DIY Blog: CMU:DIY x Urban Development 08 – Getting Noticed
By Chris Cooke | Published on Wednesday 20 July 2016
Last night we co-hosted our latest Industry Takeover Seminar with Urban Development at the Think Big Hub on Hoxton Square. The session looked at how blogs, websites, magazines, radio and streaming service playlists can help in building a fanbase.
So, you’ve written the songs, you’ve recorded some tracks, your socials are sorted and you’re starting to gig. Well done. What next?
Well, it’s probably time to try and get yourself onto the radar of the music media and the music industry. Why? Well, because, despite the undeniable power of digital channels and the social networks, so many musicians are trying to get noticed today that many music fans still look to blogs, magazines, websites and radio shows for a guide to which new artists and new tracks are worth checking out. And assuming you want to start forming partnerships with music companies, which you almost certainly do, they too are influenced by bloggers, journalists and radio DJs.
Of course, while media can help you get noticed by a wider potential fanbase, first you need to get noticed by the media, which is no simple task. Did I mention how many musicians are trying to get noticed today? Though there are plenty of bloggers, journalist and DJs out there who make it their mission to discover great new music, and great new artists, so there are people waiting to discover you, you just need to get your music into their ears.
A big part of this is getting into the right ears, which means doing your research. There is no point bombarding every single blogger, journalist and DJ with your music, because, truth be told, many of them won’t be interested in the kind of music you are making. You need to identify who is writing about or championing your kind of music. Read their output. Listen to their shows. And then make contact, probably by email, with a short message, demonstrating that you know their work, and that’s why you think they should check out your YouTube video or SoundCloud track.
We need to manage expectations here. Most bloggers, journalists and DJs get a flood of emails from the music community each week and never have time to read every message, let alone listen to every track. And even if you do get lucky and a blogger bigs up your music or a DJ gives your new track a play, don’t be expecting over night stardom. Each bit of media coverage is the step towards the next bit of media coverage, so that over time things gain momentum.
Once you are working with a label they will engage PR people to do this work for you. Many labels have in-house teams: ‘press’ pitch to blogs and magazines, ‘promotions’ or ‘plugging’ to radio, TV and clubs. Others use one of the many small music PR agencies that exist in the UK. These people have existing relationships with media people, which can get you ahead in the queue. Though even with a PR fighting your corner, it will take time to get noticed.
But if you need a label to get media coverage, but media coverage to get a label, how does that work? Well, you don’t need a label – or a PR – to start getting coverage on the right blogs or websites or specialist radio shows. A nice email, a great track, a bit of persistence and a bit of luck can get things rolling. This all then helps when you are pitching yourself to potential bookers, agents, labels and publishers, who in turn might then help you get the next round of media coverage. And so it grows.
Want to know more? Well, in the final CMU:DIY x Urban Development session before the summer break we are talking about ‘Getting Noticed’, exploring how to approach media, how different kinds of media fit in, the increasing importance of playlists on streaming services, and how labels go about discovering new talent. Joining me will be Sam Potts from Columbia Records, Simon Rugg from [PIAS] and Tobi Oke from Complex UK.
You can check out the slides from the CMU:DIY talk that kick-started the proceedings below or download them as a PDF by clicking here.
For news on future CMU:DIY x UD events sign up to the CMU Daily here. And if you’re a young artist, why not become a UD Creative, which gets you into the monthly events for free plus access to extra resources?