Most of the indie artists I know will make an album and will follow up by making some concerts to promote it, considering this is the only or most important way of doing it.
That seems to be the norm, right?
However, while I love playing shows, I'd rather do fewer shows with decent conditions than any shows that's available to me.
That might be snob but at the same time, I feel like it could be better for all the musicians.
I always considered that the musicians I'm playing with (or recording in that matter) deserve to be paid, even if they're my friends. Maybe not a lot but I feel like everybody should give what they'd like to get.
Everybody wants to make a living out of this but at the same time, most of us are ready to give up the basics.
Anyway, that's not my point :-)
Instead of doing 100 shows a year, I'd much rather do 10 that I will promote intensely.
Therefore, when releasing an album, don't you think it'd be best to promote your album the best way you can, taking the concerts as one of the many different possibilities to promote it.
You do concerts when the demand is high enough, not just with the hope of getting more fans for each small concert you do.
Now maybe I'm totally wrong thinking this way and this would be foolish to do so... You tell me!
PS: I think it'd be especially appropriate for the styles of music where playing live requires a big setup (not for a folk singer but for a 10 piece band)
I'd like your opinion on this too. I'll take it one step further:
If you're a band, doing live gigs is part of what you do anyway. But what if you're not a band?
For instance: I make a living doing music for tv-commercials. One of the benefits of this work is that it allows me to have a studio... As a side project, I write and produce songs with a buddy (under the name of Sterlatone, available on iTunes, thank you Tunecore!). We record the tracks with friends and/or session musicians.
Although theoretically we could play live (we would have to hire musicians to complete the lineup) it's basically just not what we do - writing and producing the songs, in a 2-men effort, is IMO a whole different ballgame than playing live.
Are there effective alternative strategies for getting people to know your music, when you're not into doing live shows at all?
Peter Wells, SVP Operations, Customer Advocate - Tunecore
Remember how many artists don't even do "concerts" in a traditional way: they play bars every weekend, or clubs.
But your question is more about promotion around albums, and I'd say, think way beyond concerts. The Internet affords new opportunities, and you control the venue yourself:
--Make a podcast
--Make a video and put it on YouTube.
--Make a music video and put it on iTunes (TuneCore just launched TuneCore Video, we'd love to have you!).
--Record live shows and put up "live" albums.
--Take "live" tracks and put them into an iMix with other live show recordings.
big bang 3 times a year will do more for your career than a constant trickle
There's a great book called Life is a Contact Sport by Ken Kragen, the manager of many famous artists. (He also organized "We Are the World" in the 80's.)
He swore by a career strategy he called the Event Strategy, which says:
a career is a series of plateaus
you exist at one level of public-awareness for a while, then something PUSHES you up to the next level, usually all at once
you exist at that next level for a while, then something pushes you up to another level, etc.
to push up to the next level, you need to be "everywhere all at once"
do this deliberately by timing all of your events (album release, press coverage, concerts, media appearances, publicity stunts) so that they happen all at the same time.
If you think about artists you've heard of over the years, there's often this feeling of, "Ohmygod EVERYONE is talking about these guys, I have to at least check it out to find out why."
So, by this strategy, instead of doing concerts throughout the year, you could try doing a big bang of concerts all at once in 5 different venues over 10 days. Plan it months in advance, so you can get everything possible to happen during that 10 days : new collection of songs for sale, get websites to feature you that week, send out the new songs for review so that reviews are posted that week, perhaps even run an ad in the local calendar listings that week, update your site that week and email all past fans about it, put a new video on YouTube and email all fans about it a few days before, so that they tell their friends during that 10 days, etc.
It really helps artists go into antisocial mode when creating, then just turn on your extroverted side for 2 intense weeks.
Media outlets really appreciate this kind of planning, as well. You can confidently let them know that if they were to do something during that 10 day period, that you can send a much greater number of people to their website/magazine/webradio that week.
Doing this big bang 3 times a year will do more for your career than a constant trickle of no-big-deal activity. It's more fun, too.
Sometimes, by the way, the timing of the big bangs will be external : say if a TV show or movie is going to feature your song, then get the airing date in advance and schedule everything else to happen that same week. Focus all media mentions on it, etc.
I'm not trying to make a plug or anything, but episode 12 of the CDbaby DIY musician podcast titled I AM JEN is centered around an artist in NY that does exactly what you guys are discussing. She plays no shows, she builds her music, promotes on the web, and sells it. There's also a fairly good sized part of the podcast that has to do with her use of Youtube to promote herself..
Anyway, it's pretty interesting & probably worth the download.
The preceding message has not been brought to you by CDbaby. It's been brought to you by a guy in Idaho that has an iPod.