mdday-courtyard1Congratulations! Everything on your mixtape, EP, or LP is mixed, mastered, packaged and ready to go. Now comes the fun part – finding your outlet. Creating a buzz, and ultimately building an audience, is one of the most difficult aspects of this business. First, let’s do away with solely relying on Myspace. Forget about it! Myspace is now used as a major outlet for big names and many times indie artists (such as yourself) get lost in the shuffle. By all means, create a myspace site to help showcase your music but PLEASE use it to supplement your additional efforts of marketing and selling your material.

For people like you it’s time to start thinking outside of the box and very, very creatively. Here are a couple of ideas to serve as a starting point —

College & University Campuses

So, after paying for beats, studio time, blank cds, jewel cases, etc. you’re dead broke. Not only that but it’s quite probable you’re in debt. You can’t possibly afford distribution. No problem. The student center or courtyard at the nearest college campus is your best bet. Set up a table, lay out your packaged cd’s and talk to anyone in listening range. From morning to night, they’ll be plenty of students passing by or killing time in between classes. Campuses are great proving grounds because there is arguably no better time for minds to be open to new and experimental  music than during college years. This is also a great way to network and possibly find someone working as a campus representative with a major label. College Reps jobs primarily consist of street team work for established acts but they are also on the look out for people just like you!

Independent / Student Films

This is a great medium for you to get your music heard and add credits to your resume . Find a film school and speak with anyone interested in scoring or looking to place music within their project. Chances are they’ll be on a limited budget (after all they’re as indie as you are) but if you’re lucky you can squeeze a couple of dollars out of them. If nothing else they’ll be more than willing to create a “Step Deal“. In this case, you won’t receive payment initially but if the movie takes off and becomes a major hit (for example, gets entered into the Cannes Film Festival) you’ll recoup your money if the project hits certain milestones or whatever terms you agree upon. For example, if the movie is good enough to be entered at the festival, you can ask for a certain dollar amount. If it goes on to win, ask for a larger amount. If the movie is picked up by a major distributor, you can ask for a MAJOR amount. Step deals are great relationship builders. Who knows? You may come across the next Spielberg, Coppola, or Scorsese and build a great working relationship.

In-Stores

So what you don’t have a presence in major retail outlets? And so what you dont have a million dollar video directed by Hype Williams, featuring Hollywood heavyweights Samuel L. Jackson and Ron Howard? (see Jamie Foxx’s Blame It video here) You may still be able to talk your way into creating a mini-concert or “in-store performance” at your favorite store. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard of artists hosting these events by simply asking to do so. If you’re lucky, you still may have a mom & pop record store somewhere in your area. Chances are these brick-and-mortar stores will be absolutely elated to have a new way to bring customers into their stores. Just ask. It can’t hurt. If you don’t happen to a record store in your area try out clothing outlets, cafe’s, etc. Of course you’re type of music has to fit their consumer demographic but once you find a good fit…you can set up shop, possibly on a routine basis.

The main idea in all of this is think outside the box when trying to market your music. Networking will get you everywhere! Anything “traditional” or “conventional” is not going to stand out and thus – slip into obscurity. Go out & hustle!