Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What to get Your Favorite Artist for Christmas

Most of the artists who entertain our friends at the Nebraska Outback House Concert Series are independent, controlling their own music, lives and destiny. They can perform the music they want, nearly all of which they have written and arranged themselves.

Our audiences often leave a concert shaking their heads "why don't we hear them on the radio?" or "they are so much better than we hear on the radio all the time." I share our audience's frustration.

Most of the artists who perform on our living room stage are doing exactly what they want to do - connecting with people through the intimate setting of a House Concert. They wouldn't have it any other way.

However, the CD sales and the radio play (online or broadcast) is their bread and butter. Tours are so expensive, that often the donations from audiences barely cover expenses. It's connecting with new fans and selling CD's that make a tour profitable.

I personally believe that fans who have been entertained by an artist who has spent a lifetime honing their entertainment skills has a certain amount of responsibility, over and above dropping a donation in the jar and buying a CD.

If we want to consistently have the opportunity to hear great new independent music, WE have to be the PR arm of these amazing artists. They don't have the PR machine of a mega record label behind them - and this is a good thing, because they also don't have a mega record label telling them what to play and how to play it.

With the access we have on the Internet, we can be a partner in their careers and help them sell albums, and other fans discover them and start talking about them. Here are a few ideas to help you along:

  • First, go to the artist website at (www.MasonDouglasMusic.com, www.Neelymusic.com, www.BenBedford.com, www.jesseterrymusic.com, www.meganburtt.com, www.bethwoodmusic.com, www.kenomalley.com, www.thewaymores.net, www.marcgunn.com... there's so many more!) and sign up for their mailing list. You'll often get free music downloads, and you'll be notified of upcoming events - album releases, appearances, etc.


  • Go to the artist Facebook fan page and become a fan there too. You'll most likely find the information on their official website. And don't just leave it at that... don't become a stalker, but post on their walls if you see/hear something you like.


  • If you’re a twitterer, you can follow them there. Make a list of musicians you follow and check it regularly - retweet their interesting tweets, engage them in conversation. Recognize them on "#MusicMonday", "#NewMusicTuesday" and "#FollowFriday", tell your friends how much you like them.


  • Check out their albums available on Amazon.com. It’s best just to search for the name of the artist and/or the name of the album. Scroll down and leave your own review of their music. Don't just purchase their music and leave your enjoyment of it to yourself! Share with others how great it is and encourage them to purchase it or listen to it too. Activity here will help your artist be more easily found.


  • Do you have an iTunes account? You can find nearly all of the artists there as well, and it really helps their visibility if you “like” their music and leave reviews there too. Just search the store to find them, then poke around on your account until you find where you can leave reviews. It only takes a few minutes, and once you become a regular at it it'll take less time than that.


  • Are you hooked on YouTube? Most artists have a channel there, where they post videos of their own and favorites those others post. You can "favorite", “like” and comment on the individual videos, and you can also comment to the channel - all of this will help their be more popular and more easy to find. Of course, you can also share the videos on your Twitter feeds and Facebook walls and other places on the Internet.


  • Going a little further, you can go to the artist page on ReverbNation: You’ll have to register, but it’s free and gives you access to preview lots of great music. Become a fan of your favorite artists there, and you can check out their upcoming live appearance and other announcements.


  • Whether you listen to your local radio station, Internet radio or services like Pandora or Spotify, request their music! Create channels with their music. Share (there's almost always a "share" button) the same when you have the opportunity.


Don't let your admiration for an artists hide under a bushel! Let your light shine wherever you have an audience - readers of Amazon and iTunes reviews, your Twitter followers and Facebook friends, other fans of the artist.

Take your job as PR person seriously! We'll all thank you when we have the chance to turn on our local radio station and hear their music!

If anyone has any more suggestions on how we can help our favorite artists get the word out, be sure to post comments here.

Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on.

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