An independent artist performing in Dallas will want some great coverage for their event, or album release parties. PR companies offering services can do well to spread the word on a worldwide or nationwide basis, but what about targeting local? Dallas has some great independent radio stations and widely read publications. There are even some great record stores and key areas to drop off flyers.
Let’s talk about radio. There are several great radio stations, but finding a spot can prove difficult if you don’t know where to target your efforts. Independent radio stations are typically run off of member contributions and donations. These stations support independent music more so than other stations that are ad supported. The theory here is backwards in my mind, but you can see where this is going. They want to place ads next to the Top 40 so they can charge more for the ad time. This means there are few slots for independent/local acts. So, you’ll want to focus your efforts on these independent stations. In recent years, they’ve become more successful with the help of their volunteer street teams, so don’t worry about reaching an audience, it’s there!
KXT 91.7 is a great place to start. Don’t’ worry about the music submission guidelines, CDs tend to get lost in the mix. One trick to gain instant exposure is to contact them with free tickets they can raffle off (contests), ask for an interview that may be broadcast, be prepared to sell yourself and why they should get involved!
KNON 89.3 is another good one. With over 3 dozen DJs creating sets and their contact information available via their website, I think you would be hard-pressed to not get in contact with them. Shoot for spins, plugs, and interviews, and offer free tickets!
There are plenty of local publications that compile local events. If you have a budget for it, go ahead and buy into an Observer ad. The Dallas Observer is widely read and you’re return on investment should be good. D Magazine is another good stop, but another budget heavy placement. Even if you can’t afford an ad at either, you’d do well to get some free tickets to who you feel might come. You never know when a review (free ad) might come if it! Further, if you are on a shoe-string budget, don’t forget Craigslist and rally the support of fellow musicians via local music forums, such as Music DFW.
Street Team Coverage
If you’ve done well enough to get KXT involved, you might want to coordinate your street team efforts with them. Why? They have a great team of volunteers that will be pushing your event and you won’t want to hit the same areas. If this isn’t the case and you have some flyers to get rid of, Deep Ellum and Lower Greenville are a great place to start. Target bars, tattoo parlors, salons, and novelty gift stores in these areas of the city (be sure to think about your target market though, ex. if you’re doing country music you’ll want to try western stores!) Don’t just leave flyers next to the countless other stacks, hand some out on the street. Laundry mats and RaceTrac gas stations have community boards that might get your event some traffic too, be sure to hit them up along your route!
Record Store Coverage
Potbelly Sandwiches often advertise for artists to play while patrons enjoy sandwiches. This may seem like a last resort, but the traffic in these stores is substantial! Don’t count this out or the general power of busking (make sure you’re legal)!
With proper planning and an assertive personality, you can gain tons of coverage and demand a great turnout at your chosen venue. Don’t count out radio, publications, online, and local businesses to help get the word out. If you are having difficulty getting these places to consider you, the Granada Theatre caters to independent artists and you might be able to work out a regular weeknight to start developing a following. The sound and vibe is one of the better places to play in Dallas anyway! My final advice...use your head and never give up!