Thoughts on promoting a band – suggestions welcome

Over the last few weeks things have really started to roll for Greenfoot (my band), and we’re really starting to build up some momentum.  Back in early October we were getting ready for our first gig and over the course of the last few weeks we’ve played a number of shows, spent time in the studio and have our demo CD cut, released and ready for distribution.  We’ve definitely made a lot of growth over the last few weeks, but now we’re exploring ways to take things to the next level.

Last night we started a discussion about our next steps in promotion, and coming up with a plan.  We bounced a lot of ideas around, and I spent the drive home dwelling on those ideas.  Right now I’m in the midst of two interesting scenarios: promoting a band, and marketing a new business.  While I thought that I could employ the same methods for both, but I find that promoting a band allows a lot more liberty and enables us to take more risks.

From that comes a laundry list of random thoughts, and I thought I’d do a brain-dump:

  • Don’t sell the demo CD’s under any circumstances.  The amount of money we would make from sales can’t buy the PR that we’ll make by giving the CD’s away.
  • Put the MP3’s on the web site and make them available to download, encourage fans to share our music – make it known that people can get the music (put "download free music" at www. on the promotional posters)
  • Put up our promotional posters on college campuses, venues, coffee shops – anywhere people hang out.  Put CD’s in sleeves and tack the sleeves onto the poster so that people can pick CD’s off the poster.  Yes they may get "stolen" but what’s a thief going to do – listen to it?  This experiment may be worth it.
  • Make better use of our mailing list.  We’ve talked about using Evite or another events planning tool to track attendees, provide directions and generate discussions.  This goes back to trying to build a community of people who like our music.
  • Put together our promotional kits. I found a great web site that talks about some things to include in the promotional kit.  We’ll be sending these out to venues that we’re looking to play.
  • Connect with bands that we’ve previously played with, or bands in our area that sound like us.  If they’re looking for opening bands or maybe we can find some way to share events.
  • As we’re getting established, promote ourselves to booking agents as a band that can also open for other acts, as well as headline act.
  • Get some stickers out there, capitalize on our logo and hand them out
  • Get a big vinyl sign that says

Those are just a few ideas we’re kicking around.  This band promotional stuff is very "chicken & the egg".  Venues won’t let you play big nights unless you can guarantee a big crowd, but you can’t build up a big crowd if you don’t play where people are (at big nights).  I would definitely appreciate any ideas or suggestions regarding this – no idea is to outrageous.