After my fantastic interview with Nickolas Blazina from State and Madison, I thought it would be interesting to get another point of view about self-marketing local bands. Say hello to Phil Kosch, guitarist from The Super Happy Fun Club.
Besides playing in several local bands over the past ten years, Phil also works as a talent booker for JBTV, Chicago’s longest-running music television show, and the Double Door, a club in Wicker Park that hosts live music every night.
As both a supplier and buyer of local bands, Phil shared a unique perspective on how to successfully self-market your band or business.
What merchandise is the most popular among fans?
We sell more CDs than anything else.
What experience do you have with using or receiving promotional items like stickers, demo CDs, etc. with your own and other local bands?
I take every single CD or sticker I get and listen to all the music. I know I’m doing the same thing to new friends and fans so I want to make sure people know I love receiving them.
How do you spread your band’s name and music?
Fliers, emailing new people free music, radio, and any kind of press we can get.
What do you do differently from other local bands to inspire fan loyalty or engage new fans?
I think the videos we will have coming out will separate us from typical rock bands. Also, we are the most down-to-earth band you will find. We are like a small community/family and we want everyone at our shows and that follow us to have the same feeling. Also, we have a good sense of humor and don’t really take things too seriously.
How do you discover new bands and talent?
The Internet and word of mouth from friends.
How important is a band’s image when you’re booking talent for JBTV or the Double Door?
Very important. I want people to want to look good and work hard. I don’t just think of image as looks; it’s the entire package of the band. Do they work hard, do they promote, and do they want to grow their band into a business? Also, how good is their music?
Anything else you’d like to tell me about local band marketing?
Keep getting the word out. If you are good you will stand out. Make sure you take care of your business and work hard to grow it! I promise if you work hard and achieve goals you will become successful.
What businesses can learn from Phil:
- Just like Amazon, giving away music/information/products for free (or practically free) is a great way to garner new fans and clients.
- Any size of press that can reach your target audience is good, especially when you’re just starting out. Even though a short spot on a local college radio doesn’t pack the same punch as an article in Alternative Press or Rolling Stone, your music and message is still reaching a new audience.
- Keep in mind that your first fans or clients will most likely be friends and family, and that word of mouth suggestions will be more effective than e-mail blasts or mass advertisements.
- Take the time to do your research. Even though a stack of CDs or business cards may seem daunting, listening to each band or researching each company can open up new possibilities and business ventures. Just because a band is handing out EPs on burned CDs does not mean their music is bad.
- The road to success is not easy, but a lot of hard work can go a long way. There are recruiters like Phil that want to see drive and passion in bands before they book them, just like there are companies that want to know you’re serious before they will do business with you.
Can you think of other creative ways for local bands or businesses to self-market? What else can we learn from Phil and Super Happy Fun Club?