Hello and hi!
I am getting close to having a little five-track EP ready for some sort of release in the next month or so. This community has been awesome in terms of helping me learn to make it sound the way I want it to, and generally for building up my confidence with it, so thanks to everyone for that!
The next part of the skill set that I’m completely missing in this journey is how to actually promote it. I’m very pleased with it but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want there to be at least a chance of it being noticed and maybe even purchased by a few people. I’ve done so much Googling and reading about this that I’m now lost in the woods as far as how to actually proceed.
This brings me to the creation of this topic here, which I have a sort of dual purpose for. Obviously, if anyone has any guidance or information as to how to do this, I’d be incredibly grateful to receive it! The other side of it is that I’m sure there are a lot of people here who would benefit from a bit of an assist in how to push their work to a slightly larger audience. I know a lot of the musicians here make great music that deserves to be heard by more people, so ideally I’d like this to be a resource for everyone who wants it, not just me ligging off other better, smarter people’s information!
My first question is this, and if it sounds base-level and obvious then it probably is, I understand nothing about this process which is why I want to learn:
I’m basically a shut-in, have no following at all and no one knows that I’m even doing this. What on earth do I do?
The first thing I’d do is set up whatever social media accounts you plan on pointing people to, and make sure they are all in order.
By “in order” I mean:
- Make sure they have at least a basic press photo
- Links to where people can stream/buy your music
- Details on when/where any gigs you have coming up are.
Doing the above makes it much more likely that people will write about/play your music.
When you’ve got all that in place try sending it to the BBC uploader. If it’s picked up by your local show they should hopefully give it a play which then gives you something to shout about on your social media pages and might even point a few people in their direction to follow you.
If you’re planning on uploading songs to Spotify don’t forget to “pitch” them to their curators for inclusion on their editorial playlists too.
Finally, I’d do some research on blogs/music sites which cover similar stuff to what you do and send them over a basic press release with a link to listen to your song(s) and ask them to consider running a review.
I would suggest looking into Submithub (www.submithub.com) and Daily Playlists (www.dailyplaylists.com), although prepare for lots of rejections from nerds in their bedroom who think they could do better
They probably could do better! Happily, part of my doing this is to learn not to fear rejection so much, so a baptism of fire might help there.
Thanks @fitzcarraldo , that’s really helpful! I am dithering about the BBC uploader because I don’t think any of it’s really ‘radio-friendly’ but then for local shows I’m not sure if that really matters? Our local one is Adam Walton (or it certainly used to be) and he plays lots of somewhat off-beat stuff, so maybe it’s worth it.
When I get to this stage I stick it on SoundCloud and go back to the day job.
But you shouldn’t do this.
You should certainly try the BBC introducing route…that’s a good one and I’ve been on there a few times in the past…could even try a few djs. Marc Riley enjoyed my album, played loads from it and got me on for a session.
I also sold physical copies via my local record shop ( Piccadilly records in Manchester) and sold 300 copies+ there which was very good.
I’m way past expecting people to buy my music now though but still put any completed projects on digital platforms.
If I were you I’d upload it and let them decide if they want to play it or not!
As @stickboy says, you could also try sending it on to other BBC DJ’s you think it might click with but most will direct you to send it to the uploader in the first place.
I’d also stick it on Soundcloud and submit it to Tom Robinson’s “Fresh on the Net”. He normally plays a couple of the best songs each week on his 6music mixtape show.
@HolyCannoli don’t worry about radio friendly. If they like it they will play it.
Always worth giving Bandcamp Daily a shot; they have a guide to submitting here: Artist Guide | Bandcamp
With my last album, I didn’t get on Daily but I did get on the New and Notable list for Ambient which, for a guy with so few fans that he regularly receives looks of palpable pity from the Wealdstone Raider, was a real boost in terms of listens and sales and that.
I’m on a bit of a mad project sending demos out to indie labels at the moment with my new one. Feel some degree of (very probably misplaced) confidence in my new one
Idk why I’ve never bothered to read the guide properly before, I think the sheer size of it put me off! I think the diligence aspect of this whole thing has always been a barrier to me, there’s a lot to think about and strategise and all these little assets that need to be curated (pictures, text, and not just pictures and text but things that sell ‘me’ in a non-sarcastic and actually inviting way, which I am bad at). Urgh. Still, learning a new skill isn’t meant to be easy!
oh, absolutely. I suck at self-promotion but I seem to be getting there very slowly; even when my urge to just release a bunch of random stuff on a whim overtakes me
far from an expert but… as others have said, write a press release (that doesn’t sound like you wrote it yourself), get good hi-res artist pics (at least 3 or 4), give all the pertinent info and make sure you include some good talking points about what makes your music unique. ‘person who comes from x town writes songs and then releases them sometimes’ while true doesn’t exactly give them much to go on so make it interesting. get all of this uploaded and sent off ideally more than a month before you plan to release. most print mags want three months notice, but blogs etc are more like one month. then spend as much of your free time as you’re willing emailing everyone you can think of and personalise the emails because nobody reads a boiler plate. worth doing all the introducing, bandcamp daily stuff etc but it’s pretty crowded market so don’t hold your breath.
the biggest stumbling block though is doing it yourself without a past history of stuff or a recognisable name means that most of your emails will go unopened/into the junk filter. if you can find PR who isn’t a total snake oil salesperson but is relatively inexpensive and knows your genre, they’ll do the same thing but are more likely to actually get the emails read, so it’s a bit of a faustian bargain but there is a reason it works.
This is the sort of thing I’m all too likely to write tbh!
Unfortunately my only past history in music is something that would totally pull focus and also potentially be massively off-putting due to the total crushing failure of a semi-high-profile project, so that’s off the cards too!
I’m not going in expecting any particular level of success, so what you’ve said along with others is really helpful for calibrating exactly how much work is required. I just figured I might as well give it a swing and see.
Yeah BBC Introducing is absolutely a great route - we got a bunch of local play, a 6Music session and a bunch of festivals out of it.
Think the BBC is reshuffling it a bit though which sucks, so each show will cover a wider area. Boo.
definitely! a lot of people just chuck their stuff up on bandcamp and expect sales and reviews to come rolling in. it’s a hard graft especially when starting out, and the whole culture of it is pretty much rigged and based on payola, but you can make a little dent if you try
Along with Introducing, Amazing Radio is a decent place to upload your tracks for radio play. Uploaded a track and submitted to their music editorial team, and managed to get into their genre streams section with a track that got listed under a category that seems like the polar opposite of what my music is, but I got 80 radio plays for it and that’s not to be sniffed at.
If you’re going for radio play, it’s worth looking into registering your songs with PRS and PPL as well.
This is also sadly true, but there are a few diamonds in the rough.
No useful info to add here, because even though I did that whole working in the industry as a PR person thing back in the 06-09 era, that was a very different landscape for releasing and promoting music than the current day. I mean, MySpace was still the only social media platform that we had anything to do with!
I am however very happy that you are doing this, and looking forward to purchasing/listening when you do get it out there. And I may try and watch and learn, as I’m also fascinated by the idea of putting out some kind of EP myself, but have not got any further than just thinking about the idea.
Thank you! Absolutely happy to be a test case for anyone else who’s thinking about doing the same, when I start getting the ball rolling a bit more coherently I’ll post what I’m doing in here so that everyone can learn from my inevitable cock-ups along the way.
Not got much to add to the above, but the DiS State folks had some success connecting with other labels in the same sphere over social media. Probably worth taking a look at people releasing the same sorta music and seeing if there’s a scene of any sort you can get involved with
I suppose one thing that hasn’t changed that much is press release writing - so more than happy to lend a hand with that. I helped write the UK press release for Bon Iver’s ‘For Emma…’ - although that was a real gift to write about given the size of that backstory
Um, that’s quite a big credit, wow! Obviously I would be immensely grateful of your help, thank you. If you’re okay with it I’ll DM you nearer the time I’m collating my resources, that would be amazing!