Now the results of Time Out’s best local bands poll have been revealed, no doubt you have all raced off to find out who the winners are. And while I’m just as keen as anyone to know the scores on the doors, the line ‘Lies, damn lies and statistics’ springs to mind. I’m not being negative about this, but I have to ask just how accurate polls like this are. In the music industry, talent often has nothing to do with winning – just look at The X-Factor and the rest of the talent shows – and it is all down to how a band promotes itself.
When this survey began, my mailbox quickly filled up with beseeching emails from many of the bands involved to vote for them. There’s nothing wrong with that, and I would certainly argue that the winners deserved to win.
However, it’s no coincidence that Beat Antenna, Kaz Money and Jonas Desai either have or have had PR agencies or managers on their side. And then Tim Hassall is extremely good at promoting himself, and has fans from Dubai, the UK, New Zealand and California.
These guys are the winners, and it’s not just because they can nobble the biggest fan base to vote for them: they are also extremely good at playing music. But if you didn’t get a huge vote, there’s no point whinging about the fact you don’t have a mailing list that reaches 10,000 at the click of a button. Why not sit down today and start one? Or better still talk to the experts.
‘We get them out there, get them noticed and get people talking about them,’ Kiera of StickyGinger PR tells me of her client, Beat Antenna. ‘We make sure that the right people know they exist.’
Given that Neil and the boys managed a massive 45 per cent of the ‘Favourite rock/punk band’ vote, she’s doing her job rather well. And it’s interesting to see the runners-up in that category: Universal Rogue. For a band that has only recently started playing gigs in Dubai, they have worked incredibly hard on building up fans and communicating with them directly. They all have day jobs but still they make time to work on their audience. Twenty-nine per cent of the vote after just a handful of gigs is a real credit to them, as well as to their hard-driving tunes – check out ‘Flash Funk’ if you think you can rock hard enough.
So work on it, guys. It’s a crowded market these days and you’ve got to get your name out there to make the most of your talent. Send me an email at email@example.com and I’ll point you in the right direction if you need some tips.
Zahra showcases the latest musical talent on Open Mic every Saturday from 8pm-10pm on Dubai Eye 103.8.