Promotional timelines, advance planning
A lot of musicians and younger indie labels ask me about timelines for promotion. One of the biggest mistakes people make when putting out indie releases is not planning ahead. Your CD should not be released the day you receive the boxes from the manufacturer. Nor should you set a date for your CD release show before you actually have the CDs in your hands. Here are a few tips for creating a timeline and planning ahead while nearing the end stages of your recording process. 1. While the record is being mixed and mastered, graphic design for the packaging should begin. If you’re planning on using a designer, make sure you give yourself enough time to shop around, get samples of work, references, negotiate pricing, etc. While some people work well under pressure, it’s best to give your designer enough time to brainstorm concepts with you, listen to your music, and create and refine designs. 2. Now is also the time to schedule a photo shoot for new promotional photos. While indie acts are often on a tight budget, it really does pay to hire a professional photographer whose style you like. A good photo can end up in your CD design and can also be a key element in your publicity efforts. 3. Once you have a mastered copy of your CD, you should start shopping around for a publicist, radio promoter, and/or booking agent OR planning your strategies if you’re handling that yourself. Most of these people will be happy to listen to a mastered copy of your record without the artwork. They’ll want to determine if it’s something they’d like to work with and generally won’t mind getting a preview copy. This process will differ slightly for different people. Not every indie act has the ability to pay for all of the above services, and some may choose to do more local & regional promotion instead of a full national campaign. But even if you’re only doing a local campaign, don’t call the local papers and radio stations the day before your record release party and expect them to do anything with it. You need to give everyone lead time. 4. Lead Time â€“ Timing can be everything for a good promotional campaign. For publicity you should send your release out to print magazines 3 to 4 months in advance, to daily and weekly newspapers 4 to 6 weeks in advance, and to webzines/blogs at least a month in advance (although webzines are often more flexible). For radio, you should have your radio campaign in progress before you hit the road for tour dates. Ideally, you’ll be added to a number of stations and can then get those stations to mention your show or have you in for an interview. For booking, you’ll want to start contacting clubs at least 3 months in advance. If you can plan your local CD release show, tour, and promotional campaigns to correspond, you’ll get the best bang for your buck.
Submitted by canary on Mon, 10/02/2006 - 1:28pm
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