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  •  The EvO:R-Pedia Musicians Tips Section

    Welcome to the EvO:R Tips Section. We call this section EvO:R-Pedia because it is like a complete reference library for Indie musicians...Just about every tip has been used so you won't find false promises and a series of books to buy after reading each tip. This section was put here by musicians so that people that followed can take this knowledge and use it's power.

    Markets and Mailing Lists
    By Tom Leu

    So you’ve got some big gigs coming up? How do you continually get (new) people to actually come out, pay the cover charge, and see your live shows? How do you get the word out fast? How often should you be playing your local market in the first place? Some people will tell you not to play in town more than twice a month. According to them, you will “burn people out.” Others think that playing as often as you can is the best approach to build a following. What’s the answer? Contact your mailing list? Flyer the parking lot? Let everyone know when and where you’re playing right? Now you’re done right? Not quite.

    The local market is obviously the geographic area in which we live, the surrounding metropolis, the greater Anytown, USA area, etc. Aside from flyering the local music stores and the club you’re playing, what else can you do? Sending out mailers or postcards or (nowadays) emails, is the next approach most developing artists take to promote their events. These announcements have the same general message, saying, "I’m playing here, we’re playing there, blah, blah, blah" each and every month. But once you’ve done this once or twice to your core group of people, what do you do for the next show, and the next show, and the next show after that?

    One fact is that most people will not continually go see a band or group every time they play somewhere. People generally like to stay in their own "neck of the woods" where things are familiar. Yes there are a few enthusiasts out there who will follow you wherever you go, but most of the time, this just doesn’t happen. Believe it or not, people have lives outside of your band. Although your music and your gigs may be your #1 priority, they are not everyone else’s. Another fact is that once people have bought your CD’s and other merchandise...they’re done. They’ve supported you all they can at this time, until you release something new. It’s time to plan on refilling the funnel, so to speak. Put on great shows and encourage "word of mouth" advertising, but always be looking for new fans.

    According to indie music guru Tim Sweeney, "the key to playing shows is not necessarily how much the club or venue is going to pay you, but how much revenue you are going to earn in merchandise sales during and after the show." "A music c areer needs to be anchored on your live shows and it needs to start in your home market." "Your live shows and the proper pre-show promotion will be approximately 75% of your current and future sales." "Don’t spend a bunch of money mailing flyers, inviting the same people to another show, which they have already come to."

    A group’s focus has to be on getting new heads in the door and moving merchandise out the door, and then repeating this process again and again. As suggested before, personally handing out audio flyers that announce your performances and feature your music is the best technique to employ. You simply cannot hear what a band sounds from a piece of paper. Audio flyers are two or three song CD’s that contain all the necessary information in writing on the artwork AND in audio format for people to listen to in the car on their way home.

    Give these to everyone you believe to be a potential fan of your music. The benefits are obvious. You’re instantly getting your name out there all over the place and few people will not accept a free CD if handed to them. People will be hearing your music for the first time that may not have otherwise, and will then be somewhat familiar with your stuff before the show. Concert attendance will increase as will merchandise sales.

    Take this a step farther and coop with other bands to produce audio flyers that showcase music from all of the bands on an upcoming bill. Getting two or three different bands distributing these CD’s and pre-promoting shows weeks before the actual show dates is definitely working smarter and harder. Targeting areas around the club or venue where your potential fans hang out and shop will multiply everyone’s efforts and get your music into the hands of many more people who may never have heard of you otherwise! The word of mouth promotion from this alone will impact your attendance, hype, and visibility.

    The Bottom Line: Keep in mind that your local city and the surrounding areas are bigger than you may realize with many, many places to play and people to play for. Play as often as you can consistently bring in new and old faces alike. Don’t limit yourself by having tunnel vision on the how and where to play. Try to look at the big picture, always.

    Tom Leu - The Musicians Corner
    For hundreds of techniques & strategies to market, promote, and sell your music more efffectively, more often...check out Money, Marketing, & Myths Inside the Musician’s Corner Volume One by Tom Leu at http://www.tomleu.com

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