Whether it’s because of a lack of money or an inability to be away from a stable job or young family, many musicians who’d benefit from touring find themselves stuck at home. For bands who’ve tapped out local resources and the attention spans of fans in their hometowns, this can be a big problem. But while touring can bring loads of benefits to ambitious bands, there’s other things artists can do to build momentum for their music.
Launch a national radio campaign
If you’re stuck at home and are looking for a way to build interest in your new music, launching a national radio campaign is a great way to do it. Whether you go the DIY route or pay an agency to pitch your music to radio stations, this option will set you back a decent amount of money, but hear me out. Unless your music is already connecting with large audiences, it’s safe to assume you’d probably lose money if you were out on the road touring. Why not take some of the money you would have invested in touring and spend it on a radio campaign? If you can afford it, working with an agency will give you the benefits of having established contacts at radio stations to send music to and the ability to track when and where you’re being played. If you’re going it alone, one of the biggest tools you should rely on are the free analytic tools provided by streaming platforms that show you what cities are streaming your music the most. Focus your energy on getting your music played in those locations.
Create a unique live concert series
Seeing concerts filmed and streamed live aren’t anything (yet) like being there in person, but that doesn’t mean they’re not worth experimenting with as an artist. Incorporating things like special scenic film locations, visually engaging constructed sets, and uniquely performed music are ways to draw your audience into your streamed concerts from home. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes, ask yourself what you’d like to see in a live-streamed concert from artists you like, and do your best to give that to your own fans. To boost audience engagement and get more fans to watch the concerts you stream live, try giving away free music or merch as an incentive for watching. If you’re releasing new music, try throwing these filmed concerts over three or four consecutive days. Yes, this is a lot of work, but touring requires much more time, money, and sacrifice. If you’re looking for the same kind of impact touring delivers, prepare to put a good deal of planning and creative investment into your streamed performances.
Pitch your music to blogs and playlists in cities your music is performing the best in
If you consistently find that certain cities favor your music through streaming analytic tools, try pitching your music to local blogs and playlists based in those locations. Physically performing in a city gives you the best chance at getting coverage there, but it’s worth a shot pitching your music if a city is especially enthusiastic about your music. Typical music-pitching rules apply here. Writing thoughtful, original, and cohesive emails will give you the best chance at catching someone’s attention and getting featured.
Not being able to tour can be frustrating, but it’s important to remember that many musicians and other entertainers find themselves with the opposite problem of wanting to be home more but having to spend long stretches of time on the road to make a living. In life and in music, your best shot at success and happiness is investing your time and effort in making the best out of your unique situation instead of constantly begrudging it.
Patrick McGuire is a writer, musician, and human man. He lives nowhere in particular, creates music under the name Straight White Teeth, and has a great affinity for dogs and putting his hands in his pockets.