Everyone loves discovering new music that makes you feel it has real potential to be one of your favorites. Immediately, you sing along with the only official single they’ve released. You follow them on every social media outlet to make sure you’re an authority when you gush about them to everyone who will listen. You may even track them down for a live show to stand front and center at the stage’s edge when they play to a hundred people in a small bar on a weeknight. You know, deep in your heart, they are special.
So, what can little ole you do to make sure they keep making music? You’re just one fan, in one city, in one state. Is there a way you can help support the band in which you’re smitten as they continue their adventure to grow a fan base? Here are 10 simple steps you can take to help support the band you love.
1.) Buy their music.
This may seem like an obvious step, but in the day of pirate downloads and internet radio stations it’s starting to become the exception, not the norm. Remember, the artist spent months, if not years, creating the product you now enjoy. While I’m sure they’re excited you like the art they spilled blood, sweat, and tears on, I doubt they wanted to gift it to you. Even though it doesn’t sound glamorous, this is their job. Pay the people!
2.) Tell your friends.
Word of mouth still remains one of the most effective marketing tools with very little cost to the artist. Keep bragging to your friends about how much you love them. Hopefully some of your passion will rub off. And they’ll start telling their friends. And then their friends. I think you get where I’m going.
3.) Go to shows.
Tickets are still a way bands make money (although I’m curious if there’s good profit margin there) and they appreciate you dropping the coin on seeing them in the flesh. There’s nothing like the feel of a live show. If you haven’t experienced it before, put that shit on your bucket list. If you’re lucky enough to catch a band on their way up, you may even have the chance to chat them up at the merchandise table if they’re cool and you’re lucky.
4.) Buy their merch.
How people can go to a show and not buy gear, I have no idea. Each place always gets a shirt purchase out of me no matter what. I will even forgo lemon drops if that’s what it requires. Not only do I take home an awesome memento, Hubs turns into a walking billboard for my fave band when he wears it. Do you know how many times people ask “Who are The Airborne Toxic Event?”
If you really want to give additional support by throwing them more dollars and advertising, check out their websites to buy a whole wardrobe. (I’m looking at you, G-Man Super Fan.)
5.) Gift it to your friends.
Don’t you have that friend where it’s always difficult to buy them the perfect gift? While I wish there was a way to send them the album, I go with the next best thing — gift card. Encourage others to buy the music by gifting them the funds to do it. You can gently encourage they try out your awesome band by constantly singing your favorite lines.
6.) Talk about them on social media.*
Social media gives such a wider audience to deliver your message. You usually are connected with people who share similar interests and may really enjoy your recommendation. I have found so many new bands this way. Two things to remember when using social media to promote your favorite band: First, don’t be that guy who only uses his social media to hawk gear. You know the one. That guy who never posts a status, but finds all the time in the world to tell you what to buy. Second, use the social media you’re comfortable with. There’s nothing more awkward than someone trying to jump to a social media outlet they don’t understand. You hear things like, “I twotted about this last week.” Ugh, terrible.
In case you have a blog, put an easy link for others to try out some new bands you love. Oh, look what I’ve done here…
7.) Tell your radio stations to play them.
This may be an traditional process, but heck, it still works. Instead of only being stuck with your hometown station, satellite radio will help your band get to a bigger audience. Stations also tend to be on-line and want to hear from their customers. Alt Nation regularly promotes their listeners to tell them what they want to hear through Twitter or Facebook. Use your voice. Get them on the air.
8.) Buy them coffee/drinks/dinner.
I recently read a tweet from a band talking about how they shouldn’t have to eat Top Ramen all the time. The sentiment was a thank you to fans for buying albums, tickets, and merchandise. I also have been reading the hilariously realistic “Hitless Wonder” by Joe Oestreich where 5 guys sharing a hotel room and eating Taco Bell dinners are common. If you get to see your band, buy their drinks, deliver treats, or appreciate them with a gift card to a decent meal. I understand the job is to perform, but you can thank them for being good people, too.
Warning: This is not a way to trap your band into hanging out with you. Be genuine in doing something good for them. My God, they sacrifice a lot. It’s not all about you.
9.) Buy their new album in the pre-order stages.
While we talked about buying their music above, there is a better time to do it than others. Purchasing in pre-order if available helps with first week sales. In our world with split-second decisions about if something is a success or not, the first week can make or break a new track. Lay down your cash to let everyone know they’re worth the investment.
10.) Write reviews.
You love your band. You buy all their albums. You tell all your friends about how much you love the band. Why, why, why don’t you write a review? People seem hesitant like they need to be labeled a critic to have an opinion. Positive reviews drive sales. If you don’t think so, when was the last time you bought something and didn’t check out the star rating. Tell the world why you love a song, the album, and the band. This will help that hesitant person to press the Buy Me button and put another fan in your band’s pocket.
These are only a few steps to get you going in the right direction. If you have any great ideas how to support your favorite band, feel free to include them in the comments.
*Don’t worry, one day I’ll do a blog breaking down some of the social media outlets that help an artist the most. After I figure it out myself.