How do musicians succeed in the music industry? Is it great music, practice, tours, shows, social networking (not social shouting or a numbers game), posting our music in the correct places for people to hear, monitoring our subscriptions, making industry connections, doing yoga, etc etc.? Yes all of these things are important and must be done, however, there is one huge reason why we fail in the music industry, interaction investment, you know it as marketing.
Now I am not just talking about investing in marketing here, which would say we need to get our music to the masses via the inter webs, word of mouth, playing shows etc. etc. What I am talking about is how people enjoy music threw touch, feel, taste, sight, smell, and sound.
We have to take all these elements into consideration when starting a project. What gear will you buy that allows you to play live, record, and let your fans participate? Maybe an Arduino is in your future? Perhaps you incorporate touch sensitive lights embedded within the cd cases? Or maybe a smart phone app enabling the audience control over the mood of the room at a show?
The amount of money you invest into how people will interact is such a big piece of the puzzle, if you fail to invest the right amount of money the correct way, you will never get anywhere outside of your small market of fans.
So how much money should we spend on marketing/interaction? The math is extremely simple: half of our budget goes toward marketing/interaction. Half, not 10% or 20%, but a full 50%. If you have a $10,000 budget, half, $5,000 goes towards recording the project, and the other half, $5,000 goes towards pressing up those CD’s, making a video, printing posters, getting placements in magazines, flyers, radio spots, but also ways to interact with the audience within these other methods.
I have seen it all in my music career working with the up and comers, to some of the most influential people of our time like Pomplamoose, Lauren Mayhew, and OK GO. One thing that always separates the top from the bottom is who treats it like a business and who doesn’t. Up and comers fail to treat it like a business and fail to implement strategies, or make the right investments, for the future. Marketing is always an after thought to them and they say things like “all I have to do is put it up on iTunes, Reverbnation and post it to Facebook and I’m set.” This is so far from the truth that when months go by and they have no substantial sales they question why, or blame someone else. The truth is, people want to connect and interact with the music. Let that soak in for a bit, interact with music.
After working with groups like these, I have learned a few things. One, make great music, and Two, invest into some interactive marketing tactics. The case can be made for Pomplamoose that they did not really spend much money on marketing/interacting to gain their popularity, and the same could be said about Laruen Mayhew or OK Go, however, for the purpose of their case studies marketing would fall into the category of interaction. Yes, interaction.
Videos are not the same thing as recording an album - the music is the music - they supply a means of interaction with people, or do they? In a sense, yes, videos do supply interaction. Videos allow the audience to see the group while hearing the music, but this is not really interacting by itself. Thinking outside the box, to make it more interactive, is key in the future of videos. Pomplamoose does a great job of this by not only creating unique videos but by engaging their audience through the process. They ask questions to their audience while making the videos and use the input to get to the final stage, thereby interacting with the audience in a refreshing way through their videos.
Interaction becomes a function of how & where we are going to place those efforts as an expressive method. In the end it comes down to two elements: Playback and Interaction.
Playback is the creation, recording, and playback capabilities of the project in its entirety including concerts, cds, .mp3s, and vinyl.
Interaction is getting people to interact with the music, band, artist, or art with touch, feel, taste, sight, smell, and sound.
We can take interaction a step, or many steps, further then I have touched on, and in part 2 I will discuss how to really engage the audience using feel, taste, sight, smell and sound with two case studies and ideas on how to better bring these concepts to your artistry.
The biggest thing to remember; create a budget that is achievable for yourself and make sure you put enough money aside for marketing/interaction. Remember, its a 50/50 split between music creation/recording and marketing/interaction. If you don’t follow this rule, don’t expect to be a household name.
With over 13 years experience Zaque Eyns innovative ideas, creativity & understanding of the entertainment industry have helped many individuals realize their goals & objectives. From time management to creative execution of audio or that “can’t be done” idea, Zaque Eyn understands how to deliver top tier product calling it, Creative Empowerment. He founded Funksville, U.F.O in 2008; boutique creative empowerment agency, developing and delivering innovative projects while establishing a solid community of business professionals, and most recently became an author of the book Mastering the Music Business. His specialties include: producing, sound engineering, events, marketing, branding and fashion; each project rooted in successful business approach and strategy.