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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.

    CD Reviews - How To Get Press For Your Music
    By Joe Cinocca

    In 1996, I got the bright idea that I wanted to start a record label with a friend. I had just finished up an internship with Interscope Records and did not want to pursue a big move to NYC at the time. So, I had a lot of things that I had learned from my stint both with Interscope and Cain's Ballroom (Tulsa, OK).

    Growing up, I would sit and read any music magazine I could find and always thought that these reviews were the "holy grail" for bands. Once the excitement of having your band's first CD in your possession wears off, the question you ask yourself is "What's Next?".

    Getting a CD Review for an indie, unsigned or underground band is like a crap shoot. You never know who's going to like your music or bother to even listen to it. Trying to get that first CD Review might seem like a daunting task. So here's a few easy steps towards that goal.

    Look at the layout of the magazine and flip to the back, typically where the reviews are located. You should be looking for CD Reviews of bands that you have never heard of. Sometimes, the reviewer will list the record label it is on. If you see a lot of bands you've never heard of getting CD Reviews in that magazine, purchase it and take it home.

    Begin writing down the names of the magazines and addresses or type them into a spreadsheet. (If you do not have a spreadsheet, check out Google Documents.)

    Create a database of magazines and newspapers. Every local newspaper within a 2 hour radius of your hometown should be in this database. Find out the names of the music reviewers and put "ATTN : cd reviewers name" after the address.

    Now that you have a database of names and addresses to work with, you need a one-sheet. Some bands make the mistake of sending a full press kit. Look at this scenario from the reviewer's shoes. How many CDs do they get in the mail every single day? Where are they supposed to put the giant stack of band bio's they get? There usually is not enough time in the day to read all of the material they receive AND review the music. So keep it simple.

    The one-sheet should be on the front only. Put the band name and logo across the top, like you would letterhead. Take an interesting band pic and shrink it to the upper left corner of the page. To the right of that picture, list the band members and what they play (not that the reviewer will care that much). Underneath the band information, use cliff notes to highlight what is going on with your band. List your live shows for the next 2 months. List any radio stations currently playing your music. If those stations are focusing on one single, write something along the lines of "Request the first single "BLAH BLAH" at these stations" and then list them.

    At the bottom of your one-sheet, put down your band contact information. Every single piece of paper or item you send to a newspaper, magazine, radio/tv station, club owner, ANYONE in the music industry that you want to help you, should have the contact info for your band.

    Now that you've created the one-sheet, it's time to print off 25, 50 or 100 copies and purchase your office supplies. Get the CD Bubble Mailers and if you know how to print off mailing labels, pick some of those up. It might cost a few bucks, but having those addresses print off will save you a lot of time.

    The process goes like this:
    Envelope >> To/From Mailing Labels >> One Sheet >> Sandwich around your CD >> Seal the Envelope

    Expect to spend around $1.46 to mail the CDs out domestically. If you are not using traditional packaging, the postal rates will be significantly cheaper.

    Do not hound the magazine for your review. They are backlogged. It usually takes 3 months before your review, should they choose to say something about your album, sees the light of day. If you constantly harass the magazines, you are reducing your chances of getting the review. Some magazines will post a list of CDs they have received in the mail. Do an occasional google or yahoo search on your band to see if any reviews pop up.

    After 6 months, you can safely assume that your album will not be reviewed by that magazine. Depending on how you feel about that magazine, you can either delete them from your spreadsheet or keep them there and try again once you have built a larger following.

    Usually, on this level, money is tight and you have to be smart about who you send the CD to. Stick to local/regional publications or national magazines that cater to your genre of music.

    Joe Cinocca is the owner of Pasadena Records and Music Supervisor for Tandem Arts in Los Angeles, CA.

    Pasadena Records-Tandem Arts


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