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 new 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 that 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: I’ve started aggregating my fans on Facebook and building my e-mail lists. Now that I have a “fanbase”, how do I keep them engaged and motivated to spread the word about my music?
Jon Satterley: One word: content. If you ain't updating, the fans ain't rating.
But what to do about this? The worst thing is to create content for content's sake. So, have a plan. Remove the terrifying "blank canvas" by building content templates for yourselves. Brainstorm ideas like, "Jason's 5 worst drum fills for the week" or "Our lead singer picks his three greatest vocal screams," and figure out which ones speak best to your fans and represent your band. Treat the creation of this kind of stuff as seriously as you do song-writing, rehearsals, recording and gigs. In 2011, ensuring that you have a strong online presence is as important as all the other music-making/band-behaving fundamentals. Sure, you might want to think that you are the next Led Zeppelin and "above all that vulgar website stuff", but if you have no fans, no airplay, no gigs...who gives a fuck??? The web is the easiest and best place for you to start your fan quest and to keep them happy and engaged (from afar).
Create a calendar with deadlines to deliver new content, be it blogs, video updates, new songs or jams. Then, stick to it. Monitor your web traffic using free, easy tools like Google Analytics and Facebook Insights. Understand this stuff and use it to attract more fans and spread your web. Use emails to bring your closest and loyalist fans back "to the well" to engage with your new content efforts. Ensure you have the latest and best sharing tools, such as the ShareThis widget, to make it super easy for your fans to take your content to the wider web.
At the end of the day, it is about content. Make a lot of it. And make it good.
And if you're in 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!