A recent two-day lecturing stint I did at a leading music college was rounded off with a Q&A session. The students of the Newcastle College music production course gathered to address an industry expert team of panellists including a major pop record producer, a vocal coach, a prominent artist’s M.D. (musical director) and yours truly. One of the main and oft occurring questions was “How do I best get myself and my music noticed?”.
The panel, in response, was unified that if there was one ‘golden ticket’ answer to that question then we’d all be millionaires. The suggestions that followed do however represent a number of pro-active marketing strategies that, although some readers of DV Mag may know and utilise already, occurred to me to perhaps lay these options out again in one place for students and industry ‘starters’ alike.
My personal advice at the above Q&A was targeted to those who were primarily DJ/Producer types and working in the electronic/pop/dance arena – the suggestions below can easily apply to those working in other music production, recording and performance fields (artists, musicians, engineers etc).
Get Your Product ‘Right‘
Any form of marketing or self-promotion means pretty much nothing if your product doesn’t equal or stand above what is ‘out there’ already. You’re in a much stronger starting position if your music, it’s production ethic and content are of high quality and you really have put your all into writing, programming, recording and mixing it – yes, I know it’s obvious, but nonetheless, that’s the first thing.
Ah, the dreaded SM factor – Yep, MySpace pretty much abounds with tumbleweed blowing through the windy alleys, though it still (nearly) remains one of the best resources to plonk all your material in one easy to listen to place. Facebook, of course, is a cool place to build up firstly a local friend/fanbase, and via tagging of gig photos, videos and sharing of news links etc, move more to a national then international arena.
Don’t however put all your promo eggs in just the Facebook basket. We’re all aware how disposable and high volume everything that passes through FB is, and the promotion shelf life (thanks to ever-rotating posts/news feeds) is literally just 12/24 hours. If therefore, you have a special message, link or resource to promote, consider re-dressing it (so as not to appear ‘spammy’) and re-posting it at later, irregular intervals.
Worth considering too is the setting up of a ‘Like’ (what used to be called a ‘Fan’) page (not a ‘group’). Technically, this attaches itself to your personal profile but visibly becomes a stand-alone one-stop shop for fans of your music to get news from and visit independently even if none is forthcoming.
Engage in Twitter – period – just do it. This is a valuable, and controllable strategy that gives you ownership of just what and who appear in your information timeline. Within your outgoing ‘tweets’, combine your personality as a creative individual and balance that with some out ‘n out self-promotion. Along the way, also share ‘stuff’ that inspires and entertains you and your presence on the radar will be noticed more for sure. Other, and reasonably prominent ‘share’ resources are of course sites such as Digg, Del.icio.us and StumbleUpon – may be worth the odd promo punt.
Consider setting up a YouTube channel. View this pretty much as your own, on-demand TV channel. If you’ve made actual music videos, recorded live gig footage or even just rotated a few images around to an audio backdrop of your latest mix, production or original work, here’s the place to put it. Hopefully, you’ll be attracting subscribers in no time, who’ll get notified when you upload fresh content.
YouTube videos are a breeze to share and distribute via Facebook etc and are of tremendous value when embedded into personal ‘Blogs’ (which we’ll come to in part two of this feature) and bear in mind that YouTube itself is the world’s 2nd, most used search engine. It makes sense therefore to ‘tag’ your video output with very specific, and sometimes wide-reaching (though still relevant) search words to help new listeners and viewers become aware of your name, brand and ultimately, musical content. It is also possible, once large traffic becomes apparent on your YT channel to actually make money with the site’s ‘Partner’ programme, but that’s a whole other issue and not within the scope of this article
Join us back here at DV Mag tomorrow for part two of this feature on how to get you and your music noticed in this oversaturated, quality diluted and digitally distributed world.