A decade ago when I was still playing and bands and not spending my time in a windowless studio all day, we would often get the word out about our band with comp and sampler CDs. Pressing a small run of a 3 song sampler this would often benefit us immensely, if we could get it out to the right ears. Before the day of Myspace this was all reasonably effective marketing, but now these ideas are basically considered dead. While I am one of those people who wish the CD would die as fast as possible, there is still a way you can take advantage of small runs of CD samplers and with some hustle and smarts, use them to help your music get heard.
While these samplers are thought to be a thing of the past there is a way to use them to get your music to potential fans. Below is the method I would use:
- Pick 3 or so songs from your band and press them to a CD. If you have some friends in similar bands you may even be able to split the cost and each put three songs on it.
- Use CreateSpace, AudioLife or other services that offer small pressings for cheap and press some on demand CDs. All we need is a CD in a cardboard sleeve (just the thin type not a digipak).
- Go to any of the local mom and pop music stores and talk to the buyers/owners. If another bigger band has a release coming out soon that may be in to your style of music ask them how many they think they will sell in the first two weeks. In other words if you are a pop punk band and Green Day has a new CD coming out they may say they plan on selling 50 CDs press up 50 CDs. Every store you can do this at repeat the same process at any other mom and pop record stores that you can think of and get access to.
- Ask the store if you can do a promotion where every someone buys the new Green Day CD they will give them your sampler for free. See if you can hang a poster and put up stickers (little ones that can be printed on mailing list labels) that promote this inside the store. This will help the record store move more copies by increasing value of the Green Day CD and help get your music out to fans who would be likely to dig your music. Most local music supporting stores will be into this and the stores become more likely to support ideas like this every day as their business dwindles.
If you have a show coming up in town you can print this on the CD artwork or put it on a mailing list sticker. You can also convince the record store to take copies of your EP/LP CD since you will be generating more of a demand for it. This is a great way to pick up some extra fans in a town and get heard by people with potential to like your music.