Are You Really Selling Music?
October 19, 2010
Nate Talbot in Artist Development, Breaking into the industry, Creativity, Education, Marketing, Marketing Strategies, Music Business Plan, advice, business, direct to fan, independent music, marketing, music

It is critical in any business to ask yourself several questions before starting. As a performing artist (or songwriter, composer, producer…), one question you must ask yourself at some point is, “What am I selling?”.

One of the biggest ‘light bulb’ moments I ever had was as a senior in high-school, when I learned the story of Ray Kroc. For those who aren’t sure what I’m talking about, let me explain….

Ray Kroc is the man milkshake machine salesman who took McDonalds from being a small,  innovative, fast food restaurant, into the largest restaurant chain the world has ever seen. Before he died, he was asked what was his secret to selling burgers. His reply was simply, “I’m not in the burger business, I’m in the real estate business…”

What’s he mean? Well, McDonalds restaurants sit on some of the most expensive corners in the world. High traffic, a lot of potential customers waiting to walk into the door for lunch, dinner, and eventually breakfast. Most McDonalds restaurants are owned locally (franchises), and just rent the land and the McDonalds name. Ray Kroc realized long ago that that’s where the real money was going to be.

How does this relate to you? Music is more than a series of notes that someone enjoys hearing. Music, unlike any other medium, is something that consumers make personal. Yes, you need a catchy melody and memorable hook, but you also need more to be successful. MUCH more.

Artists need to remember that what they are really selling is themselves. YOU are the product. The music is a piece of that. But then there’s the story. Does the listener relate with you as an artist. How about the image? Does the listener look at you and see themselves at all?

artisit merchandise

There Can Be More To Sell Than CD’s And T-Shirts

To connect with your fan base, you must be able to connect on several levels. Inspirational music is a great way to establish an initial connection, but there must be more. You have to sell a whole lifestyle. That’s what will make a fan read your every tweet. That is what will make a fan download your song, ringtone, and remix. That is what will make a fan come to your every show. That is what will make a fan….a fan.

Once you truly embrace this concept, and adjust your strategy for it, you will instantly see a new growth in your career, with an explosion of new fans.

Nathan Talbot is an Entertainment Consultant with over 15 years experience in the entertainment industry. He has worked with independent artist as well as major labels like Sony BMG and Universal Music Group, and in television with national programs airing on WB and UPN, and others.

Article originally appeared on Music Think Tank (
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