10 Things Artists Should Do to Get Music Heard
As a team here at Radar we spend a lot of time sifting through music by unsigned artists to get standouts on air and give them a healthy rotation. Sometimes, it’s purely because bands are actively promoting their own work well that we take notice!
Frustratingly on the flip side, it’s difficult for us to publicise cool new tracks or artists if they haven’t made their music accessible enough.
If you’re a budding artist trying to make some headway, I threw together some tips for you that can only serve to help your cause… maybe even make it!
UPDATED 11 May 2012
1. Get a Facebook Band Page:
This might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at the amount of bands that don’t do this or do it well. A majority of the unsigned music we play is sourced through Facebook, so it’s VERY important. Here’s some specifics:
- Make sure you have your music hosted using one of the Facebook apps available. ReverbNation has just launched a new one for Timeline and it looks awesome! Get it here. Also make sure your most current single is at the top.
- Make sure you have at least one current, high res press shot posted (sometimes the choice for us to add a song can come down to how immediately accessible press material is).
- Promote your mate’s music – especially those you’re on tour with. Interacting with other artists and sharing their material will help to get yours shared too (can also make you look cool haha).
- Share viral/funny posts if you find them – especially music related ones or ones that you have something to say about. This can pull people across to your page who might never have heard your music before, and if they like your attitude they might just press play!
- Make sure you have the “info” section filled out completely with current contact details and a bio; including band members names and what instruments they play. When I’m writing articles like this: 20 Brisbane Bands You Need to Know or 20 Aussie Indie Bands to Watch in 2012 - if I can’t find any information/media on your band, you simply won’t get included, even if I've seen you live & know you're good (and you’d be surprised at how many hits these kinds of features get).
- Share new music videos, music you’re currently listening to and gigs you’re going to. Fans are interested in what music influences you – and constantly shoving your own product down your fans throats can be as annoying as an inflection-loving retail assistant.
- Respond to and engage with fans – they are the people who are going to share your music around and fill the room at your gigs. A like on a post can go a long way.
- If you need any more information on Facebook’s timeline changes and how it will effect promoting your music – head here.
2. Youtube Your Tracks (even if you only have audio)
- Youtube is one of the most highly searched platforms on the web (which makes sense since it’s partnered with Google) but video content in general is always in demand.
- If possible, make an amateur video to upload for your tracks (small GoPro cameras aren’t expensive and they shoot in HD quality). Check out this one by Brisbane band Dune Rats.
- If you can’t make a video, upload the audio anyway with a picture of your band/EP/album and include links to your Facebook/Bandcamp/itunes – or wherever fans can download the track in the description.
- Tag your video really well: band name, song name, music genre, with band names that have a similar sound, even use lines of the song's chorus! It will help users search for it easily within Youtube.
- If you’re using vevo, upload a separate copy of your clip on Youtube.
- If you shoot any behind the scenes footage – which is great – keep the videos short and punchy. No one wants to see 30 minutes of footage of you and your band in van on your way to a gig eating maccas.
- Soundcloud has over 10 million users worldwide and allows your tracks to have their own specific URL so they can be embedded/shared anywhere.
- Most independent record labels have a profile, start following the ones you’re interested in and see what sounds they are signing.
- If you’re a producer, remix some current tracks (maybe pick ones which there is a lot of chatter about). Some artists have broken via remixes long before anyone has heard of their original material. Eg. Flight Facilities
- People can follow you on Soundcloud and be emailed notifications every time you post a new track, a great way for fans to keep across your new music.
4. Add Your Song Lyrics to Lyric sites:
- You might think this is self-indulgent and lame, but song lyrics are highly searched on the net. Host sites also use crafty tricks to make sure they remain on the 1st page of search results listed: SongMeanings, Lyrics Mania, Lyrics Mode etc.
- Just as people Shazam songs, they might only remember one line from a song and Google it – another great way for fans to find your music online.
5. Use Twitter to engage with fans & the indie music community
- Twitter is a great way to not only broadcast, but engage with fans as people connect with people largely via similar interests.
- You can communicate and get immediate feedback from fans as well as contact Radio stations, record labels, touring companies and get in touch with other artists – without being annoying (avoid spamming PLEASE).
- For example, here at Radar, we read all of the tweets we receive from artists (we’re more likely to read a tweet than an email to be honest) and respond to as many as we can.
- BTW if we mention you in a tweet - give us a shout or retweet! We definitely take notice of those things...(as do all other media outlets) and if you engage with us we're more likely to write about you/play you more in the future.
6. Start a Tumblr blog
- Tumblr has a really easy interface to use, so if you’re not used to blogging, you won’t find it difficult and it’s an awesome way to profile your work more dynamically
- Start following other bands, music bloggers and reblogging their stuff (if you reblog others they’re likely to check you out)
- Post all of your gig news, jamming pics, studio pics and videos – funny stuff of you mucking around together – anything that will get shared and build your fan base.
- Check out our Radar Tumblr here to get an idea.
7. Post Images of your band across all platforms
- Last time I checked 35% of all Google searches were image searches – capitalise on this. Upload a variety of band images if you can of different sizes and name them correctly: if you can fill the first search page, you’re winning. It makes you look like you’re well known and have had a lot of press – even if you haven’t.
- We live in a visual age, and people want to know what you look like as a band or artist – why do you think we call it “Stalkbook”? If you’ve got your own style it’s good to see whether it fits in with your music style
- As a journo, an image gives me something else to touch on to add some colour to a piece (and if you don’t have one, or one that is large enough to manipulate, I simply can’t write about you).
- Get some good shots of your band altogether and upload some high res images (large in size – over 1000px on one side) to your blog/website and facebook. Print media still exists and it gives content producers more flexibility with resizing for an article.
- If you are artistic and have created any original artwork or a band logo – definitely upload those too.
8. Engage with other music bloggers & your local community
- If you are anywhere in Australia – chances are there is a local community – you only have to punch you something like “Brisbane” into facebook search and a bunch of community pages pop up. Find the ones that support music/live music/the arts and talk to them. Post on their facebook walls (without spamming) and share their posts too (they’re more likely to notice you then and share back).
- If you have time and you’re into music, write some reviews for some online publications to help get your name out there.
- Send your material to independent music bloggers you find (best way to find them is to google a review of a recent gig/album release). Independent bloggers can get a LOT of traffic and they work really hard to maintain their fan base - who are usually passionate music fans. Well worth the effort!
- AND if they do write about you - share it on your facebook/twitter/tumblr and tag the publication and/or author. A social presence is just as important to media as it is to you guys - and we will always take more notice of artists who share the love.
9. Upload your music for use in Film/TV @ Taxi.com
- If you’re up for it, you can upload your music to this site and hopefully get a record/publishing/film/TV deal.
- It cost $5 to submit a song, but there are a most likely a bunch of clauses which say they have the rights to use it royalty free or something like that – so be careful. But then again, they’re an international company... and remember when half the world found out about Sia via a Grey’s Anatomy episode?
10. Approaching Radio/TV stations:
These last points come direct from Reegan, Radar’s illustrious announcer:
- Personalise contact – take the time to find out who the announcer/music director is at a station and make it personal, address it specifically to that person. No one cares about a generic press release about an unsigned band straight from the band.
- Make sure the radio/TV station you’re approaching is on brand with your style of music. Eg. Mainstream hit radio are never going to play industrial German metal.
- Be persistent but not annoying in you’re approach – there is a fine line. DO NOT spam.
11. Contact Shazam:
- They have a team of people that work for them classifying all the tracks... some must slip through the cracks right? Don't let yours. Shazam is such a powerful source for finding artists and their music. Give them a call, or contact them via their website
12. Offer A Free Download
- Record companies like to do this as a way of getting users email addresses which personally, I think is a little passe and off-putting (especially when it is easy enough to rip tracks)
- I recommend putting a strong song/the single on Bandcamp & soundcloud (+ put links under a video on youtube too) and offer it as MP3 download - a lower quality than the actual itunes/album version. That way if people are finicky about quality, they'll pay for it in the end anyway.
- A free download is a GREAT thing to promote on faceook/twitter etc without looking like a spambot. Who doesn't love free shit?!?
Hope that is helpful guys! Keep making music :)