Glass Shark – Model

Glass Shark. Very soon they will need no introduction. Dirty basslines and disco beats conspire with a punky guitar and anthemic choruses to make Glass Shark’s music groin-thrustingly danceable. If you can look up from your headbanging and arm flinging for a moment and listen to the lyrics, you’ll also notice frontman (and drummer) Tam Johnstone’s wicked sense of humour and thoroughly filthy mind. I can’t recommend them highly enough. Buy their album, get out and see them live, join the sweating, grinning ranks of their fans and get a good spot in the queue to worship at the throbbing pink vinyl altar of the mighty Shark. Vote for them on the Orange Unsigned show on T4!

<–Buy it on iTunes

Fat Phace – Fundamentals of Failure

Fast paced, drum heavy, thrashy punk with a 90’s America feel, with a driving beat a clear vocal, and a splash of synth thrown in for good measure. I am a big fan of early Dookie era Green Day, and it’s pretty high praise to say this reminds me of it. If you’ve ever tried to ollie a skateboard there’s a good chance you’ll like this.

<–buy it on iTunes

Electrosynthesis – Core

Dense, dark electronica, reminiscent of Apollo 440 in their dancier days, but also with a more modern, chiptunesque vibe running through the album. Their single (not from the album) ‘The New Majority’ features quotes from President Elect Obama’s campaign trail speeches, cut up to the same grungey, trancey beats as you’ll find on this record. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear this in a Berlin basement club. But I might be surprised to find myself there…

Buy it on iTunes ^

Hollie Rogers – Let Me Be The Shadow Of Your Dog

This album is like a chocolate cake. Heavy, dark, rich and possibly too sweet for it’s own good: undertones from viola and double bass provide a landscape over which finger-picked guitar rambles and eddies. These are all secondary considerations, because Hollie’s voice, when it breaks into the drifting feel of tracks like ‘The Swallow’ is clear, pure toned, powerful, and the major feature of this album. Her songwriting shows a remarkable depth of emotion and expressiveness for a 19 year old’s debut, and the sophomoric rack of lust, angst and betrayal is treated with punishingly frank introspection. Despite the subjectivity of the songs and the familiarity of the themes, there is a lyricism and a power of allusion that distinguishes these songs from the run of the mill. Recommended to fans of Laura Marling or Damien Rice.

The title of the album is from this song. Clicky.

<– Buy it on iTunes

and watch her RouteNote TV session ^

Adam Clarke vs. Starshine – Be With You

A club tune in the classic mode, this track features heavily sampled beats and housey vocals. There’s a marked difference in feel between the two versions available, the club mix featuring (as you might expect) a much heavier beat and less focus on the vocals. If you’ve ever been to an Ibiza beach party you might like this…

http://www.routenote.com/files/audio/images/997_cover_front.jpg<–Buy it on iTunes

Specialist Media

In both new and old media channels (online/mobile vs. broadcast/physical) there will be brands specialising in different areas of music. If you’ve been sensible, and figured out who your fans are likely to be, then it makes sense to make those brands that cater to your likely fans a priority. If you’re in a j-pop outfit, don’t bother sending press releases to the editor of Kerrang! This might seem obvious, but in directing your promotional efforts efficiency is of cardinal importance.

If you have £40 sloshing about with nothing to do, get hold of a copy of the unsigned guide. This lovely little tome has got a list as long as your arm of magazine and radio contacts that are looking for your material.

Old Media

When reading the post on how to love, honour and cherish blogs, you may have noticed that there are some crossover brands that have blogs and physical magazines. A good relationship with the NME, CMJ or Rolling Stone blog gives you a massive lead on getting into the physical magazine, with all the legitimacy and endorsement that implies.

Online media are relatively easy to exploit compared to old media channels like TV, radio, magazines and newspapers, but you can’t ignore the old methods. College radion stations in the states, and local radio stations in the UK and Europe actively look for new acts to feature in their shows, especially from their own neighbourhoods. It’s worth making a similar effort to butter up DJ’s as you should be making with the bloggers – work with them; they need people like you feeding them content in order to do their jobs.

Figure out who is doing the new music or local music show on your local station, who is writing about music in your local paper, and get in touch with them directly. As with bloggers, it’s important to make yourself stand out a little to these guys. Make the contact personal and offer them something unusual, a reason to take an interest in you. Make the effort to read their articles or listen to their show – this will reveal to you their own biases, what their audience like, and are like, and it will give you ammunition for making that first contact impossible to ignore. Comment on their work – make suggestions about their show, anything to make it significant and personal. You’re asking them to invest time in you; show that you’re willing to do the same for them.

You ought also to be taking advantage of old media channels when you’re announcing gigs. Most local stations and publications will have a slot for publishing upcoming gigs in their area, get a mailing list of people that compile these gig listings together and mail them every time something comes up. If you use a webmail programme like Gmail, or a desktop one like Outlook it’s easy to create groups of people that you can mail in one shot with information like this.

If you do manage to strike up a positive association with a radio DJ or journalist, then your gig announcements will come with an endorsement every time you’re mentioned. Stick it in your scrapbook – you never know when a good quote will come in handy.

Bloggers: Uber Fans

If there’s one set of people that you want on your side whilst promoting yourself online, it’s the music bloggers. They’re out there, trawling the web and the venues for the next cool act, hoping they’ll stumble across a gem they can hold up to their readers, gleaming in its freshness and individuality, reflecting it’s glory and brilliance onto their own work.

Hyperbole aside, you need these guys on your team. Treat them right, make them a priority whenever you make a new video or record a new track, let them have it for a week or so before you put it out for general release. A good relationship with a music blogger is a perfect symbiosis – they want new, interesting music and content, and you want coverage and introductions to new potential fans.

Treat bloggers like royalty and they’ll reward you by putting up your press releases, tracks, videos, photos, gig reviews or whatever else you can get them. Put yourself in their shoes and think about what they’d like to be sent – sucking up with free merch will win you points, especially if they like your music.

Some of the most popular music blogs are listed here. Every one of them has a contact email onsite; there is no excuse for leaving them off your list when you’re mailing people about your new album. Mail them individually, build a relationship, they’re in control of a big, music loving audience that you need access to.

Gorilla vs. Bear

Drowned in Sound

Hypebot

Pretty Goes With Pretty

Aquarium Drunkard

Large Hearted Boy

Aurgasm

Soul Sides

NME

CMJ

Rolling Stone

Video Content

Really good video recordings from gigs or live sessions are great for getting your fans to do your promotion work for you. Videos get shared around on youtube and other sites, and can spark interest in people, driving them to your website or myspace.

For the wildly creative and highly ambitious there’s always the possibility of making a video with the intention of sending it viral. If you get it right it’ll be a massive boost, but getting the tone right, and having that brilliant idea that motivates people to send a clip on to their friends is tricky. For inspiration, look at things like OK GO’s treadmill video, the diet coke and mentos series, The Flight Of The Conchords entire body of work, and then go and do something entirely different.

Once you’ve made your videos, make sure they’re spread over as many places as possible. This help search engines track you down, and it’s like scattering bait all over the internet, the more breadcrumbs you drop, the more people will follow the trail back to your website.

There are tools out there to make your life easier while distributing video content. The most important one to know about is TubeMogul.com. This site will automatically upload your content to all of it’s partners, YouTube, Vimeo, DailyMotion, Revver, Yahoo! Video, and all the rest. This means that with one upload you can get your video to a load of sites, instead of slogging round with separate uploads.

We’ve done a few video sessions ourselves – they’re up on our website at https://routenote.com/blog, and on all the other places that TubeMogul can help you put yours, as well as Facebook, myspace… you get the idea.

Your Website

If you haven’t got one, why the hell not? You can buy a domain from Active24.co.uk for about £5 a year, a little more if you want some hosting space. And that’s all you’ll need to spend, in any case, this is not money spent. This is money invested. Set up a paypal sales account, sell two CDs through your website rather than someone else’s shop and you’re in profit.

There are a lot of different ways to go about creating content for your website – sites like Wix.com and WordPress.com offer simple solutions and templates for building content rich, good looking websites very easily. Shop around for a platform that offers you the features you’re looking for. You don’t need to be a graphic designer, there are skins up there for you to choose from. You don’t need to be particularly computer literate, there are guides to walk you through putting a site up on your domain, and you can post on forums for help, or call up your hosting company for tech assistance if you’re totally stuck.

There is no reason you can’t have a fully working site built and running over a weekend, and no excuse for trying to promote a band without one. A little initial effort will pay you back, and soon.

With reference to the maintaining a mailing list, your own site is an ideal place to put a google form to get information from your fans when they visit you. If you’re really slick you can even put one into a Sprout widget, and combine it with your band’s music, videos and pictures.