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[Editors Note: This article was written by Rich Nardo.]

As 2018 winds down, you’ve hopefully made some great strides forward in your career as an artist this year.

You put out your first (or at least newest) release. You’re gigging regularly and your set is getting tighter and more engaging. Perhaps most rewarding, the fans and tastemakers in the press and playlisting worlds are starting to take notice.

As we’re officially in the last quarter of the year, you’re probably asking yourself how you can finish the year out strong and set yourself up for an even bigger 2019. The end of the year is traditionally a difficult time to advance your career, as most of the industry is winding down for the holidays and reluctant to embark on anything new until they come out of hibernation in January. That being said, you shouldn’t resolve to rest on your laurels and hibernate as well as the temperatures drop.

Here are five ways you can keep building this time of year while most of the music biz is winding down.

1. End of the Year Features, Start Now!

Yes, we still have over two months left in the year, but this is when you need to start reaching out to blogs and playlisters to be considered for ‘Best of the Year’ features.

The music industry tends to shut down in early December, and most writers try to have their lists finalized by then so that they can coast through the final month of the year. If you’re reaching out December 1st, you’re too late. Get started now reaching back out to anyone that supported you this year to see if they are making any lists…ask them to check it twice like good ol’ Saint Nick to make sure your music is on it.

It doesn’t hurt to reach out to some other outlets that your research shows did end of the year lists last year as well. Even if they didn’t cover your music originally, maybe they’ll give it a listen this time around and, if you catch them on a good day, you might be able to sneak into their year end coverage.

2. Book a Holiday Show

Writers and industry types might be checking out, but music fans are still looking to be entertained. College kids are home for the holidays and looking to get out of the house and see old friends. If you can score a local gig, you might be able to catch their attention before they go back to school. Now is the time of year when you have to lean on the ‘direct-to-fan’ model the most, and what better way to do so than by playing a show?

3. Create Holiday Related Content, Again start ASAP!

Another way to grab some attention might be to create something original, (or re-imagine an old standard with your own personal twist), related to the holidays. A lot of blogs will cover, or at least share to socials the best of these types of videos. Even if it doesn’t get picked up for coverage, by putting it on your socials, your fans could help make your holiday spirit one of the last viral clips of 2018.

4. Make Them A Holiday Offer They Can’t Refuse!

Create a “holiday special’ that will pique your fans interest.

Did you do any physical copies of your new release? Do you have any merch? Give a discount or put a special bundle together that will remind your supporters how much they wanted to visit your merch table last time they saw you play. People are often in the gift-giving mode this time of year, and what better gift than your latest album or awesome band hoodie? Especially if it’s coming at a discount. After all, your music is the gift that keeps on giving!

5. Put Your First Quarter 2019 Plan Together

Perhaps the most important thing you can do in December is figure out what your plan for the start of next year is going to be and put some wheels in motion to accomplish those goals. December is when the industry sleeps, but January is when everyone wakes up and starts firing off emails trying to make sure they’re productive at the top of the year.

If you know what you want to do January through March, reach out to the people that you’ll need involved now while their inbox load is kind of light. That way you’re one step ahead of all those people struggling to catch up post-holidays.

Rich Nardo is a freelance writer and editor, and is the VP of Public Relations and Creative at NGAGE.


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