The Friday 5: How to Get Your Band Noticed


john-fielding-smallWith thousands upon thousands of bands around the world pulling themselves out of the garage and onto whichever stages will have them, the challenge continues to be how a band can become, and remain, noticeable to crowds and music industry folk alike.

John Fielding, Manager, Artist Marketing at Sony Music Entertainment Canada Inc. and Co-Founder of independent “boutique” label Young Heart Music, knows a thing or two about how to get eyeballs and ears, and how to make them stick.

Beyond spending many years in the music business going through an endless amount of pitches from bands, Fielding’s also the lead singer and guitarist for independent rock act Bombing Neverland, as well as a concert promoter, artist manager and producer. With all of those hats sitting upon his head, turned to Fielding to find out the five best ways to get your band noticed.

Have the Songs: “You got to have the tunes. That’s not going to be the thing that sells your band right off the bat, but the songs have to be there. You need to have something that’s intriguing or great. So spend time on making your music rather than hammering out something for the fucking sake of putting it out.”

Keep your business in order: “Have all of your properties as a business, as a band, together. For me, I’m searching online and nothing bothers me off more than when I go to a band’s Facebook page and it doesn’t have all of their contact information, their tour dates, music, or music videos…same goes for their Website. Those need to be one-stop shops where I can find anything and everything I need to know about a band with the click of a finger.”

Be creative: “[In certain markets] bands can get lost in the mix a lot, so get creative on how to gain exposure as a band. When you’re A&R-ing, you get 150 emails a day and they’re all the same. Think of something that would make me want to get an email and think: ‘that looks pro, I’m going to check that out.’”

Don’t be pushy with labels: “When you send in a press kit to a label, don’t follow-up with the person. Or if you do, do it once and be really casual and cool. There’s nothing worse than having someone consistently follow-up with you about their band. At that point, if I haven’t, I’m not, because you’ve bothered me now. People call up and leave voicemails of them singing tunes. Don’t get me wrong, that catches my attention, but not in a good way [laughs].”

Gain local support: “Build a really strong local buzz. There are so many bands that I find that just tour for the sake of going on tour, and they play for ashtrays. While it is important to go on tour, it’s not like how it was before when you could be on tour and just sell the perception that you’re blowing up as a band because you’re on tour. That shit doesn’t work anymore, because you can find out everything online…you can see certain listings and know that no one is going to be there. It’s really about using your scene and really creating a local movement and letting it swell out. The biggest thing you can do as a band to try and get signed, is create enough of a reason to not need a record label. That sounds weird, but if you’re creating enough of a flash and you’re self-sufficient, then you don’t necessarily need a label. Sure, you may need one to get to the next level, but if you’re okay for the time being, that’s a huge, huge selling point from a label perspective. It shows that you have your shit together and that’ll put you on the right radars.”

-Adam Grant