Top Tips

Band promotion - a necessary evil

This month’s top tip is inspired by BlackFrog regular, Full Circle .

It is important to state that Full Circle have only been a band for 5 months, yet in this time they have recorded and released an EP, released a debut single with radio play, been asked to produce a soundtrack for a movie and gained residency at venues in Oxford and London. They gig a minimum of once a week and they are on the verge of becoming, at least, a semi-professional outfit. Their fan base grows by the day and their 3 month old Facebook page now has over 530 members.

‘So what..’, you are possibly thinking, ‘..these spritely 20 year-olds have captured the hearts of a teeny-pop fan base, what with their boyish good looks and choreographed dance routines.’ . Well not so – this band ranges in age from mid twenties to late thirties and their blend of acoustic rock and power vocals attracts a wide spectrum of listeners.

So how have they achieved so much in such a short period of time?
Well lets not miss the obvious point, they are a very good band. Good songs, good musicians and very well rehearsed. But it took more than just their music ability to bring them their success. Martin Wackinear, Full Circle’s front man, leads a relentless campaign of band promotion everywhere he walks. By implementing some basic promotional techniques, Full Circle have managed to keep the interest in their band growing.

Let’s look at some of these techniques in detail:

Social networks
Like many bands, Full Circle quickly established a presence on MySpace but these days they predominantly use Facebook as their weapon of choice for social networking.

Having setup a ‘fan page’, they ensure that they post news several times a week – keeping fans interested and informed. Full Circle make best use of the ‘events’ feature too, with fans being invited to every gig they play. The band members echo announcements and invites individually, targeting friends who may have not yet signed up to the fan page. This action also helps to spread the message virally as friends pass details on to other friends who pass it on to other friends etc…

Every few weeks, each band member uses their status window to ‘hit’ their friend list and develop their fan base further. Once you have someone as a ‘fan’ they are far more likely to actually come and see you in the flesh one day!

Not a new concept, but many bands forget about producing a website. MySpace ticks a lot of boxes, but it does have its limitations – so it maybe beneficial to explore purchasing a domain name and making your own site. This can be done very cheaply these days by using tools like iWeb and Wordpress.

Full Circle use their website to promote gigs and sell downloads of their singles – a simple open source shopping trolley system controls sales and manages the download process.

Self promotion
I would challenge you to spend 10 minutes with any member of the band without being invited to their next gig. Talking to people is possibly the most effective form of band promotion… take every opportunity to let people know about what you do and where they can hear your music.

Hitting the pavement
Obviously this is meant figuratively speaking… but the breakthrough for Full Circle came one Saturday when Martin and Tim (manager), hit the streets of Oxford. In one day, they visited over 30 pubs, taverns, venues and clubs. Armed with a demo CD, posters and business cards they took control over their own bookings and asked the landlords directly to listen to their music. They got posters put up in 100% of the venues and managed to get nine bookings that day.

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