Obituary Of A Theory: New Artists Heavily Promoting Their Record Before Anyone Can Buy It

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Yesterday, we talked about how stupid it is to care about first weeks sales for the majority of artists. Today, we have a bone to pick with unsigned or little known bands promoting and building anticipation for weeks and months on end for their new release. Unless you are someone’s favorite band they don’t care at all, in fact you just wasted their time and lost a chance to sell a record and make a fan.

The immediacy of the Internet has spoiled us all, if we can’t have something now, we aren’t going to wait for it and keep checking for it. Another band is going to present us with a song we like in the meantime and we will forget about you faster than a speeding bullet. When you are posting Myspace bulletins and promoting your band, ultimately you are trying to get new people to be fans and people who know about your band to keep enjoying it. With this new found immediacy the Internet has brought to us all, you are just annoying your fans when you keep telling us about something happening in the future.

You become the little boy who cried wolf every time you post some stupid bulletin saying just two weeks left until the listener can be blessed with the opportunity to actually be able to pay for the music you make. You aren’t building anticipation, you are becoming an annoyance in peoples quest to see whether their ex has posted something about the new person they are dating in their friend feed. Nevermind, if someone has never heard your band, they just checked out what you had to say and you wasted their time, instead of presenting them with a way for them to enjoy your music and get it if they liked it.

This gets even worse on big budgets for little known bands. Today, when you have a song on
the radio and someone loves it, gets it in their head they are going
to either stream it till they get sick of it (losing a sale) or
illegally download it. They are not going to wait for your month away
release date if a friend has it on their iPod and iPodAcess is one
click away.

While you can feel good about your pre-orders, with each day
listeners get used to getting things faster and faster on the net. In the coming
months when you pull this anticipation BS, your pre-orders are going
to slip and it won’t be from the quality of your music, it will be
because listeners are fed up with this game. You are not Keri Hilson, no
one is going to be waiting for a year for your record (it blows my mind they did for hers). Do not imitate the big bands in this regard and pretend you are just like them, in the end you will be just taking another step backwards. No one thinks you are a big deal when you imitate big bands in this way, all they do is get frustrated with your stupid marketing sense (or lack there of).

So what do you do? Never mention your record till the day it is
available???? No, keep your fans up to date of what you are doing for
sure. But the following things are dead ideas if you are a new artist:

  • Putting up a song a month before anyone can buy it. It will be
    ripped or streamed to death with your listeners then losing interest in buying it
    before they have the chance to buy it.
  • Putting countdowns for your new EP when you have a few thousand
    Myspace fans. You aren’t Coldplay. No one is marking their calendars.
    Just put it up and use your chances to promote and interrupt peoples
    social network experience wisely, instead of becoming the
    little boy who cried wolf. While it may make you feel good that some fan with a stupid haircut in tight pants told you they pre-ordered it, most of your potential fans were turned off by you wasting their Twitter reading, Facebook stream, or Myspace bulletins/comments with your self involved countdown.
  • Placing thousands of posters around and videos for songs when no
    one can even buy your record. Promote the record when it’s available
    otherwise it will not release it’s full potential. If you are paying thousands of bucks for radio marketing and no one can buy the song, odds are they are finding one of the other ways to get the song and subsequently getting sick of the song before they can buy it.
  • Putting up a teaser song for your new record? Though we would advice you to put it up only when your record is able to be bought immediately, we would recommend you at least make that teaser song available for purchase.

Jesse Cannon is the editor of Musformation. He produces records at his studio Cannon Found Soundation. Follow him on Twitter at @JesseCannonMusF. For more info please visit his website.