Album can’t be longer than 42 minutes or
Fewer tracks, more quality.
Imagery must be colorful and different.
Videos and photos must be great and original.
Keep the mystery. Don’t do too many interviews.
Send out promo copies on vinyl – sounds better and
Align with charities – be enabling and constructive.
Use people you know in your videos.
“The record” is your public relations –
craft is more important than glamor, hype, or money.
Use an independent promoter – get to
know people at the record label personally.
Be “the most-interesting thing” – valid, meaningful
Send your music to reviewers you trust.
Send an advance single to iTunes.
Don’t promote on TV; drive people to website – but
license your music (Less Than Kind, for example).
Write niche songs (about curling, for instance).
Jane Siberry / Radiohead
Pay what you want – “The Honesty Box.”
Show “the average price” to give people an
indication of how much is the right amount.
Siberry’s average track makes $1.30 –
more than her fans would pay on iTunes.
Make, market, sell CDs yourself.
Get your advance from the record label, then
pay it back.
When you have a die-hard following, get your fans
to bankroll your tour.
Call your album “marillion.com.”
Database marketing: 30,000 names collected at
gigs (“That’s all there is to it”).
Sell your gigs online.
Hold three-day mini-festivals at “holiday camps.”
Forget the record company.
Put your website link in print ads.
Linked with Ford Focus – gets a free
car to drive to his sponsored gigs, and
he appears in the car ads (brokered
deal through Ogilvy ad agency).
Quadrupled his email list after the ad
ran – “Further down the road to
Give away your CD online and let word of
mouth do the rest.
Your first tour is your “seeding tour” –
crowds build on subsequent tours.
Money: 40,000 downloads a year, playing
to 350 people a night = $3,000 a night in
tickets and merchandise.
Sell CDs on streets and in shopping
Rent your own venues, sell your own
Mailed a cassette to every person in
Montmagny, Quebec inviting everyone to
his concert – he sold 600 seats.
“Be a huckster.”
Appeared on Oprah’s show after selling
out the Chicago Theatre.
License your music to ads, video games, soundtracks, and movie trailers.
Appear in ads (“Get over it”).
Sell the concert, T-shirt, ads on your website, and your brand.
Write and record one song a week, and post it to
Sell songs on your own website – eliminate the
41 per cent of income: downloads from his
29 per cent of income: CD sales.
18 per cent: ticket sales to live shows.
11 per cent: T-shirts sold online.
Increased web hits from 1,000 a week to 50,000
in one year.
Five songs became breakout “hits.”
Build a solid living knowing that you’ll never be
The Hold Steady
Balance mystery with intimacy online.
Have an official band discussion board.
Discuss technical aspects of playing –
Respond to fans.
Avoid questions about your family and deflect come-ons; don’t post when you’re
Remember that everything you say backstage can show up on social media the
In one month, band has a 500-fan database and several offers to play live.
Better than self-promotion in “the old days.”
Music has to be good, or “it all counts for nothing.”
No interest from labels – but one offer to play live from Alan McGee (Creation Records).
“You’re now Malcolm McLaren, but on a smaller scale.”
Day 28: 557 friends.
Invented fake band (“Hope Against Hope”) and
promoted it on social media and other bands’
Give your YouTube channel a good name.
Choose a great background and photo (panoramic,
Set the default tab display.
Fill out descriptions and tags.
Alert followers when you update.
Promote with YouTube playlists, annotations, great titles.
Earn money with partner program, licensing program, video contest.
Interviews and mini-docs
Video Press Kit
Behind the scenes