Thursday, July 21, 2011

Introducing the "5 Questions" Interview Series: James Moore (#1)

I’d like to introduce to you the “5 Questions” interview series, in which I will be interviewing hip-hop influencers, indie music experts, social media strategists and prominent hip-hop artists asking them for tips and commentary on the marketing & promotion of hip-hop music. First up, in the “5 Questions” interview series is James Moore; author of the book “Your Band is a Virus”. Moore is well-versed on the indie music scene & though he focuses on bands, his advice is universal and relevant to hip-hop artists as well. Check out what James had to say about bios, video marketing & more!

What is the correct way to write an indie artist bio? The correct promotional language of an indie artist bio should be factual. I always suggest getting others to endorse you, and then include their quotes in your bio and press materials. For example, "The Source Magazine calls them the most impressive hip-hop act of the last 10 years" gives you instant credibility even if no one has heard of the publication. The more outside sources have to say about you, the better. Until you build up your press quotes, keep your bio factual and fairly minimal. It's also ok to mention famous artists in the context of your influences or "sounds like a cross between" references. 
What are some of the most creative viral/video marketing campaigns that you've come across? To be honest, a lot of artists & bands are going about it the wrong way, so I'm ALWAYS impressed when I see artists doing simple things like getting reviews, running successful campaigns on sites like IndieGoGo.com, being creative with contests and sweepstakes on Wildfire (wildfireapp.com), thinking outside the box with creative music videos and creating incentives for their fans to get involved, such as giving away free unreleased tracks.
How important is the addition of viral/video marketing to an indie artist's music promotion/PR campaign? It should be one of the main components of any PR campaign. If there is nothing that is viral worthy about the artist, it's going to be very difficult for them to get known. It's important for artists to differentiate themselves, sometimes to the extreme, and video is a great opportunity to do that. As long as the video fits your sound & image and is unique, you could have a hit.
What are some tips for building an effective website? These days, you can either do it from scratch if you have those skills, or you can go with a service such as Bandzoogle.com or Hostbaby.com, who make the process easy for you and charge a monthly fee to host your site. I've had good experiences with both companies. However you'll want to check out their templates and choose the one that's right for you. Don't add too many sections though! You want your website to frame your product, so to speak. Lead people toward the sale, even if it's a free download. Having a mailing list or newsletter is a must as well, and sign up options should be on multiple pages of your site. Also, you should be plugging your social network presence on multiple pages of your site. A blog with relevant content could be a big help too - not just content about your band, but other things you care about. This could help you in the search engines, especially if you go with a good blog services such as Wordpress or Blogger.
What is the proper way to approach music media professionals? It's a numbers game and it takes effort. Don't just contact a few websites and wait. You want to reach out to a ton of places. Try to contact individuals who writes reviews or features catering to your style, and be personable and polite. It's good practice to mention something you liked about one of their pieces, or engage them with a question about an artist that you both like. Be appreciative because no one is obligated to cover you. Offer a link back or cross-promotion especially if it's a smaller blog, podcast or website you are contacting. It's best to think of them as a fellow music lover who does what they do for similar reasons that you do what you do. I hope these suggestions lead you to more success!
For info on James Moore and his book “Your Band is A Virus” visit his website @ http://www.yourbandisavirus.com/
Thanks James!

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