Close
March 29, 2010

Promoting Your Metal Band Online

Brutal Tunes, Krieg It Yourself, Tr00 Metal Life

Dear Steff Metal

How do I promote my metal band on the internet and stand out from the other 666 million metal bands trying to promote themselves on the internet?

***

I think this is a rather important topic to cover. With the music industry still in turmoil, and even major label bands losing out on funds they used to rely on from record sales – most metal bands wonder how they will even manage to get noticed. Promoting music online has become the new gospel of DIY band success – in some cases, more even than touring. If you’re trying to get ahead as a musician today, you need a plan for marketing, and your plan had bloody better include the internet.

Disclaimer: I am not a musician. I have never promoted my own metal band online. However, I do know a thing or two about online promotion – I’ve created two successful websites and promoted them, and sold hundreds of ebooks. I’ve also helped create online campaigns for successful small businesses – a gothic corset company, and a dentist (yes, seriously!).

Online promotion tactic – when done right – can be applied to any form of art or business, and used to create the audience for your music, art, clothing, jewelry, craft, or writing.

So, how should an up-and-coming metal band promote their music online?

amon-amarth-viking-metal

Amon Amarth - some call them gimicky, others call them awesome. I call them - good promoters.

Create the Best Music You Can

Before you start promoting, you should have something to promote, and it shouldn’t be some half-assed demo recorded in your garage with pillows on the walls (unless that’s the sound you’re after). Take the time to hone your songs, save the money, and either bring your band to a studio or invest in the equipment yourself, then hire someone experienced to master it. Then find someone to create the best cover art possible.

Because if you do everything else in this tutorial, but your music sucks, ain’t a man alive who can help you make it big. Metal fans are rather discerning – we want it to be good.

Find Your Point of Difference

So you’re in a melodic death metal band, eh? – what makes your band different from every other melodic death metal band on the planet? Why should I listen to you when I can listen to Arch Enemy?

You have to figure this out, because it’s the key to your marketing strategy.

It could be a gimmick. I’m not knocking gimmicks – in fact, most of the music I like has some kind of gimmick:

  • Amon Amarth – death metal about Vikings
  • Arch Enemy – melodic death metal with a female growler who actually sounds good.
  • Blind Guardian – Lord of the Rings themed power metal
  • The Hate Project – black metal electronica with female vocals.
  • Behemoth – black metal from Poland

In essence, their “gimmicks” are that little catchphrase you use to describe them to your friends. Their “gimmicks” beget the word-of-mouth marketing that bands rely on to make a go at music. Their “gimmicks” are the essence of great marketing.

What do you want people to say when they describe you? What would your one-line tag be? Figure this out – because it’s the key to your marketing strategy.

Create a Web Presence

I personally believe every musician should be on MySpace – I know MySpace is shite, but until Facebook allows you to set up a band page that allows streamping music with such ease – MySpace is the site to be on.

But I also believe you should buy your own domain name and create a website. Professional bands have websites – and you want to be a professional band. I would start with a simple template on WordPress – you can always hire a designer later to make it look uber.

On your website, you need a NEWS page, a page of upcoming tour dates, a contact page, a page of bios of the band, a page with your discography including links to buy your work. You might also include a merch page, photo shoots and live gig photographs, and reviews and interviews from the press.

You website and your MySpace page should reflect your point of difference. Take a look at the pages for the bands I listed above – Amon Amarth’s website looks like a Viking hangout, Blind Guardian’s is heavy on the fantasy themes, Behemoth’s looks dark and evil, The Project Hate’s looks dark and arty.

Mailing List: whether you use Myspace or your own website, or both, you should have a mailing list. Send a mail out to announce a new song streaming live, an interview in a magazine, a new tour schedule or merchandise going up for sale on your website.

the-project-hate-black-metal

album cover for "In Hora Mortis Nostra".

Social Networking

Now you’ve created your website, you should experiment with social networking. Myspace is your first stop – start adding your friends and bands you love to your page – eventually, people will start adding you back – go and leave a personal comment on their pages – not one of those automatic “Thanks For Following Death Beetle Apocalypse” graphics – an actual personal comment.

Some bands are having success making Fan Pages on Facebook, so you could always try there too. I’ve observed the fan pages that tend to go viral are the ones about completly ridiculous things or with crazy, funny titles. Two of my favorites are:

  • If 1 Million People Become Fans of This Group, My Girlfriend Will Let Me Turn Our House into a Pirate Ship
  • My Potato Brings all the Irish to the Yard, and They’re Like, My Famine’s Better Than Yours. Damn Right, It’s Better Than Yours.

So maybe you’ll have more success if you create a fan group like “metalheads against spiked wristbands in the mosh pit”, than simply a group about your band.

Next, consider Twitter – the darling of social networking. It’s simple, you sign up, add some people, link it from your website, and start tweeting about life in the band, upcoming shows, and other random stuff. Follow major bands and make friends with their followers, and gradually, you’ll build up a list of loyal twittering fans.

Act as Though You’ve Already Made it

By this, I don’t mean become an arrogent rock star (Hi Axl!). I mean treat your band in all your correspondance and online dealings as though they’re an important act – worthy of discussion and review and respect. Don’t belittle your music or say things like “well, the production could be better, but we tried our best.”

Oh, you can think it, but don’t say it. If you don’t believe in your music, no one else will. Be proud of what you created, and know you’re worthy of success.

Offer Something More

Offer more than just music – offer unique content on your website, like short stories or historical data about your themes, or a useful blog on tips for promoting a band and interviews with other musicians. Offer merchandise – and don’t just stop at t-shirts and beanies. Collaborate with indie designers to produce unique, limited edition pieces. Offer other services – create music tutorials, online clinics, “Make your own drumkit” videos.

Offer yourself – your mind, body and spirit. Be a genuine, kind and awesome person – the kind of person your fans would want as a friend. There is no substitute for good old-fashioned likeable people – because when people see you as a trustworthy, open-minded and generally good person, they want you to succeed. And they will help you.

Learn to Write Press Releases

because until you can afford to hire a publicist, you’re in charge of them, and you won’t get any exposure in print press until you’re writing and submitting press releases regularly.

I am pretty good at writing press releases now, and I can tell you the key is finding a newsworthy story – someone once told me “if your press release is printed in the paper, word for word, with no changes, you’re doing it right.” A press release is like a mini-news story – you’re showing the journalist they can write an article about you.

I could write an entire article about creating effective press releases (in fact, I’ve devoted a chapter of my blogging book to the very subject), but this here article is getting quite long as it is. So here’s an article to get you started: How to Write a Press Release for Your Band.

metal-radio-station

Make Friends with Podcasters and Internet Radio Stations

Your formet is primarily auditory, and so is theirs – so embrace them. Send demos and press releases, and offer to help out in other ways – maybe you could do a segment where you review another band’s album. Maybe they would like a guest presenter – or someone to create a theme song for their show.

How do you find podcasters and radio stations? Well, ever since I signed up to receive Blabbermouth updates via RSS, I’ve learnt about an awful lot of new radio stations and metal podcast I hadn’t realised existed before.

Make Friends with Bloggers

These days, bloggers are the voices of the internet. We drive the sales and decide who’s popular, who’s good, and who’s shite. So get yourself noticed by the metal bloggers – email in your press release, coment on their blogs, send them a copy of your album. Give them prize packs to giveaway.

Speaking of which, if you are a band interested in promoting here on Steff Metal, email me and we can talk ideas.

Extra for Experts

You will find lots more advice on using blogs, Myspace, Facebook, and Twitter in my ebook – the Grymm and Epic Guide to Blogging – due out in April. Until then, best of luck, and I hope to be hearing your wicked and brutal tunes soon.

Spreading the Blood of the Innocent on her Hot-Cross bun
Steff

28 Comments on “Promoting Your Metal Band Online

Russell Christian
May 26, 2015 at 8:28 am

Just leaving a link, let me know what you think…..when you get a chance. Thanks!

chris
January 26, 2015 at 8:32 am

hi im looking for help promoting my band online hope you can assist!
cheers chris

Bill
December 15, 2014 at 1:01 pm

Great article. I have been trying how to promote my bands for years. I still cannot figure it out. I have made press kits, played a million shows, etc. I wish I could find a band manager to do this for me. I just want to make music and play it. I am told my music is good enough, but how can I get noticed?

steff
January 13, 2015 at 5:34 pm

@Bill – that’s the 7 million dollar question, isn’t it? I am discovering with writing my books that it is not necessarily about one thing you do that means you “make it”, but by building and building on your output and your fancies month to month and year to year, you slowly but surely gain that following that eventually reaches critical mass.

Ballsack McNasty
January 15, 2013 at 10:28 am

Just like to point out, it’s The Project Hate, not The Hate Project. They also are not black metal by any means. Death Metal with some techno, sure.

Ballsack McNasty
January 15, 2013 at 10:31 am

Also, the album is called “In Hora Mortis Nostrae.”

I know, I’m being such a fanboy. I fuckin’ loved the article though. Thanks for taking the time to toss it up for us.

Evolution
August 19, 2012 at 8:51 pm

Great write up, thank you for the tips.

Monia
June 25, 2012 at 5:21 am

Hi Steff,
This is such a great article! Congrats! You really gave precious advices to metal bands. There is also a new webTV&social network dedicated to metal where bands can broadcast their videos online at http://www.metalnation.org
\m/

Alex
June 13, 2012 at 8:51 am

Great article! Really helps to broaden your aspects.

Check us out, swedish death metal. I think you’ll like it.

Darnell Colon
May 27, 2012 at 8:32 am

Hey Steff I just wanted to say thank you very much for the tips and advice you provided in this article, its been really helpful! Check out my band battlestorm from Orlando at http://www.Battlestorm.net cheers :)

steff
May 27, 2012 at 6:06 pm

@Darnell – I’m glad you found it useful. I’ll definitely check you guys out \m/

rafael valencia
May 18, 2012 at 6:43 pm

looking for opportunities to play dates we hope you like our music on the website contact

ATFS
March 24, 2012 at 1:17 pm

try listening to this and tell me what ya think

isis0911
October 7, 2011 at 4:37 pm

Hey,
Really nice tips for the band promoting! We have alread started promoting the band Crimson Sky (gothic-doom metal, Ukraine) and found some really usefull advices here.

Thanks ))

Azz
August 15, 2011 at 3:21 pm

Thanks For The Advice, Check Out My Band November Veil On Myspace and Facebook. Will Have To Take Some Of What You’ve Said Into Account. Thanks Again.

http://www.myspace.com/novemberveil
http://www.facebook.com/novemberveil

michael
April 22, 2011 at 9:59 pm

glorifying the devil
melodic black metal on google.com

Patrik - Anachronaeon
July 29, 2010 at 5:33 am

Steff: Go right ahead, and thanks for supporting us. :)

Silent Whisper
July 26, 2010 at 12:44 pm

Thanks guys. This will help alot. I ahve a death metal band. Look us up on myspace sometime. Cya

Dustin Of JWL
July 21, 2010 at 9:45 pm

Thanks. I’m glad I found your site. I know it will be useful. I have a metal band and we plan to take over… please tell your friends.!

steff
July 25, 2010 at 10:24 pm

Dustin, you know I will \m/

Patrik - Anachronaeon/Eyecult
June 18, 2010 at 1:16 am

Those are all great tips. We don’t play live at all, so we do all our marketing online taking the crowds little by little. Check us out or you will miss out on something!

steff
June 18, 2010 at 1:22 pm

@Patrik – great sound. I’m loving “The Darkness in the Corner of my Eyes” especially.

I’ll put one of your videos up in a metal mixtape soon, if that’s cool?

Lynsey James March
April 3, 2010 at 8:46 pm

As a marketing manager, these are all great tips for promoting a band. Social networking sites are the way to go!

Paulina
March 31, 2010 at 1:41 am

I randomly found this band, Disparaged, and I added them and commented on their MySpace. The next day I found a personal comment with a thanks for the add type thing. It was SO awesome. I felt so cool.

steff
March 30, 2010 at 5:51 pm

@zosimus *headdesk* I am SO low in the naked women department at the moment … budget cuts, y’see? Do you think dancing naked NZ blokes would have a similiar effect?

@v Thanks! It would seem, though, that I left out the naked women :)

v
March 30, 2010 at 3:42 am

This is a fantastic fantastic fanTASTIC bit of advice. As someone who has promoted bands for over a decade, I can stand behind this and say there is pretty much nothing you left out.

Zosimus
March 29, 2010 at 7:54 pm

You are forgetting the primary ingredient to all marketing, which is naked women.
Or semi-naked. As naked as the venue allows, anyway.

Comments are closed.