November 25, 2015

Networking 101

By Jen Boylen

Nowadays, having a great contact list or a network within your industry is a major key to success. Granted, building this web of people can seem very daunting, but we have some tips that can help in your quest.

  1. Thank-you emails go a long way. After meeting someone, seeing them speak, or working something – send a thank you email. Nothing says you value that person and their time more than taking the initiative to let them know. Even better, if the circumstances merit it, why not try a handwritten note?

  2. If you have a great conversation with someone, ask if you can continue it and meet again another time. It’s a great way to make sure you stay in touch.

  3. Always think of a connection as a two way street. Someone may add value to your life, but can you help them as well? Make sure you know how to communicate your value as well.

  4. Attend events! There is no better networking than getting out into your industry and meeting people in person. It’s tough to network effectively sitting on the couch!

  5. People love to talk about themselves. If you want to have a relationship with someone, just ask to meet them and learn about who they are and what they do. If you seem as interested in what they do as they are, they will remember it.

  6. Set goals and have direction. Know who you want to connect with and why. Don’t attempt to network with someone just for the sake of doing so – know how they can fit into your network.

  7. Go to them, don’t expect them to come to you. If you want to meet someone, make it happen. Don’t always expect people to seek you out. See #4 above!

  8. Make valuable contacts. Having hundreds of twitter followers is great, but having a few genuine contacts is much more valuable to your network.

  9. Stay connected! Check in with people. See how they are doing. Keep yourself at the front of their mind.

The Best Local Networking Resources

By Zachary Caputo

If you need some help finding local networking resources or groups, fear not! Music Garage has you covered.

If you’re looking for a more open-ended, far-reaching kind of resources, then the Chicago Artists Resource is just what you need. Not exclusive to music, it’s a website that helps all artists across the entire Chicago art scene connect with people to collaborate with or to help push their art further out. It’s quick, it’s easy, and best of all, it’s free!

But, if you’re trying to find something more focused on you and your specific type of musical career, there are many options for you as well!

Chicago Hip Hop Connects is an amazing place where anyone with a love for Hip Hop can connect with others with the same passion. Anyone from MCs to producer, video directors to managers are welcome. The best part? They are the 1st Hip Hop-focused online industry directory, virtually any professional you could possibly need is accessible with a simple search. To top it all off, they host networking conferences where you can meet these same professionals in person, attend educational talks and panels, and even win some gear in competitions. Simply put, Chicago Hip Hop Connects is the best resource for anyone trying to get into the local Hip Hop scene.

What if you’re not an artist or a video director, but an engineer? Are there any resources for you? Of course there are!

Enter EARS, the Engineering and Recording Society of Chicago! As they put it, EARS is “an independent (not-for-profit) group dedicated to the advancement of excellence in audio production.” I couldn’t put it any better myself! It’s a group of engineers and producers getting together to learn from one another, hone their craft, and work together to create the best pieces of audio they possibly can. Not only that, they always have events going on. Anything from networking parties at popular local venues and bars to lectures from famous musicians and engineers are available for members and even sometimes the general public. There is a membership fee to join EARS, but the benefits, such as access to extremely private panels and networking events, make it well worth the money. If you’re an engineer, these are your people.

These are just a few of the amazing resources you have at your disposal here in Chicago, so make sure to keep your nose to the ground, talk to as many people as you can, and always be on the lookout for the next networking opportunity. You never know where it can take you.

Tips for Networking Events

By Jen Boylen

There is no better way to connect with people than doing so in person! That being said, don’t just attend something. Work the crowd – you have to extend yourself. It may seem impossible to work a room if you are a shy individual, but great networking is not just a task for the extroverted. If you are prepared, there is nothing stopping you from making great connections.

  • Practice makes perfect. Practice how you want to introduce yourself and exactly what you want to say. If you know exactly how to start things, you’ll be less nervous.

  • Finish your introduction with a question: get the other person talking! It could be as simple as asking them why they came to the event.

  • Do your research: If you plan out who you are going to talk to, know what they are about. Where they work, what they do, etc. It’s easy to have a conversation if you know what you’re talking about.

  • Keep in mind: Everyone is in the same boat. Every single person is looking for someone to talk to.

When it comes down to it, most people are looking to expand their own networks as well and you could be the perfect addition. Just be strategic, be confident, and know what you have to offer. Once you get the hang of it, your network will be unstoppable.

NAMM 2015


By Jen Boylen

The National Association of Music Merchants, or NAMM is a not-for-profit whose goal is to promote music making through trade shows, professional and market development and NAMM membership opportunities. The mission of NAMM is to strengthen the music products industry and promote the pleasures and benefits of making music, both of which are embodied during the NAMM trade shows.

NAMM has two shows throughout the year: One in Nashville during the summer and another to start the year in Anaheim, California, which took place Jan 22-25, 2015. NAMM shows are the world’s largest trade-only event for the music product industry. It has steadily grown in attendance each year with over 100,000 attendees  at each show.

The main attraction at any NAMM show is the product exhibits where buyers can see what’s new in the industry and what they will plan to buy in the coming year. This year, many new and exciting products were unveiled as a part of the event–including mew and limited edition drums and kits, synthesizers, drum machines, microphones, headphones, guitars, accessories and countless others.

Computer programs were also on trend this year. Reason and Native Instruments both released new programs or upgrade packages, but were sadly outdone by competitor ProTools. ProTools | First, a free version of the program, made its debut during the Anaheim event.

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In 2008, ProTools released its first free version of the program, and now, seven years later, they have returned to that business model. Today, free is the trigger word for many consumers. So much so, that a ‘freemium’ business model is frequently adopted by many companies. The freemium idea, where free meets premium, balances on a simple idea: give customers the core product for free in order to sell enhancements and upgrades. Many computer applications, such as Skype or interactive games already follow this practice, and this is exactly what ProTools is trying to achieve with the free version of its software. Artists who haven’t used ProTools previously due to its price, will now have an opportunity  to do so. This is a great way to hook folks on ProTools which is at the root of their marketing strategy, ProTools is allowing people to test  their product with a free, scaled down version. In turn, they gain brand loyal consumers who are willing to invest in the ProTools name in the future.

NAMM 2015: The Best Of The Rest


By Zachary Caputo

Every year, a flurry of news publications, bloggers, and industry pros travel to NAMM with only one thing in mind: finding the biggest reveals of NAMM and spreading the word like wildfire! Big announcements from the major companies flood all your favorite websites tenfold until the eyes glaze over.

Sometimes lost in all the hoopla and marketing of the big players are some of the outstanding products brought out by smaller vendors. Fear not though! We have scoured  the massive, four-day extravaganza that is the National Association of Music Merchants trade showand here’s a list of our top 5 favorite NAMM reveals that flew under the radar:


5: Rickenbacker 4003S Bass

Okay, so maybe this isn’t “under the radar” per say, but I didn’t see this on anyone’s lists and it is absolutely worth noting. The Rickenbacker 4003 series bass is pretty much the most famous bass guitar of all time, being seen in the hands of Lemmy Kilmister from Motorhead, Jesse F. Keeler from Death From Above 1979, Scott Pilgrim from Sex Bob-Omb, and Kanye West’s new protégé Paul McCartney, but this is far from a normal “update”.

The Rickenbacker 4003S is a classic variation of the 4003 series with dot inlays replacing the signature diagonal inlays and the beloved dual trussrod system that made it a favorite for Mr. McCartney and others back in the day. After years and years of letters begging to bring this iconic model back, Rickenbacker has finally answered the call and is returning it to the production line just the way they used to make it. They are keeping all the original features, even the rounded edges and the Rosewood fretboard, to make this the true comeback of a timeless guitar. And you thought you’d never be able to play “Blue Jay Way” on bass ever again.


4: Novation Launchpad Pro MIDI Controller

The Novation Launchpad has quickly become a live performance staple since its initial launch (pun absolutely intended) in 2009. Many small changes and new models have come since then, such as the Launchpad S or the Launchpad Mini, but never has Novation really messed with their MIDI formula for perfection… until now.

This new model, the Launchpad Pro, revamps the beloved controller with brand new features adding extra sensitivity and color-coding capabilities, so you can match the pads to the exact clips on your Ableton Live screen for quicker access. It can also seamlessly transfer between session (or clip cueing) mode, note (or MIDI instrument) mode, device (or effects controller) mode, and the 100% customizable user mode.

But just because it lights up in pretty colors for Ableton Live does not mean it is not an universal MIDI controller. It still works with your DAW of choice and can still be just the classic MIDI instrument you have come to love.


3: Hotone Audio Xtomp Guitar Modeler


Have you ever had one of those moments where you went “Man, I really wish I could get a modeling pedal for my guitar that is as small and versatile as DigiTech, but does not suck as much as a DigiTech!” and released all your anger on your drummer because he obviously was smug about the whole thing? Well, anyone who has ever played a guitar knows your pain, and it seems that Hotone Audio is here to save the day and your drummer.

Enter the Xtomp: the guitar pedal that can be loaded wirelessly with 300 different effect presets from world famous pedals all over the world. Yes, you read that right: wirelessly. You are going to be able to download new pedal presets, tweak them, and throw them straight onto the Xtomp all using an app on your phone. How crazy is that? Now, the pedal has not officially come out for public purchase yet, but if Hotone can really put their money where their mouth is, this can be the next must have pedal for your board. Just don’t tell your drummer.


2: Spectrasonics Omnisphere 2 Software Synth


The Omnisphere has been held in the higher echelon of software synths for years now because of its versatility, deep customization and great quality overall. Spectrasonics has periodically provided updates for it, adding new features here and there and slowly allowing for more possibilities, but with the announcement of the Omnisphere 2 they are busting the door wide open.

This time around, you have over 400 different waveforms (that is 100 times more waveforms than Omnisphere 1) to plug into your oscillator to truly create any possible sound your heart would desire, and all of them are completely tweakable. But if you are in a rush and do not have the time to twiddle with knobs, worry not! It also comes with over 10,000 preset sounds to let you get the exact sound you need right when you need it.

On top of all of that, the interface has been redesigned, there are 25 new FX units, a new Live Mode, and the list just keeps going. The bottom line is that if you liked Omnisphere 1 at all or even just like any software synths, this is going to the top of your wish list.


1: T-Rex Replicator Tape Delay Pedal


Cassettes have been making a small but persistent resurgence as of late. Other than the fact that they are easy to record on, it has made absolutely no sense to me. They  does not have the audio or packaging quality of vinyl, nor the universal capabilities of CDs and digital; it has  just   been a confusing series of events. The people at T-Rex, though, have finally answered the question on all of our minds: “Why?”

Enter the Replicator tape delay pedal. While many tape delay pedals nowadays use machine-built, engineer-designed circuit boards to “recreate” the classic tape delay sound, the Replicator says “forget that!” and uses actual tape, playback heads, and a specially crafted chrome cassette to create a real, 100% analog tape delay. While they only had a prototype on display at NAMM, the result is the beloved tone companies are always chasing but never catching. The echoes meld beautifully, the sound is warm, and most importantly, it is made with longevity and tape endurance in mind.

It comes with a whole dump truck of features, such as a tap-tempo circuit added in with a revamped motor, an analog chorus made from dual playback heads, and even the ability to use two expression pedals alongside the delay for on-the-fly customization. I am pretty sure if you ask nicely, they will throw a kitchen sink in there as well.

This one pedal blew me away more than anything else at NAMM -and we are not just talking about the “best of the rest” – simply because of the hard work and passion that very obviously went into it. It’s tentatively going to be available for purchase in autumn, so now you know what to ask Santa for.


Why attend NAMM: An interview with Vic Salazar (of Vic’s Drum Shop)

By Jen Boylen

Vic Salazar, owner of Vic’s Drum Shop (located inside Music Garage), has been attending NAMM’s winter show for two decades. This year he chose and presented his picks in four specific categories along with five other retail-buying experts to NAMM attendees. His choices included the Sonor Vintage Series Drum Kit for Best in Show, Drum Workshop as a Company to Watch, Evans 16-Inch Drum Heads as a “Gotta Stock It” item and Vic Firth Universal Practice Tips as the best add-on or accessary. Vic opened up to Music Garage about why he goes to NAMM and what the show is all about. Read all his insights  below.

Music Garage:
Why do you go to NAMM?

Vic Salazar: This is the trade show where I do all of the major buying for the shop. Given our vast selection of gear and the sheer number of manufacturers we represent, this task can be a bit daunting. What to buy? What are the right quantities? What finishes? Luckily as challenging as this buying process is, I still find it incredibly rewarding and satisfying. It gives me great pride in providing our customers with the variety of inventory that Vic’s stocks consistently. This a huge component to the success of the store.

MG: Why do you think other people should attend? Is it for consumers or solely business owners and distributers?

VS: The NAMM Show is not open to the general public. Attendance to NAMM is restricted to retail owners, suppliers, employees, endorsed artists and guests of NAMM Member companies.

If you are a dealer, I think it’s extremely important for you to attend. It gives you the perfect opportunity to see and examine all of the newest innovations in musical instruments and accessories firsthand before anyone else. This is critical when determining what gear you should invest in stocking. Attending NAMM also enables you to make a direct connection with manufacturer representatives in person. In some instances, this may be the only opportunity you may have to interact with a company rep face-to-face. This industry is based on relationships; the better the relationship that you have with a manufacturer rep, the more likely they will feel invested in your business and be interested in assisting you to grow it.


MG: What was your favorite part of NAMM this year?

VS: As usual, I had a blast checking out all of the new gear, attending evening concerts, and reconnecting with my friends and colleagues in the music business.


MG: What affect do you think NAMM (and the products debuted at the show) have on the industry?

VS: I believe NAMM not only promotes the music industry as a whole but also generates a level of excitement and interest in musical instruments and music in general. And that in my opinion is the most important thing that NAMM can do for a business like Vic’s to help it thrive.

Social Media Stories & Words of Wisdom

By Ashley Fullerton

Dan Kanvis:
“I think Twitter and Instagram are the most important right now because they’re both direct. They’re the most enjoyable for me and I get the best return from them, as far as interaction with fans and peers within the scene.

Years ago Facebook was way more important as far as the artist pages go because you could hit every follower with ever post. Now I only reach a fraction of the people that choose to like my page unless I pay for a promotional package.

Twitter has been very valuable in that it has helped me to easily connect with or find different producers and artists that I have eventually ended up working with. My forthcoming album Windows wouldn’t have happened without it. I first connected with the main producer over Twitter. I also love Instagram because it allows me to utilize my skills as a designer to really shape the mood of my brand, giving people a sort of visual aesthetic to associate with my music.”

American Wolf:
“As a small indie band, we’ve tried almost every single way of getting our name and music out there. Social media platforms come and go so it’s sometimes increasingly difficult to sustain a successful reach to potential fans or even actual fans for that matter. Before we released our album, we searched everywhere we could on the internet for sites that reviewed indie albums or musical blogs that were consistently posting and emailed them. Though you might only get a handful of responses; if they like your music they’ll post it on their site. It’s definitely an uphill battle but it pays off when you get the opportunity to expose your music to an individual who might’ve never heard of you. Facebook/Twitter are also a platforms that we use, but we’ve found that it has become harder to reach your own fans or new ones, without paying for posts, which can add up.

We’ve thought of different ways to reach potential listeners, like going onto Craiglist’s bigger cities around the US and posting a simple headline like ‘DREAM POP’ and leaving a link to our Bandcamp/Facebook. So many musicians and just regular people use Craigslist that we’ve honestly gained an incredibly amount of exposure through that alone. I wouldn’t want Craiglist’s to shut this method down or stop bands from trying this because it really helps create a direct link to other musicians/listeners in parts of the country. Additionally, we’ve try to post our music to every single music outlet we can. We use sites like CDbaby to help upload all our music onto Spotify, Rdio, Itunes and Amazon.

As a band, our ultimate effort is to share our art with as many people as we can. In this innovative technological era; we have to be as resourceful as we can by using the all the new tools we have at hand. Bands have the opportunity to use the internet as a medium to connect with millions of people, thousands of miles away. All the hard work pays off if you stay humble, realistic, persistent and hungry.”

Great Ocean Waters:
“The two most important aspects of our social media campaigns are (1) An equal mix of words and images and (2) Consistency of the overall message. Great Ocean Waters uses: Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter as well as the major music websites like iTunes, SoundCloud and Spotify. Facebook events are the gold standard for promoting concerts, but it’s not enough to just send out an invite — you need to supplement promotions through lighter touches on other platforms. For example, we’ve gotten a tremendous response through Snapchat to remind people of our concerts on the day-of. These supplemental messages keep Great Ocean Waters on the top-of-mind of our fans, but doesn’t burden them with over-saturation of information.”

As you can see, it’s very important to stay on top of what you’re posting online and know who you’re actually reaching. If one method doesn’t seem to be effective try another until you find the perfect formula. If you want your music to reach millions and make your rockstar dreams a reality, you need to start on the ground floor and build your followers. With risk comes reward so get creative and find new ways to get your name out there.

Artists Who Topped the Charts with Creative Marketing


By: Elise Niemann

Knowing how to market yourself plays a huge role in being successful in the music industry. You want your promotional efforts to be creative and unique in order to make your work stand out from everything else that is already out there. Here are a few examples of artists who went above and beyond with creative marketing tactics to sell records, break records, and even give away records.

Beyoncé surprised everyone by dropping her self-titled album on iTunes overnight in December 2013 with no prior announcements. Each of the songs came with a corresponding music video as well as a few bonus videos for a total of 32 pieces of work for a one of a kind album. This visual factor only added to the shock value with the amount of material that was produced in secret. The fact that there was no marketing for the album leading up to its release turned out to be the marketing tactic itself. There was instantaneous hype once people realized it was out and the fans came out in full force to buy it up. Beyoncé broke the iTunes record for the biggest sales week of an album as well as landing the title of iTunes’ fastest selling album worldwide. The album earned Beyoncé her fifth No. 1 debut on the Billboard 200 chart in addition to becoming one of 2013’s top selling albums after only being out for 18 days of that year.

Another big name in music who promoted his new releases with creativity was Justin Timberlake. The Prince of Pop made his musical comeback with his first solo albums after seven years when he released The 20/20 Experience in two parts in March and September 2013. Fans were already ecstatic from news of one album let alone two, so the announcement of another set of songs to be released later in the year was enough to send fans over the moon. The first album was not only a successful body of work on its own but doubled as a marketing tool to get listeners excited for the next one.

Timberlake took advantage of social media to promote these releases by announcing special giveaways over Twitter. Justin had his label reps hide one vinyl record of his album in cities across the country and tweeted a picture of its location with the hashtag #finderskeepers. The first fan to find the album through this scavenger hunt won the record. The records were hidden in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and the singer’s hometown of Memphis. A year later, Justin Timberlake held another #finderskeepers contest to promote the last leg of The 20/20 Experience World Tour. On November 20, the pop star hid more vinyl in 10 random cities across the U.S. where the lucky winners walked away with huge prize packs: VIP tickets, airfare and a hotel stay for his finale show in Las Vegas complete with a meet and greet with JT. Using marketing tactics that involved fan engagement worked extremely well to create hype for both Justin Timberlake’s albums and tour dates as well as making special connections with his fans.

Foo Fighters have been in the rock scene for nearly 20 years, so they wanted to do something different for their next studio album. As if recording their last record Wasting Light on tape in front man Dave Grohl’s garage wasn’t different enough, the band ventured out to eight cities across America to make Sonic Highways and film the process for a documentary of the same name for HBO. The Foos traveled to Austin, Chicago, Los Angeles, Nashville, New York, Seattle, Nashville, New Orleans, and Washington D.C. to interview musical legends about the history of music in their respective cities. A few of these musicians landed guest spots on the album, such as Zac Brown, Rick Nielsen, Joe Walsh, and Gary Clark Jr. While everyone spent the week recording their musical parts, Grohl waited until the last days of each session to write the lyrics by looking over the transcripts from the interviews and pulling out quotes to work into the song.

Each episode of the Sonic Highways documentary features the interviews and recording process from one city and concludes with a lyric music video of the song to unveil the final product. This docuseries doubles as promotional and companion material for the album and stands alone as a great look into the music scenes where the band recorded. For additional promotion, Foo Fighters put on a small club tour going through each of the cities that they recorded and kicked it off in October right here in Chicago at The Cubby Bear. All of these marketing efforts and new material led up to the announcement of Foo Fighter’s North American summer stadium tour slated to start on the Fourth of July next year.

While these artists have gained plenty of fans over the span of their careers that would make for big record sales based on their numbers alone, they created a special sense of excitement by marketing their new releases in these creative ways. Want to make some marketing magic for your own band? Check out our article on what kind of promotional tools you can use for your next release by using grassroots marketing.

Crash Course: Online Marketing & Social Media

By: Ashley Fullerton


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This handy-dandy chart shows you what you should already know, teens dominate social media. This is especially true on Instagram and Twitter. You should be aware of what audience you are trying to cater to so you can tailor your marketing to specific platforms. Here are some things you need to keep in mind before you get started:

Be aware of your group’s image or brand
Brand image is critical to creating a consistent experience for your fans across multiple social networking platforms. You need to make sure that all of your social networking accounts have the same look and feel, so the message you are sending to your fans remains consistent. Creating a bio can help with this as well, because fans will have a better understanding of what you’re about. Remember, keep your personal and professional profiles mutually exclusive because this will eliminate unwanted confusion about what brand you’re trying to sell.

Understand your group’s goal
Why are you establishing this online presence? What are your goals? Is it to find and build a fan base? Promote a new release? Sell CDs and merch? Whatever the purpose of your online music marketing is, your content should reflect this consistently across all social networking platforms. You should have had a similar chat about goals when you started making music, so this should be easy, but necessary to sort out.

Pick what social media will work best for you
You don’t have to sign up for every social media platform and you shouldn’t! Sometimes more isn’t always better because stretching yourself too thinly can lead to unwanted stress and cause you to devote less time and energy than you want to posting and gaining fans. Test them out; figure out which ones are most useful, and discard any that aren’t.

Now that you’ve decided what platforms to use, here’s how to keep up:

Friend/follow people to make great professional contacts
Like we’ve said in our previous newsletters, networking is key. You never know who can help you out and you could do the same for them as well. By building up a strong list of contacts and followers, you can only build a good name for yourself. Be interested and curious about what other artists are doing and reach out! You’ll never know what you can learn and who you can meet if you don’t try.

Always be respectful.
People don’t like to be constantly spammed with invites, so don’t force yourself onto the pages and timelines of people without their permission. You should be reaching out to new fans or contacts, but if they decline invites don’t hound them. Often this will lead to having a negative idea of your group and you don’t want to build a bad reputation. Start first with the contacts you’ve been making and build relationships slowly, not all in one mass invite. Growing a fan base takes, time, patience and persistence.

Promote, promote, promote!
If you have an event, a sale, or any kind of project, let everyone know about it by every means you can. Just passing out flyers and hitting the streets may not work on their own so combine your offline and online efforts!

Get creative and interact with fans by hosting contests for merchandise and tickets or posting short videos or sneak peeks. People appreciate feeling involved and close to bands they follow so get creative and move past just the typical paper flyer.

Just remember that this is a process and even the most famous acts also started out with only a few hundred followers. Be patient and smart and you will reap the benefits!

Getting Creative with Grassroots Marketing

By: Elise Niemann

Grassroots marketing is one of the easiest ways to promote yourself. You can pass out promotional materials outside of venues to fans leaving a show featuring bands similar to yours or create displays in retail stores, on school campuses and other public areas around your town. Festivals and traveling tours are also a great place to promote since you’ll have access to bigger target audiences. Pair hand-to-hand promotions with our tips on social media marketing and you’ll be on track to get your name out into the music world!

The Best of the Basics
Everyone needs to start somewhere when reaching out to potential fans outside of family and friends. Use word of mouth alongside these beginning promotional tools to tell potential fans about your music.

  • Flyers – the easiest step in marketing for your next gig. You can print out your creations at home and pass them out before and after shows. Try to market outside of the venue you will be playing since concertgoers are one step closer if they already know and like the venue where they can catch your show.
  • Promo Cards – get some nice, glossy cards with a picture or logo for your band and include your social media links for new listeners to check you out online. These are like business cards for your band. A band IS a business after all!
  • Posters – you can opt to print posters for specific shows or use your album artwork to create wallpaper for the rooms of your fans and to plaster on bulletin boards across your city.
  • Stickers – the go-to non-paper item that people will stick on their laptops, notebooks, and car bumpers. If possible, print from somewhere that will allow you to add text on the paper backing. This allows for double promotion power when handing them out to your fans if you can include more details about an album release or social media links.

Trying Something New
When you have a little bit more money and are ready to step your marketing up a notch, you can find some clever and functional items that will make people remember your name. I have passed out several unique items for artists and bands for my job as a marketing rep that have really caught my eye and stood out from other materials I’ve received at shows. I’ve found that having an item that serves a purpose or takes the audience and/or the show into consideration really makes a difference. Ideally it’s something they would use every day. Here are some of my favorite items that I have seen over the years.

  • Bottle Opener Key Chains: since this item hangs right on your keys, it’s easily accessible and ready for use any time. You can print your band’s name/logo on the opener and fans will look it every time they open a drink. This is one of my favorite ideas because it’s so practical!
  • Paper Fans: as seen at summer festivals, a popsicle stick fan is a small but creative way to market to concertgoers. You can put your album artwork or other information on the fan, and be sure to use both sides to maximize your marketing impact when people wave them about to cool themselves off. To really catch the audience’s attention, choose a fun shape or a fan that doubles as a mask if fans hold it up to their face.
  • Sunscreen/Sunglasses: these items are perfect for sunny outdoor shows! These marketing materials take the elements into consideration and help the fans battle the sun in addition to promoting your band. For the sunscreen, small sample sizes could include the band’s name, album name and release date on the wrapper. Sunglasses can have the name or logo printed on the frames.
  • Beach Balls: the most exciting festival item! Print your information on a panel of the beach ball and watch it soar over the crowds of fans ready to keep them flying. While the person who received the beach ball might not end up with it at the end of the day, someone will definitely catch it in the crowd and want to take it to the next set or take it home at the end of the day.

Hopefully these creative ideas sparked your imagination and help you to increase your marketing potential by picking unique items to pass out to potential fans. As always, be sure to take advantage of the ways your can market yourself inside the Music Garage building. If you have a show coming up, write out your info on our hourly room and front desk clipboards. If you have posters for a show, give them to one of the lovely faces at our front desk and they will put them on our bulletin boards during the week of your show.