Promoting An Acoustic Album

TESS Magpie

Hi Tom – I’ve often read your blog and twitter posts and was wondering if you could offer some general advice? In the last year, I feel I’ve achieved a lot to be proud of musically.

My acoustic album TESS magpie has been well reviewed in MOJO, Radio2 etc (you can see my full press at It’s been a featured album at HMV and I’ve gotten slots at Glastonbury 2011 and Secret Garden etc. Yet, I still feel there is always more I could do. That there’s more to learn.

I’d love to hear advice from your perspective, as a “guy on the inside”, what would you tell us indie label boys n gals if you could ? How can we best present ourselves from your perspective without compromising ourselves or the music ? Tess


Hello  Tess,
Thanks for the link to your album Magpie – have embedded it below so that readers of this blog can hear for themselves what it sounds like and how much expert work you’ve put into making it. Helpwise, would suggest the following:

1) When emailing people about your album, include a link to your Soundcloud page rather than directing them to  your website where the Reverbnation player is small and and pinched and a pain in the arse to use.  Soundcloud, with its waveforms and comments and track lengths and clean interface, is a far pleasanter user experience. And when trying to persuade new people to like your music, a pleasant user experience is the one thing you want to give them 🙂

2) Put the album up on Bandcamp as well as iTunes. It’s free, the sound quality is a lot better than iTunes, and they only take 15% commission – you see a lot more profit than with iTunes sales. You can also use Bandcamp to sell physcial CDs and fulfil the orders yourself. Again, much higher proportion goes to you than through Play, HMV or Amazon – why send people off from your Facebook page to a third party retailer’s site instead of a page you control yourself and see a lot more money from.

3) Upload your music to BBC Introducing and, in your case, build a relationship with Jacob Rickard at BBC Kent Introducing – to improve your chances not only of airplay, but also of playing BBC Introducing stages at major festivals.

4) When promoting your work, concentrate on ONE “single” (actually a focus track, no single needs to physically exist), and make it the very strongest, most striking and immediate song you’ve got. If it’s over 3:20 long, make a radio edit. The competition out there to get heard is absolutely fucking FEROCIOUS and there’s an overwhelming amount of new music being made.

Radio producer's inbox

You have to hit people with a simple proposition: this track, yes or no. The track itself has to sound so great that a radio producer will drop Adele from the show that day and play you instead. So great that a music fan follows a tweet and hears it and retweets the link to all their friends. If you have no joy first time around, lay low, keep schtumm for a bit then “release” another “single” from the album and try again.

5) Cultuivate the music blogs – given the acoustic style of your music, start with For Folk’s Sake  – and begin building relationships with all the bloggers you can find who are into the kind of music you make. There’s an excellent guide on How To Get Your Music Featured On Blogs here on Breaking More Waves.

Again, just approach them with a single, carefully chosen track first to sound out their interest rather than assaulting them with a full album. They’ll check the album out quickly enough themselves if they like what they hear.  Your goal is to get streaming audio of your track (from Soundcloud) embedded on as many different blogs as possible so a wide range of people can happen across it.

6) The importance of building a campaign:

7) Less is more:

Hope this is some help…

Tom x

Tom Robinson

London-based broadcaster & songwriter, born 1950. His best known songs are 2-4-6-8 Motorway, Glad To Be Gay and War Baby; he has also co-written songs with Peter Gabriel, Elton John, Dan Hartman and Manu Katché. Read More...

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