So I think we can agree that this coronavirus thing is gonna last a while. Like a while. Like probably until next fall. With this in mind, I think we can agree the booking landscape is also going to be changed in some unprecedented ways.
What does this mean for bands then? Well, quite a bit. Namely, you need to think about how promoters will look at you when shows start happening again. Which means you need to be thinking about what you can be doing to keep your name out there. Of course, I don’t want to be purely speculative, so before we wrap up I’ll leave you with some ideas.
3. How Promoters Will Look At You After COVID
The biggest question promoters have to ask themselves anytime they go to book a band is ‘does anyone actually give a shit about these guys and will people pay money to go see them play live?’ Ultimately this is all that matters.
So of course you need to be ready to show promoters that people actually still give a shit about you. This is of course very hard to do. This is especially hard to do when you haven’t been doing anything to promote yourself during the 18-24 months of COVID. This is why being busy online during COVID matters. I know it might suck but I don’t see any other way to make promoters see people care. Maybe you’ll get a gimme here or there as a local band, but let’s be realistic.
2. How You Should Think About Promoting Yourself
This is of course the big one. The thing is with metal, especially since most people playing metal are not in their 20s, many of the things you see pop stars doing won’t work. Furthermore, to do some of the stuff other bands are doing would be wholly inauthentic. If you’re, for instance, a 46-year-old guy who works in an office and doesn’t play video games – why would you get on Twitch?
The key is concentrating on the differentiating factors. The things that make people give a shit. The incentive for other people to look at your band and say ‘Yes this is for me.’ How do you propel those to the fore? Don’t do something because everyone else is doing it, but because it makes sense in the context of what YOU do.
1. Ideas For Ways To Make People Care
What you need to do is think about what makes your band special, what themes you have and then look to amplify those. This can take place in a variety of ways, ranging from talking about your cultural history the way Heilung does to sharing stories of your life as a musician, which is perhaps a more common theme.
What I would do is go through and look at bands that are in a similar niche to you and see what they are doing. Then try to emulate it. How do you amplify it in a way that makes sense in the context of your band? These are the ways you start doing things that get people to care. The question then becomes if you can push yourself to do them with a level of frequency that allows for massive results.
As you can see, this is an important thing to think about moving forward but it is not going to be an easy thing to think about. It requires you to do a lot of work that you probably have not done before for your band and requires you to think in new ways. I relish the challenge, but if you don’t, that’s fine too. Just realize it might take you a while longer to relaunch post-COVID.
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Matt Bacon is a consultant, A&R man, and journalist specializing in the world of heavy metal. Having worked with everyone from Glam Rock icon Phil Collen of Def Leppard, to post Black Metal titans Alcest, by way of legendary thrashers Exhorder as well as labels including Prophecy Productions and Ripple Music, he has dedicated his life to helping young bands develop. Having started his own blog at the age of 14 he views his career in artist development as ‘a hobby that got out of hand’. In 2015 he formed Dropout Media in order to better support the artists he loves. We sit here now, years later with countless tours booked, records released and deals signed, and loving every minute of it.
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