Posted by The Narrative June 15th, 2010
Well hello everyone! Suzie here. Typically, I’m responsible for the lovely Narrative video content you see on RM64 every so often, but the past few weeks have left little time to sift through footage of the 3 of us trying to take ourselves seriously. Apparently, we can’t do that when there’s a video camera present (without multiple takes). However, we do take ourselves very seriously when it comes to the business side of our band.
That being said, we are getting ready to SELF-RELEASE our first full length record. Yes, self-release. We kept telling ourselves we’d sign to a label if we got an offer that made sense, but I’m not quite sure anyone knows what makes sense when it comes to putting our records these days. If we put all that work into a full length, paid out of pocket for all expenses related to that endeavor, does it then make sense to go and give 90% of that to a bunch of people we probably could only get to know over the course of a few weeks, or maybe just one fancy dinner at Nobu? I guess maybe? Maybe if they promise to really promote our record, you know, “push it” and really get it out there. Or mayyyyybe we’ll sign our contract, give up ownership of the record and then 2 weeks later someone else will be having dinner at Nobu and we’re leaving 10 messages a day with the secretary. What’s our recourse? Suing them? We’re artists! We’ll never have the money to win that battle. Sigh. The music industry is a weird place so here at The Narrative camp, we’re taking things into our own hands.
What can you do as a band with practically no money and minimal resources? That’s what we’re trying to figure out. I still genuinely believe that word of mouth is the most important piece of marketing out there. Unfortunately, you can’t just sit around hoping for something to happen – you have to make it happen. So here’s what we’ve got in the works:
PUBLIC RELATIONS – One way or another, we need to get people talking about our release. Every time I see an interview or a feature of some kind, I jot down the who, what, where, and when and put it in my crafty excel spreadsheet (I am such a nerd with excel, it’s embarrassing and also totally awesome at the same time). Little blogs and music webzines still CARE about MUSIC – they don’t care that Jesse and Charlie don’t grow their hair long enough to flat iron it, or that my EMO-SWEET BANGS come and go with my lack of ambition for haircuts. They’ll write about us if they like our music, and reaching out to them personally makes a lasting impression. I know that by doing this, we’ll have people writing about our record, and even though it might not be the biggest outlet, it still matters A LOT (my opinion!). Lucky for us, we have some friends in the land of the interwebs, and those friends are pretty damn influential (ahem, absolutepunk L.O.V.E. you) – having those guys talk about our release will be key for us too. If you can swing it, hiring a PR agency to help get your stuff out there is a nice amenity, and perhaps we’ll have an announcement for you all about that very thing in the next few days In the meantime, there’s the bio… the one-sheet…and of course there is the…
MUSIC VIDEO – Honestly, I have been told on a number of occasions that we need a music video. The idea of actually having to be in one of those is a total jump for me. How does my writing songs with my band and then being obsessed with the business side of things make me qualified to be in a music video? this is so nerve-wracking, but regardless – you people say it’s important! So we’re working on getting that going too. So far what I’m learning is CONCEPT trumps EVERYTHING. I guess a good idea goes a long way no matter what you’re doing. You could have a great looking video, but if it’s not engaging enough, you might lose your audience. This doesn’t necessarily mean it needs to be complicated. Here’s a video by James Blunt that is super simple, looks amazing and despite the fact that there’s a whole lot of *nothing* going on, I find it hard to turn it off until I’ve seen it through to the end.
MARKETING – This is something that I’ve been thinking about a bunch in relation to the new album. What can I do that’s cheap and effective? Realistically, our marketing budget might be like, what… one Free People dress? (HEY FREE PEOPLE! HEY! HOOK A GIRL UP!).
There is a really interesting thing going on right now, and I’m 99.9999% sure my band will be getting in on this on the ground floor. There’s a company called TADCAST MUSIC that is doing something really innovative and creative. They are partnering with YouTube video producers who have tons of hits on their pages, providing them with a platform where they can select music from artists (like ourselves), and use it in their videos. From the artists perspective, when your music is played there is a link that pops up and if the viewer clicks through to wherever your link takes them (smart place would be iTunes), you pay a per-click through fee. The beauty of it is, you set your cap for this type of marketing and no matter how many times someone clicks through, you only ever pay up to the cap you set. And if no one clicks through, you pay nothing. Pretty beautiful right? Only pay for the marketing that is 100% effective in bringing potential customers directly to your store… as opposed to the BANNER AD which to me seems like a giant waste of time for an unknown band. If there’s no brand recognition, I can’t see a banner add being super helpful… but who knows, maybe we’ll try it sometime as an experiment. I’ve been addicted to Google Analytics the past week or so, and am curious to test it out on a cheap banner ad somewhere in the world, if only to prove that banner ads are pointless for bands like ours at this point in the game.
TOUR DATES – So yes, on top of just getting the release to even come out on time, reaching out to get some PR on a DIY level, calling our production folks every 30 minutes to see if our hard proofs our ready, we’re also trying to BOOK SHOWS. Seems easy? It’s not… I believe Jesse wrote a blog on the subject, and I remember it being painfully accurate. Booking shows is damn hard.
In order to make it a little easier and to keep ourselves motivated, we’ve teamed up with a band called The Scarlet Ending who are out in Syracuse, NY (alert: hot & talented twin sisters in a band together). We’re pooling resources, splitting up the duties and attempting to get together a string of shows that will hopefully turn out well because of how invested we all are in making them turn out well. I’ll let you in on a little secret that’s excellent for collaborations like this if you aren’t already using it… GOOGLE DOCS (sorry, getting nerdy again). We’ve got a fantastic document going with all our tour dates, venues, and notes on progress – we can change dates around without having to call each other every 5 minutes and we’re always up to date with what the other is doing. Pretty rad, if I do say so myself.
So, as much as I’d love to continue rambling about everything going on inside my head in relation to this release, I have a to-do list of about 30 items sitting next to me and band practice looming in just a few hours. A few things on the list: Registering new songs with BMI, post office trip to mail out merch, checking in with our merch and web designers on all new stuff to support our all new record and the list goes on and on… definitely enough for a 2nd installment of BRAIN OVERLOAD which maybe I’ll write sometime next week