I’ve interviewed, booked, promoted and worked with a shit ton of indie bands and I often get asked what I think the successful ones do that really make them stand out from the rest (aside from having fantastic music and a stellar live show). I assumed the following things were a common practice, but believe me, they aren’t.
I’ve narrowed it down to 5 things:
- They support other local bands and they make sure people know it. I know bands are constantly working on their own music, etc. However, do you want to get on a better bill? Go out and support other bands. When you find others that you dig and mesh well with your sound, introduce yourself to them. Tweet/Instagram/Facebook about catching their set. That will get you on their radar, a venue’s radar (if you tag ’em too), and hey, you may make some new friends.
- They are always approachable. The band members aren’t hiding out backstage or bailing right after their set. They are present for the entirety of the night, they hang out and talk with people.
- They make it a point to remember their loyal supporters, media, booking agents, door people, bartenders, etc. and maintain friendly, yet professional relationships with them. The more people you know and maintain good relationships with, the better the chance of getting on a good bill at a good venue or getting press opportunities, etc.
- They aren’t afraid to promote themselves. Look, we all feel weird about constantly pestering people with our stuff, but there are ways to be creative about it while still subtly promoting a show, album, single, whatever. Also, the sooner you start promoting a show, the better. People like to plan. An announcement the day before never does anyone any good.
- They are professional, they put in the work, and they have goals. There are a countless number of bands out there and while some are willing to pound the pavement, others expect someone to hand them a record deal. Reality check- THAT RARELY HAPPENS. Being in a band is a long, hard road, and you have to be truly committed to really make it in the industry. Make a plan, and stick to it. It is always impressive to see bands make serious headway when they up the professionalism. Start shaking things up and knocking out new content.