If you want to make money as a musician today the place to do it is with an independent label, not a major label. The big downside is that with an indy label you must shoulder more of the work to market your band. You might be asking: “Why should I spend my time marketing when I could be writing music?” The answer is that there are a lot of other competing bands out there, and unless you can find a way to attract and maintain a following, your potential fans will find one of those other bands first, no matter how good your music is.
So where do you start? MySpace or Facebook, or your own custom website are good places to begin (once you have some audio and image media to share). Make sure you have some free stuff easily available for your web guests and update your site twice a week. Record an instrumental version of your latest song and put it up as a ringtone. Post pictures of your last gig. Blog about how your songwriting process is going this week. The idea here is to give people a reason to stay interested in your band. The easiest people to sell to are your existing customers – so make sure you keep them interested!
That other key component of marketing your band is getting your music out there for people to hear. There are a number of companies that can help you get your latest song on a radio station that fits your style of music. One such company, Tinderbox Music specializes in college, secondary FM and community formats. There are other good companies too. Go find one that fits your style and see how they can help your band grow its following!
Out of all the sessions at the IMMMS, I found the marketing panel to be the most energizing because it helped me answer the question of how a good group of musicians turns into a popular and profitable band. I hope your band can get excited about the opportunities out there to grow your following!
This is part 2 of a multiple part series on my impressions from the 2010 Industry Meltdown Midwest Music Summit. Other posts from the series: