"Attention-getting tactics to promote your music (on a limited budge)"

This Article Originally Published in 1994

by Bob Baker

Recognition! Attention! A legion of loyal fans! Those things are what most working musicians aspire to have. Yet, I can't count the number of frustrated band members I encounter every month who work hard at their music but end up playing to empty rooms and not being invited back to perform at area nightclubs.

Of course, you know by now that you should first have great songs, strong vocals, a defined musical focus and image, not to mention an engaging live show, to have half a chance at luring recognition from music fans and club owners. Therefore, it's no surprise when the bands that lack those elements don't cut it.

But how many times have you seen (or been in) a killer band and said to yourself, "This group really deserves to have a crowd. People don't know what they're missing!" More than a few times, right?

The typical problem with these bands is that they concentrate almost entirely on the music. Which is no crime, but it leaves the marketing and promotional aspects of their music to chance. I don't know about you, but I realized long ago that I wanted more control over my career (and life), not wanting to depend on the whims of fate to steer me.

The moral here is this: Getting a grip on the marketing aspects of promoting your music will stack the deck in your favor. And when it comes to grabbing the attention of the many new ears that will hear your music, spending at least some energy on creative promotional techniques will speed the process along. Then you'll be able to spend more time making great music and less time rolling the dice and hoping a crowd shows up or that somebody will buy your record.

Attention-getting tactics don't have to be complicated or expensive. You just have to think beyond simply pinning up fliers and letting some of your friends know about your gigs. Also, please realize that no one promotional effort is going to work miracles. Low-budget, grass-roots music marketing can be effective, but you have to approach it as a long-term, ongoing activity—not a one-shot deal.

Music marketing is a lot like multi-track recording. Each layer you put down adds to the ones already created. That's why you'll need to develop and deploy an ongoing series of promotional assualts—each one reaching more people, making them more familiar with your name, image and sound.

What follows is a random list of ideas you can use to promote your music. Hopefully, reading over these will inspire you to use them and/or come up with even better marketing tactics of your own.

Take some of these promotional ideas and make them work for you. If you'd like to share your own music marketing tips and success stories—and get a free plug in this column—please send them to the address below.

Bob Baker is the author of "Guerrilla Music Marketing Handbook," "Unleash the Artist Within" and "Branding Yourself Online." He also publishes TheBuzzFactor.com, a web site and e-zine that deliver marketing tips, self-promotion ideas and other empowering messages to music people of all kinds. Get your FREE subscription to Bob's e-zine by visiting http://TheBuzzFactor.com today.