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Street Teams Level the Playing Field



Street Teams Level the Playing Field

A Guest Post by Think Like A Label

Last week, we published an article focused on how Public Relations can help generate buzz for your band. This is the other side of the coin; using your fans to help get people interested in talking up your band’s activity. One of the largest promotional teams any band has access to is their fan base. When trying to reach a large group of people, a great way to do so is using “street team marketing.” Street teams provide a great way to strengthen your relationship with your fans while building momentum for your career and promoting your latest project. While many artists mistakenly think you need to have a huge following to get a street team established, the reality is you only need a few dedicated fans to help spread the word about you to get things started. As your band gets bigger, so too, will your Street Team.

With a Little Help from Your Friends

In actuality, your first street team is going to be mostly comprised of your family and your closest friends. When you start to get paid for performing, record in a professional studio for the first time, or have a track or EP up on iTunes, those closest to you may finally stop rolling their eyes at you and begin to think you’re actually serious about this music thing. This is usually the point at which people go from dismissing your dreams to bragging about you ad nauseam. This is also the point at which you can start hitting them up to about giving out flyers promoting your latest gig or about emailing the the local radio station to play your latest single.

Reach Outside Your Comfort Zone

When you’re looking for street team members outside your circle of acquaintances, it isn’t as difficult as you may think. People love to talk about music and they love to get things for free. I’ve been on both sides of this equation, in that I have participated as a member of street teams and I have recruited for them. When recruiting members for your street team, the simplest place to look is obviously where your fans are. Send an email out to your mailing list, put up an announcement on your web site and message board, and mention at shows that you’re looking for fans to help spread the word about your music.

Rewards Plan

Fans love to help their favorite artists, and it’s fairly easy to come up with ways to compensate them for their time and effort. Sending out unreleased songs and promo materials, offering up guest list spots, VIP packages to shows, special meet-and-greet opportunities, first chances at new merchandise, lunch or dinner with the band; these are all things that have been offered as rewards or ‘payment,’ if you like, for street teams which I have ran. The members who reported in with the most progress and the most unique ideas got the bigger rewards, but you can choose to run your street in whichever way you see fit. There will come a point when you will need to look beyond those who already adore your music in an effort to grow your street team. Fortunately, there are a few ways this can be done successfully.

More Ways to Find New Fans

Scouring college campuses and asking willing students to help out can be a great option. Students love music and often have quite a bit of free time that allows them to do street team work. They’re also often a bit on the broke side, and eager to take advantage of the chance to get free music and concert tickets. It can also be a good idea to team up with other local artists to create a bigger street team. Perhaps if it were just your band, the street team would have only a few members but by joining forces, so to speak, you can create a street team with far greater reach. This will not only allow you to reach a larger audience, which is the ultimate goal, but will also allow the street team members the chance to discuss ideas and get more creative than they may with a smaller group of people.

For a Pretty Penny

If you’ve hired a marketing firm, they’ll do the work for you. Often, firms will assemble street teams to promote many different artists simultaneously. Many times the artists don’t necessarily “go” together, but will be marketed by the same firm, at the same time. This is exactly how I ended up promoting for bands such as Maroon 5GorillazTelepopmusikSigur Ros, and Zero 7 simultaneously. If you are fortunate enough to have the budget for a marketing firm, don’t become complacent. You should still remain aware of what’s going on with your street team, and your marketing overall. Logging into your message board to quickly say “Thank you” to your street team members will go a long way to show them that you appreciate what they’re doing for you.

So what do street teams do, exactly?

Fortunately for you, quite a lot! The list can become quite comprehensive depending on what you offer them as rewards and how devoted they are to you. At the most basic level, team members will perform simple tasks such as handing out flyers about upcoming gigs, texting or emailing requests to radio stations, chatting about your band in any music groups they may belong to (*Note: It is best to only do this in groups people are established in. You don’t want a bunch of your fans bombarding message boards or groups with info about your band and annoying long time members as it ultimately reflects poorly on you), spreading the word via all available social media avenues, and handing out any promo materials you may have provided them with, etc.

Local Radio is a Hit!

In the Chicago suburbs, we have a phenomenal college radio station, WONC. I used to call the DJs and offer them the promo materials I’d been given for on-air giveaways. Since they were a college station, rather than a huge Chicago station, they didn’t often receive items to use in contests and loved when I contact them offering CDs and posters so they could put together prize bundles for their listeners. It made me look good as a street team member as I got to show initiative by working with a local station to create a contest, and the DJ’s got cool swag to give away, all the while helping to open up extra opportunities of exposure for the band.

Listen to Your Fans

There is a very good chance that you’ll get particularly enthusiastic street teamsters who will want to act more in the vein of proper marketing representatives. If you’re comfortable with this and those people are representing you in a positive way, then it’s fine to take them up on their generosity. There have been several artists whom I’ve done full promotion for, for absolutely no money, simply because I loved them. As long as everyone is on the same proverbial page and you’re being represented in a professional manner, take advantage of their kindness!

Street teams are a great promotional tool but the key to their success is organization. Be sure the street team leader and, beyond that, the person who oversees the whole of your marketing department is capable in keeping all members and their accomplishments organized. Doing so will maximize the efforts put forth by your street team and provide you with the greatest results.



Think Like A Label is a music resource for independent musicians and music industry professionals who want to succeed in the music business. Think Like a Label includes diverse content formats like video blogs, ebooks, and exclusive interviews in music industry professionals and musicians.




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