What I've seen work:
Use BreakingTunes. It's VERY important for all bands to be on this nowadays, it seems.
Contact Nialler9, Nay (on Entertainment.ie) or Darragh McCausland (Asleep on the Compost Heap) with your demos. They have big audience and have helped break lots of upcoming Irish bands (Adebisi Shank, ASIWYFA, The Minutes...etc, etc)
Get some good images. They're the first thing people will see. I know it goes against what you think - but you need an image these days as much as you need good tunes.
Good posters - get noticed when you advertise what you do. See Popical Island's posters. Eye-catching and doing a good job.
I can only go by personal experience and here's what worked for us and also what I felt was a waste of time;
- compile a list of DJ's who play your type/genre of music. Post them a cd of 3 of your best tracks along with a press release and sticker on the back of the cd sleeve (with contact details, website, 2 - liner about the band etc.). I always include a letter with a couple of lines asking them if you could have a listen, that I like their show etc. The DJ's who have played our tracks most would be Dan Hegarty (2fm), Paul McCloone/Dave Couse (Today fm), Cathal Funge (Phantom) and Cian O'Ciobhan (Radio na Gaeltachta). You can get all their contact details on the stations websites and I would advise following up with an email a couple of weeks later to see if they received it alright. That would also be a good opportunity to ask them if they liked what they heard? If they give you content for your press release too.
- blogs are a good way of getting your music out there. It's just a case of finding a blog that you like and getting in touch. Include a decent image, soundcloud link, a bit of info about the band, some news about anything coming up for ye and a link to a video if you have one. I think Jim carroll & Nialler9 run 2 of the best music blogs in Ireland and they have dozens of other music blogs listed on their sites.
- IMRO have a good news section on their site plus Hot press magazine review demos. State.ie are also worth getting in touch with.
- Gigging is very important to get the name out there so get in touch with venues that you like, which have bands similar to yourself gigging at them. This can be really time consuming cause the person who does the booking might only work for example on a Wednesday afternoon or your cd gets mislaid or they haven't had a chance to listen to it....
- We've contacted a LOT of record labels, big and small, in Ireland and abroad and I actually don't think that it's worth the effort. 99% of them don't respond and most of them don't accept unsolicited demos either. I suppose it's a case of them wanting you to prove that you're worth their backing so you've to try and make a name for yourself first and foremost! They seem so seek out artists themselves that they're excited about.
Spinervan has some excellent links on this thread and I've probably repeated some of their points! He's right about the budget too - if you're to get a pr company to do a single release, it ain't cheap but they're the professionals so you're paying for their expertise and contacts.
From my experience it's worth paying for a reputable producer to mix your track. If you get the right person, it can bring it to a whole other level.
Hope some of this is of use to ya!
Can anyone recommend a good PR company?
Rather then trying to sell your EP or album and break your heart chasing radio play, why not consider giving it away?
May not seem like a good idea at first but in the long run, it could excel your band far quicker. Here's a blog post explaining Why You Should Give Your EPs Away And Not Sell
Don't believe me, look how well Cast Of Cheers have been doing since they gave their album away.
I have to agree with the post above; we have just recorded our first E.P, and have made it available as a free download off our website (check my bio for the website if you're interested!). If you are a new and unheard of band like we are it doesn't make sense to try and sell your content as it really limits the possibilities of anyone listening to your music.
That said, we made up a professional looking set of hard sleeve cds for our gigs and for sending to blogs/radio stations etc. and we do sell them at the gig for a nominal fee of €3.
I would also recommed Jango as their price per play is way better than Last.fm and we have had a huge fan/play ratio since joining.
Hope some of this helps.
Evan (The Manhattan Syndrome)
There is no harm in selling some physical copies as there are always people who will pay for that format over a free download. Alternatively you can sell a t-shirt to help pay a few bills. But only print one design and keep it to no more then 2 colours. Don;t print up new designs until you've cleared a load of of your first ones.
Jango is indeed better the LastFM (last FM is 90+% about ipod scrobbling), but Jango is still hard to convert to e-mail, so be cautious with your spending.
One thing I would suggest is that instead of using Bandcamp, you should use a squeeze page (landing page with no links, just a mini bio, some quotes and a mailing list subscription form). This way they need to sign up before sampling.
After that use autoresponders to embed you name and music into their subconscious.
PS. I thought you were a folk band when I saw your pic!
Awilko makes a good point, while we received 120 fans from 750 plays we only got around 25 email addresses. That said, Jango does allow you to send two group emails every week which is very convenient.
Ha! I know, we had to go with striking images and we thought that fitted with the E.P name, bit if a dichotomy with our music maybe!
Hey guys, we've just done two new originals and we want to give them away as free downloads, where would the best place for this feature?
We have Myspace, reverbnation and bandcamp. Any others?
Bandcamp in exchange for an e-mail. Myspace is long dead and reverbnation is a horribly over cluttered site with no focus. You could also set up an mailing list on fanbridge as they allow you share music in exchange for e-mail addresses. You will also get sign up widgets that you can place on your own website.
some great advice being shared. thanks everyone!
tunecore.com is great for digital distribution