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How To Market Your Music Without Hiring A Publicist
By James Moore - 09/21/2010 - 04:11 AM EDT

Using DIY tactics, behind-the-scenes marketing strategies and a personal touch, you can now market your music to mass audiences without shelling out any money to publicists or promotion companies.

How do you effectively market your music without hiring a publicist?

Why pay someone else if you can do a better job yourself? First of all, what many independent music publicists do essentially adds up to a mass spamming campaign. Without the time, effort and personal touch required to make a real connection, they can do more harm than good, potentially losing valuable coverage and getting your band blacklisted in the process.

That's not to say you should be patting yourself on the back just yet. Many indie bands do a worse job of representing themselves by spamming countless victims on sites such as Myspace, pleading "Check out my band!" or "We noticed you were into (insert band name here). Contrary to what you may think, this is not a positive use of your valuable time.

To market your music effectively, first you need to have your professional product intact. This is covered in many other articles but it constitutes a properly written bio, photos, a website, an album or demo, and art.If any of these puzzle pieces are unprofessional - wait. Other important things you'll need are a blog, a mailing list, referral options, inbound links, search engine optimization and press.

So what will you be doing in order to market your music yourself and replace the publicist? Get press. How do you go about this? It's easier than you think. You will need to research your genre and sub-genres as well as all the magazines, websites, podcasts and blogs who cater to them. You can find helpful websites with industry lists as well as peruse the Indie Bible to find your targets of choice. This research will take time. You should make a list as you go in a spreadsheet such as Microsoft Excel.

Some of these places will allow you to add your links and news releases free of charge.  You should take advantage of this. Make sure you are drafting news releases as opposed to press releases. There is a difference and the difference is excessive promotional  language.

Music blogs have become extremely popular as of late. You can search for ones that match your style on sites such as Hype Machine. With these blogs, you don't need to worry typically about asking for a review. They are in the business of posting mp3's.  You will still need to be personable and follow the guidelines in the next paragraph.

Most of these places will have specific protocol to follow when asking for reviews. Don't always follow them. You will never get the amount of press you want or deserve if you wait in line and play by the rules. Some of these websites get 100 or more requests daily for reviews or interviews. Therefore, you need to be sneaky, yet respectful.  Go ahead and contact any individual writer who caters to your genre. I call this "behind-the-scenes marketing". Email them with the first paragraph telling them what you liked about their writing. Yes, you heard me correctly. I'm aware that you've never heard this before...and it works. Doesn't it make your day when a fan contacts you about how good your music is? Don't you think writers and reviewers get the same thrill? The reason this can help you is because they don't hear it very often. Compliment them. Then engage them with a question like "What did you think of (insert band name here)'s new album?"

In the next paragraph, mention your band and how they fit into the big picture. Humbly ask for a review or coverage. Humbly!

You will find that this will get you much more press than almost any publicist. Publicists can be very useful, but only the ones who are "plugged in" to the business and have built in connections.

Thatís how you market your music better than a publicist.

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