Guerrilla marketing questions


i have received considerable backlash for my ideas of creating a marketing campaign for my music. i will break everything down because i trust you guys as artists and because i need a true art, music, and creative opinion based upon the information i provide.

this picture is going to be taped on poles and signs and bus stops. but i need to make sure my ideas are not creepy or psychotic or uncomfortable for the general public, in particular youth and their families. i live in a quite suburban upper class area where most things are high end. private schools, high rent, nothing that is poor or lower class. i want to post this multiple times on places youth may see. obviously i would love for adults and parents to get this however, i am not in the market for adult audiences. not the typical suburban mom&dad. so my question to you is this. if i go through with this plan, am i projecting a complete psycho and crazy creep by doing so? posting this on pathways where youth may see it and possibly question what exactly it means? my audience will eventually be youth. because angst etc. but also my audience eventually will be far more adult in nature given that my content is deeply adult but not graphic.

this picture shows my handwriting on top, followed by a sticker i recently purchased (the exact parental advisory sticker) which i will place on the outside of each ziplock bag. the lighter signifies the flash drive i will place inside containing my adult but not completely adult content. some tracks are extremely family friendly, some are strange idm tracks most youth will not pick up on. does this idea sound crazy & creepy? be harsh because i need to know before i drop bombs. not actual bombs, music bombs- militant love widespread to reach all i possibly can. thoughts?


If I saw something like this out on the street in the suburbs, I’d be intrigued but also dubious. It’s generally not a great idea to stick a random usb stick into your computer and i think most people feel that way. It feels creepy in the context of the potential for a nefarious trick. Being trusting of strangers is a sign of naivete in urban and suburban neighbourhoods. If I saw this among the freebies and zines in coffeeshops, bars or music venues, I might be a bit more trusting but again I wouldn’t advice anyone to insert an unfamiliar usb stick. I’ve thought about this idea a bit before-I was imagining just leaving usb sticks on bus seats, on benges and random places like that and there’s the music and a text file inside- curiosity could prompt someone to check out what’s on there. But yeah usb’s are scetchy generally, how about tapes? Stickers with a QR to your streams? Or you could go ahead with the ziplock usb but have a QR sticker on it that leads to a website that shows you are legit.


Instead of usbs just use post its in ziploc bags that say …
“[insert artist name] @ bandcamp”


It is considerably creepy and mysterious, but if it’s all in good fun and you’re OK with whatever type of attention it may bring (positive and negative) back to you, maybe it’s worth doing anyway.

This reminds me of a noise artist who made the news by mailing random people his noise tape (I’d have to dig up the article to find out who he was, but it’s safe to say he was an absolute nobody). The problem and reason why he got into hot water was because the little pamphlet he had taped to the cassettes said something to the effect of “I will burn these buildings to the ground”, and obviously some people took this literally rather than an artistic expression and probably thought he was going to literally commit arson or something.

The moral here (for me) is that you need to be OK with the backlash if you’re going to do something so bold. Personally it’s not worth it to me (I’m 32 and I have no desire to be edgy anymore, let alone make any more music), but it’s still worth it for a ton of people to come up with creative ‘marketing’ strategies like this.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m always doing marketing stunts to try to get people interested in sample packs and other things. But usually it’s just giving out free coupon codes, running sales, and working hard to beat my own deadlines to get stuff out there. But at the end of the day, I think it’s the quality that counts and not always the promotion tactic itself.


USB and QR codes are sketchy/dodgy, so they could increase your fail ratio.

On the other hand the Bandcamp sticker is a good idea, but most people won’t follow.

Cassettes WERE the best way to go, same as CDs but times have changed.

How about super cheap usb players? Should cost about as much as getting cassettes duplicated…


Actually some MP3 players are less than a 5 on eBay, might get some if I ever play a live gig


Unfortunately, I have to agree with everyone else. There is no way I’d stick a random USB drive in my computer :confused: Personally, I don’t find it creepy or anything. I would probably simultaneously believe it was just someone trying to spread their music but not able to trust it enough to put it in my computer.


But if I were to find or be given something like this I wouldn’t object


this means alot. gotta do QR codes


QR codes, but still sketch and a waste of time. i’m left with the same thing i always had. my messages & my website plugs. i guess i gotta prepare for a good year before i release any of this :frowning:

whatever- what do you think about skate parks? or graffiti’d bridges?


you wanna know what i think is bullshit? i think that i have to “appease to the world” is bullshit. i think that i have to edit my content and approach because “well someone may not like it” is bullshit. i should be an anarchist who doesn’t care what type of rubble i create. but i’m not. i care about other’s fear. i care about families and children. i care about the general population and because of that bullshit i must put myself in a little box, EXACTLY like the music industry puts you in a box because, “your music is not appealing to an audience” or “your music is not exactly normal and fit for radio play” “your music is not safe” your music pushes the agenda of what people consider “normal” and I AM NOT NORMAL!!! but because some lunatic idiot decides to shoot up a fucking movie theatre and because some moron decides to post texts about his sexual encounters with his teacher ALL OF A SUDDEN I AM A FUCKING BAD GUY. it’s stupid. it is REALLY REALLY REALLY stupid. and in the end i can only thank myself for this. if i had just gone to college like a normal person i wouldn’t have to worry about “buying flashdrives to push my underground music” i could just do it. and not hurt my bank account. and cover all my bases of being “family friendly” and “safe” because i could just hire a lawyer if shit hit the fan. “no your honor he was acting out of love” $2,000.00 later i am a free man. THIS is why i hate society. because of THIS. because i am not murdering school children, i am not kidnapping innocent college girls, i am not taping stuffed animals to a pole and lighting them on fire in the name of sexual discovery, i am not shooting up brothels because i can’t have sex with a woman and my parents never approved of me. like… there is no good anymore. there is no normal. it is all fucked political correctness and “you must stay in line” when did art EVER stay in line??? but guess what? if i do this wrong, i could get fucking arrested or evicted or worse. and then instead of going to my 9-5 job and paying my rent i can’t afford i will be in a jail cell AGAIN eating shit food with maniacs stealing my socks and my cornbread which isn’t actually cornbread. FUCK SOCIETY.


This actually doesn’t sound illegal. I think you could get away with this one in certain contexts :smile:


Have you considered submitting your record to a label online and seeing what kind of traction you could get that way?

I personally think your usb stick idea wouldn’t get very much traction. I agree with all the other reasons presented here in the thread. One more reason though that I’ll add….

Nobody gives a shit. Seriously, they don’t.

You need representation to get people onboard. That or you need to get out and play shows to make an effort to gain a following. Those people will give a shit and will probably gladly chuck a usb stick in their computer should you get them on the hook at a show.


yes. i am seriously going to submit my music to multiple platforms idmf being the soul and then S27 & adultswim. you telling me “nobody gives a shit” really put reality into perspective. cut me down off my high horse and i needed that. i know i need representation and i know how i can do that. but honestly, i’m done with the music industry. i don’t want the things i did ten years ago. i will do a handful of live shows but it will be on my own time and my own terms. everything for me is only digital now. and nothing is going to be public.


I understand being mad at the world or society but when you break it down it’s all just people like you and me, trying to do our best and also hoping we don’t get a virus on our computer. Turn those eyes from inward-outward and see that we’re all part of the same whole. If you want to market your music, be the listener, how do you find music? What makes you want to check it out? What makes you care, and what makes you say " I don’t need to bother with this right now".


The IDMf Netlabel would happily listen to your record for consideration and review for potential release. We just reposted our submission guidelines earlier today in fact. Just trying to remind people of the process in case they forgot. Link….

And to clarify my nobody gives a shit point, I should have added….

But it isn’t personal.

Looking forward to hearing your release whenever it comes out on whatever avenue gets it out there.


Interesting thread, some interesting takes.

I’ve tried a few guerrilla marketing campaigns in the past. Had decent tracktion with QR codes in places like coffee shops that allow posting, but as others have said people don’t really care unless there is some kind of interesting hook, which is usually the hardest part.

Be it online or IRL, you typically need something that pulls people in. Certain niches will repond well to certain things. I’ve released music exclusively on torrent trackers before but that’s typically not a good way to make money (if that’s your goal) and you don’t really get any feedback or know if anyone’s listened to it, you just see the peers.

I’ve always thought it’d be cool to hire a graffiti artist and to get them to embed an easter egg QR code into a piece ( a legal one, not advocating for tying yourself to a crime ).

It’s a very interesting discussion point. Most of my ideas in this area though don’t really translate to awareness around a brand or sales though, more just fun marketing experiments.


I’ll add too, lots of people like those AR/treasure hunt type games. Leave clues in realspace that point to places on the web, that give you directions to the next clue, etc stuff like that.

Always thought that would be a fun way to release an album, try and design a AR treasure hunt for it. Again though, work intensive and kind of adjecent to the goal of getting people to listen to your music lol.


I think the whole trick is to just make good music.

And no, I haven’t pulled it off yet either. It’s very difficult.


i agree totally with this. the treasure hunt is sooo much fun!