In the previous edition of Pro Tips we talked about how to put together a music event, from booking bands and talking to the venue, to dividing income on the night. This month we're sticking with a similar topic and talking about how to promote the event, and actually get people to show up on the night…
In this episode Liam talks about how best to budget for promoting your album or E.P., with a little help from John Wheeler - front-man for rock n' roll parody band, Hayseed Dixie. These guys coined the term "Rockgrass" to describe the way in which they perform classic tunes, and Si managed to talk with John for a while about his experiences in the music industry. Scroll down to find the interview in full.
85-90% of your budget should go on promotion. "Build it and they will come" is a dumb idea, people have to know your *thing* exists, otherwise how do they know they want it? Create your record as cheap as you can, without compromising what you want to achieve musically. Remember, a good song is a good song with or without huge production value. At least by keeping it simple people won't be able to accuse you of "hiding behind the mix"
Hire A Publicist
You may have your own list of contacts for reviews and press, but imagine combining that list with someone else's? Specifically, someone who has based their career on making these contacts, and probably knows that side of the industry way better than you. Hire a publicist.
Go on tour. Take your *thing* out into the world and see how it fares when the venue isn't full of your friends and well-wishers. Self-improvement aside, it's a great opportunity to spread the word about what you do. As with the above point, you should hire someone to arrange these tours for you, or to at least assist. This allows you to focus on the thing you really want to do - y'know, make music?
All they really do is sub-contract people to do the various jobs involved with promotion and tour management. Yes, they may have better contacts than you, but they will probably take a huge cut of the profits. That’s the big labels anyway, we can’t really talk about independent labels because they all vary so hugely in what they do and what they’re capable of.
Get one who’s actually a photographer. Y’know, someone who owns a camera and lighting and stuff. This is a real easy way for promoters to tell whether or not to send gigs your way. Some bands will use live photos, but this only works if you have reasonable stagecraft as a band.
Band Biographies & Press Releases
Put effort into your band bio and press releases, because most publications are just going to use that word-for-word. Also, for people like us who have to crawl through press releases to get to the kettle, please make them fun. Please!
Thanks again to John for his time and the honesty with which he expressed his experiences. The full interview is available below, and contains info on how to tour without exhausting yourself, leadership and roles within a band, and how not to cack your pants on stage, (no, really).
REFERENCES & FURTHER READING