Road Guide To Rock N Roll:
The Louisville Is For Lovers Guide
To Making It In The Music Biz.
We have worked with hundreds bands since we first opened shop, and of the thousands of musicians that have come through, maybe 5 of them can actually pay the bills making music. But that isn't the only way to 'make it' in the music world; and shouldn't be the reason you would like to introduce the world to your music. If that was the case, we never would have made it to our second album release. But finding a supportive community of musicians and music lovers that encourages your creativity can be worth more than all the money on the planet. But even when money is not the goal, there are better ways than others to making your music accessible to the outside world.
Making music and 'making it' in the music industry are two very different worlds, and having skills in one doesn't mean you inherently know what's going on in the other. It's a constantly changing industry that assumes you should know what they want without telling you.
When Louisville Is For Lovers got started in my basement apartment waaay back in the summer of 2000 I knew I wanted to release me and my friend's music, but had no idea where to start. We made mistakes along the way (some little, some massive), and had to learn from those mistakes, and we had some good people guide us along the way too.
In a chance encounter with Jeremy Devine (of Temporary Residence LTD) in Ear-X-Tacy Records, I told him I had no idea what I was doing, and Jeremey was kind enough to stand there for an hour explaining every step of the way, writing instructions on the back of a receipt.
From there I met other people who helped me through whenever I made a misstep, but it was a long road, and we are still learning as we go, 2 decades later. But not everyone has a Jeremy DeVine so we have put together a rough guide to introducing the world to what you have to offer.
Press Releases And One Sheets
When contacting a media outlet or record label for possible consideration for listening to your music, it is best to be short and to the point. A lot of times when people are just starting out they send all the wrong information, which can keep labels and media outlets from taking the time to listen to the music. But Being very direct, such as 'I am So-and-so, I live in _______, and creating music in _________ genre. I am releasing an album that I recorded at ______ with __________, because of this reason, etc" is best.
Many times we'll get an email that says something like "This album was born in the belly of an exploding volcano during the collision of two black holes in the Horse Head Nebula...." or something like that, and most media outlets will usually skip those. It's best to keep the creativity to the music.
But, a quick list of facts with everything an outlet might need (press photo, link to video, streams or download codes to music) is perfect. This is what the industry calls a 'One Sheet' and given the high volume of inquiries labels and media outlets get, something too long or that doesn't have all the necessary information will be skipped.
Also, as media outlets like to write about current events, there is a much greater chance of getting media exposure if you have something coming up, versus something that has already happened. So instead of sending out emails after you released your album, send advanced copies of an album to media outlets before it is released, and sites like Bandcamp make it somewhat easy to share albums with the press and interested record labels before it is available to the public.
But, there are ways to continue to present an album to the media after it is released, such as sending a press release about an upcoming event and saying something like "we will be playing at _______ on __________ in support of our newest album that was released __________" and attaching the album to the press sheet. media outlets need a reason to publish an article, so it is best to contact them when you have something coming up. And many websites and blogs appreciate when the work is already half done for them, so photos, videos, and music streams are a must.
Facebook is a good way to keep fans updated on upcoming events and releases, but when cultivating new listeners and appealing to the press, a well put together website is a must. Streamlined information with a short bio, music streams, pics and video, and a contact page is most helpful, especially for media outlets to grab exactly what the need for an article, or for a record label or venue to see what you have to offer.
These days an easy to use multi-page website can be put together in under an hour using templates provided by 3rd party hosts such as Google's Blogger. You can also pick up a unique URL for usually under $20.
Never before has it been so easy to record sounds. depending on what kind of music you are wanting to record, it could be as easy as turning on the computer or using a cell phone. When we put out our first album in early 2001, it was not as easy for many bands to record music, and sometimes cost more than a band could afford to book time in a recording studio; These days, half of the world's population have access to a computer, and there are now more cell phones on the planet than there are people.
But the ease and connivence of electronic devices should not supersede the quality you are looking for. Recently we have included songs recorded on the fly using a smartphone on our albums, but it doesn't always work for ever circumstance, and taking the time to plan out the right atmosphere and equipment for the job could mean the difference between a label or media outlet listening to your recording or moving on to the next band.
Sites like Bandcamp and Soundcloud make it so easy to release your music that you can literally throw your music out to the world as you record it, or within seconds of hitting the record button. Weather you should or not depends on what you are trying to accomplish.
In today's instant gratification world, the urge to throw your songs out to the world is strong, but when cultivating an audience, there is something to bed said about building anticipation. Many times it is better to hold on to recordings until there are enough to package together, and enough time to send press releases and advanced copies to media outlets.
Anyone can have a website, but that doesn't mean millions of people will find it. In today's world anyone can offer downloads of music, but record labels and media outlets offer a valuable service of curating what they offer their fanbase; most people do not have time to ping pong the web listening to all there is available, so they rely on record labels and blogs they trust to offer new music for them.