Thursday, June 24, 2010

How to write a press release (and create buzz for your band)

Someone asked me about this awhile back, and I realized I'd need an entire post to cover it. Here it goes.

So you've got a band, and you've released an album (or are about to release an EP, or something like that). Maybe you play live shows, or maybe you're running a bedroom band. But whatever you do, you're going to want attention. (Don't we all?) If you don't have the money to pay for a street marketing team yet, you can still get the word out about your music, by writing a press release.

Press releases might sound intimidating, but they make the world of journalism go round. Most of reporting is digging for facts and trying to find interesting stories and calling and e-mailing people endlessly to confirm tiny little details. So it's a breath of fresh air when someone contacts us and says, "I have an interesting story and I've done all the basic legwork--do you want it?" Music blogs absolutely want these.

But first, some questions to ask yourself:

Am I timely? Music blogs don't want to cover an album that's two months old. Is your release date coming up? Do you have shows coming up soon? Timeliness will matter.

Do I have something to offer? A free press copy of an EP, an MP3 you're willing to share with the world, a great-looking music video--those will launch you way ahead of the rest of the competition.

Is this the right blog for me? Most music blogs profess to be "indie blogs," but from just a few posts it's clear they have specific preferences for music. Take time to read many of them and choose which ones fit your project.

(Also: local blogs and newspapers that are dedicated to covering specific cities will be more accommodating to covering a local band, so explore that angle.)

What am I looking for? Getting a positive review in a music blog won't shoot you to Lady Gaga status. In fact, it may not even net you any sales. It will, however, get your name out there, maybe win you some fans, and make it more likely that blogs will write about you in the future. 

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With all that in mind, here's how to write the press release. Newspapers have a specific format, but with the arrival e-mail and links, some flexibility is allowed for music blogs. However, the following would be acceptable to have:

- a short greeting
- your band's name and what you're promoting (album, EP, etc)
- what your hook is (New video released? Are you giving something away for free? Offering music blogs a press copy of the album for review?)
- a short bio and link to your band's web site
- links to sample songs, if any (and if you can offer them for download, say "Approved for posting.")
- links to promo photos and any new tour dates
- an offer for interviews, if you want to go that route

Some bands I know also have a dedicated e-mail for promotions/talking with fans, so their name shows up whenever they send a message. It's a nice touch.

Sample:
New music and free downloads from The Krebs Cycle
Hey, I hope you're having a great summer! I'm pleased to announce that my band, The Krebs Cycle, is releasing a new album, Enzymes, on July 1.
The Krebs Cycle formed in 2009 in Cytoplasm, NY, and plays indie rock. Our web site is [link], and we are playing a release show at the Anaerobic Theater on June 30. Our album will be available on iTunes and Amazon.com. Press copies and interview opportunities are available.
Simple, huh? Now write up something similar, put that in an e-mail and send it to music blogs that 1) take submissions for review, 2) review the same type of music you play. If you've hit the right targets and you're good, some of the music blogs will do a post on you. For some places to get started, check out the list of music blogs on the right panel. By the way, Paisley Sound also takes submissions of indie rock music.

Let me know in the comments if this guide was helpful.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Frightened Rabbit - "Living In Colour" video

This is a great idea for a video; it's made from footage taken at live concerts and moments on the road during Frightened Rabbit's recent North American tour. The song is "Living in Colour," off their album The Winter of Mixed Drinks.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Circlebirds: Like birds, but with circles [free MP3]


Time for some new music. Circlebirds are a bit like Fleet Foxes, with an acoustic kick and lush vocals; they're indie pop, but have a folk influence. Here's a track off their second album, Complexities:



"New Miracles"     

I love all the little bleeps and bloops (the video game-esque music at the beginning is a great touch) and the starts and stops. It's just a fascinating song, instrumentally. Starting at 2:47 and until the end, it's got brilliant acoustic guitar and then a smooth outro: the vocals and instrumentation blend together before there's a soft ring and the song ends. It's like fireworks: a buildup, flash of sound, and then beauty. 

Circlebirds on Myspace music

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Album Review: The Rescues, Let Loose the Horses

Everything the Rescues has done so far has led up to this album, and it's sure to be the breakout hit of the summer.

Fans may have already heard some of the tracks, including the charming "Can't Stand the Rain" and the pure emotion of "Let Loose the Horses." It's all here, bundled together, and flows even better as a cohesive album.

The fact that all four band members are also incredibly talented singers creates an interesting effect: rather than a simple linear collection of songs, the Rescues can play around with different styles--alt-country one minute, charming indie soundscapes the next--making each song a little spark all its own. Out Tuesday, June 22nd. [The Rescues]

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Free EP from My First Earthquake: Crush

My First Earthquake released a new EP, Crush, just in time for summer. It's an endearing little album, and has all the synth lines, crazy rhythms and melodies you've come to love.

The four songs are a free download on their site, and might just be the band's best output yet.
<a href="http://myfirstearthquake.bandcamp.com/album/crush">Pick Up Stick Up by My First Earthquake</a>

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Richard Walters, "Brittle Bones" [free MP3]

photo from www.myspace.com/richardwalters

Richard Walters is a singer/songwriter from the UK. His song "Brittle Bones" is tender and evocative, and the style reminds me of Dream of Sleeping: quiet, reflective, acoustic. Instead of drums, there's a tambourine, and there are lush vocal harmonies. It's very sweet but self-conscious, a lovely song you can put on the stereo to lay back and watch the stars.



"Brittle Bones" [download]

His first album, The Animal, is out now. You can also download a free 5 track live album by signing up for his mailing list, and he'll be playing a show in London in September.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Rescues: "You're Not Listening"

I predict The Rescues will be the next band to go mainstream. How can they not? They each have amazing talent as singers, with songs that are written and performed with incredible emotion. Plus, they're as good live as they are in the studio (perhaps even better). Check out their performance of "You're Not Listening" in West Hollywood, CA. Stunning.



They're currently on tour across the US, and their EP is out now.

The Rescues on Myspace