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Entries in Marketing (109)

Wednesday
Mar232011

3 Essential Elements of Music Marketability

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.

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Tuesday
Mar012011

10 Marketing Lessons I Learned from KISS

I am a KISS fan, going back to 1976 when my mom first bought me Rock N’ Roll Over. I remember taking heat in the late 70s at school for liking the band, I heard the phrase “KISS sucks” more than a few times. It also took a lot of courage to wear a KISS t-shirt to school at the time… you became a instant target. I grew up with KISS and their marketing has clearly been a influence on me and business growth. I often tell people I went to the Gene Simmons School of Marketing.

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Tuesday
Feb082011

What Kinds of Images Best Represent Your Band?

As you’ve no doubt realized by now, image is pretty important to your success as an artist. It affects your live show, it affects your online presence, it affects your marketing opportunities and strategy.

But in the countless hours you’re obviously devoting to exploring and experimenting with your image, are you thinking about what kind of image you’re going to use?  

The superb Riff City published a tremendously insightful post last week entitled Docs of Perception: Visual Records and How We Hear Music. In it, author Julianne Escobedo Shephard explores the relationship between camera technology and our perception of artists.

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Friday
Jan212011

Give Your Fans The Experience They Crave

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. 

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Tuesday
Jan182011

How to Manage an Effective Street Team In the New Digital Decade

One of my New Years resolutions was to do a bit more blogging and provide the music and marketing communities with some cool tips in navigating the web and managing your street campaigns.

I have been in the marketing field for over 10 years now and running FanManager for 6 years, so I wanted to post some of my observations and let you know what has worked and what hasn’t.

The entry below will cover everything you need to know about online street teaming in this new digital era. Although physical street teams are still important and relevant for many hard touring bands, online street teaming is becoming much more prevalent. 

HERE IS WHY…

1) Ease of Reaching Fans. It has never become so easy to reach tens of thousands of people in just a few minutes. In today’s ADD culture, people want instant bite sized bits of information. People are tuning out billboards and traditional advertising and are much more willing to listen to a recommendation of a new track, video, or concert from a friend.  This is why platforms like Twitter and Facebook are so important today.

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Thursday
Jan062011

Buy One, Give One Free: What Artists Can Learn From Social Entrepreneurship

One of my greatest frustrations with respect to marketing has been that while I speak often about human’s predisposition to share, we’ve yet — in the entertainment realm — developed a way to encourage/reward sharing/sharers.

A bit of background. It was when music/books/movies/etc. went from being objects (analog) to being information (digital) that people could finally satisfy their hard-wired impulse to share with no downside.

Prior to this, if I wanted to share an album/book/DVD with you, when I gave it to you I was deprived of my copy — you win, I half lose/half win. Post the shift to information, when I share my digital versions with you, I still keep my copy — we both win.

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Wednesday
Dec012010

A Sample Music Business Plan

I just got home from a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner with my mother, sister, brother, niece and nephew in Franklin Park, New Jersey. The roads were slick from an early snow shower that turned to freezing rain. As I was driving home it dawned on me that I haven’t written a blog post (on any topic) in over a month. But tonight I suddenly found the inspiration to present…

A Sample Music Business Plan for Your Band

For those of you who haven’t read my previous posts on this topic, I’ll briefly bring you up to speed. I wrote a post on Music Think Tank Open that was transferred to the main page (an honor in my book) called How to Write a Music Business Plan. It was a bit fluffy like this one might end up and one of the MTT readers called me on it. The first comment was, “Would have been stronger with a template or sample.” I got pissed off and created a template. Thanks again Justin.

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Wednesday
Nov242010

New in MTT Open: Endorsements, Internet Radio, Relationships, Money, and Virtual Tours

Simon Tam explains the approach that artists should take to get endorsements and sponsors. Artists need to create opportunities by initiating contact in a unique way. Artists need to focus on how they can provide value to the company instead of the other way around. To start, artists can contact companies with less competition such as local businesses that may be more likely to become a sponsor. 

“It’s about creating a lasting relationship where you can build an audience together with that company.” (Read On)

Internet Radio Is the Future…Duh

Charles Hill writes about his rant on recent articles that he finds obvious. 

“I run across articles with titles like “Internet Radio is the Future”. This cracks me up. Its like writing a book on the fact that the sky is blue.” (Read On)

Relationships Are The New Distribution

Greg Bates discusses one aspect of the 4 P’s of Marketing: Place. Most artists think that their distribution is taken care of by putting their music on iTunes or Bandcamp, but distribution is made up of the quality of your relationships. Artists need to build relationships with fans and reach out to other bands, businesses, etc. to collaborate on projects.

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Monday
Nov222010

Live Performances Should Be Like Church

If there’s one thing I learned from my former years playing in houses of worship, it’s that the Sunday morning experience is designed for maximum effectiveness. Granted, some churches are more finely tuned than others, but the principles of your average worship service should apply to every single concert you play.

  • Start with an engaged crowd. Even if it’s just the first row or two, a well-timed “Hallelujah!” now and again will get the cold crowd to warm up a little.
  • Appeal to all five senses. Studies have shown that we remember events better if all of our senses are engaged. The Church, in its various forms throughout the millennia, has evolved to adopt this level of impact.

    1. Sight: Robes, banners, crosses, flowers, statues, you name it. Stained-glass windows and flying buttresses were designed specifically to catch your eye.
    2. Sound: Obviously, a church service involves talking and music. If your shows don’t have either, you’re reading the wrong article.

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Wednesday
Nov102010

Learning From Facebook Ad Failures

As with most folks who work in the tech business, I think it’s important to celebrate failures — they often teach us more than success. As such, I wanted to share a few Facebook Ads campaigns I experimented with and why they didn’t work.

The question I wanted to answer after the almost-too-easy success with the All Smiles campaign was “How easy is it to convert fans of related (but not directly tied) artists from Facebook Ads?

Answer: Not easy.

I set out to target three groups of fans with free downloads from A B & The Sea: Jukebox The Ghost (with whom they were touring), Katy Perry (whose song they covered), and Beach Boys (to whom they sound most similar). I set up Facebook ads driving to dedicated landing pages (eg - http://abandthesea.net/jukebox/) with unique Topspin widgets on each so I could track conversion data at a granular level. Here’s how each campaign broke down:

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Wednesday
Oct062010

Music Think Tank Brings On New Intern

Good afternoon all, I wanted to take a moment and announce that we have a new intern that’s helping around Music Think Tank. Her name is Natalie Cheng (@ncswim881).

She is from Sugar Land, TX. She is twenty-two and is very interested in music marketing and branding, new trends in the music and record industries, and distribution. She wants to learn more about the changes affecting the music industry and how artists are changing the way they interact with fans.  Her career goals include working in a marketing position at a music company or label and working as a session musician for major artists. Currently, she is seeking a job/internship at music labels and companies in the Texas area or to continue her education, possibly pursuing a master’s degree in music or marketing. 

Here at Music Think Tank, she’ll be focusing on tagging posts, writing post summaries, approving comments, and getting involved in a myriad of other ways with Hypebot too.

Take a moment to welcome her to the community.
Wednesday
Sep222010

The College Bound Musician's Checklist

It’s that time again. School is now in session, which means a whole new breed of young musicians are heading off to college for the first time. Whether or not your focus of study is music,  the college experience can be an excellent opportunity for you to hone your chops and establish the sort of demand that will launch your career. 

But as you will soon realize, four years will go by in the blink of an eye. It is critically important that you have something to guide you through all of the important baby-steps that will take you from a dorm room band to the most important act in the surrounding area. Use the following checklist to ensure that no opportunity is overlooked as you begin to establish yourself in your new local scene:

[  ] Create Your Ideal Fan

As a musician looking to establish a fan base, you have to know exactly who and where your fans are. A marketing technique taught in college, one that can be very useful, is to create a highly-detailed description of who your ideal fan is, summed up into one person. Give that person a name, and describe every aspect of that person on paper: what is their background, what clothes do they wear, where do they shop, what are their hobbies, what other music do they listen to, what sort of food do they eat, what beer do they drink, maybe they don,t drink beer but rather drink wine, etc. Once you know EXACTLY who your fan is it will be much easier to pin-point exactly where they will be.

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Wednesday
Sep082010

Using Fan-Funding Techniques to Help Direct a DTF Marketing and Sales Campaign

One of the online sales techniques I’ve been advocating in my online courses at Berklee is for artists to create different physical and digital products and make them available on their own site at tiered price points. The idea is that you can offer something for all of your fans – the hard core fans might be interested in something from you that is a little more personalized and rare, and newer fans might be able to get something from you that wont break the bank. All the while you have the ability to offer something that cannot be purchased at traditional retail, which makes the experience of purchasing off of your site more rewarding for your fans. Here’s an example from the Yim Yames site:

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Monday
Aug162010

The Musicians Guide To Fan-Funding

Emerging musicians are in an eternal struggle against two evils: funding projects and growing a fanbase. In the past, musicians have funded their own albums, and have used it as leverage to gain more fans. But artists on a fixed income may run into issues funding their own projects, which can have harmful effects on the quality of the final product.

Of course, the next option is to release a demo or EP and work on building a fan base, meanwhile shopping around for a record deal with a major or indie label. The benefit here of course is that all of the financing of the album is accounted for, but lets face it, this is not the easiest thing to pull off. Labels typically won’t even look at you until you’ve crossed the 10,000-units-sold mark, and unfortunately that is becoming an increasingly difficult task to accomplish:

…in 2008 there were 1500 releases that sold over 10,000 album units. Out of that there were only 227 of them that were artists that had broken 10,000 for the first time. So in the whole year only 227 of the artists were artists that had broken what we call the “obscurity line.” When you sell 10,000 albums, you’re no longer an obscure artist; people know about you. You may not be a star yet, but you’re in the game. That gets you out of the glut and into the game. We looked at the 227 and identified that only 14 of them were artists doing it on their own and all the rest were on majors and indies; a little more than half were on indies.

 

~Tom Silverman Founder, Tommy Boy Records


And more often then not, you as the artist are stripped of some if not all creative control, resulting in an album that may work for the fans, but doesn’t work for you.

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