Category Archives: music publicity

I Need to Get Better

This is a reply to myself in the previous blog, “What Happened to Built-in Crowds”. (This is nothing new, I argue with myself all the time).

I need to get better. I need to sing better, I need to play guitar better, I need to compose better music, I need to write better lyrics.

Marketing and promotion can only help if you’re good. At something. Maybe you’re not a great singer, but people will come hear you if you’re a good guitar player or songwriter. Maybe you’re not a good guitar player, but people will come hear you if you’re a good singer.

If you’re just average, and not really good at anything, your friends will come see you– for awhile. But to win fans you have to be good, at something.

If you’re good, people will open doors for you. They’ll tell their friends about you– “You have to hear this!” Other musicians will invite you to open for them at a gig. The word will get around. That’s more important that the best website, the best MySpace or Facebook sites, Twitter, emails, etc.

Of course if you are good, then the-above mentioned promotional tools can really help.

It’s hard to evaluate oneself, but I think I’m a decent guitar player, a decent songwriter, and a below-average singer. So I’m taking singing lessons to improve my singing. But I also think I need to improve my musicianship and composing.

I’m going to spend less time on promotion and more time getting better. I want to hear rumors of people emailing their friends saying, “you’ve got to hear this guy Rob Roper”. I want to hear other bands or singer-songwriters approach me and say, “Your music is important, I want to help turn people on to you. Will you open for me next month?” When I hear those sort of things, I’ll know I’m good.


Flower Killers and Poster Killers

I’m sad today.

I don’t enjoy going around and putting up posters and flyers for gigs. I doubt if anyone does. I’d much rather be home creating new music, or practicing, or, for that matter, watching a movie or reading a book. But until you’re big enough to hire your own publicity department or have a street team, you have to hit the streets yourself. Every band and singer-songwriter just starting out has to do it. So I’m not complaining. It’s like cleaning the house, you don’t like it but you have to do it.

This weekend is the Denver Post Underground Music Showcase. 200 bands playing various venues on S. Broadway in Denver. I have a gig the following weekend. So I figured that was the perfect place to advertise my show. Thousands of lovers of original independent music will be there.

A few months ago I paid a graphics artist to design to generic posters with a blank space where I can just fill in the specifics for each gig. So Wednesday night I got out my sharpies and made up several posters for my gig, then headed down to South Broadway and spent a couple hours putting them up in the showcase area.

Then Thursday night I went to down to the festival. However, I found that every single one of my posters had been torn down. Not a single one was up. They didn’t even last 24 hours.

Who tore them down?

The event organizers? Were they paranoid that I was competing with them? If so, they didn’t read the date on the poster. My gig is a week after the Showcase ends. And it seems laughable that they would feel threatened by little ol’ me. Afterall, I’m not big enough for them to invite me to perform at the Showcase (and probably justifiably so)–at least this year. So surely they wouldn’t they waste their time tearing down my posters. Would they?

Was it other bands or singer-songwriters? I hope not. Most of the folks I have met in the music community here have a cooperative and supportive attitude.

Was it the police? Perhaps there’s an ordinance against putting posters on light poles? If so, boy, they sure acted quick. When I’ve called the police to complain about the lack of enforcement of dangerous drivers running red lights, I’m told they don’t have the “resources” to enforce those laws. Perhaps posters on light poles is a higher law-enforcement priority than running red lights and other illegal activity that threatens public safety? I hope not.

Perhaps it was a random citizen who didn’t like my poster? Perhaps they thought my ugly face was defacing the beautiful dark green metal light pole? Art, of course, is subjective.

Or perhaps it was just someone has a lot of rage inside them, for whatever reasons–justified or not–who took out their anger by ripping down my posters?

I paid Kinko’s $1.50 each to print the posters that nobody will see. And I spent two hours of my life putting them up. So all that money and time is down the drain. But that’s not what bothers me the most.

The day before, I noticed that a flower was missing from my flower bed along the front sidewalk. Someone had ripped it right out the ground, roots and all. It was the only one of its type. I planted it last summer. At the beginning of this summer, it didn’t show much signs of life. I worried that it didn’t survive the winter. But then it produced one beautiful, yellow flower. It survived! Now it’s gone. What kind of person rips flowers up? Perhaps the same type of person who rips music posters down?

So I’m a little depressed today. I guess I’m overly sensitive. But it saddens me to know that there are people in the world who would rip a flower out of someone’s flower bed. And it saddens me to know that there are people who would rip down a poster for a struggling independent musician just trying to reach a few people with his music.