At The Wall" Marketing Approaches And Why They Don't Work
marketing has been key in the success of our indie music label playMountain
Music. I am constantly astounded by the sheer number of artists
that take the approach of "throwing lots of gum at the wall and settling
for what happens to stick". This is not only a waste of time, but
a waste of energy and financial resources--all so precious to the
hard working indie artist.
be successful in this ever-changing business with ever-changing
challenges, today's indie artist simply MUST be as passionate about
business and marketing as they are about their music. No amount
of money or hired expertise can substitute for the artist's own
passion of getting his/her music heard.
so, my first word of advice is start with your passion. Who do you
want to reach? What are your sales goals? (come on, pick a number,
any number) Is it your desire to build a huge radio audience? Is
it to have a busy tour schedule? A little of both?
one example of the "Gum At The Wall" marketing approaches not working:
have seen artists whose egos were well-served by hiring radio promoters
so that their indie records would gain airplay and perhaps even
show up on radio charts. This is all fine and good. But what happens
if you are actually successful in such a campaign?
say your CD holds a position in the top five of your genre for several
months? Ok, so some people have heard your music. But if you have
not worked on successfully marketing your music to distribution
outlets and stores, or if you have not at a minimum set up a web
site shopping cart, you have spent good hard earned money on radio
promotion without putting the building blocks in place and your
CD buzz will end as soon as the radio campaign ends.
this seems oh so obvious to you, then good! I have seen over a dozen
artists make the exact same mistake I just mentioned. Their records
received air play on nationally syndicated radio programs but were
nowhere to be found in stores on or off-line.
in my own business office, we have a multi-pronged approach to marketing.
First, we keep track of purchases made through our web site (www.robinspielberg.com).
Having 12 CDs and 4 songbooks for sale, we know, for example, that
we can send mailings to those who have previously purchased sheet
music about an upcoming book release. This saves us the expense
of mailing to the thousands of buyers who have not purchased sheet
music, but are perhaps interested only in the holiday CDs. By using
a database program like Filemaker Pro, we can organize our mailings
by purchase, state or zip code, and coordinate these mailings with
upcoming concert appearances. Moreover, e-mail newsletters advertising
internet-only specials, go out quarterly.
still use traditional methods of distribution such as Borders Books
and Music, but now we complement them with the ease-of-use sites
like Amazon.com and BN.com as well as our own site.
is no need to be in every store in every state, or on every web
site that sells music. Keeping our invoicing streamlined is, for
us, the way to go. It can actually be HARMFUL to be in too many
stores. Why? Because that means your inventory is "all over the
place", and after six months time, it may very well come back to
you cracked, chipped, broken, stickered... and all at your expense.
Rotating distribution outlets , for us, makes a lot more sense.
Believe me, if your fans are looking for your music, they will find
it. And if stores are getting repeated requests for your music,
the distributors will find YOU.
experimenting with MP3.com, offering free downloads, we decided
that digital downloading was not for us. Yet. Yes, 3000 people downloaded
my bonus track from "Dreaming of Summer", but that just proved people
enjoyed downloading the track for free. I am not yet sold on the
digital download sites as a profitable business for indies. At the
moment, I would rather put energy into foreign music licensing.
It's a big world!
free concerts, playing for a cause (benefits), are all ways to grow
the indie artist's mailing list, which is the #1 marketing tool
in my book.
marketing is not only the most economical approach to your music
business. It is a way of focusing yourSELF, your music, and your
article was made possible by a call-for-articles, Focus
Marketing, a company bridging data analysis and marketing
strategy development for the music industry, to independent
artists and labels on their experiences in promoting and
selling their music.
by the MusicDish
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It 2004 - Republished with Permission
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