So this is it. The final installment in my series on mobile marketing for independent musicians (sob!). We’ve discussed the reality. We’ve established the importance of strategy. Now it’s time to talk tools! So exactly what tools are out there for the average, hard- working DIY musician? Are the all-singing, all-dancing mobile marketing campaigns of established artists totally out of reach?
[Originally written for the Berklee Blog created for their Intern Program way back in January of last year, when Greenberg obviously had a lot of time on his hands, somewhere before going to sleep and those dark hours after midnight.]
When I interview interns for the Ted Kurland Associates program, which I oversee here at TKA, more than a few want to know if they are going to work directly with the agents, or with management, as if the marketing side of it were tangential to their education, not only as an intern at TKA, but as a whole to their career. Of course, working with the artists is more interesting than working with the pictures of the artists; getting into the thick of the business of music is really the key to their understanding of the booking process. I know that, which is why I try and give them face time with the agents.
Hopefully Berklee-ites…As this was first written for Berklee’s intern blog, I needed to address them head on. But you know, for all those who did not get into Berklee, got into, but could not afford Berklee, go somewhere else less fanatically music-oriented, or just answer “uh…Berkeley?” when asked about the Boston Music School, you can insert the name of your own school where-ever you see that moniker; making this as close to a real one-on-one with me — as that is less and less likely to happen the busier I get in this race to the finish — instead of the usual impersonal read you get off a blog like this one.
So, let’s start this again. Hopefully (Insert Your School Name Here & add the “ites” or just add, “all the young dudes and dudettes”) reading this will have a career where they can afford to shave off a nice percentage for a manager; one who understands all this tangential business kind of stuff and can honestly oversee the marketing. For nowadays, you need the right kind of marketing crew who knows how to use all the bleeding-edge tools-of-the-minute in order to shoot your career into the stratosphere, and, even more important, keep it there. Before you do, there is one basic term you need to understand. It’s not too hard to get, though I am perplexed when starving artists don’t even have this tool tucked under their belts. Perhaps that’s why they are starving?
Any artist hoping to break through in the digital age has a fundamental decision to make; embrace wholeheartedly a DIY pathos and work ethic, or throw in the towel now and reconcile oneself to hating on those whose perceived ease of success masks tireless work, focused dedication, and strategic planning—don’t think Skrillex deserves his meteoric success? Let’s see you make a commitment to your fans to try and play 322 shows next year! (www.billboard.biz/bbbiz/industry/record-labels/skrillex-on-how-he-got-5-grammy-noms-we-1005601152.story.)
Everyone wants attention. You want it too, right? Of course, you do.
In fact, that’s the first crucial step in marketing: getting people (specifically, your ideal fans) to simply notice you among all the noise and chaos of their busy lives.
The “Four P’s” is a term used to describe the traditional Marketing Mix: Product, Price, Placement, and Promotion. Well, I’m going to borrow from that expression and talk about the Four P’s of Playing Live Shows: Preparation, Promotion, Performance, and Post-Show. This series of blog posts will cover the things that you can be doing as a live performer to maximize each show. Part 1 is all about preparation.
The Four P’s of Playing Live Shows: Preparation
We’re going to start with the assumption that you’ve chosen a venue and confirmed a date with the venue booker. For tips about getting booked, see one of my previous posts 5 Ways to Impress Venue Bookers and Get More Gigs.
Once the gig is confirmed, here are some things you will need to prepare for the show:
Who will the opening band(s) be?
I guess the first question really is will there even be an opening band? The answer will almost always be yes, as the benefits are clear. An opening band can warm up the crowd, hopefully bring their own fans to the show, and help with the promotion of the show. So when choosing an *opening band, a few things to consider (*and if you happen to be the opening band, much of this advice can still apply):
A common misconception of a record producer is someone who has the money to finance expensive recording projects. While some producers are really the one that finances the project, this is only the tip of an iceberg in knowing the detailed job of the record producer. If you like to become a producer, the four steps outlined below is a big help. Let’s get started..
I often like to compare business practices of other industries and to take the lessons learned to apply it towards a music career. The other day, I was thinking about the food industry and it was so much like our world in music. I grew up in a very entrepreneurial family and started helping my parents’ restaurant business when I was still in elementary school so many of these lessons came quite early in life.
Here in Portland, OR, most people are starting their food business in the form of a food cart. It’s less expensive, there’s less risk, and you’re often grouped together in a “pod” of other food carts so often times you’ll just get crowds of hungry people who would like some food but are unsure of what they’d like yet (or you can be exposed to the customers of other carts). Picture yourself as a chef who wants to make a living doing what they love for a living: cooking. Not much unlike the music industry isn’t it?
Ariel Hyatt Gets The Answers From Corey Denis
Corey Denis is a woman I admire deeply. 5 years ago, and I hired her as a consultant when I took my traditional PR firm to digital and she was instrumental in helping me to get my head around how to think differently and embrace social media (Yep, even I hated it at first too). Here is just a sampling of Corey’s brilliance:
Ariel Hyatt: Why is it important that artists participate in social media?
Corey Denis: At the very least, using social media as part of an over all marketing strategy has a direct impact on Music Discovery Optimization and Search Engine Optimization, creating exposure which increases the chance of sales. In the digital environment, artists have a new chance to interact with, and sell to fans surrounded by unlimited shelf space and unique experiences online and off. Authentic participation in the “social media” space is a lot like going to the merch table after a show and selling your own merch, signing record albums or cds or shirts or USB drives…
There are many examples of the benefits of working in harmony with nature. When first venturing out beyond home a child is taught to walk with traffic. A carpenter achieves a cleaner result by going with the grain rather than against it. In sports a team succeeds by taking advantage of what the defense gives them, and there are countless other examples that express why it is better to work with the flow rather than push against it. For the past ten years the recorded music industry has ignored this strategy, and stubbornly clung to a business model that is no longer in harmony with they way people consume music by predominantly releasing albums in a single song economy.
According to Nielsen Soundscan, in 2011 there were 1.374 billion digital transactions last year. Of those only 103 million or 7.5 % were for albums. This means that approximately 1 out of 14 times a consumer went to buy music online last year they were purchased an album. First with Napster and MP3s, then iTunes and the iPod, and now with streaming services like Spotify and Turntable.fm—the music consumer has repeatedly demonstrated that they prefer single songs to albums. Despite this fact, nearly 77,000 albums were released last year.
You can’t read an article in the music press without tripping over somebody complaining about Spotify royalties. You’ve heard the chorus: Spotify is destroying what’s left of the CD market. It is cannibalizing iTunes. It is ripping off indie artists. And so on.
So, you think. Spotify must be pretty bad.
But is it?
Your email list is one of the most powerful marketing tools that an artist or band (or a business or brand) can have. Recently some data courtesy of Dan Zarrella and Pure360 has shown that there is a definite science behind the timing of sending your emails, just as there is for posting on Facebook and Twitter. Here are some tips and tricks for getting your email timing just right.
After publishing Why You Should Give Your Music Away for Free here on Music Think Tank, I have been inundated with articles, comments, and other assorted replies decrying that the new digital music business models are killing the music industry. It got me thinking about a crucial distinction that is being overlooked, and the consequences of doing so are preventing many from seeing the opportunities that are abound. It boils down to one main concept.
The music industry today seems, to the casual observer, a veritable “Chicken Little” scenario, with all its members and participants, heads craned piously upward, scurrying about as if the sky were falling—the firmament of their reliable, decades-old business model crashing about them. From the haughtiest record company executive to the lowliest basement-dwelling ensemble, everyone in the music business is struggling to shore up their respective rungs on the industry ladder.
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(Updated July 8, 2015)