Taking it to the streets

Tim Eggerding

Tim Eggerding

By Kyle Moncelle

Picture the glamorous life of an independent, small-name band. There’s practicing every night, writing songs, trying to attract a label’s attention, putting together and playing shows and worrying about establishing a fan base.

Some bands, and even record labels, however, get a little help when it comes to publicity. Enter the street team, a group of dedicated fans who do the work of a publicity team.

“A street team is basically a group of fans of the label,” said Abby Valentine, director of street promotion for Victory Records, a Chicago-based record label. “They’re out there doing the promotional work for us while (the employees of Victory Records) are in the office.”

What makes a street team a unique operation is that volunteers do all of the work required of promoting bands. Valentine said Victory Records gives their street team every CD put out by the label, as well as posters, T-shirts and other products. They also get tickets to shows in their area and a chance to meet the bands.

Ten-year-old Victory Records, which specializes in underground rock and punk music, is regarded by some as the No. 1 indie rock label in the country, Valentine said. They rely on street teams to spread the news of their label across the country.

Valentine said the true value of street teams lies in their motivation, versus someone who was hired to do promotion for the label. “The passion that comes from being a fan that goes along with loving the music, is a better motivator than money,” she said.

Green St. Records, a locally founded and independent record label, uses its entire staff as a street team. They promote not only their bands, but also the free compilation CD that they put out each year and local concerts.

“We have a staff of 40 that acts as one giant street team,” said Josh Morton, junior in LAS and co-founder of Green St. Records. “We use posters, fliers, concerts, we talk to classes, chalk the Quad and use word-of-mouth to promote our shows and our record.

“There’s really no other reason for doing this other than just getting to help these bands get out there and promote the label,” said Brittany Cadwalader, interrelations manager for Green St. Records, junior manager of fund raising and freshman in business.

Morton said that his label’s efforts have been very fruitful. There were 375 people waiting to get a compilation CD of Green St. Records last spring and the first promotional concert of the year, held on Sept. 18, 2004, had more than 500 people in attendance.

“We’re very happy with the results of our street team efforts,” he said.

Cadwalader has been working with Green St. Records since the beginning of the year, she said. She got involved through their booth at Quad Day and has been working as part of the staff ever since.

“There’s something about being part of a record label, that was a big draw for me,” she said.

Valentine echoed this sentiment.

“For a lot of them it’s cool that they’re involved with the label and everything that goes along with that,” she said. “They feel like they’re a part of the production process.”