Time To Get Some Press Exposure
Whether it’s coming from MarsBands, Nanobot, your local Independent radio stations, local papers, or if you’re truly fortunate, local TV, you’re going to want some press exposure. Now you don’t have millions of dollars to bombard people with your name and music 24/7 like the big labels do, so you have to be smart about what you do. You can’t just create a press-bomb and try everything all at once and hope something works. That’s foolish, and expensive. It’s also very important that you don’t rush this step. If you haven’t played enough shows and you don’t have enough music, your reviews will be few and far between and many of them will not be good. You’ve got to practice and get your stuff down pat.
Now if you know someone who blogs about bands or music, good for you! Perhaps you can get them to write up a review about you and your music. If you are friends with someone who works at your local newpaper, great, try to get them to write something up about you. If you don’t have any friends in high places things are going to be harder for you, but not impossible. You’ll just have to work extra hard and not let rejection get you down. Remember I was talking about rejection on the very first page? This is where you’ll get the bulk of it.
You need people to write/say stuff about you. You need help from the press because you can only do so much and every band’s bio says “we’re super awesome and the next big thing”. You need someone to verify your hype. Additionally, you can make all your accounts online and join a ton of forums, but you still won’t have the reach that blogs, review sites, radio, newspaper, or TV has. However, getting those places to write/say something for or about you will be a pain. You will be ignored. You will be told “no”. You might even be told “yes” and then get a stinging review. It will hurt. It will suck. You will get over it. If anything, it should make you angry and then you use that anger to keep you going. To prove to the naysayers that you were right and they were wrong.
There are a ton of sites and blogs out there that review Independent and unsigned bands and artists for free. Some, like MarsBands, will only review you if they like your sound. Some will write a review for you no matter what. Those reviews won’t be very good, accurate, or helpful. It will just look like something you wrote up about yourself. There are even sites that will write a sparkling review for anyone, provided you hand over some cash. Don’t do that. If you can’t get reviews based on the quality of your music, you won’t fool anyone by purchasing a good review and you’ll waste your money. Many sites have ways for you to submit your music to them for the chance of being reviewed. For example, at the top of every page on MarsBands, you can click on “Submit”, fill out the form and we’ll give your music a listen.
Other sites will ask you to email them with your info and a couple MP3s or link to download them. If you are sending out emails or conversing with a blog or site in any way, you’ll be tempted to make a generic email that you can send out to a bunch of people all at once. DON’T. That’s a great way to NOT get reviewed. Be unique with each email you send out asking for a review. Do some looking around on the site to show you’re interested. Knowing the name of who you’re emailing is a huge bonus. Be personable. Be funny. Think about it: These sites are probably getting 100s of emails a month from musicians begging for a review. You’ve got to stand out from the pack. You’re creative – figure something out.
If you have a local newspaper, maybe find out if they have some writer who checks out local bands and artists. Many do, believe it or not. If they have such a writer, ask if they’ll come check out your next show. If they don’t have such a writer, ask if you can buy an ad-space. They should be pretty cheap. In your ad-space put your next couple shows (assuming they are local venues), your band name (clearly and boldly), and a very short description of your music or a very short excerpt from a particularly good review. Don’t forget, Indieonthemove.com gives you a list of newspapers that you can contact while you’re touring. Use them. Get some press away from home.
Independent Radio Stations
I am pretty fortunate. St. Louis is a great place for musicians. There are all kinds of music related websites, papers, zines, etc. around here. People love music in St. Louis. And one of the best things about Independent music in St. Louis is that we have a friend in KDHX. KDHX is a radio station that caters to the Independent musicians and artists off all kinds. They’ve been talking the talk and walking the walk for over 25 years now. If you’re lucky enough to have a radio station who serves the Independent musician, go to them. They will help you in some way. I promise.
Go to your local news station(s) and see what they can do for you. Maybe they are hosting a party or fundraiser somewhere and could use a little live entertainment. Maybe they’ll use your music as background music in a broadcast. Maybe they’ll even let you perform on live TV, like Barley Station, Beth Bombara and Miss Jubliee were able to (with a little help from MarsBands). You’ll be surprised how much you can accomplish with a well-phrased email or polite phone conversation.
When you get a review from a blog or review site, a local newspaper, or if you get airtime on local radio or TV, you need to share that on your site. Have a Press page and put all your reviews and good things said about you there. You can even put Press reviews on your ReverbNation page. Showing the world that other people like you creates validity to you saying how good your band or music is. Without that proof, it’s just hype. Flaunt those positive reviews!
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