Category: Music Marketing

Music and Social Media: Twitter

Music and Social Media: Twitter

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

While Facebook is great for turning friends into fans (and friends of friends, and friends of friends of friends…), finding fans outside that network can be difficult. On the other hand, Twitter and its hashtag feature allow you to find and connect with complete strangers around the world with similar interests—be it musical style, television shows, politics, or food photography.

So how do you use Twitter to find more fans and market your events? Here are a few ideas:

Follow To Be Followed

There are thousands of musicians on Twitter. Follow established bands in your genre and look at their followers; then follow them, too. You can search for specific bands that you believe you sound similar to or for venues in your area. You can also search others’ tweets for keywords (like “folk punk”) to find people most likely to become your fans. Follow only those accounts that are active and relevant to your act.

Be Active

Post your thoughts or what you’re doing, announce upcoming releases, share posters for your next gig, link to your blog posts, favorite tweets you find particularly amusing, reply to mentions, and re-tweet shout-outs from fans. Be sure to read others’ tweets, especially those of your fans and fellow musicians, and reply to some. Remember that you’re connecting with fans, not just talking to them.

Provide Incentive

Contests and free give-always are a great way to encourage your followers to interact with you or share your tweets. Offer a free piece of merchandise to anyone who can come up with the most creative way to use your band’s name in a sentence, for example. Crowdsource your followers for your new album artwork. Or, when someone shares your tweets, videos, or music with their followers, thank them with a mention and a free download code.   

Plan An After Party

Shows can be a dime a dozen, and making yours stand out can be hard. However, as many musicians on Twitter have already discovered, planning an exclusive after party during which your band will perform is a sure way to get the crowds talking. Tweet a time and place, then wait for the party to begin.  

Tweet on the Go

Because of it’s 140-character limit, Twitter is an ideal on-the-go social media platform. Tweet on the way to a gig or between sets, or snap and share a pic from the stage. Remember to mention fans and venues, too.

These steps can help you create and maintain a dedicated fan base. Remember, sometimes, the best way to a fan’s heart is not a perfect ballad—sometimes it’s a witty  tweet.

Do you use Twitter to connect with fans and market your music? How did you build and maintain your fan base?

See also: Music and Social Media: Promoting Your Act, Music and Social Media: Facebook, Music and Social Media: MySpace, Music and Social Media: YouTube, Music and Social Media: Instagram, Music and Social Media: Google+, and Music and Social Media: LinkedIn.

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Music & Social Media: Facebook

Music and Social Media: Facebook

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

There are many social media platforms through which you can promote your music. By far, the most popular is Facebook. To reach that potential fan base, you need a Facebook page.

Developing a strong fan base and promoting your music is more complicated than simply adding a slew of friends and strangers to your profile. If you want to see your number of fans grow to it’s full potential, then you need to correctly use Facebook to promote your band. These tips will help get you there:

Create a Fan Page

This gives fans (friends, family, and strangers alike) a central place to go for information, and lets you keep your personal life off separate from your music career. Since it gives a unified front, it’s especially helpful when your act consists of more than one member. It also lets you track your posts’ exposure rates, share special offers, or create events. Be sure to brand it with your logos, album artwork, or band pictures, and keep it up to date.

Catch Fans’ Eyes

A picture will capture the audience’s attention much quicker than a lengthy piece of text ever could. If you have a story, promotion, or announcement, glam it up with an relevant, quality image.

Keep It Brief

Don’t post chapters of your memoir to Facebook. Fans will tire of reading lengthy posts and begin ignoring you. Try to keep posts to a few lines, or put the lengthy content on your band’s website and link to it with a brief description.

Stay Active

Don’t invest your entire day into posting on your band’s page; in fact, doing so may actually get you deleted. You should post regularly, though. Also, be sure to check in and respond to your fans’ comments. Since popular posts with high activity are more likely to show up in news feeds’ (thanks to Facebook’s algorithms), responding to comments in a timely manner ensures that your posts are showing up in fans’ news feeds. It will also show your fans how much you appreciate them. 

Pay Attention To Geography

If you’re touring, geo-targeting is a great way to get your info in front of relevant audiences. Use the names of cities or regions near your tour locations to ensure that your posts get to the right audience.

Great bands play at great venues, and in the world of social media, Facebook is one of the greatest. Don’t let your band miss out on the incredible marketing opportunity Facebook offers.

Do you use Facebook to promote your music and connect with fans? What are your favorite features? Are there any drawbacks?

See also: Music and Social Media: Promoting Your Act, Music and Social Media: YouTube, Music and Social Media: Twitter, Music and Social Media: MySpace, Music and Social Media: Google+, Music and Social Media: Instagram, and Music and Social Media: LinkedIn, Creating and Using Your Band’s Facebook Page.

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Market Your Gig

3 Ways to Market Your Next Gig

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

A gig is a gig, but a gig with a cash-spending, dancing crowd is a gig that makes everyone happy. This includes the venue, the fans, and you, the hard-working advertising wizard who also happens to be a musician. So what makes the difference between a gig and a good gig? Music marketing. Here are some tried and true methods to filling the venue:

Fliers, Promo CDs, and Awareness

It may seem basic or outdated, but fliers are important. What are the demographics that (you expect to) attend your shows? Go to the stores, coffee shops, hookah lounges, restaurants, and bars that your adoring fans would likely frequent. Leave fliers (well-designed, legible, and informative) on their community boards, or ask if the shop would play a promotional CD. Be sure to leave cards with your website on them. Genuinely get to know their patrons and mention your gig.

Find and use every resource in your area that has a schedule of local events. Local entertainment magazines and websites are an obvious resource. If your target market is the newspaper reading crowd, get your gig listed in the classifieds.

Social Media

Certainly you’re going to take advantage of your social media accounts. Use the Facebook event function to inform your fans and encourage them to invite their friends. You could also use Facebook ads, which could be a beneficial investment depending on the type of gig. If your target crowd is on Twitter, give them 140 characters on why your band will rock their face off two weeks from Friday at 9. (Hint: you can share a pic of your event poster.) The point is, these are free tools that you can use. So do it!

In-Person Self-Promotion

Word of mouth advertising is the best that it gets. Attend similar shows in the area and strike up conversations with those around you, then slyly mention that you have a gig coming up. (Just don’t burn bridges with those performing at these shows.) Another solid word of mouth option is to play at an open mic night (or two). This is a good way to showcase your music for a few minutes. Tell the crowd that, if they like what they hear, to come ask you about your next gig. (Just don’t burn bridges with the open mic venue.)

What marketing strategies do you use to promote your gigs?

See also: More Ways to Market Your Music, 5 Ways to Make More Money at Your Gigs, 4 Steps to Getting Better Gigs,4 Cost-Free Ways to Promote Your Music

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Increase Your Exposure: Streaming Music

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

A confession: I like physical media. I back up sessions on hard drives. I have an extensive CD collection. When I’m near a record player, you can bet it will be in use. That said, I’m not stuck in the past. I’ve grown quite fond of backing up to cloud drives, and as a consumer I often use music-streaming sites like Spotify.

As a professional artist, you have to keep up on industry trends to get your music out there. You could have the best songs and the tightest band, but if no one hears your songs, none of that will matter.

One of the biggest trends right now is streaming music. If you’re not familiar with it, here’s a quick overview:

When you sell your music, whether in physical distribution or in online sales and downloads, you get the profits and the consumer keeps the music. Streaming is different; the most common sites are closer to traditional radio play, just online and tailored to each listener. Listeners use a service, free or paid, to access the music but do not own the music. This means that they can listen to the artists and songs they like, discover related artists, retain valuable hard drive space, and not spend (much) money on music.

If you want access to these listeners, you must make your songs available on these streaming sites. On the plus side, there is usually a small amount of money paid to the you each time someone streams your song. While the profits from streaming services are not as ideal as album sales, the streaming services can offer increased exposure. As a user of streaming sites, I often check out similar artists suggested by the service. Some services automatically play similar artists. If these listeners like your music, they might regularly listen to you (more money) or might look up where to buy your music and do so (more money).

The major streaming outlets right now are Spotify, Pandora, and ReverbNation. There have been and will be others; be sure to keep updated on which is rising or falling in popularity.

If you’re still a fan of physical media and live performances like I am, that’s great. There’s still an audience for that, but it’s no longer the whole story. Now that you know about streaming music, you can decide whether or not this type of music distribution is a good fit for you.

Have you put your music on a streaming service? Has doing so resulted in increased sales or fans? Which service would you recommend?

See also: Spotify, Pandora and Streaming Music: Should You Post Your Music?, Top Five Websites for Streaming Your Music, Five Websites for Selling Your Music Online, Make Money Selling Your Music, Finding Music Distributors

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Make More Money

5 Ways to Make More Money at Your Gigs

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Every artist actively playing gigs wants to make more money for their time. In a stiff market, though, how do you increase your profits? Focus on two things: marketing your music and your merchandise.

Music Marketing – Long Term Increase

Promote gigs to your existing fan base.

Tell them when your next show is and why they shouldn’t miss it. Tell them again. If you can bring your own crowd to shows, venue owners will soon be seeking you out. Bigger crowds mean more profits for the venue and, in the long run, for you.

Get to know your fans.

Get to know your audience on a personal level: hang around before the show and after the last set, sit down and have a drink with them, ask for their names and contact information. You don’t have to go overboard and interview everyone in attendance, but make it a goal to really meet five or ten of them. If the five fans you genuinely befriend at one gig like you and your music, you can bet they’ll gush about it to their other friends… which means more fans at your next show. Also: try to remember fans you’ve met before.

Market research: learn what your fans like.

Talk music with them and listen to what they have to say. Ask which songs they liked and what they want to hear more of (even if it’s cover songs). Ask if they’ve been to the venue before, which venues they like, how often they’ll go to concerts, how they heard about the gig. If their feedback is solid, put it to use.

Your Merchandise – Short term

Bring all your merchandise with you.

Don’t leave it at home or only sell it online. Your fans—existing and new—are HERE. Bring CDs, download cards, t-shirts, hats, key chains, lighters, stickers, ringtones, posters and more. Mention on stage that items are available, and humbly ask those fans you’re meeting if they have your CD yet. Let the entire band autograph CDs sold at shows.

Focus on quality.

Does your merch fall apart in a week or look like a 12-year-old made it? If your stuff looks cheap compared to the next band’s, your sales will probably suffer. Find a good graphic artist to create eye-catching, fashionable designs, and find quality suppliers to order from.

Your music is art, yes, but there’s also an art to the music business.

Are you struggling to make enough money from your gigs? What have you found that has helped increase your profits from gigs?

See also: 3 Ways to Market Your Next Gig, 4 Steps to Getting Better Gigs, Increase Your Merchandise Sales at Gigs, How Should I Price My Merchandise?

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Social Media

Music and Social Media: Promoting Your Act

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Music promotion has come a long way since the days of handing out fliers and free beers to get attention. The internet has changed how to promote your music, offering a variety of tools and a potentially-global fan base, all from the computer or mobile device at hand. 

Knowing how to promote your music is important. While you could use a fan page or profile on a certain social media platform as your main page, the world of social media is constantly changing and growing. It might be best to have a dedicated site for your band, then use the social media outlets as tools to support that site.

Social sites are not one and the same, however. Each site has different strengths that the others do not have. Some of the most common sites are:

  • FacebookThis popular social media site is ideal for telling brief stories, sharing photos and videos, and creating events; lets you reach friends, family, fans and their networks.
  • TwitterTwitter is perfect for announcements, shout-outs, and networking; utilize the hashtag tool for cross-referencing.
  • Google+Google+ is great for sorting connections into arbitrary circles such as bands, venues, label and fans.
  • YouTubeGet your music heard even without a record by posting videos on YouTube.
  • MySpaceMySpace is highly customizable, allowing you to promote your music while matching your personality and style.
  • InstagramCreate a video/photo diary of your band’s progress and easily share on your other social media platforms. Again, utilize the hashtag tool.
  • LinkedInThis networking tool can be great for making industry contacts and joining groups for artists.

Now that you know some of your options, create your strategy. Some points to consider:

  • Be present – We don’t mean post every day at 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., but do post often. This keeps your fans from forgetting about you. Absence does not make the fan grow fonder. That said, don’t flood your fans with too many posts.
  • Get involvedOne of the biggest differences between a great show and a terrible one is the level of interaction between the bands and the fans. The same goes for social media. If you want your fans to stick around, pull them into a conversation by ending posts with a question. Just don’t forget to respond.
  • Don’t get pushyIf all of your posts sound like sales pitches, your fans will lose interest. Keep your posts to promotions, stories, and videos.
  • Use multiple sitesDon’t rely on just one site. If you post an image on Instagram of last night’s concert or uploaded a new music video on YouTube, share it on your website, Facebook, and Twitter. Sites like HooteSuite make managing multiple accounts easier. 
  • Join forcesIf you make friends with other talented bands in your genre or have upcoming gigs with other bands, you can combine efforts to reach more people.

If you know how to use the different types of social media, then you know how to promote your music. Because you need to do more than just practice to get noticed.

Which social media tools do you use? Which have you found to be most effective?

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Get Better Gigs

4 Steps to Getting Better Gigs

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Raise your hand if you aren’t getting the gigs you want, or aren’t getting enough gigs. Raise your hand if you know a way (cliche or not) to fix it?

I do. In one word? Networking.

Still with me? Good. The right types of networking can really help you to get better gigs.

The Fine Line of Friend/Fan

There will naturally be some crossover between your friends and fans. Ideally, your friends will be supportive, coming to shows and buying your products. Make time for them outside of rehearsals and gigs. At gigs, though, focus on the fans. Fans will buy your CDs, come to all your shows, pay their own way, bring their friends, and ask for more of what you’re dishing out. Fans are the reason you’re there and your ticket to coming back, so appreciate your fans; be friendly, genuine and down-to-earth when interacting with them… and do interact with them! Get their names and email, thank them for coming, and follow up later.

Promote Like It’s Your Job

As an independent artist or band, you might feel like it’s the job of the promoter to promote or market your event. Thus, their title. Take it from someone who has been both promoter and promoted: it is true that promoters are a really important part of the process, but this isn’t their career and passion on the line. It’s yours. I always recommend bring your own crowd, and that means networking: build a fan base, connect with them, and communicate.

Be Where You Want to Be

You want fans to drive to a venue, pay for a ticket, hang out, and pay attention to you at a show? You need to do the same… but do it to genuinely meet people. Go to venues that you want to play. Don’t talk through performances. Introduce yourself to other bands; let them know you like their sound (only if you really do like it). Introduce yourself to the bartender; he might influence who the venue books. Go again, and again. And hey—being nice to everyone isn’t going to hurt your chances to get gigs, so get out there and get mingling.

Make Friends, Not Competition

If you’re performing, you will have to interact with other bands and artists. These people can be seen as your friends or your competition, but it will make things a lot easier if you are friends. Friends ask you to play shows with them; competition trashes you to venues. Friends will share gear when yours breaks and tips on upcoming opportunities; competition won’t.

Are you getting the types of gigs you want? Have you tried the above steps to get better gigs? What has helped you achieve that goal?

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Free Downloads

Do Free Downloads Increase Your Exposure?

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

As a musician, when you are trying to get your product out there to the masses, every little bit helps. However, radio play, CD sales, and music videos are increasingly being eschewed in favor of music downloads. This has become today’s staple metric for how successful a music act is.

But what is the preferred method for music downloads? Some would argue that the only type of download is the free one, while others hold fast to the idea that sales is a far better metric of who takes your music seriously. There are pros and cons to both sides.

Sold Downloads

The first “pro” to sales is obviously that you make some money. This is the dream of every artist of any stripe: to have a public who says, “your product is worth enough to me to pay you for it.” Additionally, these invested fans are more likely to listen, promote, and return for more. What’s not to like?

On the negative side of things, everyone likes to get something for nothing. If you are only selling your music, you will likely have fewer downloads, even if the fans are better.

Free Downloads

Offering your music downloads for free opens up a whole other can of worms. Yes, you likely will get more downloads. But, how many of these people are actively listening to your music? How many will share your band with their friends, or come back to buy your other products? For all you know, your song gets absorbed into their vast music catalog and will only come up once a year on shuffle.

At the same time that you’re getting more downloads, you could be stigmatizing yourself as unworthy of any money from consumers later on in your career. Why should they pay in now when you used to give it away? The transition there is not an easy one.

So Which Do You Go With?

The best answer might be a mix of both. You could offer new singles for free for a limited time or to a limited audience (such as previous paying customers) then charge for the single downloads or album downloads later. This conveys that your product has value but that you appreciate the fans that keep up with and support you.

Ultimately, the choice is yours, and we’d love to hear what you choose!

Have you offered free downloads of your music? Was it for a limited time only or to a limited audience? Did those fans come back and purchase other music?

See also: Finding Music Distributors, Increase Your Exposure: Streaming MusicMake Money Selling Your Music.

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Get Reviewed

Getting Bloggers and Magazines to Review Your Music

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

As an up-and-coming musician, you may have no idea where to begin when it comes to how to market your music. Anyone who has been successful in creative endeavors can tell you it’s no longer enough to put out a quality product and wait for attention. Your audience has to hear about that product, and they have to hear about it from a trusted, established source. While this source can be someone they know and trust, it can also be professional writers and bloggers in the music industry.

Here are some tips for reaching that group:

Do your homework

Find out which outlets fit your niche, who the contact people are, and whether or not they accept submissions. Subscribe to those magazines, read those blogs, or follow those writers.

Make contact

Send out copies of your music, press packets, and so forth. Tailor each submission to the recipient, too.

Check their submission guidelines… Twice

The press or person might require certain formats or pieces of information, or they might only communicate with managers and record labels. Don’t let a procedural mistake cost you this opportunity.

Focus on quality

Be sure that what you’re sending is as polished and professional as your budget allows, both in sound and appearance. If you want to be taken seriously as an artist, make sure your product reflects that.

Be relevant

Only send your product to appropriate people. Asking a magazine that focuses on heavy metal to review your jazz flute album probably won’t be an effective use of anyone’s time or money.

Follow up

If you haven’t heard back within a couple weeks, a polite letter, email, or (perhaps most impressively) phone call or two is acceptable. However, do NOT let this turn into nagging or begging.

Be thankful

If the press does feature you, by all means, do a happy dance. Then, send a thank you note. Be sure to share the feature on your website and social media platforms. Even if you’re not featured, thank them for their time and ask if they know of anyone in the industry who may be interested.

If you’re not sure where to start, try the music blog scene. Read and interact with music blogs like Hypebot, Digital Music News, and Ditto Music. They might answer questions you didn’t know you had, or they could simply point you on to the next link.

Have you been featured? If so, where, and how did you make this happen?

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Know Your Niche

Know Your Niche To Get The Right Gigs

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

We know that, as an artists, you are always trying to stand out and avoid being generalized. However, defining yourself and looking at how others perceive you—in other words, knowing your niche—is in your best interest.

Look Within

What is your preferred style of music? Where do you think your sound fits in? Who would you compare yourself to? What is the best sound for your performances or live recordings?

If you’re a solo artist, this is a journey you need to take on your own. If you’re a member of a band (and want to keep things that way), uncovering your niche has got to be a group effort.

Listen to Others

Once you have an outline of who you think you are, ask those you trust for their opinion. Even if you don’t see it from the get-go, as a performer you need to be open to the ways in which others perceive you. What do others think of your music? Which musicians do others most readily identify your music as being similar to? How accurate is your own view of your musical style compared to theirs? If there is a discrepancy, what changes do you need to make?

Put it to Action

Knowing your niche is a powerful tool that can help you book gigs, market your band, and reach more fans. For marketing and building a fan base, you know now how to accurately describe yourself to record stores, record labels, and potential fans. Use this knowledge to your advantage.

In terms of gigs, evaluate which venues and audiences are best suited to your niche. Does it make sense for a club DJ to play venues better suited to an acoustic duo? Or a barbershop quartet to be drowned out at a battle of the bands? Maybe you have been playing half-empty venues when you would do better to focus on more-intimate, smaller settings. Ask yourself these questions: Where is your music most readily felt? Where is your target audience? What venues allow you to connect with your audience and appropriately showcase your talent?

If you’re rehearsing or booking gigs or wanting to record and haven’t yet figured out your niche, stop what you’re doing (we mean it) and figure this out. It will be worth it in the long run. If you’ve already done this, great job! We’d love to hear what you discovered.

Have you discovered your niche yet? Has identifying your niche helped or hindered your music career?

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