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Music Marketing That's Made-To-Stick

Everybody these days wants to create buzz. They want to grab people’s attention on a large scale. And they want to do it sooner rather than later.

Therefore, everyone wants to know the secret steps they can take to ensure their marketing idea sticks — that it gains traction and reaches the people who need to hear it the most.

A good lesson on this topic comes from musician Paul Hipp. Check out his YouTube music video called “We’re Number 37” — which, as of this writing, has nearly a half million views.

It’s a rockin’ original song that tackles the current health care reform debate in the US with a decidedly liberal slant. And it’s been seen by a LOT of people.

You may think you know where I’m going with this, but I guarantee there’s an unexpected twist coming. So stay with me here …

If I were to ask you why this song has been watched by so many people, you’d probably say because it’s a decent tune about a timely issue. Plus, it features some clever editing and funny moments throughout — which makes it more likely to be enjoyed and passed on by those who watch it.

Correct! You can’t go wrong with songs about current events, especially when they are done in a creative way that elicits a reaction from people who are exposed to it.

But here’s the thing …

This is not the only music video Paul Hipp has posted. He has several others, most of which also deal with current events from a liberal perspective. And those have respectable numbers — from 1,000 to 18,000 views each. But they pale in comparison to the half million views that “We’re Number 37” has earned.

Here are three lessons we can learn from this:

1) You have to throw a LOT of stuff out there to find something that sticks. Sure, some people hit on something big right out of the starting gate, but that’s rare. The usual pattern with artists who create popular viral videos (or songs, blog posts, ideas, etc) is a history of trial and error.

The more active you are in creating a volume of content to share with your audience, the greater your odds of producing something that will spread on a larger scale. So stay busy creating new stuff!

2) Regular output hones your craft. “We’re Number 37” is Paul Hipp’s 18th and newest video. Look through his previous clips and you can see an evolution. His most popular video is his best one, because he learned by creating all the ones that came before it.

Learn as you promote yourself. Consider it a living, breathing classroom.

3) Being bold and specific helps. “We’re Number 37” is not a generic rockabilly song. It’s about health care reform — a polarizing topic being hotly debated these days — and Paul makes it clear where he stands on the issue.

Don’t be afraid to take a stand or directly appeal to a specific slice of the population with your art.

Another quick example comes from Maria Andros, who has posted 47 YouTube videos on social media marketing and other topics. Most of her videos have between 50 and 25,000 views each. Not bad.

But one stands out at 151,000-plus views. The title? “How to Get Rid of a MIGRAINE Headache.”

Who knew? I’m sure she didn’t.

So … Throw a lot of stuff out there, hone your craft as you go, and don’t be afraid to be bold and specific!


Reader Comments (5)

Nice advise. Cool site. I been trying to do the same. Publishing videos for my songs, all homemade. It takes time but I think is worth it.....I leave you a link to my last video. Hope you like it.

Hope the strategy works eventually....Saludos


October 9 | Unregistered CommenterFrancois

Great advise!

I just finished Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers....and he talks about how it generally takes 10,000 hours of practice until you are an expert at something.... one example is how the Beatles performed over 260 (8 hour!) shows in Hamburg, Germany during the first few years of their career. This is rarely mentioned, people seem to think success comes overnight, but it takes time. SO yes....keep producing material, and developing your skill.

October 10 | Registered CommenterChris Castiglione

Good point, but... the same thing has happened to me. I'm not super prolific on YouTube, but I've had a channel for a few years, and I have one quite successful video on there that has over 100,000 views. What's it called? Putting On My Wetsuit (forgive the gratuitous link, but I might as well illustrate the point).

Turns out that probably two audiences, triathletes and rubber fetishists (hopefully harmless individuals), are really into wetsuit videos. My question is this... How on earth does this help my music career?!?

Great advice. A good video and consistency in posting. I wonder if there is more to it then luck of the draw though. I am curious to find out why you did not talk about SEO?

October 21 | Unregistered CommenterChris

I think you're right to a certain extent. YouTube is a really useful tool in promoting yourself and the greater your presence (ie. the more stuff you have on there) the more likely it is that you will get noticed.

I think the internet is a fantastic way to almost 'boycott' record labels and traditional means of music marketing but I fear it has it's limitations - especially as everyone it seems has a MySpace page and videos on YouTube these days.

In the UK certainly, radio is still essential in getting people to hear your music and hopefully then buy the single/album. This is something I've discussed in more detail for the mancunion paper.


February 18 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca Luck

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