This is a brief tutorial about some things that a band can do to self manage and promote themselves. While it has never been easier to get your name out there through the internet, it also has never been harder because of all the saturation out there. Hopefully this tutorial will help you to understand a few things that you can do to help get your name out there.
The most important thing to consider when thinking about how to best promote yourself as an artist, is always the product that you putting out there. Before anything else, it is important to be the best that you can. This means everything proper recordings and gear to tight playing. The bottom line is that you should always have confidence in the appearance of your product, whether that is the image of the band or artist or a great sounding recording. If you are serious about playing music all of these things need to be in order before you take any further steps...
Once you have all of the creative ducks in a row, now you can start thinking about getting your sound out there to the public. Of course everyone will start with friends and family and making the most of this can be important as it can help to get yourself planted in your local scene. This is how everyone starts out and should not be taken for granted. The more people you can get to show support for your music, the better the perception will be about you and you will have a leg up on other artists. Getting a draw down to your shows is these days probably the most important thing. Promoters are really only considered with your draw rather than what you sound like and it is always important to remember this...
Probably the best and easiest way you can promote yourself is through the internet. Social networking sites like Myspace and Facebook are probably the two most popular ways to promote yourself to your friends. It is as simple as ever to send out a message about an upcoming show or new recording. However, there is also quite a bit of saturation of these types of messages going to each person every day and it has become a matter of how to stick out in the crowd. If you can make yourself as visible as possible on the internet whether it is through event invitations or sending downloads, the better off you will be. The internet is the single most powerful tool to use to promote yourself as an artist.
Beyond internet promotion, there are a variety of other more traditional ways you can promote your music. The best way to do this in my opinion is to play shows as much as possible. However, playing too many times in the same area can often be hurtful more than helpful. I think that the key is to only play your hometown area maybe every few weeks to maximize your draw to certain shows. This will allow you to get better shows in the long run because the promoters will be happy that you bring out a crowd every time out, rather than bringing a small number of people to a few different shows. Playing outside of your hometown even if it is somewhat or touring in general is your best bet for playing on a more consistent basis. The more you are out there playing shows, the more people that will hear you and the more chances you will have to sell merchandise.
Lastly, I'd like to talk briefly about when the right time might be to find some help promoting yourself whether that means through a band manager or a publicist, or both. I don't think that these things become necessary until you have established yourself quite a bit. In order for a person like a manager to be able to help you, you must have a buzz about you and probably need to be bringing in some money to be able to hire this type of person anyway. Until you have done your own tour and played around for few years, I don't think that external hiring is needed. Of course if you have a friend who wants to help out for free or on commission, this can be a great option to get some extra help promoting. Overall, getting your name out is a long and hard process and is overall extremely difficult to do.
A lot of artists really struggle with getting their names out, even if they have a ton of talent as I have seen it with a lot of artists out there. Establishing yourself is hard and can take years to do and in many cases does not happen at all. Just keeping on playing and promoting and if you have the drive and talent, I believe that if you are persistence enough that good things will come!