What would be the worst-case scenario for you as a musician? You might think it’d be having precisely zero fans, or having people actively hate your music. But unless the hatred reaches Rebecca Black levels, at least it’s feedback you can use to improve what you do. In truth, the most damaging situation is having a small, gradually growing fanbase, getting decent feedback, but not seeing how it’ll ever take off enough to generate a decent income any time soon. Is this you? And what can you do about it?
As many of you know Cyber PR® is a hybrid of Internet Marketing, Social Media and PR. I am an avid Internet Marketing student and I gather the nuggets I learn from my studies for musicians.
For many years, I’ve attended internet marketing retreats and seminars; a favorite of mine was a two-day intensive course run by the incredible marketer, Ali Brown.
The course was a whirlwind, and the core principles I learned were both basic and critically important.
The Music Industry
Thinks Out Loud
- David Dufresne: Is Your Music in an Art Gallery or at Ikea?
- Ariel Hyatt: How to Write Engaging Newsletters - Ariel Hyatt’s Greeting, Guts and Getting!
- Dave Cool: The Four P’s of Playing Live Shows: Performance
- James Hill: Turn Your CD into a Kick-Ass Marketing Tool
- Simon Tam: How to Use Internet Trends to Market Your Band
If you use the internet frequently, chances are that you’ve been noticing a few things on the rise: meme images or animated .gif’s, certain types of videos, infographics, etc.
Why not use these viral trends and put your own spin on it to create fun, engaging, easy-to-share content with your fans?
- Memes: Meme images have exploded online, especially in geek culture. These images have spread to billions, each with their own take of the images, from “Y U NO” guy to the ever so lovable Nyan cat. You can create your own memes for free using generator sites like weknowmemes.com and memegenerator.net. You can make it more personal fans by talking about specific points in your band’s history, favorite songs or themes, and also inviting them to create some of their own. Most meme websites also provide multiple examples of each image in case you don’t understand the logic behind that type of meme. Read a few, then create your own. Here are some that I made for my band, The Slants, that generated some great buzz from our fans:
The “Four P’s” is a term used to describe the traditional Marketing Mix: Product, Price, Placement, and Promotion. I’m borrowing from that expression to 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. In Part 3, it’s all about your performance:
Are you still not sending out newsletters to your fans? Studies prove you should be… Boston based research firm Chadwick Martin Bailey has completed a study that all musicians should know about. Here are the important highlights:
Three-quarters of web users are likely to share content with friends and family, and nearly half do so at least once a week. But while much social networking content is built around such shared items, most people still prefer to use email to pass along items of interest.
The study goes on to say:
Overall, 86% of survey respondents said they used email to share content, while just 49% said they used Facebook. Broken down by age, the preference for email is more pronounced, as users get older. And only the youngest group polled, those ages 18 to 24, reverses the trend, with 76% sharing via Facebook, compared with 70% via email.
So, if your audience is older than 24 you better be thinking about your newsletter strategy now! In conclusion the study says:
“Rather than focusing on sharing content they thought the recipients would find helpful or relevant (58%), most respondents cared more about what they thought was interesting or amusing (72%).
Here’s the entire study if you want to read it (with lots of pretty graphs too): http://bit.ly/b4dfcI
So, ask yourself: Are you including content in your newsletters that is interesting and amusing?
Imagine a painting that you really like. Imagine that you see that painting for the first time at an opening in an art gallery (think a fancy, somewhat pretentious art gallery…). You like the image, the colors, the technique, etc. You’re impressed. You love that painting.
It would look awesome in your living room, wouldn’t it? You have a chat with the artist, where she explains the concept and the process behind creating the painting, the materials used, and what it means to her. She tells a bit of her life story, and how and why she became a painter. You have a glass of wine; you discuss the painting with a few more people. They also like it.
The Music Industry
Thinks Out Loud
- Ariel Hyatt: In Defense of 1,000 True Fans – Part XII - How Kat Parsons Has Built Her Mailing List to Over 10,000 Strong
- Barry Gardner: Track names in iTunes
As we all increasingly download our music rather than browsing through the shelves of our local record shop, album artwork is less important. Or is it?
There is evidence to suggest that musicians and audiences are still interested in imagery surrounding music.
“I like a bit of controversy. It tests the nation’s intelligence.”
When photographer and director David Boni came up with the idea of hanging The Stranglers in a kids’ swing park, bass player JJ Burnel, replied “I like a bit of controversy. It tests the nation’s intelligence.” And so, the cover of brand new album ‘Giants’ was born. Currently touring the album – and, inevitably, some of their classic tracks like ‘No More Heroes’, ‘Golden Brown’ and ‘Peaches’ – the band has seen a revival in fortunes across Europe, only tainted by drummer Jet Black’s recent illness.
I recently started a discussion on TED.com discussing Rob Reid’s presentation, The$8 billion iPod, and a response that was posted by Ken Sanney. While my original intent was discuss the simplification of complex issues, people began some passionate arguments about piracy and copyrights. You can read the whole thing (with comments) here from TED’s conversation page.
I started getting frustrated because the majority of the people posting were not involved in the music industry nor did they have any knowledge of copyright law. If there’s one thing that I can’t stand, it’s simply the regurgitation of rhetoric, especially when there’s no basis in logic and not supported by evidence.
Here’s my personal take on the issue. If you’d like to see my responses to all of the traditional arguments in favor of unauthorized piracy and the debate whether copyright protection should exist at all, please check out the TED debate linked above.
Once I deliver a master disk to a client I often receive a call or email asking a common question. I am often asked how to get the track titles and artist details to be listed in the iTunes application. Contrary to popular belief iTunes does not retrieve track names from the CD itself. Red Book CD’s do have the capability to contain sub code data such as CD TEXT for track names, artist etc. These are pre defined fields within the specification that will accept alpha numeric data for the track names and artist, amongst other details. However, iTunes does not get this information from the disk itself. Instead it accesses an online internet database (Gracenote Media Database) from which it retrieves that information. here follows a quick guide to inputting that data. The following information is relevant as of iTunes version 10.6.1.7
In Defense of 1,000 True Fans – Part XII - How Kat Parsons Has Built Her Mailing List to Over 10,000 Strong
I met Kat Parsons through a mutual friend and she hired us to write a full marketing plan for her. After working closely with her, I thought she would be the perfect addition to the 1000 True Fans series! By putting a strong focus on building her mailing list and genuine engagement through social media, Kat has been able to take the big leap into becoming a full-time musician. Her understanding of building long-lasting relationships with her fans has helped her to build a sustainable career in the music industry, and it is one worth discussing, so enjoy!
The Music Industry
Thinks Out Loud
- Simon Tam: New Ways to Think About Facebook Timeline for Bands
- Alex Hoffman: The Viral Power of Fan Communication: A Case Study On Fleet Foxes
- Leena Sowambur: How To Talk To Strangers
- Chris Robley: How Flexible Pricing Can Help You Sell More Merch
- Simon Tam: How to Handle Problems in the Band
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(Updated January 13, 2016)