We continue our DV Mag feature on tips to get noticed in the music industry in this part two today. If you missed part one, check it out here.
Linking with part one’s theme of online promotional activity, one of the next most important tools available to music industry hopefuls is the Blog. Setting up a blog can be as easy and cheap, or as complex and expensive as you want it to be. Free blogging software is available to seek out and use, and solutions like WordPress are free too but can be customised (via purchasable templates and more) to fit a users brand identity, and their creative vision. But how does a Blog actually benefit those in the music industry?
First and foremost, ‘Content is King!’ – the behemoth that is Google loves, adores and rewards original Blog content, and either ignores or downright punishes ‘copy/paste’, rip off’ and ‘plagiarism’. But what of ‘your’ content?
What Goes Where?
A typical Blog/web presence would have it’s Blog section, where you would maybe diarise certain things like gigs played, studio sessions worked or just thoughts and opinions (and maybe reviews) of some new software or hardware you’ve purchased (or would like to). Even open and honest writings on the pleasures and pains, trials and tribulations of your musical journey. You can choose to be as open as a book or as mysterious as you feel, ultimately be true to yourself and your music.
The above ‘site’ can also be a shop front for your work, holding video content, links to your Facebook and Twitter profiles, image galleries, gig diaries and so forth. Don’t however make the mistake of thinking you can lace your Blog/site landing page with hundreds of tag/keywords to aid anyone searching such terms to stumble upon your page. Google will see this kind of thing as a big ‘no-no’ and its search spiders will again bypass ranking your site highly. If you’d like to optimise your music web presence and have a budget to use accordingly, consider tracking down a specialist in S.E.O. (search engine optimisation) to provide their expert services.
Finally, and in addition, try where you can to link to other ‘trusted sources’. Google again sees thoughtful and well chosen information redirecting such as this as favourable to your own, organic search credibility.
Perform, Gig ‘n Get Out There
Ok, these online shenanigans are all well and good, but before this digital world plonked itself squarely in our sight, the best way to interact with your target audience was and still is of course to get out of the house and perform. Whether that’s DJ’ing, a solo performance or a full on band gig, it doesn’t matter. Playing your music (recorded or otherwise) to a live audience builds firstly a local following, then hopefully that builds to regional, national and beyond.
The DJ Stuff
For DJ’s, seek out local promoters or club/bar managers – take mixtapes (CDs), business cards and a friendly, though confident attitude. Perhaps offer to play initially for free and try and get the warm up gig for a local hero or, if your luck’s in, maybe an early slot supporting a big name UK or international jock. By appearing on flyers and posters (whether physical or digital) this adds kudos to your ‘new’ name and presence and enables you to legitimately add these bigger names artists to your ‘appeared with’ section on any future biog.
Whilst playing your first gigs, hand out the aforementioned mixtape stylee, promo CDs to those punters you feel are worthwhile and show genuine interest in your set (don’t forget to include printed info on these CD’s about your online locations). Again, have business cards at the ready to hand to prospective clients, be they general public interested in booking you for their parties/events, or competitor club owners/promoters paying the odd visit (it happens!).
The ‘Band’ Stuff
A similar approach applies as above for artists, vocalists, musicians and bands – it’s really a case of plugging yourself into the local live music scene, networking with promoters and venue owners, and seeking out specialist radio jocks that support live music passionately. The latter, with their connections on the ‘festival’ circuit, could also be a route into that arena if he/she gets behind you and your music.
Whilst bands and artists may not have a DJ flavoured ‘mixtape’ CD to throw around, there’s nothing stopping musicians etc in having either a giveaway sampler of their work to hand to the audience, or perhaps set up a small merchandising area for CDs, T-Shirts and posters etc [if you’re ‘that’ entrepreneurial’ ]. Continuing the businesslike angle here, another option is to raise the cash to perhaps hire a small venue and run and promote your own gig where you will either reap the financial rewards, cover costs or lose money – choose any of these options as a quite probable outcome, but this still remains a possible and viable way to perform/promote.
It goes without saying that early gigs for any artist(s) tend to be hard work, financially unrewarding and sometimes spiritually disheartening. But without this focus, commitment and sometimes sacrifice, neither artist, band or the above DJ’s will grow in profile, experience or maturity.