Odds are if an artist has to calculate their potential for success based on statistics – regardless of veracity – they are doomed from the start. Really. Think about it – the only formula known thus far to work with any predictability is BEING an act REMARKABLE enough (thanks, Bruce, a favorite word the past year or so), to spread by word of mouth. A formula NEVER out of date.
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Some of these items will apply better for larger acts, some items will work for any act. Some may work for you, some may not… not yet. Some these can be done with little effort, some will take some web development, some might even require some significant development. Some of these have successfully worked for me over the years. The point is to create a list of items that would cover a wide range of acts and abilities.
The end result of all this will hopefully be more Facebook likes, Twitter followers, email list subscriptions, more sales and more traffic to your website… more fans!
As we rush headlong into an ever more connected society, the preponderance of technology is increasingly inescapable. As entertainment continues to bridge gaps we’re sure to see the growth of more hybrid events anywhere that an entertainment dollar is at stake. For bands like Umphrey’s McGee that are already involved in creating interactive experiences, there will surely be no shortage of those willing to attend and participate in them.
Your new album has just been released, or maybe you’ve just booked a huge show. Time to email everybody you know! Before you add your entire address book to the “To:” field of a new email, consider a few points of email list etiquette. By respecting the recipients of your mass emails, you’ll have far better results from your efforts, build stronger relationships with your fans, and build a healthy email list.
I’ve been maintaining my own email list for about seven years, and along the way have found many ways to gain, and lose, subscribers. I’ve also been added to many email lists, sometimes willingly, often not,but always tried to learn from other artists’ email newsletters.
There are numerous services available to help you maintain your email list. Some are free, others cost money depending on the size of your list and the features you want to install. Look at the bottom of the emails you get from different bands and you’ll find links to some of these services. I highly recommend you find one that suits you to make this whole process easier.
You can’t live without it.
And you can’t live with it, either.
In the past week, if you have been trying to access the Facebook page for The 1861 Project and wonder why you keep winding up at your own homepage, I have a tale of woe for you. Bear with me here, it’s a bit of a shaggy dog story…
Two weeks ago I created a Facebook “Fan” page for The 1861 Project. Within the “page,” I added some features using a service called DamnTheRadio (DTR), which adds audio and video to a Facebook page, along with the option to lock some of the content behind the “Like” button.
If you’re a musician or in a band that’s trying to get your music out to the world, your website is a valuable marketing tool. Your website helps your fans, bloggers, and journalists find out who you are, what you sound like, and where you’re playing. It’s important that your website contains content for all types of visitors, from fans - current and potential - to booking agents and media outlets. Below are ten essential elements that every band’s website should have.
While artists may wish the capital M in this industry belonged to music, the truth is there is many other elements which have to be in place to successfully launch and nurture a career.
The record execs and publicists would have you believe that the M stands for marketing. They love to take credit for how they masterminded the strategy that broke the band.
In reality when it comes to successful acts, the dominating M is not music, or marketing, but marketability, and that ultimately lies in the hands of the artist themselves. The most successful acts in both the mainstream and the more niche genres, understand this as the key to growth and sustainability.
So many artists fall down because they put too many eggs in one basket. They woefully neglect other key ingredients, which, unless firmly in place, will lead to missed opportunities and ultimately, failed careers.
To get someone to visit your band’s website, they need to have the intent to do so – put in other words, they need to get something out of it for it to be worth their time, which is why “check out our website” is about as effective as saying “we don’t have a website” as there really is no incentive offered for them to do so.
However, assuming you’ve got that one covered (ie. you have some free downloads, or some awesome photos of your crowd from last nights gig, or maybe even some exclusive videos etc.) here are some techniques to get them to view that content from offline.
Here I’ve suggested five effective methods to take your fans from the real world to the virtual world of the net. Please chip in with your best tips on driving fans online from offline in the comments beneath this article!
Connecting with fans is imperative in today’s music industry. It’s that connection that can give them a reason to buy and support your music. Utilizing social media and having a strong online presence makes connecting with fans much more achievable. Below are some good case studies of bands that found success through an online campaign. I encourage musicians to review these examples and pay attention to the elements that made them successful. Then think about how to implement those strategies into your own marketing plans.
Arcade Fire utilized HTML5 to create an interactive music video for “We Used to Wait.” Users are prompted to enter the address of their childhood home at the start of the video. While watching the video, scenes from your old neighborhood are pulled in using Google street view. The elements of new technology, interactivity, nostalgia, experimentation, and personalization all aided in making this video a huge hit. Think about those factors for your next campaign.
I love this tip so much… Marcio Teixeira made a very simple suggestion for my 2000 Things article that fit perfectly with something else I was working on, wish your fans a Happy Birthday. How many are doing this? I have to say not many.
I don’t remember getting a birthday greeting from any band recently.
We all love it when someone recognizes our birthday. I am also always impressed when every year Southwest Airlines sends me a birthday card. No other business does that. A very simple action that always makes me think just how much I like Southwest Airlines. You need to do the same with every one of your fans. I already hear the comments… how!
Yesterday I uploaded what I’m calling a “Video LP” for my album Erase This to YouTube. [watch it here] The Video LP consists of eleven different videos (one for each song on the album, and a personal introduction from myself), tied together by a YouTube playlist that will automatically roll through all eleven videos, in order, with the click of one button.
For music listeners and fans, the Video LP (LP referring to “long playing”, the name given to 12” vinyl records in the 40s) is a great format for sampling an entire album before making a purchasing decision. It’s similar to streaming the entire album on my website, but better. The Video LP format allows for on screen lyrics and all of the liner note artwork typically associated with CD and record sleeves. You won’t find that on most streaming mp3 players.
Additionally, because each song is its own YouTube video, songs can be favorited, commented on, embedded and shared easily, in a format that listeners/viewers are already familiar and comfortable with.
You just left the studio and recorded the final notes for your album. There’s the mixing and mastering process for your producer to take care of and the artwork for your album and any merchandise to do—but the real deal is when all of this comes together and you officially release your album at a CD release party. A lot goes into making a CD release party a successful one and it rests entirely on how well you prepare.
There are many key areas that make it successful that I will discuss below, but to keep it short and sweet I would say the most important things are: be in tip-top shape and form musically when you perform, give lots of lead time to get it ready, have your album ready in CD and digital form on the day of your show, and ask for help when you need it.
There is no doubt about it; social media has taken the sweet and innocent fan, and has created a monster.
A transparency-seeking, interactivity-craving, empowerment-hungry monster.
Ok so maybe fans aren’t these terrible things that goes bump in the night, but the point remains the same. Today’s fans desire something more than just music and the occasional Facebook or Twitter update.
Today’s fans desire an experience!
But creating this experience can be a bit tricky. It has to cater directly to the needs and desires of YOUR fans, or else you run the driving them away.
I measure my success as a recording artist by the growth of my mailing list. The best way to get someone to subscribe is to offer something in return, and a great song is a powerful incentive. Here are ten techniques to negotiate that delicate exchange:
1. The classic squeeze page. You’ve probably stumbled onto one of these before: a fine-tuned infomercial-style pitch with a clear call to action and no exit links. The sole goal of the site, often just a single page, is to generate conversions. In our case, a conversion means “squeezing” an email address out of a potential fan. Seamus Anthony describes the method here and demonstrates it using his own music here. It may do the trick for first-time visitors, but returning fans have no clear path to explore the rest of your content.
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(Updated July 8, 2015)