The Sneaky Way to Promote Your Music Without Actually Talking About Your Music

[Editors Note: This blog was written by Dave Kusek and originally appeared on the Sonicbids Blog.]

I know it sounds completely counterintuitive to promote your music and raise awareness for yourself as an artist without actually talking about your music – or your music career, for that matter. But it’s being done more and more and has become a really powerful way to make a name for yourself by bypassing the crowded indie-musician market.

Let me explain. The key is to establish yourself as an expert in some related topic like gear, self-releasing music, or songwriting. It’s about sharing valuable information on a topic you have a lot of experience in to draw potential fans. They find you by searching for “how to write a song,” or “how to book your own gigs,” or “guitar pedal review,” and discover your music through that connection.

Push vs. pull marketing

Traditionally, there are two ways to go about promoting your music. You can either push your message out to fans and potential fans (push marketing), or you can pull them in and get them to come to you (pull marketing).

Push marketing is those typical advertisements you see on TV and hear on the radio. They’re just pushing information out about their product to a large audience hoping to reach someone who may be interested.

Pull marketing is about giving out valuable information that you know your target audience is searching for. This valuable information could be exclusive or behind-the-scenes access to you as an artist. This kind of content will pull in current fans and deepen your relationship.

But you could also share advice on something you have a lot of experience with. This will help you reach a new audience who may not even be familiar with your music.

So let’s go through the strategy step-by-step.

1. Find your expertise

The first step is finding something you have a lot of experience and knowledge in. As a musician, you have a few really obvious routes – music, songwriting, mixing, mastering, music theory, gear, instruments, etc. These are the skills that form the very foundation of your career, so you definitely have a lot of valuable information to bring to the table here.

Many musicians, including Scale the Summit’s bassist Mark Michell, have set up online schools to share their musical knowledge and techniques. The key here is to bring this training online instead of doing local lessons. Not only will you be able to reach a much larger audience, you’ll also start showing up in Google searches for things like “online bass lessons.”

Other musicians pull on other skill sets like music business knowledge, booking gigs, or creating YouTube videos. DIY musician Ari Herstand, for example, runs the blog Ari’s Take, where he shares his experiences and the skills he’s learned from booking his own shows and generally running his own career. Other musicians like Alex Cowles share their knowledge on self-releasing music.

2. Find the right platform

If you want people to organically find you, the best option is to go online. Depending on the kind of information you share, your platform may be a little different. So, if you’re creating music lessons, videos may be your best bet. Try making YouTube tutorials, playthroughs, and lessons, and release them regularly to build an audience.

On the other hand, if you’re sharing the things you’ve learned on getting your songs licensed or booking college gigs, a blog may suit your information better. Gear and guitar pedal reviews and demonstrations might use a combination of blog posts and videos.

You could also aim to partner with other media outlets to share out your information. This will help you get your name out to a larger audience. In addition to his own blog, Ari Herstand also writes for Digital Music News. Maybe you could get a regular column in a small online music magazine or music industry blog – start small and grow from there.

3. Show up in search

Now that you have your content up, you need to make sure people can actually find it. There are plenty of SEO guides out there, but basically, you just want to think about what people are actually typing into search. There are also a lot of cool tools like Google’s Keyword Planner that can give you some ideas.

You want the keywords and article titles you choose to be relevant and specific to what you’re posting. So if you’re posting a review of a certain guitar pedal, a title like “Boss Waza Craft VB-2W Vibrato Review” will perform better than “Guitar Pedal Review.” Likewise, if you’re sharing your tips on how to set up good lighting for a music video, something like “Setting Up Good Lighting for a Music Video” will probably do the trick.

Of course, good SEO won’t instantly drive thousands of people to your articles and videos. It’s going to take a lot of work and consistent posting to build up an audience.

4. Create the connection

Here’s the most important part of this strategy: you need to make the connection to your music and drive your viewers or readers to check it out. After all, music is your main gig.

There are a few options here. You could obviously host your blog on your band’s site, or share your tutorials or gear reviews on your band’s YouTube channel. That way, your music is just a click away. This works, but it will make it more difficult to get the SEO working like you want.

If you host your content off your music website, you need to make the connection obvious. Include an “About” page that shares your story. Highlight your musical journey and your creative career as an indicator of your expertise on the subject.

You should also mention your career and bring out stories in your articles and videos.Preface an amp review by saying you brought it on tour and recorded some awesome sounding live videos with it. Include the live video to prove your point (and introduce your readers to your music).

If you’re teaching people on YouTube about modes, you could mention that you used a certain mode when writing a new song you have out. Play a short section of that song to show your point and include a card in the top right corner to link to your music video.

Engagement: Myspace’s Real Legacy for Indie Bands

[Editors Note: This blog was written by Rich Nardo. Rich is a freelance writer and editor, and is the co-founder of 24West a full-service creative agency focusing on music and tech.]  

I came of age in the world of independent music at a time when the key to launching a new band was a successful Myspace page. A diverse array of artists from Fall Out Boy to The Arctic Monkeys to Lily Allen owe a tremendous debt to their days creeping into millions upon millions of fan’s “Top 8”. In what was most likely unintentional defiance of the traditional business model for breaking a band, Myspace allowed artists direct access to promoters to book shows, connect with fans and other artists and create a viral spike all without the help of a label, publicist or radio campaign.

The biggest aspect of Myspace’s legacy, at least in terms of music, is likely that “viral potential” and “direct-to-fan” connection it created. Today, we have major streaming sites and social media to hold bands down in this manner even if Myspace has largely shifted their music focus to editorial.

Perhaps the biggest thing that new artists can learn from these Myspace success stories is that it takes time, effort and commitment to make the most of these services and parlay them into a financially viable career in music. There is much, much more to creating a ‘viral’ hit and amassing hundreds of thousands of streams than just putting up a catchy song and asking people to share it.

Here are five things that today’s independent artists can learn from the “Myspace Bands” of the mid aughts.

1. Use Your Page to Build A Brand

While pop-punk and other ‘local music’ wasn’t started on Myspace, it did become exorbitantly more popular because of it. People became “Myspace celebrities” and millions of ‘ego swoop’ haircuts flooded the site as a direct result of kids trying to be like the bands they loved.

Your band does not need an emo swoop.

What your band does need is a definitive approach to the vibe of your online presence. In fact, many savvy new bands and managers are forgoing a presence on all social media sites to focus solely on Instagram. The reason for this is twofold:

  • (a) the ability to really create a distinct visual, and
  • (b) to take advantage of the opportunity for reaching a new audience via direct interaction and proper tagging (both hashtagging and geo-targeting).

2. Sell Without ‘Selling’

Not to sound all “business-y”, but Myspace was great due to the fact it created a viable direct-to-consumer situation for bands.

Is your band playing in a new city for the first time? Go through people commenting on similar band’s pages and reach out directly. If you do it right, you’ll be playing in front of some fans that are familiar with your music instead of an empty room. You can still do that today, but the key is to keep that casual approach that Myspace bands were built on.

“Hey I saw you were a big fan of Minus The Bear, Highly Refined Pirates is one of my favorite records of all time!” is a better first impression on a fan than “Hello, I play in Band X. We are playing in Aurora, Illinois tomorrow. Buy tickets now!”. Myspace taught us the key is to make people realize they want to be at your show, not just making them aware you’re in town.

3. Engage! Engage! Engage!

This one is pretty self-explanatory. If you’re an unknown band (or even a mid-sized one), talk to your fans. If you don’t another band will. It helps to reach out to new fans as well, but if you’re uncomfortable doing so at least reply to those that care enough about your work to reach out to you on Facebook or shoot a Tweet or Instagram comment your way.

4. Promote Your Promoters

Something bands and their teams often forget is that press and radio are two way streets. Yes, they are happy to promote your music, but they also have bills to pay and their own fanbase to grow.

I’m not saying you have to post every blog about your band to EVERY social media site but at least shoot them a tweet or retweet thanking them for writing the post. Same goes for radio play and YouTube, Apple or Spotify playlisting. This is something a lot of Myspace bands did great at and that’s why so many writers and radio DJ’s have been so loyal to them throughout the years.

5.Consistency Is Key

Myspace band accounts seemed to always have that green “Online Now” text flashing on their profile. This is because they understood that the more time they spent interacting with fans and building their network on the site the more it would translate to better attendance at their shows and more records and merch sold.

Don’t just sporadically post a Facebook status that you’ve got new music coming and then disappear for a few months. You don’t have to spend all of your time maintaining your band’s online profiles, but definitely make it a point to be active on it for a little bit each day.


You’re trying to grow a loyal fanbase. The best way to do so is to get fans onboard early and let them feel a sense of ownership towards your band. If you can’t afford to drop everything and tour 200 days a year, then social media is your best way to do so.

Just ask Tom.

13 Tips For Getting the Gig From Talent Buyer Christina LaRocca

Hello music makers!

My name is Christina LaRocca, Founder/CEO of L Rock Entertainment.   As a talent buyer with a decade of experience, I get somewhere between 25-100 requests A DAY from bands all over the country, asking to play the Big Apple or looking for assistance with tour booking.  How do I choose which bands are the best fit for my shows?

First impressions are everything.  Remember you are contacting a human being, so it’s best to treat them like one.  No one is going to reply to an email that says: “My band is awesome you need to book us…check it out man www.weareanawesomeband.com”

With that in mind, here are some great tips to help you get the gig: Continue reading “13 Tips For Getting the Gig From Talent Buyer Christina LaRocca”

75 Tips & Tricks to Get Your Music Out of the Bedroom

[Editors Note: This is a fun, inspiring list written by Rory Seydel that was originally featured on the LANDR Blog. Think of it as a fun, creative exercise that’s meant to get you thinking differently about the way you make music!]

Sometimes you need a little inspiration to kick start the process. Here are 75 light-bulb inducing ideas.

1. Ignore every obstacle anyone has ever put in front of you.

2. Make music everyday – no matter how much time you have.

3. Set a deadline — and stick to it.

4. Learn to record yourself, and do it whenever and wherever’s possible.

5. Use LANDR to master :)

6. Do as much as you can on your own, see what’s missing, THEN get help.

7. Try Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies, or buy the original deck of cards made for mixing music.

8. Write lyrics with concrete imagery.

9. Get out of the box.

10. Try a free trial from Ableton, it’ll change the way you make things.

11. Record every musical idea you have. Use your iPhone, tape recorder or dictaphone.

12. Keep a pad and paper by your bed.

13. Read about your favorite artists. They were once where you are now.

14. It’s never too late.  Anyone, at any age, can make music.

15. Learn about the origins of House music.

16. Use Garage Band, it comes free with your computer.

17. Get a 4-track recorder.

18. Play a piano.

19. Try collaborating through Splice.

20. Stop reading Pitchfork.com. Make music instead.

21. Attend a festival.

22. Buy something off Sample Magic.

23. Get a friend to sing the chorus.

24. Ignore every recording rule you’ve ever heard.

25. Read David Byrne’s blog.

26. Try to join the Underground Producers Facebook group (it’s invite only).

27. Block internet distraction for a chunk of time with the Freedom app.

28. Learn the Circle of 5ths.

29. Sing in the shower.

30. Set up drums in your living room.

31. Go on tour.

32. Ask questions on Reddit.

33. Recreate your favorite song.

34. Harmonize with a friend.

35. Learn about multi-band compression.

36. Stop playing the instruments, only play the effects.

37. Quit your day job.

38. Work nights.

39. Buy a drum machine.

40. Buy used gear only.

41. Use what you have already.

42. Delete every plugin that you’ve never used, keep only what you use.

43. Sleep less.

44. Quit a band and start your own.

45. Get the PolyTune app.

46. If you can’t figure it out, there’s probably a YouTube tutorial that can teach you.

47. Record it backwards.

48. Read Attack Mag.

49. High pass filter vocals.

50. Eliminate computers from your live setup.

51. Play your new song in front of people.

52. Record sounds that aren’t musical.

53. Learn about sampling.

54. Stop caring.

55. Subscribe to The Wire.

56. Sell your guitars and buy turntables.

57. Sell your turntables and buy guitars.

58. Ask yourself: What would Prince do? 

59. Ask yourself: What would Drake do?

60. Learn to play the drums.

61. Take frequent breaks from mixing.

62. Finish a song in one sitting.

63. Watch every episode of Fact Magazine’s Against the Clock.

64. Approach songwriting like a DJ approaches a party.

65. Buy a hardware synth.

67. Think about music in the shower.

68. Get familiar with Tone Generation.

69. Invest in monitors if you have the money, but work with what you got if you can’t afford them.

70. Get Reaper, it’s free. (Editors note: It’s not free anymore)

71. Learn to read music.

72. Check out Loopmasters for loops and samples.

73. If you have the opportunity, make music with a toddler.

74. Talk to other musicians.

75. Share your music with the world.

5 Tips For Quality Home Recordings

[Editors Note: This is a guest blog written by Joey StrugisProducer, mixer, recording engineer, programmer, writer, performer – Sturgis is multi-talented, and for a full decade he has brought these powers to bear on nouveau strains of metalcore, post-hardcore, electronicore, and more, shaping a revolutionary new wave of hard music.]

1. Fix your listening space

Recording, mixing, and producing all comes down to one centralized focus, a great listening environment. If you don’t know what you’re hearing, you don’t know what you’re mixing or creating. I can’t stress this enough, make sure your room doesn’t have bad reflections, weird resonating frequencies, or distracting acoustical properties. If you encounter any of these problems, use the internet to help you solve them. A great resource for something like this is TapeOp’s Acoustics category.

2. Reference everything

Want to sound like the pros? Listen to the pros, and compare your work to theirs. Don’t be biased and be honest with yourself. Does your mix cut like theirs? If not, be willing to go back to the drawing board time and time again. Just be careful not to pigeon hole yourself into being a copycat. Use this tip as a technique for improvement rather than a guide for ripping off success.

3. Great sound isn’t by magic

You don’t need quirky plugins, cool trendy techniques, or even magic tricks sold by thousands on the web to get a great sound. Mixing is fundamentally just dynamics and tone, and you can accomplish all of that with just Volume, Pan, EQ, and compression. Master those four things, and you’ll be on your way to unlocking great sounding work in no time. Add on the extra layers of sauce later!

4. Don’t focus on the small stuff

Don’t forget that 99% of a great song is actually just the song itself. All that time you wasted on getting your snare to sound like x could have been spent worrying about better vocal melodies or even better vocal performances. Don’t get so caught up in the small stuff; nine times out of ten the small tweaks don’t resonate with people as much as the actual song itself does. Present it well, that’s the main point!

5. Take your time

Don’t rush to the finish line! Sure, the more time you spend on a song, the more it rots. Alternatively, the less time you spend on a song, the worse it gets. Be careful about the balance here, and try to find the sweet spot that matches your creative flow. Spend too long on a track, and you’ll massage it to the death. Spend too short of time on a track, and you’ll experience negative feedback. If you’re in a hurry, slow it down. Take your time to hear the song a few days after not hearing it to return with a fresh perspective.


Joey Sturgis 33Joey Sturgis has racked up a massive list of credits for a who’s who of modern cutting edge metal, channeling the raw power of bands like Asking Alexandria, Attack Attack!, Born of Osiris, Of Mice & Men, Attila, We Came As Romans, Blessthefall, I See Stars, and many more. Follow his podcast here.

TuneCore Artists Head Down to A3C Prepared!

It’s Day Two of A3C Festival 2015 and hip hop artists from all over have ascended to Atlanta to perform, shake hands, and, well, party! Before the festival kicked off, we reached out to some of our TuneCore MCs and producers to get a feel for how they’re planning on making the most of A3C this year, and grab their thoughts on what it means to be an in independent artist in 2015.

Per usual, our insightful community didn’t disappoint! Whether they’re veterans on the scene or they’ve head to Atlanta for the first time, take a look at what they had to say…

On making the most of A3C. . .

“I plan on going to as many conference panels as possible to network and get advice from industry veterans on how to improve what I’m currently doing and continue to improve my musical success.”
– 
AwesomeNobody

“Aside from the obvious answer of making connections and witnessing legends speak/perform, I find A3C and Atlanta in general, a huge inspiration for my song writing. The rich culture and southern lifestyle spark a different kind of creativity I wouldn’t normally experience at home in Canada.”
– Quake Matthews

“This is my first year at A3C, after doing SXSW four years in a row and having great success, I’m really excited to start the A3C chapter in my career. After the festival, I hope to gain the notice of music lovers that enjoy spreading the word on new artists as myself.”
– 
Erreon Lee

“I plan on taking advantage of every opportunity to engage with the supporters of indie hip hop; performing as much as possible, building with people on a one-on-one level, etc. In terms of the “creative” side of things, I’m there to have fun and make sure I remain as visible as possible to those who I may want to engage with in the near future.”

“As an independent artist it’s key to be out and about networking. You don’t have a big team behind you, so you have to play street team sometimes down to the manager. We plan on killing shows and building with like minded artist with the same goals. A3C is the perfect opportunity to make more opportunities just have to apply yourself.”
 Goldyard

As an independent artist I plan on making the most of my time at A3C this year by personally connecting with my current and potential fans. I already have a pretty nice fanbase in ATL, so I will be looking to expand on that. Other ways I will be making the most of my experience in A3C this year are by promoting with CDs, download cards and promotional flyers for the project I released this year through TuneCore. I will also have my personal artist/brand apparel on hand at every show and media event I attend. I’m scheduled to do tons of interviews and a few shows, so I plan to make the most of every opportunity. “
– 
Weasel Sims

“As an independent artist it’s hard getting your music heard and recognized. A3C gives upcoming independent artists a platform to be heard, so if I don’t connect with as many people and artists as possible I’d be wasting my time.”
– 
Kidd Adamz

“In my eyes, the biggest thing that needs to happen during my time at A3C this year is  to go from a shy introverted artist to the very outgoing personable being that I am. The best way to do so is by meeting as many people as possible!”
JoeyB

On being an independent hip hop artist in 2015…

“Being an indie artist in 2015 has it’s ups and downs. As far as myself, I tend to try and look towards the positive, which is freedom. Sometimes the freedom to be you creatively makes a lot of difference – your sound, your look, and your perception always has a chance to be the next thing!”
Boxx A Million

“Being an [independent] hip hop artist, there are many obstacles and challenges – but it’s my job to continue to make interesting music and be as interactive with my fans as possible.”
ChellaH

“We’re the next wave of music. Of course labels will always be around, but everyday another indie artist is going viral without them. We’re the future.”
– Trev Rich

“As an independent artist in 2015 with the Internet at our fingertips, the power is in my hands. As much as I love the art, I understand that I’m a business. The more energy you invest into your business, the larger it can grow!”
– 
Phene

“It means to be able to control your own future. Being able to ride the wave and keep up with the changes by releasing music whenever you choose to. It also means having a close relationship with your fans; they’re like your team.”
– Shawn Chrystopher

“Any thing is possible even without a label support if you work hard for it.”
– 
ILL BOYZ

“To have been signed to a boutique label before and to be independent and thriving at the same time is just a blessing from God. It’s an amazing opportunity and honor to be respected as an independent artist and it makes more sense business-wise for me at the moment; so the timing is perfect for me to succeed as a self-contained force. Shout out my team!”
– Super Spodee