rockford illinois entertainment guide
Date: 11/10/2003
Musician's Corner: Foundations
by Tom Leu
The Musician's Corner addresses these and other issues on over 150 websites and print publications each month, and also in the "Musician's Corner Volume One" book and companion audio program available at Included here are a few important foundations.

A successful music career is about marketing, about perception, and about networking properly. Honestly, it matters little what "style" of music a band or artist plays. What matters is getting repeated name recognition through various mediums including radio, TV, Internet, newspapers, magazines, and word of mouth. Bands need to evaluate the area they are breaking into and place themselves and their music in the right places at the right time, talking to the right people, and maximizing opportunities.

Marketing fuels networking. Get on as many radio station sponsored events as possible, do charity and benefit concerts, and get involved in any/all summer outdoor concert events. Provide periodic PSA's to the media announcing "what's new with the group" and seek out write-ups and reviews in area newspapers. Enter any band competitions both online and off to gain accolades and increase exposure, make your concerts into "events," give away samples of your music while promoting for upcoming shows, and ultimately, promote smarter and harder. Get to know who the players are in the area's music business. Make connections, build rapport, and create a buzz. I said create, not catch a buzz…

Perception is reality. Human beings remember things two ways: 1. Through repetition until something becomes a habit, and 2. Through experiential and sensory impact (that's code for being blown away visually or auditorally). As musicians we can influence our audience's perception of us by combining repetitive, effective marketing efforts with excellence both in the recording studio and at live music settings. If the perception of a band is that they are "everywhere" and "on their way up," then they probably are.

This is not intended to sound oversimplified or easy, but it's not rocket science either. There are many, many, little things bands and artists can, and need to do on an ongoing basis to increase their audience. It does not matter if you live in Rockford or Rochester, the same basic principles hold true. Unfortunately, It's usually not enough just for the music to be good; musicians have to be expert sales and marketing professionals as well (or eventually have those people working for them). But what comes first, the chicken or the egg?

The Bottom Line: To gain a larger following and bigger audiences; you'll have to step up your promotion efforts proportionately. People aren't going to come to you just because you put out a record or are playing on Saturday night. You're going to have to go get them. You're going to have to make it impossible for people to ignore you and your music. Quality music enhanced with intelligent and consistent effort will eventually yield the larger crowds. As Steven Tyler from Aerosmith says, "anything worth doing is worth overdoing."
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