The actual "promotion" bit.

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The actual "promotion" bit.

Post by Folderol »

I have a problem in that I don't 'do' social media, so don't get much traffic. There's no way I'll touch facebook, and the others don't seem much better, so can anyone suggest alternatives for getting noticed?
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Re: The actual "promotion" bit.

Post by The Elf »

Re-think Facebook. I hate it too, but it's a huge element you're blanking out.
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Re: The actual "promotion" bit.

Post by Martin Walker »

Tough views from The Elf, but essentially true.

Also, as you may remember, Drew gave those of us on that SOS Virtual meet a handy synopsis of the strengths and weaknesses of having an Instagram channel. I've dabbled with other social networks over the years, but those are the main two I frequent.

I also regularly visit threee or four other music tech forums around the globe, have my own website, YouTube and Soundcloud channels, but one really has to be active in all these areas to get noticed at all.
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Re: The actual "promotion" bit.

Post by The Elf »

I have to come clean, though. I *HATE* all this 'social media' cr*p, especially Facebook. So I have as little to do with it as possible. But then I'm not looking to be noticed.
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Re: The actual "promotion" bit.

Post by James Perrett »

No matter what you might think of Facebook, it is a good way to keep in contact with music biz people - especially older music biz people. Nothing else has quite the same traction. I wouldn't necessarily expect to grow an audience on Facebook but it makes it really easy to get in touch with the right people who can help.

In your case I would approach specialist (online and traditional) radio people who could play your music to an appreciative audience. There are lots of small community radio stations and most of them have specialist music programmes who might play your music. Make sure they announce your Bandcamp address when they play the music too.
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Re: The actual "promotion" bit.

Post by RichardT »

Folderol wrote: Thu Dec 08, 2022 8:26 pm I have a problem in that I don't 'do' social media, so don't get much traffic. There's no way I'll touch facebook, and the others don't seem much better, so can anyone suggest alternatives for getting noticed?

There are lots of promotion platforms. I’ve used Submithub, Mysphera, Daily Playlists, Soundplate and Groover. SubmitHub has been the most successful.

But your music must be on streaming services for them to work.
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Re: The actual "promotion" bit.

Post by Drew Stephenson »

I've been thinking about paid advertising in the dead tree media recently. Haven't done it yet, but a fortnight in private eye will cost you £60 or so for a short classified, I reckon that might be worth a punt.
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Re: The actual "promotion" bit.

Post by BigRedX »

I only have a Facebook presence so that I can see photos of my bands after we have done a gig. I'm lucky in that there is one person in each band who is good at the social media stuff and they deal with it. I used to repost gigs/single/album releases but now all of my friends who are interested in my musical activities follow the band pages for info rather than me.

IME the best promotion most small/unknown artists can do is to get out a play gigs. For instance The Terrortones had a very strong social media presence and Mr Venom was great at thinking up new strategies, but the vast majority of our merch/CD/record sales (about 95%) occurred at gigs, and even the on-line sales were driven by our live presence. The moment we stopped gigging, on-line sales dropped to almost zero. We still get streaming revenue but we haven't sold a download or physical copy of anything for over a year now.

You could look at one of good on-line promotors but they are not cheap. IIRC we spent £1000 plus 150 copies of the first Terrortones single to get the attention of all the appropriate on-line reviewers. However long-term it worked well as we built up a good relationship with those who posted good reviews rather than simply cutting and pasting the press release, and of course once you know who's going to look favourably on your music you don't need to pay for the same level of promotion for subsequent releases.
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Re: The actual "promotion" bit.

Post by Drew Stephenson »

Thinking a bit further about the different types of social media, my experience (in terms of using them for promotion) is thusly:
Facebook is reasonably good at getting information out to people you're already connected to. But you do have to go at it fairly heavily, and the more you use it the wider your reach - you have to feed the addiction.
A small amount on paid promotion (e.g. a £5 paid boost) increases your reach significantly and can be worth doing if you have something to sell. I've used that for significant gigs for the band and for my last album launch.

Twitter is great if you're already famous basically. An average tweet from a person with a typical follower base will be visible for about 2 minutes.
So unless you've got a lot of followers who will retweet you, or you're using a hashtag that's trending, you'll disappear into the ether very rapidly.

Instagram is, I find, the best of the bunch for reaching people you aren't already connected to. Their discovery algorithm seems to be the most strongly hash-tag driven rather than interaction driven. This means that sensible use of tags gives you a reasonable chance of reaching interested people without having to go through the same level of profile building that Twitter and Facebook do.
The challenge with Instagram is that Meta (or Facebook to you and me) still doesn't really know what the product is. It started as an instant photo-sharing app with an emphasis on stuff happening in the moment (it's only recently become possible to load content from something other than a smart phone). Then Facebook got involved and saw it as a way to get into youtube's video sharing space by boosting reels (mini movies) over images, but the users weren't too happy about that so it went on the back burner for a bit. Then TikTok came along and again Facebook are trying to make Instagram more like TikTok to compete. You'd think at least one person in a company that size would understand cargo cult copying...
The other challenge with Instagram is that making engaging content takes more time. Text-only, or text-and-audio doesn't really fly.

Youtube suffers from the same scale problem as Twitter; 500 hours of content is uploaded every minute so unless you've already got a big following you don't stand much of a chance of getting into someone's 'next up' list.
The 'next up' list is the closest thing Youtube really has to a feed, it's generally much more a destination site than a browsing site. People go there to find a thing rather than a casual 'see what's happening' rummage.
The real advantage that Youtube has is accessibility; there are no log-ons, apps or special programmes required. Send a link and everyone can see it.

SoundCloud (yes, this too is social media) is an interesting one, and it's one where I've found that the more you engage with the community the more plays you seem to get. But genuine engagement takes time and there are a huge, huge number of bots there.
The other problem(?) with SoundCloud is that if people are really only interested in your songs, once they've found you they have no incentive to go and look at your website, your bandcamp or what have you because the content is already there. So you can build connections, but it's hard to translate them into anything other than plays - whether that's an issue depends on what you're looking for of course.

TikTok - I haven't spent any time on this. I did download the app but it chewed through my phone battery in half an hour (normally I get a day from my phone) so I dumped it.

This is obviously all just my opinion and experience, and I have small followings and reach on all of these platforms - it might be different for those with a lot of connections.
All the people I know making music for a living are active on all these platforms and invest a lot of time and effort keeping their profiles alive.
Marketing is marketing, it doesn't matter where you do it, it takes time and effort to make an impact.

One final point, that applies to everything apart from SoundCloud, is that most of the content on these things is visual. Image matters and, used wisely, can help you stand out.
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Re: The actual "promotion" bit.

Post by RichardT »

Yes, I agree Drew, it's a lot of work.

I don't have a social media presence to speak of. Although I'm sure I suffer because of that, it's not absolutely necessary to have some success. Getting the attention of playlisters, primarily on Spotify, has been my approach.

I think, Will, it all depends on what you're trying to achieve! If you're happy, say, with a few thousand monthly listeners on Spotify you can do that for sure via the on-line promotion services.
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Re: The actual "promotion" bit.

Post by Folderol »

Thanks for all the suggestions everyone.
I guess it really comes down to how much time I'm prepared to spend on management rather than creation :(
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Re: The actual "promotion" bit.

Post by Drew Stephenson »

It was ever thus.
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Re: The actual "promotion" bit.

Post by Drew Stephenson »

RichardT wrote: Fri Dec 09, 2022 10:26 am Getting the attention of playlisters, primarily on Spotify, has been my approach.

I'm really going to have to get on with this bit.
Time to do some research.
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Re: The actual "promotion" bit.

Post by RichardT »

blinddrew wrote: Fri Dec 09, 2022 11:40 am
RichardT wrote: Fri Dec 09, 2022 10:26 am Getting the attention of playlisters, primarily on Spotify, has been my approach.

I'm really going to have to get on with this bit.
Time to do some research.

Daily Playlists is an easy place to start. The hit rate is not high but there are a lot of playlists on there.
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Re: The actual "promotion" bit.

Post by Drew Stephenson »

Thanks Richard. :thumbup:
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Re: The actual "promotion" bit.

Post by Folderol »

A lot of ideas, in all of this - quite daunting actually :?
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Re: The actual "promotion" bit.

Post by Drew Stephenson »

Folderol wrote: Fri Dec 09, 2022 10:05 pm A lot of ideas, in all of this - quite daunting actually :?

It is, but I think there are a couple of reasons for that.
1) It's self-promotion. And I suspect most of us have been brought up, one way or another, not to blow our own trumpet and to hide our light under a bushel. Stepping out and saying, "I've done this. It's good. You should listen to it." Feels not just different, but actually wrong.
2) Marketing (for that's what it is) is a job. It has career paths, and formal qualifications, and a chartered institute. But we're mostly trying to do it as a tag on to a pastime that is (for many of us) a tag on to another (actual) job. There's a learning curve here as there is with any job, and with learning comes mistakes. Only this time the mistake isn't the wrong number on a spreadsheet or the wrong capacitor in a circuit, it's our creation that we usher out into the world only to receive a dismal or, worse, to be ignored completely.

None of that is easy.
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Re: The actual "promotion" bit.

Post by Folderol »

blinddrew wrote: Sat Dec 10, 2022 1:06 pm
Folderol wrote: Fri Dec 09, 2022 10:05 pm A lot of ideas, in all of this - quite daunting actually :?

It is, but I think there are a couple of reasons for that.
1) It's self-promotion. And I suspect most of us have been brought up, one way or another, not to blow our own trumpet and to hide our light under a bushel. Stepping out and saying, "I've done this. It's good. You should listen to it." Feels not just different, but actually wrong.
2) Marketing (for that's what it is) is a job. It has career paths, and formal qualifications, and a chartered institute. But we're mostly trying to do it as a tag on to a pastime that is (for many of us) a tag on to another (actual) job. There's a learning curve here as there is with any job, and with learning comes mistakes. Only this time the mistake isn't the wrong number on a spreadsheet or the wrong capacitor in a circuit, it's our creation that we usher out into the world only to receive a dismal or, worse, to be ignored completely.

None of that is easy.

Yes. I think you've really hit the nail on the head... unfortunately.
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Re: The actual "promotion" bit.

Post by awjoe »

I think I'll change my name to Wry Smiley - I love it.

"Mr Smiley!"

"Call me Wry."

Thanks Drew and Richard - you've described it. I need to raise my game in this quadrant. If only it wasn't so terribly, terribly, TERRIBLY boring.
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Re: The actual "promotion" bit.

Post by BigRedX »

Folderol wrote: Fri Dec 09, 2022 10:33 am Thanks for all the suggestions everyone.
I guess it really comes down to how much time I'm prepared to spend on management rather than creation :(

In the days when The Terrortones were at their most active, myself and Mr Venom probably spent at least 3 hours each every evening working on band/music-related activities.

We'd be gigging at pretty much every weekend on either Friday or Saturday night. We'd also rehearse as a band once a week, and Mr Venom and myself would get together one evening every other week for a "songwriting" session, where I would play him all the new musical ideas I'd come up with and he'd look through his books of lyrics to see if he had anything that fitted. Anything we were both happy with would be presented to the rest of the band at the next full rehearsal. That way we were coming up with a minimum of one new finished song every month.

On top of that Mr Venom would spend the rest of his spare time contacting promotors and bands looking for gigs and support slots, whilst I'd be working on the layout for our monthly email newsletter and updating our social media graphics.

Our best self-promotion strategy however was the monthly series of gigs that we ran at a local venue under to title "Dick Venom Presents...." where we would put on a reasonably well-known Psychobilly or Garage Rock band and The Terrortones would support. This not only put the band in front of a much bigger audience than we would have normally attracted at the time, but it also built up to give us a rather impressive "gigging CV" that could be used into enticing other promotors to give us better gigs out of town.

And as I have said, it's gigs where most bands do the promotion necessary to get their name and music about. At one point it seemed that every gig we played led to two others - a rebooking at the same venue and someone else offering us something somewhere else. And every gig is another promotion opportunity.

And when we weren't doing any of those things, we were in the studio recording, or doing a live radio session, or working on the next video to go with the next single...

If that sounds like a lot of effort, then you'd be right because it was.
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Re: The actual "promotion" bit.

Post by Drew Stephenson »

My most successful period was similarly intense. Regular gigs, active email list, weekly webpage updates, constant chasing of bookers and promoters.
I was ok with that in my 20s, I get tired a bit more easily now! :D

I think the other challenge that a few folks on this forum have is that they don't have a band presence, and not having a live show adds another order of difficulty onto the challenge.

Which is where Rich's playlists come in I guess.
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Re: The actual "promotion" bit.

Post by James Perrett »

BigRedX wrote: Fri Dec 16, 2022 8:39 pm Our best self-promotion strategy however was the monthly series of gigs that we ran at a local venue under to title "Dick Venom Presents...." where we would put on a reasonably well-known Psychobilly or Garage Rock band and The Terrortones would support.

That reminds me of the "Five Bands for a Fiver" nights put on by The Green Hornets at the Wedgewood Rooms in Southsea back in the 1990s. Even if you didn't know who the bands were, you had a pretty good idea of what you'd be getting and The Green Hornets would round the evening off with a good show.
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Re: The actual "promotion" bit.

Post by Folderol »

I'm almost regretting I started this thread now. I can't seem me being able to put a fraction of the effort needed into this. There are far too many parts to promotion that I have no knowledge of at all. Gaining all the necessary skills would take all the enjoyment out of my music :(
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Re: The actual "promotion" bit.

Post by Drew Stephenson »

Sadly that's the big challenge with being a one-man band.
The folks I know who make their living in music spend as much, if not more, time on the promotion side.
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Re: The actual "promotion" bit.

Post by James Perrett »

That's why we have record labels, pluggers and PR people to handle the promotion and let the artist get on with creating and performing. Unfortunately you need a bit of initial self promotion and luck to gain their attention.
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Re: The actual "promotion" bit.

Post by RichardT »

You’re right Will, you could easily spend more time on promotion than creation.

There’s no easy answer, but I think it can be helpful to specialise in one area. You can get to know how to do things, and who’s who, in that arena.

I’ve chosen to focus on Spotify playlisters because it doesn’t involve gigging and dealing with folks face to face, which I find exhausting.

Choose something that suits your personality!
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Re: The actual "promotion" bit.

Post by awjoe »

James Perrett wrote: Fri Dec 16, 2022 11:15 pm That's why we have record labels, pluggers and PR people to handle the promotion and let the artist get on with creating and performing. Unfortunately you need a bit of initial self promotion and luck to gain their attention.


James, the whole DIY homerecording experiment has been a ton of fun that demonstrated the truth that you can't wear all the hats. Not well, anyway. Not happily, anyway.
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Re: The actual "promotion" bit.

Post by Drew Stephenson »

awjoe wrote: Sat Dec 17, 2022 12:14 am
James Perrett wrote: Fri Dec 16, 2022 11:15 pm That's why we have record labels, pluggers and PR people to handle the promotion and let the artist get on with creating and performing. Unfortunately you need a bit of initial self promotion and luck to gain their attention.


James, the whole DIY homerecording experiment has been a ton of fun that demonstrated the truth that you can't wear all the hats. Not well, anyway. Not happily, anyway.

Well, I think that depends on your definition of success and what makes you happy. :)
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Re: The actual "promotion" bit.

Post by awjoe »

I guess so. But for most people most of the time? Of all the people who home record, what percentage have the talent and the hours in the day (and the interest!) to do all the roles of:

Writer

Performer

Recordist

Mixer

Mastering Engineer

Promoter

Possibly booking manager

Pizza fetcher and coffee maker

Hey! I've stumbled on an article for Sound on Sound! "The Man With Eight Hats (And His Music Isn't Half Bad, Either!) ;)
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Re: The actual "promotion" bit.

Post by Drew Stephenson »

True.

awjoe wrote: Sat Dec 17, 2022 2:57 pm Hey! I've stumbled on an article for Sound on Sound! "The Man With Eight Hats (And His Music Isn't Half Bad, Either!) ;)

But now you have to find such a person! :D
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