Viewing entries in
Online promotion

10 New Year’s resolutions to kickstart your music career

2019 - New Year's Resolutions for Bands

The first couple of weeks of a new year are generally the time when you start to think about how to do things differently (and more effectively) so in this post I thought I’d share some resolutions to help you kick-start your music career in 2019.

1. Put the music first

Being a musician these days seems to involve dividing your time between making music and nattering about it with your fan(s) on Facebook and other social networks.

This year, maybe consider putting Facebook and Twitter aside, and putting the music first. By all means keep your social media profiles relatively up to date – but not at the expense of producing great music.

Lock yourself in a room with a musical instrument (but not your smartphone) until you are 100% satisfied that you have some great songs really worth talking about.

Then, and only then, go out and talk about them. 

2. Improve your website

Yes, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and so on are all helpful in spreading the word about your music, but nothing beats a good website.

By having a strong site, you’ll ensure that

  • you get a truly professional and distinct online presence

  • your act is easier to find when people search for your act (a website gives you much more control over search engine optimisation than a social media profile)

  • you obtain ultimate flexibility and control over how you present your band to the world.

To really understand why a band website is so important, I recommend reading this great article by Make it in Music on why music sites matter, as well as Prescription’s key tips for building a great band website.

3. Capture more email addresses

Capturing email addresses — using dedicated tools like Getresponse*, Mailchimp or similar — is absolutely essential for any artist (regardless of the level of their success), because

  • it allows you to communicate direct to fans

  • you, not a social networking company, own the data.

Having this direct link to your fans allows you to maximise music sales and gig attendance.

Whilst it’s nice to have large Facebook fan / Twitter follower counts, don’t forget that people will only see your messages if an algorithm lets them and, crucially, if the social network continues to be successful.

You only have to think of how much effort bands put into adding Myspace friends in the mid-naughties, and how useless that effort all seems now, to understand why having a large database of email addresses is important.

Get clued up about the importance of building an email database here.

4. improve your online reputation

The internet is rightly seen as the key place where artists forge relationships with fans – but it’s also a place where it’s easy to come across as a highly annoying individual or act.

It’s just too tempting to regularly spout inanities or post ‘buy me’ links every five minutes on Facebook and Twitter.

This year, make a resolution to stop bludgeoning your friends, family members and fans with too many messages about your music (or what the band had for lunch) and only post content about your music that matters.

5. Take your image seriously

Too many artists obsess over whether their album sounds like it was recorded on a big reel of tape in the 1970s and mixed on a consule packed full of valves – only to forget that sadly, in addition to sounding cool, you’ve got to look cool too…

So don’t forget to spend some time getting your image right, and ensuring your band photography is up to scratch.

6. Blog (And not just about your band)

One of the best ways to generate traffic to a website is to ensure it is packed full of content that people want to read.

And the easiest way to arrive at that happy situation is by blogging about interesting stuff – according to research by inbound marketing agency Hubspot, site owners that blog regularly receive around 55% more hits to their site than those that don't.

Every hit to your site is a chance for you to expose somebody to your music, or capture their email address. The key thing is this: don’t make your blog all about you – write about stuff that people are already searching about. For a band website, you might consider writing about acts that influenced you; recording equipment; a particular gig and so on.

You can find out more about blogging and how to increase blog traffic here.

7. Manage your time wisely

If you’re anything like me, you’re juggling a job, a music career, a baby and a cat.

And it’s tough, with music-making and music promo often taking a back seat. But there are strategies that can help you make the most of your time to make the most of your music – find out about time-saving tips for musicians here.

8. Think creatively about music promotion

There are many ways to skin a cat, as a record store owner I once worked for said about a very unfortunate cat.

So instead of taking the bog-standard approach of putting your album up on iTunes and hoping against hope that somebody actually buys it, why not take some time to dream up some interesting ways to fund and release it?

Sometimes creative ideas regarding both can actually land you a great PR angle too. You might find our ideas on funding the making of your album and interesting formats to release it on helpful

9. Manage that project!

You have a home studio. You have 10 songs. You are making an album. You are going to upload it somewhere. People will buy or stream it in droves. Simple, yes?

Well actually, no. Despite a plethora of self-promotion and self-distribution options now being available, releasing an album is actually a deceptively difficult business, and if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

As such, we suggest that you make this the year that you take a bit of notice of project planning. Recently we put a guide together on how to create a really great project plan for an album release using post-it notes — it’s well worth a read.

We’d also suggest that if you’re going to self-release an album this year that you check out our checklist of the key things you must do when releasing an album independently.

10. Don’t forget the professionals…

In a music industry where DIY production and promotion is increasingly the norm, it’s easy to think that you can do everything yourself, from music photography, to band website design to music PR. But sometimes it really helps to get somebody experienced on board. An outside eye can deliver objectivity, free up time and ultimately deliver more professional results.

So if you’re planning on releasing something this year, do get in touch for a conversation about how we can help.


* Affiliate link.

Get these articles in your inbox

If you enjoyed this article, make sure you sign up to email updates - we'll send you all our latest blog posts and music promo tips.

Share

A look at the music industry in 2013 – and some Prescription goodies to help you cope with it

Mixing desk

As I sit here waiting to find out if the ancient Mayans were correct or not, I’ve been pondering two things: firstly, shall I bother with another fancypants coffee (I don’t want to pay for one if an apocalypse prevents me finishing it) and secondly, assuming we’re not all doomed, what is going to happen to the music industry in 2013? 

For many musicians, it may seem that the Mayan prophesy is coming true and we are all doomed: with fewer and fewer people prepared to pay for CDs and downloads, and streaming services like Spotify offering paltry royalties for each play, bands might be forgiven for thinking that the Mayans were correct all along and it really is the end of the world as we know it, without anybody feeling particularly fine.

However, there is a flipside. Ok, so bands might not be making as much cash as they used to from sales – and let’s not forget that even in the glory days of the music industry, 99.9% of bands never did – but making and promoting music is getting much, much easier and cheaper. The same digital revolution which has killed off CD sales has also… 

  • made recording equipment incredibly affordable, meaning pro-quality albums can be recorded in toilets
  • made studio time much cheaper, as pro studios now have to compete with the toilet-studio-owner in question
  • made global distribution of music a reality for any band
  • provided all manner of cheap digital advertising and communications tools to musicians
  • reduced the need for physical manufacture (with an associated reduction in costs)
  • arguably made music promotion services cheaper, due to increased competition in the music promotion services market
  • reduced costs associated with music promo (in terms of postage, phone calls, promo manufacture, boozy lunches and so on – much of these can be handled online).

So basically, there’s a weird trade-off. In today’s music industry you are able to make and promote your music more easily and cheaply than ever before, but you are considerably less able to generate any cash from sales. And it doesn’t take a Mayan prophesier to tell you that in 2013, we are simply going to travel further and more quickly in this direction, possibly because the music industry lives on a computer in a shed these days, and computers – as any aficiando of Moore’s Law will tell you – double in power every two years whilst falling significantly in cost.

So as I peer into my crystal ball for 2013, I simply see even fewer people buying CDs, fewer people downloading music and more people streaming it via Spotify of similar services. (And of course if iTunes switches to being a streaming service rather than a download store, it’s really game over for music sales.)

So how do musicians cope with this? What is the point of making music if it’s looking increasingly like something that can’t be sold? Well, I’d start off any coping strategy by accentuating the positives. As a band making a racket today, and as discussed above, you have access to a whole range of things that even 15 years ago would have been completely out of your reach – incredibly affordable studio time / equipment, global distribution, cheap promo deals and direct access to listeners via social media and online communications. It’s incredible how these things (that would have looked like magic back in the late 90s) have become completely taken for granted by a lot of bands, but they are the key (and often overlooked) ingredients to creating something which is at the heart of any successful music project: a fanbase. This fanbase may not pay for your recordings, but they may be able to support you in several other ways – for example, through paying to see you live; buying merchandise; and acting as a street team that delivers vital word-of-mouth marketing.

In order to get anywhere near having a 'monetised fanbase' though, you need to do three things:

1) Create stonkingly great music

2) Work the ‘digital system’ very hard

3) Think like a business (yes, I know, yuck) and explore every avenue when thinking about monetising your music 

I can’t help you with the first part of this recipe for success, but it’s my hope that over the past year or so, our Prescription articles have provided some insights into going about the second and third parts. So, as we bid farewell to 2012 (and perhaps existence if the Mayans are correct), I thought I’d provide you with some links to some of our favourite music promo articles from the Prescription archives. May they help you in your 2013 quest for rock/dance/hip-hop/indie/shoe-gazing glory (delete as appropriate). You’ll find them below – think of them as the online equivalent of a box of Quality Street from us to you. Thank you for reading The Prescription in 2012, we hope you have a great Christmas, and we wish you every success for 2013 (and don't forget, that we are always happy to discuss ways that you can achieve this - feel free to contact us for a chat about any projects you have coming up in 2013).

Life is like a box of chocolates - articles from the archive… 

 

 

Get these articles in your inbox

If you enjoyed this article, make sure you sign up to email updates - we'll send you all our latest blog posts and music promo tips.

Share

E-newsletters for bands on a budget

We often get approached by bands and artists wanting to know how to sort themselves out with e-newsletters. They usually ask for a data capture form that allows people to sign up to news, and a means of sending news updates to their mailing list.

We generally set them up with a dedicated e-communications system like Getresponse, which allows bands to do a lot of snazzy things - create custom data capture forms, program automated follow-ups, view detailed stats, design fancy HTML email templates and the like.

A system like that is still our preferred option for clients, because users are provided with the means to create highly targeted, professional e-communications, and to monitor open and click-through rates effectively.

However, if you're looking for something very simple, or you don't have any cash, there is another option: using your blog and a service called Feedburner to generate newsletters.

Here's how it works:

1. Register with Feedburner and 'burn' a feed using your blog's RSS feed (it's all very simple, the Feedburner site takes you through the process in an easy-to-follow set of steps).
2. Go to their 'Publicise' tab.
3. Click 'Email subscriptions' and activate the service.

(If you don't have a blog, there are a host of free blogging services you can use - Blogger being perhaps the most obvious example).

Once you've followed the above three steps, you are then provided with simple bit of HTML code which you can embed on your site. This gives you a form which captures email addresses. From then on, whenever you post a new blog entry, the content will automatically be emailed to the people who have used the form to sign up for updates. The email that gets sent is a simple affair, but it is in HTML format and you can tweak things slightly (add logos, change fonts etc.). And it's an entirely free service.

The only thing to remember is that once you've set Feedburner up to work in this way, whenever you post a blog entry, it always goes out to your entire mailing list. So you may need to think carefully about what you post and how often. If people are receiving frivolous items in their inbox every five minutes, they may quickly unsubscribe from the list.

Get these articles in your inbox

If you enjoyed this article, make sure you sign up to email updates - we'll send you all our latest blog posts and music promo tips.

Share