We all know the disappointment of going to a show and discovering a sick new band only to find out they don’t have CD's on hand. It’s one thing not to have merch, it’s another thing not to have CD’s available. While most people listen to their music for free on the internet or pay to download files, having a hard copy is still very useful. Shows are often late at night. Everyone’s having fun, having a few drinks. After the show, most people are likely too tired to go home and search the web for the new music they heard. They wake up tired, perhaps a bit hung over, and perhaps they forgot the name of your band. Even if you give out free CD’s with just a few tracks your chances of making money will increase.
Beyond the CD. Creative merch. Trending items.
CD’s are great, but don’t rely strictly on CD sales. Start a collection of creative merch for fans to purchase. Whether it’s a series of T-shirts with sick designs, a trending item like cell phone cases, or something totally out of the ordinary like pillow covers with your beautiful grimacing face. Make your product stand out.
Offer to give a local shop some free CD's or USB's with a couple of tracks on it to play and give away. This will help you generate new fans- however, make sure fans will know where to find you! Print out stickers with your website or Facebook URL and stick em on each CD so fans aren’t left to search the estimated 4.4 billion websites in the world to find you.
I was recently at a show that gave out free stickers. I thought it was a great idea, because I personally don’t have the best memory for names. If not for the sticker I likely would have never listened to them again. That would have truly sucked because the music was really good. That being said, even if giving away some free merch may seem counterproductive to making money it is good to consider the effects it may have. Not only do I remember the name to the artists who gave me the stickers, but I remember them being humble and wanting fans to be able to have a piece of merch even if they could not afford to buy anything.
Promote your music. Offer discounts. Sell more merch.
Have a good relationship with someone who owns or works at a salon? Salons service a lot of people in a short amount of time. A salon with 10 stylists who are fully booked for an eight-hour shift may see 80 or more people a day. That adds up to 2,400 service customers alone in a month. Ask them if they would be willing to play your music during peek business hours. Hair stylists and nail techs have to spend a lot of their day talking to clients. Having something interesting to talk about all the time can be hard. Help them out by providing them with a CD or USB full of your best tracks and giving them some info on your music. Go the extra mile and (if its chill with the owner) provide each station or the front desk with a promotional display that includes your band’s name or artist stage name. Include links to your social media, and a promotional coupon for new fans to save on music or merchandise that you are selling online. Of course, ensure that your music style and lyrics are appropriate for their salon and clientele.
Make sure it's mutual. Keep everybody happy.
Make sure the company is benefiting from helping you out as well. If the salon that is helping you regularly needs models for training purposes or for photo shoots and contests offer to donate your time and hair, or help them out by sending in models. New stylists are typically monitored by senior stylists or the store owner to make sure the end result turns out great. Anything you can do to help build a relationship with the store owner and employees will better your chances of them continuing to promote your music. You may be surprised at the amount of salons that need regular models for training new/apprenticing stylists. Check out Craigslist under the “free” or “beauty” section, or simply search “free hair cut” and you will find a ton of salons looking for models. Here is a link to a “free hair cut” search. Check out how many posts there are! Not only will this help you get your music more exposure, you will meet a lot of young and hip aspiring stylists who likely go to shows.