Tech Tip:The Buzz Factor: Low Cost Ways to promote your new band, your record label or new release.

by Bob Baker


Demo Strategies That Set Your Music Apart


Whether you're wanting to attract a publisher, record label, music magazine or radio station, you need to find ways to make your recorded submissions stand out. Here are two ideas few others are using:


1) A couple years ago, as my staff and I were going through band submissions to our annual Regional Music Showcase, we came across a short tape that featured snippets of about eight songs from one band. Each song faded out after about 30 seconds, and after a two-second pause, the next song began. We got a quick earful of this group's music without having to agonize through fast forwarding the tape.


I know, CDs allow you to bounce around from track to track at will, but I still think this sampling presentation can be an effective one. You'll get more bang for your buck if you make the recipient aware of the time-saving benefits of this format.


Include a short letter that states something like: "You're busy. You haven't got time to listen to every note of every song that comes across your desk. That's why we've made it easy for you to enjoy a three-minute sampling of our six best songs. That's all it takes. Three minutes. And you're done. If you like what you hear, contact us for our full-length CD..."


I think if more bands used this approach, they'd see a better response to unsolicited mailings.


2) This second demo tape submission technique could work well along with the first one or by itself. It involves recording a personalized voice message at the beginning of each tape you send. Let's say you get a batch of short tapes for the purpose of taking the above six-song sampler approach. Don't start the first song until 30 or more seconds into the tape. Use that first blank section to record your voice greeting the specific person it's meant for.


The tape should be delivered with a note saying: "There's something I want you to know. A personal message just for you is recorded on the first 30 seconds of this tape."


Once the person's curiosity is teased and he/she pops in the tape, your recorded message might say: "Hi, Pat. This is Fred from the band Green Slime. I really enjoy your columns in the Daily Music Rag, especially the piece you did on (insert any detailed reference, as long as it's genuine). I know you're busy and are probably sick of opening mail, so I thought I'd give you a change of pace with this voice cover letter. The rest of this tape contains..."

The reason these two tactics work is because they meet the two most important criteria for marketing music:


1) They keep the recipient's limited time foremost in mind, and


2) They are truly different from the norm.