New acts: how best to invest £1k

We attended a recent Music Producers Guild Q&A session to hear industry top dogs discuss the best ways new artists can spend £1,000…

Jim Ottewill
  • By Jim Ottewill
  • 24 Jul 2014
  • min read
For new and emerging acts, the initial steps on any musical journey can be challenging. 

Aside from perfecting the music, the main aims for any new artist usually revolve around finding, building and maintaining an audience. But what are the best ways to do this successfully? And where should a new act invest both their time and money? With new online platforms constantly springing up, artists are often faced with a bewildering number of choices to make when it comes to the promotional paths they can choose.

At the fifth Music Producers Guild Q-time, a panel of music industry experts set out to answer the question of how best to spend £1,000 with the end goal of reaching the largest audience possible.

The panel, which included Kerry Harvey-Piper (manager, owner of Red Grape Music), Jon Webster (CEO of the Music Managers Forum) and Tommy D (KT Tunstall and Corinne Bailey Rae producer) alongside Radiohead guitarist Ed O’Brien and songwriter Laura Kidd, came up with a comprehensive list of suggestions.

Laura, who also runs her own independent label as well as working as a singer songwriter, was particularly vocal about the DIY opportunities created by the web. She said that despite their being numerous ways in which you can burn through £1,000, many of the things which make the biggest difference are free…

Create great, interesting content

You need to feed the beast that is Google. Create great videos, web content and exciting Facebook pages to capture your audience. Then drip feed content to them to keep their interest.

Work as hard as possible online

All band members need to be as active as possible on social media. Use a range of platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. However, also always think about where your potential audience might live online. You also need to remember that labels can often be uninterested until they see a significant online presence.

Don’t spend £1,000 on a video.

Use a fan sourcing site such as Radar or pull in your friends to help. Remember you can make a video using your camera phone. It’s not necessarily about the quality of the footage but the quality of the idea.

Make sure people can buy your music from the right places

Make sure you’re on the appropriate online retail services so people can actually buy your music if they want to. Also remember you need to treat all your fans with care.

Invest some money on business cards

Business cards with a name, photo/logo and web links may be the best use of your money. Any new contacts can slip them in a wallet rather than having to carry a CD or press release around. Radio professionals especially just want to click, listen, download.

Put on your own night

Hire a venue and invite other bands to play with you. This way you establish a gigging network and can share audiences. Make sure you’re great when you play live. And be nice to everyone…

Run a remix competition

Offer stems of your songs on Soundcloud for download as part of a remix competition. This way you can have other acts interacting with your own music and create a buzz around your music.

Don’t bother with SXSW

It’s a waste of time and money…

Visit the MPG website to find out more details about future events and seminars.