One of the very common huge mistakes I observe in bands, in this case, metal bands, is that you don’t offer any kind of information about yourself. If you look for their context or background in their “about” sections on Spotify, Bandcamp, and even YouTube, they say nothing.
At most, you can get a “death metal band with nature influences.”
That’s burning down any kind of possibility you had to get your music out there.
That’s it. I have no idea where they are from, who they are, the members, the influences (something more specific than “nature influences”), what they stand for, their career…
Most of the time they don’t even have a website. This has happened to me again and again and again. They all need a shout-out, I say “sure no prob”, I ask them to send me their info and links. Alright. Their info is two lines, and a link to the platforms people can listen to their tracks.
And I ask myself… WHY?!
Let me explain. Here we have two sides to cover.
Firstly, if I spend MONTHS building any kind of content, even more in the music industry, that requires tons of creativity, of test and error, of sound edition, of graphic design… well… call me crazy but I THINK I would like people to know about it, about the process, about me, about what my work is about! My hard work!
When I’m putting together a feature for a band, I find myself with zero information, and what could be a badass article that drew people in and got them interested in knowing all the details, ends up being a two lines “yeah metal band” and a Spotify or Bandcamp embedding.
Secondly, and most important, this is the reason you’re not selling albums. The way you present yourself to the audience, the graphics, taglines, written content, backstage info, influences etc, are not too SELL the album.
“Wait, what? Isn’t all of this goal to sell albums?”
Yes mon ami, but everything has a process. The first approach you have with a customer, can’t be BUY MY STUFF!!! Because they won’t. Surprise.
Your first approach looks for a “click”. Yep. Look for that curiosity factor that makes them stop over your content and think “hey this sounds cool, let’s see what these guys are doing…!”
And there you go. One potential consumer checking up your music. Next, is your music being good enough to be worth their money. But let’s assume you took care of that part and they like it.
To buy music nowadays is relatively cheap, so if you have given the proper information, have grabbed their attention, you got that click and they are listening to the sample, you got 80% of the work done.
Alright, now that I showed you my point, and if you don’t see it clear, just trust me on this and give it a try with a piece of your work, let’s move on to the steps you need to follow for the audience to acknowledge your existence in the music industry.
- Think from the audience perspective. If you are looking for new music to listen to, wouldn’t you be interested in knowing more about it before wasting your time?
Alright, what about if you’re not looking for new music? Honestly, every time I have discovered something new in music I wasn’t even looking for it. Even with more reason, you should be grabbing their attention by the throat when they scroll down your post!!!
Think it through, and ask yourself these questions:
“What do I like to know about the bands I like?”
“How do I understand what kind of music or metal they play?”
“What time and how do I rather listen to music?”
“Do I like seeing pictures of the or I don’t care at all?”
It’s so frustrating when you’re looking at their platforms and socials (if they even have them…) and you find NOTHING, and I know because it happens to me constantly.
WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN!
Let me break it down. Open a brand new shiny document and start writing:
Get the listener to know you better and get curious about you.
-The band members and their curious facts.
-What influences have each one of you.
-Take cool pictures of you all individually and a family shot.
-If you don’t have social media, CREATE IT, it’s free dang it…
-Write for the most important tracks, and what kind they remind the listener. Sort of “If you like this song from this band, you’re gonna love this.”
-The backstage: curious facts about the making off.
-What was the most challenging part?
-What did you have more fun with?
-What you want to evoke and provoke in the listener.
-How did you get there, what has been your evolution.
As you might have figured out by yourself, plenty of this content will be always the same, so YOU NEED A WEBSITE! All of this goes in the “About Us” section. Lots of fun, interesting information about you, that you can show as a media kit for anyone interested in you, because why not other creators or production companies?
- Create cool visuals.
Do you have a cool cover? Safe $300 and pay for one. It’s not that much if you cut some expenses here and there for a month.
Your promotional pictures: Please, please… take them seriously. No blurry, non-edited pictures. Studies show (in the film and music industry) the promotional pictures that grab the attention of the audience up to a 60% more are
- High contrast
- Strong blacks
- High quality (we could assume this one… right?… Right??!)
- Shiny colours or completely black and white
Also, I know those epic pictures of a metal band in nature were a must in the 80’s and maybe the beginning of the 90’s, but things have changed. The audience prefers pictures of you while playing. Look, my advice? Go to Youtube, Teachable or Udemy and make a super cheap (up to $19 about photography and cool shooting. Please. It’s so worth it.)
Play with the perspectives, people love that. Just trust me. A bad picture is way worse than no picture, and no picture is AWFUL. Get the idea?
Now that you have badass images, create banners and promotional sets of graphics. The proper sizes for each social and for your website (yes, you’re building a website too).
- Create a media kit
Search for templates. You got plenty on Canva you only need to change the colors and add your images. Couldn’t be easier… Add all your information, band members, lots of graphics, your social media, website and contact.
- Contact LOTS of people.
Time for the tedious work. Take a couple of days to create a huge database of magazines, websites, blogs etc that are related to your music, and send them all the cool material you just created.
How are they supposed to know about you if you don’t even say who you are?
- Insist, insist, insist on socials and platforms
People are more prone to check out or purchase whatever they have seen a million times. Because our mind makes the connection between a repeated experience and the familiarity and trust we feel for close things, people or events.
So just share away. Create samples of music. Trim pieces to add to y our Reels and YT shorts. Create a YT channel and upload shorts daily while you are playing or hanging out with the band. People love seeing that, because what many people don’t get, is that music connects our pleasure senses with our emotional strings.
Music provokes lots of emotions, and that builds a link with the band that’s playing that. Why do people fall in love with singers and musicians? Because they are directly stirring their feelings, plain contact with their mind. That connection is so important to understand when it comes to promoting your music.
A song can be sad and people can enjoy it in a low moment, but if the audience knows that this specific song has a real scenario behind it, like a girlfriend passing away or a terrible childhood, then the audience goes next step and gets moved by the artist the concept, they even listen to it differently, because they have connected that emotion to that song, therefore to the musician or singer, therefore to the band.
Do you understand? That’s why you need them to get to know you and your work thoroughly if you want to succeed amongst all the sharks in the tank.
Alright, now listen carefully as I wrap up, because as you can see, I could be talking about this for hours…
When bands reach out, I answer “sure I’ll help you out, please send me links, website, album pictures, social media handles, your promotional pictures and the info about you.”
The next message is
“We don’t have all of that because we are a little band and still have no budget for all those things… but I can send you the logo and the link to Bandcamp.”
After rolling my eyes (with all my love and respect), I think to myself:
Website: FREE with WordPress or $40 a YEAR with the cheapest plan.
Pictures: Don’t you have a phone and a FREE photo editing app? I use Photoshop on my phone and it’s completely free, for goodness sake.
Social media: FREE, FREE, FREE
Info about you: Couldn’t be “more FREE”. It’s all about the time you invest.
So, change the speech.
“We are little…”
“We don’t have the budget…”
NO. You don’t take your music seriously.
You don’t want to get anywhere with it.
You don’t want to invest time and effort.
You are not interested enough to look for some articles about how to create a cool media kit.
Get it? It’s all about perspective, vision and discipline. I’m sick of that “I’m an artist, not a marketer.” Alright, then you won’t be an artist for long because you can’t eat your music, can you? And if you have that superpower please let me know how you do it because I’ll drop all my business right now and start living out of the air.
That “I’m not good at marketing”, I’m just a “writer, musician…” it’s *******
Do you want to be known?
Do you want to live out of what you love?
Do you want your content to be shown everywhere?
Do you want amazing contracts and deals?
Do you want people wearing your shirts?
Do you want people sharing your tracks on social media praising your work?
Do you want to sign albums for fans?
Join cons? Fests?
Be in an important stage?
Your tracks to be used as film/game soundtracks?
What’s your answer?!
If your answer is a bold “YES!”, then stand the heck up! Who is in control of your content? Who is in control of your socials? Who is in control of your limitations to learn, to improve, to be the best at ALL THE STEPS of the process when it comes to selling your product? Your music? Your art?
Where’s that badass cover that will drop jaws?
“Aw… a cool cover is about $300…”
Yah? How much is every Starbucks coffee? Every Netflix payment? Every concert you attend? How much effort is to make one more shift once a week?
How much are your dreams? WAKE UP!
Stop being a no-one.
Stop being a
“We are a little band from… and we have no website, no socials, no about, no pictures… but it would be cool if you subscribe…”
Start being a
“HEY! We’re a metal band from ___ and we’ve been creating badass music from ____. Our main influences are ____, ____, ____ and ____. If you enjoy ____, then man you need to check out this track ____. It would be so cool if you could check us out and we’ll be happy to send you tons of interesting information! We are also open for interviews, video or written, and we’ll be happy to share with you more of our work and tell you lots of backstage details that your audience will love!”
Can you see the difference? Which one would you pay attention to? It’s all about the tone, the enthusiasm, the work behind it! As the person who receives this inquiry, you can perfectly see the work behind each of them. From 0 to 100 in half a second.
Level up! Wake up! Grow up! And fight for what’s already yours.