Street Teams

If you're in a band and feel a bit lost, wandering around that musical wasteland where you're too talentless to make it on the live circuit and not talentless enough to make it into the top ten, there are other routes into the music industry. One such route is to become part of a street team.

Being such a vastly sexier lifestyle than tucking your trackies into your socks and hanging around outside your local fast food restaurant, it appeals to those with a little more about them. Some call it child labour, made legal because no one actually gets paid. Some say it's exploitation of the fans and promoting nothing but a band's 'stardom' ideology. But where there is fun, there are always miserable bastards telling you it's bad. On the flip side, it's voluntary; you will meet a crowd of new people and, potentially, it's your foot in the door of an industry notoriously swamped with as many locked doors as there are hands knocking on them.

Street teams are a lower-profile band/venue/record label's alternative to expensive PR. In return for gig tickets and band merchandise, you walk the streets accosting everyone you see who might look vaguely interested in the music you're promoting. You might be asked to pressurise promoters or venues into booking bands by calling and asking if the band are playing there - so essentially your job is to create the appearance of a band with a wider following than it probably has or, as is often the case, it probably deserves.

But they don't just take any old stalking obsessive into street teams, you know. You have to apply, sometimes even with a CV, and are often disappointed by being turned down. I've read numerous street team forums, and seen threads like, "I LOVE BLOC PARTY BUT THEY TURNED ME DOWN!!!!" Well dur. If you're going to walk the street shouting, "I love Bloc Party" anyway, why would they need to incentivise you? Well, they wouldn't, so my tip is to present yourself with a little indifference on the application form, for instance:

Q: How do you feel about Bloc Party's music?
A: Oops, I just came.

Would be far less likely to get you onto the street team than if you had answered...

Q: How do you feel about Bloc Party's music?
A: They're fuckin' awesome... if you like that kinda thing.

Many journalists, A&R/PR people and all-round industry know-it-alls began life in a street team. And if that isn't a big phat reason not to do it, try the fact that there exists, in all walks of life, cunts who will take everything and give nothing in return. Do not join a street team you haven't researched. If a street team promised Fred a CD for giving out fliers, and he didn't get it, that's a considerably large reason not to bother applying. Of course, Fred could live in a tent, down by a stream, a stream that even the postman doesn't know exists - but what are the chances?

There will be those of you who don't care about the material reward, who just want to help because you love the band and think the world would be a better place if only we all loved them too, but even if the merchandise isn't important, perhaps the morality of it should be.

If the morality isn't important to you, then frankly you deserve to be ripped off. But for the sake of damage limitation, you might like to try e-teams instead. You only have to say how great bands are over the Internet - so chat rooms, emails and the like - less physical work and therefore less to lose, see. WARNING: Beware the music message board if you are a newbie, or travel only mob handed. I recommend the post-and-get-the-fuck-out method of assault. But don't just take my word for it.

If I've still not put you off, you are indeed a street team's dream. But how do you join? Well you can either contact a band you like, through their website, to see if they have, or need, a street team, or you can go to one of the three sites listed below. These sites run multiple street teams for different bands, some work for the same bands. I cannot vouch for the reliability of these street team organisers, but I have only listed ones with forums - so at least you can check out the feedback from the other teamers. If you're totally mental, you could just search 'street teams' in Google. It gave me a massive list of organisers - of whom only the three I have listed here had forums. There's always a reason why people are not given a public voice. Think about it.

Roadrunner Records

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