Dear Record Label: How Do Old Marketing Techniques Stack Up to New Ones?

In a band? Have no idea how to go about getting a label to take you seriously? We've got the answers you're looking for.

In our blog series, "Dear Record Label," we went to Roadrunner Records -- home of Slipknot, Rob Zombie, Opeth, Megadeth, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Trivium and more -- and asked them the tough questions young bands should know the answers to. Each week, we'll be bringing you advice from members of the Roadrunner staff to try and get you on track to get noticed.

Q: How effective are old-school practices like printing up fliers and handing out physical CDs when they’re stacked up against newer techniques such as sending email blasts and allowing downloads?

RANDY REISER: It is important to realize that before you can start marketing, you need to begin creating a buzz by playing live and building a network of contacts. Unless people are exposed to your music, which generally happens in a live setting, they’re not going to care about fliers or downloads. Once you make them care, however, it would be silly to not have physical copies of a demo, fliers promoting your next gig, or a mailing list signup form on hand at shows to help you capitalize on killer performances.

That being said, there are several key advantages to promoting your music via digital channels. While you’ll likely never know how many of the physical CDs or fliers you’ve handed out were kept and how many were thoughtlessly discarded, it is entirely possible to track how well each of your campaigns are performing online. The most common web analytics tool, Google Analytics, allows you to compare data from many different advertisements in order to determine which are performing better than others. Once you have that information, you can make strategic decisions about how best to funnel your resources towards those campaigns. This ability alone represents a quantum leap forward for bands that are looking to make business savvy decisions. Such online tools, however, are no longer simply about tracking revenue or downloads. There are many others, such as Damn The Radio, that will allow you to build your email lists in exchange for a piece of content – a song, a video, or exclusive art work.

Furthermore, digital assets only need to be paid for once, as opposed to physical assets which must be paid for based on the number of units you purchase. Whether said payment takes the form of your money, your time, or some combination of the two, once a digital asset is paid for it’s yours to use as you please. Emails can be duplicated, demos can be transferred, videos can be uploaded and made available to stream.

And if you're an unsigned band, be sure to check out Roadrunner's Sign Me To website, which allows unsigned bands to display their music, move up charts based on fan ratings, get reviewed by Roadrunner staff and maybe even get signed!

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