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Hype Machine: Creating a following for your band

Live band

Once upon a time, if you wanted to create an audience for your band then there were really only a couple of ways to go about it. You either came up through the underground, playing gigs and building a following organically, or you had the power of a large record label behind you. But over the last couple of decades, that’s all changed to the point where even bands who first appeared in the last decade wouldn’t recognize many of the ways in which musicians engage with their audiences anymore. For one thing, the role of the record company has been massively reduced for a lot of artists. Where they might have once needed them to get the word out, there are now dozens of incredibly effective methods that they can use themselves. This can be fantastic because it has opened up the possibility of exposure to a lot of bands and artists that might never have been able to get it before, but it also comes with a downside. Without the guiding hand of a label, it can be easy to feel as least a little lost at sea when it comes to trying to figure out how to make your mark. With that in mind, here are some things, some old, some new, that you can do to create a following for your band or musical project.

Get social

If there’s one thing that’s completely revolutionized the way that bands interact with, and generate, an audience in the twenty-first century, it’s social media. In its relatively short lifespan, social media as a way of promoting your band has come a long way. There was a time when all your band needed was a decent myspace page, and that could be the hub of your online presence. Now, things aren’t quite so simple. Now there are at least half a dozen social media outlets that you need to use in order to get noticed. From the obvious ones like Facebook and Twitter to more unique social media opportunities. Most bands have a SoundCloud account at this point as a method of sharing their music, but SoundCloud can act as much as a social platform as a music sharing service. The key is to make sure, whatever platform you’re using, you’re engaging directly with the people who are interested in your music. There no longer need to be any barriers between artists and fans anymore, and you should be ready to take advantage of that fact.

Reach out to the pros

Of course, just because the role of the label has become less important over the years doesn’t mean that there’s no help out there for struggling bands and musicians. After all, just because you’re able to write and perform amazing music doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to be an expert in all things social, promotion and hype driven. Consider hiring the services of a professional music PR agency to help raise awareness of your project. Not only will an agency like that be able to spread the word about your band, but it will make sure that you’re getting the right kind of publicity all the time. Especially in the internet age, you’ve got to be so careful about how you present yourself to the world since anything put online is likely going to be permanent. By deferring to the pros every so often, you can be sure that you’re not putting your image or relationship with your audience at risk at any point.

Go old fashioned

If there’s one thing that’s completely revolutionized the way that bands interact with, and generate, an audience in the twenty-first century, it’s social media. In its relatively short lifespan, social media as a way of promoting your band has come a long way. There was a time when all your band needed was a decent myspace page, and that could be the hub of your online presence. Now, things aren’t quite so simple. Now there are at least half a dozen social media outlets that you need to use in order to get noticed. From the obvious ones like Facebook and Twitter to more unique social media opportunities. Most bands have a SoundCloud account at this point as a method of sharing their music, but SoundCloud can act as much as a social platform as a music sharing service. The key is to make sure, whatever platform you’re using, you’re engaging directly with the people who are interested in your music. There no longer need to be any barriers between artists and fans anymore, and you should be ready to take advantage of that fact.

Reach out to the pros

Of course, just because the role of the label has become less important over the years doesn’t mean that there’s no help out there for struggling bands and musicians. After all, just because you’re able to write and perform amazing music doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to be an expert in all things social, promotion and hype driven. Consider hiring the services of a professional music PR agency to help raise awareness of your project. Not only will an agency like that be able to spread the word about your band, but it will make sure that you’re getting the right kind of publicity all the time. Especially in the internet age, you’ve got to be so careful about how you present yourself to the world since anything put online is likely going to be permanent. By deferring to the pros every so often, you can be sure that you’re not putting your image or relationship with your audience at risk at any point.

Go old fashioned

The internet might have made a huge difference to the ways in which people find and connect with new bands, but there’s one thing that it can never change, and that’s the fact that people just love live music. However important your online presence is, there really is no substitute for getting out there and playing gigs, connecting with people directly and spreading the word in a natural way. It’s so easy to put yourself online that just about anyone can do, this makes it far more difficult than ever before for your to find an audience. By playing live and growing your following naturally, you’re able to bypass all of that and go straight for a direct connection with individuals. Plus, people are way more likely to sing the praises of a band who put on an incredible show than they are about a nice track that they might have just stumbled across on Soundcloud. Remember, word of mouth is still one of the best ways to create a solid and dedicated following.

Photograph by Pop Culture Geek

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