Speak to any successful music artist or band or even emerging ones and they will all tell you the same thing. You have to play live to an audience. You can make as much music as you want in your home, the garage or the studio, you might have created a fantastic logo or brand, even made a Grammy worthy song but if your music is not heard by actual people then you’re never going to build a name for yourself. This sounds much easier than it is so Neon music is here to help with some top tips to help you on your way, break into the music industry and have a solid fan base by the end of 2017.
1. The first step is making a demo tape. Even though the world of music has changed and everything is accessible online these days, this one is still key. It can, of course, be online if you have a website and can feature your music on there, on Youtube, Soundcloud etc. It will be easy to shoot off a link in an email. Otherwise, a good old-fashioned CD or USB stick will still do the trick. Just make sure it’s easily accessible for the listener such as MP3 or MP4 format. You can have as many songs as you like on there or perhaps choose 3 or 4 so the listener can hear some variety but isn’t bombarded with 20 tracks which can be offputting. You can sing your original music, but covers will still be acceptable at this stage too. Why not a bit of both? The sound quality doesn’t have to be 100% amazing radio ready, but as long as your vocals and lyrics are audible and there is no background noise you’re fine. You obviously want it to be the best it can be, but there is no need to fork out hundreds of pounds for studio time at this stage.
2. This is a simple one, but musicians are often so wrapped up in the creative process they can sometimes overlook the tiny details. So don’t forget to label your CD clearly with the name of your band and contact details. If you’re emailing a website over make sure names and contact details are clearly presented in the body of the email and the website.
3. Create a Press Kit or EPK (Electronic Press Kit). This is highly important and represents you as an individual or a band and speaks volumes about you, your brand and your music. So it needs to be clear and concise. Imagine this is being forwarded on to PR’s and Journalists who will be writing about you. What do you want them to know? A bio is key along with what your music is about, your influences and experiences. Any relevant links, social media and contact information and also photos. You can add any extra details such as where you have played previously, forthcoming gigs or events, testimonials from listeners, previous press coverage. Imagine you are applying for a job and this is your CV. Try out Reverbnation, Sonicbids, Wix etc
4. Get your Demo and EPK to the right people. Do your research and think about your target market. If your music contains a lot of swear words and is more on the heavy metal side as opposed to folk then you might not want to play at your local school or cafe. Online is the best place to look for your area or go further afield to a bigger town or city. There are plenty of websites that will offer open mic or gigging opportunities. You can also contact local establishments who might be interested. They will show you their booking policy so make sure you read the small print.
Send your demo and press kit to as many potential venues as possible.
5. Book yourself. If you’re having difficulty getting gigs in other places then rent a venue and plan your own show. This can be more expensive so make sure you do your research and promote your show as much as possible beforehand. Leave plenty of time to do so.
6. When you get your gig, promote it as much as you can. Use your contacts, social media, local flyers, whatever you can to draw that crowd in. Remember your target market again so it might not be something your Gran might be interested in and more your younger sister and her friends.
7. Once you’ve got your gig, make sure you do it right. Plan ahead and be prepared. Find out as much as you can about the venue: space, sound system equipment (if they have any or you need to provide your own) will there be someone available to help or will you need to bring a friend or two? Show up on time, be professional, have your demo and press kit or even business cards available as you never know who will be there and want one afterwards.
8. Follow up afterwards and continue to network. No matter how small, big or successful your gig was, make
sure you follow up all leads afterwards and don’t forget to mention it on your EPK and website.
If you have learned anything from these tips from Neon music it will be these keywords: EPK, research, promote, professional. All these will hold you in good stead to make it on your way as a successful musician or band. This is just the beginning. Good luck!