posted by on Marketing, Music

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Alice Stuart Headshot

She was featured in Guitar Player magazine in 1974. Rolling Stone did three stories about her in the 1970s.

 “There would be no Bonnie Raitt without Alice Stuart.” – Dick Waterman

If you want to know how to be successful long term in the music business – and how to continue to be successful in the 21st century new online, Do-It-Yourself model – you would do well to study the example of Seattle musician Alice Stuart.

She may not be a household name, but Stuart is a pioneer with a loyal fan base who has had remarkable lifetime success and longevity in a tough industry.

Alice Stuart 1973 205x300 Female Guitarist Alice Stuart Shows Us How Its Done At 71A Trailblazer For Women in Rock

Alice Stuart blazed the trail for women in rock and roll as one of the only females in the country to write her own music, front a male band, and play lead guitar on national and international circuits.

Stuart has played with many greats, including Jerry Garcia, John Prine, Albert King, Richard Greene, Elvin Bishop, Joan Baez, Doc Watson, Phil Ochs, Mississpi John Hurt, Frank Zappa, The Chambers Brothers, Tower of Power & Commander Cody.

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posted by on Thoughts

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photo (28)

It’s Sunday, and usually Sunday is my day to spend with my mother. I take her swimming at the pool or lake and then back to my house for lunch in my kitchen, a visit with her grandchildren and a few ball-throws with my dog, Lucy. It’s been a tradition for the past three years, since my mom moved out here to Seattle from her home in New Jersey after living alone for 35 years.

Today, I am writing about my mom instead in being with her in person. Yesterday, she passed away peacefully at our local hospice center, ten days after suffering a massive stroke. Within a few days of her stroke, she had lost the ability to talk, open her eyes much, or move her limbs or her body. She had not eaten or drunk anything since being admitted to the hospital. She was diagnosed a little over a year ago with congestive heart failure, and she had a number of other ailments common to 81-year-olds (arthritis, memory loss). With three hospitalizations in 18 months, we had all seen this coming for a while.

photo 24 e1378058793838 225x300 30 Lessons About Living From A Wise WomanMy mom had been very clear over the years with me and my sister that she was horrified by the idea of having to live in a nursing home, unable to walk. Certainly the idea of being unable to eat by herself, move much at all, unable to communicate with others, was the stuff of my mother’s nightmares. She was a woman who swam laps in the gym pool four days before her stroke. She had been a long time supporter of the group Compassion and Choices, and was thrilled when our state passed the Death With Dignity act in 2008, just before she moved out here. So her passing relatively quickly was both a sorrow and a relief.

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posted by on News

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Seth Jackson

I like to profile indie DIY musicians in an effort to distill practical music marketing lessons that the rest of us can learn from. My fellow Seattleite, Seth Jackson, has been doing this on his website, HowToRunABand, for much longer than I have. Like me, he’s a musician, blogger, and music marketer (as well as a techie – website designer and software developer), and he’s been a role model for me for almost two years now.

SethAndBrianT 300x225 DIY Musician Wisdom From Seth Jackson Of HowToRunABandSeth and I met in early 2012, when I was just beginning my journey as a music marketer. I was present at the first In Real Life (vs. social media) meeting between Seth and Brian Thompson at a Hard Rock Seattle music marketing panel discussion. Two peas in a pod, eh?

Seth has a new podcast series on his website called Work Hard, Rock Harder (WHRH), where he interviews other musicians who make a living fulltime via their musical talents.

Seth is now up to interview #37. I thought it was time to check in with him and see what this WHRH thing was all about. || Read more

posted by on Marketing, Music

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AurySinging

In Part I of this series, I focused on the successful Kickstarter ($20K+) campaign held last fall by the female-fronted indie Seattle band, the Aury Moore Band. Their recently released CD, Here I Am was produced this spring by Stevie (full disclosure). I’m not affiliated myself in any way with band, although I’ve shared some marketing tips with her over the years, and I appreciate what Aury has done to market her CD. In this post, I will detail Aury’s June 2013 CD release party for Here I Am, including the budget and key promotional elements.

Budget

I received several requests for more detailed cost information after writing a blog post about my own (much smaller) CD release party in April. I think Aury’s party is a better lesson on how to make money on a CD release party, so I asked her if she would be willing to share her numbers. She was most gracious, so here they are:

aury poster3 193x300 Case Study In Music Marketing: The Aury Moore Band (Part II)Costs: Approximately $1300

  • Venue: $0
  • Merchandise: $200 (most was left over from the Kickstarter campaign)
  • Raffle Items: $100
  • Posters, Flyers and VIP Passes:$260
  • Pre-printed Tickets: $40
  • 1000 CDs (jewel case, 4-page color folder/traycard): $1500 (roughly 400 were given out the night of the party, and an additional 200 mailed out to Kickstarter backers)

Revenue: Approximately $10,000

  • Pre-sold Tickets: $4000 (online ticket fees were paid by purchasers)
  • Tickets Sold At Door: $4000 (some attendees were “comped”)
  • Extra Raffle Tickets: $200 (went to charity)
  • Merchandise: $700

(I assume Aury has some kind of revenue-sharing deal with her bandmates, but I didn’t ask about that.) So how did Aury end up netting around $8K at her CD release party?

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posted by on Marketing, Social Media

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Aury Moore

A few weeks ago I attended an inspiring CD release party for the Aury Moore Band‘s new CD, Here I Am. The AMB is a female-fronted indie Seattle rock band whose latest CD was produced by Stevie (full disclosure). I’ve been fortunate to be a part of Aury’s inner circle, and even to feed her a few music marketing tips. She’s an experienced and accomplished musician and marketer herself, and I wanted to share the story of this 12-song CD.

This article is the first of a two-part series. In the first post, I describe how Aury used Kickstarter to successfully raise over $20,000 to record, promote and pre-sell her CD. In Part II, I outline how Aury followed up with a highly successful CD release party and what might lie in store as she continutes the process of marketing her newest release.

The promotion of this CD began even before it was produced. A well-executed CD release, launch and promotion process is ideally 12-14 months, and a crowd funding campaign with Kickstarter (or via another crowd funding platofrm such as PledgeMusic, IndieGoGo or RocketHub) is an important and powerful marketing and pre-sales technique.

The Timeline

  • Spring 2012: Aury and her band came to Stevie, wanting to record a new CD. Aury had recorded in the past, and had actually begun the process with another producer, but he was tragically killed. She didn’t have funds to continue making the CD at the time, and was talking to a few individual fans about the possiblity of them funding it. Aury and I talked about the idea of doing a Kickstarter campaign to raise money instead of relying on one or two individuals. I invited Seattle singer-songwriter Jean Mann over to my house to participate in a group discussion on music marketing for several of Stevie’s clients. Jean graciously detailed to the group how she had used Kickstarter to raise money for her CD. It was something Aury and her band had never done before, but Aury recognized the potential right away and started planning.
  • Summer 2012: Aury researched Kickstarter, and then began work on the video and premiums for her campaign.
  • August – October 2012: The AMB Kickstarter campaign ran for 60 days, ultimately raising $2000 above the original goal.
  • October 2012 – May 2013: Stevie, Aury and the band recorded and mixed the CD.
  • June 2013: Aury Moore Band CD release party happens with over 400 people attending.
  • July 2013: As of this writing, the new CD is available on CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon, etc. and they have sold about 600 physical CDs.

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posted by on Marketing, Social Media

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twitter-bird-white-on-blue

Professional social media marketers know that Twitter is a great way to reach out to fans and influencers, to interact and build a network of professional acquaintances, to gain exposure and, ultimately, to help sell products to a customer or fan base. The logic is, of course, that the more followers you have on Twitter, the larger your marketing reach. There is a lot of debate about whether it’s better to have more followers (“quantity”), or a small group of egaged followers (“quality”). This depends to some extent on one’s business goals, but as one blogging social media expert points out:

As much as you’d like to say that quantity doesn’t matter, well it does. – Jeff Bullas

Follow Others To Increase Your Twitter Following

If you have a Twitter account, you may already know that the best way to grow your followers is to actively follow others, and some percentage will follow you back. The more things you have in common with a user, the more likely they are to follow you back, so it’s a good idea to follow others based on a keyword to search of their profiles or tweets. The problem is that this is a time-consuming process when done manually – one can spend hours a day doing it.

Twitter used to have a feature called automated following, but they recently disabled it. They have done this largely because of the proliferation of fake Twitter accounts which have been used by unscrupulous marketers to inflate Twitter accounts. Along with this change by Twitter, automated Twitter follow tool TweetAdder has settled their lawsuit with Twitter and changed their product, requiring all users to upgrade. Because of the changes Twitter has made to try and address its fake follower problems, TweetAdder and other tools based on Twitter’s automated follow feature are no longer as effective as they used to be.

The truth is that building a large Twitter following has never been “organic.” As far as I can tell from the last 18 months of research and observation, unless you become a YouTube sensation overnight, growing a significant Twitter following quickly requires one of the following four practices:

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posted by on Music

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Me and my daughter Fiona at our recent CD release party

Stevie and I were talking the other day about the fact that all of his professional musician friends are childless. As a member of GoGirls, I have also gotten to know many female musicians online. I’ve noticed that in general, the women I have met online who are working musicians (those who make a living working full-time as musicians – no day job) don’t seem to have any children. My local female musician friends are the same way – regardless of age, they have no children.

It got me thinking – why is it that being a professional musician and having children seem to be incompatible, especially for women? I’ve also been thinking a lot lately about touring – is it a necessary part of a band’s evolution?

I have decided that it may well be true that these are two very important things that separate a professional musician from an amateur: having children and touring. Of course, these two things are related. This is one of the reasons that choosing to be a professional musician is perceived (perhaps logically) as a young, childless person’s game. Touring and putting off having children are both things that younger musicians do, but find increasingly difficult to juggle as they get older.

(Note an important caveat: the story may be different for professional studio musicians or those who write and record music primarily to license it for film and TV. This post is meant for indie musicians who are performing artists with their own original music groups).

Having Children

Let’s face it, male musicians can and do have children, but only if they find a partner willing to stay home and take care of their kids for them while they are out on the road making a living. In some ways, that’s even harder, because they then have to make enough money to support not only the band, but their families back home. If you read Peter Townsend’s recent autobiography, Who I Am, he talks about the pressures he felt to continue touring to support his wife and children. This was true even mid-career, when people would have assumed The Who were so successful that Townsend could have slacked off or retired.

For female musicians it’s a lot less acceptable to have kids. It may be a provocative thing to say, but I think society frowns more on the absentee musician mother than the absentee musician father. Other (childless) musicians look at you sideways when you have to leave rehearsal suddenly because of a sick child (been there, done that).

Here are a few of the other reasons I think many musicians – men, too, but especially women – have to choose (or feel they have to choose) between a professional music career and having a family:

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posted by on Conferences, Marketing, Social Media

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photo (17)

Vlogging is an increasingly popular communication medium, and I think it’s a largely underutilized way for indie musicians to communicate with fans, perform live, do interviews, build their YouTube subscribers, and share information about themselves and their lives. Musicians might even find it an unexpected source of additional income.

What is vlogging, you may ask? Vlogging is a contraction of the phrase “video blogging.” Vlogging is what happens when you publish regular, serialized video episodes on YouTube and people “tune in,” or subscribe, to your YouTube channel to watch. Vloggers, some of them quite young, but many of every age, are making a living doing this. If they offer interesting content, and can build a good subscriber base, it can be a very good living for some of the superstars of vlogging. Vloggers provide the content, people subscribe to watch it, and advertisers sell ads on their YouTube channels through the partner program.

Chris Pirillo’s VloggerFair 2013 In Seattle

I just attended VloggerFair here in sunny Seattle. VloggerFair is a combination trade show and giant fan club convention conceived and organized by the fast-talking and very creative Chris Pirillo. Chris is the star of the YouTube channel LockerGnome, a “Geek Lifestyle” channel with 288,000 subscribers. In addition to his fast-paced LockerGnome tech gadget reviews, Chris and his wife, Diana, also vlog about their day to day lives in what amounts, more or less, to a reality TV show on YouTube.

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posted by on Marketing, Social Media

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MarkEtingchapLocket

There are some important things to know about Mark Etingchap (that’s Marketing Chap, to you):

Oh, yes, and, the most important thing of all:

  • Mark Etingchap is not a real person. 

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