November 11, 2010

Week 8: How To Release Your Music (Part 3 of 3)

(This is Week 8 of my Fifty-Two Weeks of Do-It-Yourself Music Advice)


Part 3 – Get Media Excited

Technically, there is no order to this three part series because you should be working on getting media coverage of your band long before the CD release show (and long after as well) and the idea of what format you’re music will be presented in is really a fluid process as well.

But, getting media involved may be the most important step. The length of your band’s shadow only goes so far. Although you are (hopefully) adding new fans each show, you need to depend on outside people to really start a movement.

Read my review of The Banner Year's Release and see them Saturday
By “media” I am talking anyone who has a group of dedicated people who read what they write. It used to be media meant exclusively print – magazines and newspapers. That was before the electronic movement really took a foothold on the genre and blogs like Perez Hilton, The Huffington Post, and Blabbermouth are now considered viable media connections.

Think of it this way: In this world-at-your-fingertips instant gratification life we live in, if Perez Hilton mocks you or if one of your videos goes viral… you’ve made it.

So, how does this wrap into releasing your music? You can’t “make” a video go viral and you can’t force Perez Hilton to mock you. But… you can work your darndest to make sure you are noticed.

If you’re looking at moving from booking the coffeehouse down the street up to playing a 2,000 person capacity show you need to whore your music. Put it in the hands of anyone with a blog that panders to your genre and can write a complete sentence. Bloggers, other musicians, writers, people who have written for magazines and newspapers, radio personalities, television mangers and morning show hosts. ANYONE who has the ability to say your name and reach an audience of which you currently don’t have the ear is your target.

How Do You Do This?
Research, research, research. You should have yourself a media list with contact names and addresses. If you don’t… get one. Compile it yourself or ask another band (who likes you a lot) if they care to share theirs. You can even buy one if you want to go that far. Also, you may ask a media friend. I get several e-mails a day where the “sender” forgets to “BCC” media. That means me, and every media person on that e-mail can see whom they are sending the e-mail to. Instant media list.

Google things like Top Music Blogs and know the publications in your area. Know who reviews music and even better, who reviews the music that is similar to yours. Chances are the person who reviewed the newest Neil Diamond record would not be interested in your grindcore band. Neither would Country Weekly. Perhaps you find the guys who reviewed the 2010 release (The Peel Sessions) from your genre-mates The Locust and send your album to them. Do your homework and you’ll likely be rewarded.

That Personal Touch
Media folks can get about 100 CDs a week from bands that want a review of their music. You need to do something that sets yourself apart.

Here’s what impresses me. When I get a CD in the mail that includes a hand-written letter to me (even on a post-it). Something as simple as “Dear Sean, thanks for taking a look at this CD. I really hope you enjoy it. – “Lead Singer Guy” will do the trick.

But why stop there. Look the reviewer up. “Dear Sean, I really enjoyed reading your review of The Locust’s new album. You have a good grasp on the genre. It made me think I should send you our new release. My band Dog Face Cow just released Utter Times. I hope you give it a listen and please let us know what you think. We’ve got a gig in Austin on November 27 at Red Eyed Fly with Under The Gun. I’ll put your name +1 on the list. Hope you can make it as I’d enjoy talking to you about the music. Feel free to e-mail me at or call 555-555-5555 – “Lead Singer Guy”

You can also do the same by sending something extra in the pack.. a pick, a t-shirt, some promotional swag, a pack of Pop Rocks… something.

Are You Ready?
Always have 4-5 of your band’s CDs with you. If you’re at a bar and someone mentions they write music for a newspaper, magazine or blog, give them a CD. If they mention they work for a radio station… give them a CD. If you know they are involved in media or entertainment promotions… give them a CD. If they are a journalism student at a college and might be able to submit a review to their student paper, give them a CD. Get the idea? If you have any indication that they can get a review done of your CD.. make it happen.

That’s pretty much the basic idea. Treat your new musical release like a major project and make sure you give it all of your attention when promoting. Be as passionate about releasing the music as you were when recording it. Anything less would be selling yourself short.

And come on out to the final show of one of my favorite Austin bands, The Banner Year, this Saturday at the Red Eyed Fly. You see the poster above... Here's the show information via


Sean Claes is the owner of Austin's INsite Magazine and has been a freelance entertainment writer since 1996. For an introduction to his "52 Weeks of DIY Music Advice" visit this link - If you like what you read... please share. To visit Claes' homepage, go here -

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