So as I’m doing more artist consulting this month, I’ve noticed that a few of these guys and girls are really struggling on trying to get true feedback and readings on their music. Getting that response is extremely important in the direction you may take an incomplete project, or maybe start a new one. People’s first impressions are generally their rawest, then a second listen or look yields different results ( the “sleep on it” and revise the next day, approach ). Regardless of if you want either of these reactions, you first need to have places to get an unsuspecting listen. So below I’ve made a list of a few ways that have worked for me, and others I work with, hopefully they work for you!
Aux Cords – I know it may sound stupid, or maybe even like a no brainer, but if you think about coffee shops, cafes, diners, uber, lyft, house parties, and so many other places that an aux cord can come in handy, if you get creative with you can literally replace the world around you with your own soundtrack (tactfully) — Note: I say please use this one at your discretion, your music may suck and your taste in music could also suck. I wouldn’t want a room full of people to
CD-R’s turned Data Discs – So I go to anywhere from 3 – 8 events per week here in Los Angeles, it’s not as exhausting, expensive or time consuming as you may think. Infact most of it’s paid for but I will say one thing that really gets my friends is when I’ve got 2-3 in the car and I have my mixes on. I constantly get asked “What is this track, my shazam won’t work” and other similar questions as they look at my LED dash that says SPIV_Untitled28. So I started distributing my mixes and music I intended on mixing or playing out at gigs to the friends who’d roll with me. It’s also great economically because these data discs can hold upward to 80mb (which depending on the size of the songs, could be upward to 150 tracks). Also in 2016′ they play in most systems. So at the start and middle of each month I burn about a dozen new cd’s and when I interact with Bartenders, Security Guards, Event Coordinators, or just have friends in the car or make new ones at functions and I can give them my music. Note: I generally also include a prerolled joint and preface them listening to smoking and ask them to give me their thoughts on it after.
USB – Similar to the above, except smaller and easier to get preloaded with music. You can get bulk orders of usbs pretty in expensively these days. They also have a larger capacity. Get innovative with customization aspects and you can really get your music far in these little babies. I give them out like candy on Halloween, and if I don’t get custom designs, I’ll put a small sticker that correlates back to my social media and just leave them at various unique spots around the city. Taped to bathroom stalls to sticky notes, I’ve put them in envelopes that say “Listen To Me!” and gone around parking lots and garages outside of events that have a demographic I’m trying to reach, and dropping them in any window that’s left cracked open or putting them on sideview mirrors. Get Creative. Your distribution techniques should be unorthodox and untraditional. Be unique in your approach and you’ll go far.
Shortcut Links – Long web addresses are hard to type, and remember. Keep it short and simple, using a site like www.bit.ly or other ‘link shorteners’ help people reach your music more easily and faster. You can press these on yellow manila envelopes, but them on USPS stickers, even pull tab signs. The shorter the better. It should either go directly to a download/autoplay link or a place giving people very minimal options of what they can do, and if they like what they see or hear — they should have a way of reaching you.
Digital – Distribution through digital channels is easier than ever with things like Tunecore, Soundcloud, Bandcamp, etc. Me doing guerrilla and viral marketing alongside business development and growth hacking. I choose to again, go a think differently approach. If you have 5,000 friends on facebook, export your friends list, alphabetize it, organize it, and highlight people who’d likely be down to share your product. Whether it’s a campaign, a service, a product, whatever you have, you know who’s down to ride for you, and there may be some people you don’t know who are also down to ride for you. If the quality of what you have to offer is good, people will naturally share it. I’ve done the angle of having multiple people change their profile pictures across 3 networks all at the same time, as well as create a share/RT/RP campaign that was very effective. There’s also a few other tips and tricks to the digital marketing game to explore, but I had to work for this knowledge, and you shall have to as well 🙂 — Think about the avenues of video channels, live streaming, podcasts and more. You’re smart, I believe in you.
Crowdsource Campaigns – Similar to my mentions above in the retweet/share/repost campaigns. Crowdsourcing is a great way to get yourself heard (and get paid). A very strategic and savvy campaign that showcases creativity, authenticity and ingenuity will definitely help get you heard by peers. Not to mention it allows you to generate revenue if the product is good or they believe in you. I think about having 5,000+ friends on facebook, and then my other social networks then my 25,000 person email list and I think. If each of these people were to share 1 hit song or 1 dope clothing article or just something that has the potential to spread — there’s just so many opportunities that can come from that. $5 x 5,000 people = $25,000 | Most people spend more than $5 daily on stupid shit they don’t need. They don’t need your music either. Make your music that stupid shit they spend their $5 on. Except, make it extraordinary and special, and actually worth much more than $5 so it doesn’t feel, look or sound like a stupid purchase.
Stickers – Not just “stickers” but window decals, murals, wheat paste, billboards, skywriting. whatever it takes. Take into consideration how long these things last, and how inexpensive they are. If they are designed well, they garner a lot of attention and can spread like wildfire in photos and videos. Much like several coveted locations in LA that people use for backdrops for their ” look at me, I’m basic” IG photos.: Much like stickers, stencils are also a valid route, but also more risky – Look into Post No Bills and other signage issues to make sure you don’t get in trouble placing stuff where it doesn’t belong or on other people’s property that it will have a negative result or impact on you. I have some stickers that are in nightclubs and bars that have hung on for 10 years and they STILL to this day get me new eyes/ears that occasionally reach out to me to compliment my music.
Business Cards – The less permanent route. So business cards are inexpensive, they don’t have to be used as “business cards” they can be used as promotional cards. Due to the cost vs quantity situation with this, you can easily throw hashtags, websites, catchy quotes or art and literally give these out EVERYWHERE YOU GO. I used to drop them in checkbooks when I was bartending and waiting tables to every single guest of mine, I’d also leave them on the busses and subways, inside friends cars, bathroom mirrors, literally everywhere imaginable. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you the return on investment with these. I do a lot of things in this manner, what is the easiest or least expensive way to make the longest, biggest and best impact. — My only downside to these is environmentally, it’s waste. In general, I am conscious of these things so I do actually use this approach a little less often these days. I suggest making it reusable or plastic like a membership card instead of temporary paper promo.
Brand Alignment – What does your sound invoke? How do people feel when it’s on in the background, or if they’re working out? Is there any feeling in your music? I hope there is. Match the vibe of your style, content, and sound with like-minded people and businesses to get better results. If my music is very uptempo and fast paced like Styles Of Beyond, or maybe some Jungle/Drum&Bass/Breakbeat sounds. I’m probably better off trying to get it to people in the hands of people into active lifestyles, as opposed to couch potatoes or cubicle slaves, who probably prefer something more mellow and downbeat. If you’re loud and flashy, don’t pitch yourself to reserved, closed-minded suits. Find your niche and go for it. I look toward start-ups and publications to offer commissioned original music, production, writing, and songs to, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but it definitely has benefits once placed to get you heard.
Collaborations – This is how you bridge an audience. Got a singer/songerwriter who’s really dope? get her acapellas remixed by a producer that’s equally matched and let them play with each others sounds to create something new and fresh. Collaboration over competition any day, every day. I’ve teamed up with Skating, Fixie/BMX brands, Shoe Companies, Clothing Lines, and much more in regards to creating collabs that extend beyond music. Once you get the hang of pitching yourself and your brand/product/service you really gain perspective on how businesses operate, who their markets are, and you can come up with ways of intertwining yourself with them in a mutually beneficial manner that allows you to reach their crowd and vice verse.
That’s it for today’s lessons, I hope you gained something from this and continue to create new and unique ways of getting yourself out there. Feel free to leave a comment below or drop me a line at any of the places below 🙂 If you need help with marketing, promotions, pr, design, etc. I can also help with that. Please repost this article as it doesn’t just pertain to music and have a wonderful day full of good music and vibes~