Starting a band is fairly easy. Get together your most talented friends, bang out some songs, book a few gigs. But where do you go from there? Getting your band noticed can be one of the most difficult parts of making it, so we thought we’d shed some light on a few quick tips for getting your name out there.
Learn to social media.
There’s no better way to expand your reach than by sharing your band with the internet. Getting involved in social media can do a number of things for you: it gives your band a voice and an identity, it connects you to fans and potential fans around the world, and it raises awareness of your existence. It’s also a great way to create hype about upcoming shows, tracks and albums, news, etc. Twitter and Bandcamp should be your first stops. Twitter is fantastic for micro-communication and engaging in a community. Bandcamp is perfect for fans to listen to and buy your music.
Make a YouTube channel.
This ties right in with expanding your reach. People love visuals and videos are among the most important and useful media we have today. Use this to your advantage. Whenever possible, record your band practices, record your shows, record your song- and music-writing processes; post them and share them on the social media you’re now using. These give your fans a unique glimpse behind the scene and give them visuals to share with their friends. Another great way to attract attention is by covering songs you love on YouTube. Not only can you piggy-back off the popularity of the song, you also show your range and
Get your swag on.
We know shirts and buttons and badges (oh my!) can be expensive, but if you can afford it, merch is a great way to market your band. Not only will you ideally be able to turn a bit of a profit from selling your swag, you’ll be able to create an identity. Start with a logo and print it on posters, koozies, buttons, stickers, whatever you can and hand them out at shows, post them up at coffee shops and around town, stick them on your car, stick them on your friends’ cars, and sell them at your shows.
Post some free downloads.
People love free stuff and they especially love free music. With SoundCloud, you can offer tracks for free and limit the number of free downloads if you’d like. This is a great way to build hype around an upcoming album or let people know you’re working on new material. You can also bring back your old tracks and create a sense of nostalgia for fans. Check out NoiseTrade and post your music there if you can. NoiseTrade has a huge community and lets you post your music in a pay-what-you-want format which allows fans to get your music for free and have the option to donate if they wish.
Get involved in your community.
Play with similar bands, post about them on your social media, congratulate them on good news. But don’t make it all about music. Also talk about local and national news and happenings, jump on social bandwagons, and chat with your fans. Talking about your community positions you as an opinion leader and cultivates your presence in the scene which will ultimately make people more like to check out your stuff. This also helps you create alliances with fellow musicians, managers, venues, fans, etc, which can be useful down the road.
Don’t wait to get noticed.
Do whatever you can to attract attention. Show your human side and chat casually with your audiences at your shows. Try out a unique editing trick in your tracks and videos. Build hype around music using social media. Send your press packages (or even just a demo CD) to every label and music-reviewer you can think of. If you can, join a performing rights organization (PRO) like ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC (here’s a great article detailing the differences between them) so you can license your music and become searchable in a professional engine.