Where do I begin to promote my band?


    All of the things we have been talking about in relation to branding and getting your website set up and having a uniform identity are the starting points for promoting your band.. You want people to go to your website or any of your social media pages they know in an instant that they are in the right place for your band.


    * These pictures above were the teaser images for the album "Core". I created these graphics and this design approach was going to be carried across the whole album. Then Aaron Geis came on board, and he's an amazing designer, so I handed the whole process over to him and he created the design I actually went with for the album instead of this. *



    What do we need to have ready for press or promotion?


    You will most likely need a press kit or EPK (Electronic Press Kit) ready and on hand to share with Press & Promo people.

    You can set it up as a separate page on your website that has downloadable links to things like your hi-resolution signature photographs, reviews, MP3s, album cover art, your bio etc. and an album playlist is also a good thing.

    Remember that all of this is what promoters and journalists will be drawing from to feature your band, so make everything as good as you possibly can. You can send the link to venues or promoters or press so they have access to everything they need about your band for their promotion.


    A Press Pack is typically a hard copy version of an EPK and will include your bio, photographs, press cuttings, your CD and anything else that would be relevant.

    Also, there is a Onesheet, which is pretty self-explanatory. It's your most important info on one simple sheet for any Press/Promo people. With all you do, make sure your branding is uniform and that everything is as pro as possible.



    Here's an example of a Moth Complex Onesheet, designed by G. Owens. Yours doesn't have to be as detailed.



    How do we get our band on podcasts/radio?


    Research, pitching and following up, basically...


    You can research podcast and radio station websites to find out how they want to receive submissions. These places are getting submissions from a whole load of bands every day, so if you don’t submit your music exactly as they want, it’s likely that your submission will just be deleted.


    Sometimes a podcast or radio station will want links to your music, sometimes they will not accept links but will want your best MP3 download. It’s worth taking the time to find out specifically how to submit to each place so you don’t go to the trouble of submitting for nothing and so you can actually get featured.


    * Pictured above: Singing a few songs for Radiobuzzd.com in North Hollywood. (with guitarist, Matthias Van Stripriaan). A couple of the videos are on the Moth Complex YouTube channel.



    What should we know about doing interviews?


    There are a few key things to remember about interviews.


    First of all, interviews are amazing opportunities to promote your band, so be clear about what it is you want to promote - your new release? your upcoming shows? Or if you don't have anything in particular to promote, you can encourage listeners to go to your website and sign up for your mailing list to be notified when you do. If you know what you want to promote, be sure to mention it multiple times throughout your interview.


    Next, be clear about how you want to describe your band or your music - or your mission with it all. Be clear and confident in how you express yourself. Have something interesting to say, an interesting story to tell or perspective. People remember stories much more readily than facts.


    If you are phoning into a radio station or podcast for your interview, make sure you are in a quiet place so you can be heard and make sure you have a reliable tech on hand and that your computer is charged or plugged in. whatever the case may be. It sounds obvious, but it's easy to be caught out. The same goes with a location for a Skype (or another platform) interview or TV interview. Find a location that is interesting, but where the focus is on you.

    Some people are confident doing interviews on the fly, but if you are not, feel free to do some prep. You can brainstorm questions you may be asked (or ask for the questions or the general theme of the questions in advance) and just have a clear idea of how you want to respond. Honestly, I did this with most of the interviews I have done. I tend to babble when I'm nervous and go off in tangents of thought or talk about things I wish I didn't. Having prepared to some degree takes the nerves away for me and I do a better interview as a result. (or at least, I feel like I do!)


    I was given great advice once about what to do if I find myself babbling - to just stop talking mid-sentence and say "anyway, I'm off the point" and get back on topic or say "I'm rambling! I'll stop there". That has helped me more than once!

    Finally, relax and enjoy yourself and allow your awesome personality to shine through. It's all good!




    What about promo posters and flyers?


    Create promo posters and flyers that match your branding and make sure to use your best photograph, your signature photograph, so your band is really identifiable. Put your best foot forward, so to speak.


    You can create digital promo posters/flyers to spread the word about good opportunities as they happen for your band – being featured on radio stations, upcoming shows, new album releases. Post these on your websites and social media sites. Ask your followers to share them for you. If you are being featured on a radio station, for example, you can send the poster to the radio station and ask them to put your promo on their site.


    You can print posters and flyer out and give them away at shows - I’ve known bands that sign and sell posters for a couple of dollars/euro - and your fans might put them up on school boards and other places to help you promote your band.


    Some Moth Complex posters and flyers - some designed by Ryan Baustert (Decibel Consulting & Design) and some designed by me.



    What competitions can we run?


    The possibilities for competitions are endless. Use your imagination and also watch what other bands do too – see how you can adapt their ideas to suit your own band.


    You can run competitions giving away free merch (t-shirts, CDs etc.) and as you build your following and have endorsements, you can partner with other companies to offer their products as a prize in a competition. My band, Moth Complex, once partnered with Kramer Guitars to give away a free guitar.


    You can involve your fans in decisions you are making for your band – the name of your EP or CD names, choices for next single… whatever you feel is appropriate.


    Probably the main points of running competitions are to give back to your followers and to spread the word about your band and generate more engagement on your sites. So think about what ways you can do that.


    The possibilities for competitions may be endless but be careful where you are hosting them - some social media platforms, for example, have rules and regulations about running contests, so do some research to make sure your competition isn't taken down halfway through!




    What about social media?


    Social media is ever changing. What’s huge at present won’t always be, so it’s a better idea to build an email list that is independent of social media.


    As far as social media goes, choose the sites where you feel your audience is and where you feel most drawn to use - the sites you enjoy being active on. It’s better to maintain fewer sites really, really well than have a whole lot of sites that aren’t maintained.


    We’ve gone through this in the "How To Create Your Brand" page, but the biggest sites at the moment are still Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube – and these are the best places to start for musicians.




    Should we get CDs made?


    Some CDs can be handy for promoters/venues who want to be sent a hard copy of your music, and they can be good for selling at shows and for giveaways.


    Do you have artwork done? Do you have someone who can do that for you? Most places who’ll print CDs can do artwork in-house for you, but they charge a bit for it. You don’t have to do anything too detailed or expensive if you don’t want to – simple is often best.


    If you’re going to get CDs done up, here are some more things to consider:


    Bar codes – these are useful if you want to count the number of sales.

    ISRC (International Standard Recording Codes) - these are allocated to each song and encoded into the data so that the song information will come up when you place them in iTunes or a CD player or wherever. They are also necessary to identify the song for royalty payments (more about that a bit later).

    Shipping - is this included in the final price of CD creation or will it cost extra?


    Tip: do your best to get an all-inclusive price in any quote so you don’t get any unhappy price surprises at the end.




    Where should we sell online?


    Wherever you want! I love CD Baby (I'm not an affiliate, just a user). They offer distribution on multiple platforms (including iTunes and Spotify), which cuts out a ton of work for me. There are alternatives that my friends use, including TuneCore and DistroKid, but I've only used CD Baby. Maybe check them all out and decide what is best for you!



    "Core" by Moth Complex on CD Baby



    What’s the most cost effective way to create merch?


    It depends on whether you have a bit of cash to invest.


    You can design your own merch and get a company to create it for you and I would say this way is how you get most profit from what you sell. There are sites that have a standard pick-and-pack store section and you can have your logo printed on various merch items and printed one at a time as they are ordered. A downside of this is that the selling prices tend to be a little expensive and you only get a small percentage of the price so it’s costly to get a whole load of t-shirts printed up to do on a tour, for example.


    You can always hand-create your merch too – or even some of it. This will definitely take a longer time to make, but it's unique and original – and dedicated fans will likely pay more for this.



    * For more info check out the blog: Quality Merch: 10 Tips To Make A Ton More Money . The link is at the end of the page.

    MX picks (courtesy of InTune Picks

    MX shot glasses (courtesy of Jagermeister)

    How much can we expect to sell merch for?


    This is about trial and error. Obviously, you want to sell your stuff so that you make a profit, so you don’t want it to be too cheap, but you also want people to buy it, so you don’t want it to be too expensive.


    When you’re making your t-shirts, you can create a couple of designs and see which ones are most popular with your audience, which you sell most of, and then you can just get more of them made up. Even better, as you build your audience you can get them to tell you the designs they like best and would be most likely to pay for. You could check with your audience on your social media – what kind of merch would they most want to buy? Show them designs and get them to vote…


    It’s also a good idea to do deals – bundles, like we mentioned before – so if someone buys three t-shirts they can get your CD free, or something similar. These deals entice your fans to spend more money while also feeling that they’re being looked after. $10 would be the lower end for the sale of a t-shirt and at $20 you’re probably starting to hit the higher end for a band starting out, but the more unique and personalised you make something, the more you can customise the price too.

    Posters, picks, hats, hoodies... research what your fans want first and do your numbers about what they'll cost and what your return is likely to be.

    (* There's a downloadable, fillable PDF called "Your Merch" to help you with all of this at the end of this page. *)




    How can we encourage our fans to get involved in our promotion?


    This is where building a street team comes in. Encourage fans to get involved with your street team and to thank them for putting your posters up around their town or school or similar you can give them VIP treatment – sending them free MP3s or letting them in free at your show when you’re in town or sending them a free t-shirt or something like that. You can name-check fans who are especially loyal on your social media or on CD inlays.


    Make sure to include calls-to-action in your social media posts and on your website i.e. ask your fans what you want them to do for you – to like or share a post or tell their friends.


    ❤︎ Lots of VERY awesome Moth Complex fans ❤︎



    What essential steps should we take before we release music / an album?


    When I was getting everything in order to release the first Moth Complex album I was so in-the-thick-of-it all that I forgot to make note of the things I was doing, and then I did the same with the second one! But from what I remember, the following are all the things to do:


    * Start promoting before you have anything done and right throughout the album creation! Share pictures of yourself in your songwriting process, take pictures of your cover design as it develops, take pictures of yourself recording, share some lyrics from songs you are recording. Let your audience in on the whole creative process. *


    * Choose a release date for your music/album. *


    * Get any new photography done and create your artwork. *


    * Update your Press Kit website and social media with the latest graphics, artwork and release dates you have. *


    * Make sure your website and social media is up to date and looking good and definitely have your release prominently displayed (with the release date too). *


    *Make sure your mailing list autoresponder is set up and working with a gift for everyone who signs up. *


    * Engage your most dedicated fans to work with you on your promotion. *


    * When you have recorded your master, you want to have an ISRC (International Standard Recording Code). This is a 12 digit number for each unique recording that allows you to collect royalties. You can get these codes from your national ISRC agency. You need to be sure that all the details for each track are correctly embedded within your recording so that when someone puts a CD in their computer, for example, your band info and track info comes up and so that you can accurately receive your royalties. These codes are really important. mastering engineer did this for me so make sure you trust whoever is doing it for you. *


    * You also want to register all of your recording details with Gracenote, the internet recordings database. This is particularly important for iTunes so that your track details automatically show up. *


    * There are legalities to consider too - sign up with a PRO if you haven't already (Performance Rights Organization), sort out your publishing royalties (make sure songwriting percentages are agreed and registered with your PROs), register copyright of your songs, and if you're going to print up CDs, gather all credits for who worked on your music. *


    * If you're going to print CDs and Merch, you'll need to organize all of that. Then there is distribution to consider - make sure you time everything so that your album will hit iTunes, Spotify and any other major sites you want to be featured on, on the day you are intending to release it. *

    * Organize a release show - if you are going to do one - and all that entails from booking to promotion to rehearsals to lighting and whatever else. Plan your promotion to Radio and Press and anywhere else you want...*



    I think they are the main things!!

    I won't lie - it's a laborious process! It's also one of those things where more and more tasks seem to pop up all the time, but at the end of it you have a musical release or an album out in the world - and that's pretty exciting!


    Recording a session for RTÉ (Irish radio)

    How do we get on TV?


    Getting your band on TV basically involves having built your band to a point that there is a buzz about your band and people want to include you on their show. A lot of the time the personnel in TV choosing bands to feature (Music Supervisors, for example) may do some research of their own, but for bigger shows, its likely you will need to have established relationships in place with labels or publicists.


    That said – now is the perfect time to begin to establish relationships, and there’s an exception to every rule and rules are made to be broken anyway. Regardless, you will want to be able to put on a great performance, have an interesting angle or backstory attached to your band or some relevant “hook” – and be a band that suits the particular show.


    Most of the time TV shows will feature more established bands or up and coming bands that have a “buzz” or some sort about them. In order to be a band that has a buzz about you (and is promoted by media or labels or publicists) pre-supposes that you do this marketing/promotion work for yourself in the first place and really build yourselves up to be a quality act.

    There’s a quote by veteran actor/comedian, Steve Martin, “Be so good they can’t ignore you.” It probably comes down to that at the end of the day.




    How do we get our songs placed in movies, ads, games etc.?


    Obviously, to be in a position to be considered for top-class movies, ads, games etc. presupposes having top-class songs in terms of writing, production, recording and mastering. Similar things apply to movies, ads and games as to TV. Oftentimes the people working in these areas have established ways of finding music to feature. If you're not in those channels yet, you will need to be pro-active about building relationships with people in these channels and getting your music in the hands of the people in these channels.


    Can you find out who is working on which project and contact them directly with your music? Do your research - IMDB is a good place to start - and pitch your best stuff for a project it will be well-suited to. Even if you don’t get featured straight away, if you make an impression, a Producer or Music Supervisor may keep you in mind for upcoming projects.


    One good way to get a foot in the door is to contact colleges where people are creating movies or games and offer your music for use to students in these areas. Having your music featured on college projects has many benefits – you get to collaborate with creative people, you are building content you can use in your social media, you have the potential to spread the word about your music– and you never know what future opportunities for your music may develop.


    Also, seek out music supervisors and licensing people and have some conversations about working with them. Once your music is of a really high standard and professional, a sync guy/gal may accept it for submission to projects they are affiliated with. They’ll take a cut – usually 40% – 50% of upfront placement payments - and you’ll get the rest and the ongoing royalties. As usual, vet these people well - and especially any contracts they provide.


    Screenshot of "You Don't Know", available for download for full band gameplay on Rock Band Network for XBox360


    How do we get opening slots with bigger bands?


    As I say in the touring page, the best thing you can do to get support slots with bigger bands is to build up your own band. Build up your shows and get your band as tight as possible and get some press and build up your audience as reflected by the numbers of plays on Spotify or people interacting with you on your social media and similar. All this will take time but will be worth it, because these are the things a promoter will look at to judge the level of your band.


    Bear in mind that whether a bigger band is setting up a show or a booker is putting it together, they will want to create the best line-up possible and will be looking for any band they include on the line up to have something valuable to bring to the table – maybe it’s about the music or they could be looking for some kind of “buzz” or hype around your band or a substantial audience. Usually, a big band touring will have a dedicated opening act that comes with them on the tour, but they often add a local band to the bill.


    When you have everything set up properly (music, websites etc.) and you are happy that you can stand behind it all as a live band, you may feel ready to contact bookers and introduce your band. Even if you are at the beginning stages with your band, there is often the opportunity to get a “first on” slot on a bill or at a festival – and last minute cancellations and changes can often mean that your time slot is changed to a later one and this can work to your advantage.


    Make sure to use whatever placements you have had to leverage further shows and opportunities.




    What other ways are there to promote our band?


    We’ve spoken about being on social media, posting regularly on social media, engaging your fans on social media, contacting people to get your music featured in online media, in podcasts, on radio and in magazines and other print media, about getting shows and using all related content (photos, behind scenes video, live video, press coverage) to leverage your profile, about creating a street team, working with other bands to cross-promote each other, playing shows, playing house parties, creating videos and lots more...


    These are the tried and tested ways, really anything else is up to you. What are your strengths as a band and how can you leverage them? Do you have interests (skateboarding, gaming for example) that your growing audience shares and that you excel at – and if so can you create great videos around them and team with a company for sponsorship? Can you run quality contests for your followers? What can you think of that will be attention-grabbing and authentic to who you are and what you stand for?


    What ways to promote your band can you come up with that haven’t been done by other bands before? (Definitely email and tell me what you decide on!)


    (* There's a downloadable, fillable PDF called "Promotion Ideas" to help you with all of this at the end of this page. *)



    PDF: Your Merch

    PDF: Promotion Ideas