WTF is a Buzz Band?! The Best Advice You’ve Ever Read On How To Be a Buzz Band

So, after a long day of work at your shitty day job, you and your bandmates are playing another show to an empty dive bar. It’s a sultry Saturday night, and you can’t help but feel sorry for yourself because your 90’s cover band hasn’t taken off yet. You’ve spent thousands of hard earned dollars on studio time for your EP that no one is buying and spent countless hours beautifying your band’s MySpace page that is getting only a few plays a day. What am I doing wrong? You ask yourself.

All the while, indie bands like Vampire Weekend, MGMT, Twin Shadow, and Neon Indian are becoming mainstream. Psh, they’re lamestream, you smugly retort, but in the deepest part of your tortured artist’s soul, you long to be just like them. In those quiet moments, smoking your cigarette alone in the alley behind the dead dive bar, you ask yourself, “How did they do it?! How did they make their break?”
Answer: they became buzz bands….

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You are probably wondering: WTF is a buzz band? Is it a band that stands on stage and buzzes like a swarming hive of bees? To confuse you further – YES – that could be a buzz band in the making (gimmicks work). But seriously, “buzz band” is a relatively new term. It can be traced etymologically to the 90’s MTV show “Buzz Bin,” on which artists would be deemed “buzzworthy” before their videos would be played. Sorry, Carles, while you may claim authorship of the phrase “chill wave” – which many buzz bands are – you commit hipster hubris by claiming that you created the term, buzz band. Just sayin’.

Okay, that’s all great and interesting, but I still don’t know what a buzz band is? Fine, I’ll tell you, but it’s really quite simple. In today’s terms, a buzz band is an indie band that rises from obscurity to stardom by going viral in the blogosphere. There are many ways to achieve this online virality, and seemingly endless ways at that, so there’s no excuse not to try, especially because if you don’t become a buzz band, you are most likely never going to succeed in today’s music industry.

It hasn’t always been like this. Less than five years ago, the blogosphere’s power was only a small fraction of what it is today. The music industry has seen a paradigm shift. Social media and blogs are helping indie musicians go mainstream every week by launching so-called “buzz bands.” These new artists gain massive exposure that can launch careers from complete obscurity to international celebrity overnight. Sup Twista?

Now you know what a buzz band is, but how do you become one? You need to be featured on premiere music blogs that have dedicated followers. So, how do you get featured? And what are some good examples of blogs that have single-handedly launched the careers of now mainstream buzz bands?!

Remember that Carles guy that I mentioned earlier? Well, his blog – – is not only the hilarious guilty pleasure of millions of hipsters, who are too cool, or too apathetic, to laugh in public, but it is also one of the most powerful websites for launching the careers of buzz bands. While his blog paints indie artists in an absurdly offensive and inaccurate light, it is all in good fun, and it’s smart because these tabloidesque headlines are amazing at generating buzz – albeit untrue -about your band. Ever heard the phrase, there’s no such thing as bad publicity? In this case, it’s true.

Another important music blog is, which was actually started by an alum of my high school, David Bartholow and his pal Chris Cantalini, who both still live in my hometown of Dallas, TX. Just like Carles, these guys also host their own show on Sirius XMU (my favorite radio station, ever). Having either of them feature your song on their blog, or better yet, play one of your songs on XMU is instant indie cred and guarantees to get hipsters and music nerds talking about you as if they’ve been listening to your stuff for years.

The sad truth is, you and your 90’s cover band are probably never going to get featured on either of these extremely selective music blogs. Lucky for you, there are thousands of other great music blogs to choose from. New estimates indicate that there may be upwards of 50,000 music blogs on the Internet today, so finding the right blog can be daunting. You should utilize music blog aggregators such as, or Google Blog Search, to find blogs that feature music in your genre.

Once you have one or two high quality songs that are mastered and ready to share with the world, start sending emails to your favorite music blogs to see if they might want to feature your music. But please remember to be personal, not spammy. Most top music bloggers get upwards of a hundred or more submissions from needy artists on a weekly basis. You will be immediately disappointed when only about 30% or less of the bloggers you’ve emailed even respond, but don’t give up now. You’re just on your way! There are numerous techniques that can be used to guarantee that some bloggers will respond to you and most likely want to feature your music, potentially on a regular basis.

My advice (and what I’ve done) is create a “Blog Promotions Contact List” using a GoogleDoc spreadsheet, include columns for the name of the blog, the genre, the name of the blogger, their email address, the date you last contacted them, and the date they last contacted you, if at all. The great thing about a Google Doc like this is that you can share it with your bandmates, or promotions team, and divide up the time consuming work of finding the blogs, their emails, etc… Also, you’ll want to divide up the work of sending out personalized emails to each of these bloggers, which – if your list has a couple hundred, or even thousands! – can take endless miserable hours if done alone. Do not be tempted to send out one mass email to all of your contacts because – as a rule – music blogs will always reject these types of messages a spam, your music will be automatically sent to the trashcan, and likely, you will be blocked, preventing future emails from ever being seen, forever ruining your chances with that blogger. I cannot emphasize enough: DON’T BE SPAMMY, BE PERSONAL.

So, that’s definitely enough to get you and your band out of the darkness and into the Internet spotlight. You are now on your way to becoming the next big Buzz Band!!! GOOD LUCK! And below are some quick tips that you might also want to consider, thanks for reading, and goodbye for now!

Quick Tips for Any Aspiring Buzz Bands:
1. Get a Hot Chick in your band
2. Beards
3. Play SXSW
4. Remix popular songs
5. Let other bands remix your songs
6. Blend different styles
7. Be mysterious
8. Befriend other buzzbands
9. Make the effort to put yourself out there
10. Know how to make music

Written by Houston Golden




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