Perplexed in Paddockwood: Street Teams

by SaskMusic

August 7, 2009 in Ask Percy

Hey Percy,
I have been hearing a lot about street teams. What are they? Do I want one? How do I get one? And, what do I do with it once I have it?
- Perplexed in Paddockwood

Hey Perplexed,
Thanks for the question…it’s a good one. It seems that you have a whole school of questions.

A street team is basically a school of fish…I mean fins…I mean fans…who really support you and your music, and want to be actively involved in helping to promote you and your music. They can be your greatest resource, especially if you are a self-managed artist. Street teams can

· help you poster for a show happening in their town, and get the word out to the live music community while you are on tour;

· call radio stations and request your songs (whether that be college, community, or mainstream);

· pass along your music to other friends and potential fans (the power of viral marketing should never be underestimated);

· suggest and check in with local retail stores that would carry or are carrying your music, connect you with local media, recommend the best places to eat and sleep, etc. They know their communities and are more than willing to help;

· promote your music through email, online BLOGs, by posting in music forums, promoting your music on their own sites, and contacting e-zines; and

· in my experience, they will try to help you in any way possible…whether that's recommending a good mechanic, letting you crash at their house for a night, or connecting you to potential partners.

There are a few things you need to think about when setting up street teams. Set guidelines ahead of time. What is acceptable behaviour and what isn’t? For example, are team members allowed to email MP3s of your songs as they help build your buzz - or just send links to the music on your website? Remember, your street team represents you and your music, so pick members who can be ambassadors and represent you well.

Then, reward them for their dedication and hard work. This can be as simple as free merchandise, tickets to shows, dinner with the band, special merchandise for the street team members, etc. Many artists are starting to set up incentive systems where fans are awarded points for different activities they do in support of the band, and they can then trade in those points for merchandise, concert tix, etc. Be creative! And don’t forget, this is a group of people who want to tell you about themselves too…so find out everything that you can about them (favourite places to hang out, favourite artists, last 3 CDs they purchased, favourite websites, etc). You can do that through contests, polls, emails, surveys, etc.

So how do you collect those fans that are going to comb the ocean and river floors for you? First, keep in mind that your street team is a different core of fans, separate from others in your fan base. Everyone can be a fan, but not every fan is going to be an official street team member (nor should they be). Promote the street team concept

· On your website (as a separate group from your fan mailing list)

· At your gigs (create a separate form or bring your laptop/database to your gig)

· Through MySpace (a link to the street team form on your website), and

· Encourage street team members to make recommendations.

Just make sure all your rules are clear. Check out Lisa Marie Presley’s website ( for an example.

Remember…your fans are everything, and your street team is at the heart of it all!

Keep fightin’ the current,

Originally published Winter 2006.

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