So how hard is it really? You write songs and sell them, that’s all there is to it, right? Unfortunately the music industry isn’t quite as simple as we’d all like it to be. There are many different sectors through which an artist must pass and even more ways in which these sectors can be negotiated and traversed. To successfully navigate the music industry one must learn what happens in each of these sectors and how they inter-relate. To help you get started we have a ‘Map of the Musical Universe’ courtesy of PRS (click to enlarge).
Entries in Marketing (138)
Running a Facebook ad campaign is confusing. You bid for ad placement, but the price you pay bears little relation to your bid. What’s the difference between reach and social reach, connections and clicks, CPC and CPM? More importantly, is there any way to tell how many people played, downloaded, and shared your song, or signed up for your mailing list? (answer: no, there’s not)ReverbNation’s new Promote It tool addresses those shortcomings, and then some. You pick a song, photo, and budget, and it automatically generates dozens of optimized Facebook ads based on past Promote It campaigns, and continually optimizes your campaign based on the performance of those ads. New fans click through to customized landing pages that track not just clicks and likes, but plays, downloads, shares, wall posts, and mailing list signups. As I’m quoted as saying in the press release, “It’s the ultimate ‘set it and forget it’ fan-making machine!” I was invited to try it out and provide feedback during the beta period, and I’m flattered that some of my suggestions made it into the final product. So far I’ve run six campaigns. Let’s walk through the creation and performance of my latest and most successful one.
I asked 5 of my favorite gods and goddesses of online marketing and Social Media promotion to share with me the top questions they get asked the most by musicians. Then I sent them around for all of us to answer. I’m going to kick off this installment with a question Bobby Owsinski ofte gets asked. Here’s the first one: It’s obvious and so simple! Why does social networking take so much time?
More goes into impressive merchandise sales numbers than meets the eye. For one, there’s the marketing research that needs to be done beforehand so that you have product fans actually want to buy. After that comes the effectiveness of the person selling the merchandise; getting your band’s gear into fans’ hands is harder than sitting behind the table and letting them come to you.
How many times have we been inundated on Facebook with “spray and pray” wall messages from “friends” promoting their music or tagged in photos and videos that bear no relevance to us? How many times have “Tweeple” tweeted us to watch music videos that we didn’t ask for and don’t have an interest in. It’s annoying isn’t it?
This happened to me recently (again) whereby I received a charming rock video that involved all kinds of torture, sex and death imagery (evident within the first ten seconds you could see where it was going … no major label deal for this band!). They were a follower of mine on Twitter. This video however, was unsolicited and not to my taste. Consequently, I blocked them.
Theoretically, we have permission so why do we find this kind of thing so irritating? Surely, by default, we are fans of our friends’ and followers’ musical endeavours? This got me curious why we feel this way and got me back onto a marketing strategy I am working on based on trust.
Growing a Crowd for Your Music Through Engaging Stories: FanBridge Co-Founder & CEO Spencer Richardson Shares Thoughts on Engaging Influencers One Chapter at a Time
FanBridge Co-Founder and CEO Spencer Richardson says, “When you can tell your story through your voice… instead of trying to do the spinning plates trick, where you try to keep everything up at once, you develop a momentum and synergy through your narrative. It starts with a story, and the channels are just a reflection of the story. The strategy becomes much easier.” Continue reading to learn more about leveraging the power of the crowd and best practices for engaging with the press.
Embedding your music in another product - a mobile app, for example - is going to be the way to sell music in the future. Consider this article, published just 5 months ago in the New York Times. It highlights the major labels’ mad dash to get into the mobile app market. Bjork new album will be a collection of apps rather than a list of songs. UMG is creating an app for Nirvana’s “Nevermind”. And it makes sense. Just last month news surfaced that Apple has now sold more apps than song downloads - even though iTunes had a nearly 4 year head start on the App Store.
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.
It’s true that industry professionals and artist mind sets could not be farther apart. They are on two totally different sides of the game, yet working together as a team. All industry people probably receive anywhere from 15 to 200 emails or calls a week from indie artists wanting to work with them or get their advice. This is not an exaggeration. Most of these calls/emails are unfortunately misguided and are not going to get the artist anywhere just based on their approach. As an indie artist I am sure this must be incredibly frustrating… constantly sending out emails to industry people and not receiving replies. You’ve been told that to be proactive you have to mail, call, email, and send presents to industry representatives to get their attention. This is NOT true… let me help you out here.
Indie bands and musicians - What can we learn, if anything, from the viral marketing techniques employed by the world’s biggest pop star (except Justin Bieber of course), Lady GaGa? If at this point you’re grumbling “Not my thing” or “I hate pop music” you’ve quite possibly closed some of the potential doors available to you and sorely missed out as a result. Let’s also forget the obvious point that GaGa has millions of followers anticipating her every move. I plan to use this individual simply as a conversation starter on the topics of controversy and originality, which are becoming ever-more important in today’s music industry.
When you think of DIY bands, chances are the acts that come to your mind are not on the billboard charts. At least not yet. When we first reached out to 3OH!3 for an interview, we had our doubts as well. However, as you will see below, 3OH!3 was born and raised in DIY ethos and continue to move forward with the same mentality even today.
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.
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(Updated January 13, 2016)