Saturday, July 2, 2011

Plectrum Artist Series Business Talk (July 2011 edition) for Indie Musicians

Increase Your Visibility, Generate Buzz and Interest, Attract More Fans:
You have been working hard with your band and have played several shows. The band is beginning to develop a small following locally and you have established a small reputation as an act with a good sound with an energetic and entertaining live show. You are ready to take the next step and begin increasing your fan base but you are at a loss about how to do it. The following information provided is meant to provide you (the musician) with some suggestions and tools that have been proven successful. The first thing musicians need to understand is in order to grow; you will need to let potential fans know you exist. Thanks to the internet, bands can do this quite easily. Trying to figure out where to build your home on the vast landscape of the internet can be tricky and very time consuming. We have highlighted some areas that musicians should explore.

These areas include:

  • Social Networks
  • EPK websites
  • Music Hosting Sites
  • Musician Forums & Classifieds
  • Music File Sharing Networks
  • Music Search Engines

After you have decided where you would like to be seen on the World Wide Web, you need to think about how you will be heard. Your Demo, EP, or LP should be of the highest production quality. The landscape of the business has changed to the point where your music (no matter the format) needs to be what is now considered in the industry as the “final product” in order for you to make a maximum impact. Your music by today’s standards is your business card, promotions package, and advertising all in one. Making anything less than the “final product” will result in you starting behind the eight ball and leaving you sprinting to catch up to the other artist out there who are doing it better then you.

Here is a list of categories on the internet where you should consider placing your music (in addition to your website, EPK, DPK, and PPK) for exposure.

  • Music Podcasts
  • Pod Safe Collectives
  • College & Indie Radio Stations
  • Music Blogs
  • Webcasts
  • Satellite & Cable Radio
  • Film & TV
  • Video Sharing sites
  • Your own artist website
  • Music Hosting Sites
  • Social Playlist Sites
  • Ringtones for mobile electronic devices and phones
  • Music Archive Sites
  • Podcast Directories

Music Podcast:

Association of Music Podcasting: http://musicpodcasting.org/home/

The Association of Music Podcasting (AMP) promotes and supports the idea that independent musicians and podcasters are the best hope for you to hear exciting new music. The association offers a direct link to quality podcasts and a weekly digest (AMPed) of great independent music. This is Podsafe Independent Music from New Media Specialists. This website is a great resource that provides information on getting started with AMP, Indie musician questions and answers, Podcast Listener basics, and Podcaster resources.

Pod Safe Collectives:

This phrase lets everybody know that the content provided as been cleared or ok for use on your Podcast show. The following groups/sites have been created by Podcasters to help them find podsafe music, which is done by asking musicians to sign up and upload songs that are safe for their community of podcasters to play.

List of Podsafe Collectives (a partial list to get you started) take your time and look around for what interests you but please be wary that not all the content provided by the artists on these Pod Safe Collectives is copyright free.)
  • CommonTunes  
  • Garageband.com
  • IndiePodcasting  
  • Jamendo
  • MagnaTune  
  • Netlabels (Internet Archive)
  • OurMedia  
  • PodShow
  • Podsafe Audio  
  • PROMONET
College & Indie Radio Stations (Massachusetts):

Here is a list of MA stations that we have compiled over the years. Feel free to do your own research, as there are many more around New England and across the country. This is a partial list to help you get a jump on the competition.


WFCR, 88.5 FM. University of Massachusetts. Classical, jazz, folk.

WMUA, 91.1 FM. University of Massachusetts. Eclectic music, featuring some of the most popular polka shows in the country, Saturday and Sunday mornings.

WBUR, 90.9 FM. NPR.

WERS, 88.9 FM. Emerson College.

WGBH, 89.7 FM.

WTBU, 89.3 FM. Boston University.

WUMB, 91.9 FM. University of Massachusetts, Boston. "Folk and roots... day and night."

WZBC, 90.3 FM. Boston College.

WBIM, 91.5 FM. Bridgewater State College. Bringing you tomorrow's hits, today!

WMBR, 88.1 FM. Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

WIQH, 88.3 FM. Concord-Carlisle High School. Also featuring the Fenn School Radio Show.

WXPL, 91.3 FM. Fitchburg State College.

WDJM, 91.3 FM. Framingham State College.

WCCT, 90.3 FM. Cape Cod Tech. Student-run.

WJUL, 91.5 FM.

WOMR, 92.1 FM. Outermost Community Radio. We are a non-commercial, community radio station, serving all of Cape Cod, as well as much of the South Shore of Boston. Jim Mulligan hosts a Blues program Sunday afternoons from 4-6pm called "Mulligan Stew".

WMFO, 91.5 FM. Medford and greater Boston. Tufts University. Freeform. Home of "Something About the Women", Saturdays 11am-2pm, featuring music by women from all genres, poetry and other women's writing, interviews, and information about women-related events in the Boston area.

WNAN, 91.1 FM. "The Cape and Islands NPR Stations".

WSMU, 91.1 FM. Lots of folk music programming.

WRPS, 88.3 FM. A broadcast service of Rockland Public Schools.

WMWM, 91.7 FM.

WZLY, 91.5 FM. Wellesley College.

WCFM, 91.1 FM. 100% student-run.

WCAI, 90.1 FM. "The Cape and Islands NPR Stations".

WCUW, 91.3 FM. A non-commercial, community access radio station. We seek to make a positive difference in the lives of the people of Central New England: striving to involve those communities typically under-represented by the media in programming and operations; educating the community about local issues; supporting local artists, activities and culture, independent and emerging music, and participating in the National Federation of Community Broadcasters.

WCHC, 88.1 FM. College of the Holy Cross.

WICN, 90.5 FM. NPR.

WPIR, 90.1 FM. Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Music Blogs:

Music bloggers are the outspoken unsung heroes who break the mold and pave the way for independent artists. If it was not for these brutally honest, take no prisoners, no holds barred music lovers most indie acts would never be heard or found. Here is a list of some top blogs online today:

Alternative / Indie











Heavy Metal / Hard Rock












Pop and Rock












Rap and Hip Hop












Country












Getting your music into the hands and ears of your listeners is the only way you are going to be heard and develop interest in your project. Once you have decided where your music is going to be placed, you must also get out on the road and perform live. Most musicians discount the importance of the live performance as a tool to help get the music out to the masses. They discount it by not giving the live performance elements their complete attention. Musicians that do not play out as often as they can are sabotaging their own success. If you are in a band that only plays on weekends it is highly likely that you are not maximizing your live performance visibility. Today's top acts know the importance of playing as often as possible and in a strategic manner. Indie bands should be doing the very same thing.

The following is a list of live performance ideas for you to look into:

  • Conferences & Special Events
  • Festivals
  • Colleges
  • Private Parties
  • Fights/MMA Boxing/Wrestling etc.
  • Online live stream concerts
  • Music clubs/halls
  • Parks/subways/town halls
  • Basement parties
  • Living room parties
  • Block Parties
  • VIRTUALLY ANYPLACE YOU CAN THINK OF CAN BE TRANSFORMED INTO A VENUE THAT WILL ALLOW YOU TO SHOWCASE YOUR MUSIC....BE CREATIVE!

After looking at some of these ideas and deciding which ones would best suit your needs in targeting your demographics, you might be scratching your head as to where to find some of these gigs. We have compiled a brief list of resources to get you off and running in the right direction.
  • Look up festivals in the area or region (Festivals.com)
  • Look up Music Conferences
  • EventBrite
  • Eventful
  • Gigleader
  • Anygig
  • Findevent
  • Booking Agencies
  • Online Press Kits (Reverbnation/Sonicbids)
At this point you should be well on your way to increasing your visibility and growing your fan base. There will be a point in time where things plateau and that is ok. Most of the suggestions we have mentioned are no cost/low-cost options for the independent artists. It is important to remember that you must treat your career and projects as a business. Like any business, you will eventually need to invest in it in order to see profitable returns. If you look at what you have invested in currently, you will see the biggest investment made (aside from all of the wonderful gear you have accumulated thus far that enables you to get the right sound you are looking for) is your time. At some point it will be necessary to begin developing your "team" to help you allocate your time more appropriately. Your music should be the very first thing you think about but how do you devote all your time to your craft when you have to think about marketing, business, increasing exposure, etc. Below is a list of some no-cost and fee-based publicity options for you to think about.

Getting Publicity:

PR News Wires (Combination of free and paid services)
  • These services will literally blast your press release to their subscribers that are usually press and media outlets.  
  • Of course, this type of approach only works if you have a stellar press release written. If you are not good at writing, ask someone who is a journalism, English, or communications major to help you. There are also press release writing services available to help you
  • Once the press release is written and ready to go be sure to affix it to all of your online resources that you are implementing including your EPK and PPK’s.  
  • Reviews are critical in generating buzz and attention. Be sure to send out your tracks along with a press release to media outlets that cover artists, bands, musicians, and so on. These outlets are always looking for new content.
News Aggregators:
  • These sites share links and information about a specific type of content. If utilized appropriately they can be an effective campaign tool to gain the exposure you are looking for.
Publicist:
  • This is someone who has experience working with various media outlets and has developed strong relationships with these firms. A professional publicist can assist with creating media marketing campaigns (can include artist bio various press releases for events, shows, awards, albums, etc.) scheduling interviews on radio stations, television, and all follow up for any kind of press opportunity that would be a good fit for you as an artist.  
  • These professionals do not volunteer their time. They are usually paid monthly or by the scope of a project.
For more information on Plectrum Entertainment and how we can help get your career going please visit us at www.plectrumentertainment.com

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