posted by on Marketing, Music, Social Media

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StevieAdamekAllies

[The following is a guest post by my friends at Ditto Music. That's why the spelling is British icon smile 10 Simple Ways To Promote Your Music Ditto Music is an online music record label services and digital distribution company servicing over 50,000 artists across the world. Services include chart eligibility, royalty collection and online promotion. I have guest posted on their site.

This post is particularly relevant for me this week. Being a DIY musician, I have done each of the things suggested below myself to promote either my current band, Solveig & Stevie, or my former band, Shades of Red. So I can personally attest to the fact that they are all important. I think #6 below is something that many bands and singer-songwriters wrestle with, myself included. I'd love to hear your feedback on this.

Stevie and I are planning a professional photo shoot and a band website redesign this month, and I'm pretty excited for that. You'll probably see a blog post or two from me about those experiences. Meanwhile, here are some great music marketing tips from Ditto Music.]

If you are embarking on a career in music, having talent and determination will only get you so far. In order to reach the heights of international stardom, you will also need to promote your music if you decide to go down the road of independent publishing. The internet and the wide range of digital outlets available will provide you with many opportunities to spread the reach of your music. By adopting these 10 simple strategies, you can maximise your chances of reaching the top of the charts.

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Hard Rock Cafe Global Battle Of The Bands

posted by on Marketing, Social Media

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SEO Basics For Musicians

A friend of mine recently asked me about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tips for his music industry and marketing website. Now, I’m by no means an SEO expert. However, I love when people ask me questions and I don’t know the answers, because it’s an excuse for me to do research. I knew I could improve the SEO on my own websites with what I learned, and also pass that information back to him, thereby placing him forever in my debt. Just kidding about the debt part. But I do enjoy building long term relationships based on openly sharing practical information that helps others.

When one person asks, it also means there are probably other people out there who would be interested in the answers.

I’ve posted links to the articles I found in the process of doing my reasearch at the end of the article. I want to give a special shout out to Stan Smith of Pushing Social, whose recent webinar on 7 Blog Marketing Tactics was especially useful in the section below on SEO for images.

What Is SEO For Musicians?

My Google results 300x293 10 SEO Tips For MusiciansSEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. All this means is that if someone searches (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.) for either your personal name, your band name or perhaps even for the type of music you play (eg. “dubstep Celtic”or “ukelele classic rock cover band Seattle”), your website will appear at the top or close to the top of their search results.

Have you Googled yourself or your band name lately? Try it and see what comes up. You might try also your musical genre if it’s narrow enough. My results are shown above and to the right when I Google my name, and below left for when I Google the words in my band name, Solveig Stevie.

Solveig Stevie Google 258x300 10 SEO Tips For Musicians

Just remember to go “Incognito” or “anonymous” before you search yourself, otherwise the search will take into account all of your own recent searches, and might be skewed. You want to see what the average person will get when they do a search, not your own “tailored-by-Google” search. There’s more in this CNET article on how to search anonymously in other browsers such as IE and Firefox as well as Chrome.

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posted by on Interviews, Marketing, Music

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Grammy Award

Sometime in the summer of 2013, I decided to join The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), AKA The Academy®. I had heard it was a great way to network with other local musicians – including Seattle’s own Grammy®-winning writers, producers and artists like Sir Mix-A-Lot, Eric Tingstad and Sue Ennis.

Then, in the fall, on a lark, I decided to see what it was like to submit my music for the 56th (as they call it) Grammys. Just for fun, mind you, and to learn. I have no delusions of grandeur left about the music industry. Well, maybe a few.

The Grammys are the biggest honor in music you can get. I thought it would be interesting to participate in the process and see how it really works first hand, for an indie and from the inside. No PR machine, no label, no manager.

First, I did some research on indie artists who have gotten nominated. There’s been a lot of controversy in recent years, with EDM artist Al Walser and Americana artist Linda Chorney top of mind. This post is not about the controversy of the voting process, however. Believe it or not, this post isn’t even going to cite Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, although Seattle’s own hometown indie artists were nominated for seven (seven!) Grammys, in case you’ve been living under a rock this year.

What is most interesting to me are two things I discovered.

One is a shift, at least for the indie artists, away from the private Grammy365 website to social media sites like Facebook to promote their nominations. Social media is having an effect even on crusty and fairly closed organizations in the music industry like NARAS.

Second is the sheer explosion in both the number of Academy members and number of submissions for nomination, as more and more amateur recording artists and producers have begun creating and marketing their music. This has created not only technical issues for the Academy and its members’-only website, Grammy365.com, but it has also made the annual listening and promotional process within the voting members much more challenging.

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Solveig Child

I began publishing on this website on June 28th, 2012, thanks to Brian Thompson (@thornybleeder). Brian has been a role model for me as both a popular music marketing  and inspirational blogger and also as a social media maven. He consistently produces high quality content and shares it intelligently. He also has a great sense of visual design and branding, which permeates his online presence.  What some of you may not know is that he also created this beautiful WordPress website for me (thank you, Brian).

After 18 months, I think it’s appropriate to reflect a bit. Of course, for me, that means “let’s look at the numbers!”

In the spirit of following my own advice on using Google analytics, I thought it would be interesting to create a list of my top blog posts. Note that not all of these posts were written in 2013, this is just my top ranked website page views from June 28, 2012 through December 26, 2013, according to my Google Analytics.

So here they are, in order of popularity:

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posted by on Marketing, Music, Social Media

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Content Flow Chart Blackboard

You may have heard that content marketing is (or should be) the center of 21st century marketing for any business, large or small. But what does this mean in practical terms for a DIY musician?

The basic idea is that by creating original, useful and entertaining information and then using social media to share it far and wide, you attract potential fans who would not otherwise have been aware of your music. Plus, it costs you little or nothing to create the content and do the promotion, right? Free marketing! Well, not exactly free. It costs time and energy, and maybe even a little cash. Without some thought up front, content marketing can also quickly become overwhelming even for the most savvy. But don’t give up just yet. You can do this.

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posted by on Interviews, Marketing, Music

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Robin 3_001

For the second half of this two part series, I interviewed Robin Fairbanks, A&R at Seattle’s Setlist Music Solutions. Robin is an amazing music industry resource who has developed, managed and promoted many bands and solo artists across the country.

She has also done just about everything there else is to do professionally in the music industry, including being an on-air radio personality and doing radio sales, online radio programming, original music sales, full-service advertising and PR, booking, and event promotion. In this interview, Robin gives indie artists her perspective and advice on how to be successful in the music industry.

Robin is so engaging, we spent two full hours together talking together, so this is a long interview, but I think it’s chock full of important information.

You may also be interesting in reading Part I in this series, an interview with Robin’s colleague at Setlist Music, Elizabeth O’Keefe.

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posted by on Interviews, Marketing, Music

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SetlistMusicLogo

I recently interviewed two of my favorite, no-nonsense women in the Seattle music scene, Robin Fairbanks (A&R) and Elizabeth O’Keefe (Operations). They are both part of a music consulting company called Setlist Music Solutions, headed up by Sean Hensley, which specializes in artist development and management. Part I of this series offers Elizabeth’s perspective, and Part II will showcase Robin’s point of view. Both of these women have a lot of hands-on experience helping indie artists succeed.

It’s no secret that the options for self-promotion are greater than ever before for musicians. As a DIY independent artist myself, I often find it overwhelming just to understand all the different business and marketing things I need to do on a daily basis in order to be successful – to say nothing of actually getting them all done – and I have an MBA (and experience in marketing!) Like many artists, I fantasize about a record label riding in like a white knight, begging to sign me and to do all the work to promote my career as a musician. While this still happens for some artists, for most of us, it’s important to move forward with the reigns of our careers still firmly grasped in our own sweaty, trembling hands.

So what’s a girl to do when she realizes there is no way she can do it all herself?

Boutique Label

The idea of a boutique recording or music label has been around for a while, and has been written about in articles like this in-depth Baltimore City Paper article published in 2010 or in this article about the Arizona-based Cosmica Artists label. While the terms indie label and boutique label often seem to be used interchangeably, a boutique label generally focuses on a small artist roster, or even a single emerging artist. It may even be started and owned by a producer, or the artists themselves. It could be a non-profit artist collective.

The signed artist(s) may do none, or some of their own marketing. The boutique label may or may not act like a traditional label, providing (and funding) most or all of the services an artist needs, from recording to promotion, booking and tour management. Artists may have to pay for some, or all, services provided, but they get to say they are “signed” to a label. Boutique labels will not sign just anyone, but they might take a chance on a relatively unknown artist. The artist and label’s brands are associated with each other. The boutique label generally chooses the artist, not the other way around.

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posted by on Conferences, Live, Music

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TOM-JACKSON-2

How Important Is Your Live Show To Your Career?

Tom Jackson believes that the most successful artists are those who are amazing live performers. A few weeks ago, Stevie and I attended a two day bootcamp with live music producer Jackson and his team to see how we could improve our own performance. I was not disappointed.

photo 41 e1382224076681 289x300 The Best Expenditure Of Your Money, MusiciansIn his many years of experience working with everyone from big name artists like Taylor Swift, The Band Perry, or Jars of Clay to up-and-coming indie artists like the Canadian country duo The Reklaws, Jackson has learned that fans don’t just come to a live show to listen to music. They come to feel emotion. What they crave is to connect with an artist, and to have their lives changed.

As for merchandise, most fans don’t buy a CD because they want to listen to the studio version of the song they heard live. Merchandise, Jackson says, is a prop that help fans relive the emotional moments of a live performance. The merchandise is a memento, and the emotional moments in a show are what it’s all about.

The Steven Spielberg of Live Music Performance

Tom Jackson teaches musicians how to make their live stage show remarkable. He helps artists deliberately create emotional “moments”. Jackson is the Steven Spielberg of live music production. This is the science of stagecraft and performance art. He teaches musicians how to use moments to create true fans, because it’s those moments that bring people back again and again to see your live show. It’s those moments that create the word-of-mouth buzz that propels an artist forward.

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