Promoting can make or break a show. We've asked Musicpage.com founder, David Codr to share some fantastic tips on getting your name out there, and making contacts in the world of shows. Read on to share in his wisdom.
Hey, have you listed any of your merch in the FNO Marketplace yet? It's free to list and you only pay a small fee when your item sells. Read more about fees here.
As always, if you have any particular topics you'd like to see covered here, or if you'd like to contribute an article to the FNO newsletters - drop me a line!
FNO Newsletter Editor
Guerrilla Promotion and Artist Development
By David Codr
Founder of Musicpage.com
After promoting or producing around 1,000 concerts, managing bands, booking tours and scouting talent, you pick up a few tricks of the trade. Thats how I started doing artist development work. The gang at Festival Network Online asked if I would share a few of my artist development techniques in this newsletter.
So if you are looking for some artist development techniques, read on.
Getting People to Hand out Your Flyers For You
Id bet less that 5% of all the venues we list on Musicpage.com have any scratch paper. So if you are at a bar and ask for something to write on, a napkin or coaster is likely what you will get.
Use this inexpensive trick to get the bar staff to hand out flyers for you until your next show.
Design a simple quarter page (4.25 inches wide by 5.5 inches tall) black and white single sided flyer for your next show at a venue. Make sure the show on the flyer is at least one month after your next show at that venue. Better still if the flyer is for the next 2-3 shows you have AT THAT SAME VENUE. Make sure you do NOT have any shows listed for any other venues on the flyer.
Print up a page with the flyer ad displayed in quarters (4 times) as shown. Send the page to Kinkos and ask them to print up 25-50 pages, then cut the flyers down into quarters. This will get you 100 - 200 individual flyers.
Here is the twist. Have Kinkos gum the flyers into a single tablet, but position the artwork facing down. So the finished product looks like a stack of blank paper. But instead of being blank, its just blank on the front. The back side shows your flyer as shown here.
At your next gig at this venue, ask a bartender if they have any scratch paper after you load in. When they offer you a napkin, you pull out your tablet and tell the bartender your made some scratch paper just for them. Explain the promotion to the bartender so they dont think you are trying to pull a fast one. Bars will throw your tablet away if a bar they compete with is listed on your flyer. This is exactly why you dont list any other venues on the flyer.
If you work it right, you will have the bartenders handing out flyers for your next show (or shows there) for you for the next few months.
Whenever I want to start working with someone new, I always do some research first. Never call and ask who you should talk to if you can avoid it. Thats actually one of the things Musicpage.com does so well. We list the contact names, titles and number of the music pros for the businesses we list. This way you know who to talk to before you call.
But finding out who to talk to is only the first step. Remember when you are calling a venue talent buyer or reporter, you are probably one of 100 bands calling that week for the same reason. You may be the best band, but how is the music pro supposed to know that? Every band says they are the best. But most music pros dont have the time to check out every band that calls them. There just isnt enough time in the day.
So before you call someone, read the bio on their personal Musicpage, look them up on facebook or google them. Find out where they used to work, what else they have done and anything else that is relevant. You may find an interview they have given where they list the things they hate or love about their job.
This way when you call them, you have some information you can reference if it comes up in the conversation. Maybe they list a hobby that you also enjoy. If the subject comes up and you mention it, your brief call can turn into a much longer and more productive one. You just moved from one of 100 bands calling - to a guy in a band who shares a common interest with the person who books the club's shows.
So now you have broken though and started to build a relationship with this person. Anyone who has spent time in the industry will tell you its all about building relationships. But a single phone call isnt going to do that. You're going to need to follow up with them. And when you do, you better remember what you talked about the last time.
But if you are in a touring band, this is probably one of dozens of people you will be talking to. Usually only every other month or so. That makes remembering your last conversation nearly impossible - unless you took some notes to refresh your memory.
So when you talk to someone new, keep a record of your conversation and make sure you have those notes handy next time you call. If you dont have a contact database, a free feature on Musicpage can do the same thing for you.
Every profile on Musicpage includes an Add Your Own Private Note button. Pressing that button lets you add the notes about your conversation to their profile. Since its a private note, they cant read it. Only you can. So every time you come back to their page to get their phone number - you can read the notes you left for yourself. This will make it seem like you have a photographic memory since you remember even the smallest details of a conversation from weeks or months earlier.
Another rule about contacting music pros. If the only time you call them is to ask for something, you wont be building a very successful relationship. Thats why i have this rule; If I may need to ask for something from someone in the future, I make sure i call them 2-3 times without asking for anything first. This way i know whats going on in their life and am making an honest effort to build a legitimate relationship with them. This will make it easier for you to get through to the person since every time you call, you arent asking for something.
People like working with and helping people they know. Make sure the pros you want to work with, know you.
- David Codr
David is the founder of Musicpage.com, a secure online community built to help musicians find and connect with music industry professionals from all over the country. Musicpage is free to use, but reserved exclusively for use by Musicians and Music professionals. To create your own Musicpage for free, visit www.musicpage.com