Photo by Keoni Cabral
Q: Damian, your Artist Data show announcement for tonight just popped up in my news feed. That made me think about self promotion for bassists (aka sidemen where people rarely come to see us play, but the artist we support). How do we promote ourselves when we are not the main attraction and what platforms (Artist Data, BandMix, Reverb Nation, etc.) seem to work best?
A: I treat online self-promotion pretty much the same way, whether I’m a sideman or the bandleader on the gig.
I list every gig on Artist Data, because it updates the schedule on my website as well as most other live music platforms and social media I use. I always list the band name (not my own) for the gig.
The feed is coming from you, so people will know that it’s you playing with the group. Or, if you have any doubts, simply list it as “[My name] playing with [band name]”.
I also actively promote and spread the word about any gigs I have which I feel merit special attention online. If I really want people to come, I tell them!
Listing other’s gigs can get a bit confusing with regard to certain sites that Artist Data lists with though. Sometimes gig listings will get mixed up and list a gig as “[Band Name] & Damian Erskine”, which can feel a bit awkward. It has never really caused any problems or confusion, although it has been good for a laugh in the green room.
As you may have noticed, Artist Data is my go to site for posting gigs online as it automatically updates pretty much every other site out there. Honestly, I think feel like it is so easy for everyone to post every gig everywhere, that most gig listings are just a drop in the bucket that most will never come across unless they are specifically looking for you. With this in mind, post them and forget them, and then put most of your energy to drawing attention to yourself in one way or another.
This could be posting videos on Youtube, posting interesting pictures, clips, educational material or musings on social media and so on. It isn’t always about making new fans though. There’s a lot to keeping your current ones engaged. Of course, keeping those people engaged online helps to attract new people (friends of your fans), since people like to spread the word when there’s something worth sharing.
I’ve actually been so busy that I’ve been somewhat remiss in this regard. It’s so easy these days to record great video and audio, there’s no excuse not to have good material out there.
For example, with just a GoPro and a board feed (or a few stereo mics and a recording device), anyone can record every show to post after every gig. With quality content, a Youtube channel or Facebook page can get quite a following. Janek Gwizdala is one of the kings of this type of marketing (live feed recording sessions? genius!)
With this type of content, people will be looking for you with regularity and then it’s just a matter of your information being easy to find. With that in mind, all you really need is a decent website and an Artist Data account, plus all the other popular social media outlets.
The more the merrier, although truthfully, I’ve come to prefer a select few. I have a ton of pages that I’ve made on various social media sites that just exist in space with an automated feed from other social media sites and Artist Data. I would recommend that you just end up focusing on a few outlets once you find what works for you and that you enjoy using. Save the lesser known social media sites for family and friends. Use the sites that everybody uses when thinking of promotion.
Readers, how about you? How do you go about promoting your gigs? Please share in the comments.