published on Jul 4, '16
Although hundreds of thousands of EDM fans left after another ginormous Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas, for the rest of the country the summer music festival season is in full swing. Rock, country and hip-hop fans everywhere are flocking to see their favorite live acts.
Live performances give musicians a chance to bond with their existing tribe and create new fans as well. The art of marketing a live performance often goes well beyond the live show itself. Let's take a look at five acts that have consistently pushed the boundaries of album and live concert marketing and promotion.
Radiohead are masters at the art of releasing new music. Not only do they change up the themes and styles of music they produce, but they have consistently innovated the way in which they release it. They promoted their 2000 release Kid A with a rudimentary "app" called iBlip that allowed fans to stream the album and access special graphics. In 2007, they released their album In Rainbows on a dedicated website with a pay-what-you-want scheme. Originally scorned by critics, the tactic was a success as most people downloading the music paid a fair retail price equivalent. Don't be afraid to use innovative ways to release your music!
For better or worse, Kanye West promotes himself better than any living musical artist. Once he was asked by Jimmy Kimmel on his TV show if he felt he is mistreated by the media. West responded that media outlets think they are using him, but in reality, he's become a master of using them to promote his music and fashion projects. In the 2013-2014 Yeezus tour, West used iconic images in opera, theater and dance to create an unforgettable experience. Leverage the media in your area to get publicity for your shows.
Still touring after all these years, Pink Floyd was one of the forerunners of today's theatrical progressive rock scene, influencing bands across the musical spectrum. The band even produced custom soundtracks to be played when concertgoers entered the venue. They were also one of the first to use a dedicated light show for touring performances and pioneered the use of the "3D space" with floating planes, balloons, animals and other figures cast out over the crowd. Think of creative ways to make your live shows unique.
Damile Dumile is a British hip hop star who has perfected the use of storytelling, mystery and alter egos to promote his music. His most popular persona is known as Metal Face Doom, or more commonly MF Doom. He created an origin story that described him leaving the hip-hop scene at one point in the late 1990s and becoming almost homeless, eventually vowing to return to making music, promising revenge against the industry that had "deformed him."
This was the beginning of his rise to stardom. He has subsequently worked with some of the biggest names in hip-hop including Danger Mouse, Ghostface Killah and Gorillaz. Known for his distinctive gladiator-style mask, MF Doom has been accused of sending imposters in his place for certain live shows. Now those are some innovative event marketing ideas: you don't even have to show up for your own concert! Learn to showcase your music by fleshing out your band's history and development.
In 2013, Beyoncé came up with a groundbreaking way to promote her eponymous album Beyoncé and subsequent tour: don't promote it all. True, each song was paired with a full video, but the initial release had none of the event marketing plan of a major release of an artist at her level. Avoid the cookie cutter promotions other bands employ -- do the unexpected.
Some performers look down on artists that spend as much time on music PR, stage production and innovative music marketing as they do on their music. But whether it is Pink flying high above the audience in a circus-style rig or underground acts like Hollywood Undead, fans have always been as fascinated by the artist's packaging as they are by their music. In the end, you really cannot separate the artist from the event marketing plan