Creating a “Buzz,” it’s Your Responsibility
By David Lowry
One of the great frustrations in being a manager for bands is the lack of drive or work ethic that come from certain members. They think they can just sit back and do basically nothing and everyone else does it for them. And then they complain when nothing is happening for them. They don’t realize that all they are doing is showing everyone how un-dedicated they are, how the band will never get anywhere and how the team around them will just quit trying to help them if they can’t even handle simple things like self-promotion.
I hear the most ridiculous things from local bands all the time, that it’s a new music business so they aren’t going to do things the old way. They think they don’t have to be professional anymore, that if they did things the old way, they wouldn’t be where they are now, which is still basically nowhere. They don’t get that professionalism and hard work never change no matter what state the music industry is in.
Without buzz about your band, you really have nothing. You are only as good as good as your last show and if you aren’t gigging at least four times a month you are in trouble. The buzz is what gets you noticed by anyone with the clout or money that can truly help you achieve your dream and it grows your fan base faster than anything else. Your branding campaign is a big part of this, so if you don’t have one, you should spend some time planning and implementing one.
Anyone who is in the business for more than 6 months knows it’s all about the buzz for a band and yet band members would rather post about football then their latest interview or show. Creating a buzz takes time and hard work, but if a band does it all together, it will be much easier for them and will go so much faster. Too many members of bands leave it up to one member of the band to do all the work, especially if the band is named after one person. But once you committed to a band, you committed to all of it no matter whose name is on the logo.
If you have time to post about sports, someone else’s music videos, what you had for dinner or what you are doing with your family, then you have time to post about your band. If you can’t handle that, get out of the band. If you are too busy to post and create a “buzz” about your band, you don’t have time to be in a band in the first place. Quit taking up space on someone’s roster or taking gigs you aren’t going to promote and let the people who really want it have the spot. By not doing this you are simply destroying all opportunities for your band. This is simply the most pathetic thing I see from bands.
If you spend any time studying social media marketing, you will know that only 7% of your audience sees your posts on Facebook. So if you think posting once is enough, especially right before a gig is enough you are fooling yourself. It takes a strategy and consistency to create a “buzz” about you from everything like your live performances to your social media campaign.
As an artist or a band member, when someone posts your music on a site or does an interview about your band, it is YOUR responsibility to promote it and keep the buzz going about you. Many of these people who write interviews for you spend hours transcribing and editing and many members of bands can’t take 10 seconds to post it. These interviewers get paid based on the amount of clicks that come from these articles. So basically, the interview busted their butts to give you some PR for free and you didn’t do a thing to help them or recognize them or their effort on your behalf and worse you did nothing for yourself. You shoot your self and your band’s name in the foot with these people who will never cover you again because of your unprofessionalism and laziness. You can’t just rely on someone else’s fan or viewer base to spread the word about you. It takes everyone and a very concerted effort to make this buzz happen.
Creating buzz is huge part of your musical career. Every thing you do should be a part of your campaign. Every gig, radio show, interview, site you are added too should be promoted for weeks before the event if possible and after the fact. Every form of media of media should be used to brand your band and create buzz. Most of the bands reading this at their stage of the game in their career, nothing should be left out from posting flyers, to radio, both internet and terrestrial and social media…. Everything.
Bands have to realize that their fans are reading their teams stream to find the latest news on you. They have to understand the amount of “white noise” that get’s tuned out by people on social media because they know what pages are posting in general and it doesn’t interest them. Fans want to find out from the band and it’s members not their business people.
Think of it like this: statistically every person knows at 220 people in their lives. If you are a band member or businessperson you will know way more than this number. If you ignore your warm market so to speak, you are ignoring your greatest potential to gain new fans. For every person in your circle, they have at least 220 people in theirs that could find out about you, but won’t if you don’t promote. Your snow ball/viral effect starts here, not on the bands page. Most bands only have a few hundred to a few thousand fans. How is that going to be enough to promote especially if something is only being posted once? Utilize your power, your strength and make it happen. Most bands are missing out on this because certain people can’t be bothered long enough to put down the “vice” of the week and work.
When you are at a gig and you have only 20 or fewer people there, you and your band mates should be texting, calling and reminding people to show up. It is your responsibility to create buzz about your band until you can PAY someone else to do it and even then you still have to promote. Bands should be doing whatever they can to get people at their show. This is priority #1 in their career.
The band and its members should be “liking” all posts related to their careers. They should be doing it on their pages, their teams pages and any others they see in their streams. They should thank everyone who posts for them. The more attention a post gets, the more other people see it, especially by people who have never heard of them before. This is the most basic concept that has been social media for years now and everyone knows it, but they ignore it. Not only that but again, it just shows disrespect to all the people posting for them. Of course you won’t catch everything, but you can catch most of it and people notice that.
There is no point whatsoever for anyone to help your band with your dream if you can’t even do the minimal promoting of yourself on Facebook, Twitter or whatever social media platforms you are using as a bare minimum. Your band should be let go from any contract to make room for the ones that are serious and working as hard as they can to make it. When a band or it’s members refuse to create buzz, promote or try and get people to a show, it’s a very bad reflection on their management, booking agents or what ever team members they have. No company has to or should put up with that. It’s not their teams responsibility to get people to the shows, it’s the bands.
So put down the beer, get off Facebook except to promote quickly, turn of Skyrim and then have a band meeting to get bands act together. Make it abundantly clear what is expected of them and what the consequences will be if they don’t help and then put together a campaign. Come up with goals, time frames, standard operating procedures or whatever you have to do to make it happen.
This business is hard enough as it is without people giving 100%. It’s not the same as it used to be with management or agents, everyone has to work even harder to separate their clients out of the clutter of other bands and the money isn’t there like it used to be to make it worth it if the band can’t commit to the dream. Local bands had better realize this and get it together or their will be nobody their to help them at all. Nobody is obligated to help some one for free, for the small percentage of the $150 gig a band is doing or who doesn’t want it bad enough to work as hard as they possibly can to achieve their dream they said they wanted.
It’s your dream, only you are responsible for making it happen. No one else will care until you show them that you do. Not your team, not your fans, and evidently not even some of your band.
Great article, David. I think that the admonishments shared within it apply, not only to bands and artists, but to anyone who is marketing themselves and/or their business regardless of what it is.
Again, great job as always!
Thanks Randy! It can be quite frustrating to go through all the work to just have them ignore it and do nothing.
Great post, David! This is definitely a good reminder/wake-up call to indie bands, especially local bands. I’d love to be able to help local artists in my own music scene make a stronger effort to promote themselves through the use of savvy social media techniques and direct-to-fan marketing tools. The amount of information and marketing tools available–many of them free–to today’s DIY musicians are plentiful, and yet many of them don’t seem to take full advantage of them. Thanks for your thoughts and the call to action. Good luck with your artists!
Some good salient points. Though I;d argue that if people aren’t there to see you already then you haven’t done enough pre-work – or perhaps they found something better to do that night.
Your advice also flies in the face of other socal media gurus who suggest that you should post about your likes and other things, flesh out the ‘real’ person behind the music.
To be fair I’ve seen both kinds – people who do that, and people who just post a list of dates, reviews and other
I suppose what you can get away with depends on how large your buzz is and how invested people are you.
I’ve seen busy, active bands get nothing in the way of likes/comments from posting a song, and then another person, somebody who was just fucking about get hammered with attention – perhaps the second guy is just more likable/marketable/investable?
But shit, that’s just facebook it is but a scratch on what needs doing 🙂
I’m sensing some personal experience here! Fair play for being bluntly honest – nothing better
Thanks for you comments. I never said to not post about your likes and dislikes, I said if you have the time to do that, then you have the time to post about your band. People get to lost playing of Facebook and not doing what they should be doing. Most band don’t even promote a show until two days before if not the day off. If you read all my past blogs, you would see the points you made already covered. Thanks for you input!
Great article David and am looking for ways to apply this for my own band!
Thanks for reading it and I am glad you found it useful! Good luck with your music!
two trains of thought here – if you’re a band and you’ve hired mgmt and a team – is it not the team’s job to promote the band? Is that not what you are paying your mgmt for – to create a buzz about your band? Why would you have to do that yourself AND still pay someone else? On the other hand – most mgmt companies seem as incapable of creating a buzz about a band as some bands do! My biggest pet peeve is to see xyz mgmt posting about my fav band, on the mgmt’s pages and not on the band page! makes no sense and seems to be more about the mgmt doing their own pr about who their top level clients are, than pr for those clients.
I do totally agree with your paragraph about writers and the distinct lack of passing on info from the band! I write reviews about shows and cds – takes time and thought to be honest and creative without repeating the same review for every band, and takes time to listen to the cd! When band’s bug me about ‘is it done yet’ 2 days before my self imposed deadline, and then when it is done, do Nothing to share it or spread it around and use it for the pr it was intended for – it pisses me off to no end. So much for a win win situation – i just wasted 2 days of my time or more, for a band that 1. doesn’t care, and 2. will never get anywhere because they dont care.
I’m sharing this blog with every band friend i have on FB and twitter.. maybe it’ll snap some of them out of it.
It a way your first paragraph is correct. However these blogs are for indie or local artists, not artists that can actually afford to pay a manager, or PR agent. Even if a band has a manager at this level, once they get picked up by a manager, it’s about a 2 year development process and a manager, especially one with a full roster of clients that makes money, isn’t going to be able to “PR” the artist full time like the artists need to do. It’s a development phase and the artists no matter what level are at are responsible for doing their own social media pr unless they pay someone else to do it for them. Fans don’t read their managers or PR agents Facebook or Twitter page to find out the latest news or interviews. They follow the bands pages. That is where the excitement is. The bands need to show that excitement about what is happening for them to generate the fans reaction to “like” or “share” the post. At this level a manager is really lucky to make a couple thousand a year off a band at best and the amount of work they have to put into any band isn’t worth that.
The artist is responsible for giving the manager the very best band possible for the manager to sell to labels, pr, radio or whomever the target is that day. Unfortunately, very few bands are motivated enough to do this. The manager is trying to develop an artist for months or possibly years, but 95% of the time the band is not working anywhere near as hard as the manager or isn’t making the changes necessary to get to the next level. They don’t listen to the advice so hence the manager is basically selling sub par material. When this happens a manager will stop selling because that is a direct reflection on his company that he does not want or need. Out the outset of a relationship with any professional, the band is responsible for working just as hard and should be working even harder than any team member. It’s their “career” and ultimately the buck stops with them.
A manager’s job encompasses many things. More than anyone else’s, business CEO, PR agent, booking agent, consultant, imaging, graphic design, web design etc…. There is no possible way they can do it for the local bands let alone bands that actually pay them on top of that. A manager is running the business career for many artists and his own business. If they can do that, then the artist should at least be able to promote on their social media pages without any problems what so ever.
What I am getting at here is simple. If a manager gets their clients, interviews, CD reviews or any other kind of press and the full band doesn’t promote it, then we have issues. There is absolutely no point in the manager or pr agent to go through all the work. This the common thing among all local bands. One or maybe two people if the band is lucky actually work on the band. The rest sit around and do nothing. This is specifically the reason that this blog was written. To many venues, promoters, writers and managers are complaining that the bands aren’t promoting enough or even close to it.
With no money in the industry today, many managers are cutting back their services that would never get paid on because the commissions are so small. If the artist actually pays a retainer for this that is a different issue. Either way, the band is the business owner, It is their responsibility more than anyone else’s to make sure they are promoting their business. Any business owner is responsible for that even if they hire an advertising team. Every one has a piece of it. Unfortunately, most musicians/bands don’t see themselves as business owners, nor do they have the drive to make it happen but they are the first to complain when they are getting where they want to go.
I hope this answers your question. If not please respond.
Thank you very much for reading my blog and commenting on it.
Yep, this is a great kick in the ass for any band. Being in bands most of my life and also managing and self promoting, those members who do not put 100% into promotions actually have a negaive affect on your band or brand as that is essentially what you are selling.
Social media is one of the greatest revolutions inour time. Now we can talk to and join in on any conversation around the globe. If your in a band, use it! Talk to your fans, talk to other bands, talk to media experts talk to everyone. Educate yourself and use this medium. As David said, without buzz, your band is nothing, create your own!
If you think you have a great product and have the talent and skill to make it inthis business, prove it. Get off your lazy ass and get out there and introduce yourself and mAke things happen.
Even if you have a professional team to manage and support you, do ever stop. Massive bands like U2 never made any money until sometimes after their 5 th studio release.
Its very hard work, its a ton of effort but if you truly want to live your dream, there is NO other way.
Thanks David, this new generation feel entitled to success. Nobody is entitled to anything. Earn it.
you fucking rock. excellent article and I’m sharing it with my band members. in hopes of avoiding them being my ex-band members.
Glad you liked it! Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂