Music Connection had a great article (awhile back) called “Don’t Throw Your Music to the Wind: 20 Smart Things to Do With Your CD” that I thought I would share on the blog… I know as an independent artist it’s difficult sometimes to launch your product that you’ve worked so hard creating… and I wanted to spread some information…
because it’s a long article i’m breaking it down into part 1 and part 2… and i know it’s a bit overwhelming but remember baby steps and do what you feel connects with you…happy learning…
11-Contact the Press/Media-Press is an effective way to make people aware of your CD. Send a press kit with a press release announcing your CD to people at local and national press. Make calls or send e-mails to see if the press person wants a full package or just the CD with a one-sheet and your online information. Begin with local press and work your way up. Each clip you get will enhance your story and can lead to more opportunities. Talk to independent publicists to see if you can afford one. Ellyn Harris advises to at least consult with a publicist to make sure your direction is the most effective.
12-Send to Radio-Getting radio play is tough, but not impossible. Do research to find stations that might play your CD. College and Public Radio stations are most likely to play independent music, but some commercial stations-especially in smaller markets might also cooperate. Many are listed by city in the Musician’s Atlas. Music Connection publishes an annual directory of select radio stations. Look on websites for artists who are similar to you and see where they are getting airplay. Focus on regions where you have gigs and your CD for sale. Most radio stations do not need a full press kit. A one-sheet that tells your story and a CD, is enough. Then follow up with a phone call.
13-Make friends in Record Stores-Good relationships with retail folks provide great allies. While it costs money to get a CD on a rack or into a listening station, sometimes a retailer can slip yours into an empty spot-for free-if they like you. When you promote in a region, Beth Wood says, “Take a handful of CDs to a record store and make a consignment deal- even some major chanins sell indie CDs on consignment. Check in with the stores occasionally and collect money if they sold.” People in record shops often have industry contacts or marketing suggestions. Show appreciation when stores help you and they will do it again.
14-Release Party-If you have a record release party, choose a venue with a good sound system. Try to cut a deal with the club. If they fell you will bring a large crowd, you may get more opportunities. Only have an event like this if you expect lots of people will attend. Send special invitations to the media, radio people, agents, managers, retailers and anyone in the music industry who might be valuable. Invite fans, other musicians, and those who helped with the record. Encourage everyone to come so you fill the room.
15-Non-Traditional Stores-Creatively target non-traditional outlets to see CDs. Bookstores and cafes work for certain genres. Alex Woodard’s CDs are in furniture stores. They are played and people see them displayed near the cash register. He says, “It’s better than the traditional route, because there’s no competition. I’m working on getting my record into clothing and other retail stores.” Think outside of the box: where to potential fans shop, and is music played there? Offer a POP box on consignment. Ask fans to bring promotional material to stores. Indie artist Ezina Moore says, “I sell CDs at my doctor’s office, airports, clothing boutiques, nail and beauty salons.” Moore played her CD and sold it while working at a MAC Cosmetics counter. She then got other MAC stores to play it too. Ask your fans for suggestions.
16-Brand Online-Create as much visibility online as you can. Get your music onto sites like MySpace.com and Sonicbids.com. The Indie Bible lists most of them. Pursue online reviews and radio play. Target sites that are best for your music. Have a well designed website to promote and sell your music. Stream your whole album so potential fans can hear it. If they like it, they will buy it. Have CDs for sale through online stores, especially CDBaby, and on digital download sites. Offer a free ringtone to fans by using the software at xingtones.com as a perk when they buy a CD. Get your songs reviewed at garageband.com, which can lead to radio play if you chart.
17-Get on the Radar of Distributors-You don’t need distribution if there’s no demand for you CD. Generate a buzz that creates one. Keep in touch with potential distributors to make them aware of your progress. Send them a one-sheet when you have a “story.” Start with local distributors in markets with fans. National distribution requires a marketing campaign on a national level that shows you are a serious label, even if you are the label’s only artist. Michael Bull, VP of Label Relations at Caroline Distribution, says, “We like labels with great records and the knowledge, desire, and means to market and sell them effectively.” Distributors will want your CD once there is a demand.
18-Contact Music Supervisors-The licensing market for indie music is strong. Getting music into film and television generates a good income and more visibility. Explore opportunities for getting a song into film, TV, advertisements, video games, ringtones, and less obvious avenues where music is used, such as on airplanes. Why would Music supervisors want indie music? Because you can act much faster than big labels and you will most likely ask for less money. Create a webpage with your songs streamed and the music described in detail. Send music supervisors and producers there. Network whenever you can at events where Music Supervisors speak.
19-Tour Tour Tour-Touring allows you to attract new fans who will buy your CD. Find alternative venues where CD sales are more profitable. Beth Wood says, “House concerts can be very lucrative. Lots of folks buy CDs.” Alex Woodard’s house concerts are booked through his street team. “I sell lots of CDs. It’s all about word-of-mouth.” Festivals, amusement parks, Sea World, etc. attract hundreds or thousands of people who are more likely to buy a CD than someone at a club. Wood says, “I find festivals very lucrative. They offer the chance to perform for hundreds of people who might not have heard you before and a chance to reach a diverse group of people. Most festivals are happy to let you sell CDs.”
20-Give Away Free Samples-Major labels only care about sales, so they are scared of fans getting music for free. Indie artists, however, concentrate on developing loyal fans who will buy the studio-recorded CD if they like the free music. Tape your gigs and let fans download the best recordings or burn them on CDs and distribute them. It is a great form of promotion. Rich Hardesty says, “I give away live CDs recorded at shows, because it keeps fans coming back and they pass them around. My music ends up on the internet. I’m not worried about it being passed around, because it creates new fans. That’s the bottom line.” Fans are always the power behind selling more CDs.
wishing you immense success and endless inspiration!!!