Marketing, advertising, and promoting are very important aspect of any business and it would be wise to spend a lot of your energy developing a strategy for your business to succeed. From a business perspective, the main objective of any record label, artist or band is to create a fan base to sell music to. Successful businesses maximize efficiency while controlling expense. As an independent label or an unknown artist or band, why waste your time and money sending out CD’s to major record labels and major radio stations (who receive thousands of material daily which they never listen to) when you have a better chance of building a fan base in the college circuit. Here is the deal, many colleges and universities have radio stations, usually ran by students, that are more likely to listen to, and even play, radio edited music by new artist and bands. So what if their listeners are nowhere near the major stations. In reality, you have more people listening to your music when a college station plays it, then when you send it to a major radio station and it gets thrown away or lost in the mix, with the other thousand disc that have been received. Below is a list of things you should do when promoting your music on the college circuit.

1) Contact as many college radio stations as possible and find out if they play your genre of music. Create a college circuit file with names, phone numbers and e-mails of all the disk jockeys that play your genre of music.

2) Study the format and shows of disc jockeys that play your genre of music and offer to do jingles or theme songs for their shows for free. Try to build a relationship with them.

3) Make sure to document and follow the procedure of each station in regards to getting your music played. Most stations prefer radio-edited versions of each song. Some stations ask for artist bios with an 8×10 black photo while others prefer that artist or bands send only mixed and mastered songs, for quality purposes. You should not have a problem with any of the suggestions if you are serious about what you are doing.

4) Try to have each station manager of disc jockey contact you before hand to let you know how often or when your music will be played. You want to already be a member of ASCAP or BMI so that you can receive royalties every time your song is played. Since you are dealing with smaller radio stations, you may be able to keep track of how often your song or songs are being played. If you are organized and keep good files on how often your record spins, it will look good on your resume when dealing with major labels.

5) Find out if the disc jockeys or radio station managers use mailers and offer to send them information that will lead their listeners to your site. Good visual images with information about artist recordings and upcoming shows should be effective. Make sure to give them access to your site. Once on your site, motivate them to join your mailer by offering free downloads from mix tapes or other creative ideas you can afford.

6) Once you have built relationships with disc jockeys, find out where most of the students that attend their school purchase music. Find out the best mom and pop locations and contact them to find out the procedures you will need to take to sell your disc at those locations. Make sure to send disc jockeys posters, free T-shirts and other marketing perks. If you can do it yourself, post-marketing tools like poster around the campus or even throughout each city. If you can’t afford to travel (which most artist can’t) having a good relationship with the disc jockey may come in handy. Get someone to display a few posters on campus, if not around town. Ask that they send you a few digital pictures of the posters on display. Even if you have to pay a few dollars for them to do so, just charge it to your marketing and advertising expense. Do the same with the mom and pop stores.

7) The more you do for people, the more you increase the likely hood they will do something for you in return (not a guarantee: but it improves your chances). Offer to put some of the disc jockeys in your music video, if possible. Give them shouts out in album credits or offer to post their links on your site. Store owners and disc jockeys that you have great relationships with, add their business on some of your marketing and promotional material, free of charge. Offer them free passes to shows or create marketing concepts that enhance their brand, products or services. Let’s say you are marketing your album in a mom and pop store and no one has ever heard of you. You need for people to know that you exist and to motivate them to purchase the album or to at least go to your website and purchase a download of one of your songs. Why not select a few mom and pop stores with large audiences, whom mostly purchase your genre of music, and give each storeowner a reason to promote your recordings. The truth is, they could care less about your record sales if they have nothing to gain from it. Remember, this about you building a fan base willing to listen and eventually purchase your music more then it is about you making tons of money from record sales.

Go through your list of college disc jockeys and schedule a meeting with three whom have connected you with great mom and pop stores whom you seem to have a great working relationship with. Propose to do a few favors for help them advertise and promote their radio shows. (Jingles, shout out in recordings, songs for show themes, or just provide beats for that the disc jockey can use through out their show) In return ask that the disc jockeys give a few shot outs to the local mom and pop stores and even inform their listeners of the stores website or physical address. Schedule a meeting with each mom and pop store and tell the managers that you have worked out a deal to provide free radio advertising for them. Be time specific and provide all the details you and the college disc jockey have discussed. Offer to send out mailers (e-mails from your list) on their behalf for any deals or promotional items they are currently pushing from their store inventory. In return ask that they make your posters and marketing tools visible and that they suggest your music to their customers. You may also want to provide a free mix-tape CD with each album purchase. See if the owner of each store will be willing to play a single off the album or to play the mix-tape disc so that the customer can hear your music. Just make sure they have a radio friendly version to play. There are even more motivational ways to get people to buy your music, but just make sure you stay within budget so that you do not loose more money then you earn in the long run. You will lose enough revenue in the mix-tape marketing alone. You actually want to gain some earning in the college circuit marketing.

8) Last but not least, try to find out if you can book shows on college campuses. Many student unions are given annually budgets to bring in comedians, music artist, motivational speakers and so on. Get the school disc jockey to speak on your behalf and test the waters with the local clubs as well. Focus on performing locally first but when you record spins and sales pick up, see if you can put together some sort of college tour with a booking agent if not on your own. Just make sure all your contracts are good and each financial agreement is secure. Make sure you have a strategy to sell merchandise and recordings at each store. Always have a list for people to sign their names and e-mail address so that you improve your mailer. This will eventually become your fan base, or people who follow your career and buy your music. Offer a free mix-tape disc for their information and always make sure to add your company’s website on each mix-tape disc.

Insert from 1up Entertainment Music Guide and Directory Vol. 1 by Saye Taryor


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