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The Great Escape 2012: How to get noticed as a DIY artist

By | Published on Friday 11 May 2012

The Great Escape

One of the main strands of the first day of the CMU-programmed Great Escape convention, which kicked off in Brighton yesterday, was a series of panels looking at the DIY approach and offering advice to artists looking to manage their careers themselves, both creatively and commercially.

The second session of the day saw PR company Create Spark’s Debbie Ball, digital marketing agency Good Lizard’s David Riley, direct-to-fan service Music Glue’s Joe Porn and DIY artist Chris T-T discuss getting noticed without a record label’s marketing budget. Ahead of the session, we asked Debbie Ball and Chris T-T for some of their top tips.

“Be selective”, said Ball. “Figure out how you want to present your act to the public from the off, both aesthetically and ideologically, online and offline”.

She continued: “Build a team that suits you to advise the early stages of your musical endeavours and start off small (you don’t have to have the whole range of promotional people to start with, for instance). Work out a realistic plan together to loosely stick to, to create opportunities to get your music noticed and take advantage of new opportunities that may arise”.

Finally, she emphasised the importance of timing. She said: “Don’t rush into doing things that might be too early in relation to where you’re at in your career and bear in mind that certain opportunities can be come back to further down the line. A considered approach is a good way to building your reputation and letting people know about your music. You can then adjust the pace of when you do things depending on how quickly people start taking notice and a natural momentum occurs”.

On the more creative side of things, Chris T-T said: “Make everything you do beautiful and something you’re 100% proud of. Get the art and craft right first, before you become a marketing guru. Never send out demos that are just roughs – 99% of people, industry or not, can’t hear ‘through’ the rough sound or rehearsal-room performance, even if they claim they can”.

He also emphasised the importance of trying to think differently and come up with ways of making yourself stand out from the rest of the pack: “Don’t be afraid to go outside the norms of the industry – even when you’re first gigging in your home town, build your own shows from scratch outside normal venues and away from regular promoters, so they’re memorable, crazy and different. If you get known for running insane parties, it’ll go a million times further than getting known for being a decent new band”.

Finally, he advised artists to get out of their hometown and tour as soon as possible, saying: “Play away as soon as you can and only ‘come home’ to your hometown friends/fanbase when you absolutely need to. Learn to tour. Learn to behave right on the road and play a great set to three people. Believe in a learning period, so don’t expect yourself to be sorted from the start – even if your music is amazing, you’ll need to learn the language and rhythm of the live world away from your mates”.

Stay tuned to for more updates from this years Great Escape convention.