Saying You Want to Make It Gets You Nowhere, It’s All About Action

promotionThere’s nothing worse than a bullshitter. They constantly speak about where they’re going to go or what they’re going to do. They talk about it to all their friends, family, co-workers, and anyone who will listen. “I’m going to make it in the music industry!” Sadly, these people are the worst. They’re a virus which can infect your work flow worse than anything else. These people are to be avoided at all costs! Even worse are people that say they’re going to do something and never end up doing it. They make excuses, and they waste everyone’s time.

To believe anyone who talks a big game is to get sucked into a downward spiral. If you can find people who put their head down and work, then you’ve found the right people to align yourself with. The best thing to do in this world when you’re trying to make your way in the music industry is to just do the work. Talk for a moment, get your ideas out, and begin execution. If you spend all your time talking about what you’re going to do, then you’re using your time in a counterproductive fashion.

Don’t get me wrong, brainstorming is great! It’s the place where you’re going to get the best ideas. After you make your plan of attack, you must not think or talk about it again unless you find a better way. You must do. There is nothing worse than wasting your time with people who constantly bombard you with talk. Where are the people on your team that are all about action?

Let’s take a band culture for example. If there are only a couple of people executing, then you’re going to fail. You’re going to lose. Your band is just a hobby at this point. You need everyone in the band to be creating actionable items they can accomplish. If there’s only a couple of people actually getting things done, then you’re going to lose. You have to spread the work around and make it happen. Everyone needs to have a function in the group. All hands on deck! Your main focus is to take a part of the business and make it yours. Be the champion of your part of the business!

Here are some things people in bands think is doing work: going to practice, writing songs, playing shows, going to other shows, posting on social media, and talking to other people about their music. These things are items that even terrible, local bands are doing. These things are just the basics. If you’re doing these things and think you’re making your way, then you are basic. Basic is losing. If you want to win, then you must create a strategy. You must have everyone on board. Everyone must execute at high levels. This is the music business. Run your band as such.

You need people to be running full steam ahead. Merchandising, live performances, online promotion, offline promotion, tour promotion, digital marketing, video creation, photo creation, songwriting, sync licensing, booking, radio, and press are all things that need to be taken care of. There are even more areas of opportunity you need to take care of! Each person in your band or project needs to be on point. All of these functions (and more) need to be split between members until you become profitable enough to bring on a team member. If you’re not doing these things, then you’re losing. You’re a hobbyist, and you need to stop wasting other people’s time (if you have people working for you).

The biggest thing you can take away from this is that you’re a loser if you’re not participating in business functions of your band or solo project. You’re a loser if you’re wasting people’s time because you’re talking about what you’re going to do or who you’re going to be. You’re a loser if you’re only thinking one week ahead. You’re a loser if you can’t get back to people’s phone calls or emails. Don’t be a loser. Truly, take a hard look at what you’re doing and see if you’re a winner.

Start taking strides in the right direction and begin doing. There is no other way around it. The worst thing you can do is talk. The best thing you can do is start working on the business functions of your band. Writing phenomenal songs is not enough. Perseverance and hard work will win. Strategy will win. See it through to the end. Onward and upward!

Originally published for ENDER Press. Written by Jan Powers.

Define Success as an Artist and Create Value for Others

successWhen an artist looks to create a career out of music, they must clearly define success. Is it paying their bills? Is it staying on tour? Is it releasing great records? Is it a combination of all these things and more? Only the artist can define success. Can you be successful and reach a small number of people? I would say so.

There is over 300 million people in the United States. If you can reach 1% of those people with your music, then you're hitting 3 million people. If 1% of those people resonate with your work and buy your product, then that's 30,000 people buying your music, merch, concert tickets, and more. If you release a record and target 1% of the United States population, then you're going to be financially successful if you live within your means. 30,000 records in your first week would put you in the top of the Billboard charts. You must reverse engineer from there.

You can reference Kevin Kelly's 1,000 True Fans. If you haven't read this article, take a moment to read it right now. There's nothing more you can do than start from the beginning and work from there. Do you have your music recorded professionally? Are you playing shows outside of your hometown? Are you selling out shows in your hometown market? Do you have fans asking when you're putting out new music and merch? Start from the beginning and find out who loves what you do. From there, you can begin to build your base. These first adopters will become your voice. These people will champion your music and help you build more followers and fans.

The average household income is approximately $50,000. If you can make $50,000 a year from your music, then you're well on your way to success as an artist. You can double that if you put in the work. If you make nothing from music now, it's time to think about how you're going to get to create the income you want. How will you generate $50,000 in sales? Is it physical copies of your record? Is it digital streams? Is it merchandising? Is it your live performances? The answer is a combination of all of these and more. It might be daunting to think of now, but when you start making strides; you must keep your momentum going. You must work harder. You must create a buzz. Your buzz will lead to your success if you can make sales.

How do you add value to someone's life with your music? Easy! It's the experiences and memories created from attending your concerts. It's the time spent with your record on when things are hard. It's getting someone through the rough patches with your songs. If you write, record, and perform impactful and compelling music; then you're further along than most. It's trying to get your music to others that may be the hardest part. Most artists don't have large marketing budgets or label support, so they have to think of creative ways to reach their fans.

Are you striving to add value to other people's lives through music? If you're not, then get out of the industry. It's not about being a rock star or being a millionaire. Music is about giving people an escape from their day to day lives. Music is about uplifting someone else's spirits through song. Music is about the moments and memories. It's not about making money. Money comes through being great and being on top of your game. If you're not adding value, then you're not giving anyone a reason to believe in you.

Success can be defined by making a living from music. How much do you need to make a living? Find out how to control your expenses and make it a mission to make fans. Without fans, you're nothing. You must never give up. You must always work harder than anyone else around you. By doing that, there's not stopping you or your potential.

Years by go by without seeing instant gratification. If you focus on creating one fan at a time, then you'll be able to turn a few into many. Be true to yourself, work hard, and create memories. Don't sit at home and wait for an opportunity. Create them! If you're lucky enough to have people on your team (outside of the band), then make sure you're working hard to fulfill those obligations. Don't leave them waiting for you. Inspire those on your team to do more by putting in the effort and leading by example. Communication is key, so always let your band and team members know how you feel and what you need to get done. Go get it done. Stop talking, start doing. Do so on a daily basis. Make sure you're always in their line of sight and doing what needs to be done.

If you want to be successful, then stop talking about it and start doing. Not having time to return a phone call, text, or email is a bullshit excuse. You're going nowhere fast if people have to chase after you to get things done. Stop hiding behind your own excuses and start inspiring those around you.

Making a living from music is hard. You're on the right track if you can stay grounded, put your head down, and work harder than you thought possible. Never give up. Never stay satisfied. Always want more. You're going to see the reaction (sales) you want when you are truly all in and doing the work on a daily basis. Your life is what you make it.

Originally published for ENDER Press. Written by Jan Powers.

25 Ways to Use Twitter to Promote Your Music

twitterTwitter recently had its eleventh birthday. The social network has over 313 million active monthly users. The site is a great place to join a discussion, promote your brand, and give the common person a voice in politics, movies, music, and more. Many brands, influencers, athletes, actors/actresses, and musicians populate the site. The blue check of verification allows fans to know the account is the official one of the person or brand they want to follow.

Bands have been using the platform to follow and unfollow thousands of people and annoy Twitter users for over a decade. Instead of annoying people, work on creating great content while connecting with your fans. Twitter is a great platform to get your message and music out, so you should never discount it in your social media strategy.

Below you can find twenty-five ways to use Twitter to promote your music.

  1. Use photo and video content to create a buzz – The best way to do this is to document as much as you can. Take notes of what you see established artists doing then find what works for you. The power of an iPhone 7+ is amazing, so it is highly suggested you at least have this technology. Otherwise, get yourself a camera. Start creating high-quality media. Document your shows, your studio sessions, and promote using it daily.
  2. Interact with your fans on a daily basis – People are going to love following you on Twitter because you reply to their mentions. Not everyone is going to get a reply if you have a very active Twitter, but make it a daily practice to interact with your fan base. There’s no better way! It’s in real-time, so it’s like sending a text to someone. Make this your main focus outside of great content.
  3. Promote your upcoming shows – You can use video and photo content for this. Promoting shows and tours on Twitter is great because you can see who’s going to what show in real-time through tweets. Make sure your tour/show flyers are awesome and your video updates are even better. You’re competing against the best music media online. Make it great!
  4. Hold contests – You should want to give incentive to those who follow you to promote your material. Give them rewards! Stickers, digital downloads, merchandise, and posters can be great giveaway prizes. RT contests are a good start. Be creative!
  5. Promote your YouTube videos – There’s always the opportunity to drive people to your latest music video, vlog, or tour update. Make sure to create a 15 to 30 second trailer for the video you’re promoting. Include your YouTube link, and you’re all set.
  6. Constant flow of information – Twitter is a bit different than all the other social media sites. You can go on “Twitter rants” or “Tweet storms”. These are tweets in succession which can be used in your favor. Let the fans know what you care about. The more they see inside your personality, the better.
  7. Reach out to other artists/bands – You can easily reach out to any artist or band on the platform with a tweet. Simple, effective, and perhaps never replied to. It’s all about your community. Will another artist want to hit you back? It depends on how much the other person (or people) are active on the site. More than likely, this is the easiest way to chat with another artist online, plus it makes it public. Fans love to see interactions between their favorite artists.
  8. Promote other brands – Twitter is a great place to let your community know what you’re digging with gear, clothes, movies, television, and more. You can promote other things you like and perhaps you’ll see a connection in the future with the brands you enjoy most. Be tasteful. A few professional photos would do well here!
  9. Use polls to find out what your audience enjoys – A great feature on Twitter is the ability to poll your followers. If you want to see what song is favored over another, you can do it. Maybe you want to find out what city (out of four choices) will be the best bet to play next. Use polls to do some A/B testing.
  10. Sell merchandise – The easiest way to sell merch online is by posting about it. If you don’t promote your T-shirts/CDs, then who’s going to buy them? Find what works with your community. Make sure your merch designs are an A+ always.
  11. Increase your Spotify numbers – Make sure to promote your Spotify link(s). If you’re at 200 monthly listeners, then try to hit 500 then 1,000. If you’re at 1,000, try to hit 5,000 then 10,000. Think of Twitter as a hallway with people coming towards you. Which people are you going to hand a flyer or a CD to (a.k.a. promote your Spotify link)?
  12. Go live with Periscope – Twitter has another app called Periscope which allows users to broadcast live. Use it to your advantage. Document the process. Perform acoustic. Show fans behind the scenes at a show or in the studio. You can even use the app to chat with your fans and hold a Q&A. People love to see things in real-time. Let them in.
  13. Promote your mailing list – Don’t forget to post about your email newsletter. You’re going to need direct email contact with your customers (your fans) to break through the noise of social media. You will be able to send out the news to your fans just as quickly as sending a press release. Emails are your friend!
  14. Use hashtags to create trending topics – The hashtag doesn’t have to be the top trending topic on Twitter. It can be used for your community. Pick a hashtag no one is using and create a weekly occurrence with it (i.e. live broadcast, giveaway, or merch sale). You can also use hashtags to help promote a new single and see how many people are taking part in using it. It will give you real-time feedback if your music is making its rounds.
  15. To help promote other music – In the course of your career, you’re going to make friends who also play music. Not only on Twitter, but everywhere, you will want to become a taste maker. People will enjoy following you because you can introduce them to new music, not just your own, that they can vibe to. A community atmosphere with music discovery in the forefront is key.
  16. Actively enter conversations – Use your Twitter account to get into conversations. If you see something you want to chime in on, do so politely. Your account can be used to help promote a cause, give advice, or sign people up to vote for an election. You find what conversations you’d like to be a part of and then engage!
  17. To follow artists, industry insiders, and influencer accounts – Use your timeline wisely. You can’t see what’s happening unless there’s little clutter. Some accounts use the follow/unfollow technique and cannot use their timeline to their advantage due to the number of accounts followed. Follow the artists, industry people, press, radio, etc. accounts you enjoy. Find out who’s who and what’s what, how people post, and if people like being engaged. At the very least, you’ll be connected with how these profiles run their accounts and see their news in real-time.
  18. Stay consistent – People want to follow accounts that give them joy or entertainment. This is why we see puppy videos going viral. You want to stay active online which means daily and most times multiple times a day. You don’t want to post the same thing over and over, so start getting good at communicating what’s going on in your day while documenting the process. Use all the features Twitter has to offer and most importantly: be creative and fun!
  19. To try for higher interactions versus higher follower counts – It doesn’t matter who follows you on Twitter. What does matter is interactions. Are people tweeting you back? Do you have a lot of retweets or favorites? Are these people tweeting about you? If you have 5,000 quality followers, it’s better than 50,000 with no interactions. Simple!
  20. Keep up with trends – Follow influencers to see how these accounts are promoting their content and borrow what works for you. When GIFs were made available on Twitter, it turned into one of the main ways people communicate on the site. Stay in tune with new techniques!
  21. Direct message people who follow you – Use direct messages effectively by not mass messaging everyone, but targeting people who may be happy to receive a DM from you. You might want to promote your music video, your latest song/EP/LP, or your mailing list. Either way, make it fun and enjoy conversing with your fans!
  22. Use it as part of a combination  – Twitter will be one of many social networks you will use. Don’t spend all your time on it (or any other site). Use it as much as it needs to be and focus on the real things: booking shows/tours, writing great songs, getting better live, and promoting your music offline.
  23. To link to your official website – Make sure your Twitter followers know the best place to be for your music and updates is your official website. There you can buy merch, see tour dates, see your blog posts, and much more. Don’t forget to promote your main hub! This should be your main focus online.
  24. Like posts by your fans – You may not have all the time in the world to tweet back every single person, but you do have time to like their post. It shows you see what’s going on. Tweet back to them if you can add to the conversation. If you want to be mysterious, then so be it. Liking posts still keeps it interesting!
  25. Promote a tweet – You can use Twitter advertising to promote big things like tours, new music, and/or music videos. Spending money on a Twitter ad may not be for you, but you might want to try it out and see what works.

Twitter is a huge resource for your online promotional strategy. Use it to create a community. Use it to talk to your fans. Don’t use it to follow a bunch of people so they follow you back. The best thing about Twitter is that you can speak with people in real-time. Use the element of surprise for live broadcasts. Keep things interesting. You’ll see new, interactive followers through consistency and quality posts.

This article was originally published for ENDER, written by Jan Powers.

25 Ways to Use Instagram to Promote Your Music

instagramInstagram is a very powerful tool in online promotion. You can create your own aesthetic, control your own posts, and ultimately find people into the same things you are. Most importantly, you can create a community within your Instagram page. When someone is scrolling through Instagram, only the best content (outside the person’s friends/family) is going to be seen or liked. You have to be great or why would anyone follow you? What’s in it for them? What’s in it for the fan to follow an artist account?

There are a vast amount of features Instagram gives the content creator. You can post video, images, add to your story, and go live. These are going to be the best parts of your day. You want to highlight the real and create content which will satisfy a fan wanting to get behind the scenes. Give them up close and personal while staying authentic to yourself. That’s what people want to see.

Think about how you want to use Instagram while promoting your music. What’s your mission? What’s your goal? Do you want followers to be fans? How can you create an income via Instagram? What possibilities can the platform bring you? What are the negatives? Instagram isn’t just for the photographer. The video feature is fantastic as well as the live feature. You’re competing against the biggest accounts, so make sure you’re on point. Figure out what works best for you. Create content on a regular basis. Drive sales and engagement through artistic implementation.

Below you can find twenty-five ways to use Instagram to promote your music.

  1. To release high-quality media announcing new music, a show, a tour, or anything else you might send a press release for – This is your news hub. You can accompany any press release with your own statement on Instagram. Post single/EP/LP artwork and announce your release date. Promote a tour or show with an awesome flyer. Are you appearing acoustic in a few weeks? Promote this event as well. Make sure to learn how to create your own content, unless you have the money for a content creator and/or graphic artist. If you’re not creating content at a high level, then these release statements won’t be taken seriously or followed.
  2. To link to your latest YouTube videos – Instagram videos have been notoriously grainy, but that’s fine. You’ll shoot people over with a quick link in your bio to your latest YouTube video. You can link people to your new music video, an acoustic session, a tour update, or a promotional video for your upcoming release. Create a trailer for your YouTube content, and you’ll see a rise in views through constant production of high-quality video.
  3. To push followers to digital retailers – You’ll want to push people over to Apple Music, Spotify, SoundCloud, Bandcamp, or whatever other platform you’re using. This will drive music sales. Be engaging and use this sparingly. You’re not going to want to ask for a sale every time you post on Instagram. People won’t see any value in it for them. This is your “Support us because we give you joy in life when you listen to our music” post. People will add you to their playlist or download your music on iTunes. Either way, you’re going to want to use Instagram creatively to raise awareness.
  4. To push followers to merchandise offers – You’ll direct people to your online store for your shirts, hats, sweaters, CDs, posters, etc. This way you’ll give the fan a place to purchase these items outside of the shows you play. You’ll want to create exclusive Instagram offers. Hopefully you can use a code or just set up your store to reflect a sale of some type. Make sure your merch designs are awesome because poor designs won’t sell. Remember not to ask for the sale every post, so think just like digital retailers…Only every so often.
  5. To push followers to ticket links – Tours can be posted and linked to. Shows can be as well. Try and create more than just posting a show/tour flyer. Create some hype around each show, showcase the distinctiveness of the show, and see how your followers react. You’ll always be better off pushing people to your official website here, but creativity can go a long way. Just like merch and digital music, you’ll want to use this only when you have to.
  6. To show the fans what goes on behind the scenes – If you don’t have a photographer friend willing to help (on a budget, yes), then it’s time to find what works for you. Make sure it’s high-quality and can compete against other Instagram influencers, and you should be fine! People want to see what you’re up to in between shows, writing sessions, and appearances. Keep them in the loop!
  7. To showcase live performances in photo form – You can hire a friend or a professional, either way you want to have great photos from past shows to post. Show people what they missed out on! The amazing moments encapsulated into one frame, one shot. These are things you want to showcase. If you suck live, you might as well just stop reading now. Instagram won’t help you.
  8. To use the live broadcast feature – Real-time coverage is awesome! It helps you cater to fans that are using the app at the same time you are as well as notify others (if they have notifications on for Instagram) you’re live. What could be happening? Soundcheck? A rehearsal? A radio appearance? An acoustic writer’s round? Tune in and find out! You want your fans to see you live and in charge. These are moments you’re giving the fan a look into the process. You can even give them a show, play a few songs, and get off. Either way, going live is awesome if you’re an entertainer.
  9. To make a statement through text – The platform is used mainly for images and video, but you can use a very long caption to release a statement. This could be your “pour your heart out” moment about an issue you’ve been wanting to speak on. This could be your “you can do this and be yourself” moment about why being an artist means the world to you. These long-form posts can be your friend if your writing is eloquent and moving.
  10. To hold a contest or giveaway – Use Instagram as a contest hub! You can ask your fans to post photos and use a certain hashtag. You can ask your fans to repost a photo and tag you. Give away merch, tickets, digital downloads, or a meet up before the show. Use contests to help bring in new fans. Tag a friend contests can be useful. Give back to the community with easy to win prizes. Perhaps weekly is best here. Find what works for you!
  11. To interact with other bands, artists, or influencers – Don’t spam people. Comment when you see fit to chime in the conversation. Like photos. Easy stuff. Don’t come on too strong. Post about other’s artwork. Music. Photos. Videos. Books. Art. They can all be shared. Do it! Not in hopes that people post about you, but to spread the word about a community of people who dig the same things.
  12. To use the stories feature to your benefit – If you’re a full-time artist, then you should be up to a lot of cool things daily or weekly. Use Instagram stories to document these great moments in your career. Show the fans what you’re up to. You can see who’s viewing your story, so there’s a way to track who’s watching and interacting. Stories are your way to shine a light on the things people don’t see everyday on your timeline.
  13. To promote brands or products – In a joint venture, you can promote other brands or products. Sure, you can get paid for these things. It just depends on your reach. In the beginning, you’re going to want to promote things you use to get on the radar of these companies. Enough quality posts will break through the noise. It could be guitar strings, mics, in-ear monitors, guitars, drums, or any other piece of musical equipment. Hell, it could be a GoPro or Snap Spectacles. Find brands or companies you dig and share content to help promote them. You may find yourself with a nice gift bag, endorsement, or even payola.
  14. To buy advertising – Yes, you can promote a post on Instagram. No, you shouldn’t promote all your posts. They’re not all important. A new song/EP/LP release is important. Use Instagram Ads there. A new music video is important. Use ads here as well. A tour is important, so use an ad. You may find yourself some new fans. It’s pay to play here, and the results aren’t guaranteed.
  15. To start your own hashtag tradition – You can create your own hashtag army if you engage the audience correctly. Perhaps it’s making a day that’s yours. Perhaps it’s making a hashtag to raise awareness about a new song or album. Perhaps it’s a hashtag your fans use to make sure you’re seeing their posts. Either way, create your own hashtag community. Encourage it. Embrace it.
  16. To give credit – If you’re working hard as an artist & things are getting busy, then you’re bound to have a team of people working for you. It could be your road crew, your photo & video producers, your manager, your booking agent, your studio producer, or anyone else adding to the mix. Get awesome photos of them and give credit when credit’s due. People love knowing who helped make their favorite artist better than before. Give thanks!
  17. To reply to your fans – People are going to love your posts. They’re going to comment and like them. Don’t just leave people hanging. Stay away from trolls. Engage those who are adding to the conversation. These fans are your best fans. They aren’t there because they love “that one song” or they saw the end of your set when you opened for their “favorite band”. These are your true fans. The more of these you have, the better chance you have to having a career in music. Reply to their comments and let the love commence.
  18. To see the numbers grow – If you’re posting great content and promoting it in a tasteful fashion, you’re going to see the numbers grow. If you’re not, then you’ll stay around the same numbers or even dip below what you had to start with. There’s no other way. You want to see the followers, likes, comments, and hashtags grow in numbers. You can keep track of stats in a weekly or monthly basis with an easily made spreadsheet. Your job is to have more people interacting as part of the community you’re building.
  19. To spotlight supporters – You can repost fan posts. Has someone taken an awesome photo from last night’s show? Use the Repost app and post it to your account. Did someone wear your shirt to a concert last night? Repost it! Did someone take a pic of your new CD and T-shirt? Repost. Did someone get a photo with you last night at the gig? Repost the best ones! Fans are honored you’re posting their content. Give praise to those who make this work for you: the fans.
  20. To respond to direct messages – It’s like email, so there’s going to be a lot spam. You’re going to have to sift through and find the messages that deserve a response. Those fans will get some great correspondence directly from the artist. It can create some great moments. You’re going to want to pick your battles here, but remember fans don’t like being stood up. If you have the time, then get back to the fans who clearly have sent their message for a reason. If you don’t have time, be quick with your replies. Even just a short response can make a fan’s day.
  21. To get comfortable being on camera – There’s nothing worse than watching an awkward person have stage fright on camera. Rather than shy away, start getting confident being able to articulate your message. Directly speaking to the camera can be used in the stories feature or with a quick post on your timeline. Either way, use this time to be great at public speaking. It’s one of the best investments you can make in yourself.
  22. To be cryptic – You can create a great element of surprise for a new song or new release with Instagram going off the norm from what you do. Instead of posting insider info, you can now post perhaps a color scheme change or a white/black out (where multiple squares are now black, white, or another color) which signifies something new is coming. You can create vast amounts of hype with posts like these. Be creative with both photo and video. The people will do anything to find out what’s next.
  23. To take over another account – There will be times when other brands, companies, or music publications will allow you to take over their account. This is when you can cross promote and show off your music. This is a great time to show your personality and take what you’ve been working on with your Instagram page and use another’s to get a wider reach/audience. It’s not going to work like magic, but it will be a great way to raise awareness about your music and community.
  24. To be consistent – If you’re trying to make a community of your Instagram page, then you won’t post for a week the disappear for a few days then come back for a few random posts. You will be consistent in your posts. This is why people tune in. To receive quality content that entertains them, reminds them to put on a great record (preferably the one you’re promoting). If you do take a social media hiatus, then let your fans know what’s going on. No worries! Everyone deserves a break.
  25. To use Instagram’s other apps to liven up your page – Instagram also has a few applications that add to its functionality: Layout, Boomerang, and Hyperlapse. Layout lets you add multiple pictures like a collage. This can be useful when you want to put together a lot of photos from the last show or appearance. You can also post multiple, square photos in one post on your timeline. Boomerang can make a quick, fun GIF that you can post on your story or timeline. Hyperlapse is an app that is a time lapse tool, so use this whenever you’re setting up/tearing down/traveling. It can make for great content!

Instagram is only one social network, but it’s a very powerful one. As of December 2016, there are over 600 million monthly active users. You’re not trying to get the attention of all of them. You’re trying to find the ones who are similar to you, will like your music, and will enjoy the content you post. Make your Instagram page your visual outlet. This is another way you can brand yourself as an artist. Instagram is only getting larger, and it’s a great place for releasing content while promoting your music and community. Use it to your advantage!

This article was originally published for ENDER, written by Jan Powers.

25 Ways a Great Manager Can Help Your Music Career

Businessman on sofa is readingIn this day and age, bands and artists can do a lot on their own. They can book their own shows. They can send out their own press releases. They can run their own social media. What would an artist need a manager for? Why would they hire someone? In the early stages of a band or artist’s life, a manager could be the last thing on their checklist.

There are many reasons why an artist should hire a manager. There are also many reasons why hiring a bad manager is the biggest mistake a band or artist could make. I want to tell you right now, there is nothing worse than a relationship that is one-sided. If an artist is putting in 99% of the work, then the manager shouldn’t take any credit and should probably be fired. If a manager is putting in 99% of the work, then the manager should figure out real quick that leaving is his/her best option. Make sure to find the right person to guide your career and business. You’ll know when this happens as your intuition will kick in. Also, be open to giving people chances to work hard for you as an artist.

The reason a band or artist should hire a manager is for someone to lead the team to victory. Great championship teams have great coaches. There’s a method to the madness of the music industry, and great managers can create bigger and better opportunities for his or her artists. There are tons of people who should never manage a band in their life. There are only a few people who are capable of doing this. Great managers are hard to find.

The manager is the coach who’s going to be there for the team. To rally them to win, to make the tough decisions, and to give the artist a reason to keep going when time’s are tough. The manager is going to be the one to have sleepless nights with the artist. The manager will sacrifice just as much as the artist. The manager will be the one to lead you to the promised land. If you’re not being represented as of now, then take the time to find your great manager. Teamwork makes the dream work.

Below you will find twenty-five ways a great manager can help your music career.

  1. To oversee all business functions – A great manager will know each part of the music industry. From booking to publicity, from radio to merchandising, from licensing to VIP ticketing; a great manager will be able to make sure all business functions are running smoothly and on time. A great manager could work as a publicist, booking agent, tour manager, radio promoter, online content manager, or concert promoter; but he or she doesn’t because being a great manager is what he or she does best.
  2. To hold you accountable – A great manager will always let you know when you’ve done great and will let you know when you need to improve. The artist should always to want to work with the manager to create systems in which the music can reach new people. This may be daily habits, weekly habits, or whenever there is time habits. To have someone who will make sure you’re doing right by your own standards is priceless.
  3. To give you a realistic point of view – Sometimes an artist will underrate their music or their live show. Sometimes an artist will inflate their victories. A great manager will always give you a lay of the land which is true to reality. There is no other way. A great manager will not tell the artist what he or she wants to hear. A great manager will not tell the artist one thing and say another to someone else. A great manager will let the artist know all that is right in the world while giving some perspective to things that need to be worked on.
  4. To create a fine-tuned plan to release a record and continue momentum – A great manager will be able to work with an artist to form a strategy in which the artist will release new music and continue to build upon the artist’s fan base. The manager shouldn’t dictate what to do or when to do it, but will instead find out where the artist wants to go with this record. The manager will find out where the artist wants to be when the record cycle is complete. The manager will help facilitate any great thing or idea the artist needs done. The manager should be one of the most creative people on the team and know how to get things done in all aspects of the music industry.
  5. To help you build a team – A great manager will help the artist assemble a great team to make the most of the artist’s music and catalog of songs. The manager will also oversee what each piece of the puzzle is up to and conference with them and the artist to plan and attack. A great manager will help find the best people to work with the artist such as a booking agent, record label, publicist, tour manager, and more. You will never find a successful artist without a great team behind them.
  6. To make sure you’re doing the best you can – A great manager will hold the artist to a certain standard. If an artist asks a manager for advice or feedback, the manager must be able to communicate with the artist his/her point of view according to standards that are set by the manager and artist together. Sometimes, the manager will want to have his or her own standards due to the fact that a manager is only as good as his or her artist(s). There is greatness to be achieved. Do the best you can, and make sure you’re continually getting better. Put in the hours!
  7. To bring live opportunities – A great manager will also know other artists and managers which his or her artist can hit the road with. A manager certainly is not a booking agent, but there are some cases where he or she will act as one as long as it is legal in his or her state. California law says a manager may not book for an artist. Find out what works best for your situation. A great manager will make sure the artist is consistently playing with other great acts.
  8. To help create an online strategy – A great manager will help the artist come up with a strategy for social media as well as help make sure the official website looks great and is fully functional for fans. The manager and artist will work together to figure out what media should be created and how it should be rolled out to help maximize exposure for the artist.
  9. To make sure there are sales being made – Sometimes an artist won’t focus as much on sales/revenue steams as he or she should. Never hire someone as your manager if he or she doesn’t focus on growth of revenue and sales numbers. A great manager will help make sure there are consistently sales coming in. Yes, there may be times where the artist is on the front lines and the manager is not out actually physically selling records. It is not a manager’s job to physically sell items, but it is a manager’s job to create sales opportunities as well as other money making ventures in merchandising, live performances, licensing, and other areas.
  10. To have an outside opinion – A great manager will be a phenomenal leader as well as a mediator. When a band needs an outsider, their manager will be the one with a clear head to look at things constructively. Sometimes there will be internal arguments where a manager needs to step in and let the artist know his or her two cents. An artist may be too close to something or too distant. A great manager will be able to be honest and helpful with his or her opinions and suggestions.
  11. To help maintain a positive atmosphere – Yes, there will be hard times. It’s the music industry. 99% are hard times. It’s that 1% of the time every artist is looking for. Those great moments when all the hard work was worth it. A great manager will be there to keep the peace and to make sure there is a positive work environment. A great manager should be able to stay calm in times of chaos as well as make fantastic decisions on the fly. Calculated and cool, a great manager will help an artist achieve more.
  12. To make sure everyone’s voice is heard – A great manager will be able to work every angle. If you’re a solo artist, perhaps the only angle is yours. If you’re a member of a band or group, then there’s going to be many different opinions. A great manager will be able to help get valuable feedback from every member of the group as well as help champion the best ideas. A great manager will always give credit to the artist while a great artist will always champion their manager. Everyone in the band should have their say, and a great manager will be able to make sure that happens.
  13. To use reputation as leverage – A great manager will have a reputation as hardworking and easy to get along with. A great manager will have a pristine reputation and will always put his or her artists first. A great manager will use favors to help their artists get new opportunities. The artist must make sure to find someone who’s known for execution. Talk is cheap.
  14. To help negotiate the best deal – A great manager will be able to create the best case scenario in a realistic world. Sometimes that best case scenario isn’t a huge guarantee, a gigantic advance, or a world tour. Sometimes that best case scenario is making sure there’s a money being made every night, making sure the artist is happy and healthy, and making sure the artist is able to make strides towards the next big step in the right direction. There will be deals to be made, and a great manager will be dominant in negotiations.
  15. To be quality control – A great manager will be able to tell an artist “No!” A great manager will also be able to tell an artist “Hell yes!” There won’t be any filler on a record. There won’t be a merch design that looks poor. There won’t be a show or tour flyer that’s not eye-catching. There won’t be an instance where the artist is portrayed in an unfavorable light. Nothing but greatness will be released, produced, or recorded. A great manager has an eye for these things!
  16. To keep track of stats and help the artist grow in numbers – A great manager will be able to keep tabs on all vital stats for an artist. How many T-shirt sales will the artist do on their upcoming tour? How many monthly listeners does the artist have on Spotify? How many YouTube views has the last few music videos collected? How many tickets is an artist worth on any given night in any given city? A great manager will know these numbers and live by them. A great manager will make sure there’s a plan in place to keep the numbers growing.
  17. To help find the right producer – A great manager will be able to find out who an artist wants to work with when recording new music and help make those connetions. A great manager will know who’s worked on what records and will be able to give the artist a variety of people who are industry professionals. An artist will always have the final say in this department, but a great manager will be able to make sure there are many options to choose from in recording, co-writing, and overall production of the next song or album.
  18. To help keep the artist up to date with the latest news and trends – A great manager will know what’s going on in the music industry. Do you read Billboard? HITS Daily Double? Lefsetz Letter? Do you have the time to keep up with all the latest tech trends? Do you keep up with the latest music applications? Do you keep up with the latest music blogs? A great manager will be able to share stories with his or her artist about what’s going on in the industry and make it relevant to what their project is up to. A great manager stays up to date and in the know!
  19. To keep a schedule – A great manager will always keep the calendar full for his or her artist. An artist may not be able to stay on track at all times, but a great manager will be able to make sure an artist is staying productive and busy. Not with busy work, but with upcoming opportunities. A great manager will be punctual with deadlines and be able to deal with a variety of things at once.
  20. To divide the work load – A great manager will be able to help the artist figure out who’s doing what. Many times, in a band, a member may hide behind the work (or lack of work) of another in the project. A great manager will be able to know who’s suited for what and be able to work with people one-on-one to make sure goals are being met. A great manager will have the instinct to know who can get it done the right way the first time. Internally or externally, a great manager will know someone suited for a specific part of the project.
  21. To be a gatekeeper – A great manager will protect his or her artist. The manager will be able to field questions and know instinctively who needs to speak with his or her artist. A great manager will also be able to effectively communicate his or her artist’s goals without always having to refer back to the artist. A great manager always make sure to present all opportunities to the artist but will also be a filter for the junk mail that may come in.
  22. To create a trusting relationship – A great manager will have the trust of his or her artist. This trust will never be broken. This relationship should be thought of as a lifelong bond to achieve greatness. A great manager will always hold his or her artist in a high regard. Trust is something that should be the bedrock of what’s to come. Word is bond. Actions are better.
  23. To know when someone else is best – A great manager will know when to refer to someone else for a specific aspect of a project or release. If a manager needs help, the great ones will ask. Crucial moments are fleeting, and once you make a mistake; it could be very hard to correct it in the short term. A great manager will be able to have the resources (publicist, business manager, entertainment lawyer, label A&R, booking agent, etc.) to be able to hire out and/or refer to in times of need and experience. A great manager is always learning and always trying to expand his or her network of professionals.
  24. To think long term – Day to day operations can be handled by your manager, but when it comes to long term goals; a great manager will know systems are better. Everyone has goals: sign to a record label, tour the world, make tons of money… How will we achieve these things? Systems! A great manager will have a long term strategy to help maintain growth and success. Long term plans can be reverse engineered. This is helpful for execution in the short term. A great manager will also be able to change the course of the ship at any moment and still stay on track. The overall goal is to be profitable and create a living for the artist and team.
  25. To make sure the artist is always winning – If you are looking to have a career as an artist in the music industry, then you’re going to have to persevere. There will be many obstacles, but you will be able to make your way. A great manager is always giving ideas to his or her artist in order to make sure there are more fans coming in. Not only will a great manager be able to think of ideas, a great manager will be able to execute! A great manager will also be able to show the artist and others why the brand is growing and becoming a larger entity every year. Each year should be better than the last. Find out how you define success, start from there, and begin to execute.

The greatest managers will be able to help their artists create a lasting career through community. There are many, many things a manager does for an artist. The best ones will make it so the artist couldn’t live without them. The greatest artists are the ones who have a team of people working hard to promote their records. The greatest artist will also have a head of operations known as the artist manager. No other relationship will trump what an artist and a manager have. The music industry is tough. Find a manager who will help you become a champion.

This article was originally published for ENDER, written by Jan Powers.

25 Ways to Get More People to Your Shows

crowdHere are twenty-five ways you can get more people to your shows. This article assumes your music is considered “good” by most people that hear it and your live show is considered the same by most people that have purchased a ticket in the past. You need people through those doors. It’s where you’re going to make a good portion of your money in the music industry. Don’t let people take advantage of you. You want to know how to run shows, so you don’t get the short end of the stick.

If you’re good for one hundred through the door at $10 a ticket, then you should at least see half of that: $500. If you’re good for only twenty on any given night, you shouldn’t be asking for more than $50-100. In some occasions, you’ll be asked to sell tickets. Some promoters don’t pay you back for those sales and say your spot is for exposure and they’ll get you back next time. In those cases, start to work with other promoters. Try and focus on getting shows you know the crowd will dig your music and live show & headlining your own gigs.

It’s important to headline because you know how much you’re truly worth in ticket sales. Let’s say your band takes influence from All Time Low. In the last year you’ve played with bands like Waterparks, State Champs, The Maine, and Knuckle Puck. In this hypothetical situation, you’d want to have a headlining show after each one of these concerts to see how many of the people that saw you with those bands actually care about seeing you.

Below you will find twenty-five ways to get more people to your shows.

  1. Play with artists bigger than you are – Seems like a novel idea! Playing with larger bands may not be easy at first, but once promoters see you’re good for ticket sales; you should be able to get on any show you want to pending availability and how many times you’ve played with a certain promoter in a certain time frame. Any time you do get a bigger slot on a show/tour, make it your mission to be as professional as you can in order to be able to get these type of opportunities in the future. These shows may be with national touring acts or the biggest local acts in your scene. Make friends, do right by bringing a crowd, and play a hell of a show.
  2. Use high quality designs for your flyers – This means you will hire someone (or learn graphic design) to release new show/tour announcements. You’re competing with the biggest shows and tours in your music scene. You want to be represented well, and you’re going to have to create something visually stunning to represent your show or tour. This will help sell your limited edition posters at your merch table. Use this to create exclusivity and value for your shows and tours.
  3. Hang up posters at the venue you’re playing – This seems like a no-brainer, but some bands/artists don’t do this. Make it a point to go to the venue (if you can) and hang up posters for your show after talking to venue staff. If you can’t make it to the venue, email them (or the promoter for the show) and ask what the best address is to send some posters to. The venue/promoter will definitely be happy they have an artist that’s on top of their promotions game. If you can make it to the venue, make sure to check out their calendar and promote the show with flyers at concerts the venue is having that matches your genre.
  4. Aggressively sell tickets – Make it your mission to sell out of tickets when you have a show on the books. If you’re throwing your own show, print and sell tickets. If you’re playing someone else’s, ask for tickets right away and sell them after negotiating your cut of the tickets sold. The more tickets you’re worth, the more you’ll see when headlining and the better shows you’ll play in support of.
  5. Promote in advance – This could sound like common sense to you, but there are local bands notorious for only promoting the show the day they were confirmed and the day before the show itself. Find a strategy to keep promotions of a show/tour fresh and new. You should find what works for you, but I would hope there’s at least a weekly call to action of “Buy tickets to our next show!” Focus on selling your shows out. Don’t be lazy!
  6. Promote at every single other show in your genre in your city – Never miss a show. You don’t have to break the bank to get into every single show. Just be there at the end of the night when people are heading home. Hand out a CD and show flyer for your upcoming show or tour. Shake some hands. Make some new friends. Show to others that you’re working hard.
  7. Use Facebook events and Facebook ads – Create and maintain Facebook events for the shows you have in your city and the tours you’ll be playing. You can also use Bandsintown and their RSVP system. These will give you somewhat of a gauge of who’s who. They give you accounts that have clicked yes to going to your show. Become familiar with these event platforms, as well as Songkick and Pollstar. Also, know how to run a strategic Facebook ad. You can target people that like a certain band that live in a certain area. Very powerful.
  8. Give a record or song away with a ticket sale – Metallica have been giving away a physical copy of ‘Hardwired…To Self Destruct’ with tickets to their shows, and their record has been one of the best selling rock albums in the last couple of years. This strategy can be employed digitally as well. Don’t think you have to produce a physical copy. Metallica tickets are around $70, so you can justify giving someone a digital copy of your album if they purchase a $10 ticket from you. If you don’t want to give away your whole record, then satisfy your fans with a song or two.
  9. Limited run merchandise – You should want to have new merchandise at most of your shows, if not all of them. You can sell these online after the show/tour is over. The only place to get these limited run shirts (or sweaters, hats, jackets, etc.) is your upcoming concert/tour. Exclusivity is key. Making these limited in hopes you’ll sell out of them at each show/tour is what you’re shooting for. Make sure these designs are awesome. The better the design, the better the item will sell. Hire the right graphic artists!
  10. Promote with local press – You can focus your efforts on TV, radio, print, and online. These four areas will give you the best exposure for your show or tour. Create press releases that are professional and get them out to as many of the local outlets you can. If you’re promoting an upcoming tour, make sure to do your research in each market. You can hire a publicist here, but why not do the work yourself? If you honestly don’t have the time, but you have the money; hire someone. The reason I suggest to do it yourself is to create the valuable connections and establish relationships.
  11. Run your street team effectively – Make sure to get missions out. Don’t let your street team sit. Create mission ideas daily and send them out each week. Make sure to follow up with your team members to see if they’ve received the show/tour flyer. If there are printing costs, see if the street team member can print them off. If they can’t, mail black and white posters to them. For one or a handful of shows, it may be more effective for you to have a street team meet up and give your street team members the posters yourself. For a tour, I’d suggest figuring out one or two people per city that can hang up posters. Give these people tickets to the show for their hard work. Perhaps a T-shirt as well.
  12. Set up day before ticket deliveries – We all have those friends who won’t buy a ticket from you until the day before the gig. Deliver these tickets directly to them. Text or call your friend/acquaintance. Meet up with them to hand over the ticket. You can give them a batch of stickers too just for being awesome. Either way, this day before ticket delivery system will ensure you sell tickets to those who procrastinate or don’t like to make plans until the last minute. The rest of the folks who buy tickets from you will either get them online or hit you up before hand.
  13. Produce a video trailer – Use footage from your past shows to create a video trailer for your upcoming show/tour. Make it look awesome, and you’ll have a great chance of grabbing people’s attention. You can post this to your website and social media. If you’d like, take out a Facebook ad and target people in certain cities who like certain bands/artists. High quality video helps you compete with the majors.
  14. Change up your set list – If you’re playing the same set every night, then why would people come see you more than once in awhile? Change it up! See what the fans what to hear. Throw in a tasteful cover if you feel like it. Play to your audience. See what songs have the biggest reactions.
  15. Make it an event rather than just another show – If you’re looking to play to a larger audience, then give people a reason to come. When you’re announcing a show, make it an event. Are you releasing a new album? Are you playing with a band you haven’t before? Are you playing some new songs? Are you filming the show for an online series? What makes this show unlike any other? Make each show special. Let your fans know to bring their friends because they may not see something like this again.
  16. Special guest appearances – Just like making your show an event rather than a performance, bringing in some special guests would be a great way to give your fans something new. You can promote it as a special surprise or you can outright promote that so-and-so is going to be there for a special part in your set. Either way, bringing someone out during your set always makes the night special.
  17. Make time to talk to the people that want to talk to you – There’s a reason people come to concerts outside of the music: to meet the band/artist. Make it a point to talk to as many people as you can. Give them something to remember. Sign a poster or CD. Take some selfies. Your fans are going to want to come back if you make them feel like part of the community you’re building. Yes, some fans are very awkward. No, this doesn’t give you a reason to dodge them. Make yourself available. These moments are special to them, and they should be special for you.
  18. Team up with the other artists – Don’t go at it alone. You can make a larger impact by working with the other artists. Create a plan. You can’t be everywhere at once, but a team can be. Let’s say it’s for a show. Team up with all the artists on the show to create a plan of attack. Stay in contact. This goes for a tour as well. If there are local bands on the tour’s shows, then reach out to them. Express interest. Ask them to help you promote. This makes it more memorable for everyone with less stress.
  19. Limit your guest list – If friends think they’ll get in for free every time, then those friends will expect it. If you don’t guest list people outside your family and very close friends, then people will know they have to pay to get in. This way you won’t have to be bombarded with people asking for guest list spots every time you announce a show. You will also create value for your shows to your friends. Make sure to be polite when you let them know your list is full. The more people willing to pay for your show, the better!
  20. Create pre-show fan rituals – Creating special events that happen before the show is a great way to have more people come out. You want people to gain a day’s worth of great times, so set something up that’s going to create an all day feel. Why not have a pre-show pizza party? Why not have a pre-show acoustic hang out? Why not have a pre-show meet and greet for free to listen to your new album or single? Create VIP opportunities for your fans to make a day out of going to your concert and all of the awesome things that surround it.
  21. Create sponsorship opportunities – If you want to have another entity (guitar shop, beverage company, merchandise company, etc.) as a part of promoting your upcoming show or tour, then figure out the best way how and pitch it to them. Perhaps the people in the marketing department will have a budget to help you print large, glossy posters. Perhaps they’ll know a few people in the radio or television sector. Either way, partnering up with a brand or company could help you pull larger crowds. Make sure that you won’t be alienating your audience by having the wrong sponsor. This could backfire! Be selective. Use those who’s products you enjoy, and you shouldn’t have to worry.
  22. Contests for free tickets and merchandise – Make it a point to have ticket contests and merchandise contests for your show or tour. Run these contests until about a week or two out from the show. This way those that didn’t win won’t hold out to see if they’ve been selected for a free ticket. Have the people that want to win help promote your show by inviting people to your Facebook event or post on their social media about your show. The more people talking about your show, the better! Create a call to action your fans will follow for awesome incentives.
  23. Invite your friends who are photographers and cinematographers – Have your friends come and shoot your show. If they need to be paid for their services, then figure out which one or two you’ll be able to budget for. This way you can have media to promote with for your next concert or tour! If you show people what they missed in a great light, then they’ll want to come the next time. Content creators are your friend, and you’ll want to make sure you know as many as you can in every city you go to. Shine a spotlight on them as well! Never forget to give credit.
  24. Consistently improve your live show – Get better every time they see you play. Start utilizing bigger and better production techniques. Every time someone sees you, they must feel like it was better than the last time. This way, a person going to your show in the future will know the next time the see you will be even better than the last time. Get better as musicians. Surround yourself with hardworking production staff that’s going to help you with the best lights and sound. Deliver a better product each time people see you.
  25. Support other people’s endeavors – This doesn’t mean you have to go to every single concert, art gallery, play, or whatever. This means if you see someone promoting their work, show your support in whatever way you can. Retweet someone posting about his/her gig. Invite a few people to a Facebook event. Tell people to go see a play your acquaintance/friend is in. The more you show your support for the arts and the other artists out there; the more support you’ll receive.

Selling out shows isn’t easy. You’re going to have to stick to it until your big win. You’re going to want to have multiple big wins, so don’t get yourself too stressed out. Take your shows seriously, work hard, and the right things will come to you. Just make it a point to do your best, sell as many tickets as possible, and to sell out your gigs. The more you bring people an experience rather than just a live band; the more you’ll be seeing new people at your shows. Keep them wanting more. Keep them coming back.

This article was originally published for ENDER, written by Jan Powers.

25 Ways to Promote Your Music

bandliveimageBelow you will find twenty-five ways to promote your music. You will be able to use these to reach new people. Find what works best for you. Don’t think you have to accomplish everything on this list. Think of it as “What can I do the best? Will I be able to execute on a high level? Is this what I want to be doing?” This article also assumes your music has been recorded, mixed, and mastered by professionals as well as your music is “good” to someone just hearing it for the first time.

  1. Document your studio time – To help raise awareness, what’s better than showing the creative process! You can let your fans behind the scenes. If you don’t want to reveal it all, then don’t. You can create a short film to promote the roll out of your new release. Learn how to shoot and edit video. Self-produce! If you can’t, then find a friend or professional to help you with it.
  2. Shoot a music video – This one seems obvious, but lots of bands with great music put out a lyric video that isn’t up to par with where they want to be. Shoot a music video! Get it out there! Music videos don’t have a high ROI, so you’re going to want to invest in it like another piece of promotional material (flyers, posters, etc.). Think big here!
  3. Make your website your home – This is where you’re going to be directing people to that haven’t heard your music or catering to people that have become fans. This is your home base. Make sure it looks great, feels great, and is fully functional. You will be able to list tour dates, sell merch, post news, run your mailing list, and more. You’re going to need some great band photos at the very least, so make sure you work with talented photographers in your area. Your website is your business card, your press kit, and your store all in one.
  4. Book your hometown strategically – Don’t over play, but make sure to play where you can make new fans. If you can land a spot on a few dates of a national tour where the bands are the ones you want to play with, then don’t overthink it when it comes to your headlining show in a month. You can see how many of those fans of another artist come to your gig. Your goal is to sell out your hometown every single time. Be the kings of your city.
  5. Print T-shirts and other merchandise – Everyone has a band T-shirt. Make sure to create awesome designs and use comfortable clothing. You can print dad hats, sweaters, koozies, bracelets, jackets, and whatever else your fans will buy. The people that rep your music the most will also be a great source of promotion.
  6. Make sure your music is available on streaming services – This may seem as a no-brainer, but there are artists out there not utilizing all streaming services. This means Apple Music, Spotify, Google Play, and Amazon are not the end all be all. Use SoundCloud. Use Bandcamp. Use YouTube. There are so many ways that a person can listen to your music. Make sure it’s easy for someone who just uses YouTube to hear all your music. You’re going to do it or someone else is going to rip it and upload it. Either way, capitalize. YouTube is the second largest search engine.
  7. Go on tour – Make sure you don’t go into huge debt here. Make sure things make sense to you. Don’t get yourself too psyched out though. If you truly want to be in a career situation with music, then you’re going to risk it. You’re going to go out there and play shows that you’ve been promoting. You’re going to want to stay out there. The road is your best friend.
  8. License your music – There are many ways to land a sync. You’ll be able to feature your music in a TV show, movie, commercial, or a video game. You’ll have to find the right company, music supervisor(s), and attorney to work with. You’ll have to make sure your songs are registered with a PRO. You’ll have to make sure you have the instrumental version of your songs. Don’t sell yourself short. Research this topic and use it to the best of your abilities. If you don’t know, ask questions. This could be the most perplexing part of the industry if you don’t educate yourself before diving in. Also, it can be financially rewarding if done right.
  9. Flyer at big shows and festivals – Find out where your fans are. Find out who your fans are and go where they go. Let’s say your band takes influence from Real Friends. You’re going to want to go to their shows and promote at the end of the night when everyone is heading for the door. Bring sampler CDs for people to listen to. You can use USB drives if you want to. Go to other shows in the scene. Using this example, go to Vans Warped Tour. Hand out glossy postcards. Raise awareness! When doing this, make sure you’re polite and respect other people’s space and time.
  10. Support local music – Go to all the shows you can in your local scene. Help spread the word about music coming out of your city. Make friends. These are going to be people you’re going to see quite often. You’d want them to support you, right? Support them. Help bring people up. Don’t just sit at home and tweet about shows coming up. Go to them. Be a leader in your scene.
  11. Press physical copies of your music to give out for free – Kanye West’s ‘The Life of Pablo’ just went platinum by streaming only. You don’t have to have CDs anymore. If you want to promote your music, you’ll want to have something to leave someone. Yes, they can check you out on Spotify, but having this physical item may help them remember to later. This does not mean to give it out to every single person you see. Be strategic. Find out if they’ll even, truly, listen to what you’re handing out.
  12. Print posters to hang up – You’re going to want to have visually stunning album artwork and great band promotional photos. Don’t print 1,000 posters of something that people are just going to glance by. You’re competing with cell phones, other people walking by, other posters, and everything else in a person’s line of sight. Hang these up places your fans will go. You’ll know where that is by knowing who your fans are. Use these to promote a show, a tour, a new single, your record, or any other news item you may want to promote. Be tasteful, don’t hang them up where they’re a waste of space.
  13. Use social media – This is a huge place of interest, and I could never begin to explain it in a quick paragraph. You’re going to want to come up with a strategy that works to create new fans and then connect with them and the fans you make in-person. Don’t spam anyone. Make sure you have high-quality digital media. This is your online platform. Make it thought provoking and rewarding to keep an eye on. Use them all: YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and more. Create a community online. Give, give, give, and entertain!
  14. Play acoustic – Everyone loves acoustic. If you hear a great performance, you’ll be apt to check it out in the future. You can play at a coffee shop, skate shop, guitar store, a venue, a bar, an open mic, a writer’s round, and pretty much anywhere else. A hit song can be stripped down to its acoustic form and be just as moving as the studio version. Be able to show off your versatility in this form as well. Make it a point to use your acoustic option to play quick radio interviews, surprise appearances, and online.
  15. Help a non-profit – Figure out what cause you want to support. Help them. Get other people to help them. Document the process. Don’t give up the fight! Your music can help spread the word about a worthy cause. Do something great!
  16. Print stickers – Give your stickers out for free. Post them where there are other stickers at venues. Give your stickers to your fans. Give them to people who love to help spread the word. They’ll end up on laptops, cars, guitar cases, and more. Make sure your logo (or other sticker artwork) is awesome and is clearly legible.
  17. Start an email list – A mailing list can go a long way. You can see open rates and click rates as well as push news to people that want to hear about it. You can create special mailing list only merchandise sales. You can help use your mailing list to create an open line of communication to your fans outside of social media.
  18. Reach out to radio stations – If your music is great, then it won’t be hard to land a couple stations. If you’re new to pitching to radio, it may be hard to break through. You’re going to want to stay professional and persistent. Perhaps your best start is at college radio. There are also great online radio stations like idobi that are places of interest. Spotify playlists are becoming a vital resource for new music discovery. Find what works best for you. Cultivate working relationships. Tune in to what you’re going to pitch to. Find out who’s spinning what.
  19. Reach out to music publications, online and offline – You’re going to do research to know your targets. Send a professional email their way. Don’t forget the music blogs. Don’t forget the podcasts. Don’t forget your local free entertainment zines. There are an enormous amount of great people writing about music. Find out how to get on their radar. Have a story. Document to show the reality. Promote to show your vision. Music publications want a story. Give them one to write about.
  20. Start a street team – You can do this via email. Start collecting street team members and put them to work. Give out rewards such as concert tickets, merchandise, and online acoustic performances. Make this personal, engaging, and effective in each city your street team members are in. These are your most die-hard fans. They’re willing to spend time helping promote your music. Make this interesting, and you could see exponential growth.
  21. Record acoustic versions of your full-band songs and/or record a cover song – You may be thinking, “What should I do this for?” Three things: 1) You get to promote new music to those who loved your biggest song in a new way 2) You can put out a deluxe edition including these songs and perhaps a new full-band song or two 3) The cover song can be put out for free to help promote your original music and/or collect emails. Either way, make sure to have some unreleased material in your bag of tricks. It will help continue the momentum.
  22. Buy advertising – Whether this be on Facebook or a full-page spread in a music magazine of your choosing, make sure you’re going to see somewhat of a return for your money. You should base these around releases of perhaps a music video, tour dates, a new record, or all of these combined. Make sure when you’re buying ads that you’ve got something going on where new people could find this engaging and want to find out more. Don’t buy a Facebook ad and hope people react and just “fall in love with your music”. It’s going to be tricky if you’ve never done this before, but you can always make sure to do your research and ask questions with your peers.
  23. Have a song with a guest vocal – This could be a revisit to an old song on your record or a whole new song all together. Find the right fit: someone who believes in your music as you believe in theirs. Cross promotion is great, so make sure you do this in a well-thought manor. Perhaps having another local artist is the way to go. Perhaps having a big name in your genre is the best route. Only you will know.
  24. Release a music documentary – This can be your way to document your journey. If you do this, you’re going to be releasing something you’d want to see yourself. Don’t think this isn’t a massive project: it is. You’re going to be competing with other music documentaries, so make sure you’re going to pull some heart strings and get people to believe in your cause & come to your shows. You’re going to want to work with a crew on this one, so find the right producer/director and staff to make this all go down smoothly. You want this to be cinematically stunning.
  25. Book shows in your area – Help bands and artists thrive by putting on shows. It’s going to be a lot of work, but you’re doing this to help the music scene in your area. You’ll be rewarded for your hard work through seeing bands come on tour and do great things because of the show you booked and the relentless work you put into the show. If you want to, add your band to some of these shows. Help other local artists by adding them to touring band’s shows. Word will get around in your area of the industry that you’re a hard worker and put on the best shows in your city. Don’t over-saturate your time or efforts. If it’s only a show every two or three months, then so be it.

There are many other ways to promote your music, but this is a great starting place. Don’t give up on your dreams. Always keep pushing. Don’t let other people get to you. Success will come through time. If you write and release great music, then your only setback is you not doing the work. Word hard, be awesome, and never stop.

This article was originally published for ENDER, written by Jan Powers.