Promoting your band

by Russel Hlongwanemusic make you lose control by parkour13-d34wv1c

According to research by ‘’Unsigned Guide UK’’, 76% of musicians would sign up to a major for the pure reason of marketing and promotional support. And in Germany this statistic is much higher at 95%, a study conducted by BVMI respectively.

As expressed by Shane Lamotte of Living Illusion in the article ‘’5 Lessons YOU can learn from my Mistakes’’ he mentions that he wishes he would have spent much more of his budget on promotion.

What is the use of spending large budgets on the best quality if all that quality cannot reach market? Anyway, what separates a best -selling record from one with lesser market reach? The answer is simple; promotion. We can otherwise say promotion is putting legs to your product. And an unfortunate reality in music is that the worst musically rated product can and will outdo the best musically rated product on the simple basis of better promotion. Weak promotion campaigns are one of the critical reasons so many artist fail, not because they were bad artists! ‘’Market access’’ is a nicer word, let’s look at the fundamentals of promotion to access the market.

The Concept of Your Band
To promote your band, or brand for that matter, YOU need a story. Just like you know the fame of Nelson Mandela – freedom fighter-cum- first black president. Then there is also the story of Michael Jackson – moon walker, great performer
In fact, notice what comes to mind when I say COKE! Notice that everyone has the same picture of the mentioned icons, why? Because they all represented a set of ideas which are being promoted over and over again.
So what should your fans immediately think about when they say your name? How will the concept of your band attract new fans and invoke the attention of media? Remember journalists need to sell ‘’juicy’’ stories. On closing note, the concept of your band should link the following: your genre + your style within the genre + your set of ideas = CONCEPT OF THE BAND.

Your products all have to be a translation of your concept:
•    your music
•    your music video
•    your CD cover
•    your band picture
•    your performance
•    your interviews

The Target Group
It goes without saying that the concept of your band has to speak directly to your target group. Your audience is automatically determined by your genre, but some genres have many different sub cultures so ensure that you clearly identify/ define your target audience. If you still can’t describe your target market in a sentence of eight words, then you might have to focus on that before anything else. This will help you get to your market much quicker. Remember we mentioned that ‘’promotion’’ is like giving legs, so these legs need to know where to go (which is to your target audience).
The Marketing Plan
If promotion is the legs then the marketing plan is the brain. It ensures that the body moves systematically, your brain co ordinates your movements. Your brain drives your body and such is a marketing plan, it drives the vehicle and components that will get your product to the marketplace. Your marketing plan should include: your market research + the single to promote + the logistics to promote + time schedule + strategy and the execution. This is the where, why and how of your album after production.
In marketing there are 4 different phases used during the development of a product – also reffered to as the 4p’s – you could use them in your music marketing plan:
•    Product development: of course this would include your CD, but also development of your merchandise that need to be developed in this phase.
•    Price: in this phase you make your budget and help you decide on your margins.
•    Promotion: here you decide which mediums you use to communicate what.
•    Place (distribution): an important question is where will you sell your product.

Sample your music
Some products give away demo’s or samples of their products in magazines. This is how they get the product in small quantities to the right people. Through this sample, they will get an idea of the market reaction. However in music, this can be done through listening sessions or you can utilize social media for a feedback exchange session. Or maybe take roughly 15 seconds of the best parts of your songs and compile them as a ‘’taster’’. Let this taster go wild and ensure that you use your best product for sampling. Do not leave the best for last or else there will be no last. Give the best first. Kanye West did well in this category by running a 45 minute video consisting of all of his songs in a form of a movie.

Earlier we mentioned that journalists need to sell juicy stories, so your biography ought to deliver that. A biography will determine if you get that publicity or not. Of the two most deleted items in a journalist’s mailbox are weak biographies and incomplete press releases. The biography can otherwise be said to be your story. Generally the media has to go through many biographies so ensure that you catch their attention within the first paragraph. Add facts, numbers, drama (where necessary) and let it be visually appealing.

Try to get many bios from other bands to get an idea of how they do, then aim to improve upon that. Some things to consider when writing a bio:
Band name (what inspired the band name?) and members, genre, name a popular musician that is a close reference to your music, describe your music style, why should a music fan listen to your music? Add any band stories that may bring substance to the biography.

A journalist said ‘’you need to make my job easier, I want to copy and past your bio so you need to ensure that you have already laid our EVERYTHING on your bio.’’. In other words, he meant that he doesn’t want to spend too much time editing and trying to make sense of it. Think of it as your C.V.

Your Band Picture
It should grab a reader at the first glance, PERIOD! The picture should make the fan NEED to listen to your material. Your picture should be consistent with your band name and subject matter. Also, remember, the picture needn’t be that YOU! Have fun with this one, it’s yet another avenue to make you unique.

Creating Hype
As your product makes it’s way to the marketplace, you need to send some headlines to alarm the marketplace of your products arrival. The Forbes magazine counted Beyonce’s surprise album as one of the slickest marketing move for 2013. Some hype is pre-meditated like Beyonce whereas some hype can be generated (about your music) to run parallel to global events. Think Mandela’s passing or election time or women’s day etc. In a case where you are feeding off current affairs, try look for an authentic synergy or else let it go. You do not want to make an impression like you are a parasite, hence why you need an authentic point of relation.

Another important point, with fans having less and less attention span, this means that the lifespan of your product in the market place has been significantly reduced. And hype helps extend the lifespan of your product.



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