by Allen Maddox
Is there really an opportunity for YOUR local band?
Every year for the past few years Ernie Ball Strings sponsors a ‘Battle of the Bands’ where the top most voted band in your area gets to open for the warped tour in your city, and the winning artist gets to move on entered in a total country wide grand prize.
Every year over 32,000 bands sign up but very few win, and even if they do, so what?
These bands that win rarely get the record deals and fame that the battle implies is a potential opportunity.
Basically by entering in this competition you’re just spreading word of mouth and viral advertising for the warped tour, the chances of your band actually ‘making it’ are slim to none and the competition holds lots of reserved rights to make the final decision on who plays even if your band has the most votes.
The other downside to this is that many bands use their social media to ‘spam’ friends, family, and other musicians. This does not build a fan base. More often than not bands target whoever is on their friends list and don’t focus on building new sales in a cold market that they are targeting.
The contest also let’s fans vote multiple times a day and many bands use software and other methods to ‘cheat’ the system.
Bottom line is that at the end of the day cities across the country have thousands of local bands spamming their local market to a point where no one cares and the scene slows down. Most bands have no shot of winning and even the bands that do rarely reach that big industry ‘break’ that we are all trying for.
Bands need to instead identify their target market and begin relationship marketing to those individuals. Their social media should be used to connect with the fans as a person, not as a ‘rock star.’
There is however some good that comes of the Ernie Ball BOTB. That is in the fact it allows all the musicians in your similar genre to ‘come out of the woodwork’ so to speak and engage with them on a business level.
NOW is the time to NETWORK! Find bands with your same genre and beliefs, contact them, trade them a vote and begin sharing contacts.
Try to switch each other music contacts in other states, try to expand your fan base by recommending and sharing to each other similar music to fans of similar taste and demographic all across the country.
That’s what this is about while it is true my own band that I manage Scarlet Canary is entered in this years battle of the bands it is primarily because this is one of the best opportunities to reach out and network with like minded talented individuals.
While playing the Warped Tour looks good on a press kit it still does more harm to a local scene than good. If your band does choose to participate in this event I hope you look to your social media analytics to determine your target market and work to fuel an inbound marketing campaign to people who want to vote and listen to your music. Not because they are your friend, but because they are avid music listeners and enjoy what you have to offer.