Perhaps you don’t sell too many albums on iTunes, or have that many SoundCloud plays or YouTube views. But maybe, just maybe, your music is really popular in some far off corner of the digital universe you never even knew about, and all that “exposure” you’ve racked up over the years is paying off behind the scenes.Next Big Sound provides detailed online music analytics to measure the growth of bands on streaming services and social networks. It doesn’t cover everything, but it casts a wide enough net to shatter an artist’s dreams with cold, hard data. I know it did mine! <sniff> Cidney at NBS agreed to give me an artist credit for one month so that I could write this article, way back in April. Hopefully she’ll forget to downgrade my account.
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So, you’re in a band and want to get signed. Welcome to a very large club! Unfortunately, most bands won’t get signed, but in this article we’re going to discuss how to give yourself the very best chance.
Of course, the first place to start is in creating great music that people want to listen to and see live. Sounds obvious, but amongst all of the music marketing aspects that bands need to think about these days, it’s something that can often be forgotten. Hone your sound, create something unique, and make sure that your band has a clear identity.
No matter how good your music, what you need to bare in mind is that record labels receive thousands of demos a week. What’s more, in the digital age they get sent thousands of YouTube links, and get plenty of attention on social networks by bands and their fans trying to get attention. So, to get your sound heard, you need to think outside of the box and follow these key tips to give yourself the best chance to succeed:
- Be polite: being rude, egotistical, or demanding is not going to get you anywhere. If you have a bit of diva in you, keep it in at this point. Record labels are dealing with a LOT of music, so if yours is with a message that is anything but 100% polite, chances are you’re not going to get the attention you deserve
- Be brief: whilst you want to explain your bands history, bear in mind the time that potential scouts have for each artist. Sum yourselves up quickly, or maybe even visually by using a tool like Canva to create some great explanatory images
- Stand out: make sure that you present yourself in the best way possible. Try sending something physical such as a personalized USB drive from the likes of USB Makers, or a personalized print or postcard with your music from the likes of Moo
- Show popularity: it’s hard for some people to brag – but make sure the scouts know just how popular you are. This might mean including links to your YouTube or SoundCloud pages, or even a Facebook link. Other options could be to include footage from some of your shows featuring your fans. Either way, make it clear that you’re riding the crest of a wave with your fans.
The key is not to get disheartened. Try your best to keep your chin up, and keep creating music and sending it out. Sooner or later, if you try hard enough, you’ll get the attention that you deserve!
Are you looking for a way to get your foot in the door with a music agency or gain experience digital marketing? Skyline Music Agency+ currently has two internship positions open to collegiate students or young professionals interested in learning more about how to successfully be a part of today’s music industry.
Digital Marketing Internship | This position is geared specifically towards the efficient use of digital marketing platforms for both the agency and our artists. Duties would include but not be restricted to populating and updating artist’s digital press pages, curating and managing content for MusicThinkTank.com, and utilizing social media efficiently at both an artist and an agency level.
Junior Agent Internship | This position focuses more on behind the scenes agency work. Responsibilities would include but not be restricted to venue research, assisting in maintaining up to date artist information in our database, communicating with band managers & event staff, and digital press promotion.
We are currently accepting applications for the Fall Term that will begin on October 1st and end December 15th. If you feel as though either of these positions may be a good fit for your career aspirations, please submit your resume to Laura@SkylineOnline.com along with a short personal statement of 250 words or less that lets us know a little about your career goals and what you would add to the Skyline Music Agency+ team. A letter of recommendation is optional - but strongly recommended.
All applications must be submitted in full by Friday, September 26th at 5pm EST. Applicants will be notified of their standing via email on Monday, September 29th.
Thank you for your interest in our internship opportunities – we look forward to hearing from you!
-The Skyline Agency+ Team
MusicThinkTank Weekly Recap: The Musician’s Guide to the Sales Funnel: 10 Steps to Selling Tons More Tickets, Music, and Merchandise
- Randy Young | The Musician’s Guide to the Sales Funnel: 10 Steps to Selling Tons More Tickets, Music, and Merchandise
- Benjamin Wheeler-Harsh | Musicians Guide: How to Get and Keep a Good Day Job
Happy almost end of summer ya’ll! WE are in total denial that it is almost over BUT we are clear that it’s time to get back down to work. In this 3-Part series Chris Hacker breaks down how to begin to build an effective log-term plan. Enjoy this post. Love, Ariel @CyberPR
Chris Hacker here, I lead the Marketing Plan team at Cyber PR® and really enjoy working with our artists who are in diverse genres and in all stages in their careers.
Over the years I’ve seen the same problems occur again and again. An artist will call us up looking for help promoting a new album that they’re planning on releasing in a few weeks or less! And often their only plan is just to hire a publicist. It completely baffles me that an artist will work so hard on an album, spending hours and hours writing songs and practicing these songs and then spending large sums of money recording, mixing and mastering, only to rush the release without being ready and having a complete plan in place. Especially in today’s saturated climate where even small music blogs are getting inundated with hundreds of emails a day from artists looking for coverage, just making an album and then wanting to “get some press”, is not enough of a plan. An artist needs to be working many different angles and taking many different approaches to get seen and heard.
The Musician’s Guide to the Sales Funnel: 10 Steps to Selling Tons More Tickets, Music, and Merchandise
If you’ve been struggling to get results from your marketing efforts and continue to spend more money than your band makes, then this is a must-read.
Independent - (adj) - 1: Not influenced or controlled by others in matters of opinion, conduct, etc.
2: Thinking or acting for oneself.
As musicians, we tend to think we can do it all. We’re independent artists. We’ve got our music, our talent, our fans—and nothing else matters. Well, at least that’s how it works in theory.
The reality is we need help, and lots of it. I don’t care how good you are—there is simply not enough time to do everything and still be a master at your craft, which is the music itself. You need tools and you need to outsource. You need to learn how to run your band like a business, and being resistant to this fact is the fastest way to kill off whatever income—and independence—you have left.
Working for others doesn’t have to suck – plus, you can even learn to make any boss love you …
Follow the history of musicians and you’ll find a time when the minstrel played and was paid, but not always in the currency of the day.
Go back a few decades. You’ll find a time when musicians were led by record labels who would pick up the promotional tab and pay artists in cash. Far more groups were on the major circuits of shows. Merchandising became a major revenue source (for a few), and song sales succeeded because of thousands of record stores. As an artist, it was far easier to dream of striking it big.
|“I went to see a local band last Saturday night. Great music. Enjoyed myself. Yet, at the end of the evening the wife and I got up from our table and left. The only revenue generated went to the bar.”|
Look around at what you have to work with today; fewer artists are getting broadcast radio play, song sales have crashed because music is everywhere, and merchandising is weak (except for those few major acts receiving major label support).
The music industry isn’t the same as it was in the past. A lot of people have spent a lot of time complaining about this following the rise of the internet, but like everything else, it’s just change. Change isn’t positive or negative, rather it’s what you do with that change that matters. The successful musicians and music business people are embracing that change and running with it as a new breed of entrepreneurs.
In today’s music industry there is no one-size fits all model. We are all free to experiment and find out what works best for us, our fans, and our music careers. This is the true definition of entrepreneurship. Today’s music business approaches would not have worked in the past when technology was expensive and valuable connections were hard to come by.
As an indie musician, I already know you are extremely creative—more so than most business people out there! You may have never thought of it this way, but you have the same mindset, problems to solve and thought process as an entrepreneur. The key is to harness that creativity in your career, capitalize on this new artist ecosystem, and build it into your own model.
MusicThinkTank Weekly Recap: How to Release Your Album Successfully (Even If You Don't Have a Record Label)
- Martyn Croston | 5 Ways To Promote Your Music Teaching Business
- Jamal Asskoumi | Could Video Games Teach Us to be Musicians?
With all the musical titles available on all games consoles, it is likely that you’ve given music a go through the medium of video games, be it from uncoordinatedly failing on Guitar Hero to a very out of tune rendition of your favourite song on Singstar. Although video games have been scientifically proven to help excel in many areas, with it sometimes being used specifically as a learning tool, it leaves the question; can my Xbox make me into the next big pop star?
For this piece, we won’t consider the dance games, mainly because they are awful, but also due to the fact that dancing is not a requirement of a musician; it helps, but is not a requirement. To begin we’ll discuss a staple for a musical artist, the singing. Most, in the privacy of their own home, probably consider themselves quite the singer, however when put into the bright lights of the karaoke set, tragically crumble. However with the vast number of singing based game which have been released, on nearly all consoles, the humble karaoke machine has been made redundant. But do these games help our singing, the answer; no. The reality is, these games are merely glorified Karaoke machines, which due to a clever marketing team, has got you needing a $300 console to play it on.
Whether you paid thousands of dollars working with a great producer or made your own bedroom recording, chances are you want people to hear your music.
Over my 20 years in the music industry I’ve seen bands and even record labels make the same mistakes which ultimately prevent their record from standing a chance for success.
In order for people to hear your music and increase the chances your album or EP release will be a success, you need to create a solid plan before you release the record.
1. Do NOT release the record the same day you receive your masters back or your CDs arrive on your doorstep.
This is the #1 mistake we see bands make. You’ve spent months, if not years, on your album and you just want people to hear it. I get it. However, as counterintuitive as it may seem, you greatly reduce the amount of people hearing your music by releasing it right away.
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(Updated Feb 25, 2014)