What Being in a Metal Band Taught me about Digital Marketing

Charlie Hanks Digital Marketng Guru

Having a Website Should Be a No-brainer

My first band had a website that I built myself using an Angelfire website wizard in 2001. It featured a biography, photos and list of upcoming shows – simply a landing page by today’s standards.

This was a few months before Apple released the first iPod and first version of iTunes. It was before Myspace, Facebook and Napster and before the world used Google.

In 2001 having a website for a band without a record label was unheard of. We were ahead of the game compared to most bands and treated the site like a virtual business card. We could direct bookers to our website instead of having to go to the clubs and pitch them.

The site did the work for us and we knew it was going to be a great presentation every time. Having a website also opened the doors to out of town clubs we never would have gotten booked for previously.

Share It With The World

Mp3 files had taken the music industry by storm by the time my second (and present) band started playing shows. It was now possible to record an amazing album and share it with the world in just a few clicks.

Regardless, the world wouldn’t know about our album unless we promoted it. Like having a storefront without a sign, the album was useless unless people could find it.

We plastered our site’s URL on every sticker, shirt and flyer and announced it at every show. We gave away free downloads of our songs just to get the music into as many headphones as possible.

The Power of Social Media

Everything changed for independent musicians when Myspace started supporting bands by allowing them to use the social platform to engage with fans. We could reach way more people on Myspace than we could with a static website and IT WAS FREE.

Our songs, shows and photos could easily be viewed and shared by people searching for a metal band. We were able to generate revenue from merchandise sales and promote shows to an ever-growing database of music fans. We found instant success on Myspace.


When Facebook first emerged it wasn’t as accommodating to musicians and artists as Myspace was. Within the last eight years Facebook has addressed that through enabling paid promotion such as “promoted posts.” Paid promotion on Facebook has allowed artists to reach a larger audience and gain new fans. Social media marketing has proven itself to be a powerful marketing strategy for not just artist and musicians, but also small businesses.


Our selling point to grab new fans was always our live shows. Photos and MP3’s don’t always portray the true elements of a band, so having a platform where we could post videos of our live shows was groundbreaking. YouTube has filled the void that MTV and VH1 left when they switched their programming from music features to reality TV. I know bands that have been signed or offered distribution due to their presence on YouTube alone.

YouTube has helped artists gain invaluable exposure and goes the same with many businesses we work with.

The Landscape is Constantly Evolving

One of the most important things to keep in mind when it comes to internet and all the ways to utilize it for marketing is that it constantly changes.

From Angelfire, to Myspace, Facebook, YouTube, SoundCloud and now Pandora and Spotify, my journey through marketing my band has forced me to be on the ball or get left in the dust.

The way most of us find new music has evolved. Music fans now utilize online searches and playlists on Spotify and Pandora instead of traditional radio and mix-tapes.

My experiences promoting my band go hand in hand with my career in digital marketing. What better way to testify to the importance of every platform we suggest for our clients than having used them myself?

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