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Tired of the Same Old Tune: Digital Headhunting is the Future for Bands

Everything is digital these days--here's how one band is using digital marketing tactics to find their next lead singer.

LOS ANGELES, , CALIFORNIA, USA, May 22, 2018 / -- The music industry has a reputation for sparkling lights and whiskey nights, but at the end of the day, it’s a business. The bands of Rock 'n Roll’s glory days were formed in garages, but life today has shifted online and today future rockers are more likely to meet on the digital playgrounds of social media than an actual playground. Sure, there’s music forums and posting boards like Craigslist, but that “come-and-get-it” approach leaves bands at a disadvantage. By waiting for the stars to align, there’s no guarantee that the person scrolling the back pages of the internet is going to be the best fit for talent or personality.

Thanks to the mountain of technology available, there are more inexpensive resources than ever to get the word out. Sure, it’s pretty punk to make a sign out of an empty beer case and permanent marker advertising open positions, but even in the most heavily trafficked areas that will only go so far. Instead, digital campaigns can spread the word in ways and places that physical posters can’t. Howling Bones, an alternative rock band out of L.A. is one band trying this new digital alternative. Their strategy combines the best of digital marketing and recruiting with an on-demand approach to auditions. Here’s what they’re doing and how you can copy it.

Square One Here I Come
Is your band in need of a quiet type ala Slash of Guns and Roses or a can’t-dim-him-with-a-lampshade frontman in the mold of Freddie Mercury? What are the technical skills needed? It’s likely that the musical style is already determined, but what about the personality? Throwing an Iggy Pop into Bon Iver situation could be magic, but more likely it ends in frustration. Having a strong, well-defined vibe will help to attract the right tribe.

Hey Hey What Can I Do
Before anything is ever posted, shared, liked, or tweeted, the next steps need to be considered. How do you figure out you’ve found the one? In the old days, the only way was to hear a live performance, but technology has changed this. Today bands can request potential members share a livestream or video recording before ever contacting them directly, saving time (as this can be done at convenience) and expanding the search area since travel isn’t an issue.

Sort It Out
As a band, it’s always a good idea to purchase website domains that are related to the band name so that when you make it big, it’s already under secure control. Simple, yet effective websites can be created from drag-and-drop tools--no web design skills needed--and are the best place to host any music samples or receive any submissions.

Over the Hills and Far Away
Crowdsourcing can be a great way to spread the word for bands with established followings, but those just starting off or with limited followings might need more of a boost. Paid promotion on social media and keyword targeting are two of the best ways to reach the biggest and most focused pool of people. These campaigns allow targeting to people in specific demographics and with particular interests. With some ad money, these are able to reach more eyes than any sign could.

Love and Leave It Alone
Setting up a campaign does take legwork, but for up-and-coming bands, many of which that have members working one or two jobs while playing gigs at night, this can be the perfect solution. The posting is seen by the highest number of the best fitting people, allowing the other band members to continue to hone their skills and review submissions as they come in.

Howling Bones, an alt-rock band from Los Angeles, is using this method as the group searches for a new singer. “We’re spending a lot of time in the studio so we can’t meet with every person who wants to join [the band]. Having them go to the website instead of coming in for a sound test helps us to not waste time anyone’s time if we know won’t be a good fit,” says Mitchell Thomas, a founding member of the band. Check out how Howling Bones is using this search strategy, visit

Tristin Westphal
Danger Rainbow
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