With indie rock being one of the most competitive fields in the music industry for promoting your music, we know just how hard it can be to get your music out there. With industry tastemakers getting increasingly harder to get hold of, radio stations playing more and more signed artists and the new Spotify submission form giving you no luck, this blog post is going to outline the perfect areas to target in your indie rock PR campaign.
What you will need for your PR campaign
You need to have all the necessary assets to run a successful music PR campaign. Some of these assets are a lot more important for alternative rock bands than other genres such as high-resolution images. With so many indie rock bands releasing music every day, your image can be what gets your band noticed over the hundreds of thousands of others. You need high resolution images that suit the genre, your band’s style and the image you want to get across. This is the same with your artwork, make sure it represents the music you’re releasing as it’s what’ll be used on all digital platforms, as well as any online coverage that runs.
Next up you need to pick a release date. Make sure to stick with this date and not change it last minute as it’ll confuse fans and any press that has run prior, will be incorrect. Release dates usually fall on a Friday so choose a Friday which isn’t too far away but isn’t a rush for release also, so have you time in the run up to focus on the promotion of the release. Book the release date in with your distributor first thing and then you can tick it off your to do list.
Writing the press release
Writing the press release is going to be one of the hardest parts of your indie rock PR campaign as this is where you really have to sell yourself and the music. We know how difficult it can be, just like writing a CV, but the easiest starting point is to bullet point some key factors such as who you are, what you’re releasing, your musical history, career highlights and what you’ll be doing next.
The first paragraph of your press release needs to be the most enticing, engaging the reader so they read on and actually listen to the music you’re trying to promote. The first line should be something catchy such as “After Supporting The Sherlocks, indie rock band… return with new single….”. Obviously not every band has the credentials to have that as their hook, but you can still make it interesting, using past press, support slots or statistics to engage the reader.
On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the actual body of the email, showing the headline is the make or break. We suggest writing the full press release first and then finding the headline from there. Make it powerful and unique so that anyone that reads it will know that you’re not just ‘another indie rock band’.
For example, ‘After securing over 3 million Spotify streams on debut single, [insert band name] return with [insert song title]’ carries more weight than simply ‘[insert band name] return with new single [insert song title’].
As an indie rock band, it’s essential that you focus on standing out amongst the others, so we suggest using this tip when writing your press release. Replace another band’s name with your own throughout the press release and if it’s still relevant, you haven’t made it specific enough to your band enough.
Now that you’ve got your press release, you’re ready to start your indie rock PR campaign. The easiest place to start is with online blogs. You’re going to focus on places that cover indie rock, so an easy starting point is using the platform SubmitHub. Upload your single and all the information necessary, then tick the ‘Indie Rock’ genre and you will be given a list of blogs that cover indie rock artists. This is the easiest starting point as it will guarantee feedback from blogs and you don’t need to have any relationships built with the journalists already, so can be done by anyone. Unfortunately, this service isn’t free, but each blog only costs a couple of dollars so is worth it for the publicity.
Regional coverage is also something that can be approached. If you’re an indie rock band from Cambridge, then look approaching the Cambridge Independent for an interview. Building fans in your local area and then growing from there is an important pattern to follow. Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool so if you’re the biggest band in your town, you’ll soon become the biggest in your city and then hopefully your country! You can also cover regional press if you’re going on tour, even if it’s a small tour. Try to set a goal of securing one piece of press per tour date, this will not only get your name out there within each location but will increase ticket sales, which is always essential for an indie rock band.
Another tip for finding the right blogs is searching similar indie rock bands on Google to see which coverage they’ve secured. For example, if you think you have a similar sound and image to No Hot Ashes, you simply type in No Hot Ashes into Google, select ‘Tools’, ‘Any Time’ and ‘Past Year’ so you have up to date coverage, and approach the places that have covered that band. This way, you’ll know the publication likes indie rock and will potentially cover you.
5 Must-Have Blogs
Listed below are a few of our favourite blogs that are supportive of indie rock bands.
Next up you can pitch your track to radio. If you’re promoting an indie rock EP or album, then choose the strongest track. Make sure the track is around 3:30mins and definitely not over 4mins and doesn’t have any swear words, otherwise a radio station won’t be able to play it.
Radio plugging can be a lot harder than online promotion, as producers and presenters are bombarded with tracks, hence radio pluggers can be so expensive as they have taken years to build relationships with these people. However, there are many stations that play indie rock and we’re going to explain how you can get played on those below.
Start with pitching to radio stations where you have regional links, similarly to online promotion. So again, if you’re from Cambridge, send your track to Cam 105 and if you’re from Manchester, send it to XS Manchester. As well as regional radio, you can look into student and online stations to build up your portfolio of plays, as there are many that cover indie rock.
Now you’ve secured a portfolio of plays, you need to upload to Amazing Tunes and BBC Introducing. These uploaders are the perfect gateway to national radio play, with Amazing Radio supporting emerging artists and BBC Introducing working as a springboard to BBC Radio 2, 6 Music and even 1. If your track is picked up by either Amazing Radio or BBC Introducing, you’ll be notified by email, so you can listen to it being played on air. Both platforms support indie rock bands, so this is the best possible way in to the nation radio stations.
5 Must-Have Radio Stations
Listed below are a few of our favourite radio stations that are supportive of indie rock bands.
Spotify Official Playlist Promotion
With Spotify recently introducing their new submission process via Spotify for Artists, everyone has a chance of appearing on an Official Spotify playlist. In the past, getting your music in front of the correct Spotify editor was extremely difficult, especially if you’re an indie rock band with no contacts. With this new feature, you simply log into your Spotify for Artists account, select your unreleased song for playlist consideration and write a short pitch that will get submitted to Spotify’s team.
Spotify have noted that it’s very important to submit as much information as you can, whilst keeping within the word limited! Use parts of your press release to explain your genre, influences and previous coverage you’ve received.
Not only will your track get listened to by Spotify’s editors for a potential playlist placement, but the song will automatically be added to all of your followers’ Release Radar playlists.