WRITTEN BY: Justin Sarachik
Perhaps one of the toughest things to do as an artist is stand out. In an endless sea of hundreds and even thousands of artists, there are so many bands, artists, and shows happening. So how do you get your music heard by people and build a fanbase?
This may sound stupid and obvious, but be REALLY GOOD. If you’re in a band, make sure you build your sound with talented musicians. One weak link in a band can sabotage it for everyone. When performing live, perform tight and together. Rehearse, practice, and make sure you are ready to perform live. There are plenty of artists, even professional ones, who sound incredible on recordings but horrible live. The best shows are ones where the recordings and performance almost sound identical but with the big sound of a live experience.
While on the subject of performing, what are you doing to make your audience’s experience memorable? Anyone can go up there and shred a guitar and babble some lyrics. Remember, more often than not people are spending their hard-earned money to watch you in a live setting. They don’t want to be bored and don’t want to leave unimpressed.
Perform in front of three people like you would 3,000. You never know who might be in the crowd watching whose life you can change and similarly have them change your life. A record deal, endorsement, big payday, etc can be just one casual record executive away who just grabbed a quick drink at a bar. These things have happened!
So make sure you look alive on stage! Lead singers, rappers, singer/songwriters, have a blast, jump around, speak to the crowd, have fun and engage with the audience. Let them know where they can hear more music or follow you on socials. Announce the names of songs, teach them a chorus before you sing it, throw some merch into the crowd. Think of the things you’d love to see your favorite bands do and do them!
Oh yeah, merch! It’s important for artists to have merch. It’s basically a walking billboard for whoever rocks your stuff. Most creatives make t-shirts, hats, hoodies, CDs, and business cards. Think outside the box. Maybe you can make a custom USB that has your music on it. Or, you can try creating drumsticks, guitar picks, or drumheads. Heck, you can try making some socks or car air fresheners. Whatever it may be, be unique and creative.
So you sound good. You put on a good show, and you have dope merch. What else can you do?
Well, on the business side, be professional. Handle your business efficiently and be likable. Whenever you perform, try and build a relationship with the people servicing you. Chat it up with the sound guy, compliment the owner on their venue, thank the hostesses and door people. A little kindness goes a long way. Workers remember that sort of thing and may hook you up or take special attention to your needs. They could also recommend you to other promoters looking to fill shows or events. One day a big artist could roll through and maybe they’ll suggest you as a local opener. You never know. Build a rapport and a good reputation and that’ll take you far. People who vouch for you is so important to succeeding.
There are other things on the business side that you can do to get noticed and that gets put into detail here.
For now, let’s stick with these points. In the comments, drop some tips you’ve learned along the way and we can make a part two!