You’ve done it again. You’ve given away a free track from your latest album. It’s on your website. You’ve talked about it on Facebook. Job done, you think. Well think again. There’s no doubt about it. Free music is a powerful marketing tool. However, the music industry has become so over-saturated with free music that we’ve become desensitized to the process of consuming, promoting, and thinking about the importance of free music. This age-old debate has become, well, old.
Entries in Fans (45)
Lisa Sniderman from Aoede is one of my past clients and for the past few months I had wanted to interview about her experience and growth using social networking to grow her fanbase. Well we were finally able to make it happen. I felt it was important to have a artists say all of this, sometimes hearing it from a peer carries more weight. So take a couple minutes and read about how Lisa went from essentially zero to social networking wiz and grew her fanbase over the last 1o months.
Lisa set the wayback machine to December of 2010 when we first talked. You were a couple months away from releasing your most recent album Affair With The Muse and hired me to help you with your website and online marketing efforts. Your online world at that time was fairly small; less than 1000 on your email list, a handful of Facebook fans, less than 100 Twitter followers. We talked about what you would need to do to grow your fans. How you would have to spend time engaging with everyone on Facebook and Twitter. How you would have to write articles to post on your new blog. How you had to open up and talk about yourself personally more than you talk about the new album. I remember at the time you said you were not sure you could do all of this, that you didn’t know if you had the time. But, you forged ahead.
Now not even a year later and looking back what do you think about that journey?
I updated the original article I posted on October 19th.
Maybe I am missing something, maybe I don’t understand why territory restrictions still need to exist. I guess thinking of the world as the territory is wrong.
Maybe my feeling that fans will buy music if you make music available the moment they want it, at a fair price on whatever device they use is just wrong. But right now trying to buy music actually can drive a fan to steal music.
We like to think of the web as one big, endless, interconnected net of relationship fibers where a tug on a single fiber causes random ripples and pulls all across the entire net; that somehow a path will emerge, narrow as it may be, where a ripple can travel from one corner of the net to the other; and that if you - the music marketer - could only simultaneously pull enough social strings, your message would be riding on a magic carpet instead of a string.
However If the ripple effect worked on the social web, then how come artists with hundreds of thousands of followers and many thousands of fans have so much trouble creating sustainable engagement where the ripples are broad enough (to live upon) or at least endless? Songs often don’t find their intended audiences, seats go unfilled, videos don’t go viral, and messages get quickly swallowed in a sea of social noise. It happens every day; it happens to almost every artist on earth; and the exceptions are rarer than you think.
How important is it to know who really cares about your business or your music?
Until very recently, most successful businesses would aim to market their goods or services to the ‘safe centre’, the large section of society that follow the crowd in seemingly predictable ways.
Trend setters, geeks and super-fans were not worth marketing to directly because there are never enough of them to sustain growth.
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.
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.
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(Updated January 13, 2016)