Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


Pt. 5, Digital Drink Coasters?

B.D. Lenz By

Sign in to view read count
In the previous installment of this column, I discussed the undertaking of making a record on your own. In particular, how to fund it and how best to spend those funds. Now it's time to talk about what happens once those boxes of CDs have arrived and are cluttering up your basement... Now what? How do you sell these things or will they just become expensive digital drink coasters?

Well this is the eternal question and there's no simple answer. But, you do need to work hard to let people know about your recording and to make it look like it's a big deal. A CD Release Party is an important part of this. It's a way of getting press for yourself and making an event that people want to come to. Make it a special night and not just "another gig." Have it at a venue that truly fits your music and your crowd. Bring a special guest(s), hire a bigger band, offer a discount on your new CD, have giveaways...make it an occasion.

This is so important that I've often hired a professional to help me promote it. Part of building your career is letting people know you're out there and it's worth hiring someone to help spread the word. A publicist knows how to angle a press release and pitch those in the press to catch their attention. They might also help you get reviews in magazines and journals, which is invaluable for your press kit. I've done all of this myself at times, and with some success, but it takes a little research on how to properly format a press release and what to say, as well as how to find all the people and places to send it. But one helps the other...the Release Party may help you get some press and the press will help generate interest and help make for a successful Release Party.

Something else you'll want to consider, in promoting your record, is whether or not to hire a radio promoter. There are pros and cons in doing this, as I've discovered, but if you're invested in pushing your career longterm, it's vital. Of course, you could send out your CD to the local jazz stations, college stations or podcasts on your own, and every little bit certainly helps. And if you don't expect to release many more recordings in the future you may want to go this route. But, if you have the budget and you plan to pursue being a recording artist longterm, then you ought to hire someone.

Radio promoters have updated lists of stations that might play your music across the country, as well as other outlets you may not have thought about (cable streaming or internet radio, for example). Admittedly, it's time-consuming to put all the mailers together, and costly to give away hundreds of CDs, pay the promoter, pay the postage and more, but it's an investment. Each time you go through the process, stations will get to know you that much better, which means more airplay, more interviews, more requests for live performances, and so on. And be sure to find someone who specifically works with jazz artists or who has some experience in the jazz world. It's a niche market, and you'll want someone who understands this market and knows DJs personally.

Hopefully, all of this hoopla is garnering interest in your record and adding up to real sales. Be sure to bring your CDs to all of your gigs and display them openly with a few mentions during your set. There's still no substitute to putting on a great gig and catching people while they're in a moment of awe towards you.

I find, to this day, that the best way of selling CDs remains at gigs. But another avenue for making back your investment is licensing. This is a topic that too few musicians know about. I've had a lot of success in this area, having had my music on literally hundreds of TV shows globally which earned me tens of thousands of dollars. It looks great on your bio and even better in your bank account.

When a music supervisor from a TV show needs music for their production, they often go to music libraries that house a variety of material specifically for this purpose (Pump Audio, Jingle Punks and Crucial Music are just a couple). The music is tagged so that the client can search for whatever mood or vibe they need (e.g. happy, ominous, eerie). Many of these music libraries will accept your music. It costs nothing to submit and many of them are non-exclusive, meaning they're ok with you submitting to as many other libraries as you want. Some are highly selective or only deal with certain genres, so don't take it personally if they don't accept your work.




comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
B.d. Lenz
Stanhope House
Stanhope, NJ
B.d. Lenz
Sette Luna
Easton, PA
B.d. Lenz
Luigi's Ranchero
Belvidere, NJ
B.d. Lenz Trio
Two Rivers Brewing Company
Easton, PA
B.d. Lenz
Mama's Cafe Baci
Hackettstown, NJ
B.d. Lenz Duo
The Bercy
Ardmore, PA
B.d. Lenz Trio
Hawkes House
Bristol, UK

Related Articles

Mind Your Business
Pt. 8, PR for Dummies
By B.D. Lenz
May 4, 2019
Mind Your Business
Pt. 7, Touring Logistics
By B.D. Lenz
April 5, 2019
Mind Your Business
Pt. 6, Touring: Booking the Gigs
By B.D. Lenz
March 7, 2019
Mind Your Business
Pt. 5, Digital Drink Coasters?
By B.D. Lenz
February 14, 2019
Mind Your Business
Pt. 4, Making Your "Kind of Pepper"
By B.D. Lenz
January 14, 2019
Mind Your Business
Pt. 3, Brick Walls And Railroad Tracks
By B.D. Lenz
December 20, 2018
Mind Your Business
Pt. 2, Booking 101
By B.D. Lenz
November 22, 2018