Guest Columnist Sary Bibi (Right)

Living in Dubai, and just browsing the internet in general, I see a lot of new bands that are so eager to get their name out there and have their music be heard. While having that passion and excitement is a must, its not enough. Knowing how to market yourself and using all avenues available to you to get your name out is the difference between being “that one local band” to well, people actually knowing your band name and who you are.

Here are a few tips for aspiring new bands that want to make it “big” or at least, take their hobbies to their fullest potential.


So your band is playing a show next month and you’re super excited to play it. Well apart from practicing your songs, you NEED to get the word out about your show. I see far too many bands relying solely on the promoter to do that job alone. While a promoter usually does this using his/her extensive network and media contacts, its not enough and they also have a ton of other matters to worry about, such as venue/equipment rentals and liaising with all the bands and crew for the show. The promoter has already put in the effort and the initiative, so why don’t you do the same?

Promoting a show is easy as ever with social networking and new media, sharing event pages, flyers, and videos are just a click away, but that doesn’t mean you can do it just once and its enough. Your audience goes through hundreds upon hundreds of bits of information on their feeds every day, what makes you think your band playing a show is going to be more memorable to them than a news story or a new viral video that’s popped up on their feed 100 times?

Be consistent. There is nothing wrong with giving a reminder every day that your show is coming up. Don’t outright spam your audience with it, be creative. Make your own flyer, make a video of your band talking about your show and how excited you are to play it. If you’re treating your show like its not a big deal and you’re not excited about it, then don’t expect anyone else to, and don’t be surprised if people think their time and money is better off spent somewhere else that day. If you’re doing it right, there will be a buzz and hype around your show as the date draws near and you’ll have an audience show up.

The same can go for anything you’re working on really, a new album or music video, but to me, live shows are a big deal for bands here and they can go a long way with getting the word out properly.

It should be noted that if you can do things off the internet like post up flyers or do interviews for traditional media outlets, then go for it. But to me, the internet has a wider audience that you can focus on with less time and effort.


It surprises me how unsupportive bands are not just for their fellow bands and artists, but even for the promoters and media that contribute to the scene. I’m not saying you have to be best friends and love everything every band puts out, but have a chat, see what’s going on with other bands/promoters/media people. They may need help getting the word out about something they’re working on, and probably would be eager to return the favor to you when you need it.

Go beyond that as well, if a band or a promoter has a show going on and you’re free, check it out. Live events are a great place to network with other people involved in the scene and you could find opportunities that will help you out. You’ve got musicians, promoters, photographers, and who knows what else, maybe graphic designers or audio/video pros all under one roof. Get to know these people and keep in touch with them.


We live in an age and industry where if you want something to reach people, the internet and new media is your best tool. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS. It is pretty much a standard for bands to be using sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube, and while your band probably has these, are you really utilizing them effectively?

I see bands on my social media feed that have been inactive (no touring, no new music, not even recording) for MONTHS but continue to stay relevant and talked about simply by engaging their audience and putting out some kind of content to keep their audience occupied. While you can be lazy and unoriginal and do nothing but post memes everyday, there’s a lot more you can do. If you want to keep your own band relevant and memorable, share old live photos or live videos, promote your old releases, ANYTHING really just to remind people “hey, we’re still here!”.

You can also post things that have nothing to do with your band or music but you feel should be shared. Some people look to bands for new music, viral videos, news stories/political stances, etc. Have some personality that people can remember you by.

Apart from staying relevant, quick video updates/vlogs, live streams, photo updates, etc. are easy ways of keeping in contact with your audience and letting them know what you’re up to. Don’t be afraid to engage with them directly, whether it’s tweeting at them or retweeting something they said about you, responding to private messages, etc.

As for new content, please for the love of God use sites that are popular. If you’re uploading your brand new album to Audiostreet or Reverbnation instead of Youtube and Bandcamp, then fix that. Not only are the latter websites more popular and relevant, but they are way more accessible for you to share on all social networking platforms.


If you want your band and your music to be taken seriously, it's no secret you need to invest time and even money in everything you do. You’ve already spent a good chunk of cash on your instruments and gear accessories, but it doesn't stop there.

Things like press photos, music videos, graphic designs for your social network pages, flyers you wanna share over and over on Facebook, etc. The better those look, the more it’ll add to your image. While commendable, a poorly done photoshop header on your Facebook page can really turn off people from checking your band out.

Anything that involves your music, I would say you really have to expect to spend good money on. While music production is not my expertise, I know that people can tell a good sounding and well produced song/album when they hear it. This goes for music videos as well, if you have a good well produced song that has a good, well produced video, then you’re set to win people over. I can’t count the number of times I’ve watched a new band’s video for the first time and was instantly won over.

Good quality merchandise and physical copies of your music is a good way to start making back money on your investments, and the best place to do it is at a live show assuming you’ve won over some new fans.

That about wraps up my advice. They seem like pretty basic things, and if you follow any bands you can see them doing all these things, but most people don’t take the time to notice it and replicate it for their own bands. Hopefully this has been an informative read for you and you’ve learned something new!

Sary Bibi has been active in the Dubai music scene since 2005. He is most involved with Have You Scene That, extensively covering shows and bands in the United Arab Emirates.  Be sure to follow Sary on Twitter @BloodGutter.  

1 comment:

  1. thank you for this advice! it actually motivated me to put myself out there more!