Advice: Using Your Live Show To Sell More Albums

Hey there, everyone! Thank you so much for carving a little time out of your busy schedule to spend a few minutes browsing our blog. This post is actually a guest piece, developed and written by Chris Jahnle from Kill/Hurt Records. It’s about how one band on his label, Ivory Deville, found great success and exposure by leveraging their live show in a unique way. It’s a simple idea, but the results were far greater than even we could have anticipated. If you’re in a band, please consider this article a ‘must read’ in the days ahead.

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My name is Chris Jahnle and I run Kill/Hurt Records, an independent record label based in Los Angeles, CA. I’ve been in the music industry for 10 years as a musician, audio engineer, and working for record labels of all sizes. My main area of expertise is digital marketing and web development. I worked at Interscope Records and the Collective in that capacity before starting Kill/Hurt and my own web development/digital marketing company.

At Kill/Hurt we work with a number of artists, but I’m here today to discuss Ivory Deville in particular. The band is a non-traditional 5-piece blues-rock honky-tonk party machine that has a stellar live presence and consists of:

Johnny Elkins: Lead Vocals/Guitar

Tia Simone: Vocals

Laura Marion: Vocals

Wolf: Bass

Ryan Wykert – Drums

I came across these guys about a year ago and thought they were phenomenal – their live performance knocked me out of my shoes. Pretty soon we had their debut full-length record on our hands and the unique challenge of translating the essence of Ivory Deville arose. As with all album campaigns focusing on new artists, the biggest hurdle is separating the band from the noise. We knew we wanted to have a side conversation with those interested and bring them into Ivory Deville’s world.

After a more traditional PR campaign coupled with email marketing outreach and digital marketing, we had some great momentum going for the new record, but needed something to take us into the new year full speed ahead. Since the band is made up of naturally visual artists, from their clothes to their on-stage facial expressions, really cultivating that full experience was the perfect call. We had some great press photos, but Dave Bell and Jake Cotler, Ivory’s management team, had the excellent idea of putting together a 1-day shoot and have the band come perform 4 songs off the album in a full-on stage production that showcased the band’s excellent live performance capabilities, their unique style, and of course their amazing facial expressions and dance moves!

The way the videos setup the band was perfect, especially as they were heading into their first month-long residency. The live videos were an excellent tool to promote the record as well as their actual live shows. By the end of their residency, we are continuing to build momentum and the band is stepping up to some bigger shows as a result. We still have the last video; so I think that will come in handy as we’re building buzz online and selling tickets. What worked so well about these videos was the band being the perfect fit for it and their management team’s deep knowledge of the band’s identity. Figuring out the best way to have that side conversation and doing it in a way that expands the band’s artistic presentation is the real takeaway. Then it becomes creative and it’s no longer “marketing” – it’s an extension of the band’s world.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.