Do your research
Research is not just the job of the music journalist writing the article on you. If you’re a small band, trying to get your music out there without the help of a PR agency then it’s important that you familiarise yourself with the site you want your music to be featured on. Many independent blogs have specific instructions detailing how to send your music in for review. It can take two minutes to familiarise yourself with their preferred format (e.g. do they prefer SoundCloud links or dropbox files with MP3s?) but it can be the difference between your music getting listened to, or tossed aside because you can’t follow a simple instruction.
There’s nothing more infuriating than a band or a PR agent who sends emails on the dot every hour asking when the review of so and so’s debut single is going to be posted. We get it, it’s pretty exciting hearing what other people think of your work, but pestering us isn’t going to get us to write the piece any faster. If anything, it might mean we don’t run articles on you in future because you clog up our inboxes with your constant pestering.
Use social media to your advantage
Social media usage can make or break a band. Use it correctly – to foster a positive and two-way relationship with your fans – and you’ll find the audiences at your gigs growing tenfold. Two great examples of artists who have used social media to boost their careers in recent months are RATBOY (who runs a ‘Rat Pack’ Facebook group to speak to fans of his music) and The Sherlocks, who used Twitter to get their music into as many peoples’ DMs as possible. It’s important that you regularly update your social media with information about tour dates, upcoming releases etc. but make sure that you inject some personality in there too – something that will distinguish you from everyone else who is trying to make it big time. A great example is Pleasure House’s recent tweet about merchandise (Warning: this is not PG):
Play every gig as if all your favourite artists are present
Realistically, there’s probably not going to be a rep for Sony at the pub down the road which you’re playing 7pm on a Thursday evening, but the music industry can be unpredictable, therefore it’s important to always be prepared. You never know when Steve, who is friends with John who works for Sue who knows Gary Powell from the Libertines will be having a pint in your local. If you play every gig as if all your favourite artists are present, bringing your A game to every performance – no matter how big or small the crowd is – then if someone important does happen to be present, then you’ve already done everything you can to impress them and you can only hope that they’ll bring you to the attention of someone who can help you into the spotlight.
Support other bands
Music, like journalism, is a very nepotistic industry. Often, it’s about who you know rather than how good you are. Whilst making sure you’re the very best you can be, another thing you can do to ensure your music reaches as many people as possible is supporting other upcoming bands – not just from your local scene, but from across the country. Share links to their music on SoundCloud and they’ll hopefully do the same for you. Go to their gigs, make sure you get involved and mosh, and you’ll find the crowds at your own shows starting to be packed out with more and more people. Make sure you get down to show support for support acts as well, as the road to headlining your own gig can be a long and arduous process. You can even gig swap – arrange a gig in your own city for one another and play to a new crowd of people!