• Event Promo Checklist

    It’s pretty disheartening to know how good your music is and you still end up playing to an empty house. So we’ve compiled a “Must Do” list for both the promoter and the band to maximize attention and get the people out to see you. And if looking at these lists looks like a lot of work, you’re right! It takes a lot of time and energy to let the world know who your band is and why people should not miss your next show.

    For the Promoter:

    1. Establish the show date with the venue making sure that your date is not conflicting with other shows or events around town that may pull your crowd away.

    2. Ensure that venue fits the band’s needs; i.e. stage requirements, lighting, sound, etc.

    3. Do a thorough walk through with the venue manager. Get the specifics on load-in / load-out, parking for the band’s vehicle(s), the location for the band’s merch table, stage dimensions, available power sources for stage, and merch table. Also, know if there is a green room for the band and if wi-fi is available.

    Sarge Tip

    Take an outlet tester and check every outlet in the venue. This will ensure that you have the correct power sources, and avoid possible equipment damage from plugging into broken sockets. Always check breaker boxes. Make sure you have enough power!

    4. Negotiate the terms with the venue; including any guaranteed dollar amount for the band, who handles the door person, does the venue have their own sound tech, are any food /beverages included for the band (if not, find out what food places are nearby). A written venue agreement is the best way to avoid complications and misunderstandings for all parties.

    5. Check out the venue’s website, Facebook, and any sources they have for promoting the shows. Scout for sponsorship opportunities for your event.

    6. Talk with the other bands to learn how they are promoting the show.

    7. Get your promotion in order by reaching out on your social media pages. Use them to promote the date, and follow up on all inquiries and comments. Get good flyers prepared and have them posted in strategic locations and at the venue itself. Do a newsletter announcing the show. Utilize e-zines and online calendars to get the word out.

    8. Make contact with local ticket outlets like music stores and Ticketfly.

    9. Team up with non-profit organizations if it fits your event. A benefit for a local charity organization can be very helpful in promoting the event.

    10. Do a promo video for YouTube. Use it in your online promotions.

    Sarge Tip

    About two weeks in advance, make contact with the venue again to be sure that they have not double-booked or forgotten to book your date.

    For the Band:

    1. A performance agreement for the band is a good idea. If the terms are in writing between you and the promoter there is be no room for misunderstandings from either side.

    2. Be mindful of your Blackout dates. Do not over saturate one area by playing too often in the same places.

    3. Be sure the entire band is informed of show dates, venue, and location. All band members need to be aware and active in promoting the show.

    4. Get your show booked far enough ahead of the date to utilize any and all promotional opportunities; social media, interviews, reviews, flyers, and word of mouth advertising. Organize press and media outlets. Read Music 101 Article on Cultivating Press for the Media.

    5. The band should also do a walk-through of any venue they have not played before. While the promoter should have already visited with the venue manager, this is your music; be responsible for knowing the stage, lighting, sound and available power sources.

    Sarge Tip

    During your walk through, think about the lighting in terms of fans taking pictures with cameras and cell phones.These days everything is shared instantly on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. and you want the pictures to look good!

    6. Find out in no uncertain terms if there are comp tickets for family & friends, and exactly how many.Know how many people you are allowed to invite and avoid embarrassment to yourself, your band, the promoter, and the buddy who didn’t bring enough cash to pay the cover.

    7. Utilize some of those comp tickets to offer some kind of press pass for potential reviewers, blog writers, photographers, magazine and radio people. The more of those folks at the show, the more coverage you will get afterward. It’s important to know who they are and follow up with them.

    8. Pay attention to the other bands that are booked for the show, and make contact with them. If they have played the venue before, they may have some valuable insight about the place that the venue manager may have left out during the walk-through. Ask the other bands what they are getting out of doing a show here.

    Sarge Tip

    Promote, Promote, Promote! Make sure people know you are playing and get them excited about the show! Coordinate a contest in conjunction with the show….where the winner must be present at the show to claim their prize.

    9. Make the show a happening by promoting a birthday, anniversary, EP release, holiday, or other event that draws a crowd. Arrange a flyer for your band; remember to include sponsors, promotor, and the other bands. Get their logos. Be sure the promoter has these materials as well. Organize your street team to drop flyers in the weeks before the show.

    10. Create an event page on Facebook, make sure it is in line with the show. It needs to be as good or better than the promoter’s event page. The page must include show date, times, age restrictions, and other artists with web links for all bands on the bill. Select an official administrator for the page. The administrator is responsible for answering all messages, texts and posts generated on the page, in addition to keeping the page updated with the most current information on the show.

    Sarge Tip

    Do Talk to Strangers! Respond to all e-mails, comments, phone calls, etc. within a few days before the show.

    11. Take advantage of networking at the venue in the weeks before the show. Get a feel for the crowd that the venue itself attracts. Introduce yourself with flyers and pre-sale tickets.

    12. Organize a photo and video shoot for the event.

    Sarge Tip

    Pictures are worth a thousand words, but sound is sooooo much better. Do a video for YouTube, your event page, band page, and anywhere else you can post it.

    Compiled by Rose’s Damned Opinion

  • Raising Social Media Awareness

    Statistics say that social media is increasingly influential to promote your music. Being active in social media increases traffic to your website and builds relationships with current and potential listeners of your music. It also increases more visibility on search engines and is a great way to reach a fan base or potential customers.

    1. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Tumbler etc. are all examples of excellent, ever expanding, platforms for advertising and e-mail marketing.

    Sarge Tip

    By following some simple tricks you can raise awareness of your band’s music and get fans engaged without having to pay the social media sites.

    2. Increase Sharing: If, you want to people share your post, make “public” so that your followers can share or retweet it if they like the post. In addition to that, pictures are very alluring for social media shares. Sites like Facebook, Google, Instagram, and Pinterest, usually focus on photos. It’s a fact that people are more likely to share interesting photos than just words without a visual.

    3. Know what is trending: Connecting with current events or topics that your followers might be interested in is a great way to create interesting posts and create a buzz on social media pages. Following other people and re-tweeting their posts on Twitter are also good methods to boost your posts. Also, talking about music, movies, or sports will help to engage more readers.

    Sarge Tip

    Know your followers! Avoid controversial or political issues that could cross lines or offend someone

    4. Focus on what you post: Studies say that photos on Facebook or on other social media receive more engagement than other average posts. Sharing photos of events and fun moments will engage more followers. Give a shout-out now and then to your fans as well. Share some content posted by your fans such as fan art, photos of them at your show, etc. For example, a famous coffee shop recently featured a photo by of one of their customers. Make sure the content you post pertains to your band. Avoid posting things on your fan page which are personal. And always avoid posting negative comments about people, places or other bands. Focus on your upcoming shows, CD releases, and merchandise.

    Sarge Tip

    Link your Facebook posts with Instagram and twitter to extend your reach and impact.

    5. Focus when you post: Posting content on social media has particular times to reach peaks. Study says usually Facebook posts peak around 3pm EST. Frequent posting, like once or twice a day gets more engagement. Keeping in mind the best times to post is always a good idea. And make it a habit to keep an eye on the analytics of social media providers.

    6. Blogging: Writing blogs about your music and sharing it on your social media networks influences people. Great content; including samples of your music and videos enhances your online influence.This enhanced marketing approach is an effective strategy to expose your project to new people.

    7. ReverbNation and SoundCloud:
    Using ReverbNation and SoundCloud is a necessity for musicians. You can post your music on those sites and connect them with other social networking sites like Facebook, Google Hang-Out to reach more people. Another way to enhance your profile is by taking advantage of free mailing lists that are available to everyone.

    Sarge Tip

    Using the Sound Cloud app on smart phones is a great way to carry your music in your pocket.

    8. Get creative! Host a “like” party. Get your fans and followers involved. Have them bring their laptops or tablets. Enjoy snacks and drinks while watching bad “B” movies! Encourage everyone to log in and start “liking” pages and posts to help raise awareness!

    Compiled by Nazia Adnin

  • Street Team

     

    Having a street team to help you promote is one of the most effective ways to make people aware for your band and upcoming events. Many think that you have to be a record label or a huge promotions company in order to start up a street. In reality anyone can start a street team. All you really need is a little bit effort, creativity, and a lot of patience.

    1. Recruit, Recruit, Recruit.
    Start small and then expand gradually. A good place to start is by going to the ones who are most interested in helping you out such as family members and friends.

    Sarge Tip

    Don’t prejudge anyone. Consider everyone as a potential member of your street team. You may be surprised that your most loyal fan can turn out to be the most valuable member of your team.

    2. Have Strong Incentives To Participate
    Always have incentives to ensure your team members stay motivated and feel appreciated. You can offer members free merchandise, show tickets, backstage pass, VIP access, or maybe even pay them.

    Sarge Tip

    Get creative, have competitions, make some custom T-shirts, and most importantly ask your team members for their input on what they might want.

    3. Give Members Clear Instructions and Guidance. Be hands on and give team members clear task and instructions on what they are expected to do. Require members to generate reports (with pictures) as proof of what promotional materials they delivered, and which locations they covered.

    Sarge Tip

    Create a newsletter designated exclusively for team members. Remember you want to be as detailed and in-depth as possible when assigning task and responsibilities.

    4. Communication is Key.
    Communicate with the team on a regular basis and try to have face-to-face meetings whenever possible.

    Sarge Tip

    Make things simple and use technology to your advantage. Google Drive, online meeting software, and text message reminders, can all be very useful when communicating with your team.

    5. Incorporate Social Media Promotion.
    Have your street team help with online promotion as well. Have them share events and pages with their Facebook friends, and Twitter Followers.

    Sarge Tip

    Make sure you have a public Facebook and Twitter page dedicated to your street team. This will make it easier to attract new members, and to gain the interest of promoters.

    Author's Note

    You don’t want to overwork anyone on your street team. Understanding that even if there are strong incentives, if you have team members who are “burned out” they won’t be as enthusiastic or productive. It’s also important to remember that some people may be seasonal and members are going to come and go. That’s why it’s important to always be recruiting for new members, and to not stress too much over losing old ones. Lastly, never make anyone on your team feel uncomfortable. Different people have different strengths find out where the members fit best within the team, and avoid forcing someone to do anything they don’t feel comfortable doing.

     

    Compiled by Ernest Sallee

  • The Job of a Manager for an Unsigned Band

    In general, the band manager’s job is to take care of the business side of things allowing the artists’ to create and perform their music. The duties of the manager for an “unsigned” band vary depending on the stage of the artists’ career. Typical responsibilities include promoting the band and marketing materials like EP’s and assuring distribution to the proper press and media outlets. But, a manager may wear many other hats working for the band in a multitude of ways.

    Sarge Tip

    Whether signed to a record label or not, you need to have a written contract outlining the responsibilities and role the manager will play in your career. A formal agreement will keep miscommunications and surprises from happening later.

    1. Financial Management.
    The manager is responsible for handling the financial affairs of the band they represent; this may include everything from ensuring correct payment is received from the venue to paying the bills for promotional materials and hotel rooms. Another large portion of the financial management aspect is to actively pursue funding opportunities for their artists, such as a kick starter or fundraising for tours.

    2. Networking.
    This is nearly a 24/7 responsibility of a good manager. They should always be on the lookout for networking opportunities to meet new contacts and introduce their band to a broader listener base. In one word the manager is the mouthpiece of the band and an integral part of the band’s success.

    Sarge Tip

    The manager should have business cards and press kits with them at all times as well as have their “elevator pitch” prepared.

    3. Promotion.
    A manager should be an active participant in exploring potential promotional opportunities as well as determining the best activities for the band to participate in. Should they play a “free” show or be booked for a fundraising event? Should they stick with playing only events booked by a well-known local promoter?

    Sarge Tip

    In some situations, the band manager’s role is to oversee and delegate promotional tasks to the band members or others in their camp. For example, the lead singer may have the duty of keeping up with Facebook, the bass player may be in charge of distributing flyers, etc.

    4. Booking Gigs.
    The manager can help reduce pressure on the artists by ensuring that they are getting in to the right venues at the right time. For instance, booking venues where they are ready and able to play, and with shows that suit the genre of their music. Over-playing in the same place to the same crowd should be avoided. The manager should play a large part in getting the band good exposure in as large an area as they can penetrate. However, the band manager is not always the one to book the dates in conjunction with a large tour. Most large tours with headlining national acts have touring managers and promoters taking care of the dates and bookings. In this case, the band manager is only in charge of the needs of their own band.

    5. Negotiating.
    Acting as a liaison between the band and the venue and / or the promoters; some of the manager’s responsibilities may be to ensure that the band is playing for a fair percentage of the door revenue or a guaranteed flat rate for the show; and that there is water, beverages, or food provided; as well as proper recognition on the flyers and advertising pieces for the event(s).
    The manager is also responsible for signing all performance agreements on the band’s behalf.

    6. Coordinating / Scheduling.
      A manager should be the glue that holds the band together, staying in contact with each member and scheduling rehearsals and studio time that make sense for everyone.  Solidifying load-in and load-out times, making sure everyone and all equipment arrive on time for every show.  Scheduling promotional photo shoots and other public appearances is also an important part of the coordinating duties. Like a show or rehearsal, this will include making sure everyone can get to the location. The manager will probably also have a say in the photographer being hired for the shoot, as well as the overall look and theme of the shots.

    7. Technical Assistance.
    Depending on their own background, some managers have more skill and knowledge than others in this area. But every manager needs to have a full understanding of their band’s technical requirements. At times, this may require them to be in contact pre-show with the venue, the sound and lighting technicians, etc.

    8. Media.
    While social media has taken the world by storm, and most artists have their own pages with thousands of opportunities for self-promotion. The manager should definitely oversee all media outlets to ensure that the right message is being sent out across the internet, radio and publications relating to the music scene. A manager should always be working to get the band featured in local print media, online magazines, and radio stations; maintaining social media sites and keeping the fans updated about the shows is a very important task of a manager.

    Sarge Tip

    In some cases, the manager works directly with a publicist who is hired to handle all media relations.

    9. Coach.
    Although it is business, a supportive manager can make a huge difference to band members when a little life coaching is needed to keep them on the right track; the manager needs to be prepared to take on the role of counselor and therapist when needed.
    A manager must possess the skills to handle everything from diffusing quarrels between band members; to step in when band members need help to overcome drug and alcohol addictions; to give support during personal family crisis; or to be a shoulder during a bad break-up with a girl friend or boyfriend. Other coaching roles include always seeking out new outlets to get the music out there, like Spotify, Sound Cloud and I-Tunes. And also to give coaching advice on the band’s stage presence ensuring that they look as good as they sound, and are projecting the correct image to suit the band’s style.

    10. Send out demos to labels.
    When the time is right, and the music is ready, one of the most important jobs a manager does is to get those demos out to radio personalities and record labels. This will help increase the probability that the demo will actually get a listen! When assisting with the business side of an emerging band, the first priority of the manager is to get the band heard by the masses.

    Sarge Tip

    With a band manager… you get what you pay for. While it might be financially easier to have a family member or buddy in charge; they may not have the skills and know-how to take you outside your own backyard. At some point, you will need to hire a professional manager

    Compiled by Rose’s DamnedOpinion

  • Cultivating Press & Media Outlets

    Sarge_jokersPAYattention As an entertainer, the press and media are a big source for getting the word out on your project. Think about where you normally go to discover new artists; on local newspapers, radio shows, blogs, podcast, etc. These outlets are here to serve you in the same way you are here to serve them. Without entertainers they have no content and without them you could never reach your full potential as an artist. Knowing how to collect and use these outlets to your advantage is a vital key to your success.

    1. Reach out to local press, which includes college radio stations, online magazines, bloggers, forums and industry related news.

    2. Politely introduce yourself and ask the proper way of submitting information about your project and if they wouldn’t mind sharing that information with their program.

    3. Develop a template that you can send out every month with your updates. Keep it separate from newsletters. You should make it sound personal so they think it is being sent just to them from you.

    4. Be sure to include personal contact information of who and how to get in contact with someone in charge of your project.

    5. Ask them if they know of any other outlets that you can benefit from so that you can expand your reach.

    6. Make sure to sincerely thank them. Develop a monthly newsletter and send them out to all of your press friends. 

     

    Sarge Tip

    Make sure you are extremely polite. Use proper grammar and signature lines.

     

    Compiled by Monty Burton

  • Managing Your Band’s Website

    An unsigned band’s website is not quite like a standard small business website where its main keywords are products or services and is the first point of contact for a customer. The band’s main keyword is usually their name and the band’s website is often the second point of contact for the fan, the first point of contact might be a flyer.The differences between a small business website and an unsigned band’s website, highlights the need for an additional promotional effort on behalf of the unsigned band.

    1. Check your site for optimization: Loads fast, looks good, all links work, is useful, is interesting, has purpose, stands out, is interactive, offers easy mailing list sign-up, has a clear privacy policy, CDs are easy to buy/download, has updated newsletters, and has clear navigation.

    2. Your URL should be the band’s name or at least relevant to the band.

    3. Does your HTML coding contain a <DOCTYPE>, <title>, <description>, <keywords>, <content-type>, and <author> META Tag?

    Sarge Tip

    Keep it simple, Stupid! Get rid of: Microsoft’s smart quotes, frames and bollocks JavaScript, loose ampersands and double quotes.

    4. Make sure everything is up to date. Regularly update any news, pictures, show dates, and other changing information on your page.

    5. Make sure spelling and grammar is correct throughout page.

    6. Keep things interesting and appropriate for the audience you are reaching out to with your site.

    7. Create a clear security privacy policy. It’s a revenue helper.

    8. Make sure your site is easily found on top search engines.

    9. Your site should give a special access to your fans that social media sites don’t do. You should have a bio, band updates, mailing list sign-up, song streaming/downloading, calendar with upcoming shows, pictures/videos, merch ordering, etc.

    Sarge Tip

    All downloads, streaming, and online shopping should be as easy and user-friendly as possible for those visiting your site.

     

    Compiled by Chris Erwin