The short guide to international music industry success in ten ‘easy’ steps…
OK, so you have secured a place on the hottest showcase festival in Europe. You are in the official programme, listed on the website, your music is online and of course your band is oozing with musical talent, drop dead looks and professional support by managers, booking agents, etc…
What to do next? We definitely agree that doing nothing else is the best way NOT to stand out at ESNS. Being part of the official programme is just the first step in making the event work for you. So here are a few tips on how to create massive interest in your performance at the event.
First ask yourself: what do you want? ESNS offers access a some of the most important European music festivals, European radio stations and music press. Plus many bookers, promoters and agents attend the event. All these people play a role in putting bands and acts onstage throughout Europe. And they are all out for new talent at ESNS. However, these people are busy people. Their agendas want them to be at five shows simultaneously. So you have to get them to notice you well before you play.
Step one: take your time
Start planning well ahead of the event. Start up a campaign to promote your showcase ahead of the event. Best is to start planning straight after you have received your confirmation. Note that most agencies and media go into hibernation after December 15 for the Christmas holidays, only to wake up in the first or second week of January.
Step two: create a good mediapack
Make sure your music is out there; on YouTube, streaming platforms, etc. Have free to use promotional photos and videos available. Put some effort in creating an up-to-date website and be active on your social accounts. Write an English bio or have it written for you. Focus on relevant facts for an international career: releases or tours in foreign countries are most likely considered more important than your band winning the local beer talent award in 1985. Please, please, please, have your English bio checked for grammar and spelling… and keep your information straight and simple.
Step three: register for the conference
One representative of your band/act is allowed to attend the daytime conference that takes on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday. A delegates registration does not only give you access to all the shows during the weekend, you also have access to all the panels and most of the special events taking place during the day. Even more important: your representative has access to the online database with full contact details for everybody who is registered so far.
Step four: see who else is coming and reach out
The online delegates database is a real gem! It lists everybody who is an official delegate attending the event and is refreshed every day. Since some people register late for the event, be sure that you keep checking who has registered on a regular basis. Check out the other bands performing as well and contact them if you feel you have something in common.
Step five: make appointments
Contact the people who have registered for the event that you find most interesting. Do not only invite them to your show, but also try to make appointments during the day when they are most likely less busy as during the night. Don’t unexpectedly phone them but use mail to contact them. Don’t be pushy: don’t keep hassling people if they are not responding.
Step six: attend the panels
You will most likely learn something. You might also run into someone who is important for you. So never forget to bring a flyer, business card, or something else that’s tangible.
Step seven: send out emails and let your ‘friends’ do the work for you
Be active on your socials accounts, put your music out there, promote your gigs and have your friends, family and fans engage with your content to create a buzz about your band or music. Create an email blast that you send out with relevant news concerning your band or your music.
Step eight: hire a PR agency
To ensure that a responsive audience attends your gig, we advise you to have Dutch music media work for you. Your best shot at that is to hire a PR agency in Holland and work out a campaign in Holland that – depending on your budget, wishes and time-frame – might include music reviews in relevant media, announcements in listings, posters, flyers and ads.
Step nine: repeat
Go over steps two to eight until everybody knows your name!
Step ten: be original
Find ways to grab people’s attention in ways that no one else is using. Make local partners your accomplice. Learn for other band’s campaigns. Be bold to go where no man has gone before… Hmmm, maybe this should have been step one…