This article originally appeared on Boston Band Crush (http://bostonbandcrush.org).
Extinguish Boston serves as a physical promotion team and street team for local bands, touring bands, record labels, and any other music company that does not have the time, money, or resources to accurately promote a show/event/product in the city of Boston and its surrounding areas. Designed to save bands money and time, Extinguish will go and tack up/tape/affix/stash your flyers in the hotspots of your choice. They even take digital photos of each flyer they hang up before accepting final payment.
Extinguish caught my eye because they are providing a service that I am mostly too busy to do myself. However, I was curious about the business of flyering, and what Extinguish had to say about it– so I went and asked them some tough questions!
BBC: How did you get into flyering and show promotion?
Ben Hoffman: I began flyering for local bands that I liked in exchange for free show
admission, being the broke college student that I am. I then started flyering for venues I was interning for, getting grips on the city early on! Soon enough, I had a good enough route down where I could charge bands low fees for putting up their flyers when they didn’t have time.
BBC: What do you think the benefit of flyering is? Brand recognition?
BH: Not only brand recognition, as each imprint (flyer, name-drop, myspace bulletin, etc) is important to the brand, but also because people are out and about in Boston at all times due to the fact that its a walking city. Flyers are definitely seen and appreciated here more than somewhere like New York, where the chance of you seeing a flyer a few different times would be rare. Also, flyering lets other people and other bands know that you are working hard to promote your shows, no matter how popular your band is, which is an admirable quality in itself. Also, if you are playing with a more popular band, the flyer benefits the show greatly, especially if that more popular band is not promoting well.
BBC: Does it directly translate to people at shows?
BH: Sometimes yes. If your band has played around enough that people recognize your name, or if you are opening for a bigger band, then flyering does directly translate to heads. However, if you are playing a small show with other small bands that are not putting themselves out there that often, flyering may be totally and utterly useless. The chance of somebody randomly checking out a show based on a flyer and not the bands must mean that the flyer is the bomb diggity!
BBC: What do you say to bands that think it’s a waste of time, or see no direct
BH: I say that they don’t know their city very well. That, or they have a very tight digital network that makes up their entire fan-base at all times, no matter what show they are playing. Boston is full of college students who spring out of the woodworks to come see shows, and they bring all their freshman year friends with them! Don’t underestimate the amount of people who will see your flyers!
BBC: How soon before a show should a band start flyering?
BH: In the competitive and ruthless environment of flyering in Boston, I would suggest anywhere around the vicinity of 2 weeks before the show. If a band is serious about flyering, they should do it twice. One time 3 weeks before the show, and then another time 1 week before the show. If you do it too early, people will forget. If you do it too late, people already have plans. Timing is everything!
BBC: If the band is playing in Cambridge – is it worth flyering Allston and vice-versa?
BH: Absolutely! Those regions and most regions in Boston are close enough together that it is 100 percent worth it. The Middle East is a staple venue that people from Back-Bay, Allston, and even Jamaica Plain flock to, just as an example. You never know where your fans or friends reside, so yes, it is totally worth it.
BBC: What sort of designs “pop” the most, do you recommend full color printing/fancy papers?
BH: Really intricate and busy designs always work well for an eye catcher, or something controversial/recognizable. Always do 11 by 17 if you can! I always recommend color. However, I have resorted to black and white many times due to budget reasons. If you can do color, or you happened to date someone that works at a copy shop, then by all means, color is the way to go! Especially because there is an over abundance of black and white flyers that tend to get ripped down on a consistent basis. Nice paper isn’t necessary, and for bands that want to put up screen printed posters, beware that they will be torn down before you can say “limited edition.”
BBC: How do your promotion nights work – do you reach out to bands that you like or are bands coming to you?
BH: Those are shows that I book on a selective basis, usually for my friends bands or bands that I enjoy listening to on a regular basis. I started booking shows a few years ago and have progressed since then into booking once or twice a month. I have a monthly residency at O’Briens as well, which enables me to help out touring bands and local bands the same. Sometimes, if there is a band that is on tour that I enjoy, I will reach out to them. Bands benefit from my nights because I do extensive promotion and do not book more than two shows a month, as to not spread myself too thin. Some bands do come to me asking about shows, but I am quite picky : )
BBC: What’s the best way for bands to contact you for your services?
BBC: Certainly contact Extinguish for help with your promotion, because a band cannot be everything (and be everywhere) at once!