How to generate an audience for one’s next gig is always one of the great challenges that faces any group. Obviously the imperative is to keep expenses down and preferably find cost-free ways of doing this. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snap Chat and YouTube, are well known and frequently used social platforms that can circumvent the need to hire an agent or publicist – who would probably employ these networking channels anyway. But beyond these, there’s a maze of possibilities, and plenty of websites offering advice, for a fee of course.
The usual advice is that word of mouth is still a highly effective way of building audiences. Contacting local media and community radio stations can work too, but this needs to be done several weeks in advance in order to fit in with their schedules. The best idea can often be to look at what similar groups are doing, and follow their example. Other tips are to send out email bulletins, and gain mention in local politicians’ newsletters and local council publications – see further here.
For classical based ensembles, we mention ClassikON as a different and more targeted web-based platform that has proved to be successful with musicians working in the sector. Run by Kate Tribe and now in its fifth year, it works on a number of levels including providing free promotion; this involves creating a profile page and listing one’s upcoming events. ClassikON also offers a one-off event promotion package to help advertise single concerts, and then there are various levels of annual subscription which give groups a year’s worth of promotion.
Tribe, who comes from a media relations background and is the granddaughter of Ken Tribe (a renowned figure at Musica Viva, the Australia Council and the ABC in former decades), says she set up ClassikON because she saw a need to break down barriers that were preventing younger people from coming to classical concerts.
“I wanted to carry on his legacy, and I especially wanted to make classical music friendlier” she says. “Ours is definitely a grassroots approach. We do all the background work for musicians who don’t want the hassle.”
ClassikON started in Sydney but now also operates in Victoria, Queensland and other states. Groups who have employed their services include Ironwood, Acacia Quartet, the Song Company, and Selby & Friends. A full list of ClassikON’s sponsored concerts can be found here.