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Music Marketing: What Big Musicians Can Do that Newbies Can’t… Yet


They say that in order to be a winner, you have to do what winners do. But I don’t think this applies to music marketing.If you don’t want to be laughed at, take it easy baby and don’t do the following:

BAND LOGO ON SHIRTS. If you’re not yet as big as KISS or Rolling Stones or Hanson, for the love of God, don’t expect people to recognize your logo. They have to know your music first before they could even care about your logo. And they have to love you to bits before they would even wear a shirt with your humongous logo on it. A shirt speaks volumes of a person’s personality so if you’re still unknown or your music is mediocre, they would never buy your shirt. Some would buy out of courtesy but you wouldn’t like that. Even if you’d give it away for free, no one would wear it.

So what now:  Well, if you already printed the shirts, then just wear them to your shows. As for your few fans and followers, instead of printing your (still) unknown logo, go for creative designs that still represent your band. Make statement shirts or just tees with cool designs then put yourself somewhere there. Maybe a small logo somewhere or you incorporate your band (as in your faces or name or lyrics) somewhere in the design. The point is you should give them something they’d like to see on a shirt that shows your band’s personality because you’re not yet that big that people would want to wear your logo.

YOUR FACES ON SHIRTS If you’re not yet iconic and if you don’t have at least a thousand loyal followers, don’t print tees that only showcase your faces. Why not? Because…who the heck are you?

So what now: Same solution as above. Go for conceptual designs and statement shirts and inject yourself somewhere there.

GIVING AWAY PERSONAL ITEMS LIKE SUNGLASSES So you want to throw a contest on your band’s Facebook page that has 205 likes. The reward? First price: Mike’s sunglasses; 2nd price: Henry’s guitar pick.  Say whuuuuut? Who the heck are Mike and Henry? And what makes you think they’re that obsessed with your band? Please don’t.

So what now:  If you already posted this on your Facebook, please delete it. If you still haven’t (whew!) and you really want to throw a contest, give useful or fun rewards like playing in their living room for free, an iPad or something.

SELLING “Limited Edition” CDs AT $2,000

Who would buy those except your friends and their mothers?

So what now: Why don’t you make your CD packaging really kick-ass and sell them at a cheap price (you know, just slightly above the regular price). CD packaging is one great way to promote your band without spending too much. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Concept is King. Make sure you send your CDs to music and packaging critics and bloggers to make the most of your CD packaging.

THROWING A “DESIGN OUR ALBUM COVER” CONTEST Actually, it really depends on your fans. If you’ve created a tribe of 200 people, then I guess at least five of those 200 are willing to design your album cover for free. But the chance of you getting a kick-ass CD packaging and album art that would promote your band(point #4)is slim. What’s worse is that there’s no turning back. Someone has to win and you have to use it.

So What Now: Hire a graphic designer and art director.

Photo: Gunther

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