Here are a few key points in case you don’t want to go that deep. Before the internet age:
Online sales and e-commerce did not exist.
You couldn’t build and publish websites.
You couldn’t connect with your fans using email marketing.
Social networks did not exist.
Video sharing sites like YouTube had yet to emerge.
You couldn’t easily crowdfund at a global scale.
To add a little more, innovative marketers are constantly adapting to the shifting online landscape. Keeping up with search engine optimization (or SEO), for instance, is practically a full-time job.
But only the most forward-thinking marketers are testing and experimenting with cutting-edge online strategies. Music marketing hasn’t changed much with major labels at all, besides the online component, but they aren’t utilizing it very well.
No two strategies are exactly alike, but major labels tend to bombard traditional media (like TV, radio, magazines, and newspapers) with ads. They also use music videos and live performances to monetize and promote their artists.
Independents aren’t much different, but they typically have restrictions labels do not, specifically in terms of financial and personnel resources. So, they will take fuller advantage of more low-cost methods like social media, blogging, email, in addition to other methods already mentioned.
Marketing is essentially the same across every industry. What’s unique about music (and digital products in general) is that it isn’t a consumable product. People don’t just buy one tube of toothpaste. Once they use it up, they buy more of it. Meanwhile, you can’t use up music. Once purchased, you can listen to it as many times as you want. Or, you can even go to a streaming site and stream it as many times as you want (sometimes without a subscription).
Another great way to look at it is Andrew Dubber’s simple formula Hear / Like / Buy. People must hear a song to become aware of it. But just because they are aware of it doesn’t mean they necessarily like it. It may take multiple listens. And, maybe if they hear it enough times, they’ll start to like it. If they like it, their chances of buying are much greater. So, people must first hear the music to get to the point where they like it, at which point they may choose to support the artist.
How does music affect marketing?
Musicians tend to be on the cutting-edge of marketing, constantly experimenting with the latest social media platforms and technology that comes along.
Some people seem to think that musicians are behind the times. But it’s not musicians, it’s labels that haven’t fully embraced the digital age.
Essentially, musicians keep driving marketing forward. They are often early adopters of new methods, platforms, and technology.
How can I market my music?
You can utilize many or all the methods already mentioned in this post.
But there isn’t a catch-all answer. You must consider what your goals are, who your target audience is, what your strengths and weaknesses are, and more.
Here are a few posts you may find helpful (but again, marketing is an expansive topic, and in the eight years I’ve been writing about it, I’ve never stopped developing new posts on the topic of marketing):
Marketing and PR is something I’ve dedicated myself to studying for years, and I’m even starting to take on some clients.
The short answer is that it varies a lot. Some artists want to raise funds for their albums. Others want to get on niche radio stations. Still others want to get press exposure. How could there possibly be a one-size-fits-all solution? Virtually every campaign is unique in some way. Even a crowdfunding campaign can vary in scope because different artists want to raise different amounts of money.
A simple brand-building campaign could easily cost $500 to $1,000 or more depending on your objectives, the length of the campaign, advertising costs, content creation (i.e. video shooting and editing), and a variety of other factors.
Music marketing can cost a lot. But my advice would be to work with individuals and companies that focus on getting you results. If they charge for a bunch of work, and they can’t even show you what they’ve done, or how it has led to new opportunities for you, then their services may not be worth your hard-earned money.
How can I get into music marketing?
The first place most people look is school, and many colleges and universities have marketing, PR, and journalism courses, as well as other relevant programs that can help you find your footing in these fields.
Self-directed education is still my poison of choice, because theory knowledge will only get you so far, and you need real-life experience. Unless your professors happen to be in marketing, PR, or journalism, they honestly have no clue how it works in the real world.
Admittedly, it can take time to find the right sources and information, but there are so many terrific blogs, podcasts, books, and courses available, I don’t see why anyone should pay such a high price tag for a paper on the wall. Plus, you can find content that’s more tailored to your exact needs online. You might pay a little, but it will be far less than tuition.
Pragmatically speaking, you’re probably not going to be hired on by a major label, even with years of education and experience. There are many reasons for this (also see the next question). So, your best bet is to market music independently as a freelancer, start your own business, or find an independent label to work with.
Everyone needs marketing, and there aren’t many forward-thinking people in the “inside circle” of the music industry. I believe you’ll be of the greatest value to people if you can develop your expertise in SEO, email marketing, social media, content marketing, advertising, and other emerging strategies. You will be in demand if you position yourself correctly.
How do I become a music marketing manager?
As I’ve already noted, getting hired on at a major label may be difficult.
This is because:
There are a limited number of major labels (three to be exact).
Labels are often self-sufficient.
Labels aren’t always marketing artists. Sometimes, they cut deals where the artist is responsible for most of the marketing.
Labels aren’t necessarily looking to spend more money than they need to.
Labels aren’t entirely onboard with the digital age and are heavily reliant on traditional media.
I would suggest setting your sights on smaller labels or independent labels if your dream is to become a music marketing manager. From there, you may be able to build up to better opportunities.
I’m not saying there aren’t any jobs out there, and if you can find one, great. But I’m more of a business guy myself, which is why I would look at (and in fact have looked at) starting my own company.
How do I start a music marketing company?
Starting a company isn’t that difficult. You can declare sole proprietorship or partnership at the local registry office. When you’re a sole proprietor or in a partnership, there typically aren’t any tax implications.
At some point, you’ll probably want to upgrade to a limited liability company (LLC) or equivalent, but depending on the situation, there may be other suitable options.
Once you’ve registered your business name, the rest is up to you. But here are some things to think about:
Your target audience. For instance, are you thinking about selling your music marketing services directly to musicians? If so, you need to be thinking about pricing, as independent musicians don’t necessarily have a lot of money to spend.
Your services. What exactly are you going to do for your clients? What is the result you’re going to help them achieve?
Your marketing. How will you promote your business? What strategies and tactics will you use? How will you position and differentiate your brand in the market?
Note: Although I am in the music entrepreneur space, I don’t know everything there is to know about registering and setting up a business (even having done it multiple times). I would recommend finding out as much as you can before you get into it. Talk to other business owners, lawyers, or knowledgeable experts to get a better handle on how to get your business set up.
Basically, the first thing you need to do is think about what you’re trying to accomplish.
Then, you need to make a plan for how you’re going to achieve your goals. See the result in your mind, and then break down the steps you’ll need to take to get there into small, actionable chunks.
There are a lot of other moving variables in between, such as what social networks to use, whether to blog or not, what type of advertising to put your money into, and so on.
But getting clear on your goals helps you determine what steps to take and what methods to utilize in your marketing. That’s why I would encourage you to start there.
How is music used in marketing?
Music is everywhere. It’s in the malls, it’s in YouTube videos, it’s on the radio, it’s in movies and TV shows, it’s in commercials, and it’s also pumped through the speakers at various live events. Music is also used in radio advertising, podcasting, and other audio-based channels.
Music is often a complement to various ads, both auditory and visual.
If you’re watching something, and it’s designed to sell anything, there’s a good chance it uses music. But even media that isn’t used to sell often contains music because it evokes certain moods and emotions (think of a slideshow at a wedding).
Sometimes, the music itself is also promoting certain products or brands, even behaviors or philosophical and religious views.
But most companies and brands are looking to match up the right music to their target demographic. They choose music that complements their message, but the music may not be the message in and of itself.
If there’s anything I’ve learned about music marketing, it’s that you can’t execute at a high level without the right resources.
You need specific and measurable goals, a strategy for achieving those goals, tools for automating processes, and a system for executing your plan.
If possible, you should also work together with a team. If for some reason you can’t, or you don’t have one, then you better have a lot of spare time to commit to it.
Many companies and individuals are beginning to recognize the importance of ongoing marketing, and not just a one-off campaign. The backbone of today’s marketing is serial content – content that entertains, inspires, and engages people, and continues to come out week after week or month after month.
What do you think? Did I miss anything? Do you have any other questions connected to music marketing?
00:14 – Bundling and packaging your music products
00:53 – There are people willing to spend more money with you (believe it!)
01:28 – Repurposing your back catalog
01:43 – How to get started with packaging your music products
02:07 – How to create value-added bundles
03:55 – Planning for future bundles and packages
04:25 – Tools you can use to sell your bundles
04:50 – Marketing your products
05:12 – Closing questions
Thanks for joining me.
You know, it’s interesting. I was doing a bit of looking around online, and I found that there wasn’t much on this topic of bundling and packaging your music products together. It’s a good way to leverage what you’ve already created and make more money from it without reinventing the wheel and creating something from scratch.
I’m sure there’s some stuff out there about this, but not much that I could find, so it’s a topic that I felt needed to be covered in more detail. So, I’m going to offer some tips here for you, and I think you’ll find you can do a lot with the music that you’ve already created without making a lot more, unless you don’t have much of a back catalog.
What you may not know is that there are people willing to spend upwards of $100 or even $200 with you [in one sitting]. You just need to give them the opportunity, because they have that money, and they want to be able to support you if they like your work. You’re just not giving them the opportunity.
Let’s say, for example, that you released five albums. Well, that’s great, people might be able to spend $50 to $60 with you to buy those albums, but you’re not giving them the opportunity to spend more. Why is that?
I think that’s often an issue of self-confidence. So, you need to improve your self-image and know that you’re worth more, and know that you can get more.
So, as I’ve already said, you can repurpose your back catalog if you have one, starting at about three or four albums. Any less than that, and you may not have enough content to create a worthwhile bundle. But after that point, you’ve got plenty to work with.
Here’s a very simple way to get started with packaging up your music product. One is to offer a bundle of all your albums, and it should be for a fair price. So, let’s say you’re offering four albums in a single bundle, and normally it would cost people about $50, then you might want to discount it and set it at about $40, but that’s one opportunity most artists are not leveraging at all.
And for those of you who want to take it to the next level, you can offer things like physical merch, your T-shirts, your buttons, your stickers, and things like that and put them in the bundle.
The one problem with offering merch items like that and including them in your bundle is just fulfillment. You’re going to have to package it all up and ship it all out, and go to the post office, unless you already have a company or individual handling that for you.
So, there’s a lot you can do without including physical merchandise. Now, I’m not saying that it’s a bad ideal to include a combination of physical and digital merchandise, because that’s also a great opportunity, but here are some other ideas you can try.
One is to include handwritten lyrics, you can simply scan them and include them in your bundle. You could include transcriptions of your music, and even guitar tabs. You can get this done for cheap these days, and this is a missed opportunity, and artists like David Nevue have been doing this for a while, and have been successful at selling sheet music. So, I don’t see why you couldn’t do that too.
You could include a story behind each album and the creation of it. You could include behind-the-scenes footage in video, or acoustic versions of the songs. You could create a short book or eBook that ties together your entire catalog.
There might be some benefits to creating a physical copy of your book and selling it on places like Amazon simply because that could be a new revenue stream for you. And you even don’t have to create something that’s 40,000 to 60,000 words long. It can literally be 10,000 words, and people don’t have a lot of time to read anyway, and if it’s compelling, 10,000 words is more than enough to capture people’s attention.
Now, if you’re not much of a writer, that’s fine, but you can also hire writers. There a lot of places you can go, like Upwork, to get somebody to do that for you, and you won’t spend an arm and a leg to do it, so that’s just an excuse.
Now if you think this whole business of packaging and bundling your music is a good idea and it’s something that you want to pursue and do, then you should plan for future bundles and packages.
Create as much content as you can. Save all your notes. Save all your blueprints and your marketing plan, and everything else you create around your music and then throw it in your package. Whatever is appropriate, whatever your audience might see as a bonus they would love. Just throw it all in there, and you’ve got a bunch of content you can sell.
So, how do you do this, and how do you make it all possible? Well, my main recommendation is Gumroad, because they let you sell digital products, physical products, memberships, subscription products, pretty much anything that you’d want to sell online you can sell through Gumroad.
Another great place that you can use is Sellfy. This is an online marketplace, so it can help you gain more visibility for your products.
But the thing is, you’re still going to have to market your music no matter where you publish it. I don’t care if it’s Gumroad, Sellfy, or iTunes. You’re going to have to take some time to market and promote it and direct your fans to it to get sales.
What follows is a guest post from Jessica Whitton on the topic of finding a qualified vocal instructor.
Who doesn’t love singing their favorite songs under the shower or while they are stuck in traffic? Carpool karaoke is an infamous viral social media trend for a reason. Everyone likes to sing along to their favorite songs on the radio.
Nevertheless, while singing involves natural talent, it is also a skill that can be learned. If you want to learn how to sing, you’ll need to commit to regular study and practice over the long haul.
Musical training can help develop your listening skills, is proven to increase your brain function, and is a must if you want to hone your natural talent. Vocal training is also helpful to a range of professionals such as actors, motivational speakers, and more.
Still, with a range of different vocal coaches available all around, and with new training programs popping up almost each and every day, you must also know how to find a good music instructor. Here are a few tips to help you do just that.
1. Be Honest About Your Expectations and Abilities
Believing you are the greatest singer out there and not being able to take constructive criticism will not help you in the long term. Before finding a teacher, make sure that you are clear about your limitations and honest about your expectations.
Answering the following questions can help you better understand the exact type of vocal teacher you need and what you can expect from yourself and your vocal training sessions:
What is the biggest driving factor behind your passion?
Why do you want to train your voice?
Have you had musical training before? When?
Are you comfortable singing on stage?
What do you expect your vocal coach to do for you?
Do you have a background in music?
How much time can you commit to practice and study?
How many resources can you commit?
Are you able to dedicate yourself to the craft, or do you only want to take it up as a hobby?
2. Find a Teacher That Can Serve Your Needs
Once you’ve answered the aforementioned questions, search for a vocal teacher that meets your criteria. For example, if you can spend more and don’t have much free time on your hands, paying for intensive training sessions might be a better option for you.
If you have more time to dedicate to the craft, you might want to hire someone who charges less, but can spend more time with you.
Regardless, ensure that the teacher meets your criteria and not just the other way around.
3. Research Your Vocal Coach Before Hiring
When researching vocal coaches online, you can do a bit of digging to find out what they’ve been up to with their careers. Preferably, you should find someone who is a trained professional and is active in their ongoing development as a vocalist.
Finding a positive, realistic and honest individual who understands they are not the greatest vocal teacher ever, and that they also have flaws, is a step in the right direction.
Singing requires both the teacher and the pupil to be honest about their skills. What’s more, someone with the right training background is crucial as there is more to vocal training than just singing, including human interaction.
4. Prepare Your Objectives and Share Them with Your Teacher
Make a list of your goals and share them with your teacher. Ask them how they can help you achieve your goals.
For instance, vocal training may take different forms depending on whether you want to be involved in musical theater or if you intend to become the next star on a reality show.
Once you have listed your objectives, share them with the teacher of your choice and don’t be afraid to ask whether they think they are a good match. Even if they do not feel qualified enough in the field you want to develop yourself in, chances are they can recommend you to a colleague that has experience in that area.
5. Try out Multiple Vocal Coaches before Deciding which to go with
Vocal training requires a coherence between both the teacher and the pupil. Even if the vocal coach you have chosen is the best in your area and has multiple certifications, chances are things will not work out in your favor if you are not a good match.
That is why, especially if you are considering going long term with your vocal training, you should try out multiple teachers before settling on one. Tasting a variety of teaching methods before choosing the right one for is crucial, as when you are in sync with your coach, you’ll make more progress and the training process will go smoother.
Singing is a Journey – Enjoy it!
To learn how to sing you have to be prepared to go on a voyage. Vocal training can help you improve your vocal abilities, express yourself through music and more. Anyone can benefit from lessons.
Building your brand and networking is the same online as it is offline. It’s just that a lot of people treat it differently, which I don’t recommend.
If you take the time to develop relationships, new opportunities will come your way. If you scream into the void and don’t take the time to add value to others, even your successes will be short-lived.
In this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast, you’ll learn how to show up in more places online without expending a ton of effort.
00:27 – A simple brand-building system you can follow
00:55 – #1: Commenting on blogs
02:10 – #2: Reviewing podcasts and products
03:35 – #3: Connecting with people on social media
04:45 – What will happen if you use these strategies
Tired of posting to social media only to hear crickets?
Can’t seem to get any traction with your online marketing efforts?
Getting distracted by 100 different things you could be doing right now to grow your career or business online?
What you need is a simple system to follow. And I’m about to share one with you.
If you just do the following three things diligently and consistently, you’ll be surprised at what you accomplish.
Not only are most people not doing these things, they keep going after the big wins instead of understanding how small, daily wins can get them to where they want to go.
So, let’s look at three strategies to help you build your brand and create new connections.
1. Comment on Blog Posts & Articles
Do you read blog posts? Sure, you do.
But how often do you leave a comment on a blog? Based on all the content I’ve published over the years, I’d say the people who take the time to engage are in the minority. Like maybe 1 to 2%. It might even be less.
The interesting part about those who leave comments? They get remembered.
Now, I’m not talking about messing up other people’s blogs with “good post”, “nice work”, and “thanks” type nonsense. That won’t get you anywhere.
What you want to do is contribute to the discussion. Add value to it. And if you see an opening to help a community member or blog owner, do it.
Help people to help people – not for any other reason. You’ll build new connections and relationships fast.
You need not be self-promotional to make a connection with an influencer.
Do this on blogs you’re already reading. Depending on the commenting system they use, this could even help you build links to your site. But don’t worry about that. Just become a part of the community.
This will increase your visibility in a lot of places and help you leverage communities and audiences you didn’t even have to spend months and years building.
2. Review Digital & Physical Products on iTunes and Amazon
Do you read books or listen to podcasts?
Then you should be leaving reviews for every book you read and every podcast you listen to.
Commenting targets blogs and online publications across the web. Reviewing targets major online platforms like Amazon and iTunes.
Again, don’t be shallow or lazy. Give people honest feedback. Most people want a good rating. But if your three- or four-star review contains constructive criticism, content creators will appreciate that too. Be real, authentic, and selfless.
The identity of the author has been protected in this review. But you can see how the constructive criticism would help them improve their writing (the actual review is longer).
If you must rate something one or two stars, then think seriously before posting. Maybe it would be best not to talk about these things at all, because reviews increase the exposure of that product or podcast. If you don’t think other people should see it, maybe don’t review it.
I do a lot of reviews of my own. But these are detailed, content-rich reviews. When it comes to reviewing books and podcasts, it will only take a bit of your time. All you need to do is put together three or four thoughtful sentences.
Combining this strategy with others on this list is powerful, because the people you engage with will start to see you everywhere and know that you’re engaged.
If you’ve ever wanted to build a relationship with an industry influencer, expert, or gatekeeper, this is a good way to do it.
3. Tweet & Reach Out to Other People
Okay, so Twitter is kind of on shaky ground right now and we don’t know what’s going to happen with it.
Google has been buying up pieces of it, and will probably wind up with the whole thing at some point. Who knows what will happen once Google owns it?
But what I’m about to share could apply to any social network you use.
If you’ve been on Twitter for a while, you probably see a trickle of people following you on a daily or weekly basis.
And, most of these people aren’t true followers, which is okay, but building on autopilot is time-consuming and not very effective.
A few simple tweaks can make all the difference.
Retweets are always appreciated.
When people follow you, why not engage right away? Say “hi”, introduce yourself, and ask something about them.
At worst, you won’t hear anything back. But in most cases, you’ll probably have a few exchanges, and this will increase your chances of engaging this person over the long-haul.
Another thing you can do is “like” and retweet other people’s content. If you’re following them anyway, then take that extra step to let them know you want to engage.
Again, this will increase your visibility and help you build more connections.
The above strategies needn’t cost you a cent. You can do all these things daily, and they don’t even have to take up much of your time.
Imagine what you could do over the course of a year.
If you left five comments on blogs, five reviews in online stores, and engaged five new people on Twitter every single day, you would be seen in 5,475 places you weren’t before!
Even if you only did five of these things per day, you’d still be seen in 1,825 places. Try to stop the opportunities from coming your way!
I know most of you will hear this and do nothing with it. That’s because discipline is hard, even if it will only take 20 to 30 minutes of your time daily.
But if you act on what you now know about brand-building and networking online, and you keep at it over the long haul, I think you’ll see people reciprocate and want to bless you with opportunities.
So, if you’re committed to yourself and your career, I would encourage you to give this a try.
If you don’t feel like you’re making progress in your career, you have no one to blame but yourself. Perhaps you haven’t even thought about what you’re trying to accomplish, or what steps you need to take to get there. The best way to make steady progress? Make your own rules.
In this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast, I explain how you can set your own rules, and the benefits of doing so.
02:27 – When you make your own rules, it’s easy to make the game winnable
03:59 – Control
04:52 – Achieving builds your confidence
05:04 – Have you made your own rules?
Thanks for joining me. Today I wanted to talk about making your own rules, because I think some people out there are discouraged by the progress they’re making or not making in their music careers.
And I think you would do well to remember that you’re in charge of that. Nobody else can tell you what you’re supposed to achieve or what your goals are supposed to be, or what you’re aiming for. Only you decide that.
For example, if you want to be signed to a record label, obviously, a win for you would mean getting a contract offer. But you could set your sights a lot lower if you wanted to. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s up to you.
You can have small goals, and you can have big goals if that’s what you choose to do. And you must be the one measuring against your own rules that you’ve made to play the game.
My first point is that you are your harshest critic. When you put out a new product into the world, whether it’s an eBook, or a new single, EP, or album, you know everything that’s wrong with it because you were involved in the production process.
Whether it was your guitar playing being a little bit out of time, your vocals being pitchy, or the drums not totally in sync with the rest of the band. But when your fans go and listen to it, they might not even notice some of those things.
So, there’s no reason to point out to say, “Hey, on this track my guitar playing’s off.” You don’t need to tell them that. If they enjoyed the song, they enjoyed the song.
More often than not, if you go back and listen to some of the recordings that came from the 60s and 70s, there was a lot of live recording off the floor. And there are some amazing recordings from back then, but there are also many flaws. Some of them were even covered up by instruments. Even The Beatles had songs like that, sections where they played the wrong chord and they covered it up with a bunch of horns and things like that.
So, it’s just good to be aware that no one will be as harsh as you are. You are your worst critic.
Second, setting your own rules makes it easier for you to win, and success breeds success. So, when you begin working on something, and you complete it. That’s your first win. And then you put it out into the world, and that’s another win. And, as you achieve more, your confidence will increase, and you’ll get more done.
I think setting your own rules enables you to increase your confidence continually over time, bit by bit, after every achievement and every win. That leads to momentum. Momentum leads to being more prolific and producing more, and creating more, and putting more out into the world. We want to encourage that success cycle to happen in our lives.
But if you set your goals too high and measure yourself against some of the most amazing people in the world, and you’re just getting started in your music career, or if you’re in year two or three right now, you can’t do what they did. It’s near impossible.
So, measuring yourself against some of the most accomplished musicians or music business people in the world is unfair to yourself. What we want to do is to get into that success cycle. Setting your own rules, making your own goals, and measuring yourself against those goals boosts your confidence and helps you achieve more.
Making your own rules also puts you in control. I’ve talked before about ownership. You should be in control of what you accomplish, especially as a musician or business owner. You should put those parameters in place as to what it means to be successful in what you do. No one else should be telling you what that is, should they? So, take some time to think about what success would mean to you.
And if you have huge goals, then put small goals in place that allow you to reach that next level. Put those stepping stones in place. And every time you hit one of those mile markers, you’ll realize you’ve progress in your career, and that will increase your confidence.
So, making your own rules, taking ownership of it, taking responsibility of your career, increases your confidence.
So, what are your thoughts on making your own rules? Have you already made your own rules for your music career or business? Let me know. Leave a comment below, and I’ll see you next time.