Written for Blaze Radio’s blog – Cotma Sounds
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Local artists gathered in Rebel Lounge on Tuesday night to anxiously hear what experienced members within the music industry had to say. Hosted by Nathan Dohse of AGD Entertainment and the Zero to 60 program, the panel focused on music marketing and featured artist Gabo de Fayuca, music promoter for Phoenix New Times Jessica Hill and Stateside Presents Marketing Director Kyle Dehn.
AGD Entertainment is an artist management and services agency. What that means is the people involved in AGD help musicians start their career. It’s similar to how a school counselor may advise what classes a student should take. Zero to 60 is a program that was born from AGD. It follows the same general idea of AGD, but it focuses more on one-on-one mentorships.
“Zero to 60 is an education mentorship program that kind of takes it to the next level,” Dohse said. “We developed a program that helps an artist put out a record, and they’re paired with an artist coach. The coach then takes them through the curriculum and makes sure everything is on schedule and everything is going well.”
Dohse began the panels with the idea to “connect the local artists to their local music industry community.” While AGD Entertainment began in Nashville, Dohse has brought his project back to Phoenix and other cities like Denver and, soon, Kansas City. After being a musician for 10 years and touring the country, Dohse learned to take advantage of getting to know to the ins and outs of the music industry. It began with a panel he saw when he was 19 and played at Austin’s South By Southwest.
“I was blown away by [the panel],” Dohse said. “I took advantage of anytime I could get into a room and listen to professionals talk about the industry. Now, [AGD Entertainment’s panel] are trying to hit places that would have good music communities but maybe not music industries.”
One of the keys to making these panels accessible to anyone that may benefit them is to make them affordable. Dohse pointed out that if these kind of events aren’t free, then musicians are going to stay home and save what little money they may have.
The panel focused on three key aspects before opening the floor to questions from the audience – how to create and maintain a buzz, how to promote themselves online and offline and how to decide whether or not to hire someone to help market the band. Answering questions from the crowd, the panelists spoke about when the music matters the most (hint: it always matters), when rebranding is a good thing and what’s expected from a first impression.
Here are some of the key pieces of advice the panel had to offer:
- You have to know your demographic in order to decide whether or not to focus marketing yourself online or in person.
- Other ways of promoting yourself besides on social media include putting stickers around the area, appreciating street teams, passing out flyers and putting your creative friends to use. Don’t rely on one way to promote.
- Don’t be afraid to start small.
- Have at least one place online that includes all the information about the band – hometown, members, genre, etc.
- Set realistic goals. Don’t hire a PR or marketing team if it isn’t in your budget.
- People see through the fakeness if you’re not passionate about what you’re doing.
- Stay genuine. If you want to rebrand, do it to show that you are evolving and not because you are trying to jump on every new trend.
- Come across as brief and professional when approaching someone to help market your band, like a Phoenix New Times promoter or Stateside Presents marketing director. Offer something of value to the person, and be available.