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The Indie Maximum Exposure 100


Wednesday
Oct282009

Welcome to The Indie Maximum Exposure 100

Below you will find 100 valuable pieces of advice (in blog form) that every artist should consider.

Visit our friends at HypeBot to obtain a PDF of the Indie Maximum Exposure 100. The Indie Maximum Exposure 100 was created by a team of industry experts and by artists that are making a full-time living from their music.

If you have a suggestion, and/or you would like to be considered as a contributor when we update this list, please leave a comment under this post.  Otherwise, you are welcome to leave a comment under each of the 100 posts below.

Thanks to Ariel Hyatt and her staff for working tirelessly to put this list together.

Monday
Oct262009

1: Pick A Niche And Dominate It

There are no ultimate 100 Indie Maximum Exposure vehicles for one simple reason. Indie artists must break from a niche. That niche must be well delineated and can be very very small and still be effective. The mistake most artists make is making a pop record that does not have a niche to break out of.

The adage, think globally act locally can be re-stated think mainstream, act niche. The newer your niche, the greater your chance of becoming identified with it. Almost every Tommy Boy superstar broke out of a niche they dominated if they did not invent. Examples: De La Soul: hip hop hippies, House of Pain – Irish hip hop, Queen Latifah: first proud and powerful African American woman in hip hop, Ru Paul, first drag queen with dance hit, and so on.

So whatever you genre, sub-genre or micro niche there will usually be media that dominates that view of reality. If you are a militant political artist, you would launch in the niche militant political blogs and magazines to establish a beach head. If you a rapper that rapped about uzis and AK’s maybe your entry would be blogs and mags about guns and ammo. David Hazan mentioned a band that was way into Anime and they get written up in the Anime blogs and make a living playing the Anime shows. Will they be able to cross to mainstream? Maybe not but they can be the lords of their niche and make a good living doing that.

So rather than being specific, I would point to blogs and mags in your micro-niche that might not even be music-oriented. You may be more news to a non-music site and reach a core audience that way than trying to get Pitchfork to discover you. There are also opportunities to perform at industry shows in non music industry events and get paid much better than you would in the glutted music market.

In other words make your presentation and target audience as unique as possible so you can be the king of that niche, then target the non-music publications (both on line and off) and the events in that niche. You will be building fans, gaining awareness and making money before you even attempt to cross into the “music industry.”

- Tom Silverman 


Monday
Oct262009

2: Understand You Are in Two Related Industries

You are a songwriter/recording artist and need to record and release compelling music regularly (without fail). 2) You are an entertainer / performer. Your show MUST COMPEL those in the audience (no matter how few) to come to the next show with all their friends. On stage you are an actor. Your character may be yourself. But the character usually needs to be an amplified version of your normal self. Alternately, create characters.

- Rob Gordon

Monday
Oct262009

3: Lead A Scene

Position yourself as a leader. Put something together that doesn’t exist and get others involved.

- Derek Sivers

Monday
Oct262009

4: Look at What Differentiates You - Shove Yourself Into A Niche

Music fans aren’t found on sites for music fans. I’m inspired by certain things– technology, animals, politics, sci-fi/ fantasy – and so is every other artist. Whatever I’m writing about, there’s a community based around that topic. Instead of going after generic “music fan” crowds, I chose to focus on specific niches that share MY interests. Since I’m into podcasting and new media stuff, my music has been resonating particularly well with the geek crowd. That is where I focus my efforts. I’m also a big sci-fi/ fantasy nerd as well, so I hit conventions and gatherings of that nature. Not only is my music relevant to them, I can relate to them on a personal level.

- Matthew Ebel

Create a story that you can pitch to media outlets that don’t specialize in music. (You will have to figure this one out yourself).

- Tom Silverman

Monday
Oct262009

5: Be A Contrarian

Whatever other artists are doing in recording, performance and marketing…do the opposite.

- Tom Silverman


Monday
Oct262009

6: Build Your Network By Helping Others

Amber Rubarth is a 26-year-old singer/songwriter from Reno, who only started playing music five years ago, is now making a full-time living touring. She interned with a booking agent, to understand what’s she would need to do to get herself on the road. She was helpful to the agency and they in turn booked her as an opener for some high profile acts which helped launch her career.

- Derek Sivers

Monday
Oct262009

7: Have Professionalism!

No matter what level of “success” an artist is at, if he or she has invested time into refining and defining who they are and how they want to present their art to the world, that gets my attention. I discover just as many independent artists today as I do artists who have had extra help getting to where they are. What keeps my attention is, first and foremost, music that grabs my ear, but then the quality of the whole effort, which for me includes an artist website, not just a MySpace page, and the extent to which they have their ducks in a row, which now must start with an electronic press kit with high-res photos! I can’t tell you how many times I was able to run something in my magazine on an artist at the last minute, but a search online for a quality photo was not to be found and so they lost the opportunity.

- Erik Philbrook 

http://www.thebrilliantmistakes.com

Monday
Oct262009

8: Create Human Connection & Get In Community

Nothing beats face-to-face networking. And nothing beats a friendly email or a phone call from someone who knows I am a busy person but who nevertheless wants something from me, and can ask for it in a clear, casual and, yes, compassionate way.

- Erik Philbrook

An artist alone is in trouble – an artist in a community of artists has a chance. If you approach people you meet be they musicians or music business people with an at- titude of “how can I help us” rather than “what can you do for me?” you will get much farther much faster.

- Rick Goetz

Monday
Oct262009

9: Set Goals & Have a Plan

Create a plan for three months, for six months, for twelve months, and for your entire career (your biggest dreams). Set goals for each phase of your plan. Add dates and measurable action steps that you will be taking to get results during each phase.

http://tinyurl.com/arielgoals

- Ariel Hyatt

Monday
Oct262009

10: Have a Killer Pitch

Hone your pitch so you know how to talk to anyone at anytime about who you are and what you sound like. Use this website to help you with your pitch: http://www.15secondpitch.com 

http://tinyurl.com/arielpitch

- Ariel Hyatt

Monday
Oct262009

11: Don’t Suck

No amount of marketing can make up for a total lack of talent– this is why people don’t want to spend $20 on major label CD’s anymore. 25 years of piano and a music degree doesn’t guarantee I’ll be a success, but it gives me one hell of an advantage. I try to keep myself sharp and never assume I’m good enough. Even long-time pro baseball players go through spring training every year. If nothing else, I find that surrounding myself with talent raises the bar for my own ambitions. I listen to Ben Folds to inspire my production and piano abilities, I follow people like Ariel Hyatt and Amanda Palmer to improve my outreach, I keep a steady stream of Pat Monahan on my Pandora list to hear what kick ass vocals sound like. I always want to be on my toes.

- Matthew Ebel

http://matthewebel.com

Monday
Oct262009

12: Don’t Measure Yourself Monetarily

 The key seems to be not to measure your indie music success by monetary standards and increased sales… I can’t measure mine that way at all… I don’t have anything for sale (yet)…. The key is asking yourself: How do these tools move you forward toward bigger things happening in your career?

- Jennie Walker

http://jenniewalker.com

Monday
Oct262009

13: Sometimes It’s Better To Think Small

There’s more to life than ABC and the CW. 95% of paid Synch license placements happen beyond primetime network programming, so cast your line in the ocean rather than a puddle. (NOTE: Viacom pays zilch for music placements, which is pure evil since that includes MTV and VH1. It’s amazing exposure to get placed on Real World or MADE, but there’s no paycheck.)

-Phil Putnam

http://www.philputnam.com

Monday
Oct262009

14: Treat Fellow Artists As Colleagues Rather Than Competition

I’ve seen this positive, collaborative attitude pay off handsomely. A while back, I started filming artist-on-artist interviews and have met with everyone from Girl in a Coma, Amanda Palmer, Late of the Pier, The Raveonettes, Semiprecious Weapons, Aqualung, Roxy Epoxy, and 20+ more so far this year. My videos were later licensed by Viacom and played on the LOGO channel. I just posted a Raveonettes interview on my You Tube channel to honor their new album release. It was played on MTV and I got a personal thank you from them. Since I’m writing a solo album now, I’m really cherishing all the fellow artists I’ve treated as my colleagues rather than my competition. Create colleagues and community rather than cattiness and competition.

- Derek Nicoletto

http://www.dereknicoletto.com

Monday
Oct262009

15: Keep Good Company

Surround yourself both personally and professionally with people who will be straight with you. It is easy to lose the forest for the trees as an artist. You need people around you who you can trust and tell you when something you are doing isn’t working.

- Rick Goetz

Sunday
Oct252009

16: Have Humility

It’s great that you have made this jump into the music business as if there is a net to catch you (especially when most of us are uncertain if this net will ever appear) that said – admitting what you don’t know and identifying the things you aren’t good at will make you make the right decisions in your art and your business

- Rick Goetz

Sunday
Oct252009

17: Stop the Musical Masturbation

I wasted so much time playing open mics and writer’s nights in Nashville and Boston. The same is true of all the “hot new music sites” that spring up every 20 minutes on the Internet. The fans do not go there, you’re only entertaining yourself. Every open mic I’ve ever seen is a room full of musicians politely waiting for their turn to get on stage. These events only introduce musicians to other musicians and offer some live performance practice. Trying to sell CD’s at an open mic is like trying to sell time- share condos at a telemarketing convention. Fans go to Facebook or iTunes, not Stereofame. I could waste all my time playing for a crowd of other broke indie artists or I can spend my efforts approaching fans where they’re already congregating.

- Matthew Ebel 

http://matthewebel.com

Sunday
Oct252009

18: Get Personal

I imagine this advice won’t apply to “concept bands” that have a specific theatrical act or image, but getting personal with my fans is what keeps me alive. Good music is barely enough to get fans to hand out 99¢ anymore; they have to be emotionally invested in the artist if that artist wants their loyalty. Don’t get me wrong, there can still be a “fourth wall” during a live concert or video, but real, meaningful connection with the fans is what keeps me in their heads after the show’s over (heck, even your “char- acter” can interact with fans in-character). I chat with my fans via Twitter, Facebook, matthewebel.com and matthewebel.net, and as many other channels as possible. The more I interact with them between performances, the more I stay fresh in their minds and the more inspiration I draw from them.

- Matthew Ebel

Sunday
Oct252009

19. Hand Out A Business Card

I made a card with a little album art, a website address and email - nothing more - and handed it out to anyone who asked what I did, or who even smiled at me at my gigs. The result? Well, even a long-time friend emailed me to say he was embarrassed to admit he’d never bothered to listen to me before, but after pulling my card out of his pocket and going to the website, he just bought all three of my CDs. He brought two friends to my last gig.

- Dudley Saunders

http://www.dudleysaunders.com