So you’ve got it in your head that you must be signed to be happy. As you know, I am very much against labels as they are 95% of the time a terrible financial decision. However, you don’t care. Cool, let’s work with that.
A little over a year ago I read a chapter in Ariel Hyatt’s book Music Success in Nine Weeks on newsletters. After reading it I felt like I had made many many mistakes with how I was writing my music newsletter. I began a journey in salvaging whomever I had left that was reading them to use a new format to re-engage them in my music career. One in which I feel many musicians will have to do based on what I am going to say below.
There has been a lot of talk about Google+ recently, and rightly so. When the Goliath of the internet launches a new product, we’d all be wise to pay attention. And while I agree that it can be a powerful tool for musicians to share their work, everything I’ve read in the music blogosphere has missed the point. So far, the articles I’ve seen have focused on the eventual addition of “brand pages”, or pages that are attached to a band rather than an individual. But Google+ is for people, not bands.
Welcome back to Musician’s Arsenal! In this edition, I’m very excited to be presenting Onesheet to you. Onesheet is a very easy and effective web presence solution for musician’s struggling to create an attractive website. For those of us who can’t build a nice WordPress site to save our lives, Onesheet is here to save the day (while I don’t want to give the impression that creating a Onesheet excludes you from needing a website, this is a fantastic option that can take care of your web presence needs while you build a website the right way).
Part of being a DIY artist is marketing yourself like an entrepreneur or small business owner: You’re presenting the brand of “You, Inc.,” comprised of all the unique things about your music and you as an artist. And while putting some tracks up on social media platforms like Facebook and Myspace or on your own website is an important part of your larger portfolio of marketing tactics, you can’t just leave it at that and hope that someone will eventually stumble across you. A very important part of your PR campaign as a DIY artist is presenting yourself well to blogs, podcasts, online music communities, music websites and magazines. It’s a given that if you’re at the stage where you’re ready to approach the press about your music, you should have at least two things: a professional-sounding collection of your songs – whether that is in the form of an LP or a full-length album – that represents you at your best; tangible proof that you are playing whenever and wherever possible, working hard at providing an engaging experience for your fan base – who essentially act as your paying “clients,” buying albums and coming to your shows – and to turn new people onto your music. Assuming you have both those things going for you, what comes next?
You would be hard pressed to NOT have heard of Google+, the newest social networking and sharing tool from Google which after one month of existence boasts around 18 million users. Artists are already bombarded with a plethora of tools to help them connect with their fans, but Google+ truly adds some unique features which have great potential for integration into a musician’s marketing arsenal.
I’ve been meaning to write this article for a looonnggg time, and I am finally finding the time to get around to it. It really irks me whenever I hear somebody say they are dissatisfied with digital music. It doesn’t have to be some boring, robotic thing, people! Despite what some industry folks may tell you, there are still tons of music fans out there that prefer the experience that a physical music item can provide. I am one of them. Believe it or not, there are ways that artists can bring some of the physical album experience to digital music. Some of it is common sense, and some of it takes a little “out of the box” thinking, but it is indeed possible.
Derek Sivers revolutionised the way music is distributed when he created CD Baby. Since then many others versions have popped up. Is there scope now for another CD Baby-esque venture?
Quality graphic design is expensive. I paid $500 just to license the cover image for my last album, plus $600 for the rest of the design. That’s fine every couple of years, but now that I’m releasing songs individually, I need a cover design every month or two. I decided to give 99designs a try, and the results far exceeded my expectations. For $145, I got 96 custom designs from 33 different designers. Sure, some were amateur, but a solid half were usable, and a handful were excellent.
Sound too good to be true?
If you continually follow new people on Twitter, you will quickly get a couple hundred (to thousands) of people you are following, and your Twitter timeline will move way too fast to stay up-to-date with. Worse than that, you will have lost context of who all these people are that you decided to follow. Here’s how to stay organized:
Artists sometimes have trouble making friends with regular people. Especially if they’re eccentric artists. This can hurt their potential success, given that a large fan base consists mostly of regular type people. The good news is, artists can usually do well at befriending other artists–of greater or lesser eccentricity. When artists become friends with each other and start forming communities, scenes, etc., their momentum often leads to artistic movements. What began as local movements ultimately end up influencing global trends and styles in music, fashion, film, and the list goes on.
This contribution is by Bas Grasmayer (@Spartz), head of online communication at official.fm, a d.i.y. platform for music creators and content owners. Be remarkable, be easy to discover, turn your fanbase into a party, connect, listen. Those were the final words of my article when I introduced my thesis’ main theory of the ecosystem of fans on hypebot back in March. Being a perfectionist, I’ve been waiting with the public release of my thesis until I felt that the layout matched the content. I teamed up with a wonderful designer called Ryan Van Etten, who built an amazing site for this thesis, which you can visit at http://basbasbas.com/thesis (and the entire thing is available in its entirety for free).
If your aim as an artist is to purely chase a record deal as a means to succeeding in this business, I will tell you right now that you are doomed for failure. You can throw all the trumped up statistics around that you want, but fundamentally your chances of actually landing a record deal are extremely slim. Furthermore, your chances of actually making money directly from that deal are pretty much zero.
Hypebot posted a nice article with three tips about your own domain. Good tips. But I want to add two more tips that I think are even more important and come from my personal experience working with many clients.
1. Auto Renew – Set your domain to auto renew. Just do it! I promise you will not be sorry. This means that when your domain expires it will automatically be renewed, with no interruptions. I have had too many experiences with clients, large and small, who did not auto renew their domain and did not notice the emails being sent to them to alert them to the need to renew. One day somebody notices the website is down and the panic begins. The scramble begins to quickly get the domain renewed and back online, in the meantime your site is down and often replaced with a generic page. This leads into tip number two.
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(Updated July 8, 2015)