Welcome to Method Promotion's blog. A place where we share music promotion methods, and industry news, to help you get your tunes heard.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Those Who Can, Do. Those Who Can and Want People to Pay Some Effing Attention, Teach.

Today I'm covering a Method of Promotion that I would consider 'Outside the Box'. I've talked before about how Youtube can be such a powerful tool when it comes to promoting your music, and by and large this is assumed to mean performances and music videos. But that really isn't all that Youtube is good for...

If you've got the skills to pay the proverbial bills, it's a very good idea to offer a helping hand to musicians who may be looking to pick up some of the knowledge you've already attained. Magazines such as Computer Music are famous for getting artists to record tutorial videos, which drive traffic from Youtube. Rusko's Dubstep tutorial is one of my favourites (he's just such a likable dude), and as you can see the numerous links posted to this video and searches for "Dubstep tutorial" have taken this video to approaching 150,000 views. Can't argue with that.

"But I can't make Dubstep!". Well that's okay. The chances are if you've made music and you're looking to promote it, you have some skills in the world of music (If not, maybe try showcasing them anyway and it could turn into a comedy sensation). If your skills are in production, great, show people how to program a beat, or good EQ settings for guitars, anything you think people might search Youtube, or indeed Google for. If your skills lay in playing music, that's fine too, offer tutorials in how to play a popular song on piano, guitar, bass, or even drums. Be confident in your ability, and willing to throw it on out there for people's benefit.

There are three main reasons for offering tutorial style videos on Youtube. The first, quite obviously, is the ability to include links. Link in your description and it will drive traffic to wherever you want, Myspace, your own website, even Twitter. Another reason is simply getting your name out there, make sure you let everyone know who you are, and if they hear your name again they're more likely to start paying attention to your tunes. Thirdly, Youtube now offers financial incentives to those with accounts, and if you have enough followers you can apply for the right to earn money from the videos you chuck online, and every bit of cash you can make from music helps, as I'm sure you already know.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Recommended Reading: Factory - Mick Middles.

This won't be the last time I mention a Mick Middles book in our recommended reading section. Middles has written with, and about, such influential musicians as The Fall, Elbow and Joy Division. This book is an account of Tony Wilson's Factory Records. Label of Joy Division/New Order, and later the Happy Mondays.

Factory adopted a punk attitude, starting from a bedroom and encapsulating a generation of forward thinking music fans. Factory opened a venue, The Hacienda, which became the centre of the UK music scene, they saw New Order's 'Blue Monday' become the biggest selling single of all time, and released a string of huge albums. But all was not well within Factory, The Hacienda was a financial blow out, bands and releases were mismanaged, and Factory splurged their cash reserves away before eventually going bust.

Contracts written in blood, Singles which made a 5p loss on every sale, and amazing promotion. Factory is a story that we can learn both good and bad practice from. I suggest you do your research.

A DVD of the Factory Records story, 24 Hour Party People, was released in 2002. Steve Coogan and co present the Factory story. It's strongly recommended (may have to buy myself a second copy for when mine inevitably gets worn out).

Friday, 7 May 2010

Let Your Fans Do The Work

Yes, you heard. It's tough to gain followers in this cut-throat world of music, so we'd all be very stupid not to utilise the support we have. We ALL have support, if you don't have 20,000 followers on Twitter or Facebook, don't make the mistake of thinking nobody cares enough to help you out, even if it's friends and family, our methods will help you getting people to spread the word on your behalf.

1. Social Networking - It has to be said that spending all of your time trying to promote yourself on Facebook or Twitter is absolutely useless. Don't obsess, and please don't spam people, or bombard them with suggestions, status updates and links every minute, nobody's going to care. However, in moderation, and used constructively, social networking sites can be useful. Ask your friends, family and fans to invite their friends to a Facebook page, maybe this can be mutual, if they have something they'd like to promote, repay the favour, this helps both of you get your name out, and usually builds your reputation locally. Once you have people as fans, though, use them wisely, don't lose their interest.

2. Who do I know? - Sometimes it can be easy to overlook what your friends and families actually do, as jobs or hobbies, and how this can help you. Maybe you have a friend who works in the media, or even attends a university with a good music scene. Think it through, how can your contacts help? Ask them to pass on a demo or put up a poster somewhere useful. It will surprise you how far this could get you.

3. Merch - Get some Merchandise made! It all helps spread your name. It doesn't have to be T-Shirts. Badges, pens and posters can all be good, cheap ways of getting your band name in peoples houses and offices. Sell them for a small price at gigs, or give them away. I'm not implying that somebody will see your name on a badge and instantly buy your CD, or look you up online, but the more times they hear it, the more likely they are to pay some damn attention!

4. Demos - If you haven't already recorded demos (and recorded them WELL thankyou very much), do so, and don't think they're just for all those important people at the radio stations and record labels. Give them to your friends, give two to a friend and encourage them to recommend it to someone. Not only is it a nice gesture, especially if they're going to help you with promotion, it increases the chances that somebody is going to listen to your music. Get on it.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

How to Get Gigs

The vast majority of Musicians will at some stage want to take their tunes to an audience and play it live. It's both fun, and a brilliant way to build your fanbase. The challenge is getting your foot in the door with venues and promoters. So here's a guide to help you through this tough process.

1. Press Kits - You can find articles about press kits and press releases elsewhere on this site if you want to go into more detai. Basically, you need to provide a well labelled (both the CD and the file) demo, along with a well written biography which showcases your achievements (being played on the radio, other gigs you've played, reviews of your music). Think of it as a sort of CV or Resume, don't babble on about what you like to do at the weekend, get to the point, and try and make people pay attention. Impress them, but be truthful, and keep it relatively short, they don't want your life story!

2. Network - Networking is a point I drill home all the time, it's not always something that appeals to creative types, but talking to people and trying to figure out how they can help you will benefit you no end. Make yourself do it. You can network at gigs, or by talking to friends who are musical, or even better involved in the industry, or you can do this online. If online is the route you take, send emails, make sure they're personal and you know who you're talking to. Venues and promoters will have some sort of website or social networking page, usually with contact details, find some local gig listings and trace back who is responsible for them, you're a few emails away from needing to send out your press kit.

3. Don't Demand Cash - If you're just starting gigging anyway, make sure you don't request any money, just be grateful for the chance to showcase your music and meet people. The money will come, and there are plenty of ways to monetise live performances which don't leave the venue or promoter out of pocket (check out our other articles for ideas).

4. Put on a Good Show - This doesn't mean just playing your tunes well (though that really does help), involve the audience perhaps, or showcase something unusual that you've experimented with. I know a guy who does a lot of live-looping, it impresses people, and they remember him. Being memorable is vital to staying in your local gig circuit, and will help you to build a fanbase.

5. Do it Yourself! - Can't find a gig? No music scene where you are? Make it happen. The chances are there are tons of likeminded people wherever you are. Send emails to local venues, or even pubs and clubs, and try and make something happen. Not only will this give you a chance to play your music, it will build relationships too, and we all know how important that is.

So there we go, some tips to help you get gigging. For tips on what else to do once you have the gigs, such as selling merchandise and CDs, take a look at our other articles.

Friday, 30 April 2010

Blogging for Musicians

Blogging is a phenomenon that many musicians have embraced since the internet began to boom. So much so that musical award ceremonies have started running "best blog" categories. So what's the fuss about? Why have so many musicians taken to it, and is it something you should be embracing?

Personally, I think blogs are a fantastic opportunity for us music types, and not just because I'm writing a blog post now! A blog is a way to communicate with friends, fans and contacts in the industry, including a blog on your website, or even replacing your website with a blog is a way of turning a static, brochure style site into a living, breathing online representation of yourself, and your work.

How to approach your blog.

Successful blogs, musical or otherwise, always manage to strike a chord with their readership. Base your posts on what type of band/artist you are, if you're a band who deals with political and sociological issues, write about current events, give your opinion, stir things up a little. If you're an electronica artist, post about your studio, your gear and your techniques. Of course, talking about other musicians can help you too, and linking to their sites or blogs - build a few alliances and you'll be well away. Talking about relevant subjects that don't revolve about how good your latest track is or when it will be released or how people can buy it can not only keep your fans interested in what you're saying, but can even drive traffic from google, or, if you get people talking, provide some word-of-mouth marketing.

Post regularly but not too often, a couple of posts a week is enough to keep people satisfied without overloading them.

Communicate! Blogs, like everything else you do online, should be another way of communicating with people. Industry professionals, fans, even friends. Make sure you encourage people to participate, and respond to all the comments and emails you get, people will think a lot of you.

Be constructive with your blogs, and you'll reap the rewards.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Twitter Tips for Musicians

Twitter can be phenomenal tool for promoting music if used correctly. But it's a confusing place, what with all those retweets and tags and trends flying all over the place. How do you get the most out of your twitter from a musical point of view?

Follow relevant people - Finding people on Twitter who are relevant to what you want to achieve can help you build relationships. If you're an electronica act, follow electronica artists and labels, you never know when a conversation can spark up.

Utilise your relationships - Talk to people you've already built relationships with elsewhere, friends, contacts, bloggers, people you already know will be ready and willing to engage on Twitter.

Be real - Don't pretend to be something you're not on Twitter, talk about your interests and other aspects of your life, it may press someone's buttons!

Avoid overkill - You probably don't need to be told, but if you tweet every three minutes, and tell people every time you put the kettle on, your followers are going to stop paying attention, they might even stop following you. Base how often you tweet roughly on somebody who you enjoy reading on Twitter.

"Join the Conversation" - Tagline it may be, but it's particularly appropriate for Twitter, the rules you'd apply to a social situation are just as relevant on Twitter. Contribute, start conversations, ask opinions, give your opinions. Also make sure you listen to others, and be a part of what they talk about. This will gain you followers, but more importantly it will ensure that you stick in peoples' minds, they'll be much more likely to pay attention when you tweet.

Don't worry too much - Twitter should just be another tool in your arsenal, fretting over how many followers you have won't make them magically appear, just drop in now and then, join in, and get on with more interesting aspects of your career in music (you can tweet about these later).

I'm sure you'll be tweeting like pros in no time.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Know Your Niche

One of the most important lessons you'll learn in your quest to get your music heard is to find out exactly who enjoys it. It sounds a bit too obvious to be writing an article about eh?

Well I'm sure you've all got an idea of what kind of music you make, you know your influences, and you probably have some idea of the kind of people whose iPods you're looking to creep onto. However I'd also wager that you haven't researched this as much as you could've. Us musicians can get quite a warped view of our own music. I make electronica, and once made a track I thought sounded like it had a Massive Attack feel to it, only to be told it sounded like The Knife, something I hadn't considered. There's nothing wrong with this, but a second opinion on who your music sounds like can really help you work out who you're aiming it at.

Being compared to specific artists isn't particularly helpful though, what are you going to do, spam their fansites? What really will help you is to get involved with communities. It's one thing knowing that there's a good alternative scene in your city, hell, you could even find the email addresses of those involved and try to get in touch with them, but they're probably not going to listen. The best way to get involved is to actually get out there and meet people, go to gigs or clubs which are relevant to your music, talk to people, meet people who will either be able to help you musically, or even just recommend your E.P to their friends, or buy it themselves. Not just any old people, relevant people, your niche.

The same applies online, post on relevant forums, talk to people from relevant bands, try to start conversations on Twitter or Facebook. No, DON'T spam, nobody will pay attention as I'm sure you know by now. Contribute, give something to your Niche, and you'll get something back. Build real relationships with these people, and soon you'll have plenty of contacts who are interested, and willing to do you favours.