Category: Music Promotions

How to Take Great Band Photos in 5 Steps

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

It was a freezing cold day. Sometimes Texas in November is kind, and you’ll get a beautiful 65 degrees with not a cloud in the sky! But this was not one of those days. It was overcast, drizzling off and on, and was easily in the low-30s.

But this was the day that we had booked the photographer, so out into the cold I ventured to take the promotional shots for my next album.

Getting in front of a photographer is a part of being a musician that I don’t really enjoy. I’m definitely not a model. I get self conscious, start to clam up, I worry the entire time how the pictures are going to turn out, and I spend half the shoot wondering if my hair looks super weird.

This time though, I promised myself I wasn’t going to worry. I was going to be prepared, and do some concrete things to make sure the photos turned out great. And they did!

I know that many musicians also struggle with taking great photos, so I’ve put together the tips that got me through my last photo shoot so that you can also take some amazing band photos.

Step 1 – Be Prepared

The best thing you can do to get great photos is know what you want. Do some digging, and find photos you really like. These might be photos of other bands, landscapes, album covers, or portraits.

Try to find about 10 pictures that you really love. Then try and pick out one or two things about each photo that you like. Colors, the “vibe” of the picture, the location, how people are posed in the photo, and the lighting are all things that you should look for. When you’ve defined why you like your 10 photos, you’re ready to start looking for a photographer. The photos you picked out will help you find a photographer with a style that works for your music and your brand, and will also help you to communicate what you want when you hire a photographer.

Step 2 – Choose Wisely

Photographers are artists. If you wanted to listen to thrash metal live, you probably wouldn’t go to a coffeehouse open mic. If you want photos that are a particular style, you need to find a photographer that works within that style.

I’m not saying that a photographer shouldn’t be flexible and try to get the shots that you want. But you should do your research, and find a photographer in your area whose current portfolio is similar to the look you’re going for. If all of their photos look a certain way, and you want something completely different, you should probably choose a different photographer.

When you’re communicating with a potential photographer, try sending them a link to your music. Listening to your music can help them to get a feel for what kinds of photos they will need to take, and if their style will mesh well with your band.

You also need to make sure you have permission from your photographer to use the images for commercial purposes. Remember, they own the copyright to the photos they take. Most professional photographers will have a protocol already in place for granting a commercial licenses for their photos.

When choosing a photographer, style is key. But you also have to look at price. Different Photographer price things differently, so chances are you’ll be able to find something in your price range. If you absolutely love a particular photographer’s style, but they are a little too expensive, it never hurts to shoot them an email to explain your needs and your budget. They may be able to work out a reduced rate or a shorter shoot time to accommodate you. Some photographers will also give discounts for a type of photo they don’t usually shoot. If a family photographer really wants to start shooting bands and live shows, they may offer a lower rate for the experience.

If you have practically no budget for photography, a good place to look is local art schools, colleges, and universities. If they have a graphic design or photography program, chances are their students are looking for models. A lower level student might shoot you for free, and an upper level student may have rates far below an established photographer because they need to build their portfolio.

Step 3 – Be Prepared…Again

Now that you know the style you’re after, and who you’ll be working with, begin to plan the actual photo shoot. Talk to your photographer about scouting locations for your photos. They might have some locations where  they love to shoot, or you may discover the perfect location yourself. Be open to ideas from your photographer, and from your bandmates.

Once you’ve decided on a location (or two!) you need to decide what you’re going to wear, and if you need hair and makeup help. Remember, you are paying someone good money to record what you look like at a specific moment in time. Don’t waste that money by not taking a few minutes to focus on how you look. A good idea for your appearance is to take cues from what you would normally wear on stage. If you are a grunge band that only wears cut-offs and tank tops to perform in, don’t go to your photo shoot wearing a formal tuxedo (unless perhaps the name of the album you’re taking promo pictures for is “Irony”).

If you didn’t have a face to face meeting when you hired your photographer, make sure to have one before the day of the shoot. If you’re shooting with your full band, maybe invite the photographer to your next practice. That way they can meet everyone who will be in the pictures. Your pictures will come out better if everyone is comfortable around each other, and meeting face to face can help eliminate some of the initial awkwardness.

Step 4 – Create a Shot List

Musicians have very specific needs for photos, and if your photographer isn’t used to shooting bands, they may not be familiar with them. Do you feature individual bios of your band members on your website? Then you should probably take close up individual shots of everyone in your band.

You may also need several shots that are pulled very far back from the band. You can use these for posters, or online graphics that you’ll need to put text over. This way, the text is more readable, and you’re not covering up the faces of your members with the time of your next show. You may even need a few shots of only the background, especially if you’re shooting outdoors. These can be used for the inside of your album packaging, an album cover, or for promos and graphics. These are the types of shots that a photographer unaccustomed to shooting bands may not realize they need to get, but are vital for musicians.

Step 5-Relax

You look great I promise. The more relaxed you are, the better the photos will turn out. And let’s be real. Most photographers will take somewhere around 500-1000 pictures in one shoot. And you are probably only going to use 10 of those pictures. There’s no pressure to make every shot look fantastic. Be yourself, and don’t freak out.

This doesn’t mean don’t be aware. You need to make sure the shots on your must-take list are getting done, and you probably don’t want your drummer goofing off in every shot.  But being aware doesn’t mean you have to be stressed. Relax, have fun, and good pictures will follow.

What do you do to prepare for a photoshoot? Have any great tips on taking the best promo picture ever? Let us know in the comments!


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How To License Your Music for Film and TV

How to License Your Music for Film and TV—Four Tips to Improve Your Odds

By Cliff Goldmacher - Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Written by: Cliff Goldmacher

I’ve been lucky enough to have song placements in both films and television shows, and I’m deeply grateful for those opportunities. While I can safely say there is no magic potion to guarantee a placement, there are certain things that you, as a songwriter, can do to improve your odds. A few of my best tips are below:

Make Sure Your Song Is Professionally Performed and Recorded

This may sound obvious, but—when you’re pitching to film and TV—there is absolutely no room for a poorly sung, poorly performed, or poorly recorded version of your song. Why? You only have one chance to make a first impression.

Put yourself in the position of the music supervisor or studio executive who is listening to hundreds of songs for a project. If the recording sounds like it was done by amateurs, or if the voice makes you lunge for the mouse or volume control, you’re ready to move on to the next song… regardless of whether or not you’ve heard the melody or lyrics, and regardless of how wonderful the song may be.

In the end, you don’t want a poor recording or performance to bias the listener against your fantastic song before they have a chance to actually listen to it. This means that, if you want someone to give you money for your song, you might need to invest some money to present it in the best possible light.

Do Your Homework

Randomly submitting songs in hopes of landing a placement doesn’t make much sense, and it’s a waste of your and the recipient’s time and energy. Pitching for opportunities that you aren’t a good fit for is not a sign of a professional, and doing so frequently can damage your reputation. By doing a little homework before submitting your song, you can avoid this waste and preserve your reputation.

You need to find out which music supervisors are looking for music and which projects they need music looking for. Good places to start are industry pitch sheets and industry magazines, which often contain information on upcoming projects and who is looking for what. Once you know what the projects and who the contacts are, find out all you can about exactly what the contacts are looking for. Make sure your song fits those criteria.

Make Sure You Have Complete Ownership of the Recording

In order to give permission to a film or TV show to use your music, you will need to own your recording. Don’t let your pitch plans be derailed (or even delayed) down the line by musicians who won’t allow you to use their recorded performance, or by studios who stake a claim in your master recording.

You can avoid this by obtaining the necessary releases up front from all session musicians and singers involved in the project and by making sure that the studio where you record gives you full ownership of the master recording.

Having your songs “free and clear” for use also tells music supervisors that you’re a professional who knows what to do and who values their limited time. That’s a good impression to make.

Be Known For A Style of Music

While it’s good to be able to write in a variety of styles, you and your music will be easier to remember if you become known for specializing in a particular style, especially if you’re known for doing it well. Since music supervisors are often asked to gather songs by style, being known as a “go-to” person in a style increases your odds of being remembered when the time comes.

When it comes to placing songs in film and TV, being a great songwriter is often not enough. You need to be a savvy businessperson who is willing to take care of the unromantic day-in, day-out details of a career in music. You need to do the work, including the above steps.

That being said, there is no greater thrill than turning on your TV or going to a theater and hearing one of your songs playing. Somehow, it makes all your effort worthwhile.




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Why YouTube Is Important, Even If It Won't Make You Famous

Why YouTube Is Important, Even If It Won’t Make You Famous

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

First thing’s first: YouTube will not make you famous.

(Don’t misunderstand us. It also doesn’t mean that you can ignore YouTube. It’s an important tool and platform that musicians should be aware of and using. We’ll explain.)

There are exceptions, those few performers who gain international fame because the right person saw their YouTube video, or those individuals who—as a result of their extreme and innate wit, talent, and ingenuity—have gained millions of subscribers and even more video views. We don’t deny that YouTube can make you famous… we just argue that, odds are, it won’t. Here’s why:

YouTube Is Not For Being Discovered

After signing in to your YouTube account, the home page shows videos of other users. The list of popular videos on YouTube are videos that already have millions of views. The list of recommended videos are based on videos you have watched previously. Unless your video has hundreds of thousands of views or is similar to something users have watched previously, it probably won’t show up on other users’ home pages.

Let’s assume that the user wants to find something new, so they click on “Browse channels”. The page shows 14 featured channels, 111 paid channels, and hundreds of channels that fall into categories like Music, Comedy, Film & Entertainment, Gaming, and so on. These categorized listings of channels, while extensive, only scratch the surface of what is available on YouTube. Users can enter a search term, but that will pull up thousands/hundreds/dozens of videos that fit that criteria. Even a specific search term (such as “fort worth folk blues”) brings up thousands (11,319) of channels in the search results.

Looking at the statistics provided by YouTube doesn’t paint a more-encouraging picture. Yes, the market of potential viewers is huge, with more than one billion unique users and more than six billion hours of video watched each month. However, 100 hours of video are uploaded every minute. That’s a lot of other videos for users to wade through to stumble upon yours.

When taken all together, this means it’s pretty unlikely that YouTube will help you be discovered.

You Should Be On YouTube Anyway

YouTube may not be good for gaining random fans, but it does have its uses. When used properly, YouTube is a great way to:

  • strengthen connections with your target audiences
  • learn more about your audiences
  • make a little more money off your craft

These might sound like small things, but they can have a huge impact on your career as a musician. We’ll elaborate on each below.

Using Video to Connect with Your Target Audiences

As a musician, you might think audio should be your focus. In terms of marketing your music, though, it’s widely acknowledged that video is increasingly becoming an essential element of successful marketing strategies. Video allows you to send a message and connect with viewers in a way that text, graphics, or audio alone can’t.

If you’re going to add video, you need to know what your options are. You don’t need to spend millions on a national television ad campaign, but you probably should add a video player to your band’s website or share videos on your various social media accounts. Instagram and Facebook have added built-in video-sharing functions (15-seconds/unlimited time, respectively), and applications like Vine focus on creating video and sharing it (either with your followers on Vine itself or on other social media accounts like Twitter or Facebook). Websites like Vimeo seem to compete directly with YouTube, although their user count is much smaller. Obviously, YouTube isn’t the only method of mixing video into your marketing strategy. However, its size and market dominance make it worth seriously considering. Additionally, it’s simple for you to share your YouTube videos on your other social media platforms.

If you’re marketing your band, you need to know who your audience is. As an independent musician, your main audiences are your existing fans (your first audience) and their connections (your second audience). With your existing fans, you want to use video to connect deeper and strengthen their loyalty to your band. Behind-the-scenes videos can make fans feel like they’re on tour or in the studio with you. Music videos let you visually tell the story behind your song’s lyrics. Announcing band news via video is the next best option to announcing it in person. All of these video uses help strengthen your fan’s connection to your band. The more committed that your fans are to you, the more likely they are to share you with those around them. In terms of your second audience, they are likely unfamiliar with your work and who you are, but they trust the opinion and recommendations of your first audience. You want to hook them, so your videos need to grab their attention and leave them wanting more of you.

Why is YouTube important in reaching your audiences? Well, remember those one billion unique monthly users? Some of them are your fans. They are already on YouTube, watching other videos. Putting your videos where they already are just makes sense. Additionally, YouTube makes it extremely easy for your fans to share your videos, either with their connections on YouTube or with their friends on other social media sites. Below every video is a “Share” tab, with links to the top ten social media platforms as well as the option to embed the video or email it to someone.

Using YouTube to Analyze Your Work and Audience

YouTube provides you with loads of information (perhaps more than any other social media platform) about your content and fans. You can see how your channels are doing by looking at the number of subscribers, the number of views, and the total time spent watching videos from that channel. You can also monitor an individual video’s number of views, amount of time watched, likes, dislikes, shares, comments, and favorites. For shared videos, you can see how often it has been shared as well as where.

In terms of fan data, YouTube provides information on the age range, gender, and general location of viewers. It also allows you to track your subscribers, helping you understand what gains fans and what loses them. You can break this down further and compare overall viewers to your subscribers. YouTube tells you where your videos are played (on the video’s page, on your channel, on other websites, etc). It also lets you see where your traffic comes from and compare organic traffic versus paid traffic.

This data about who your audience is, how they’re getting to your videos, what they’re doing with your content, and which content is most successful is extremely valuable for marketing purposes. To access this information, simply log in, click the down arrow (at the top of the page next to “Upload”), then select “Analytics”.

Getting More Out of Your YouTube Videos

YouTube gives you a way to learn more about your audience and share content with them; both features are great. With the YouTube Partners program, though, it also gives you ways to make money from that content (as long as your account is in good standing and has not been previously disabled for monetization).

First, you can monetize your videos by allowing ads on your content. When you upload the video, you’ll be able to select the ad format you want on your video. You can also go back and monetize already-uploaded videos. The video will then be reviewed (especially looking at the content and copyrights) before any ads are approved. Note: you must either own all the content yourself (you created it and have retained the rights to it) or have expressed, written permission by the rights holder to use the content; this applies to the video itself as well as the music you’re performing in the video. (Visit here for more information.) Also note that you are currently unable to add ads to private videos. To get paid, you will have to link your YouTube account to an AdSense account and then reach the set payment threshold (in the US, that’s $100).  Your profit will depend on the type of ad, the  price paid by the advertiser, and the number of views the ad gets.

Another method of making money is by profiting off of others’ use of your content. YouTube allows users to protect their copyright claims on their material (the video itself, the audio of the video, and the lyrics/melody are all addressed separately) through its Content ID program. When you join this program, you verify that you hold all the exclusive rights to your submitted content. YouTube then scans all videos (past, present, and any going forward) to see if your copyrighted material is used. If results are found, you have the option to block the video (either entirely or just the audio, and with different geographic options), track the video’s statistics, or monetize the video. If you monetize another user’s video because it has your content, the profit from the ads will go to you instead of that user.  Not every user will qualify for YouTube’s Content ID program, and it won’t work on instances of allowed use (i.e., you can’t monetize a video of a cover of your song if you authorized the cover). However, it’s worth looking into, especially if you know other users have been using your content or want to prevent others from doing so.

So, What Should You Do?

It’s hard to deny or ignore the impact YouTube has had on the internet and on the music scene, and it’s unlikely that YouTube will be going anywhere (but up) anytime soon. While YouTube won’t likely lead to your big break or help you gain a million random followers, it is still a useful tool for marketing your music, connecting with your fans, and adding to your income as a musician. Your best bet is to learn how to use it effectively… and then do so.

Do you use YouTube, and are you a consumer of content or a creator of content? How have you incorporated YouTube in your band’s marketing and social media strategies? Have you monetized your account?




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Creating and Using Your Band’s Facebook Page

Creating and Using Your Band’s Facebook Page

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

While the social media landscape is constantly shifting, Facebook has consistently dominated the scene in recent history. Using this social media platform correctly can significantly impact your band’s marketing strategy and the size of your fan base. Part of that correct usage is creating a distinct, branded Facebook page for your band.

Why Does My Band Need a Page?

Creating a distinct, branded Facebook page has several benefits. First, it gives your fans (many of whom are already on Facebook) easy access to band details, your website, uploaded videos and songs, upcoming events, your pictures, and up-to-date information. It’s also a great way to reach new fans, as interactions with existing ones often shows up in other fans’ news feeds.

Second, Facebook lets you track the usefulness of your page, which you can’t do with a standard profile.

Third, it keeps your personal profile just that: personal. As your band grows, your fans will consist of more than your family and close friends. As much as you love your fans, you might not want them to have access to every detail of your personal profile. Having an existing page gives these fans a way to keep in touch with the band while maintaining your personal privacy.

Creating Your Band’s Facebook Page

Go to Facebook’s “Create Pages” screen. Select the “Artist, Band or Public Figure” option. In the drop down menu, scroll down to “Musician/Band,” then enter the name of your group. Read and agree to the Terms and click “Get Started.”

At this point, if you were logged out of Facebook, you’ll be asked to enter your email address and password. Sign in to your account; this will set your personal profile as an admin of the group page (you can add other admin later). Note: if you don’t want to sign in to your account, you can create a profile for the band, set the entire profile to the most private settings, then fill in the public page’s info. Once you’ve signed in, fill in the blank fields. You’ll have the chance to enter a description for the band, the band’s website, verify the admin rights, upload pictures, and advertise (optional).

Now that the basic page details are set, go ahead and fill in more information. Add additional pictures and set a cover photo. “Update Page Info” will allow you to add more information about the band (genre, members, hometown, record label, influences, etc), control the security settings of the page, and set the admins (maybe each of the band members and your band’s manager, if you have one) of the page. The “More” option at the top lets you link to your music catalog. When your page is branded and ready for public viewing, write a welcome post and start sending invitations to friends.

Using Your Band’s Facebook Page

Of course, you’ll use your band’s Facebook page to keep fans informed of upcoming gigs, tours, and releases and to share press reviews, photographs, and videos of the band. But you’ll also want to track the page’s effectiveness.

When you are logged in and viewing your page, the Admin Panel at the top of the page will provide insight into your page’s activity. It shows notifications (such as likes of, comments on, or shares of your posts), recent likes of your page (by people or other pages, as well as subscribers), messages to your page, a list of friends to invite to like the page, and tips for building your audience.

The Page Insights tool (accessible through the “Insights” button at the very top of the page) is like Google Analytics but just for your Facebook page. You can see the history of your page’s likes (as well as the source of your likes), the reach of your posts, the engagement levels on your page, the number of visits to your page, external referrers (as well as the source), the traffic levels on your page throughout the day, and the demographic breakdown of your fans.

If you find yourself needing to reach more people, you can pay Facebook to increase your exposure. You can do this either by boosting a post, which promotes that individual post’s visibility, or by promoting the page itself with an ad campaign. The campaign allows you to target Facebook users by geographic area, interests, and demographic details; you can also set the budget and time frame of the campaign. If you choose to do paid advertising, you can break down your reach results on the Page Insights, comparing organic traffic to the paid (ad) traffic.

Obviously, using Facebook to promote your band is a little more complicated than simply writing a post. However, with a little practice, you can turn it into a powerful marketing tool for your band.

Does your band have a Facebook page? Has it helped increase your fan base and market your band? What advice do you have for those creating their band’s page? What have you done to maximize your page’s effectiveness? What is your favorite (or least favorite) feature?




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Music Promoters: Use One or Do It Yourself?

Music Promoters: Use One or Do It Yourself?

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

When it comes to the question of how to promote your gig or music, there is a pretty rigidly, almost exclusive split between those who swear by using promoters and those who prefer to DIY. Where do you fall on the issue?

What Do Promoters Do?

In short, music promoters build the hype around gigs and events. They either contract with the venues (promoting their events), or they work independently.

Using a Promoter

Odds are good that you want more people to come to your shows, and you want more money from your gigs. Good promoters can help with those goals. They use their existing and extensive industry contacts to draw crowds to your band’s appearances; bigger crowds mean bigger payouts. Music promoters can also get you on the radar of the right people. If a promoter worked with you before, they might recommend you to other club owners looking to fill their schedules. Having someone outside the band promote the gigs leaves you free to focus on the music. What could be bad about that?

Well, you do have to pay the promoter. So, that’s a bit less money for you.

DIY Music Promotions

Depending on the venue, you might have to use their promoter. But, for argument’s sake, let’s say you don’t have to and don’t want to. Whether you’re blessed with a knack for marketing and promotions or are wrapped up in the magical fairytale about the exhausted, busking musician who gets his big break on the very last leg of a very exhausting tour (isn’t that a nice thought?), you’ve decided that you can handle your own promotions. That’s fine. Really, it is.

But, if you want results, you’ll have to work hard. Make your own connections; get to know those in your local music scene on a first name (both ways) basis. Go to the bars and venues where you want to play; meet the managers, owners, and bartenders. Let them know you’re serious about your band, and leave a press kit or demo with them. Build friendships and alliances with other bands, so when they see an open slot at their gigs they call you first. When you have a gig, tell everyone. Post it on your website and your social media accounts, put up posters around town, call your friends and their friends. Be aware that the time you invest in promoting might impact your music or your personal life.

Promoter or not, at the end of the day, you need to be your biggest mouthpiece. Choosing to go without a promoter just makes it even more important.

Have you worked with promoters before? Were they chosen by the venue, or by the event, or by you? Did you also promote the gig? How did the experience go for you?

See also: 4 Cost-Free Ways to Promote Your Music




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Music and Social Media: LinkedIn

Music and Social Media: LinkedIn

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Unlike other social media platforms, LinkedIn is not aimed at helping fans find you or you communicate with the masses. Instead, its purpose is to facilitate networking within industries. On a personal account, this means adding business connections instead of friends and family. For your band, it means focusing on your peers and others in the music industry, not your fans. Here are a few tips for maximizing what LinkedIn has to offer:

Connect With The Right People  

Again, LinkedIn is not like other social sites. Focus on the quality (not quantity) of your connections; connect with those that can actually benefit you, either by example, advice, or working together. Music managers, media personnel, marketers, and other musicians are contacts that will help you advance your career. 

Be Professional  

It’s accepted (if not expected) that you have fun with your band’s Instagram or MySpace page; however, your LinkedIn profile should be polished and professional. Keep your page free of clutter and ill-conceived ramblings; focus on making the best impression possible. Make sure any links you share will send users to relevant, attractive, information-packed sites.  

Optimize Your Page For Searches  

Aside from direct connections, keywords are the best way to generate new traffic to your profile. Think of words that promoters and record labels are likely to search for; this includes your band’s genre, location, and your music’s subject matter.  

Use Your Resources  

You are not alone. Hundreds of bands and promoters use LinkedIn every day, discussing various aspects of the industry. If you have questions, use your connections as resources. Start by joining groups related to your band or interest (Independent Artists and Musicians, or Music Promoters of America). If you have something to contribute, comment on existing discussions; or, if you don’t see an existing thread with your topic, start a new discussion.  

DON’T Spam! 

We’ve said it before, but it’s even more important on LinkedIn. Spamming on other sites might cost you a few fans; on LinkedIn, spamming equals banning. Keep comments and updates professional and relevant, and save the spam for the grocery store.

Having a lot of fans is an important part of any band’s success, but it’s certainly not the only part. If you want to take your band to the next level—a professional level—then you need to treat it like the business that it is. Use LinkedIn to connect your band to right resources to make that happen.

Is your band on LinkedIn? How have you used it to help advance your music career?

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




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Press Kits & Your Band

Press Kits and Your Band

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

As a band, music marketing and the right supplies are something you need to think about. If you meet someone at a bar, show, or around town, do you have an eye-catching, informative business card with you? If not, you just missed an opportunity. Having the right marketing materials can make or break you.

In the past, press kits have been an essential marketing material for musicians. However, in a changing music industry, you might wonder if they still necessary. The answer: absolutely!

The Role of Press Kits

Press kits were sent to record labels, music reviewers, clubs, and managers as a way of familiarizing the recipient with the band. They included a press release with current news about your band (new releases, tour, studio) as well as a band bio. A single, full album, or demo and band photo(s) are also often part of the package. Because a press kit may be your band’s first and only chance to make an impression, have a polished, professional, and interesting press kit ready to go.

Digital Press Kits

As technology has advanced, an electronic or digital press kit has emerged as a greener, more state-of-the-art alternative to the traditional physical version, containing the same or more content but in digital format. They allow the recipient to quickly click a few links, preview your music, read your bio, and make a decision. If you want to create an electronic press kit for your band, websites like SonicBids and ReverbNation can help. If creating your own, be sure to include links to your band’s music, website, and social media accounts and text with your band’s latest press release.

Physical vs. Digital

Some artist reps, media outlets, blogs, magazines, record companies, and booking agencies will only take a physical press kit, while others will only take a digital press kit. For now, your best bet as a band is to have both types ready and available.

Submitting Your Press Kit

There is a good chance that most places you would submit to have their submission guidelines available online. If you can’t find their submission policies online, give them a call or send a friendly email. The point is, be sure to follow their guidelines and send them exactly what they want in the format(s) they want. There is no faster way to earn a negative review or annoy someone you want to impress than to ignore their submission requirements.

Have you created a press kit for you band or act? Did you go with a physical press kit, an electronic press kit, or both? How do you use it the most?

See also: ReverbNation and Your Music: Streaming and More




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Music and Social Media: Instagram

Music and Social Media: Instagram

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
Unlike more-generalized social media platforms, Instagram specializes in something: sharing photographs. In fact, that was all you could use the virtual photo album for until last year, when they began allowing short video clips. Regardless of its specialization, Instagram is a wonderful way to connect with your fans on a personal level.

To get the most out of Instagram for your band, here are a few tips:

Get creative

With its various photo filters and many challenge groups, Instagram was the first major social media platform to encourage users to play with their photographs. Feel free to explore their filters (or use one of hundreds of photo-editing apps) and participate in challenges; get creative with your shots, trying new angles or styles. You can even share a short video clip of your most recent gig or slideshow of images from a trip or event. Bonus: the video or slideshow should feature your band’s music.

Act Naturally 

Save your staged photos for album cover art. Instead, post photos your fans can relate to, photos of you and your bandmates doing ordinary things. Whether it’s a snapshot of a massive burrito from an all night diner while on the road or a behind-the-scenes look at band practice, your fans will love you a whole lot more if you can show them just how “normal” you really are.

Add Captions  

They say that “a picture speaks a thousand words”, but a caption can summarize it beautifully. Make sure to add captions to your photos to help your fans know what they are seeing. 

Use hashtags  

Hashtags are key to helping random users discover your account. Just add the hashtags to the caption of your photo using the number sign (#) and a searchable keyword description of the image without spaces (#houseparty, #livemusic, or #thekickstour2014, for some example). Do follow Instagram etiquette, though; make sure your hashtags are relevant to your picture.

Get help 

Unless you’ve got your own personal photographer, chances are you won’t have time to be shooting all of your photos by yourselves. Ask your fans to take pictures of your band at gigs or take pictures of themselves hanging out, listening to, or imitating your band. Have them upload their photos on their own Instagram accounts and tag you to get more traffic your way. If their pic is phenomenal, you might consider reposting it; be sure to give them credit, though. Also, be sure to tag other users (bands you’re performing with, venues you’re at, or fans you’ve met) if they’re in your pictures.

Sync your accounts

With Instagram, posting photos directly to your other social media platforms is easy. As a word of caution: be sure to check your default settings and the active account (if you have a personal account and a band account) prior to posting to keep from sending a picture to the wrong crowd.

In the end, Instagram delivers what your fans want. Sure, they like your music, but they want to feel like they know you. Why not hand them a photo album to thumb through?

Have you used Instagram? Was it a personal account or one for your band? Did it affect the size or quality of your fan base?

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




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Music and Social Media: Google+

Music and Social Media: Google+

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Google+ has been designed to follow the framework of many other social media sites such as Facebook and MySpace, but it can do so much more. Like other sites, you can create your own profile page, post comments and promotions in news feed, and add contacts. However, Google+ allows you to sort those contacts into certain groups (called circles) and then control the content that each group sees.

With the right tools, you can create a Google+ band page that will get you noticed by the right people. Follow these tips to get the most out of Google+.

Use Your Circles Wisely

On Google+, you can customize your list of connections into as many groupings as you’d like; for bands, you’ll probably want to group contacts into circles like venues, fans, other bands, and music industry connections.

Hang Out With Your Audience

Google+ doesn’t limit you to simply posting thoughts or links to videos and articles. Instead, it works to break down the challenges presented by physical proximity. Using its Hangout feature, your band can perform for or interact with fans anywhere, collaborate with other bands around the world, or meet with industry professionals across the country. To fully explore this feature, visit the Hangout tab in the top right corner of your Google+ account window.

Get The Word Out

To reap the full benefits of Hangouts, don’t count on your circles being online when you happen to need them. Promote the Hangout ahead of time, both to your Google+ contacts and to fans and contacts from other social media platforms.

Offer Something Besides Self-Promotion

If you’re a musician, your fans assume that you’re creative and have something to say. Why not write some of those brilliant thoughts down and share them with fans? Providing regular, insightful glimpses into your band member’s lives, thoughts, and feelings can be a sure way to keep fans coming back. Besides, if all you ever share is shameless self-promoting content, your fans will tire of you.

Make a Guest Appearance

Use Google+ for networking and increasing your fan base. Find other bands you respect and trade guest posts on each others’ pages. This tit-for-tat is a great way to help new fans find you.

Google+ may be the new kid on the block, but it has the potential to become one of the most popular, too. If you use these ideas to promote your Google+ band page, you’ll see why.

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




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Music and Social Media: YouTube

Music and Social Media: YouTube

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Many artists count on gigs to grow their fan base; while gigging is important, it has its limits. For example, when you’re based out of Kansas with a broken-down van, it can be hard to get gigs much farther afield than your local pub. And, while playing at the same place every Friday night might have earned you a small dedicated group of fans, it’s not the best way to expand your fan base. If that’s your situation, how do you branch out?

This is where platforms like YouTube come in. YouTube allows users to create profiles, upload and share videos, establish channels, search other users’ videos, and subscribe to others’ channels. It’s an incredibly popular site, with over four billion views on YouTube each day. YouTube also happens to be one of the most popular search engines for music on the internet today, second only to Google. 

You could think of YouTube as the ultimate gig, unencumbered by time of day or geographic location or venue capacity. This means that, without fixing up your van, you aren’t limited to small-town Kansas or the local pub. It also means that you can make music on your schedule, and fans can watch it on theirs. Unlike other social platforms, your fans aren’t limited to reading about your gig or catching a few pictures online; instead, they can watch your performance, making it almost as if they were there themselves.

If you’re ready to sign up, great! Of course, like any other social media site, there are a few tricks to getting the most out of your YouTube channel. Here are some tips to get you started:  

Customize Your Channel

Like MySpace, YouTube allows you to customize your channel to match your band’s personality and brand. Name your channel after your band, then add your own banners, color schemes, and photos. You can also make a playlist of your band’s best videos to feature on your page. 

Improve Your Odds

Remember: YouTube is a search engine, not just a social network. This is important to keep in mind when creating your profile and channels and uploading your video. One way to work with this is Search Engine Optimization, a marketing tactic that encourages search engines to find you. Use this to your advantage, stressing your band name, genres, song titles, and locations. Add searchable tags to the tag box and geo-target using the “targeting” section of your account page.

Check Your Statistics

YouTube is a wealth of information for your band. Not only can you see the number of views, likes, dislikes, comments, and shares on your videos, but you can see the demographics of your audience and other things they like. This information lets you cater to them more accurately (if you wish to do so).

Share Videos

Use YouTube as a base for your videos. Link back to your videos and your band’s YouTube page from your website or on other social media platforms to help fans find and share your music.

Monetize Your Videos

As any struggling artist knows, making music and paying bills don’t always go together. But with YouTube’s Partner Program, you can earn extra cash just by letting them post ads on your video pages. Though you can’t specifically choose the advertisements that will appear on your band page, you can influence the type of ads used by using effective tagging and descriptive terms.

YouTube provides musicians an incredible opportunity to expand their reach and connect with fans, and it provides more data on those fans than most social networks. like There really is no reason not to create a band page on YouTube. Better still, tie it in with your other social media profiles to maximize its usefulness.

Do you share your music videos on YouTube? Have you found any drawbacks to using the site, or has it only helped increase your fan base? What’s your top-viewed video, and why is that particular video so popular?

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




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