Musicians work hard, playing gigs weekend after weekend at different venues. How can you as a musician, get yourself some press coverage in the local paper, or in the newspapers that are distributed in other locales where you play?
You’re busy making and practicing your music. When you are playing out, you want people to come to your shows, enjoy the tunes, and maybe even buy some merchandise.
Perhaps you don’t have any money, which means a zero budget for publicity.
Knowing how to work the local media, and not just hang posters in the clubs where you play, will translate into larger crowds, a larger following, and hopefully, more commercial success for you and your band.
DIY Publicity for Musicians and Bands
DIY Publicity for Musicians and Bands: 1. Send in a Schedule
Type up a schedule of upcoming gigs, even if some of the dates are tentative. Include the date, including the year somewhere on the schedule, the time and the name of the venue and the city where the venue is located.
At the very least, send in a schedule of upcoming gigs to the local media. It does not have to be fancy, just legible.
DIY Publicity Success: You will be listed in any events or calendar section.
Insider Tip: If you or your band play any out of town gigs, be sure to contact the local media in those locales. The local media especially arts papers ,are always looking for new bands to cover, because the same bands tend to dominate a local music scene.
DIY Publicity for Musicians and Bands: 2. Take a Photograph that Reflects Musical Style
The next thing you need to do to promote your band is to have a professionally-shot photograph, of you, the solo musician, or of your band. The photograph should reflect your personal and musical style.
This will take some conversation with the photographer, to get at the heart of the image you’d like your photograph to portray.
The photograph should also convey the band’s mood – are you edgy? cutting edge? folksy? rock? punk? acoustic? Celtic? Whatever flavor of music you play, have the photograph reflect it in some way.
For example, sending in a standard publicity head shot when your band is heavy metal will seem odd to anyone who sees it. A standard head shot is best used by classical or folk musicians.
DIY Publicity Success: A photograph can get you a “pick of the week” on the calendar, or simply more space in the calendar.
Insider’s Tip: Also be sure all band members are present in the photos. Schedule the photography session according to the availability of all band members. There is no better way to make a fellow band member angry than to have publicity shots taken without them there.
DIY Publicity for Musicians and Bands: 3. Create a Band Bio
Create either a biography of yourself, as a solo musician, or if you are part of a band, a history of the band. Include interesting tidbits of information like how the band got its name, and how the band first got together. The band history should also include short biographies (a couple of sentences long) for each band member, and include which instrument they play.
DIY Publicity Success: Sending in a band history and a short biography of the band, along with the schedule and a photograph could get you an interview, and maybe a small feature in the paper.
Insider’s Tip: Include enough factual information in the biography and history for the newspaper to use as background, but leave them wanting to know more about the band. A couple of paragraphs is all you need. Do not send in a ten page band history.
DIY Publicity for Musicians and Bands: 4. Obtaining a Show Review
When your band has played out enough, or together enough, for you all to feel comfortable with a music review, contact the newspaper with the above information, highlighting local and important gigs.
DIY Publicity Success: A review of your band and live show in the arts and entertainment section.
Insider’s Tip: To get a full review of the show, send tickets or “comp” the local reviewers by putting his or her name on the list, and personally inviting them by phone, email or mail to review your show.
You can create even more interest in your band if you also send along a demo CD. This could also get you a CD review by the music reviewer.
DIY Publicity for Musicians and Bands: 5. Obtaining a CD Review
In addition to the standard schedule, photo and band history and bio, send along a CD of your music.
DIY Publicity Success: A review of your CD and or music in local paper.
Insider’s Tip: Technically, journalists including music editors, are not supposed to accept any “gifts” of any kind. However, this practice is always broken. Music editors receive free CDs and other music items all the time. Editors are like anyone else, they like to get cool things in the mail. Send along a couple ofbumper stickers, buttons, or even a t-shirt, if you have any on hand.
When trying to encourage local press coverage for your gigs, always include a contact name, a good phone number, and send in your information as far in advance as you have it.