Having heard about the growing success of the band Pomplamoose many times now, I decided to check them out and listen to their music/interviews and watch some of their videos to get a feel for who they were-both as artists, and see what we could learn from this independent band who have carved out a living with STRICTLY their MUSIC, using a 99% web-based business model.
Listening to them in the first interview with Tech Crunch’s Andrew Keen, Jack Conte and Nataly Dawn answered several very basic questions, of which, although the interview could have been hosted better to get down to some more insightful questions, the resulting insight I continue to find the more I learn about this powerhouse duo remains consistent with the very simple mantra this band has so very successfully modeled for us as independent musicians in our brave new music business.
Pomplamoose, who have now turned down all of the “big three” major labels – are in fact making enough money to live in a fully paid for house, primarily off iTunes revenue, and don’t see the need OR the strategic advantage to sign with a major record label.
The bottom line is that Record labels today - are more like general contractors who hire other companies to do things for the artist, (when, with a little knowledge and ambition one could go hire that company directly) and decision makers for those who don’t want or don’t know where to start with building their own business model. Perhaps not as extreme as “the powerful praying on the ignorant and powerless,” but something close to that, is what perpetuates most of the unknown yet talented and intelligent signed acts that you’ve never heard of.
There is no reason to over-complicate the 3 beautifully simple, yet very powerful messages that Pomplamoose have proven to work as label/sponsor-less musicians.
1. Work with what you have
Most of what they started with was simply a microphone and an mbox. Don’t wait until you have “x” gear, or can obtain “x” collaborator. Put stuff out there, and keep putting stuff out there, don’t get lost in the “perfectionists curse.”
2. Make great music
No matter what, this is always the central component, everything you do to build a fanbase or make sales always starts with creating great music.
3. Try a million things and find one that works
Again, you can’t hear this enough… Just because all the pieces don’t immediately line up, and the thing you think “EVERYTHING” is riding on falls through, don’t give up. Keep trying things until you find something that works, and then keep doing that until it doesn’t.
What Did Pomplamoose Find That Worked?
There are two main “strategies” that Pomplamoose implemented brilliantly to achieve a level of success that is sustainable and likely will be for the rest of their lives and provide them with the lifestyle and ability to make music and work on their art, all of which anyone can do.
- Producing current and searched for covers of popular songs on youtube was the one that hit for Jack Conte and Pomplamoose. They have over 70 million views of their videos and are getting millions every month. This is the seed that turns their music into a career that generates song sales and the launching board for promotional opportunities, sponsorships, and any new creative project they can think of.
- They turned their production process into an experience for the viewer/listener creating videos documenting “the making of” their songs… Again, basic camera and production equipment.
This is pretty much it… Pomplamoose now has more than 250,000 youtube subscribers and sells more than 100,000 downloads per year.
I’m not going to be another DIY advice guy trying to guilt you for not finding your niche and a working strategy yet… Because the fact is, this is a tough business! There is a certain amount of luck and opportunity that you just cannot plan for, but what you can do is keep pushing yourself to do a little a more, go a little further, and try something new… It is in doing this consistently that those opportunities will present themselves, and being prepared will ensure you capitolize on it when they come.
So good job. And keep going.
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Jamie Leger is an Independent Singer Songwriter, and Online Business Coach/Consultant in Ann Arbor, MI. He specializes in helping people turn their knowledge and experience into an online business that gives them the lifestyle they desire - through private training and step by step instruction. He has been making music in his home recording studio and writing content for various online publications since 2004. Please enjoy his free guide to the Home Studio.