By Jeri Goldstein

So you're barreling along, booking tour dates, doing your promotion, playing the gigs, and generally feeling pretty good about the way things are going. Yes? But you're thinking to yourself, "How can I spice things up, make them more exciting for everyone, especially the media and bring a bit more attention to this road show?" The answer—Themes.

How can you create a theme around your CD title, the type of music you play, your name, the title song you want to push to radio, a name for the upcoming tour, etc. For example, a publicist I know worked with B.B. King to promote an upcoming concert. Not only did they focus on the Blues genre by working the color blue into all the decorations, but they manipulated the menu to include everything with "King" in the name—King Crab Legs, Chicken a la King, you get the idea. The theme was incorporated into the invitations, press releases and all of the pre-promotion to get people and the press excited about the event and grab their attention.

Involve community businesses and organizations. Approach a restaurant or club about hosting a CD release. They are likely to pull out their room rental sheet and begin tallying up costs to give you an estimate. But, if you approach them with a theme that incorporates a local, regional or national charitable organization, then they start figuring "in-kind" services as their donation and consider the expanded media attention the event is likely to get. The theme gives them something a creative jumping off point.


It takes creative thinking, even exercising some outrageous ideas to move beyond the basics and into the realm staging media events.

As a marketing tool, all involved in supporting a theme become inspired co-workers eager to add their specialty to the overall product or event. When the event is coordinated so that a charity is the ultimate beneficiary, media coverage grows exponentially. Businesses are more likely to donate services in exchange for association with the event and the subsequent media attention they'll receive. This attention far outweighs that which they might receive from straight advertising. The event takes on a new meaning as you bring a great deal more attention to the cause and ultimately your CD, your act and the event.

It takes creative thinking, even exercising some outrageous ideas to move beyond the basics and into the realm staging media events. Finding a theme to ignite your ideas makes it easy and more exciting for all involved. Here are a few suggestions as you consider incorporating a thematic approach to your career.

1. Think about your plans for the next two years. What events, projects, tours are in the works? Begin to think about themes for these new projects. Brainstorm with group members, managers, record labels, and publicists as you discuss the next projects. Work the theme into your plans.

2. Think about the businesses that you could involve. When ready, create a proposal that will get them excited about being an integral part of the event. Think about how this will benefit them and share that with them when presenting the proposal.

3. Think about community charities with whom you could align yourself. If you are particularly interested in a specific organization, strive to create a long-lasting relationship that might span the years as you grow your career.

4. Consider your graphics, posters, colors, and any design features that will enhance the overall execution of the theme to expand its impact on the media and the public.

5. Will food be involved in the event? If so, how can the theme be carried over into the catering? This can be very simple and low cost. When all the players involved are participating because it benefits a higher cause, sponsors donate most of their costs. A clever theme and a good cause will attract sponsors.

6. Will a specific location be important to the theme's execution? Get any licenses you might need from the city or county. Check local event calendars to make sure your event won't interfere with another scheduled for the same day.


Step out of the ordinary and place your act among the unique, the outrageous, and the extraordinary, who are gaining momentum in their careers because they dared to be more interesting than the competition.

Now, this might cost some money. But the payoff will be far greater. Many times greater than sending out a few press releases hoping they get printed or even noticed. If you plan ahead with a line item budget and build associations as you incorporate these themes into your plan, donations, sponsorships, and in-kind services will cover many costs. When you consider the cost of a large mailing or a phone campaign to get radio attention, a media event approach has potential to impact a much broader audience. When you begin incorporating a thematic approach to each project, the planning, the budgeting and the creativity all become worth the effort as you evaluate the results. Yes, it is a bit more work initially, but the outcome is magnified many times over, placing you among the true professionals to be reckoned with in this business.

Step out of the ordinary and place your act among the unique, the outrageous, and the extraordinary, who are gaining momentum in their careers because they dared to be more interesting than the competition. It all starts with choosing a theme for your next project. Work that theme from all angles and you will be pleasantly surprised at the end results.



Jeri Goldstein is the author of, How To Be Your Own Booking Agent The Musician's & Performing Artist's Guide To Successful Touring 2nd Edition UPDATED. She had been an agent and artist's manager for 20 years. Her book, CD-ROM and information about her other programs are available at www.performingbiz.com or phone (434) 591-1335 or e-mail Jeri at jg@performingbiz.com.

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