So last night, I played Kulak’s Woodshed (www.kulakswoodshed.com) with Stephen Bishop ( www.stephenbishop.com ) and did all songs from the New Traces of the Old Road CD. After several months of performing nothing but The Eternal Contradiction songs and stories, this was a little nerve wracking and challenging.
I have the EC set nailed, but this is a new presentation and requires the woodshedding to deliver it with panache and chops; which is exactly what you must do when you are having a CD release concert.
So the first thing that you must have under your belt for a successful CD release concert is a whole lot of practice time. You are presenting all this new music and the more prepared you are, the more you’ve practiced, the more you own the music, the more impactful it will be.
And impact is extremely important. You are showing people these songs for the first time that they have ever heard them, so you need to display them in their best light.
Don’t do the CD release concert until you can truly do the music justice. That will go a long way towards getting people to actually want to take that CD home with them. And that is our goal. We want our music heard and we want it to become part of peoples lives. Not for ego’s sake, but for the sake of our continued belief in our artistry and our destiny as artists.
Determine which of the local media, radio, press, etc actually support your genre of music. Don’t bother contacting media that doesn’t support it. It’s just a waste of time and resources. You want to do your homework and then make certain that those are the folks who receive your attention.
Now, if you are doing the release concert in a city where you live, you can not only call and email the local radio, but you can go over there in person and give them a CD. That personal touch goes a long way over an email they may or may not even open up.
Do the same with the local press. Take it there and make certain that someone who counts meets you and gets the package. If someone says, “leave it here and we’ll make certain it gets to them” say that you would be willing to wait to meet them in person or that you would be willing to come back when that could be possible. Be polite and courteous …and relentless. There are so very many people making CD’s now (many of whom would never had had the opportunity when major labels were filtering out the amateurs who are committed to staying that way).
And take full advantage of the email and mailing list that you have developed. Give folks plenty of warning and then give them a reminder. So I think a month out and then two weeks out and then one week out and then the day before if you think your list can stand another post from you.
Make the posts concise, inoffensive and humorous if you can swing it. People don’t want to be bothered too much. But everyone has a life and an agenda that probably doesn’t include you. No offense. That’s just the way it is.
One last thing you might do is to put some kind of prize inside one of the CD’s. Perhaps a gift certificate for more of your product T Shirt or other merchandise; or if you have the money, put money in there. I heard of one guy who actually puts a $50.00 bill inside one of the CD’s and then announces it before he takes his break for the meet and greet, so that everyone in the audience knows that they might make money themselves on this show if they pick the right CD. Ideally that should sell a lot of CD’s.
You have to be fairly certain of selling a lot of CD’s to do a thing like this. My percentage is usually about fifty percent of the room at one of my concerts and thirty percent of the room if it’s some one else’s show that I’m opening.
I have a difficult time with that particular gambit as it makes one seem less like an artist and more like a Wal Mart executive, but do whatever you can comfortably do to introduce your music to the masses.
Let me hear of other stuff that you all have come up with. Let’s share the wealth here, okay?