Great songs, AND proactive marketing
Empire Affair have the right package.
There have been innumerable brilliant bands that have failed to achieve any significant success, and there are many awful bands in the charts right now. Often the only difference between success and failure is marketing.
To look at an entirely different market. Take Sir Clive Sinclair, a man who produced the ZX Spectrum; one of the worst home computers of his generation, and the Sinclair C5; a hybrid human/electric vehicle that became more of a joke than Del Trotters three wheel van. And yet somehow he was a huge success, and made millions.
Back to the world of music and there are so many bands making OBJECTIVELY bad music occupying the charts, that if you threw a brick you would be hard pressed NOT to hit one.
The difference is marketing. Record companies tell you they can’t make money any more, and yet they still spend millions on marketing their acts, so somehow or other they must be making some of it back. Either that or they will ALL go bust soon.
Now let’s come right back to the subject of this blog and grass roots music. It is an absolute that your songs must be good and you need to be good at playing them. But that is not enough. You could have the best song in the world but if nobody knows about it then it will be lost to the world.
So here is a brief checklist of SOME of the things you need to get your songs in front of more than just your mates.
- A decent website that looks good and has the right information.
- Social network sites that continue the professional approach
- Broadcast quality recordings of your songs
- At least one person who PROACTIVELY promotes the band
Empire Affair check all these boxes, and more.
The website itself has a really professional look with striking imagery and an easy to follow layout. There is everything you would expect and want to find in a band website. The entry page includes a news and twitter feed. This is particularly good because Google favours websites with regularly updated content.
Most importantly of all the band DO have some superb songs. Really catchy tuneful alt-rock with great pop hooks. So before I go any further I had better share an audio track with you to keep you amused. OK, here’s track 3 from their debut e.p. “Red Light”
It’s got a nice gentle start, with a slow build up. Sorry there are some “parental advisory” lyrics, but this isn’t radio so I am safe.
I know bands don’t really like being compared to other bands and on this occasion Empire Affair are lucky because I can’t think of the names of any at the moment. That’s not because their music is so utterly new that nothing before has any similarity, just that I am rubbish at remembering band names sometimes, and this isn’t my default genre. As I listen I am thinking that, in some ways, they have some similarities with Fearless Vampire Killers. Maybe a bit softer at the edges?
They are sort of pop/punk or alt rock; quite musical with proficient playing and angst-y vocals.
The band line up is as follows
- Neil Tallant (vocals)
- Jack Woolston (guitar)
- Matt Park (guitar)
- Tom Parrett (bass)
- Darren Sheppard (drums)
One nice touch, which a lot of bands don’t think of, is they have created a totally separate “press” page on their website.
Not directly linked to from the main page this is designed for journalists who are a naturally lazy breed. It contains audio and video, plenty of pithy quotes and pre-packaged blurb and a ZIP folder of band images. If I have a criticism I would suggest that the photos could be better presented. Some are too dark to use and maybe the cropping could be done better. Having said that there is plenty I can use and I know that I am not going to get told off for copyright infringement.
I notice the band do have a Soundcloud page although they don’t link to it from their website navigation. I tend to think the best way forward for a band is to allow free downloads of some of their songs but not all. Empire Affair have got this spot on with eight tracks with two available to download.
Their Youtube profile looks no less swish than their website, with some excellent videos, like this one.
I do think, however, they have missed a trick by not monetizing the channel. Personally, I don’t find the static ads obtrusive and, if it brings in a few quid every so often, it can’t hurt.
With two excellent E.P.s already under their belt and widespread critical acclaim from several quarters, I think this band is well set up. They are young and clearly talented. So long as they continue to promote themselves as professionally as they make music they could go far.