posted by on Music, Thoughts

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2012-11-23 16.11.32

After two plus years working at this thing, wrestling with the beast that is the music industry, I’ve finally figured out the secret to success.

It’s not how many Likes on your Facebook page, or how many Twitter followers you can get. It’s not how much you spend on your website, or your PR campaign, or making a viral music video.

It’s pretty simple: Be better than everyone else.

Yup. That’s all. Just be better. Be a better singer, a better guitar player, be better looking, be sexier, be a better storyteller, be more shocking, be more thoughtful, be more profound, be more evocative, or be more provocative.

Make it impossible for your audience not to feel something.

Be Remarkable and Be Unique

Here’s the caveat: you have to be a lot better – not just as good as, or slightly better – than everyone else. You have to be really amazing at doing at least one thing, whether it’s vocally, instrumentally, lyrically, sartorially, or as a performance artist. I suspect you also have to better at more than just one thing in order to be unique, because there are a lot of good musicians out there.

Seth Godin said: Be Remarkable.  I say: 

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posted by on Marketing, Music, Social Media, Thoughts

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In this latest installement of my weekly podcast, I discuss two current articles and the issues they raise around marketing your music online through social media and other online marketing tools. I record this podcast every Friday morning while I walk my dog, which is where I do some of my best thinking about whatever is on my mind that week related to my music and music promotion as a DIY musician.

The first article I talk about in my 16 minute podcast this week is from Digital Music News, entitled See How St. Vincent Doubled Her First Week Album Salesby Nina Ulloa. It shows that an integrated digital marketing approach incorporating multiple ways to reach a customer can be a very successful technique for increasing music sales. I talk about my conversation this week with Jason Hobbs of The Found Group, the digital marketing agency that handled St. Vincent’s campaign, and how I see the techniques of this campaign might be applied by DIY musicians.

I also discuss an article on Social Media Today entitled Why Facebook Is Not Part of My Social Media Strategy by Shell Robshaw-Bryan, which makes the case for leaving Facebook out of the marketing mix entirely. Although Robshaw-Bryan was starting a blog (not a band or music website) from scratch, she makes some good points about the decreasing effectiveness of using Facebook to build a community – whether you pay for advertising or not. Is it worth paying? Is it worth even playing?

Regardless of what digital media tactics you use as a musician, from Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram or more, the fact I found most interesting is something marketers in other industries have known for years: it takes an integrated digital marketing campaign with multiple customer “touches” before purchase happens. There is no single event, or single digital platform – no silver bullet – that will result in an immediate sale.

This is just as true for customers buying music as customers buying beauty products or cars. With the exception of a live performance, most fans will not purchase music from an artist after just one interaction. Building an online community using multiple digital platforms, and using a “retargeting” tool such as The Found Group’s found.ee can help expose fans to an artist as a person, and to their music, multiple times. This multiple exposure is necessary for a fan to progress along in the consideration process, the “sales funnel”, if you will, to the end result of a purchase.

And the ultimate business goal of any marketing campaign purchase – whether it’s a ticket, a digital download, or merchandise. Being a “Like counter” is not as effective as creating community, word of mouth, and buzz that results in repeat purchases by fans.

What are your experiences with Facebook advertising, with integrated marketing, and with how you see fans process of deciding to buy music? I welcome your comments below. 

 

posted by on Music, Thoughts

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2013-04-27 19.29.28

This week on Walking The Dog, I talk about Performance Rights Organizations, or PROs. In the US, the PROs are ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC. Musicians can register with one of these three PROs as songwriters (music composer/lyricists) as well as publishers of their own music. Once you are a member of a PRO, you can then register your songs, which has the advantage of allowing you, the musician, to use the services of your PRO to collect royalties whenever that song is performed.

In this 15 minute episode, I refer listeners to a website called MusicalRedHead hosted by Christiane Kinney, who is an entertainment lawyer as well as an indie musician. I met Christiane a few years ago at SF Music Tech, and also follow her on Twitter (@musicalredhead). Her blog has a lot of great information for musicians.

In addition to giving a brief overview of what the function of a PRO is, the two issues I talk about in this episode are live performances, especially in smaller venues, and music licensing for television shows and commercials, and where PROs figure in the equation.

Please leave your comments and rebuttals below!

posted by on Marketing, Music, Social Media, Thoughts

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Facebook Logo

Facebook: we love it and hate it. Facebook brings up so many opinions, but there is no question that it plays a big role in our lives both personally in business.

In Episode 3, I have decided to take a slightly different tack than the first two podcasts. I’m going a bit longer (11 minutes) and I’m going to discuss a hot marketing issue that also came up last night on the #ggchat Twitter chat (run by Madalyn Sklar every Thursday).

Many bands have experienced a drop in interaction on their Facebook pages in recent months since the changes Facebook made to its algorithms for how posts are displayed in fans’ news feeds. Basically, the days of free advertising are over. There has also been a lot of discussion about whether bands should be on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms.

In this episode, I summarize the key points in a recent (December 2013) article by Larry Kim on MarketingProfs called Twitter vs. Facebook Ad Showdown: Which Offers the Best Social Media Ad Platform. At the end of the podcast, I also give my analysis and recommendations in practical terms for artists and bands.

Let me know your thoughts on Facebook, Twitter and other social media advertising. I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

 

 

posted by on Conferences, Marketing, Music

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Macklemore Same Love

I first wrote about them in October 2012 on this blog, but the world now knows that a combination of strong, socially conscious messaging, a well-defined visual persona, an electrifying live show, and great music characterize the hip-hop duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. Amplified by impeccable marketing execution and excellent timing, they have become the poster child group for DIY indie artists around the world and put Seattle back on the map of music industry innovation.

Zach Quillen (@wexington), who began managing Macklemore and Ryan Lewis full time in 2012, was interviewed this past Saturday live and in person by Larry Mizell Jr. (@lar206), DJ from KEXP Seattle. This happened at Seattle’s EMP Museum at the Pacific Northwest Chapter of The Academy’s Songwriter’s Summit 2014. I was fortunate enough to be in the audience.

As both a marketer and an indie musician, I was fascinated to finally hear Quillen talk in person about the details of marketing The Heist. I’ve been waiting to meet Quillen for almost two years, and I wanted to hear straight from the source what his biggest challenges and most difficult decisions have been. I was not disappointed.

There Has Always Been A Plan

My key takeaway? There is a plan. There has always been a plan. It’s a plan you can trace back to the early 2000s, but the additon of Quillen brought music industry marketing expertise, experience and connections to the mix. The seemingly meteoric success of The Heist has been planned by Ben Haggerty, Ryan Lewis and Zach Quillen for years. Marketing for The Heist has been strategically thought out, considered, discussed, rehashed and then tactics executed boldly – with adaptations made on the fly as opportunities arose.

 

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posted by on Music, News, Thoughts

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Walking The Dog Episide 2

Most every morning I walk my dog. That’s where I do a lot of my thinking about my own music and social media, about music marketing and about what’s happening with music and technology in general. I thought you all might want to come along and hear what was on my mind this Friday morning.

The subject of today’s podcast is gear. What is the role of gear in your music career? Have you recently purchased some new gear and has it made a big difference in your recording or live performance?

In this 5 minute episode I talk about my own experience and also my observations from watching Stevie produce local bands. I didn’t admit it in the podcast, but I’m not immune to the siren song of gear. I’m like a kid in a candy shop at Guitar Center. In fact, I purchased the JamMan Looper/Sampler pictured above in October of last year. I haven’t yet figured out how to use it.

It often seems that musicians are more willing to purchase expensive musical gear than to spend the same amount of money on music lessons, professional performance coaching, song critiques, marketing, or legal services. In my mind, expensive gear is a social signal – but what it signals to others is not necessarily what I think many musicians believe it signals.

I’d love to hear your experience and your opinion on this issue in the comments section below. I’d also love your feedback on this format!

 

posted by on Interviews, Marketing, Music, News

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Eric John Kaiser (Copyright Kenton Waltz)

I recently made friends via Twitter with musician Eric John Kaiser, a native Parisian who now lives in Portland, Oregon. Like many who make a living full time from music, Eric is a busy person, juggling several different sources of income, as you will read below. 

Eric has managed to successfully carve out a niche for himself in the Portland musical ecosystem playing “French music” several days a week. I thought it would be helpful for other musicians to read some of the smart and practical things he does to find, classify and promote his local and regional gigs. I also feel it is worth highlighting how Eric does business as a musician: he treats bookers and the other musicians he works with respectfully, fairly and professionally.

Question 1: Tell our readers a little about yourself: your music, where you are from, and how you ended up in Portland.

EJK: I’m a professional singer-songwriter originally from Paris, France, now based in Portland, Oregon, USA. After doing over 350 gigs in France and several records, in the summer of 2006, I followed a girl from Portland whom I met in Paris. Now I tour mainly on the West Coast, Idaho and Montana, in Louisiana and in Quebec and some parts of Canada. I also go back to France to tour once a year. I have released, at this point, three full length albums and three EPs. It’s been a great musical adventure so far.

Over time, I’ve learned that I needed to be flexible and be able to play solo gigs, as a duo with my accordion player or play with my full band.

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posted by on Music, Social Media, Thoughts

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Walking The

Most every morning I walk my dog. That’s where I do a lot of my thinking about my own music and social media, about music marketing and about what’s happening with music and technology in general. I thought you all might want to come along and hear what was on my mind this Friday morning.

I was having a conversation last night with Michael Brandvold about my own content strategy on YouTube. The conversation was inspired in part by a great post by Lucy E. Blair published yesterday on Digital Music News entitled “STOP Making Viral Videos, START Making a YouTube #Content Strategy”.

Michael and I got to talking about the difficulty of committing to creating any kind of social media content consistently. If you’re going to commit to producing content for social media, he argued, you better enjoy creating it, or you won’t do it regularly. But the most important thing is that you create something and get it out there regularly. I argued that knowing what type of content your fans want from you is also important, and you ought to have a content strategy and understand your market before you start creating content.

Who cares if I create a music marketing podcast every Friday (for example), but no one is interested in hearing it?

So here are my 6 minutes (I thought I would keep it mercifully brief) on the conflicts between creating social media content and art for art’s sake – and creating for commercial consumption.

I’d love to hear your experience and your opinion on this issue in the comments section below. I’d also love your feedback on this format!

posted by on Music

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Seattle Chihuly Museum and Space Needle

You’ve probably heard people talk about how if you’re “serious about your music career” you should move to Nashville or LA.

I’ve been thinking lately, however, about what makes my hometown of Seattle such a great incubator for talented musicians.

It’s not just the recent blockbuster success of (multi-category) Grammy winners Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. A lot of really great music and music production has come out of Seattle over the years. From the Kingsmen and Bing Crosby to Jimi Hendrix, the Sonics, Quincy Jones, Heart, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Queensryche, Mudhoney, Tingstad and Rumble, Sir Mix-A-Lot, Danny O’Keefe, Alice Stuart, and Kenny G all the way to current success stories like The Head and The Heart, Brandi Carlile, Blue Scholars, Shabbaz Palaces, Allen Stone, Kris Orlowski and Shelby Earl. (I’m not even counting Dave Matthews, although he does live here.)

Here are some of the special things about the Emerald City which make it a better environment than Nashville or LA in which to nurture a music career:

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