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Brad Sucks: Guess Who's a Mess album cover

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So the dark, paralyzing fear of having a new album coming out shortly is that maybe nobody will listen to it! So I pose you this question:

If you were (or are) an independent musician with a very limited budget and a new alternative/rock-style album scheduled for release in a few weeks, where and how would you promote it?

I’m mostly looking for places/people to send/pitch it to, but I’ll appreciate more elaborate or imaginative suggestions.

Posted on - August 20, 2008 [at] 7:18 pm by Brad
Tagged in - , , ,

27 Comments on this post

enolan on Promotion suggestions?
August 20, 2008 at 7:59 pm

sex tape?

WolvenSpectre on Promotion suggestions?
August 20, 2008 at 10:38 pm

I have several Ideas…

1. Try a pass it on type of thing where you burn a few good tracks from the old and intro the a couple of the tracks. Take them and offer a special deal on the CD, pass it on to 2 friends and when they both contact you they get a small deal on an album and shirt combo with a bonus limited signature (or something along those lines). Then offer it to the 2 friends if they pass it on to 2 friends.

Try leaving the CD’s in weird public places that teens, twenty-somethings, and onliners congregate.

Maybe do a barenaked ladies and leave one or two in a bathroom. Leave some on transit. leave 3 in front of a music store on an old box.

Write something like “Free… Play me!” and put on the inside of the case or on the back of the sleeve “BradSucks.Net”.

2. Give a small discount for people who hang promo posters for the album and the website publicly in their locations (so long as they don’t break your rules or the law) and send you a series of pictures or online video of them doing it. Make it bigger if they do it in Brad Sucks Swag, either bought or homemade.

3. Fan made T-shirt contest for signed schwag, or better yet their T-shirt autographed and taken “on tour” to several dates to be used as a promo sign in the background, to be returned back to them with a few pics.

4 (entering evil marketing territory) have a giveaway contest for one liners to the question… “How much does Brad Suck?!?” to go to be used in a Remix challenge song. (even I don’t like that one)

5 A Video Challenge for a song off the new album that must have x,y,z appear in it according to your tastes and have it posted to one of the higher def online video sites. Make it the official video and have it so the video makers have to appear in the video, and the best becomes the official video. The fans then get the bragging rights for being in a video.

I’m dry for now so I’ll see if I can come up with anything else as you probably not going to want to do all of these. I wouldn’t.

LT on Promotion suggestions?
August 21, 2008 at 2:03 am

A few things you might want to try:

* Upload some tracks to and enter them in the monthly contests.

* Upload decent-quality files of your album to MiniNova and/or other file-sharing sites with a “read me” explaining where and how people can support you if they decide they like your music.

Litis on Promotion suggestions?
August 21, 2008 at 4:35 am

There’s some websites that are good for banner ads promoting albums. allmusic, for example.
WolvenSpectre’s idea regarding promos left in weird places is good, too. “Steal this CD”! If you have any hipster-iffic places around, you might try those, too. Include some CC-licensed loops as a bonus, maybe?

Ash on Promotion suggestions?
August 21, 2008 at 5:14 am

Completely pulled from my arse, but consider doing up a promo package with the free mp3 version of the album + cover art + PDF of some kind. Release it on P2P networks — particularly pretentious invite-only music communities if you can manage it — and pray for a return on investment.

If nothing else you’ll get some exposure and new fans. When people like what they hear they’ll come and shower you with gifts, praise, and mind altering substances. That’s my guess.

Paul Cosgrove on Promotion suggestions?
August 21, 2008 at 5:20 am

I was looking earlier, and I was kind of surprised to find that you’ve not got anything up on thesixtyone – the only Brad Sucks songs are remixes, there’s nothing “official”.

Nick on Promotion suggestions?
August 21, 2008 at 10:35 am

WolvenSpectre kinda beat me to it. I’m thinking something along the lines of an ARG. Go all Trent Reznor on us. That gets interesting. I love stuff like that.

Litis on Promotion suggestions?
August 21, 2008 at 11:22 am

Um, isn’t doing an ARG for an album with no concept (or background story) kind of difficult? Not to say it costs a lot of money to organize, now that it’s popular.

PiltDown Man on Promotion suggestions?
August 21, 2008 at 11:39 am

Brad’s been doing an ARG for years, and I’m pretty sure WolvenSpectre’s comment is part of it.

Not sure what else is buried in that message, it’s probably linked somehow with one of the archived blog posts.

I’m working to crack the code right now. “WolvenSpectre” right? You know, like, a canine spirit. A ghost dog? Maybe some kind of Jim Jarmusch tie in going on. I’ll watch Ghost Dog, and Mystery Train tonight, maybe play “Out of It” over the soundtrack, see if there’s anything there.

Will post updates as things come to light.


Sam on Promotion suggestions?
August 21, 2008 at 1:19 pm

I like some of WolvenSpectre ideas. If I had more time… I would seek cool endorsment. More specifically, what I like to call “honest endorsment” meaning that, whoever you send the album to write a blurb, you promise you’ll publish whatever that person has to say, regardless of how positive or negative it is. So, yeah, It’s a longshot, but I would send them to the musicians I admire.
Again, you would need more time to do that probably.

On the other hand I really love cool online campaigns/ARGs/Viral Marketing and stuff like that. An album with no concept is not an impediment to create an ARG, as the whole point about ARGs is to make up one if there isn’t one already. You have little time, so whatever the idea it would have to be rather simple. I’m thinking… a contest in which fans would have to write letters to Britney Spears to convince her to made a cover of one of your songs, and actually send them. Anything that involves the words “Britney Spears” has a great chance of getting viral.
The most original letter would win the new album and a free hug.

And that’s it, relax and enjoy the massive success.
– Sam

Catching The Waves on Promotion suggestions?
August 21, 2008 at 1:32 pm

Brad, if I like your album as much as “I Don’t Know What I’m Doing” then I’ll write about it at Catching The Waves, ensuring that it reaches a galactic audience. :)

scottandrew on Promotion suggestions?
August 21, 2008 at 2:48 pm

Sex tape +1

Barring that, I think you should borrow/steal from the Eno/Byrne project and make your whole album embeddable. I kind of love the idea of any fan being able to embed a favorite song on their website, profile, etc. (Not sure why I haven’t done this myself.)

Definitely upload a few tracks to thesixtyone, OurStage, MeFi Music, Last.FM and iLike/Garageband.

Maybe a special email to the podcasters on your list, offering them a special high-quality package?

Simple contest idea: send in a photo of your copy of “Out Of It” in some crazy context. Top of the space needle; being held up by some celebrity; at the zoo, in the foreground while monkeys get busy in the background; you get the idea. The weirder, the better.

And send a copy to William Gibson!

Hoki on Promotion suggestions?
August 21, 2008 at 4:05 pm

Find a nice girl and get involved in some sextape :)
Would definetely work !

dp on Promotion suggestions?
August 21, 2008 at 10:01 pm

ok so here we go…

you make us all honorary members of the band “Brad Sucks” and have us all submit our burned CD’s of the tracks to the local radio stations who have “Local’s Only” type radio programs, then they totally fall in love with all of the songs and start playing them on the air! Then people flock to the website and purchase a “Brad Sucks” CD making you FAMOUS! (even more so than you are now!)


dp on Promotion suggestions?
August 21, 2008 at 10:04 pm

What did u do the first time around?

WolvenSpectre on Promotion suggestions?
August 21, 2008 at 11:56 pm

Have you looked into puting some of the new album on the Podsafe Music Network? I think you can put in an attribution for the whole album and its release date. There are shows all over the world across many intrests that use them as bumpers plus some that are dedicated to Podcast Safe music, wether it is Creative Commons, Copywritten but with usage permissions from holders, or the new Free Music movement.

Look into doing a press release to regional and local media along the lines of “local boy makes good selling music he gives away on the Internet” and include a bump for the upcomming album. If I remember correctly there are boilerplates and howtos for making and sending these to TV, radio, and newspapers (but don’t forget blogs and podcasts). If you are lucky they will get back to you as a tech, music, or human intrest story.

Heuristics inc. on Promotion suggestions?
August 22, 2008 at 12:24 am

I feel like I’ve had my best success with Pandora – lots of people have listened to my stuff and even made stations starting with my music – but the last thing I heard is that the crap royalty rates increase might be killing them, so I don’t know what’s going to happen there. Worth a try, though.

Litis on Promotion suggestions?
August 22, 2008 at 4:55 am

The first time around there were the “Outside the Inbox” compilation and Magnatune. Funny, but the first brought a lot of attention.

scottgentzen on Promotion suggestions?
August 22, 2008 at 10:31 am

@8 classic cliche there though. Spend too much money recording and promoting the new album. Start a tour in massive debt, have to tour for 3 years straight to pay the costs off and end up with nothing at the end of it.

It’s living the dream!

Darg on Promotion suggestions?
August 23, 2008 at 10:01 pm

I have the same problem as you, only I have even less money. Promote free streams/downloads of songs on as many websites possible, put your songs on file-sharing sites (since you own them, it’s not illegal), do as many live shows as you can (I don’t know what the scene is like where you live), and try going on and Pandora, because both are very popular.

Litis on Promotion suggestions?
August 24, 2008 at 7:39 am do video interviews. Proved quite popular, I think. Well, plus they have advertisements.

Chris on Promotion suggestions?
August 26, 2008 at 2:15 am

It may sound silly, but send a track or two (or even the whole album if it’s going to be CC-licensed) to some small internet radio stations’ DJs.

I know has a good sized fanbase (the players of Kingdom of Loathing). Jonathan Coulton had great success on the station before he played PAX and had that Portal song going for him because a very dedicated fan of his is a DJ there. Schaffer the Darklord sent physical copies of his album to another of their DJs, and now he’s got a good rotation going, and picked up quite a few fans from it. A few of their DJs already play your stuff.

As a DJ for my own (albeit a lot smaller than rkol) station, I would love to tell my listeners, “Hey, here’s some new stuff from Brad Sucks. If you like it, you should go support him, buy the album.” I say this because those of us that support indie artists tend to stick together, I think.

So uh, if you want to send some tracks my way… *grin*

Anyway, good luck with the new album and promotion! I hope to hear your new stuff soon!

Rush on Promotion suggestions?
September 8, 2008 at 12:33 pm

You could send CDs to other independent artists, like Jonathon Coulton, sending stuff to Wil Wheaton helps as well. They both have rabid fans that read their blogs and will buy what they tell their legions of fans to buy.

Matt-the-twat on Promotion suggestions?
September 9, 2008 at 4:12 pm

Have some kind of competition thing whereby people are encouraged to bring new people to BFF, the more people they bring to BFF forums and vouch for them bringing them there the better. The person at the end of a certain time-limit who has brought the most new fans to the site gets some kind of individual prize like a personal re-mixed track or a special fan t-shirt, or both or a limited edition CD. Something like that… hell, I’d do it! Lol.

thegreathal on Promotion suggestions?
September 10, 2008 at 8:11 pm

I’m not one to talk, but maybe you should have tagged on a one social network link to your album email; just “Reddit it!” or “Digg it!” or something.

scottgentzen on Promotion suggestions?
September 12, 2008 at 8:54 pm

I thought of something…

I didn’t know until recently that CD Baby has a DIY musician podcast. It’s not so much a podcast of music. It’s more of an interview show talking about how the artists do what they do and thee particular issued that DIY musicians face.

SoccerxJeremy on Promotion suggestions?
October 11, 2008 at 6:05 pm

YouTube is a great way to get more fans,
Or any other massively huge sites.

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