Every day there are literally tens of thousands of groups and solo artists who are trying to kickstart their careers. With so much competition, it pays to know a few secrets of the trade. No matter what you are doing now, there is always something more you could be doing to generate interest within your prospective fan base. Following are tips learned from other artists who made it big using one or more of these marketing strategies, and make no mistake about it; no matter how talented you are, what you have is a commodity and the only way to build a following is to learn how best to market your sound. If you want to get your career off to a flying start, this is what you can do.
Recognize the Need for High Quality Promo Freebies
You have heard the old cliché, “It takes money to make money.” When it comes to reaching out to an ever-larger audience, that would mean marketing and marketing costs money. One of the things many artists have been successful with is having group/solo pictures printed which they can sign at gigs, including a personal message to each person who asks for one. You can offer miniature guitar keychains or buttons for their caps. Bear in mind that when you order in bulk, the cost is so much more realistic.
Sell Recordings at Every Gig
Many new artists have produced their own first albums. They have yet to be signed with a label, and so they book a rehearsal studio from PIRATE and record their sessions as they become polished. Not only will you have a recording to sell at gigs, but you will also be letting your fans enjoy your sound even after they’ve gone home. A rehearsal studio at PIRATE can serve as more than just a place to record new tunes. Currently there are studios located in Germany, Ireland, the UK and in the US. There are several locations in each country, so book time in a rehearsal studio that is near enough to your home base but with exceptional professional equipment necessary to record and mix masters as you go. These can be sold at gigs which will help cover the cost of all the promotional materials and services you require to get your career off to that flying start.
Hire a Manager
If you doubt the need of hiring a manager, refer back to the Beatles when they are quite popular locally in Liverpool and the clubs they played in Germany. However, if Brian Epstein hadn’t wandered in to hear them early on, they probably wouldn’t enjoy being the household name they are today. There’s no denying that Epstein is touted as the driving force behind their success.
Build a Following on Social Media
There is so much that can be said about the value of creating social media profiles which will attract followers quite rapidly. Not only should you create a Facebook profile but don’t forget that YouTube is the second largest social site, second only to Facebook. While you can engage with your fans on Facebook and Twitter, for example, you can upload some of your recordings which fans can enjoy. It should be suggested that you don’t upload songs you are trying to sell at gigs but do upload high quality recordings your fans will enjoy hearing day after day.
Venture into the VR Arena
Perhaps you can thank the Covid-19 pandemic for this amazing way to grow your audience, but the fact remains, more and more artists are booking virtual reality gigs. These can be heard anywhere in the world without ever once stepping outside your rehearsal studio or home backdrop that will appear as though you are in the room with them. You will need that high quality mixing equipment mentioned above, but this is one way to play in China, Japan, Germany, the United States, and the UK all at the same time and it will be live. Imagine reaching a global audience without ever stepping foot on a plane, train, or bus to reach those audiences.
Never Stop Adding New Material
It is a given that most bands and artists begin by doing covers of tunes already released by other famous musicians. The reason for this, which you are well aware of, is because it is easier to engage an audience with music that they are already familiar with enough to dance to or sing along with. That said, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t intersperse your own original material throughout the gig. In this way, fans will become familiar with your tunes and would be much more likely to buy those recordings you are selling at live gigs. Never stop adding new material because that is the surest way to go stale, after which your audience will begin to lose interest.
A Final Word on Making This a Business
Unless you see your career as a business that must be run with specific tools of the trade, you may not ever reach the level of popularity you hope to achieve. Yes, music is an artform and you may be a master of the genre you are in. However, you are in the business to make money so remember to treat your business like the business it is.
Continually seek ways to improve your sound while finding cost effective ways to produce those songs you’ve written. From your group’s manager to those promotional freebies that you offer fans, everything you do is with the business in mind. As a side note, this is what also led to the demise of so many groups on their way up, or at the top. Members didn’t see eye to eye on key issues such as songs to include on their next album or even gigs they agree to take. Your manager should be of a high enough caliber to see to all of that, letting you do what you do best – make amazing music your fans will love.