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A Hustler’s Guide to Gig Promotion
by Carla Lynne Hall
The saying “The early bird catches the worm” is based in fact. In the professional concert industry, a concert promoter “advances” a show in the months and weeks before a major artist is scheduled to perform. That basically means that he or she will do everything possible to promote the show and bring paying fans to come out. Even if you haven’t hit the big leagues yet, there’s no reason why you can’t follow their example in your hometown.
Some suggestions may be considered “beneath” a normal recording star, but until you reach the top, take every possible advantage to get the word out. These guidelines are based on the best possible lead times, which make it easier for fans and journalists to put your show in their schedules. When you’re performing multiple shows, your promotion duties may overlap a bit. It may not be possible to do all of the things listed here, but the main thing is to step up your guerrilla marketing skills. Rehearsals are not included in this list because it’s a given.
As soon as you get a date from the club booker:
Check a calendar to avoid slow holidays and possible double bookings
Get a poster to the club with photo, show date and time
Make flyers for handing out
Update ALL of your band’s web sites
Four weeks before show:
Send press releases to music editors in local papers. Invite them!!
Send press releases to local and college radio stations.
Three weeks before show:
Follow up with music editors and radio contacts
Send gig notices to community calendar/event listings (fax, email, or snail mail)
21 Days up til the day of show:
Mingle and schmooze at other local band gigs
Go to local music business events
Go anywhere that has potential fans
Hand out flyers and music samplers (if you have them)
14 Days up til the day of show:
Mail snail mail flyers (no later than 14 days before)
Confirm that posters are in a visible spot at the venue
Personally go to the venue and hand out flyers to audiences similar to yours
Perform at an open mic or two. Announce show & give out flyers.
Make sure that local stores carrying your CD are well-stocked.
7 Days before show:
Send notice to your email list
Give an in-store performance at an indie – friendly store
Perform live on a local or college radio show
– Hold an interview
– Give away tickets and/or free CD for lucky listener
2 Days before show:
Send reminder to your email list
Day before show:
Rest. You’ve earned it.
Give nothing less than a great show
Announce the availability of your CDs onstage
Announce your web site address onstage
Have CDs, merch, and mailing list available immediately afterwards
Day After Show:
Send thank you notes & emails
Perform gig followups (updating your blog, posting audience photos, etc)
Start booking your next show
Rinse and repeat this formula for each performance, and watch your fanbase grow!
Originally published in MusicDish.com
Week 3 of “The Recession Proof Musician” is probably one of my favorite sub-topics of music marketing:
An important part of being a musician or band is putting yourself out there so that people know that you exist. There is NO way around this, so if you’re not comfortable promoting yourself, fake it ’til you make it.
For those of you hoping that a Big Time Manager will somehow find you, pull you from obscurity, and then do all the self-promotion for you, please remember that A) You’ll have to do a bit of marketing yourself just to get into the same breathing space to even meet a Big Time Manager, and B) Big Time Managers primarily want clients who are already hustling (and will make money for them!)
If all you have to offer is talent, take a number. It’s your drive to succeed that provides the sparkle. Go back to Week 1 of The Recession Proof Musician series, and write down your Vision for your career. Then read Week 2, and think about how you honestly feel about finding success.
If you’re still with me, this week, I intend to Blow Your Mind. In the last 6 months alone, I’ve come across great music biz blogs and writers with inspiring words and great ideas, and I can’t wait to share them with you. Each day this week will be filled with multiple guest blogs on the topic of promoting yourself and your music, and I can’t wait to share. My music biz cyber colleagues such as Ariel Hyatt, Kavit Haria, Bruce Houghton and MANY others have agreed to contribute guest posts to the Recession Proof Musician series, and I’m so excited that I even updated my own articles for the occasion.
And wait til I tell you that the Great Squid himself, Seth Godin, has ALSO agreed to contribute to my blog. He has an article that is perfect, and I’m so excited that you’ll get to read it here at Rock Star Life Lessons. Can I tell you that I am over the moon? His article will be featured later this month, before Thanksgiving in the US, so stay tuned!
Since I’m not doing the heavy lifting this week (writing-wise anyway), I’m doin’ a blog contest. Yeppers, that’s right! I’ll be doing one of them old-fashioned blog contests, offering a $25 iTunes or Amazon.com gift certificate to a lucky blog reader. But shh! I’m not officially announcing this yet. All I’ll spill now is that I’ll be asking to know your favorite posts during “The Recession Proof Musician” series this month. If you haven’t found your way through this great month of guest blogs yet, I highly recommend it!
This weeks guest blogs will start tomorrow, but keep your eye out later today for an updated version of my article, “A Hustler’s Guide to Gig Promotion”.
Shake your Tailfeathers, Baby!