Ask Damian Erskine: How do you go about promoting your CD?

Q: How do you go about promoting your CD?

A: I’ve been giving this a lot of thought lately as I’m preparing to release my 2nd release (coming out mid-late January 2010!).
With my first CD, I definitely went about it from the ground up.


  • Contacted the editors of bass magazines and asked to whom I could send one for possible review.
  • Inquired with radio and internet radio stations and asked if I could submit one for possible airplay.
  • Contacted the folks at various online bass magazines and asked about the possibility of reviewing, featuring or at least mentioning it.
  • Made sure to make reference to it on my various social networks.
  • Carry them with me wherever I am in case I run into someone who may “need” a copy (keep 5 or so in the car, keep some in your gigbag for gigs, etc.)
  • Handed them out to every musician I played with (word of mouth is more important to me than anything. I’d always rather that someone have a CD of mine than stick to my guns and hope that people buy them. I give them away to everybody when in person!
  • At gigs, I also encourage people to take a CD whether they plan to buy one or not! on MY gigs, I have a donation jar next to the CDs and ask that people make a suggested donation, but if nothing else, take a CD anyway! (most people pay and some over-pay out of appreciation for the gesture).
  • Make sure that it is available EVERYWHERE online.

My plan for disc #2 is basically the same. This time I am thinking about also contacting labels and distributers in other countries to inquire about carrying my CDs. Unlike when my first CD came out (but most likely because of that CD and my online presence) I have a little traction in the bass community now… I want to try and use that to my advantage to take this next release to another level. Which brings me to.

USE THE INTERNET to your advantage!! I recommend checking a few things out and reading them more than once.

Steve Lawson is blazing new ground in the understanding of social media and how one can use it to their advantage and really connect with the WORLD as an artist. Read his blogs, follow him on twitter, etc. He is a very creative and bright guy with a world of insight!

This wonderful FREE eBook by Andrew Dubber (which I found thru Steve Lawson!) is the kind of thing that you will read and forward to every musician you care about. It is a wonderfully written and interesting read on the current ways of the music industry and how to perceive approaching the online world. He says it better than I ever will, just READ it!

Pay attention to what artists do that YOU like. Where are they selling, listing their music? Who writes about them? What social networks do they use professionally?

Gone are the days of making one record and selling a million copies (not GONE gone, but damn near… close enough to say… gone). My approach is to try and be thoughtful about the way I do things and always try to move just ONE more step with each release, concert, NAMM show, year… I just constantly look at where I am and think about how I can possible take just ONE more step in the right direction.

This applies to everything… Proficiency, career, inter-personal relationships, etc. Just always try and up your game a little bit with every step, every practice session, every recording. I’ve always been a firm believer that, if you are professional, play your a** off (in the appropriate way!), put quality out there and are socially active online and respectful… something good’s gotta happen, right?? Just act with mindful intentionality and always do the best you can. Think hard about WHO should be aware of what you are doing and make them aware of it! You can’t make them like what you do but they need the opportunity to hear you!

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Have a question for Damian Erskine? Send it to [email protected]. Check out Damian’s instructional books, Right Hand Drive and The Improviser’s Path.

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  1. sara02

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