Marketing Your Music

I was browsing The Trombone Forum and came across a gem of a post by an old friend from DePaul University, Tom Matta.

Social Media = Marketing

Everything that a performer, composer, arranger (et al) does today can impact what happens to him or her tomorrow. That can come from a performance, a new piece of music, a recording – anywhere.

That big band arrangement you wrote that you thought nobody heard?
…Someone heard it, and they want a copy.
…….That same guy wants 10 more.
……….Someone heard that band, and they would like to commission you to write something new.
……………Oh, you play too? Wanna play in my band and write me some charts?
………………..Do you ever write for strings? So and so has a pops orchestra with a singer….

That silly polka band you went on the road with thru several midwestern states?
….The bass player has connections to Pamphlet B bus/truck tours…
……….The accordion player plays in a very popular Baltic band that needs a player just like you to go to Europe this summer…
……………Someone at the Elks lodge runs the local jazz festival, and learned that you have an acclaimed septet….

The CD you composed, produced, and released sold only 10 copies, but —-
….one copy ended up in the hands of a college kid that shared it with 40 others…
…….10 of those college kids ended up buying your CD from iTunes….
……….3 of those kids stopped by the club the last time you were in Denver to check out your band…
………….1 of those kids convinced his professor to hire you for a masterclass and clinic weekend at the college….

My point?


Get good.
Get busy.
Get the word out.

Like Tom, I’ve found that often times the performances you do for little or no money ends up leading to bigger and better things.  If you demonstrate your professionalism while sitting in with a community orchestra, people will notice and the next time it might be the paying professional group.  If you compose and arrange music for local ensembles for free, your music gets heard and can lead to other groups wanted to purchase those pieces or commission their own.

While I’m at it, I want to plug Tom as a fantastic bass trombonist and one of the finest jazz composer/arrangers I’ve come across.  We played and hung out together while we were students at DePaul.  They liked Tom’s teaching as a grad assistant so much they ended up hiring him, first as an adjunct and soon as the Assistant Professor of Jazz Studies there.  Go check out his music.

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