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WaterBear | The College of Music are giving you an amazing and unique chance to support the incredible Rabea Massaad and Liam Kearly in their new formation ‘The Totemist’. This show will be happening on Monday 13th September kicking off WaterBear’s Freshers week.

Liam and Rabea will be selecting the winning band themselves, so if you’d like your music to be heard by these two amazing musicians and the chance to support them, please follow the steps below

How to apply?

Terms and conditions

I know what you are thinking. As your eyes cross the softly lit screen processing the words above, “foolish man, snapchat is dead, TikTok killed it and now all my snap streaks were in vain!.” It turns out we are all wrong.

Snapchat is in fact thriving. Due to a plethora of new features being added and a deluge in new advertising methods, it is performing better than ever reporting a jump from 218 million users in 2019 to 256 million users in 2020 and claiming a frankly unbelievable global average of 2,083,333 (strangely specific) snaps sent per minute, elevating it to the position of most popular social media app amongst US teens. Knowing this, it is added to our arsenal of phone speaker penetrating weapons, and we look at ways to crack an audience which boasts 8 million UK users alone.  

Overview of features and how they are relevant  

Before choosing how you are going to use Snapchat for advertisement, think about your own goals and what you want to get out of the app. If you have an extremely limited budget and/or limited time, then consider how much you can dedicate to the app. If you have a solo project and work full-time, then maybe prioritise the social media platforms you prefer and you are going to engage more with. If you have a band, take a platform each and share money from the band account and assign spending quotas. 

There are many ways you can divide up resources (time, money, contacts) to maximise your project’s effectiveness. These days, more people shop from their phones than the desktop, so exploit and harness the fact that Snapchat is specifically aimed at mobiles and remember this when planning your ads. What would look better on a laptop screen? If it would suit a bigger screen, it is more suited to Facebook. 

Your music is the product and unless you are signed or have a team, you/the other project members are creating, managing, and selling. So, what is Snapchat doing to help brands advertise? Since its inception in 2011, Snapchat led the way with its temporary story feature, something borrowed later by Instagram and Facebook and now it’s doing more than ever to monetise it for advert space. Snapchat story ads show up in a user’s discover feed, a feed which itself is tailored to the individual allowing for more accurate targeting of prospective fans. The ads have become very lucrative with brands like Ralph Lauren and The New York Times going as far to partner with Snapchat to better exploit the market with new exciting AR and VR features.

Getting started with Snapchat ads is easy and carries a medium price tag, starting at around $5 a day. If it works for you then it validates the expenditure, if not then perhaps switch up tactic or move on, but still worth looking at. For further research, Snapchat for Business has its own website which is constantly updated to help users keep up to date with software changes and Snapchat’s own advancements. 

When planning your advert, keep it to a bare minimum. Statistics understandably show that Snapchat suffers from the quickest ad fatigue of any platform- it is built to share the capturing of a moment not broadcast a mini documentary. Keep it succinct, only a matter of 10 seconds or so, showing all the key information. A common hack to get around such limitations and maximise your time in your consumer’s hand is to link to a website. Encourage the user to click or swipe up, cultivating traffic to your website and helping you expose your audience to more of your content.  

Here is a quick bullet point list of what to remember:

Creating a filter can be an amazing way to drive brand awareness and push your product. Although only really suited to a band or an originals project (although a Rolling Stones cover band using a big lip filter would go viral, and catch the copyright lawsuit of the century), a filter can be a fun way of getting fans to engage with the artist’s imagery. Fans can post photos of them to their stories to spread the word, you could reshare these to your story to generate engagement or even run a competition asking fans to use the filter in creative ways, giving merch to the winners.

AR is a natural evolution of filters and is keeping Snapchat at the forefront of fun video editing in real time. AR allows for the average filter, say the classic dog face (imagine how much that has brought the creator in over the years…), to become interactive and stick its tongue out or for your eyes to grow to huge sizes in the video. AR is once again more financially draining but brings with it more for the fan to engage with, and so more for the user to enjoy and share. The possibilities are endless when it comes to designing AR or a filter, just avoid being offensive in any way. Unbelievably, some awful AR missteps have included profanity, ‘beautiful plastic surgery’ face distortion and even one that attempted to change the user's race.  

Snapchat do offer a variety of assorted styles of advert, including the catalogue or collection ad. Although great for selling merch, these will offer little to an originals project. The thumbnails on the collection ad could show courses for an online music educator. Or services for a session musician? If it fits the format, why not try selling.  

Another excellent feature of Snapchat advertising is the highly targeted ads. When it comes to the targeted adverts, the level of customisation and degree of specificity is almost scary, combining data from multiple sources and companies. Have a socially conscious hip hop track and only wish to target Novara media viewers? An Adele style ballad which would suit a Mum with kids in high school who is just visited the hairdressers? Snapchat allows for endless customisation, so you never need to waste an advert again. 

To conclude on the advertisement capabilities and refer to evaluating if Snapchat is working for you, let us turn our attention to the most intuitive aspect of the app and the ultimate weapon when conquering your target demographics, Snapchat analytics. 

The most user friendly, clear, and comprehensive analytics display on any social media platform, Snapchat uses high contrasting yellow and covers EVERYTHING. From percentage of swipe ups by which sex or age group to hilariously specific descriptions of your most active audience, for example ‘shopping mall shoppers’ and ‘liquor drinkers’. This allows you to really hone down your target and save on money, because those male, iPhone using shopaholics are a lost cause. This in tandem with the level of customisation in ad targeting makes Snapchat one of the best platforms for attacking your target market. 

Actually using Snapchat as a musician 

So, knowing that Snapchat can be an amazing marketing tool with regards to advertising and competitive features, Snapchat can also be used like every other social media app to simply just entertain fans or keep them updated. Snapchat excels when used in a comparable way to TikTok, thought of as less formal than Instagram and made to share you in the moment, being genuine and unplanned. Snapchat can be a way to see behind the scenes, for fans to feel like a friend, use this to endear yourself.

Why not show every step of the creative process?

You writing a song, jamming with a friend or even maybe those frustrating days when you cannot play those groups of 4 note scale patterns above 90bpm (we are all human and some days our fingers say no). For the brave, branch into non music related snaps, remember the fan is also a fan of YOU, some will follow you because your attractive, some because of your personality or fresh trainer collection, appeal to these fans. Share what you do to relax after a day of work, share your favourite films, discuss what you are currently reading and make the audience feel like a part of your life. Many people are going to watch your content crashed out on the sofa after a day working, cater to them.  

Remember that even giving your fans exclusive content or personal clips can still work for you. A wonderful way of using this is sharing snippets of latest content, teasers of new songs, this not only gives fans a glimpse at what you are doing but creates something easily shareable. We’ve all heard a band’s new album teaser on social media and messaged a friend saying “hey, have you heard ‘insert hip happening acts name here’ new song? What do you think?” be that hip happening act.  

So get using Snapchat  

Although more limiting in content variation, Snapchat has one of the best advertising analytic suites and allows you crazily specific pinpoint advertising. Used like TikTok and Instagram stories, it is perfect for brief snippets into the creative process and selling you as a person, allowing you to help disguise your inhumanly talented lizard man form and appeal with your fun personality. Using and engaging with all the diverse types of social media can sound daunting, costly and time consuming and sometimes, for one person, it can be. But remember, if your project has more than one member, delegate. If you are a solo act then plan, focus, and invest serious time on one or two platforms a day in a cycle so all get covered, allocating some time for at least a story or quick video daily to keep a certain level of engagement. At the end of the day, social media platforms should be for fun and engaging with them should be a positive experience for everyone. With the world opening again, there is no better time than to get active on as many platforms as possible and share your next gig.  

What is an EPK?

An EPK (electronic press kit) is a window to who you are as much as basic content for media, promoters, influencers etc use and reflects you, your music and your brand.  It is important that you get this right in order to make the correct contacts and, when we’re able to play live again, to land the gigs you want.

So we’re starting with the basic premis that, and you won’t like hearing this, nobody gives a damn.  Yes it is true but we’re putting together an EPK, as with your other PR, which will hopefully make them give a damn!

So what do you need to put in your EPK? It should contain your artist bio, music, high res promotional photos, tour dates, high-quality videos, relevant media achievements, links to your social media, and contact details.  Connect your EPK with all your social media and your website if you have one. Websites such as Sonicbids, ReverbNation, Adobe Spark, and Wix offer EPK templates and tools to create press kits and hosted landing pages. However there is no need for you to use these companies as with effort you can create a really striking EPK reflecting you and your brand.

Artist bio

In the trade we call it a ‘one sheet’ and it’s called that for a reason … it’s just one side of A4.  You want a short description of who you are, if relevant where you come from and how you got to where you are now.  This should be tight and concise. A couple of paragraphs max.  This should be interesting, a bit amusing and not too heavy.

This will form the base of all your press releases and be updated each time

Music

Many people will dip in briefly so make sure that you list this in the order to which you want it to be listened. So your best track first. 

All tracks should be ‘radio friendly’ – no swearing or references to substance abuse or graphic violence etc. “It doesn’t matter. It’s cool” I hear you say. Yes it does matter as it won’t get played if it’s not radio friendly and that’s really NOT cool!

Don’t put anything up that isn’t great quality … If you’re not proud of it then it shouldn’t be there. Bad recordings will only do you harm.

Make sure that you’ve got MP3s and WAVs of each of the tracks downloadable so that radio producers and presenters can choose what’s required by their station.  However links are always best as most don’t want to download a wav file or go to drobox or we transfer.

Promotional photographs

Here you need a selection of large (600 pixel width minimum) high res (300 dpi) and lo-res (72 dpi) versions, promotional pics taken by a professional photographer if at all possible. These can be studio or outside shots – that show you and/or the band looking at its best within your brand.

High res is required for print only high res is of any use as low res pixellate.

You’ll need head and shoulders and full-length images. Pop a few great live shots in there as well.  Also important that you have landscape and portrait presentation shots to fit whatever space the editor has available.

Artwork

Include headers and logos so that they can be used to support your branding by media.

Videos

It is always nice to have a high quality video for each release. Whether a story or performance video it is high quality that’s important.

Lyric videos have become increasingly more popular and are easy to produce.

Promoters are more likely to book you if they can see you perform.

Tour Dates

Straightforward this one.  Just list your gigs as soon as they’re booked with an on sale date.

  1. Day/date/year/time
  2. Name of venue and address  Link and phone number to purchase point.
  3. Nice to put a link to Google maps for the location.

As soon as the gig has passed please remove it from the list!

Reviews and quotes

Links to all your social media and purchase point for your music and merch.

Tech rider and stage plan

This gives venues details of what  technical requirements you have. This includes number of mics, plugs etc.

Contact details

If you have a PR or a manager it's their details you have here.

A big thank you to Kairen Kemp for this insightful blog piece. Kairen is a Music PR Manager, Booking Agent, a Producer/Presenter of BBC Introducing & Radio Reverb,  as well being an Author, Lecturer, and Music Mentor.

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