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Rich Band, Poor Band - Why You Should "Invest" in Pull Marketing

There is a very famous (and powerful) book called “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”, by Robert Kiyosaki.  In the book, Kiyosaki explains that “poor parents” will recommend buying your home and “investing” $2,000 a month in your equity, instead of throwing it away on rent.  “Rich parents”, on the other hand, would encourage you to find a property that you can buy for $2,000 per month, and rent to someone for $2,500.

The “poor kid” would build equity over time and would stop “wasting” $2k on rent every month.  The “rich kid”, however, would build equity at the same pace, while bringing in $500 in extra cash to pay their own rent with or, better yet, make another investment with.  If they properly rinse and repeat they can have four tenants building their equity four times faster, and their own rent would be paid for by the extra $2k they’re bringing in every month.

This is the strategy of smart, rich people, and it turns out that this strategy applies very much to marketing your music.  The difference is that the investment you make marketing your music is usually even more precious, because it’s your time.

Push Marketing vs. Pull Marketing

To break down music marketing into its two simplest forms, there is Push Marketing and Pull Marketing.

Push marketing requires that you actively distribute your message.  Fliers, “friending” people on social networks, asking fans to re-tweet about you.  Anything that has you running around talking about yourself is push marketing and it requires an investment every single time you want to do it.  If you stop doing it, the effects wear off.  More importantly, while you’re doing these things you are unable to invest your time in more important matters, like making good music!

Pull marketing or, as Brian Hazard likes to call it, passive promotion are things that you can setup one time and then continuously reap the benefits of.  Investing your time into passive promotion is making the “rich dad” investment.  Rinse and repeat with these types of services and efforts, and soon you have dozens of marketing initiatives working for you while you make more investments elsewhere.

The Power of Pull Marketing and Passive Promotion

Anybody who understands compounding interest will get this right away, but few people realize that the power of compounding can build your music career over time.  Here’s how…

Let’s say you were going to spend 30 minutes every day marketing your music, and let’s say that the newest push marketing tool at your disposal will generate 5 new fans every day that you use it.  At the end of two years, you would have 3,650 new fans.

Instead, what if you dedicated 60 minutes each week to passive promotion?  You would spend 40 minutes finding one good promotional opportunity, and 20 minutes getting it setup.  What if these opportunities generated only one new fan each week?

After two years, spending only one hour per week building passive promotion that generates one fan every week after that, how many fans would you have?  5,460!

How many hours would you have saved yourself?  260!

The compounding effects of investing in passive promotion only become more apparent over time.  After four years, push marketing for 30 minutes every day would generate only 7,300 fans, exactly double what two years did.  Four years of passive promotion, on the other hand, generates 21,736 with just a fraction of the effort.

What if you decided not to cut your hours and you invested the same 3.5 hours per week, finding 3.5 opportunities that would generate 1 fan every week?  At the end of two years, you would have 19,110 fans.  At the end of four years you would have 76,076.

Obviously, the numbers above are crude, and finding new passive promotion opportunities every week is not necessarily a simple task.  However, even if it takes you the full 3.5 hours per week finding just one good passive opportunity, it will produce significantly better results in the long run than the same time spent hammering a push marketing tool.

Rich Band, Poor Band

We’ve pretty clearly demonstrated that investing your time in finding passive promotional opportunities will prove far more effective eventually.  The same is true for how you spend your limited marketing money.  With all things being equal, any time or money you spend on pull marketing leaves you free to invest time elsewhere.  If you spend $50 per month on a tool that requires you to also spend 20 hours using it, that’s 20 hours you’re not spending on your music or on finding passive promotion elsewhere.

Even spending $100 for a passive marketing tool that generates the same number of fans as a $50 push marketing tool makes incredible sense.  That 20 hours could be spent doing other forms of promotion, or working at a job that generates more income than the extra $50 you spent.

That is, unless your time is worth less than $2.50 an hour, and then there are other, more important things you should be worrying about.


Joey Flores is Co-founder and CEO of Earbits, an online radio platform designed to help artists, labels and concert promoters market their music and live events. Submit Music to Internet Radio on Earbits

Reader Comments (25)

That's really interesting.
Do you have some examples of Passive Promotion? I understand how Pull marketing works but not really Passive Promotion.

June 18 | Unregistered CommenterJan

I'm just curious what would you consider to be pull marketing/passive promotion? Could you possibly give an example?

June 18 | Unregistered CommenterAlejandro

None of this matters if you don't make music people like.

Make good music. Make more. Fans will find it.

June 18 | Unregistered CommenterMusic

This sounds sounds great, but can you give some examples of passive marketing?

June 18 | Unregistered Commentermokkaluv

Here are some examples of what I think pull marketing is:

1) Tweet/share to download
2) Viral Videos
3) Super interesting merch

In the end, it's all about having excellent content (e.g. music, merch, video) that people would end up sharing to others without you necessarily having to do anything else.

June 18 | Unregistered CommenterDon

A pull marketing service would be Facebook ads, or, or trading website links with popular, similar bands, which results in their fans learning of you, and yours learning of them, etc., if those links are just left there to work over time.

Push marketing would be getting the same band to trade email blasts with you. It might generate more immediate fans, but there would be virtually no residual effects.

An example of something that is both is your Facebook fan page. It sits there as a way to capture people who learn of you, but it works best if you are actively pushing out content with it and trying to get people to respond.

Sending out a press release would be an example of pull marketing.
Websites such as and have the capability of reaching your industry of choice, journalist and bloggers.

Suppose multiple journalist decide to write about you on their site regarding your press release topic, you then have the capability of reaching as many visitors that visit their site each day.

Some blogs get tens of thousands of visitors per day interested in that sites content. Now imagine if your press release is picked up by multiple sites with a similar amount of visitors at one time.

This means that the meat of your press release is seen by potentially millions of people in one day.

Over time the links back to your website from the publishers that share your content will cause your website ranking to rise in search engines, if you continuously announce your endeavors via a press release source.

There are more companies that deal with press releases. I would research, then call and ask specific questions regarding the services.

June 18 | Unregistered CommenterStreet Spirit

Ok well, I'm unsubscribing from Music Think Tank.

This is yet another example of the poorly written, confusing and unsubstantiated articles that regularly get posted on this site.

The author has not included a single shred of real world campaign data or a solitary real world case study to support their hypothesis about pull vs push marketing.

Whilst the article was entitled "Why you should invest in pull marketing', it turns out to be a set of back of the envelope doodles on "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" and how many hours work the independent musician could/should be saving themselves.

Which unsurprisingly has prompted a slew of commenters to ask for citable examples of the pull marketing they should invest in - that's what the article promised to be about after all.

The author's first suggestion is "Facebook ads".

Well, if there was ever a good example of effective push marketing it's Facebook ads. The Facebook Ads platform demographically targets Facebook users by geographic location, age, gender, interests and social connections - and then 'pushes' or "serves" an advert to them with the sole aim of getting users to click a URL or 'Like' button.

The author actually specifies in his article that "Push marketing requires that you actively distribute your message". Umm, yeah - that'll be Facebook Ads then.

The second example of pull marketing the author suggests is

But hold on, who is the author again? Ah right, it's Joey Flores - CEO of being the newly launched internet radio/music discovery site that charges musicians $29 for 1800 plays, $59 for 4500 plays and $89 for 8000 plays.


Any potential conflict of interest here?

The term that springs to mind is Trojan Horse.

Would the owners of Music Think Tank care to disclose how Joey Flores came to write this article?

Was this article written specifically for the site?

Was this article re-purposed from an press release?

And are advertisers on Music Think Tank?

June 18 | Unregistered CommenterVigilante Boy

Vigilante Boy:

I wrote this article because I believe strongly that set-and-forget marketing is the most effective strategy for music marketing. Yes, that is also the reason that I started a company that does that. Most industry leaders who contribute content to various industry publications write about the issues they understand best, and usually they are relevant to the author's company. The only place I mention our company is in the comments, which is right after I disclose that I'm the CEO. That's typically how you avoid conflicts of interest, by providing full disclosure.

As for Facebook ads, you don't have to "push" the ad out yourself. You simply setup a campaign and then leave it running (with some optimization required). It's the kind of marketing that can continue to produce results even when you're not actively engaging with it. That's why I consider it pull marketing.

Has anyone been harmed by reading the article? Has anyone been tricked into doing something that's not in their best interests? No, everyone is fine, and a lot of people have reached out thanking us for the perspective. I'm not sure what your actual concern is.

his concern is the articles here are becoming more and more useless. I remember reading articles that actually gave me ideas to go try ,it's like wannabe music advisors with nothing to say. But they're posted to keep the site looking active. I can't actually speak for Vigilante Boy....but that's what I think he's saying....just saying...

June 19 | Unregistered Commentercajeme

Hi Joey,

Thanks for your response.

My main actual concern is that your article and your response both contain bad information.

Musicians look to a site like Music Think Tank for guidance and information to help them navigate the anarchic state of digital flux the music industry is currently in.

People are confused. Anxious. They want to understand what's going on. They want and need advice they can trust. Trusted sources of experienced, field-tested advice.

You are misrepresenting some fundamental marketing concepts, basic marketing disciplines and effective marketing tactics - stuff it's crucial for musicians to understand.

Let me give you some examples of what I'm talking about.

In your response to my comment for instance, you're now referring to something called "set-and-forget marketing", rather than pull marketing (even though the article title referred to pull marketing - not set-and-forget).

Well, anyone considering Facebook Ads or any other CPM/CPC ad serve product would be incredibly ill advised to adopt a 'set-and-forget' attitude - if they're looking to maximise their return on investment. It's just a bad way to characterise it. Online ad campaigns should be treated like tamagotchi. They need constant love and attention. That's good practice.

You're also saying in your response "you don't have to "push" the ad out yourself". That's just a very confused and confusing way of representing it. In your article you describe "push marketing" as something that "requires that you actively distribute your message". But that's EXACTLY what the Facebook Ads platform does - it pushes out messages about your music to people you choose to target. You also talk about "Fliers" and “friending people on social networks" as examples of push marketing. Well again, that's EXACTLY what the Facebook Ads platform does - it distributes digital flyers designed to increase traffic to an external URL or increase the number of social connections/Facebook Likes of a page.

There are several other examples that concern me, but I won't dissect it any further.

I don't doubt that you have good intentions. And I'm sorry if drawing attention to the fact you were advocating your own service as something readers should be investing their money in has made you feel uncomfortable.

Perhaps if you had been able to provide a more coherent explanation of why musicians should invest money purchasing airplay on your platform - by clearly defining the basic marketing principles involved and used real world examples of the return on investment and services like it have provided I wouldn't have felt concerned enough to comment.

And can I ask - how do you know no-one's been harmed by reading the article? How do you know no-one's been tricked into doing something that's not in their best interests? How do you know everyone is fine? How are you measuring that exactly?

For many people, their music is their life's work. It doesn't get any more serious.

Your article and several other articles on this site have given bad advice and I feel it's important someone points that out.

June 19 | Unregistered CommenterVigilante Boy

Hey VB,

Thanks for being so concerned...but dude - you need to chill.

Unless you have paid a lot more than I did to read this article, I'd suggest that you either take this article for what it is - free advice (biased perhaps because the author has a stake in a position..but who doesn't) and quit complaining.

if you don't find it valuable - go start your own blog full of true insight - we all look forward to it... and the comments section.

Full Disclosure - I have no association with any of the authors or sponsors whatsoever. I'm just a musician takin it all in.

June 19 | Unregistered CommenterKeith

Zero substance. Next time, hire someone to ghostwrite for you -- that's a smart investment.

June 19 | Unregistered CommenterJustin Boland

I think you're reading more into it than is there. This is an article about optimizing opportunity cost by evaluating the long term effectiveness of one's efforts and, potentially, understanding for the first time that making investments in marketing that continues to be effective over time can be more productive than going for short term gains. I didn't recommend any marketing channels and only cited examples when asked. I certainly didn't say that using any of them would be easy.

Frankly, you're the only one really complaining here, and more than enough people have reached out with positive feedback for me to know that I've helped a lot more people than I've hurt with, as someone else pointed out, free advice that's worth what you paid for it.

I am an Indie artist based in Europe and, for several years now, have been doing a lot of research to actually find an effective way to promote my music or a reliable place providing such services. Tangible, not fictitious. My standpoint: Vigilante Boy states the obvious and asks the right questions.

June 19 | Unregistered CommenterCarlos Wilde

Joey, you are not helping your case. Next time try responding to valid criticism with something other then defensive posturing. It is unbecoming, especially when attached to your business.

June 19 | Unregistered CommenterSharkBitesDog

I wasn't complaining at all, I was giving you feedback on your mediocre work.

June 19 | Unregistered CommenterJustin Boland


I'm happy to keep going with this.

"I wrote this article because I believe strongly that set-and-forget marketing is the most effective strategy for music marketing." - okay, on what basis do you believe that? Are you able to share any data and/or real world case studies that show a specific type of set-and-forget marketing being effective? There are several people asking you for that. You've still not shared any data or examples.

And set-and-forget marketing could never be described as a "strategy". It could only ever described as a tactic or set of tactical choices within a broader marketing mix (or strategy). Successful music marketing requires a carefully cultivated, broad mix of marketing activity.

"Frankly, you're the only one really complaining here". I'd read through the comments again if I were you.

"It's the kind of marketing that can continue to produce results even when you're not actively engaging with it. That's why I consider it pull marketing". Okay, well you're not going to continue to produce results when you're not actively engaging with it. And I have the data from Facebook Ad campaigns over the last three years to prove it. You may well consider it pull marketing - you're wrong.

And Keith, "if you don't find it valuable - go start your own blog full of true insight - we all look forward to it... and the comments section". So I need to be a chicken farmer before I'm allowed to complain about rotten eggs then? And somehow because it was free bad advice that makes it ok?

June 19 | Unregistered CommenterVigilante Boy

Great Article!!! As an internet marketer, I've learned this "The Internet Doesn't Require Your Permission ONLY Your Participation". I'm working with an online distribution company that enables artists to actually use "Pull Marketing/Passive Promotions" to earn a passive income and to promote their music globally!! Not only are our artists making money without having to do 100s of gigs a month, but they are also helping their fans get more of music for their money WITHOUT 99 cents downloads!!

Hopefully, more artist will read this article and start implementing strategies that will enable them to use Pull Marketing, so they too can earn a Passive Income!!!

June 19 | Unregistered CommenterG.Renee

Those interested in real world examples would do well to click the link to Brian Hazard's Passive Promotion blog; it's right there in the article.If you'd like to learn more about passive income (different subject) from your music, check out and learn about licensing. For myself, I've found that building a presence in appropriate online music communities (such as No Depression) has paid dividends beyond fan engagement. Automation, rather than arguments over what's pushing or pulling, is really the key concept, here; Fanbridge, Facebook and Reverbnation work together to gather new email addresses and shoot out a newsletter, the Wordpress blog focuses media attention and boosts SEO, Bandcamp sells music and merch, and linking all together increases the potency of each piece. The Four-Hour Work Week has a few tips on outsourcing your life, as well.

June 20 | Unregistered CommenterMojo Bone

Comment war aside, my personal opinion is that set-it-and-forget-it is kind of a myth, or has at least died out. Like above commenters mentioned, you can leave a Facebook or Google ad campaign running, upload a YouTube video without promoting it, create social media profiles that you don't maintain. There probably will be residual results. But if you don't give them each a little promotional push or optimize an ad campaign, you could be wasting time and money.

@Mojo Bone Thanks for the links to great resources. Wanted to point out you can sell music and merch via the Wordpress blog too without cutting bandcamp a share.

June 23 | Unregistered CommenterKyle

This is a good example of pull marketing:

My name is Rhonda Merrick. I have useful things on my pinterest board for indie musicians and indie filmmakers, just go to

For musicians, I feel it's in our mutual best interest to be better informed as an Independent Music Community. I want to make sure people who might invite me and the band to come sing at their event can find me.

I'm constantly updating my pinterest board and reaching out to indie filmmakers so we can collaborate on music videos, shorts and feature films.

I find obscure, but highly paid film competitions and just started offering to donate some of my songs and tweak anything they like to fit a particular scene, then I'll take that movie and my soundtrack on the road when me and the band gig in front of thousands of people over the course of a month...every month. Two small film groups have signed-on already.

But Friends of friends of friends in the acting/film world have found me and they follow me because of what I have on offer for them, whether we collaborate or not. Some of these people are experienced professionals. Sooner or later, I'll become familiar to Music Supervisors as some of these people drift into different roles in their industry. It's just a matter of time.

I found a company that will stream my songs in thousands of stores globally.

Now follow my logic in pulling instead of pushing (I call it attracting instead of pitching)

My songs will soon be blaring in supermarkets/department stores
My songs will start popping up at a variety of music videos and film festivals
My songs will be performed live at local and regional music festivals, concerts and other events through a growing network of local indie promoters all over the nation that I've built relationships with over the past 2 years and some concerts will be arranged by us.

Oh, and I'm keeping track of every useful thing I find online so other working bands like ours can actually make informed decisions above all the BS. That pinterest profile of mine is a puller, because it pulls whole communities together and I'm not actually selling anything to anybody.

Hello Joey,

I'm an independent musician as well as some of the other commenters here. Unlike my peers I understand your article and it gave me an A-ha moment of my own. Very helpful in the lines of giving clarity to ones pre-exsisting thoughts. Maybe I can relate because I have took time away from the studio to study the key and inner workings of marketing and promotion. So to me your article makes perfect sense. I think it went over some of my peers head because you spoke in business terms from a stand point "most of us should already know". So thank you for this article. It helped me. Your information only missed most of these guys because they took your headline out of context and expected something different. And to conclude face book ads are a form of pull marketing. Pull marketing is anything that works for you ( I.E. radio playing your song everyday in prime slots! Yes you do have to visit the program director and pay the right people to start,but after that it gains fans pretty much on its on) Same goes for FB,you set it up and monitor it,but it frees up time to work on your music oppose to you having to click every time you go after a single fan. To add if Joey is competent enough to start a company and charge YOU(the same musicians here) with a gate way to new fans then I'm sure he did his homework enough to know how to pull fans in the first place. Pay attention musicians,it's power in this article. Don't be closed minded.

June 27 | Unregistered CommenterMike

Well said, Mike. As an online business owner, I totally understand what Joey is saying. I primarily use PPC advertising to drive traffic to my site. Initially, there is some work to do, in order to setup your campaigns but once that's done, it's a case of checking in for a few minutes each day. It's as close to set-it-and-forget-it as you can get.

I think Vigilante Boy's response makes sense to those who have maybe tried and failed, or don't understand how to create a successful passive promotion campaign...but trust me, this stuff works. It's not Joey's responsibility to spoon feed you all the answers. Get out there and spend some time studying PPC advertising and other techniques. If you fail at first, which you probably will...pick yourself up, study it more and keep going until you get it to work for you.

July 6 | Unregistered CommenterTom Sears

article is drivel, and not at all rooted in reality.

lol @ suggesting facebook ads, the equivalent of reverse alchemy - turning real cash into 'likes'

September 26 | Unregistered Commenterno

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