How to Market Yourself if you are a Musician

by Jason Koertge on 04/05/2010

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So, this past Friday I had minor knee surgery.  Both my meniscus in my left knee were torn.  While I was awaiting the knife, I had the great pleasure of having a conversation with a nurse who was telling me all about her boyfriend and his love to perform.  She was telling me that whenever someone hears his music, his being hired is inevitable.  As you can imagine, this started really getting the gears cranking, especially with the happy medicine she just put me on.

Let’s keep this short and sweet, shall we?

You need to make it easy to hear you.

So, if you are a musician, and people are sold on using you when they hear your work, then you have to make it easy for them to hear you.  In the past, bands have just focused on having a MySpace page.  This was a great solution for those that weren’t exactly savvy and wanted a web presence, but the MySpace layout and aesthetics left tons to be desired from a professional sense.  I’m not saying you have to abandon that old MySpace page, just rethink how you are using it.

The year is 2010, man, and it’s time to get a real web site.  It’s not hard, there are tons of inexpensive ways to get a quality site that works well.  The best part is?  You should just start a blog and use it for your web site.  A blog can hold everything you need and do everything you’d want and it’s super easy to get started.  Now you just need to decide which route to go, hosted or self-hosted.

So you have a blog, what do you put on it?

  1. Create a series of posts that never ends.  Each post is a new song, whether it be one you wrote or a cover, this is your time to shine and show your stuff.  So, how do you do this?  Get yourself a $300 camcorder and a $100 Rode Videomic, plug your camera into your computer using Firewire, open up iMovie and record live.  If you are a musician and are using a PC, I would rethink your computing strategy.
  2. Write once a week on what you are up to as a musician.  This is your place to show off the gigs you are playing at, new songs you are working on, new instruments you are learning, new techniques, certain elements of your practice routine, what’s happening in your personal life.  This type of post is important so that people can get to know you as a person.  People are more likely to hire you if they like you.  They can’t like you if they don’t know a little about you.  Let  you personality shine here, be yourself – just be sure to edit your writing.
  3. That’s it, it doesn’t have to be complex.

Always ask for email addresses.

One of the huge advantages that bricks and mortor businesses and musicians have is that they are in physical contact with their customers and listeners all the time.  If you own a shop or restaurant, you have your customers coming in all the time.  You should NEVER let them leave without finding a way to capture their information.  Not everyone will give it to you, but you have to at least try.  Once you have them captured once, never let them go.  And, if you provide value to your ongoing communication, they’ll always come back when you ask them to.

If you’re a musician, get the email addresses of your fans when you play at gigs.

  • Have a swag table set up with someone to collect email addresses.  Tell them at the end of the night, one lucky winner is going to get a free shirt/album/guitar pick.
  • Be sure to tell them your web site (and be sure it is something easy to remember), and have a email sign up form on your site.
  • Before you start your set, be sure to tell your audience that if they want to know your tour schedule or where you are playing in the future, they need to be on your email list.

Send regular email communication.

When you have a gig booked, you need to email your database and let them know.  Not only should you be posting these new booked gigs on your blog, you need to give your email database a week’s heads up so they can plan to come see you.  I would email this database at least every other week.  If you have no gigs to tell them about, send them a link to your most recent blog post (you should have at least two of these going up a week, right?).

Create a Facebook Fan Page.

I’ll have to go into the particulars on how to set up a Fan page at another time.  But, if you know how to create one, you should have one for your band.  This is a place for you to upload all your “live videos” you’re recorded of your music, post photos of your gigs and update your “status” with all your antics.  Facebook is a great way for you to get a localized version of “viral” and spread your music across your local friend network.  On average, users spend 60 minutes a day on Facebook.  Just what are they doing?  They’re watching your videos and looking at your gig pictures. So, be sure they aren’t let down when they arrive at your page.

If they hear you, they’ll hire you.

So, all of this is to make it easy for your fans or prospective clients to hear you.  If you are a musician, the easier it is for them to hear you, the more opportunity you’ll have to play in public.  Using the web to market yourself can be simple and very powerful.  If you look at some of the big bands that have used online tech to market themselves, you can see great success stories.  Take Radiohead for example.  In Rainbows was offered as a digital download only at first only asking downloaders to pay what they saw fit.  They made millions and completely changed the music producing industry forever.  While that’s another story all together, you can do similar things on a local level and build huge value in your bands brand by doing so.

Photo credit: Creative Commons License photo credit: gilles chiroleu

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

OH BOY MUSIC on facebook April 5, 2010 at 5:53 pm

Jason this is good advice!!! – if you will post it on the Oh Boy Music page on Facebook, i’ll send it out to the musicians and their fans!

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