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Industry 101 - Speed Date / Marketing / PR
February 28, 2006

What is the best way to get media coverage to boost a band's profile?
Firstly you should have your own web site for people to visit; secondly you should look at other web sites for advice. The BBC 1 music site has a lot of information on how to get exposure for your music. Radio 1 will also play demos sometimes as part of their unsigned playlist, as will Ras Kwame on 1Xtra.

Other outlets for unsigned artists you should consider are Internet radio stations, and community stations like Resonance fm and even pirate radio stations.

If you want to get reviewed in a specific magazine you should look through it before you send a demo and see what the different journalists like before you send anything.

If you play live, look through Time Out and try and find venues that have live music at club nights, promoters often like to start the night with a live act. The Telegraph in Brixton is a good example of this.

How do we build up our fanbase?
Always collect the contact details of anyone who is interested in your music, and anyone you meet who would be able to help you. Remember to make notes about all of your contacts as you add them to your database. When you meet people you should make the effort to build a rapport with them and not just take their details, that way they will remember who you are if they get an e-mail from you. Put your contacts into three categories:

A fans contact list
A press contacts list
An industry contacts list
Then whenever you do anything you can let these people know what you are doing. Don't send any e-mails out on a Monday, or Friday/Thursday evening, always send them out mid-week and they are less likely to be ignored.

PR people are very good people to have as contacts because if they like you they will be very good at promoting you; it's their job to know lots of people in the industry, often at record labels. They sometimes run their own small labels as well.

Another very good way to promote yourself is to spend a lot of time contributing to online forums, but not chat rooms as they are ineffective. I spent a lot of time doing that when I worked for Ninja Tune, and quite a few of their artists very successfully promoted themselves that way.

What other sources of information would you recommend?
There is a book called Succeeding In The Music Industry that is very useful. It runs through all the different aspects of working in music from a business perspective. It also has a CD- Rom with many of the forms you might need to fill out at different times, if, for example, you want to start your own business. It also has advice on contracts and a section on music publishing.

You can find a lot of information and contacts in the Music Week directory (a lot of these people are ex-directory), unfortunately it costs about £65. However Music Week magazine also contains some of this information. There is also the Guardian Media Guide, which is much cheaper than the Music Week directory, and has a lot of useful contacts for promoting a band, such as local press as well as the national publications.

As a musician it is a very good idea to join the Musicians' Union, not only for the information they can give you, but also because they will provide you with free legal advice.

How would you promote a live event on a budget, and grab journalists' attention?
The Internet is the best place if you are trying to do it on a budget. E-mail newsletters are also good.

When contacting journalists, be different, make things personal for each journalist and have telephone contact first before you send anything through - it shows that you have put in an effort. Be very clear about what it is you are offering. When you do speak to them make sure you mention your name and company name as much as possible.

If you are sending out e-mails you could design an e-flyer to make the e-mail stand out. If you have a web site you should always include as much information as possible on it as search engines will hit it more often.

How do you get included in listings?
PA Listings (part of PA Newswire) are the normal way to go about it, but it can be difficult to gain inclusion. If you don't use PA Listings, contact publications directly. To do this it's a good idea to set up a database of all the people that you contact.

How do you get sponsorship?
You need to offer them access to their customers by a new route, which can be difficult. It depends on what you are looking for from a sponsor. Trying to get money from them is hard; promotion is somewhat easier. I remember an example of a club that was in a very small venue, but they used to do a live web cast of the night that built up a large following, so they were able to get a lot of sponsorship.


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