3) HAVE A RELEASE PARTY-OR BETTER YET, PARTIES. Think of it this way: Having a CD release event gives you a certain amount of buzz and mileage releasing your product. But having two parties can be even better. For starters, not everyone might be able to (or want to) make a full-blown concert party. A more intimate "listening party" (where the CD might be played over a coffeehouse sound system while you and the band mix and mingle) might be more appropriate for older listeners, or those who prefer a sort of wine-and-cheese setting. Especially with worship music, smaller, more intimate gatherings are an excellent way to not only let people know about your new CD, but also to share the journey behind the music. If the CD is a church worship band release, make the release a church-wide and/or outreach event.   Space the events out to guarantee maximum draw; a month to six weeks is usually good, and don't book any gigs/appearances around the events that might steal your own thunder.    

4) FORM A STREET TEAM. God intends for us to live in community, and the ultimate form of community for a band trying to make a mark is to gather together a "street team." Street teams are usually super-dedicated supporters who do it all-hang up posters, play the music for people at parties, get into Web chat rooms. Best of all, they will probably generate lots of good viral marketing ideas for you. Give them some sort of honorary title, gift or verbal appreciation, and you're bound to inspire even more loyalty (and hard work on your behalf).

5) THINK VISUAL. Great marketing means standing out. One way to do that is to give listeners something to see with their music. "For years indie artists rarely thought of videos since there was really nowhere to broadcast them except for local video shows and the occasional spin on an MTV specialty show at 2 a.m.," says Jerod Gunsberg, head of sales and label relations at the Telegraph Company in New York. "Now all of the sudden it is more important than ever. Independent musicians now need to start thinking up strong visual concepts since it is becoming more and more integral in how they are presented to their potential and existing fan base."

Now before you groan about how hard it was to record your album, look at it this way: It's easier than ever to assemble video tracks; Apple Macs, for example, come with film-editing software. The tracks can be uploaded onto your Web site, or one that sells your music, so there need not be pressing costs. And if you're looking for a cheap way to make videos, college film and TV programs offer a gateway-you get a free (or near-free) video in exchange for being an experimental subject.   


A QUICK HIT LIST OF OTHER IDEAS:

  • Put stickers on your CDs to tell people who are browsing CD bins who you sound like.
  • Keychains, glow sticks and other cheap-but-cute giveaways with the band name on it spread the word.
  • Hire an independent publicist, if the budget allows. National press is priceless in taking a career leap (Call record companies to get leads on who they use or recommend.) 
  • Get onto compilation CDs, if possible. Worship Leader Magazine's SongDiscovery is a great compilation that regularly features independent worship bands and artists. For more information, see www.songdiscovery.com

I hope this article has been a blessing to you. If you have any questions about music and marketing, please don't hesitate to contact me. My email address is: feedbacker@aol.com.

 

Lou Carlozo is a Chicago-based record producer and journalist. He is lead guitarist of the band Blue Lit Souls, who released their album "The Stairwell Years" on June 28. The album is available at www.pastemusic.com