Self-Marketing for Musicians

23The hard part about being a musician is that most of us tend to shy away from marketing. Oh, we can put up a website or a Facebook page, but many times we just leave it at that. We don’t update the website, and it remains there – frozen in cyberspace and time, like some digital fossil. And when it comes time to actually talk to people and ask for gigs, many of us scurry off and try to find something better to do. Like visit the dentist.

I’m stepping up to the head of the line on this one. But fortunately I ran across an excellent article by Bob Popyk in a back issue of International Musician. (For those of you who don’t recognize the publication, it’s the official journal of the American Federation of Musicians.) In it, he gives 12 easy steps to follow that, if done consistently, should help you fill up your calendar. Some of the more essential ones are as follows:

  • Keep your website and social media outlets current. Update your bio, your set list, shows, and other news. Use Twitter search tools to find friends who like your kind of music and engage them. But beware: spamming is not engagement.
  • Start a blog and post to it regularly. It’s a great way to keep fans coming back to your site. (You’re reading mine now!)
  • If you don’t have business cards, get them. Nothing says “I’m a professional” better than a business card. They don’t have to be flashy, and you don’t need to spend a lot of money on them. But do have them professionally printed, and splurge on the heavier paper and gloss finish.
  • Make sure your voice mail message is clear and understandable. Return calls promptly.
  • Create or update your promo kit. It should contain a cover letter, band or artist bio, a demo CD, photos, press clippings, and a tour schedule. Make sure it looks nice and that the spelling and grammar are correct.

Bob has many other self-marketing suggestions in his article, but I feel his best piece of advice is reminder about attitude: keep it upbeat. “Remember,” he says, “you are in the entertainment business. You are in a fun business. Your attitude will very often get you as many gigs as your talent, marketing expertise, and sales skills.”

You can find out more about the AFM at


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