Music Industry Challenge: Doing Some “Real” Marketing For a Change
As we continue unwrapping some of the things I’ll be teaching in my upcoming music certification course, the next big topic that drive me nuts is the topic of marketing. Much like the misconceptions around the business models associated with this industry, marketing is very much misunderstood. It’s such a shame too – with all the wonderful tools we have at our disposal like Facebook and Twitter, much of the attempts at marketing by musicians today is nothing short of spamming their friends and followers to get people to pay attention to what it is they are trying to do, whether it be promote a show, sell an album, etc.
First let’s dissect a little bit the concept of how music was marketed in the past. For the most part, radio and television were used as the main outlets of promoting new bands for the latter quarter of the 20th century as the main components to getting a band exposure. This was (and still is today) very expensive to do – you had to have a killer radio promoter with all the right connects to get a single tracked to radio (and it had to be good enough to get the feedback it needed to continue getting spins); then you had to have an expensive (usually) music video produced and the same thing went down over at MTV. Radio + MTV pretty much meant you had a shot at selling a boatload of albums.
Of course you has to be signed to a label as they controlled what got played and what didn’t, and if you we’re a smaller indie band you had to rely on the live show (i.e. touring your ass off to create buzz, living out of your van for years, courting the indie press – the same things you have to do today) as the only means to really build a fanbase. And many of those bands probably got some word of mouth from fans sharing their music for free, but other then that, marketing was tough without a big budget.
The concept I’m trying to get across here was that marketing in these days was pretty much advertising – people paid to get your songs pushed to the masses, and then all of that was reinforced by advertising in print magazines, billboards, end cap placement at Sam Goody, etc. You (or your label) essentially paid through the nose to get your name out there.
Nowadays things have changed. Sure, you still have the major labels using their connections and deep pockets to market the bands they sign – that will never change, because it’s the only way they know how to do things. The problem is, the number of bands being signed these days is not the same number as it was when the labels we’re making money hand over fist, which leaves YOU trying to market your music yourself.
Fortunately, we have all these wonderful social networking/media tools to get your message across. Blogging, Email, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube – these, combined with social news sites like Digg & Stumbleupon, search engine results from Google, and niche websites, can create the kind of buzz and traffic you can take advantage of to build a fan base.
The solution lies in not just USING these things but understanding HOW they should be used, and most musicians are simply not doing it right. Most are using them to advertise their stuff – advertising that you have an album out, advertising you have a show coming up, etc etc.
The thing everyone missing is that no one cares anymore about what you’re advertising, because we are bombarded by advertising all day long. Instead, the focus needs to be about storytelling – posting a blog about the who-what-when-where-and why about your music, your band, your message. People are interested in being taught new things or being entertained – that’s real interaction!
We discuss this in very in-depth detail in the certification course – how to create this kind of content, how to network with others who can share it, having it go viral – all the things everyone wants to happen to get the message across. It’s perhaps one of the things I have spent the most time doing over the past five years that no one still does not seem to get!
Here’s an example of a fantastic article about how to write a hit song by my buddy Ed from Fear Zero. Check it out and tell me what your thoughts about it here in the comments.
Do you think you’re creating good interactive content? Shoot me an email at ericATevolvor.com and let me in on it!
And don’t forget to grab a seat in our certification class (special pricing is not going to last long!)