Ask Fan Landers: What Can I Do To Make My Album A Success?

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Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist, and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her -- confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Hey Fan!
My band Swearwords have been playing together for a while now-- we've put out two well-received EPs and have filled some of the crucial rooms in Chicago. This year, we'll be releasing our first full-length and touring the Midwest and both coasts. Any advice for keeping the momentum going and priming the pump before the next push?

This is a great question to be considering a few months in advance of your album release. Too often bands only think about doing things after the record is out, overlooking crucial set up. It is worth getting a head start, rather than scrambling once the thing is out. For the most part, it sounds like you are on track--doing a lap around the country for good measure, working on getting decent local shows. That is some of the harder work involved.

See also: Fan Landers: My Excellent Band Knows Jack About Marketing. Help!

Start working on promotion around town--even if your album isn't due out until September. While you don't want to preempt all the press you want to get around the album's release, now is a good time to get on people's radar. Start inviting writers that cover local music, DJs who have local music shows and Chicago-area bloggers out to shows and working on introducing them to your band's work. Drop them a few-sentence email and let them know where you are in the process of making the album. For some journalists/writers, that is a part of the process they like to cover. Maybe you get a news item out of you being in the studio.

Let them know when you are anticipating releasing the record--even if it is six months from now. Maybe someone will want to have you in to talk about the making of new album on their show/podcast before it is out, debut some tracks. The thing you are working on is getting a trickle of attention going and gaining useful contacts.

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Swearwords, I think Jessica's advice is great, but I'd offer one extra bit: let your music do the talking. You're like Matchbox 20 meets Nine Inch Nails; music like that doesn't come around often and it practically sells itself.


No Rusty Cooley, Shawn Lane, Joe Stump, Buckethead or Bumblefoot?


A quick tip/correction. Renters insurance will not cover "income producing property" so if you're on the road you need specialized instrument insurance.


Wow. So many people listening to bands and tunes via YouTube these days, yet potential publicity and exposure via that website is not mentioned one time in this article.

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