Updated: Jan 20
Rock Climbing is going to be part of a series that discusses what you, as an artist can, and should be doing to promote yourselves. First of all I can relate to you as a musician. Trust me when I was younger I wanted to be a continent straddling behemoth, signed to Warner Brothers, and conquer the planet while destroying the ozone layer with hairspray. Hopefully you are more sensible than me now we are out of the Stone Age, and which is why you are reading this. Teenage me expected to get signed and have other people do all this stuff for him. I was a teenage dirtbag. You are smarter.
Back then, D.I.Y was a cool underground thing, flyering telephone poles, writing fanzines, making tapes run off at home with a photocopied sleeve, making panties with your bands logo on them (told you I was a teenage dirtbag) but now DIY is a NECESSITY and absolute must for your career as a musician.
Now, more than ever you need to do as much of the work as possible to prove you are a worthwhile artist to a label if getting signed in your goal. And it’s easier than ever for labels to see how the public are reacting to your music. Sure, there are fake Spotify plays, fake instagram followers, but that is all easy to see past - real numbers matter - real FANS matter.
This also applies if you aren’t interested in that route, moreso in fact. So, we are going to start at the most basic level as I try to help you do something with that awesome record you just made ideally with me doing your online mixing and mastering. Shameless plug, I know - deal with it.
Let’s talk about your email list. First, do you have one? One of my semi-friends runs a small indie label. I asked him about mailing lists not that long ago, and he said: “The kids today, nobody uses email. They all use messenger.” He is right, but also wrong and seriously missing out.
Remember MySpace? Well, it was huge at one point and we have several artists who used the platform to blow up. Some had thousands of “friends” but you know what they didn’t get? Not one email address. Now, it’s a ghost town, and all of those fans are GONE with no way to contact them. Got a lot of fans on Facebook or Twitter, or Insta? Now imagine for one moment the monopolies commission or some other creepy agency spikes Zuckerberg and that dies too. Did you get the email addresses?
Collect the email addresses. Now I KNOW it’s embarrassing, I know you don’t want to do it, but do it. Add an email capture to your website NOW. There are “apps for that” which integrate with mailing list software like Mailchimp which you (or your buddy who you sucker into collecting emails) can then use at shows, there are widgets for your website, and you can even then use the email list to make your Facebook advertising actually work if you want to let your fans know about something you are doing with an ad. Like releasing your record, or something, you know?
Oh yes, that’s called retargeting. Facebook isn’t just for overthrowing elections you know. You can also use groups of data, like email addresses, or website visitors as targets for advert sets, which I will cover more if you are interested - so let me know if you are as it’s no fun talking to myself.
The point of todays lecture is simple: own your data, in this case how to contact your fans. We need them, unless you really enjoy your obscurity THAT much. There's no point investing all that time and effort writing, recording, album mixing, mastering and designing artwork if nobody ever knows about it!
This concludes Rock Climbing Part One. Part of a series of Articles for Artists. If you enjoyed this check out more Music Promotion Resources on the resource hub.