Being Big in your hometown- Why your Indie Band should be Buddy-Buddy with Local Press

If you don’t have at least a few bloggers that love you, some print articles of either reviews or interviews, and regular presence on alt. college radio, you’re not ready to:

-          Tour across Canada

-          Find label or management

-          Get industry attention

-          Get awarded grants for future production, recording, touring, etc.

Ok, so maybe you’re thinking, but I’ve got 3,000 Facebook “Likes” and those people Instagram/tweet about us all the time! Rock on, that’s great but if that was the case people in the industry, e.g. fellow journalists would take note. So what are you doing wrong? Just because your buddies pack the club every time you do play your hometown doesn’t mean you have a buzz-worthy following. That means your friends dig getting drunk and dancing to your music.  (See my post about over-playing your hometown HERE.)

There’s a few things that are clear indicators to promoters, industry and fellow artists that demonstrate that your band isn’t quite there yet.  You don’t need to be on the cover of your local alt weekly but they should at least be familiar with your band because you’re doing something interesting like a charity gig or opening for a huge act at a festival or playing the streetcars of Toronto.

Getting press for your band is just as difficult as getting press for any other arts/non-profit that’s why their campaigns are so creative. You’re already an artist if you’re in a band, so USE that creativity.

You need to have proof that your band is popular for people to want to book you outside of your hometown or pay attention

There as in:

-          Ready for cross-canada tour

-          Bankable gigs across said tour

-          Proof that people are into your band

-          Score future grants (there’s usually a big section called “Press” in applications with min. 3 articles)

Obviously there’s some exceptions to the rule as in if you have a video go viral and get international media attention but guess who’s also going to cover?  Yup, local media, and like rooting for the hometown hockey team, they’re going to be your biggest fans.  There’s a sense of ownership, as in, this band is OURS.  That’s why Arcade Fire has so many hometowns…

When you’re on the road away from your hometown and something interesting/noteworthy happens, you should be able to email these folks and let them know. Keeping the local citizens aware of your happenings is a great way to keep them involved/get them to buy tickets to your next show.  E.g. “Drummer rescues baby from burning building in Red Deer Alberta.”- it could happen?!

That said, don’t you dare pester the journalists with constant requests.  You should be able to have a one-on-one first name basis with a handful of them in your city that dig your band. They should be constantly on your guestlist, even if you have to pay for their ticket yourself as they are influencers capable of bringing your band to the next level.

Their articles, photos, live tweets, are what can be put into your next round of grant applications, press releases, or any sort of promotion.  They are incredibly important, hence, what the fuck are you doing if you don’t have them on your side in your hometown?

Get out of your shell. Start reading papers or blogs you’d like to be in and send them a personalized email. If you can’t find their email, call their head office and ask for it (this works!), or tweet at them.

(Note:  all of this is capable without the help of a publicist in your hometown. Now you have no excuse to sit around…)