than you are, so agents here have little choice but to develop markets and talent together. Where you live, few agent will do that because they simply don't have to!

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Pat, I don't get any spam on facebook at all..How do you spam? You have to be someone's friend to contact them other then a message..It's not like Myspace which WAS annoying!! What gives?


Also, I have to agree with that that it's about the song and that's what artists should be concentrating on. For the most part, good music promotes itself to the extent that we shouldn't have to waste our time twittering, facebooking etc all the time. I mean I tell the people who are interested what's up when I have new music etc but I certainly don't spam ANYONE! Man, that gets so annoying!! I do love to discover new great music though! Unfortunately NONE of it is the popular stuff everyone hears. Absolutely NONE!

 

 

the "Spam" is all the invites to other musicians' gigs. I get probably 5-10 a week, even from bands 500 miles away. My kids get way more than that.

 

 

I'm telling you, I've been there done that...You can't be an original band trying to promote your own material by doing cover bookings. Just doesn't work well AT ALL!

 

 

Depends on the genre. In the blues and jazz world, playing covers mixed in with your originals is about the ONLY way you'll make it. Most blues bands don't share the bill with 3 other bands and play for 20 bucks. They play the entire night. Even guys like Lucky Peterson, Lloyd Jones, Tommy Castro, Jimmy Thackery and Chris Cain play lots of covers in 3 or 4 hour club gigs. Concerts and festivals is a different thing, but covers are standard for these guys.

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@niceguy I think self recorded v studio recording may be the best suggestion yet. Our cd does sounds a lot better than most of the studio stuff in our area (and Sheffield notoriously has a wide range of good places) but I know for sure there is one act who SUCK (in my opinion) live but they paid a fortune (

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We aren't thinking of dropping our originals in with our cover band act? We would be looking to do a cover act seperate from our originals, the only factor we would cross over is the business contact (promoter or venue).


Would this be more feasable as an option?

 

 

I think your best option is to just book gigs and entertain people. its pretty common for bands to include their original stuff into their shows right along with the covers. The guy I play with is a trop rock/ country writer who has done well with radio play with his original stuff. His typical gig has 3 or 4 of his songs right in with the cover setlist. if its a festival or deal where the object is to play the original stuff ,,, that is what he does and might only do one cover or two. There is two ways to look at it.. if your original stuff is as well writting as well known covers ,, they mesh well with set that includes covers. If the stuff isnt up to prime time,,,the covers will overshadow the original stuff. Most bands dont have enough original stuff to cover a 3 hour gig.... so you pretty well are going to be doing some covers. you have to look at the goal of the gig to know what you want to play.

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My band has done it this way and we wound up with a small facebook contingent but they are actual fans, not friends. And we wound up with reviews in over ten music review blogs and websites.

 

 

Would you say this brought some good exposure?

 

We have the contact details of virtually all the UK magazines, blogs, ezines etc etc Is it worth persuing these?

 

I think we may record some "studio" tracks first and then send the material their way.

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its pretty common for bands to include their original stuff into their shows right along with the covers.

 

 

This sounds exactly like the kind of thing we were hoping for with our cover band but were unsure if this is "accepted".

 

I know it sounds "cliche" but a lot of people say some of our songs sound so good live they sound like covers (which I think is the highest form of compliment!) so maybe it isn't too far fetched to drop some in the cover set.

 

We always play some covers in our "originals" set, just to break the ice and catch peoples attention, I know you are supposed to stick to your own material but after seeing Black Stone Cherry finish their supporting slot for Nickelback at the Sheffield Arena on a cover (and Nickelback played some covers as well) I don't think it is too far out there to play some songs people might know. It always goes down well and usually brings a few extra bodies across from the bar once you play something they know (granted you don't murder it lol).

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I have a tip, If you're a band who has been together a while and has mulitple EP's, albums whatever only heavily promote your latest release.

A lot of bands dont do this and hold up the fact that they've released x CD's as a mark of pride, this is counterproductive though for 3 reasons:

1)Honestly, your older stuff probably isnt as consistant as good as your newer stuff, and its a waste of time to lump it all together.
2)The person approaching your band sees a whole bunch of stuff, doesent know where to start, and so is less likely to bother.
3)"Well If they've been around for a long time how come I've never heard of them?"

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Would you say this brought some good exposure?


We have the contact details of virtually all the UK magazines, blogs, ezines etc etc Is it worth persuing these?


I think we may record some "studio" tracks first and then send the material their way.

 

I think it's obvious that reviews in magazines, blogs, etc makes your band look a lot better than having a trillion FB fans. If you have the contacts available for getting reviewed, do it!

 

But make sure you're happy with the quality of your recording first.

 

Hope you don't mind, but I checked to see if you're on last.fm. You're up there, but it's not a complete profile. Flesh out that profile! What could be better than last.fm? You get streamed alongside major bands, and you get to see if your music really does click with people who don't know you on a personal level.

 

Regardless, best of luck with this :thu:

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I have a tip, If you're a band who has been together a while and has mulitple EP's, albums whatever
only heavily promote your latest release
.


A lot of bands dont do this and hold up the fact that they've released x CD's as a mark of pride, this is counterproductive though for 3 reasons:


1)Honestly, your older stuff probably isnt as consistant as good as your newer stuff, and its a waste of time to lump it all together.

2)The person approaching your band sees a whole bunch of stuff, doesent know where to start, and so is less likely to bother.

3)"Well If they've been around for a long time how come I've never heard of them?"

 

 

 

1) That's a highly subjective statement. I can name a dozen bands off the top of my head where their earlier stuff was better than their latest, IMO.

 

2) The more stuff I present to them, the bigger pool they have to jump into. What do I care which end of the pool they choose? I have never heard of anyone not checking out a band because they had too much material out.

 

3) "These guys are really good! 4 albums? Where the hell have I been? "

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1) That's a highly subjective statement. I can name a dozen bands off the top of my head where their earlier stuff was better than their latest, IMO.


2) The more stuff I present to them, the bigger pool they have to jump into. What do I care which end of the pool they choose? I have never heard of anyone not checking out a band because they had too much material out.


3) "These guys are really good! 4 albums? Where the hell have I been? "

 

I agree with BlueStrat. I mean, I'm pretty sure Appetite For Destruction is better than Chinese Democracy ;)

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I think it's obvious that reviews in magazines, blogs, etc makes your band look a lot better than having a trillion FB fans. If you have the contacts available for getting reviewed, do it!


But make sure you're happy with the quality of your recording first.


Hope you don't mind, but I checked to see if you're on last.fm. You're up there, but it's not a complete profile. Flesh out that profile! What could be better than last.fm? You get streamed alongside major bands, and you get to see if your music really does click with people who don't know you on a personal level.


Regardless, best of luck with this
:thu:



Appreciate the feedback re: last fm! I will sort that profile within the next few days for sure!

I think the quality of our recording is the main issue, we have been looking at studios in our area and looking to book some studio time, the next thing is to decide which tracks to record!
This may be a situation where Facebook friends can come in handy? we have use the fans opinions on several decisions (such as t-shirt designs etc - especially as the majority of people who frequent our page are also the gig goers).
Would you say it is better to get feedback from external sources on our "best songs" or go for what we think is best? I find my opinion varies on my own material that I like different songs at different times. I know for sure 1 track we would record but after that it's really a toss up, do we go for all the heavier sounds, or all the quiet sounds, or a mixture? it's a tough decision as we can only really afford 3-4 tracks.

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--- and the only way to get a crowd at your show is by playing lo-fi dog{censored}. We don't play lo-fi dog{censored}, so we don't expect to get a local following, and we don't mind at all.

 

 

HA!

 

You and I occupy identical hells. We've managed to grow regardless, but it's been an uphill battle the whole time.

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Appreciate the feedback re: last fm! I will sort that profile within the next few days for sure!


I think the quality of our recording is the main issue, we have been looking at studios in our area and looking to book some studio time, the next thing is to decide which tracks to record!

This may be a situation where Facebook friends can come in handy? we have use the fans opinions on several decisions (such as t-shirt designs etc - especially as the majority of people who frequent our page are also the gig goers).

Would you say it is better to get feedback from external sources on our "best songs" or go for what we think is best? I find my opinion varies on my own material that I like different songs at different times. I know for sure 1 track we would record but after that it's really a toss up, do we go for all the heavier sounds, or all the quiet sounds, or a mixture? it's a tough decision as we can only really afford 3-4 tracks.

 

 

If you have the fan interaction history, may as well have your fans pick the songs to record. I'd be more apt to record whichever songs my band likes the most, but that's me.

 

A 4-song EP is enough to get reviewed, in my experience. If you get reviewed, post and share that review everywhere. It'll help you and it'll help the reviewer (more hits to the site).

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I'm starting to believe that people are more often than not, total idiots.

 

Wanna get a smoking show? Get 4-5 hot girls to come to every show, and when prompted by the band, they all do the wet t-shirt or girls gone wild flashing, thus all but guaranteeing more people will come to your next show.

 

You don't even have to be good anymore.. just appeal to the lowest common denominator. Sex sells.

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Some good advice here, I would deffo agree with "3" but parts one and two are both down to preference and really hard to gauge. For example I may think Fall Out Boy suck but thousands would disagree, however if i then suggested to those Fall Out Boy fans to check out Slipknot or Lamb of God i'm sure a large percentage would suggest that those "suck", who is right and who is wrong? it is down to personal preference.


I deffo agree with part 3 though, as I suggested in my original post, making friends and contacts is very important!


Thanks for posting
:)



There is a real difference between not enjoying a certain Genre of music and a song sucking. Please watch the episode of the Soparono's called "A Hit is a Hit" it might explain the diffrerence better than I can.

Fans don't usually even know enough about music to judge, that is why they think that music that doesn't appeal to them sucks.

Max

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There is a real difference between not enjoying a certain Genre of music and a song sucking. Please watch the episode of the Soparono's called "A Hit is a Hit" it might explain the diffrerence better than I can.


Fans don't usually even know enough about music to judge, that is why they think that music that doesn't appeal to them sucks.


Max

 

 

I will deffo give the Soprano's episode a watch.

 

I also agree 100% that most people don't distance their opinion from fact and simply state something "sucks". Look at all the U2 haters etc how can an act that big "suck". I always phrase may evaluations on my opinion, "I don't like them", only when I really understand an act (at local level, I think it is unfair to say any band who are achieving more than my band "suck" as I am inadvertently saying mine "sucks") will I say it "sucks" but a lot of people will just assume if they don't like an act, it must suck! lol

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