Okay, so you have a band. Awesome! That’s the easy part. Now you want to get people to come see your band and buy your music. That’s a bit more difficult. Obviously you don’t have a publicist, so you’re going to be doing all of your own promotion for the time being.
And here is a good place to start. Right here! This site. But not just my blog, but all blogs. People read blogs (search me! I’m as confused by the page views I get as anyone). But people read blogs and write blogs and most importantly, click on links in blogs that take them to places where they can find (and give you money for) your music.
I get a lot of e-mails from people who want me to listen and write about their music. And I LOVE that, because if there’s good music, people should hear it! But when I say I get a lot of e-mails, I mean a lot. Tons. And even though a lot of it is good, sometimes the artists make it nearly impossible for me to actually do anything about it. So here I am, giving you a guide on how to promote your independent music to the independent media. Also, I totally have a degree in this shit so I know (in theory) what I’m talking about.
Part 1 — Know the Blog (or media outlet you want to be in)
I live in Shanghai and I write about music that is either related to Shanghai in some way, or that I really, really like (sometimes/hopefully both). That is the criteria for getting on my site. Anyone can pretty much tell this from the most cursory glance at my blog.
But all the time I get e-mails from DJs in Spain wanting me to hype their music in some way, for no reason other than they Googled “music” and “media” and got me. If they had read any part of my blog, they would have seen that I rarely cover electronic music, and when I do, it’s really only stuff in Shanghai. So are you a Spanish DJ who will be in Shanghai soon? Then yes, send me your stuff! Are you a Spanish DJ who wants me to hype your upcoming show in Ibiza? Then no. Get lost, DJ!
There are thousands of blogs out there about music. Seek out the specific media outlet your potential listening audience reads, and contact those people. This means not only media outlets that cover the kind of music you make, but more importantly, blogs and media outlets based in your area. You’re not going to get into Pitchfork or Rolling Stone, at least not yet. So start small, local and specific to build your media clippings and audience.
Yes, it takes time, and yes, it takes research. But it pays off.
You might think it’s easier just to blanket every blogger you come across with your generic e-mail promo and by law of averages you’re going to get more people to write about you. No, you’re not. Stop doing that. More on that later.