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The New DIY Musician’s Manifesto (What Did I Miss?)

What would you add to this list?

I will not blindly chase a record deal

I will never send music to anyone who has not asked for it

I will work on new music for an hour everyday

I know there is no such thing as “genius” but just people who have put in 10,000 hours of effort

I will treat my fans like royalty

I will build my mailing list everyday

I will never undersell my art and let people take advantage of me

I will embrace marketing every day and enjoy it

I will never engage in “car salesman” style marketing

I will focus my music marketing efforts or the biggest sites on the Internet

I will ignore anything that wastes time

I will have full engagement with my fans

I will sell digital music with no overhead

I will become friendly with people who can help me achieve my goals

I will not moan when other less talented people become more successful than me

I will take action on everything I learn

I will not be perfect

I will have 1000 true fans

I will create amazing value for my fans

I will go round after every show and ask people to join my mailing list

I will blog every day and get to know other talented bloggers

I will use google reader to keep track of everything that’s going on in the music scene

“Quality and consistency” is my mantra

I will never stop making music

I will produce the most amazing music the world has ever seen

I will see my job as finance for my music career and get the hell out of there ASAP

I will learn how to do simple web design so that I don’t have to pay through my ass all the time

I will track my progress every day and celebrate any success

I will test and track everything to get more results from the same amount of effort

I will have the sex and drugs after the rock and roll

I realize that fame and fortune don’t last

I will be nice to my band mates and make sure they have fun too

I will collaborate with amazing people

I will not print up physical CDs or vinyl until my fans are begging for it like hungry dogs

I will not blindly pay a PR company who promise the world

I will not play every shitty gig I ever get offered

I will put on my own amazing shows

I will take advantage of the many income streams open to the DIY musician

I will not travel 500 miles to play a gig for two people just because I like being on tour

I will seek out the best marketing people in the world and use their tactics in music

I will give my best work away for free

I will not talk about helping the 3rd world unless I really mean it

I will use the 80/20 rule to leverage my time

I will call my mother everyday

I will read every word on these amazing websites:

Tight Mix

Mic Control

The Buzz Factor

Professor Pooch

Wayward Musician


Thorny Bleeder

Michael Brandvold

Make It In Music

Gen-Y Rock Stars

Music Marketing [dot] com

Music Success In Nine Weeks

Music on the Make

Dotted Music

Passive Promotion

What would you add to this list?


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Chris Rockett (@MusicMarketingX) is a musician and music marketing consultant from London who uses Direct-to-Fan marketing tactics to help level the playing field between DIY musicians and major label artists.

Reader Comments (3)

I will not read any more lists that tell me to give my music away for free and which tell me there are '1000 true fans', or even '100 true fans' or even '10 true fans' when I know there are only people who might or might not buy my shit and who they are might vary from day to day.

This one's for you, Chris: I will not make any more lists unless I am going shopping.

June 17 | Registered CommenterTim London

"I will never send music to anyone who has not asked for it"
"I will go round after every show and ask people to join my mailing list"

Are you kidding? How is asking someone to GIVE you something less invasive/annoying/un-hip than broadcasting your music? If you don't send people music without them asking, then you're giving up on a huge swath of potential fans, and more importantly, potential allies/connections.

This is rich too:
"I will take advantage of the many income streams open to the DIY musician"
"I will give my best work away for free"

Uh huh, ok. This is not the "DIY" manifesto, this is a "DIFT" manifestor - Do it For Them. This is a manifesto for degrading the value of your music by making yourself seem small and unassuming. It might work for some people, but its nothing to make manifesto for DIY people of.

June 17 | Unregistered CommenterJustin

Hey Tim and Justin,

Thanks for your feedback on this...

My goal with the list was to bring together the most important fundamental concepts that are important to keep in mind if your are going the direct-to-fan route.

The idea is that this is just the start of the list and that we will refine and add to it over time.

My idea about giving your best track away for free is that fans are like "My god, if this is the free stuff then the paid fan subscription must be amazing."

I'm not saying that you should not make any money, in fact quite the opposite. I believe very strongly that musicians need to put a value on what they're doing.

But you need to get people into the gang by giving them something amazing upfront.

As far as not sending music to people who have not asked for it...

This is the idea that it's a waste of time to send out hundreds of demo tapes to record companies who are going to incinerate them.

I'm sure you would agree with that.

Going around after the show to collect emails is a way to leverage the time you spend in booking and rehearsing.

Don't bug people, but if they see you and say "you rock" offer them your freebie in exchange for the email address.

The two points are not conflicting in my mind.

Hope that clears things up, I really would like to hear what you would add to the list.

- Chris

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