By David Lowry
One of the great frustrations in being a manager for bands is the lack of drive or work ethic that come from certain members. They think they can just sit back and do basically nothing and everyone else does it for them. And then they complain when nothing is happening for them. They don’t realize that all they are doing is showing everyone how un-dedicated they are, how the band will never get anywhere and how the team around them will just quit trying to help them if they can’t even handle simple things like self-promotion.
I hear the most ridiculous things from local bands all the time, that it’s a new music business so they aren’t going to do things the old way. They think they don’t have to be professional anymore, that if they did things the old way, they wouldn’t be where they are now, which is still basically nowhere. They don’t get that professionalism and hard work never change no matter what state the music industry is in.
Without buzz about your band, you really have nothing. You are only as good as good as your last show and if you aren’t gigging at least four times a month you are in trouble. The buzz is what gets you noticed by anyone with the clout or money that can truly help you achieve your dream and it grows your fan base faster than anything else. Your branding campaign is a big part of this, so if you don’t have one, you should spend some time planning and implementing one.
Anyone who is in the business for more than 6 months knows it’s all about the buzz for a band and yet band members would rather post about football then their latest interview or show. Creating a buzz takes time and hard work, but if a band does it all together, it will be much easier for them and will go so much faster. Too many members of bands leave it up to one member of the band to do all the work, especially if the band is named after one person. But once you committed to a band, you committed to all of it no matter whose name is on the logo.
If you have time to post about sports, someone else’s music videos, what you had for dinner or what you are doing with your family, then you have time to post about your band. If you can’t handle that, get out of the band. If you are too busy to post and create a “buzz” about your band, you don’t have time to be in a band in the first place. Quit taking up space on someone’s roster or taking gigs you aren’t going to promote and let the people who really want it have the spot. By not doing this you are simply destroying all opportunities for your band. This is simply the most pathetic thing I see from bands.
If you spend any time studying social media marketing, you will know that only 7% of your audience sees your posts on Facebook. So if you think posting once is enough, especially right before a gig is enough you are fooling yourself. It takes a strategy and consistency to create a “buzz” about you from everything like your live performances to your social media campaign.
As an artist or a band member, when someone posts your music on a site or does an interview about your band, it is YOUR responsibility to promote it and keep the buzz going about you. Many of these people who write interviews for you spend hours transcribing and editing and many members of bands can’t take 10 seconds to post it. These interviewers get paid based on the amount of clicks that come from these articles. So basically, the interview busted their butts to give you some PR for free and you didn’t do a thing to help them or recognize them or their effort on your behalf and worse you did nothing for yourself. You shoot your self and your band’s name in the foot with these people who will never cover you again because of your unprofessionalism and laziness. You can’t just rely on someone else’s fan or viewer base to spread the word about you. It takes everyone and a very concerted effort to make this buzz happen.
Creating buzz is huge part of your musical career. Every thing you do should be a part of your campaign. Every gig, radio show, interview, site you are added too should be promoted for weeks before the event if possible and after the fact. Every form of media of media should be used to brand your band and create buzz. Most of the bands reading this at their stage of the game in their career, nothing should be left out from posting flyers, to radio, both internet and terrestrial and social media…. Everything.
Bands have to realize that their fans are reading their teams stream to find the latest news on you. They have to understand the amount of “white noise” that get’s tuned out by people on social media because they know what pages are posting in general and it doesn’t interest them. Fans want to find out from the band and it’s members not their business people.
Think of it like this: statistically every person knows at 220 people in their lives. If you are a band member or businessperson you will know way more than this number. If you ignore your warm market so to speak, you are ignoring your greatest potential to gain new fans. For every person in your circle, they have at least 220 people in theirs that could find out about you, but won’t if you don’t promote. Your snow ball/viral effect starts here, not on the bands page. Most bands only have a few hundred to a few thousand fans. How is that going to be enough to promote especially if something is only being posted once? Utilize your power, your strength and make it happen. Most bands are missing out on this because certain people can’t be bothered long enough to put down the “vice” of the week and work.
When you are at a gig and you have only 20 or fewer people there, you and your band mates should be texting, calling and reminding people to show up. It is your responsibility to create buzz about your band until you can PAY someone else to do it and even then you still have to promote. Bands should be doing whatever they can to get people at their show. This is priority #1 in their career.
The band and its members should be “liking” all posts related to their careers. They should be doing it on their pages, their teams pages and any others they see in their streams. They should thank everyone who posts for them. The more attention a post gets, the more other people see it, especially by people who have never heard of them before. This is the most basic concept that has been social media for years now and everyone knows it, but they ignore it. Not only that but again, it just shows disrespect to all the people posting for them. Of course you won’t catch everything, but you can catch most of it and people notice that.
There is no point whatsoever for anyone to help your band with your dream if you can’t even do the minimal promoting of yourself on Facebook, Twitter or whatever social media platforms you are using as a bare minimum. Your band should be let go from any contract to make room for the ones that are serious and working as hard as they can to make it. When a band or it’s members refuse to create buzz, promote or try and get people to a show, it’s a very bad reflection on their management, booking agents or what ever team members they have. No company has to or should put up with that. It’s not their teams responsibility to get people to the shows, it’s the bands.
So put down the beer, get off Facebook except to promote quickly, turn of Skyrim and then have a band meeting to get bands act together. Make it abundantly clear what is expected of them and what the consequences will be if they don’t help and then put together a campaign. Come up with goals, time frames, standard operating procedures or whatever you have to do to make it happen.
This business is hard enough as it is without people giving 100%. It’s not the same as it used to be with management or agents, everyone has to work even harder to separate their clients out of the clutter of other bands and the money isn’t there like it used to be to make it worth it if the band can’t commit to the dream. Local bands had better realize this and get it together or their will be nobody their to help them at all. Nobody is obligated to help some one for free, for the small percentage of the $150 gig a band is doing or who doesn’t want it bad enough to work as hard as they possibly can to achieve their dream they said they wanted.
It’s your dream, only you are responsible for making it happen. No one else will care until you show them that you do. Not your team, not your fans, and evidently not even some of your band.