Small Artists “How To” Guide to the CMA Music Festival

The CMA Music Festival is coming around again and the CMA’s focus is big artists for big ratings and ticket sales. So what does a small artist do to take advantage of the extra exposure to grow his/her/their fan base?

The CMA Music Festival is coming around again and the CMA’s focus is big artists for big ratings and ticket sales. So what does a small artist do to take advantage of the extra exposure to grow his/her/their fan base?

Unless you’re an A and B level signed artist don’t waste your time trying to play one of the main stages. It’s all about money and who can bring the most people in. Nothing against you but it’s a business and has little do about your music or the fans.

First of all poll your fans. Find out how many are coming to the festival, if at all. It’s harder to play to a crowd when you know that they haven’t heard of you before.

Next make sure you are playing somewhere, preferably free admission. I can’t help you with booking since that’s not my area of experience. If you have a manager he should already be on top of it. We’re two weeks out and venues to play are getting slim I would suspect.

Once you know who’s coming do something to embrace and thank them for their support. Impromptu fan only show for those who responded to your poll sort of like a fan club party but only them. Or if you are having an open fan club party, create a special area just for them. What you are doing is reinforcing that the information they provided is valuable to you hence they are. You will be stupid if you didn’t value your fans, they provide you with a career.

Harness the powers of your fans. Turn them into an un-official street team, or create an official one. This can be done either online or in person.

Online: Now that you know which fans are attending, create a one side 8 ½ by 11 flyer promoting your show during the festival. Convert it to a PDF and email it out to your list. Ask your fans to print it out then post them or hand out to other people that should know about you.

Off-line: Same as online first step but you accrue the printing costs. Now that you know which fans are attending, create a one side 8 ½ by 11 flyer promoting your show during the festival. Go to your local printer and print the flyers out. Then hand out stacks to your fans at your fan club party. Then again ask them to hand out the flyers or post them around town. Please note this only works if you have booked a show after the party.

Finally make sure you’re accessible which includes your products for purchase. This isn’t to make fat cash but expand your fan base. Make your products an impulse buy, if you can sell a CD for $5, do it. Create “new fan specials” combos for example CD, fan club membership and t-shirt $20.

It’s a 5-day marathon so pace yourself and have fun.

If you need any help with any of this process I am available for consulting, design and project management work leading up and during the festival. Contact me at davidberonja.com.

About mdave

David has been using computers to create his visions since the early days of the Apple II. When the world wide web hit he dove in head first learning HTML and building his first websites. After spending a few years at a software services firm in Milwaukee he moved to Nashville and shortly after the Music Industry grabbed hold. He joined the Country Music Association as webmaster designing, building and managing the CMA Awards, CMA Music Festival and corporate websites for the 8 years. He started their social media reach-out and when he left the CMA could reach over 50,000 fans directly. David currently freelances by day, codes by night along with producing/hosting the Nashville Tech Feed a technology podcast. David was named by Billboard Magazine as one of the top 140 people in the Music Industry to follow on Twitter. , Facebook and Twitter