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Online Marketing for an Indie Band?

Cliff posted more than 12 years ago | from the RIAA?-we-don-need-no-STEEKING-RIAA dept.

Music 517

nometa asks: "I'm working with an indie band, and despite excellent reviews, a great album (produced by Sylvia Massey of Tool fame), and excited responses by crowds whenever we play, it seems near-impossible to get past the 'gate-keepers' of the music industry. Majors (and several indies, sadly) don't see a pretty boy band, push for fluffy singles over good songs, and generally act like they still have clue about what people want. We've had great success, however, on our websites selling CDs and pulling in new fans, and would like to push online music marketing further. Do any Slashdot readers have suggestions for pushing our music out further online?" We all know the problem with today's music industry, this is not the place for that horse-pill. Instead let's focus on how an independent music group can go out there and make it on their own, and do so using existing technology (including the Internet), to its best potential. So what suggestions do you have for young, aspiring bands who want to make their music, and not sell their soul in the process?

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected. did it (5, Funny)

waldoj (8229) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208188)

Weasel your way onto the front page of Slashdot? :)

-Waldo Jaquith did it (-1, Offtopic)

Guitarzan (57028) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208252)

You beat me and lots others to's your karma. did it (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4208265)

An honest submission would leave the phrase "I'm working with an indie band" without a link. Shame on you Cliff. did it (1)

Guitarzan (57028) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208286)

Since when did honesty and marketing have anything at all to do with each other? did it (3, Informative)

macdaddy357 (582412) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208371)

Get your music onto and other such outlets, get your indie band's website onto a server that can handle the slashdod effect, and tour constantly, selling CDs at the shows for five bucks. No one can or will pay 15 or 20. Also, find other places to play than bars. Providing background music for drunks to drink to won't get you very far.

fuck (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4208192)


Getting a story posted to /. is a good start. (-1, Redundant)

teamhasnoi (554944) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208193)

Geez. What more do you want? CowboyNeal has lots of drugs I hear....

Linux banned in IRAQ (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4208207)

Hello, I am a secret spy for a scerert Iraqi terrorist group. I am posting as Annomous coward because,
If im caught I will be sentanced to death immediately. To hide secret
information from the US, Saddam hussian has tightened up securtiy.
Linux is now illegal along with all other operating systems.
The only OS allowed now is IRAQIX, a super properitry operating system that
is so secret, that when the OS was compiled, all machines containing the
source code were destroyed and the devlopers were killed. Please don't tell
ANYONE this information, I am posting this through a secret proxy server in
the IRAQI desert, this is my last words before I explode my illegal computer.,

/.ed (2, Funny)

freakboy303 (545077) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208213)

Post the URL link on /. and get so many hits it crashes the server! Millions of Geeks clicking instead of working can't be wrong!

Re:/.ed (-1)

Frank White (515786) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208313)

Carl Pohlad is a taco-snotter! Long live the Royals! Long live Allard Baird! Long live Tony Muser! We will build our team around Roberto Hernandez, and you will be contracted like Chuck Knoblauch's batting average! HAHAHAHA!

See me, only me, the underboss of this holocaust, truly yours, Frank White!

Sad news ... Stephen King dead at 54 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4208215)

I just heard some sad news on talk radio - Horror/Sci Fi writer Stephen King was found dead in his Maine home this morning. There weren't any more details. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him - even if you didn't enjoy his work, there's no denying his contributions to popular culture. Truly an American icon.

Re:Sad news ... Stephen King dead at 54 (-1, Offtopic)

as400as2 (560825) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208383)

is this for real or hoax or what?

Step #1 (4, Funny)

sdjunky (586961) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208220)

Step #1.

Keep your website online by not having it Slashdotted to death

Campus Net-Radio (5, Insightful)

overshoot (39700) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208224)

Give samples and distribution rights to University LAN stations. A lot of University campuses have their own inside-the-firewall Net radio and are starved for material.

MP3 id tags? (4, Interesting)

bryansj (89051) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208364)

How about putting some MP3's out and including contact information in the id tag? This information can be a simple email address or web site address. Something like "for more info contact ...." or "to purchase CD ..." You could release it into the world of P2P networks or newsgroups. You can then see if these distribution methods actually help unlike what the industry tries to make us believe.

Re:MP3 id tags? (2, Insightful)

harks (534599) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208395)

I dont think most people download things that they haven't heard, unless you get word of mouth going on p2p chats. Still a good idea though.

You've been brainwashed (2, Insightful)

PhysicsGenius (565228) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208227)

You draw crowds. You sell CDs. You get web hits. Congratulations, you are a success.

What were you expecting? To be a hit new sensation sweeping the nation? Guess what, that doesn't happen (anymore) without selling out. Be content with what you have.

Nobody ever stops to ask (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4208290)

Is there a reason they are independant? Maybe because noone in their right minds would pay to hear their drivel?

Re:You've been brainwashed (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4208309)

Geez. For once, Physics Genius said something Insightful. Either I need to reexamine the foundations of my world, or his karma's so low he needs to go trolling to still be noticed!

Re:You've been brainwashed (2)

Dephex Twin (416238) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208341)

This is a very good point. The reason there are such huge stars out there is a lot because of these big companies and everything getting consolidated.

A post-übercompany music industry will probably mean a lot more/better bands make it, but the definition of "making it" won't be so extreme, IMO.

Sombody has to say it... (-1, Offtopic)

ALecs (118703) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208233)

Step 1: Get a link to your band on /.

Step 2: ...

Step 3: Profit!

Re:Sombody has to say it... (-1, Offtopic)

Vairon (17314) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208254)

No. Someone does not HAVE to say it every-single-time an article is posted.

Re:Sombody has to say it... (1)

phil reed (626) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208320)

I guess this means that the "All your base..." jokes are out too?

Re:Sombody has to say it... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4208276)

A shame someone does.

Re:Sombody has to say it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4208381)

OMG ROFLMAO!!!!!!!!!!

Man, some people might be drinking coffee when they read this stuff you know, so don't just unload those comedy guns without a warning!

LOL!! Hahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That is so funny! Oh, I just peed a little!

OMFG I can't breathe!!!!

Press the Green Button the BAND!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4208238)

Here's a great band they should be the Slashdot band! []

Don't use their model (5, Interesting)

Frankenmoro (606704) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208240)

Make your music FREE (for personal use)! If you signed, you wouldn't get much for your music anyway, sheer .1 cents on each CD. All of your money will come from merchandising and shows. Tour, tell people to dl your MP3s (they will) and spread them to their friends. Make sure you post when you'll be in an area on your websit. You'll make it. This is the OTHER thing the labels are afraid of...

Figure this one out.. (1)

buswolley (591500) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208241)

and we get to watch the major labels crash and die. And then.. freedom from the middleman.

Well its easy .... (-1, Offtopic)

thempstead (30898) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208243)

1). Get mentioned on front page of /.
2). ???
3). $$$

exposure... (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4208250)

I would definitely suggest putting mp3s up on and You definitely need to advertise... sometimes word of mouth is the best carrier for a cash-strapped band. Some bands have been successful by just getting as many places to link and/or host to their mp3s. And plugging the site during a performace does wonders for exposure... especially if people can easily remember your URL.


The BEST marketing is outside of the internet (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4208259)

It's called TALENT, so you may as well fucking give it up right now you sorry sacks of shit. Farting into a microphone and then ripping it to mp3 isn't going to get you any Hollywood pussy, you fucking no-talent knob slobbers. Suck some big dollar dick, get on MTV, and quit it with this "fuck tha MAN!" bullshit. Do you want to make it or not? If so, follow the rules or keep playing in your retarded garage forever, you dipshit dick lickers.

emergent music is a good start (4, Informative)

paulschreiber (113681) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208260)

I would write up a reocmmendation on Emergent Music [] (or send them a CD so they can write one up). Word of mouth is great.

Try this out... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4208261)

I saw [] in a post by someone somewhere on the web stating how this website streams bands who aren't tied to labels yet. This site so far only does industrial rock, but I'd love to find indie bands that have good music on the web. The crap on the radio these days, as we all probably agree, sucks. Therefore, most of my music is found on the web and on "streaming" sites. Please please please save us from the RIAA! Get your music promoted on those indie websites ASAP!

Real Estate (2)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208267)

Marketing is about real estate. Big part of the reason its hard to break out in the Real World is that most of the real estate (shelves, venues, etc ad nauseum) are owned by a small group of people.

You would need to create valuable real estate online (high traffic) and then stick yourself on the top front shelf.

That said, I'm really skeptical about the ability to market rock online. Seems to me that the Internet is really more of a tool for cross-promotional opportunities, where you can drive people from the Real World to real estate online in order to let them hear/get more of your material. I'm not sure how effective an effort to aquire new fans purely online would be, as the net seems much better suited to expound on the marketing materials we encounter in real life, rather than aquire new people. (This is mostly because in the Real World real estate, you can make your marketing materials highly targetted, where as online it is far more difficult to pitch only to your target geo/demo-graphic .. thus for very specific products like music, which appeal only to specific graphics, it'd be hard to get a good Return on Investment out of purely online marketing ventures.)

nitpick re: "from the XXX-YYY-ZZZ-dept. line" (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4208278)


Try these guys (2, Insightful)

MattHawes (606764) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208281)

My buddie's band used an indy music distrobution company called 101distribution.

be agressivly pro-active (2, Informative)

i7dude (473077) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208285)

while the business model the RIAA may be antiquated and just plain shitty, the rules for getting your band heard and noticed have not changed. the end result is the same, get as many people to listen to the music as possible...

nothing is more powerful than word of mouth. the simple fact is that you wont increase your online popularity without finding a way to generate some buzz. i would begin by contacting as many independant music review sites as you can...small or large, they have readers who will be intrested in hearing the music...if it is as good as you say. there is no substitute for playing live and plugging your new cd/website...people are much more computer literate these days...and just advertising a site at every show will generate traffic!

there is no subistitute, in my opinion, for playing live as much as is humanly possible...that is where you get the most intrest...people come to bars to hear bands...they will be most open to your music there.

dont think of your online music and sales as a different entity...think of it as a way for the people who come to the shows to go home and learn more and or buy.

Skip Intro (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4208287)

I went to the band's website. Suggestion #1: Don't make people click through layers to get what they want - information. I hate Flash intros that have no purpose. If you even need to put a 'Skip Intro' button on the page, you should question if it is necessary.

Allow show trading.... (4, Informative)

Tyler Eaves (344284) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208289)

As both a musician and music fan, allowing your fans to trade live show bootlegs (and explicitly allow taping of same) can do wonders. Look what it did for Phish. In 3 years they went from playing college student centers to selling out Boston Garden. Before you mod me as offtopic, lemme get around to how this relates to online. Get listed on Get on Furthur (, which is a program for trading complete live shows in mp3 and shorten (SHN) format. Maybe get the ball rolling by posting a couple of soundboard recordings on Furthur. Don't worry about this cannabilzing your album sales. It won't. It very well may get people to buy more. I know I've bought over 10 Phish albums since I first downloaded a Phish show off Furthur.

you want? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4208291)

You want these worthless freaks to tell you how to sell out?


These people will hate you for making money from your hard work.

But, if you give your music away and starve, they will love you for it!

You've answered your own question. (1)

Sergeant Beavis (558225) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208293)

You've been /.ed Just get the name out there. Offer free MP3s on Usenet (I'd put a note at the end of the song asking for the person to buy a copy if they liked it).

College Radio (1)

jmanforever (603829) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208295)

Get your stuff out to all of the college radio stations you can find.

Look to the people at College Music Journal
for help.

J, man? - FOREVER!

Suggestions and a shameless plug (2)

t0qer (230538) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208296)


Your best bet would be to look for local music magazines, get some press in those, play lots of shows, and get noticed by the big guns in the industry.

A good place to start if you're in the bay area is Zero Magazine (shameless plug) We handle all the indi music for the bay area and then some. If you have any shows around here coming up, just submit a story to us and we'll post it (ala /.) Who knows? Maybe our paper rag editor in chief larry will give you some press in the real rag.


online marketing at its greatest! (0, Troll)

blip-blip-blip (463907) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208299)

Oh, they're certainly smart aren't they? Post on slashdot under the guys of "how can we get more hits on our lil indie band site, guys"? Brilliant. You need no help from the rest of us.

Any real suggestions? (0)

rczyzewski (585306) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208301)

I'm not involved with the music industry so I don't know how it works. However, does anyone have any real solutions?
I suggest getting on a college circuit or playing for less money at bigger events to get exposure.

And definately make sure your website can handle publicity like this.

Get a server that responds in a timely fasion? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4208303)

That way the potential listeners won't go elsewhere.

sell skin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4208304)

have a hot babe singing in your band who dresses like a tart. feature lots of seedy photos of her on your site. i'm not joking.

Contact people in similar situations (1)

CodeMunch (95290) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208305)

I just orderd online and received music from Castle Von Buhler Records [] . I would suggest learning abou and contacting people like them to see how they have done things.

Simple (2)

pogen (303331) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208306)

what suggestions do you have for young, aspiring bands who want to make their music, and not sell their soul in the process?

Don't expect to make much money.

I have said it MANY times before... (5, Informative)

garcia (6573) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208307)

There are two EXCELLENT resources for distribution of music on the Net.

FurthurNET [] and etree []

I *only* support, monitarily, musicians that allow the FREE distribution of their music to their fans...

etree relies on a mailing list and FTP servers to distribute music whereas FurthurNET relies on P2P (in a format much like Limewire, etc).

If you really want your music to go out and don't want to have to pay HIGH bandwith costs, I suggest one of these two methods.

Effective use of SPAM (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208311)

Just send out millions and millions of SPAM messages to everyone. Then your band will be *the* group that "everyone loves to hate," thus toppling Eminem in popularity and sales. And the madatory Step 3 - profit!

Web advertising (1)

Target Drone (546651) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208312)

You could try buying some web advertising but please don't buy any of the pop-up or pop-under ads.

You could also try one of the many free banner exchange services [] . The basic idea is that you put an advertisement up on your site and in return you get an advertisment on someone elses site. Not all services have a 1 to 1 ratio though.

just keep making the music (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4208314)

Congrats on making some music that you and your bandmates feel good about. Please realize that there is a quiet revolution occuring in the midst of all the copyright hoo-ha, file sharing models, etc, etc. A lot of us indie musicians have woken up from the lure of record deals, fame, and financial promises of 'living off our creations.' We're letting our creations live on their own, completely abandoning notions of musicians before us, who should not be complaining about the bum deals they get from record companies since the musicians are selling themselves out by signing away the rights to their music to publishing companies.

Whatever you do, don't sell the rights to publish your music to anyone. Keep pushing it out there yourselves. Stop trying to go national or global; concentrate on your fan base. Encourage your fans to share the music with others, and explain to them how the only way around the record companies is for us musicians and listeners to work together outside of the system. It will take time. We will continue to starve. But we will maintain control over our creativity, and fick the giddamn big4 record corps by surprise.
Keep fighting the fight, and just keep making the music!

Use e-mail to get the word out. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4208315)

Start e-mailing everybody that you know about your band and where to get the CD.

After you sell enough to get a small server, set it up to e-mail total strangers. If your band is really that good nobody will mind.

A good place to get e-mail addresses is with ODK [] by FazIgu. It even has a sequential generator that will create e-mail addresses using every alpha-numeric character to make sure you do not miss anybody in a domain. The best places to start this step are and

thank you

ODK? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4208416)

I never knew that ODK [] could do that. Do you have to use the rimlapper module?

BTW, I would stay away from, they are just trouble.

Proxy! (4, Funny)

Zen Mastuh (456254) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208317)

If you really want to make it, follow these steps:

  • Show up at the next N-Stink show disguised as a group of 13-year-old girls who want to go backstage and make out.
  • Beat up the unsuspecting boy-band members (Note: this should take one or two punches tops)
  • Steal their clothes. Bind and gag them boys.
  • Donning the boy-band outfits, hit the stage and perform your tunes

Please don't really do this--every talking head in the nation will be screaming the "Someone must be held accountable!" mantra, your band's potential career will be snuffed, you will all be sent to prison for terrorism, I will be labelled a terrorist ringleader for giving you this idea, and will be closed down under the USA-PATRIOT act.

Better get used to those college towns.

Re:Proxy! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4208350)

that was so funny I forgot to laugh.

Re:Proxy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4208413)

Show up at the next N-Stink show disguised as a group of 13-year-old girls who want to go backstage and make out.

Uhh, that won't work. Boy bands are comprised of flaming faggots, remember?

Follow the model (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4208318)

1. Make music people actually want to listen to, not that bullshit noise you're making now.

2. Advertise - you call it selling out, the normal world calls it exposure. You should like all those fucking bands "we hate being fameous!" Bullshit. It's easy not to be fameous - don't pursue it. You're asking how to get fameous without being fameous. It's fucking impossible to sorry sack of shit. Quit being a knob slobber.

3. Kiss my ass.

Plain Text (1)

epcraig (102626) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208319)

Have a little care for the people who need text access (i.e. visually impaired) on your website and make at least part of it accessable to those of your potential customers who might not be enthralled by pretty pictures, flash, java, or whatever.

What do you want? (1)

glamslam (535995) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208321)

We've had great success, however, on our websites selling CDs and pulling in new fans, and would like to push online music marketing further.

Sounds like you already are successful. What else do you want? You want to be "mainstream" in a music market that values style over substance? Good luck.

Enjoy the success you have, build a label with other good bands, and spread out. Success in an art form does not (and should not) guarantee financial windfalls.

play shows. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4208323)

Play shows and lots of them, even if they're in dingy basement somewhere. The more you play, the more people will here you and the more people you'll expose to your music.

That and don't overly associate yourself with a local "scene".

Dear Slashdot (2, Funny)

LordYUK (552359) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208324)

I haven't figured out how to do my job, so rather than search on Google, I figure I'll just be lazy and ask you questions. Also, I have a computer for sale thats small, but I dont want to pay for advertising, can you just link to it? Thanks.

Your Friend,

L33t h4x0r

Use spyware... (1)

jsonmez (544764) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208334)

Create some spyware that automatically plays singles from your band everytime I boot my computer.

Find fans of similar music (1)

maiden_taiwan (516943) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208338)

Become involved with online fan communities for bands with music similar to yours. For instance, if you are inspired by band XYZ, check out mailing lists, newsgroups, and websites devoted to band XYZ. Get involved in discussions. Become a member of the community. Purchase advertising space on the websites, if it's available. Eventually people will be interested in your album too, and you'll probably have fun along the way.

My CD [] sold 2000 copies by word-of-mouth this way. (It's out of print and not being re-pressed, so this is not an advertisement. :-))

College Radio (4, Informative)

autechre (121980) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208339)

A lot of bands which have enjoyed success on mainstream radio got their start in college radio. Radiohead is one great example (and, er, Tool is another).

There are organisations such as Team Clermont and Addsman who distribute albums for very small labels and independants who are too small to effectively handle their own distribution. Getting one of them to promote your CD is a good start.

winmx gnutella mp3 track name usage (2, Interesting)

loomis (141922) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208340)

Take a couple tracks and make them into mp3's.

Include the song title and then put something like "indie: like Tool" or "produced by Tool's producer" etc.. in parenthesis in the title. Then release the songs out on a bunch of gnutella and opennap winmx networks.

I've seen people do this with good success. The band Sheavy, for example, mentioned "Black Sabbath-like indie band" in a track title, and got a *lot* of downloads.


Not enough room for a million indie bands (1)

mozumder (178398) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208342)

Perhaps your current market is all that you should hope for.. Remember there are a lot of bands/artists out there, so what makes you think an expensive promotion campaign will be worthwile and not a waste of money? The market just can't handle a million bands trying to promote themselves over each other.

I would stick with local clubs and parties promoted through friends and contacts performed as a service... You don't need to be famous, and you'll get plenty of chicks that way.

If you really want to promote your band outside radio, I would just burn 10k CD's and hand them out to interesting people at area concerts/clubs with your bands contact info saying you'll do parties and what not. A cheap way to get famous.

Classifieds. (2)

supabeast! (84658) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208346)

Try online classified advertising. A great example for this is Fark [] . You pay a small fee, and get a space of text on the front page that links where you want it to. If it goes nowhere you didn't spend much, and if it worked well you have found a space for banner ads. Penny Arcade [] also does really nice, big ads cheap. If you have a DSL/Cable connection at home or work, run a P2P node carrying mp3s from your band and other indy bands, and instead of carrying the mp3s on your limited web site's bandwidth, tell users to just search for you.

Copyright Infringement is the Key (1)

grungebox (578982) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208348)

Here's a way to get noticed by the major labels. Release a CD, but include a couple of MP3's on there (like, say, Metallica or Eminem). That'll get the attention of the record-industry bigwhigs in a hurry.

If nothing else, you'll establish your band as a "band for the people waging war against those anti-mp3 jackasses!" and thus gain a cult following. After that, some record label should pick you up, thinking you'll make them "cool" and "with it."

If that ain't your thang, you can just include the words "Christian rock" in your band's description, and I'm sure you'll get picked up in a hurry. And make sure you have a few songs about women you've hurt so that you can have a crappy music video featuring some B-celeb like Tiffani Amber-Thiessen or Alyssa Milano that'll make you zoom to the top of the Vh1 charts. Wow, this post has become one long rant about nothing.

Tips on promotion (1)

flsquirrel (115463) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208351)

Check out Amazon [] for a little ebook called Buzz Your MP3 by a fellow named Brian Freeman It's a nice little reference for exactly this.

Allow Taping! (2)

sphix42 (144155) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208352)

Many bands allow audience taping [] . These bands also sell cd's and they do ok at it.

Historic examples of bands that did very well while allowing fans to tape and trade their stuff are the Grateful Dead, Phish, and Dave Matthews Band.

By allowing taping, fans will share your music legally with each other. If your music is good enough that people actually enjoy it, then those people who received a copy of one of your shows will pay to see you live and possibly buy a CD at the same time.

Hire a press agent (1)

aborchers (471342) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208354)

Many good suggestions are turning up here, but I see one conspicuously missing.

Like it or not, the reason the music business succeeds at promoting talent (or what they pass for it in many cases) is that they have an infrastructure for creating interest. If you can't reliably count on your existing fans to spread the word for you gratis, then you are going to need a full-time person to do it for you. From my own experience ( [] ) I can assure you that if you try to simultaneously be a band and your own promotional arm, you will soon find yourself burnt out on both. Hire someone (or enlist a truly dedicated fan) to make your tracks available on every streaming and download site you can find and cultivate relationships with those sites.

patience and networking.... (1)

freejamesbrown (566022) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208355)

1) have patience. indie superstars do not happen overnight. all the indie "greats" took quite a while to get to where they could at least pay for a few things. 2) network. tour. make friends with the kids. tour some more. tour with other well-liked bands. get your crap out on a well known indie label. do splits and comps and zine interviews. get on mailing lists, participate, get your name out. loyal followers will follow. get your cd noticed by folks like or, who both attract a lot of traffic and will review and sell your cds for you. send free cds to other online zines. become friends with more people in bands. tour. put videos and songs up online. really though, all the internet doings are still not going to have the effect of making the right friends in person as well as online. sadly, diy indie is pretty paradoxical. you really do need all those people. 3) patience. m.

Shows not sales (1)

dbombarc (208030) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208357)

It doesn't matter what type of label your band is on (be it self-released, friendly indie, or greedy major) the only way to make any money as a band is either through touring or licensing. So if one is looking to use the internet to help them make rent, it would be best to use it as a research tool for finding places to play and schmoozing.

low quality mp3s (2)

seizer (16950) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208365)

Try releasing low quality MP3s (or Ogg, or your format of choice). By low quality I mean studio recorded, but compressed at a low bitrate. It should be low enough that even people with small computer speakers can hear it is unsatisfying. Perhaps 56kbps? Or even 24? Do this with every track you release. If your music is as good as you say it is, then people will come. Plus, because you've got it out first, your low quality version will be predominant among filesharers, so high quality ones which impede CD sales won't have a chance.

Just a pet idea of mine. I'm sure somebody will pull it apart within minutes :-)

Go somewhere they know marketing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4208373)

You're asking slashdot how to market?

This is a place where anyone not regularly updating their kernel is derided and ridiculed. Its a place that has a penguin for a mascot, two competing desktops for purely technical reasons, and no way to play quicktime movies.

Do what the RIAA doesn't (1)

NiTr|c (130325) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208376)

I've seen the suggestion on slashdot many times to have people able to download songs for a reasonable price. So, why not do that online? Meaning, obviously enough, to have your songs available for download for a small fee. Either that, or let them purchase the CD for a little more than it would cost to d/l all the songs individually, giving them artwork(if any), lyrics, and of course, the fun CD case :).

You can also see if you can get together with other bands doing the same thing you're doing, and gain publicity through all of your efforts instead of just one band doing its own thing at a time. I'm sure there are others out there such as yourselves who want to do things without corporate "assistance".

I hope any of this helps, or at least spurs your brain into more ideas.

Music Marketing Online (1)

E-Rock-23 (470500) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208379)

Here's my $.02. Being a musician myself, I can only suggest a few ideas, as I haven't gotten as far as you guys have.

1. Copyrights. I'm sure you've already done this one, but it's important. Once you own the rights to your own stuff, you have one up on the record companies. You can release it however you choose, as you write the license terms. If you haven't yet, it's simple to do. Just get $20 and the right form, send it away to the Library of Congress, and everything is happy. Remember, once you put it in the mail, it's considered recieved, so you can start your plan to take over the music world right away.

2. Take advantage of P2P networks. Rip your stuff to MP3, OGG, or your desired format. When you name the file, stick a refference to the Genre of music in there. That way, people looking for Metal, Pop, Country, whatever your music is, can find it and go "Hmmm? What's this? This is new, I'll check it out. And only release one or two songs, not the entire album. Common sense, I know, but some bands leave that out sometimes, so I put it here just in case.

3. Check out the local radio stations in your area. They probably have some sort of local musicians program. See if you can weasle their DJ into getting you guys on, and once you get on, plug the heck out of your website and the fact that your stuff is available on P2P networks. Free plugs are always good, especially on the air. If you have a built-in fanbase (like our local boys, Stept On [] (shameless plug, I know, but they F'N ROCK!), your music could end up in regular rotation, as will the plugs for yoru website.

4. Take advantage of any fanbase you have to start a grassroots internet campaign. Some of your fans are likely to frequent chat rooms. That's an advertising blitz waiting to happen. If they can convince one person to try your music out, then it's a success. From there, it has the potential to spread like wildfire.

5. Send your stuff to me! I'm always looking out for new bands to dig on, and I'm interested in giving your music a go-round! The fact that you're circumventing the big boys (and even the indies) is what I'd like to see more bands do!

Re:Music Marketing Online (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4208429)

Idea #2. Pretty good, but you'd do better to *name* it as if it were a track from a popular band from within that genre. Add a little spoken piece abut who it's by, and get all your friends to share it so it looks more like it's the real track. Sit back, wait for the RIAA to try and take you to court, complain, get even more free publicity. Wa-hey.

Promotions of independent bands used to be *much* easier back when AudioGalaxy was useful.

Horse pills (2)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208380)

Step 1: Hire a good lawyer.
Step 2: Incorporate.

The RIAA will sue you because you're not paying them for the rights to stream your own music. The lawyer will let you run your stream for a few more days until the final court order comes in saying that you owe $800,000 in CARP fees to the RIAA. Then you can allow the corporation to go into Chapter 11 while you regroup and form a new band.

Also buy some heroin for your lead singer so that he gets all moody and suicidal. This is an absolute requirement if he/she is not pretty enough to shoot into space. People love bands with junkie lead singers.

Make money fast (2)

anthony_dipierro (543308) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208382)

Put it on napster anonymously, watch it spread, then start suing people.

IRC, P2P, etc (3, Insightful)

weston (16146) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208385)

Linkin Park apparent got on appropriate IRC and other IM/Chat channels where music was being discussed, and pretended they weren't in the band and told people to go check them out. See this article [] , taken from Time Magazine Jan 28 2002.

Get some of your music on a p2p service. Some people think it helps [] .

Get yourself a Soundscan barcode, and start tracking sales with it religiously. Labels notice if your soundscan numbers jump.

Finally, ask yourself what's really important to you. Labels will try to make you famous if they think it's a good investment that fits with their concept. They'll take your art and most of the money from the resulting fame, though. If your desire is to be huge, go the label route. If your desire is simply to make music and make a living, re-read the article I linked to above. That artist is making a living in Utah, a place with nearly no real local music venues or radio support. Several others are too. They had something in them that appealed to a large enough audience, and word got out. That's the real trick.

Is still around? (1)

jivany (101917) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208387)

I used to frequent a lot when I was in university (something about not having to pay for all that bandwidth!) and I have to say it's a great way to get exposure and feedback on your music.

Everyone else has said it, you need to get exposure and lots of it. Start working on finding as many online music communities and peddle your wares. Don't forget about your local scene either! If it's not big enough, start branching out to places within a couple hours drive.

Word of mouth is still one of the best ways to get exposure and the net is really just word of mouth.

Do some packaged networking (1)

JoeLeTaxi (595095) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208390)

The problem is one of exposure.

I believe that you should work with a network that exposes you to lots of users (shameless plug:

This sort of network allows you to to tap into a pre-existing network of users, and to sell songs on line one (or more) at a time.

The real trick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4208392)


It sucks, but your fan base will grow exponentially from every town you play in. Make sure you hit the college circut.

"Selling their souls" (2)

SanLouBlues (245548) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208397)

It's not that they didn't want to avoid record companies for distribution, it's that they tried and got rejected.

I may be old fashioned, but making good friends with as many DJ's as possible seems the best route if mainstreamism is still the desired goal. Putting stuff online will only work well if people already want said stuff. Remember "push" services failed long ago.

Keep doing what you're doing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4208400)

Other have said it and I will too just make sure your name is out there and you have a presence. Also if you have a Borders or similar type store they will carry CD's for local bands.

We need an Indie website... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4208405)

Anyone know of a website that serves to promote indie music? I'm thinking something similar to (which I don't visit any longer because they have more ads than music)

Do your own marketing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4208406)

Trying to sell music over the internet is fine, but why keep it limited to that. Send CDs to college radio stations along with a little biography of the band and the web site. This is a relatively cheap way of advertising. You can also talk to the people down at college radio stations. They are usually very happy to do interviews. College radio stations are a very good way to get some attention and college campuses/towns are very easy places to get gigs.

Always make information about the web site available at gigs. You may also want to sell CDs at the gigs. You can usually convince a few people to buy this way. You may want to try throwing some songs on P2P networks as well as systems like where people may just come across your page through browsing.

You can spend a little cash and buy some banner ads on various music sites. Also having band members participating in online forums and things like cyberjams on could definitely help bring attention from people that are actually interested in hearing other peoples work.

Best of luck.
Long live Indie Rock!

How about hard work? (2)

Muddie (72996) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208407)

Look at single people like Ani DiFranco who made it through just touring around the country living out of your car and passing out (selling) tapes/CD's out of the trunk. Go on college radio stations, find indie record distributors like I have found massive numbers of record producers in, oddly enough, the bars of airports across the united states. Always have a copy of your CD on you. Give it away if you have to -- people will be more likely to get ahold if it if it's free -- or press cd-singles and pass them out. Whatever it takes man. Saturation will put you into the market somehow. Then, let the public decide.

Or, you could join next year's "American Idol". :-)

it aint slashdotted.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4208419)

yeah it isnt....i mean [] it.....

OD2 - On Demand Distribution (1)

elrick_the_brave (160509) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208420)

On Demand Distribution []
A site recommended by Peter Gabriel

Rule 1: Don't Suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4208425)

Ten years ago there was no such thing as online marketing for *any* band. Bands have been getting underground, word of mouth press for years -- going online isn't part of the equation. You really want to get recognized? Play your asses off and make your audience sweat. The marketing will take care of itself.

Open Audio (2, Insightful)

Milo Fungus (232863) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208428)

Read up on the various ways to distribute your music under different licenses. I personally like the EFF Open Audio License [] Many musicians are reluctant to make their music free as in free speech, however, so a free as in free beer licence [] may be more palatable to begin with.

I would like to see more artists using free as in free speech licenses. Remember that you don't have to use the license for all of your album. Most licenses allow you to license individual songs. You could choose to release your singles on the license and then restrict copying of your album tracks. That way you get publicity for your album through legitimate filesharing, you contribute to the musical commons, and your CD sales increase - all at the same time.

You also don't have to worry about piracy. What you're doing is effectively out-competing pirates by giving away what they would steal. There will be no market for their stolen product if everyone could just get it from you.

Read up on the various licenses, decide how you want to do it, and give it a try. That's what I did when I encountered the idea of copylefting music. I also went a step further and tried to write a persuasive essay on the subject (which is harder than you would expect). Not only did I learn a lot of the standard arguements and objections in my research, but I also solidified my own opinion and viewpoint.

take a look at bands that have done it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4208441)

for example, phish. they built up an enormous following without the benefit (and curse) of a radio hit. you basically do two things: 1. give away music. you might, for example, allow people to tape your live shows, which you say are good. they will talk about them and trade them online, building up your audience. and fans that you earn this way will be more loyal and more likely to buy your releases. 2. play a LOT of shows. anywhere that will let you. do this for years. word of mouth works, but it takes a long time. in the end you might be famous, and you'll still have your integrity.

The Majors are probably right (4, Insightful)

ryanvm (247662) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208446)

The Majors generally act like they still have clue about what people want.

I know everybody here likes to bitch and moan about popular music, but the fact is that the recording industry at large probably does have a pretty good handle on what "most people" want.

These guys sink millions upon millions of dollars into focus groups and various other forms of research to determine what music is going to be the most popular. Obviously you're going to have bands (e.g. Barenaked Ladies) that blindside these studies and turn into mega superstars. But for better or worse, the major labels have gotten pretty good at spoon-feeding the public just exactly what they want. It may be insipid, it may be uninspired, but chances are it's what most people want to hear.

Look at it this way - you and I may not be buying Britney Spears albums, but there's a hell of a lot of somebody out there paying for them.

I'd say the same way everyone has to. (2)

teamhasnoi (554944) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208447)

Touring. The RIAA isn't supporting acts like they used to. See Wilco for example. Dropped by their label for no reason, (they had sold a pile of records and were doing well), they went on to release their record themselves. It sold like CRAZY. They now have a movie called, 'Adelade'? which tells the story of their new-found indy status.

You also might want to check out Dave Mathews, and the people on his label. He succeeded by touring like mad. Same with David Grey (on Matthews label as well).

The only other thing I can suggest is to SOUND different. I didn't listen to your music on the website (/.ed) but I did catch the little part on the Flash intro. There is a million and one heavy rap metal funk etc. bands already. If you sound like everyone else, why bother? Start a cover band and make more $$$. Originality may not sell more records now, but it certainly will contribute to the longetivity of your band. And that equals opportunity to make more records.

Lastly, pay *special* attention to your SHOW. You could be the best band in the world, but what gets (average) people to return is something they didn't expect to see/hear. I used to be in a band with a guy who was a fire breather. One night he set his face on fire. Not fun. He was ok, (some burn scars on his neck) You should have seen the crowd after that! (I in no way advise setting yourself on fire.) I don't mean gimmicky things (like fire), but pyro, clothes, makeup, movement, and any press (is good press) all have a long history of making a good band great. (see Kiss, Bowie, Marilyn Manson, Stones, Pink Floyd, the Who etc.

I'm more of a Wilco, Floyd, Bowie, Who fan, but whatever makes your sandwich.

Good luck.

Horse-pill? (4, Funny)

imadork (226897) | more than 12 years ago | (#4208448)

We all know the problem with today's music industry, this is not the place for that horse-pill.

I would have called the music industry a different horse product, myself....

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