If you're here to look into new and different methods by which you can market your band or artist. You've come to the right place. I'm Tom Colohue, and this is Marketing Methods; your guide to traversing the basics of the marketing world while avoiding the pitfalls, the traps and the unreasonable arseholes in it.
Marketing Methods by Tom Colohue
Part Ten: Using The Competition
More often than not in the music business, you have competition. In fact, if ever anybody manages to go their whole career without any sort of rival competing with them I will be extremely surprised. How you treat these people, and indeed the situation, can be either extremely detrimental to you or extremely beneficial. Allow me to explain:
Rivals give you a push to improve. Rivals give you somebody to beat. Rivals keep music in the public eye in the same vein that you do. Rivals keep you creative. Rivals keep you honest. It's all good stuff, as long as you are capable of improving, beating somebody, keeping music in the public eye, being creative and being honest. If notwell we'll get to that later. (we're not going to get to that later)
The most important thing to know about using the competition is that you should never ignore a potential opponent in the route to the top. Everybody, even street performers, that pander to the same fans as yours are a threat. People can't handle an oversaturated market. You need to be the stand out. In order to do that, the first thing you need to do is stand out from the rivals to the rivals.
If there are five bands in the area, one ultimately becomes the headliner. One of the biggest step forwards you can take is to become an ideal representative of the music scene in your area, regardless of band. This comes through communicating with the other artists, throwing supporting slots and gigs towards bands that offer the same to you, and sharing some of the spotlight that shines beneath you.
This doesn't just show in your reputation with those bands, but also with venues and fans. Handing out support slots ensures that the fans of whatever band you've chosen will undoubtedly experience the way you do things. They might be coming to see their favourite, but they're coming to you to do it.
Using your website, or Facebook/MySpace page to advertise another band isn't too much of a good idea, since it will likely alienate your own fans, but you can do that within your own advertisements.
The most obvious way to use a rival is by striking up what the media might pick up as an intense and desperate rivalry between the two of you. This requires that the two bands compete directly though which, while being very provocative in the media, instinctively divides a branch of potential fans away from you. While this is good for one or two shows, it does not prove prudent in the long run. Successful bands rise above rivalry and become the poster for their local music scene. This is done through advertising and networking.
Once you've done this, there are some quite easy and somewhat cheeky ways to earn a little publicity. One of the more simple ones is just to go along to a rival's show and watch them perform. With a good enough relationship you can appear without hostility, do a little networking with their fans, promote yourself to the venue as being level-headed and friendly and, if you're lucky, maybe get involved with the action some by helping with wiring or the sound. You would be amazed at the attention you receive from venues and fans when they see you just coming down to help out. You'll have no problems discreetly handing out a few fliers and telling people about your Facebook page.
Most people would rather try to become the best by fighting it out head to head with whatever rival they think are the best in the business, but in the modern world that's just not necessary anymore. With the range of options that you have for connecting with other musicians, fans, promoters and venues, the best way to use your rivals is just to be as helpful and giving as possible, whilst maintaining your own fortunes of course.
Tom Colohue is a writer from Blackpool, England. Though he specialises in Fiction, he also writes music theory articles, and new media articles based primarily on the internet. On occasion, these also intermingle. He is well recognised by numerous critics and analysts for his integrative descriptive work and his cynical textual mannerisms. For more information, Tom Colohue keeps a Facebook Fan Page, which contains updates from new articles and his personal blog, Mental Streaming. This page can be found via this link.