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06 September 2011

Indie Musicians: Promote Your Band by Cross-Promoting Other Bands

WHAT IS CROSS-PROMOTING?

For the purpose of this blog, I am defining cross-promoting as the promotion of products (e.g., music CDs, merchandise) or services (e.g., gigs) of another band. Cross-promotion can either be done in conjunction with the promotion of your product or service or you may choose to only promote the other band’s product or service.

IS CROSS-PROMOTION A GOOD IDEA?

As a band, your goals generally consist of playing gigs and/or selling your music. Is it a good idea to promote other bands in conjunction with your band, or at times even instead of promoting your own band? In my opinion, emphatically, “YES!” Following are the reasons to support my perspective.

Why Would You Want to Promote Another Band?

To make yourself and your band more interesting.

Have you read Twitter feeds of bands where every post is about the band? “We’re playing here.” “We’ve just uploaded new pictures to Facebook.” “We just released our CD.” “We, we, we…”

You should absolutely use Twitter, Facebook and all the other social networking sites to provide information about every facet of your band. However, if that’s ALL you write about, it becomes a bit tiresome. Liven it up a bit. Share with your loyal readership tidbits about other topics you think might be of interest to them–making sure these tidbits align with your brand and your on-line persona.

Cross-promotion is more easily integrated into some social networking platforms than others.

  • Twitter is a fast newsfeed. I tweet Monday – Friday, several times each day. I post the most non-Eclectic Verve material on this platform, as I feel it lends itself to this purpose nicely. I sprinkle information about us in amongst the non-Eclectic Verve tweets a few times each week, but not on a daily basis.
  • Facebook is more static. I try to post 1-2 status updates on Eclectic Verve’s Wall daily Monday – Friday. Therefore, most of what I post relates to Eclectic Verve. Whenever possible, I include other people or businesses in these posts (e.g., tag the venue’s Fan page in a post about a performance, tag the name of a bartender in a post—obviously make sure you know this person well enough to do so, etc.) Additionally, every week or so I repost the link to an article or blog that is about a music-related topic that I feel our fans will find interesting.
  • The LinkedIn platform doesn’t lend itself to cross-promotion as well as the first two in my opinion, although from time to time I will share a link to an article or blog I think others might find interesting.
  • ReverbNation and MySpace are mostly about your band, so those sites are not good platforms for direct cross-promotion except in two cases: 1) You can show favor by becoming another band’s fan on their profile page, and 2) When you create an event/show, be sure to tag the venue’s profile page.

Some specific cross-promotion suggestions:

  • Share on Facebook that a band you like is playing at a local venue and encourage your fans to attend.
  • Tweet about the entertainment playing at an area festival, even if your band is not part of the music line-up.
  • On Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn post a link to an article that inspired or informed you.

Promoting other bands promotes good will.

By introducing your fans to another band’s music, your fans may find some new music they love as much as yours and want to buy the other band’s CDs and attend their shows. Your fans will be happy that you broadened their music playlist and therefore be inclined to buy more of your music and attend more of your shows. The other band will appreciate your gracious consideration and want to extend the same courtesy and promote your band and your music. Thus, you will 1) endear your fans and 2) broaden your fan-base.

To share the stage with another band.

Scenario: You really want to play a specific venue and finally get the invitation to perform. However, the venue wants you to play for 3 hours, and you only have 2 hours of material. What do you do? You tell the venue about a great band you know who plays complementary music and you suggest that you split the set time with the other band—orchestrating the transition so there is minimal downtime between the two sets. Once you get the approval from the venue, you then contact the complementary band and ask them if they want to share the event with you. The venue is happy because they don’t have to expend additional effort to line-up another band, you’re happy because you get to play the venue you’ve been dreaming about, and the other band is happy because they get to play a venue without having to market themselves to that venue.

WHAT IS COLLABORATION?

Collaboration is working with another band for the benefit of both parties.

Why Would You Want to Collaborate With Another Band?

To share equipment.

Scenario: Your band budget is constrained. You’ve invested in a great drum kit, but your sound equipment has seen better days. You want to play a venue that requires you to provide the necessary equipment to perform. Do you turn down the gig? No! You contact another band who has similar sound needs, but who has invested their budget in sound equipment recently, but lacks a decent drum kit. You offer to lend your drum kit to them for a gig and in turn they not only provide the sound equipment, but also act as your sound technician for your gig.

To share contacts.

Scenario: You are on good terms with the scheduler of venue “a” where you frequently perform. However, you can’t seem to convince the scheduler of venue “b” that your band is a great fit for their venue as well. Obviously, you can’t perform at venue “a” every weekend. What do you do? While performing an Open Mic to hone your craft, you meet another band that has the opposite problem you have. They are well known at venue “b”, but can’t get booked at venue “a”. You get to hear their sound and interact with them a bit to make sure they’re a band you’d want to refer, then you make the introductions between your contact at venue “a” and the other band. They in turn do the same for your band and venue “b”.

HOW DO YOU MEET OTHERS WITH WHOM TO COLLABORATE & PROMOTE?

Network.

  • Every time you listen to live music consider exchanging business cards with the performers.
  • Introduce yourself to Open Mic hosts, bartenders, bar owners and other participants.
  • When you perform, go early to make connections.

Be genuine. Generally, good deeds are reciprocated, but sometimes they aren’t. Your primary goal for promoting another band shouldn’t be to see what you’re going to receive in return.

That’s my perspective. What’s yours?

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4 Responses

  1. Great article. I’ve been trying to get other indie artists to understand this concept for a very long time. If we all stick together we can compete against the large record labels!

  2. Pingback : In Favor of Promoting Indie Musicians | Eclectic Verve

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