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100 Free & Affordable High & Low Tech Music Promotion Tips

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

100 Free & Affordable High & Low Tech Music Promotion Tips from Hypebot.com

  1. Top_100_2Never leave promotion to the other guy. Depending on your point of view don’t count on the label, band or publicist to do their jobs. Do it yourself or it may not get done.
  2. Know your niche market(s) or hire/befriend someone who does.
  3. Always think of the fans first when making decisions.
  4. Start early.  Pre-promote. It allows time for viral buzz (aka free promotion) to build and ensures you’ll get you a larger share of a discretionary spending.
  5. Take the time and spend the money to get a great publicist to get free media.
  6. Produce great promotional material and send it out early and often.  Don’t wait until they need it.
  7. Email lists must be your new religion. Make sign up simple and easy to find. Put it visibly on the top half of the front page and watch it grow.
  8. Segment your email lists (genre, location) to fight email burnout.
  9. Produce and send great e-cards. The best ones get forwarded to others
  10. Make your web site a destination by keeping it updated and including news, giveaways, polls and things to make it worth visiting.
  11. Put your promo online in downloadable form for easy access by the media and your fans.
  12. Enable and encourage others to do your promo for you.  Ask fans to put up flyers and send out emails. Put a poster online as a free downloadable PDF for fans to use.
  13. Create, utilize and reward a street team. Here’s a short article on the subject.
  14. Talk to people and take informal polls. Have they seen your ads? Where?  Did they grab them and provide useful information? Survey your audience via email, on the web and at shows.
  15. Add a free poll to your web site or blog via http://www.yourfreepoll.com.
  16. Get every free listing everywhere you can no matter how obscure or far away.  Maintain an extensive “listings” email list and use it.
  17. Enhance the value of press releases by always attaching a photo or graphic file or a link to one.
  18. Aggressively seek sponsorships. Big sponsorships are great, but no sponsorship is too small to consider even if its just cross promotion in ads or free give aways.
  19. Always think yourself as a brand that needs to be defined, marketed, and protected.
  20. Try local cable TV. Some local spots on Fuse or other targeted channels go for as little as $7 each.  Check out Spotrunner, dMarc or your local cable company.
  21. Try local internet advertising via Google Adsense, Facebook or local web sites. MySpace is adding targeted advertising early 2008.
  22. Advertise on internet radio and blogs that serve your market.
  23. Create consistency by creating ad mats and radio spots beds.
  24. Sponsor non-commercial radio and get mentions. NPR is great, but don’t forget college radio.
  25. Think out of the box with radio tie-ins. Rry talk radio for a classic rock or jazz radio for a fusion.  Radio stations want to expand their audience too.
  26. Co-brand. Celtic Music with an Irish bar or specialty shop or metal with a tattoo parlor. Worry less about money and think more about exposure.
  27. Sponsor somebody else’s event. Consider trading sponsorships.
  28. Create your own affordable net radio station on Live 365.
  29. Add a blog to your website to keep content fresh. Blogger.com has free tools.
  30. Go viral and post on related list-servers and discussion groups.
  31. Can’t find the right discussion group? Start your own discussion group for free at Yahoo or Google Groups.
  32. Get on both MySpace and Facebook and stay active. Don’t just
    set it up and forget it. Update it and promote it. Make it worth
    visiting. iLike and others are creating services to help you keep track and update more than one site at a time.
  33. Make everything you do an event. What holiday is near?  Is it a band member birthday? An anniversary near?
  34. Consider the internet your new best friend. Study it, learn from it, explore it and use it
  35. Run contests for best poster design or homemade video. Share all the entries on the web.
  36. Produce monthly or even weekly podcasts.  Consider having it produced cheaply or in trade for tickets, etc, by a local college DJ.
  37. Do anything you can think of to enhance the consumer experience.
  38. Give stuff away – backstage passes, seat upgrades, seats on stage, tix to the sound check, mp3’s of live songs.
  39. In the entertainment business perception can be reality. Is your show the biggest, best, loudest, “most talked about”?  Then be sure to tell the world that it is.
  40. Enhance and monetize the hard core fan experience with a Platinum level fan club that offers exclusive downloads, pre-orders, insider news, preferred seating at shows, etc.
  41. Go old school and cut through email overload by also faxing calendars and press releases. Use a free computer based fax broadcast service.
  42. Don’t just send announcements to the main stream press but include bloggers, internet radio, record stores, colleges and even large offices.
  43. Make your faxes look like mini-posters worth hanging up.
  44. Fly a plane with a banner over someone else’s event.
  45. Park a van or truck with a banner on a main street or across from a show by a similar act.
  46. Buy a billboard for an event or series of shows.  Place it strategically near a competitor or across from a college campus.
  47. Use one of the cheap automated phone answering services advertised in the classifieds to set up a special phone line for your schedule.
  48. Pass a clipboard(s) around before a show to capture emails or do a survey.
  49. Meet your fans face to face and ask them for feedback but how you can serve them better.
  50. Try the good old fashioned US mail occasionally.  It actually gets peoples attention.
  51. Promote “After Parties” that are cheap or free with a concert ticket. This allows you to extend your brand or even tag onto someone else’s at low cost.
  52. Hand out flyers on the way out of the live shows.
  53. Capture info from any one who make a purchase particularly ticket buyers.
  54. Ask your web visitors questions. Polls are free and easy to set up with sites like PollDaddy.
  55. Sell merchandise at affordable prices. It’s branding that someone else pays for.
  56. Get creative with your merchandise – don’t just sell shirts.  Try flip books, for example
  57. You can add variety to your merchandise with no upfront costs using CafePress or Zazzle.
  58. In this age of too much info and media, work to make yourself a trusted gatekeeper for your genre(s) of music. Use newsletters, blogs, tips, links, internet radio, and more. Don’t just write about yourself. Write about things people who care about you also care about.
  59. Carry a video camera everywhere and post short videos on YouTube.com and elsewhere of live shows, interviews, backstage, etc.
  60. Create your own related niche blogs or web sites (for example MidWestmetal.com or NightlifeDetroit.com  or FansOf____.com). You can make yourself the only (or primary) advertiser, but keep it real with info and news from others.
  61. Send thank-you notes. Not emails; written notes. No one says thank-you anymore. It will be remembered.
  62. Ask for the purchase. Never forget that you are in sales.
  63. Market to the niches. Market to bartenders in Irish pubs for a Celtic or motorcycle shops for a heavy metal.  Try tattoo parlors, coffee
    shops, book stores, niche clothing shops.
  64. Make your emails and web site useful to the reader.  Add info and links to things your audience might find interesting or useful that you have nothing to do with.
  65. Share your best promo ideas and avenues of promotion with other stakeholders: bands, promoters, labels, publicists, and sponsors.
  66. Share media lists with others highlighting things you think will work best for each project.
  67. Sell a series or combo. This works for recorded music and live tickets.
  68. Surprise people. Give them something for free that they did not expect.
  69. Create and use banners.  Don’t have time or $ for Kinkos? Try Avery Banner Maker.
  70. Trade others occasionally for targeted email lists, but don’t overuse them.
  71. Hire or befriend a geek who will help you keep up on new technologies and internet promo opportunities.
  72. Partner with a charity. Build good will and get more free media.  Maybe you’re giving a small % or maybe it’s auctioning off or selling the seats on stage or tickets to the sound check.
  73. Consider unusual places on the internet like Craigslist, sBay and StubHub as promotional tools…Try selling tickets and other stuff there.
  74. Musicians want to be actors and actors and athletes want to be musicians.  Think about how you can cross promote so everyone wins.
  75. Always make available a hi-resolution color photo available for easy download and you’ll get much better placement in print Sunday editions and calendar sections.
  76. Some fans travel so try cross–promoting with another show (by the same band or just a similar band) in another city 50 or 100 miles away.
  77. Create a special “Insider” email list fof a few fans, key media, tastemakers and bloggers for pre-announcements who love to know things first…and like to tell others.
  78. If the there is going to be a meet and greet after show make sure that it’s advertised. Fans always want a chance to meet the musicians.
  79. Consider offering a student discount or senior discount.
  80. List all your tour dates online on Pollstar, CelebrityAccess. MusicToday, Live Nation and elsewhere.  You never know where people will go looking for a show.
  81. Work to make it easier and cheaper for fans to buy tickets online. There are always going to have to be some fees, but some services like InTicketing charge much smaller fees than Ticketmaster.
  82. Find ways to your regular ticket buyers.
  83. Enhance your gatekeeper status by creating your own free Pandora or  Last.FM “radio station” and linking to it from your site.
  84. Create free custom Pandora or Last.FM for each concert event…”Get in the mood for the Al Green concert with this classic soul stream…”.  It’s a free way to make the concert an event and keep them talking about it to others.
  85. Start a short term blog for every big show or series. Post when it goes it go on sale, when an opener is added, when the front rows are sold out, news about the bands, everything.Link to it from our wen site.
  86. Produce and sponsor a cable access show.
  87. Utilize free interns. Try to make sure they are getting college credit so they are motivated to work.
  88. Use cell text messaging to communicate instantly.  Try Nightlifetexting.com or Google to find other companies.
  89. Flyer – It’s the cheapest form of advertising. Clubflyers.com even offers free flyers every month or a try local printer.
  90. A good flyer promotes more than one show and is also worth of being hung as a mini poster.
  91. Flyer someone else’s show in a related genre.
  92. Make sure all important info is on the front page of your site: new gigs, news, latest photos/songs/videos, etc. Make it easy as possible for fans to see the site is update and to get to stuff quickly.
  93. Make sure everywhere you are mentioned (club listings, others bands you are playing with, etc) links back to your site.  If they aren’t linking, ask.
  94. Encourage fans to “tag” you and your content on other sites like flickr, blogs, etc. Then aggregate that data on your site.
  95. Do the same using recommendation sites like Digg and Stumble. See example links at the bottom of every Hypebot post.
  96. As Tip #7 stated, email lists should be your new religion. A few sites like scriggleit.com offer free mailing list and text messaging solutions. There’s no excuse.
  97. Finding the time to keep up with all of this is hard but essential. Take advantage of new free services that offer the ability to manage content across platforms: > Nimbit enables mp3, CD, ticket and merchandise sales on MySpace, Facebook and elsewhere from a single integrated widget. > ReverbNation provides email sign-up, street teams and web promotion tools. A new addition allows multi-artist tracking. > iLike has made its fan communication and community building tools instantly compatible on both its site and Facebook and provides tracking tools and stats.
  98. If you hear about a good promo idea, go online and research it RIGHT NOW. Try it before it becomes over used. You can drop it if it doesn’t work.
  99. Up your promotion Karma. If you try something and it’s a hit, tell others. Then they will be more likely to share ideas with you.
  100. Read Hypebot regularly. We’ll help you keep on top of what’s hot in music marketing.

    AND, our own little addition to the list here:

  101. If all this is too much for you to effectively take on yourself, hire the professional, risk and royalty free assistance of Pro Soul Alliance!

BONUS RESOURCES:

Innovative marketing genius, or distraction from music?

Monday, August 31st, 2009

“Moldover’s new CD, over 3 years in the making, not only delivers gorgeously diverse music with meaning and musical mastery, it completely redefines what it means to “play an album”… Moldover’s CD packaging itself IS a new musical instrument! The CD is mounted on a custom designed circuit board, intricately patterned and powering a “light-Theremin”. Yes! You play the artwork and it makes sound! Only the musical supervillain genius of Moldover could develop something so stunningly innovative.”

Moldover got a little grumble over at Hypebot though – When Marketing Overshadows the Music – the author states: “This YouTube video shows just how innovative and fun the packaging is, but fails to do almost anything to showcase the music that Moldover says took three years to record.” Hypebot readers’ comments didn’t quite agree with the author’s opinion: “Look, it’s totally awesome what he did and if you think it “doesn’t focus on the music” enough… I would ask you, has the conventional major label delivery system been focused on “the music” at any point in the last 25 years?” Another reader thought the album’s circuit board and video an “awesome tech artifact, a good viral video” – and two readers exchanged digs between themselves (virtually, of course).

Whether the “Marketing Overshadows the Music” or not – one reader summed it up “they pulled a viral stunt that will get people talking about them.” Indeed they did! These days, artists have to get people’s attention amidst countless other distractions however they can. When marketing is fun, it’s a win win situation – and fun is what Moldover appears to have had marketing his music.

Booklet deals – the Monetization of Mimi?

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

mariah_careyIs matching bands to brands with advertising on CD booklets a well thought out campaign to hedge the downturn in record sales?

Hypebot.com fueled a debate and asked its readers whether Mariah Carey’s “Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel” released on Sept. 15 – should include as part of Ms. Carey’s Album packaging a 34-page mini magazine, with ads from Elizabeth Arden, Angel Champagne, Carmen Steffen’s, Le Métier de Beauté and the Bahamas Board of Tourism?

Is this a questionable practice? Is the corporate cog digging music even deeper into the dark pit of advertising? Is the musician’s art being vandalized by the addition of paid sponsor ads littering the CD booklet alongside the liner notes and lyrics? Or, will this brainstorm idea makeup for lost revenue – and as one reader commented: “I see a trend here….. free = comes with ads, no matter how you slice it. I’m okay with that if it keeps the music free. We’ve had it good for too long and I’m not against getting the Artists paid.”

No doubt, corporate Mariah is getting paid, but alas so will “Mimi” – and if paid ads could help the independent artist pay for marketing, producing, and retailing their music, it might be a very interesting and useful concept. Again, time will tell.

Mariah Carey’s CD is gaining attention not only because of the ad controversy, but seems her beef with Eminem is heating up again. After the video for Obsessed featured Carey dressed as a deranged stalker and word has it was meant to portray Eminem – the rapper came back with a heated rush track “The Warning” – and if you’ve followed any of the music gossip out there, you’ve heard the whole story. This is buzz, the best in Viral Marketing – all publicity is good publicity, and the beef is brewing nicely between two of music’s biggest hitters: at the exact precise moment in anticipation of the CD launch!

Image source: www.topnews.in/people/mariah-carey

The 10 Commandments of Music 2.0

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

According to Hypebot.com there are 10 Commandments of Music 2.0:

The first Commandment “Thou Shalt Not Worship False Prophets – Neither a record deal or auto-tune are your saviors.”

Coming in at a very, very close second “Thou Shalt Worship Only One God – He (or she) is called The Fan.”

Following the first two (which, I might add, should be your daily mantra) are Commandments 5 and 6 respectively – “Thou Shalt Blog – Your flock wants to know what you’re doing, and Thou Shalt Create Profiles – Wherever your flock may go, you must be there.”

Closing out the “Holy Grail” with Commandment 9 “Thou Shalt Share Thy Bounty. Share gigs. Share ideas. Share with your fans.”

And let us not forget the final Commandment 10, “Do Unto Others As You Would Have Others Do Unto You – You meet the same people on the way down that you did on the way up.”

Hypebot.com asks for an eleventh Commandment? “Thou shalt Twitter – tweet like you’ve never tweeted before.” Twitter is the ultimate tool in the world today which allows you to reach out and given 140 characters per tweet, you speak to your fans as though they were in the studio with you. Bonding and building your personal relationships creates a loyal fan base. Thus honoring Commandments 1 through 9 – number 10, that’s between you and your conscience.

Because it is daunting to accomplish all these tasks while trying to be creative, Pro Soul works with artists of all genres, helping them develop their music careers in a changing industry to meet the needs of the modern music lover without taking any rights or profits.

The third “Dirty Little Secret of Music 2.0”

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

Hypebot, the online authority on music, technology, and the new music business, recently posted their “4 Dirty Little Secrets of Music 2.0“.  

And wouldn’t you know it – number 3 on their list: “You Can’t Do It Yourself”. 

“There are not enough hours in the day to return emails from all of you Facebook friends, update your dates on Eventful, post new photos on Flickr, edit the expletives out of that backstage video before posting it on YouTube and still find the time to write songs, record them and then play them live. It takes a village to raise a child. It take a team to build a career. Start building one today.”

Not to toot our own horn (too much), but Pro Soul can do all this and so much more.  

Instead of waiting to magically find more hours in your day to devote to your music career, we can take care of it all for you – so you can concentrate on being an artist.  While you work on your music, let us keep your audience engaged and ready for your next masterpiece.

Find out why Pro Soul is “music business, done better” here.  Start building your team today.