Building a career as a gigging jazz musician usually takes more than just great music. With so many brilliant projects out there, it’s also important that you are standing out to the right people, in the right way.
From your website & social media, to promo photos, music videos and press texts, one of the key topics on jazzfuel.com is how to promote yourself.
This page is a quick introduction to the art of jazz promotion and how you can start building your profile and reputation faster and more effectively.
In an ideal world, people would sit and listen to your latest album to decide whether they like your music.
In reality, you usually have a much shorter amount of time to catch someones attention.
So whilst you need to make your music as brilliant as possible, taking some time to plan and produce promo content for your project will make a big difference when it comes to getting more jazz gigs, more press and more fans…
Musician Promo Materials
No video? No gigs…
As an agent, I really can’t imagine working with an artist who doesn’t have engaging, professional quality video footage of their project.
With so much competition – and with video being so affordable to produce these days – I just don’t think a club or festival organiser will take a chance booking a band they haven’t even seen before.
99% of the time when I’m trying to introduce a new artist to a promoter, the one thing I’m asking is that they hit ‘watch’ on a video.
If you’re booking your own gigs right now, I’d suggest you consider doing the same!
Within 30 seconds, they’ll have a good idea of the music, style & level of the project.
(Which, for all of you who have experience trying to contact promoters will know, is already a massive win!)
Aside from convincing a promoter about your music, a great video also shows them how they can motivate their audience to buy tickets.
Because for most promoters, it’s not just a question of whether they like the music. It’s also whether they can sell it!
So if you begin by showing them a great promotional tool like a video, it’s a good start.
There’s a page on this site dedicated to premiering new music videos. Check them out and feel free to submit one of your own.
You’ve probably heard the saying that ‘an image is worth a thousand words’ – and it’s kind of true!
Sometimes people just won’t take the time to read a press release or work their way through your album on Spotify.
They’ll see a photo of your project – on your website, in a magazine, via a press release – and immediately form an opinion. And, depending on what that opinion is, they might not even get as far as checking out the music in detail.
On the flip side, a distinctive and intriguing image can grab the attention of a possible supporter and nudge them towards checking out your music or buying a ticket to a gig.
With that in mind, taking some time to figure out what impression you want to give with your latest project – and how to turn that vibe into a promo photo – can really pay off in the long run.
Your website – what does it say about you?
Your website is (or should be) your ‘home’ on the web.
Everything exciting or interesting happening with your project should be displayed there, ready to convince any promoter or journalist who passes by that they need to stop and check out your music.
These days, having an effective website doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming at all. But it does have to be taken care of.
If you’re thinking of updating or rebuilding yours – either yourself or via a web designer – I’ve put together a guide to what to include (and what to avoid) on a musicians website.
You’ll also find 9 examples of great musician websites to check out.
Personally speaking, if I come across an out-of-date mess of a musician website, it doesn’t fill me with confidence that they’re taking care of all the other important details of their career too. Or that they’d be easy to work with…
Oh, and make sure you are collecting email addresses of fans that come to your website!!Jazz social media – a waste of time?
Social media gets a bad rap in some circles for being an ineffective self-promotion tool – not to mention as a waste of time!
But whilst Facebook or Twitter alone are probably not going to launch a career (in the jazz world at least), it is a completely free way to grow an audience for your music and show promoters, journalists, agents and whoever else you’re trying to convince, that things are happening.
You can literally connect with anyone in the world, from the comfort of your home. And assuming you’re confident about the music you’re making, there’s no reason to wait to start growing your fanbase.
Not sure where to start?
Set up your Facebook artist page first (honestly, long term, it’s more effective than using your personal account!) and check these 12 things you can do with your Facebook Artist Page TODAY
If you’re considering just using your personal Facebook page, here are 10+ reasons you should reconsider!
Networking & Career Building
Of course, nothing happens in a vacuum, and it’s important that as well as making great music and great content, you’re actively working and planning to build your network and, as a result, your career.
Here are some articles which touch on different angles of that:
- How can you break into a new territory without an agent or network?!
- Keeping momentum with your tour booking
- Conferences (jazzahead! special)
- Knowing your network
- Playing the long game (life after COVID)
- The Lockdown List
DIY Jazz Promotion
So of course make your music as good as possible, but don’t forget that without some consistent and well-planned promotion of it, gaining momentum and reaching those key influencers is going to be pretty tough…
The good news, though, is that there’s never been a better time in history to connect with so many people directly!
Getting your music into the ears of thousands of people is totally doable.
As a starting point, check these ideas for creating a buzz as a musician.
I hope that the articles around this topic at Jazzfuel will help you start make progress at pulling together your promotional tools and using them to grow your profile faster and faster.
More gigs, more press attention & more fans.
Free downloadable self-promotion tool
One of the most-read and most-downloaded resources on this site is the jazz promoter one-sheet.
It helps you really focus in on the best promo text, press quotes, videos and photos for your project and present them in a super clear way for jazz promoters, journalists – and anyone else connected to your career – to use. If you haven’t already got it, feel free to head over here and grab it.
Jazz Promotion Interviews
Lastly, as with everything on this site, we’re not expecting you to just take our word for it.
Check out all these interview guests who talk about promoting yourself and developing a career as a jazz musician…
- Digital Strategy Q&A with Bas Grasmayer of MUSIC x TECH x FUTURE
- Interview with Digital Expert & Jazz Manager Nadja von Massow
- jazzahead! 2021 (Interview with Sybille Kornitschky)
- Social Media For Jazz Musicians: Interview with Philip Freeman
- Talking music videos with Dan Redding
- Why setting goals makes you a better musician
- Bringing Jazz To The Masses: Q&A with Tina Edwards of Jazz Standard
- Interview with Dave Douglas: The Unassuming King of Independent Jazz
- Interview with Eva Frost of Jazz Denmark
- Interview with Ray Jefford, Manager to Avishai Cohen