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Ariel Hyatt is in the house!
Are you looking to get more publicity for your music or band? Do you wish a major media outlet would cover your story?
In this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast, we learn from the best. Ariel Hyatt of Cyber PR sheds light on the current state of publicity in the music industry as well as what she’s excited about creating.
- 01:30 – What brought you to this point of helping musicians and music related brands?
- 03:51 – Dyslexia
- 04:50 – How long did it take for you and your company to get established in your space?
- 08:39 – Creative projects are closed loops
- 09:41 – The dangers of comparison
- 12:29 – How important is publicity for musicians and what is PR?
- 14:13 – FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened
- 15:40 – The media will cover you if you have something newsworthy to share
- 19:11 – The grind
- 23:05 – How effective are press releases?
- 25:53 – Copywriting skills
- 26:57 – Why write books?
- 35:39 – Is there a project you’re fired up about working on right now?
- 37:58 – Am I on track? – An assessment of The Music Entrepreneur HQ business
- 45:35 – Concluding thoughts
David Andrew Wiebe: Today I’m chatting with founder of Cyber PR. Ariel Hyatt. How are you today, Ariel?
Ariel Hyatt: I’m fantastic.
David Andrew Wiebe: Great. Glad we could finally talk and have you on the show. Now, I’ve been blogging about the music industry since 2007. But in 2012, I invested in music industry startup and ended up creating a position for myself as a blogger and digital marketer for the company. And that’s when I started taking it more seriously. And in those days, it was people like you and Derek Severs, and Tom Hess, and Andrew Dover, that provided me with a lot of inspiration. So, thank you for being one of the giants whose shoulders, I could stand on.
Ariel Hyatt: My pleasure. Those are all names that just brought me so much warm and fuzzy. That was amazing.
David Andrew Wiebe: Oh, I know. I mean, Derek Severs I’m sure is many people’s favourite human being. He’s just smart and knowledgeable. What an incredible guy. Can’t really say enough about him.
So, you have a tremendous amount of experience in marketing and PR. What brought you to this point of helping musicians and music-related brands?
Ariel Hyatt: I guess the real honest answer is my mother who is an amazing career coach. That’s what she did my whole life and continues to do. She pointed out when I was pretty young that I had a knack for communication. I started really young interning at a PR firm and realised that that was actually true, I did have a knack for communication. Although even though that was my knack, I had a passion for art. That was my interest. And so, I guess my whole career is a combination of the thing that I’m really passionate about, which is art, not only music but I love visual art and all types of art. And then, you know, getting to support artists with what I’m really good at, which is communication and simplifying things, I think is something that as a dyslexic, which is something that I have, you look at the world really differently because everything feels confusing, especially when you’re young and you can’t read and everybody else can. You don’t see the world the way other people see it. You start filtering things in a way to make it easier for yourself to understand. And so, I think part of why I’m good at what I do is, I understand that artists don’t see the world, especially the business world, the way that most people do. And so, I’ve kind of made it my journey. Like, if I could break down the world so that I could understand it when it didn’t make sense, I certainly could help other people do that.
David Andrew Wiebe: Wow, that’s really cool. And a couple of things by way of comment. When I first got started, or really, after I was born, the first thing I got into was not music but rather art. And so, I did a lot of arts and crafts, and a lot of drawing and painting. That was sort of my first expression of creativity, which later evolved into music and writing. But I think it’s so common that people in this space also have a huge appreciation for other types of art. The other thing was what you said about dyslexia. I had a backing singer in my group who is also dyslexic, without revealing too many details, but it was just one of many things she seemed to be afflicted by and struggling with at times. But you know, she’s still a great singer, which is why I work with her.
Ariel Hyatt: Yeah, it’s a lot of people that have dyslexia have an excellent year. Most a lot of really famous artists like Carly Simon, James Taylor, they’re dyslexic. They have this like, perfect pitch. And it’s like, “Well, why is that?” Well, it’s because they can’t read so it comes out in other ways.
David Andrew Wiebe: Right. It’s almost like you’re just compensating for what doesn’t come to you naturally, right? And then instead, using your ear or using your other senses to really fine tune what it is you’re doing. So, I could see that. They would be better pitch than probably most amateurs.
I’m not sure who originally came up with this but in the entrepreneurial space, we often say everything takes five years. So, how long did it take for you and your company to get established in your space? What was your experience like along the way?
Ariel Hyatt: I had a really interesting and very cool thing happen. So, I guess if we counted the painful journey from getting out of university and getting into the music industry, where you realise that you’re just young and one of many, many people trying to get your foot in the door, if we counted that as year one, I think this is actually going to make a lot of sense. Let’s see.
So, my journey was struggled a lot trying to find work. I found some really small unpaid internships. And then, parlayed those into a job at a small record label. Worked at the record label for a year. So, that would be two years out of school. And then the third year, I worked. I got a job at a concert promotions company. I worked there for probably about two years, year and a half, two years. And then, I started my own business.
I had some luck in that I was living in a small town at the time, I was living in Boulder, Colorado, which is a place that at the time, I mean, the music scene is rich there, but the music industry is not. There was not a lot of people. There was like two record labels, and you know, a couple of music venues. That was it. So, there wasn’t a lot happening in the town. It was very easy to get known pretty quickly. That was a huge benefit.
So, I was working at the only record label there, one of the only concert promoters there. And then when I started my own business, very early on, I got a very amazing gig, which was I became the PR director for the Fox Theatre, which is this fabulous music venue that’s still there. And so, I would say that, in a way, my curve was a little shorter because I had this incredible venue. But you know, I don’t have that story where all of a sudden, I was working with one band that had a meteoric rise. I’ve had much more of a slow burn in my career, which has been interesting. And a lot of major label record industry types have said to me over and over, “Well, you really just need a big star to attach your name to.” which is one way that you can look at success. And there are many people that have that. They worked with one particular person that is massively huge. That’s a great thing to rest your laurels on. I don’t have that same experience. Although I have worked with a lot of people, some very famous, many are not. That’s not how I viewed my career.
Let’s see. I started my business in ’96. ’97, ’98, ’99, 2000, 2001. Five years as an entrepreneur, I was, you know, I was in a groove. I would say I was in a groove. I didn’t write my first book until 2007 though. So, you know, it’s been a journey just like you. It’s been… Although I was blogging. I don’t feel like there was. I guess when I look back, 2020 hindsight everything, isn’t it, I can see that there was like a really… there was a time where things were really accelerating. But I didn’t realise it until much later in the game.
David Andrew Wiebe: It’s very relatable. I love that. I think I heard somewhere recently that creative projects are almost always like closed loops. Whereas we think, you know, if we were to look at a bar graph, it just continually goes up over time. But that’s not always the case when you’re in the creative industry. It’s like you take on one project and you complete it. And then, you start a new project. And the process looks much the same as the last.
Ariel Hyatt: Yeah. And especially in our industry. And I think this goes for artists as well as people that are supporting artists in any way. It there’s no white-hot moment. I mean, there are once in a while these crazy outliers like Maggie Rogers, where Burrell heard her song, and then now she’s playing Coachella. And it’s a year later. I mean, you see that and you’re like, “Oh, wow.” But that’s really not how it happens for most mere mortals, as we know. It’s always astounding when I do see an artist like that, it’s a Marvel to look at but it’s not realistic.
David Andrew Wiebe: I’ve been in this seminar since January where every participant starts a community project, which has been really cool. But the other temptation there is to compare your project and how it’s taking off to other people’s projects, because inevitably there’s a few peoples whose project is just exploding. You might still be sitting here with 27 likes on your Facebook page or something like that, going like, “Huh, I wonder if I’m going about this the wrong way.” But everybody chooses a project that’s a reflection of them. And of course, depending on the niche and industry, or just how you’ve framed the project. There’s a lot of factors there. And I guess comparison is just not how you want to go about things.
Ariel Hyatt: No. No comparison is the root of all evil, I’m pretty sure of it. Social media certainly is not helping us in this domain, is it?
David Andrew Wiebe: It isn’t. It’s all too easy to look at somebody else who’s really blowing up in a significant way, and you kind of end up analysing it’s like, “I thought I was doing all the right things. And based on the podcasts I’m listening to, there’s nothing I’m missing.” But you just don’t know. You don’t know what got them to where they are and you also don’t know the toil or the effort behind the scenes.
Ariel Hyatt: And you know, all those photos they’re posting from EBITDA or wherever they are, you know, I mean, that’s… My favourite, and it’s not really a favourite story, because it’s actually sad. But I think about one of my closest friends who at age 40 found out she had breast cancer. She battled it and she got through it, but and you know, of course, her inner circle knew and her best friends knew, but the world didn’t know. And if you looked at her Instagram, there she was on holiday with her kids. And, you know, doing her family and her career was taking off and she was going on TV. She’s a lawyer. She’s not in the music industry. But from an outsider’s perspective, you know, it looked like absolutely nothing was wrong. But if you really knew what was going on, you would know that she was fighting cancer, which is obviously a very intense, horrible thing to do. So, there you have it. You never know what you’re not seeing.
David Andrew Wiebe: So true. And I would be torn about that, too. I’m not sure I would share that kind of thing with the world. Like you say, my inner circle or my friends might know but I’m not sure that’s the kind of thing I would reveal on social media.
Ariel Hyatt: Exactly. And that’s another, you know, that’s a major choice that people make. How much they’d like to reveal versus what feels appropriate for them. So, you just never know what’s going on.
David Andrew Wiebe: Nope. Yeah, you really don’t know. Now, to ask a more generic question although I really like that trail we’ve been going down. How important is publicity for musicians? And for those who don’t know what it is, what is PR?
Ariel Hyatt: PR has changed dramatically in the many, many years since I’ve been doing it. But basically, the simplest definition is PR is getting attention for yourself from others, getting attention in the media. Now that word media is the tricky part. Because back in the day, like 30 years ago, media meant newspapers and television, and magazines and radio. That was media. Then of course social media came and disrupted all of that. And now, media could be getting a tastemaker to tag you on Instagram. A media could be your own Twitter feed. Media could be what you create on your Facebook page. Media could be your own blog that you write.
PR has had a bit of a shift in that still standard traditional PR, however, is getting covered. And so, in the world that I live in, that for an independent musician, that would mean getting your music reviewed or paid attention to on music blogs, on podcasts, on Spotify or other playlists. Those would be the three areas that I think are the most modern definition. And then of course, we still do have newspapers. Newspapers also have online aspects. So, your newspaper might also have a website. So, that could also be coverage. But that would be how I would define PR right now.
David Andrew Wiebe: Yeah, exactly. It has evolved a lot. It has changed a lot since social media has been a disrupter in a huge way. What came to mind was a documentary I watched recently on Netflix, which is Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened.
Ariel Hyatt: Oh, gosh. I couldn’t look away. It’s like watching a train wreck.
David Andrew Wiebe: Exactly. That’s what I was going to say. It’s so captivating that you can’t actually turn it off once you get watching it, but yeah. I mean, it is a good example of what sort of PR or coverage you could get in the sense that you know, they had social media influencers and that was a key part of their strategy in getting the word out about that. So, there were some genius behind it. It just didn’t extend into execution in that situation.
Ariel Hyatt: No. No, it certainly didn’t. And if there is a great companion movie, also on Netflix to watch called American Meme. If you haven’t seen that, it’s fantastic. It’s a lot of huge digital celebrities telling their stories. It covers everyone from Paris Hilton, the fat Jewish, to some other people who you may or may not have heard of or seen but it all goes to show you that what you see and what’s real are two very, very different things. It’s a very important documentary to watch.
David Andrew Wiebe: I’ll have to check that out, too. And then another thing about PR or just getting media coverage, you know, that’s something I’ve been thinking more intentionally about since starting this community project because that’s kind of part of the project parameters. I think I just had it in the back of my head that it’s so hard to get media coverage, but then when I see the kind of projects that ultimately end up on TV, I go, “Oh, well.” Like it may not necessarily be that it requires a lot. It’s just that, I guess, on some level, I mean, the media has to find it interesting or fascinating for it to be newsworthy.
Ariel Hyatt: Exactly. And so, back to your original question, which was when is an artist ready for PR, which we didn’t get to is, this is really the best question to ask because I think there’s been some bad information that’s been given out, which is, you know, the minute you record something, get PR. Well, not necessarily and not yet. So, I think that was a party line that used to be very, very popular back in the day. Like, the minute that you had recorded something, the first thing that you’re supposed to do was hire a publicist. The publicist was supposed to go and get you coverage on that new thing.
Well, now that 40,000, new things are going up on Spotify each and every single day, not all of them are going to be newsworthy and publicizable because some are going to be massive artists but most are going to be from small independent artists that don’t have a following yet, which doesn’t merit getting publicity. So, this idea that everybody just deserves PR because they’ve recorded something is unfortunately, where I see a lot of artists just like have… It’s just bad news. It’s bad advice. It’s not the order of things.
Once you do have some things out in the market, once you’ve got a following, once you’ve got people coming to your shows, once you’ve got fans, that’s when you can start getting publicity. But I often see artists put the cart before the horse. I mean, I had a young woman call me yesterday and she’s ready for PR. I looked and she has no bio on Spotify. She has 58 plays a month. She doesn’t have any photo on her Spotify page. She has less than 200 fans on Facebook. I was like, “Well, I think maybe what we should do is work on getting your foundation a bit stronger.” And she just wasn’t interested in that. She’s hell bent. She wants to hire a publicist right now. She wants to put out her new track. And that’s it. And so, she’s going to waste thousands of dollars. She’ll probably get a little bit of PR from some small blogs but unfortunately, it’s not going to get her what she wants, which is exactly what she needs to work on, which is getting more fans first. That’s the part that I think artists don’t understand so well in many cases. And they don’t really know like, a lot of this is about having to take the time to connect to people and build your fan base before you go and try to get a PR team.
David Andrew Wiebe: Yeah, and what you’re talking about is kind of the grind. And it’s a matter of whether you’re willing to do it or not. It might take time to build that foundation, your social media following, your website, your email list, but once you have that, you can definitely leverage it for a lot more.
Ariel Hyatt: Totally. And it is a grind. I mean, it’s a grind. There’s no question. It’s the hardest part of the work. And I know a lot of artists get into this because they want to just make music. That’s fine. Derek Severs, back to him. He said something years ago. He wrote this fabulous blog post, which I hope you can put in the show notes. I’ll go back and find it. But it basically says that when he started CD Baby, he went around the country. He was talking to all these artists about marketing and promotion. And now that your CDs are ready at CD Baby and we’re distributing it for you, it’s time to like really marketed and get fans and get people to buy it. And he realised for half or more of the artists that he was jumping up and down on the tables with and like going to all these conferences and exhausting himself on a global scale. For them, it was enough that they just got the CD to CD Baby. They were done. They weren’t interested in marketing and promoting and getting fans and building a mailing list and playing shows and getting a clipboard and like all the things that he was talking about. They were done.
And he said some really profound things in the blog post that he wrote about, where he was like, “You know, for some of you, just having the music is enough. And that’s it, you’re done with your journey and just be a hobbyist, just play a show once in a blue moon for your best friends and your family in your house. Or just rehearse with your best friends in your basement. And don’t try to make a career out of this. Just do it because you love to do it.” The way that I’ve boiled that down is some men play golf and some men play guitar. Like, just because you play golf doesn’t mean you’re going to have to go and be a competitive golfer. It means that you can like go and enjoy yourself and go to a new golf course with friends once a year. I don’t know spend money on great golf equipment. You can do the same thing with your music career, and you don’t have to kill yourself with all the marketing and promotions and crazy if you don’t like it.
David Andrew Wiebe: Yeah, that’s so interesting. And I think it still is that way to an extent. There are definitely artists that just want to make music and keep it at a hobby level. I always say that’s fine if that’s how you want to do it. Maybe at some point, you’ll feel like pursuing more, maybe not. And it doesn’t matter. Nobody should belittle you for what it is that you’re wanting to accomplish, whether that’s big or small or somewhere in between.
It’s interesting because like, with what I do, oftentimes my friends don’t get me because I spent a lot of time playing the local scene and getting into festival and going all around with my music wherever they would have me. And now I still play lots of guitar, I still go to rehearsals, I still play live. But a huge, more significant part of my focus is creating this content that helps other musicians. They don’t get it. There’s just no way to kind of explain to them what this entrepreneurial journey is like, why I’m doing it. Even sharing in the vision, they often kind of go like, “I don’t get you.” I just try to let them know, “Hey, I’m here to help you. If you don’t need my help, that’s okay too.”
Ariel Hyatt: Totally.
David Andrew Wiebe: Yeah. Another thing that I think maybe just people are confused about or at least something that I’ve observed is this whole thing about press releases. I think, you know, 10-15 years ago, they were incredible tools for getting media attention, for getting backlinks to your website, for generating traffic. Press releases still have their place. But they’re definitely not a catch all solution. And they don’t do all that or generate quite as much attention for you like they used to.
Ariel Hyatt: No. No, they don’t. The reason for that is there’s a misunderstanding about what a press release is. You said it earlier in our talk. You said you’re watching these projects getting on television and you think it’s so hard to get on television but then you realise if you have what that television station or news program is looking for, and I’m just going to make this up. But like, let’s say specifically the television show is looking for something that is community based, that happens within a certain radius of where the community is and lives that has an angle that’s appealing, like let’s say a charity angle or an angle where they’re doing something good for the community, they’re giving back in a way, they’re doing something heartwarming, they’re doing something helpful. I mean, that is a recipe to get on the five o’clock news, no question.
So, compare that to releasing a record and writing a general press release about so and so sophomore album just released and they’re from Toronto. Like, okay. That’s not news that is going to be appealing for most news outlets. Now, however, if it is Mental Health Awareness Month, which is coming up in May, and you are an artist that wrote a song that was inspired by your friend who committed suicide or attempted suicide or something that is deeply related to mental health and the song is about helping people who are suffering with mental health. And you’re from a specific town and you’re throwing a concert to raise awareness. Now, you’ve got a press release. Now you can write something that is very specific, that is timely, that affects the community. And that is absolutely perfect for local news.
It’s funny because so many artists still call me today. And they say, “Well, we just want you to write a press release and blast it.” which is was very much a thing that we used to do. But it is very much not a thing with music blogs. I mean, unless of course, you have a local angle.
David Andrew Wiebe: And basic copywriting is something that I’ve been teaching for quite a while now. I often just ask artists, which of these two is more powerful to you? Atomic Penguins releases new album or Atomic Penguins, new metal mayhem release leaves your drums bleeding. Which one would you click on?
Ariel Hyatt: Right. I mean, definitely, when you’re surfing around the internet, even when I go to read the news in the morning, sometimes you’re reading news, like legit real news, and then all of a sudden, something shiny down at the bottom of the page, like, you won’t believe what these 10 celebrities look like today, and you almost can’t resist going there.
David Andrew Wiebe: Exactly. Exactly.
Ariel Hyatt: You know, you’re in that world. So, if you can make exciting and interesting catchy titles, that is some of the most important stuff that you can do for sure.
David Andrew Wiebe: Agreed. I can tell you’re super passionate about PR. And I would love to spend the entire half hour just talking about that but some other questions to get to. So, in this space of helping independent musicians, I’ve noticed there seems to be quite a few authors and you’re certainly one of them. But a book is no small undertaking. And in many cases, it’s not a profit generating machine. So, to prove a little bit below the surface, why write books?
Ariel Hyatt: You know, why record albums? I mean, I feel like, because you can’t help it is really my answer.
David Andrew Wiebe: I love that.
Ariel Hyatt: It’s because it’s what you’re called to do. I really feel that way. I never thought about writing a book. You know, my mother was an author. That was her thing. I watched her and she was a New York Times bestselling author so she was the kind of the opposite author of what I am, which is like a self publishing, talk your books at your next talk author, which is a totally different type of author. But I was at a seminar. I was at a great, wonderful seminar. I had spent a lot of money going to the seminar. It was in Palm Springs, California. I’ll never forget this. This is probably 2005-2006 and Brian Tracy… Do you know who Brian Tracy is? Of course, you do.
David Andrew Wiebe: Yeah. I think it was The Science of Self Confidence. Like that was one of the first personal development audios I got into and it was so vital.
Ariel Hyatt: Oh, my God. So, for those of you who don’t know who Brian Tracy is, you just Google him and you’ll get a sense. He looks like your grandfather if you are a daughter of the Mayflower. He’s like this white older… He always has a suit and tie. He’s very fit. He talks very fast. He talks like this. He talks very, very fast. And he’s going to tell you how to change your life. And he’s going to tell you to change your life very rarely. He’s really fast. And he’s like, “We’re going to talk about your mindset. If you have problems with your parents, just stop. You don’t need to have those problems anymore. Those are problems in the past.” Like he’s just like this. He’s got all these like really cutting-edge ideas but they’re coming out of this older, white haired dude that looks like he should be the CEO of a Fortune 100 company. It’s so confusing. But he’s brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. And he’s incredibly motivating. And he’s been doing it a very, very long time. And you just said one of your favourite books. One of my favourite books that he ever wrote was a time management book called eat the frog.
David Andrew Wiebe: Yes.
Ariel Hyatt: Which is incredible. But you know, he wrote, Earn What You’re Really Worth and The Psychology of Achievement. He’s just a genius guy. However, what he did that day was he stood up on the stage and he did his whole talk. And I don’t even remember what the talk was about. I’m sure it was about success and how to manage your time and all the things you need. But at the very, very end of his talk, he said, “You all have to write your book. Every single one of you has a book inside of you.”
David Andrew Wiebe: Guaranteed.
Ariel Hyatt: And I sat in my seat, you know, in one of these big conferences. You’re like one of a thousand people in a giant room in a hotel in Palm Springs. It is what it is, fluorescent lighting and all. I just started sobbing. Part of the sobbing was a complete resistance to go, “No, I don’t want to write a book.” But then part of it was a knowing that I really do.
So, you know, people that write books, when they’re forcing themselves to do it, like I get up at six in the morning and I write my pages. I’m not quite sure that that’s how a really good book gets written. I think, you know, I don’t know. My book… I don’t want to say it was channelled because that’s a little too woowoo. But when I was finally ready to write my book, my book just came out of me. It just… It was a really big undertaking, for sure. But it’s also just like I hope it feels to record music. It’s natural. I don’t think you get up at five in the morning and like, “I’m going to record.” You know, like, I don’t think that that’s the… I don’t know many musicians. I mean, I do a lot of songwriters that do have that discipline, especially the Nashville type of songwriters that are like doing a lot of collaboration, and they need to come up with a lot of different writing ideas and lyric ideas. Okay, get up early and do your morning papers, I get it. But I don’t know that that’s how you write an album, or that’s how you write a book. That’s a different type of discipline.
So yeah, the first book I wrote just kind of flowed right out of me. I printed it myself. Bob Baker, one of our other early, early, early men in the industry that helped point everyone in the right direction, he advised me how to publish my book. I did it. There was a spelling mistake on every page, which an independent musician who is also an English teacher called me and he said, “I’ve just corrected your book. Would you like me to send it to you?” And it was basically like getting my homework when I was a kid. There was like a red mark on every page. So, you know, I corrected and continued and kept going. And here we are so many books later. I love writing books. I think books are a bigger expression. Yes, blogging is one thing but writing books is something else. It’s a much… It’s just like, you know, do you put out singles or do you put out albums? You know, one thing is a bigger concept.
David Andrew Wiebe: Yeah, I think it’s just coming from a place of inspiration. And I totally know what you mean. It’s like, sometimes you don’t even know what you’re writing but it just comes out of you anyway. And I have a few drafts like that that I still don’t know if I’m ever going to use them but they were still really cool when they were coming from somewhere when I wrote them. Bob Baker was actually on Episode One of the podcast. So, I still follow along with a little bit of what he’s up to. And it’s always… You’re right, he really did point the way for many of us. It’s cool.
And this year, I’m looking to publish 10 to 12 books. I’ve launched two to this point. So, I’m wondering if you enjoy the writing process and if there’s any tricks or hacks you’ve come across that allow you to be more efficient with the process.
Ariel Hyatt: I’m not much of a hacker but I really do… And it’s funny because I didn’t write my last book this way but I have in the past. I do love dictation. You know, it’s pretty amazing. You can just make a voice memo and talk and it writes for you.
David Andrew Wiebe: Yes.
Ariel Hyatt: So, I find that to be really helpful, especially if you’re trying to do like some free association or just have some ideas that aren’t sussed out. It can be much easier to do that than bang away at a typewriter. I also still do the old school pen to paper. I love to write in cursive because I learned how to write cursive as many people my age did. Back in the day I heard they don’t even really teach that anymore, which is so sad but I write cursive in a typical cop notebook, you know the black and white marble notebook with the lines. I tend to love to write pieces of the book that way. And then, you can dictate them or type them up. And so, things end up in many different forms but pen to paper I like to sit in inspiring places. I have a really beautiful garden in my house. I could sit outside when it starts getting warm in the spring and write in the sunshine or write at a coffee shop or you know just write in a place that isn’t your desk or your home office or work. It’s much better to write also when I go away on vacation. I love to sit on the beach, sit with the ocean. I tend to do a lot of writing when I’m not in my workdays.
David Andrew Wiebe: Yeah, I think pen to paper is exactly how John Maxwell has been writing his many, many books. So, I can see that being effective, too. I think there’s just something about pen to paper. I was looking up a stat as well because I think what Brian Tracy says makes so much sense. There are various stats out there but one of them is 90% of Americans want to write a book. And how many of those will not be published? Many. I’m sure the majority will never be published because we don’t put the pen to paper.
Ariel Hyatt: Right.
David Andrew Wiebe: Is there a course, a book, or some other project you’re fired about creating right now? And if so, what is it?
Ariel Hyatt: I’m in the middle of creating labs, which is my new education series. It’s been really fun because it’s a collaborative effort. And so, it’s one a month. It’s a different topic that I think is helpful for people in the music business. Some of them I teach on my own but most of them I have a guest that is my co-teacher. The labs are designed to not be… They’re supposed to be incredibly focused. So, the idea is like, there’s plenty of courses where you can get on board and take like, you know, 12 months of coaching or like 57,000 videos. I’m trying to make it so you get in, you get out and you get exactly what you need in a very short amount of time.
The labs are three classes. The first class is 45 minutes, so is the second class. And the third class is 90 minutes. They drill down very efficiently into specific areas. Lab ne was all about how to get your own PR. Lab Two is about Facebook advertising. Lab Three is about how to release your music with ease. Lab Four is level up your email game. Lab Five taught by one of my clients who went from brand new to 100% self-made, self-sustaining independent musician in 18 months called Mobilise Your Fan Army. Lab Six is booking successful shows and tours. And it goes on and on like that.
I’m just finishing up Lab Nine this month. It’s crowd start, which is finally I brought my book of how to do crowdfunding to life. And that’s been amazing. That’s one, just me. But next month, I’ve got Randy and Jason who wrote making money with music, and the indie band Survival Guide. They’re going to teach three weeks on making money, just how to look at different income streams around your music. So, I’m really excited for Lab 10.
David Andrew Wiebe: All very important topics for sure. I think we’ve had a great chat. And so, I’m going to skip the boilerplate questions. I think we’ve got a pretty good idea of what some of your challenges have been, what some of your victories have been, as well as some of the books that you’ve delved into. So, what I’m going to do is this. I’m going to ask for a little bit of feedback. I mean, you’re only going to be able to give me the feedback to the extent that I’m able to give you information. But with my current business, I’m just always open to hearing what others have to say about what I’m up to because it helps me see what I’m doing from a different perspective. And currently, I get about 15,000 views per month on my website. I’m getting 110-220 people signing up for my email list monthly. That results in a little under 20 sales per month, although relatively small sales. I’ve had people share with me that the only thing missing now is a demonstrated impact in the lives of musicians. From your perspective, do you see that my business is on track? Is there anything missing to make it more powerful?
Ariel Hyatt: I do think you’re on track. I mean, half of the people I talked to have no idea how to even look at statistics. It’s tremendous that you know this is how it’s building. It sounds like in your case, slow and steady wins the race. Again, it’s so tempting. Like, take my course and I’ll teach you how to get 10,000 people on your mailing list in five minutes. You hear these things and you’re like really, okay. I don’t know that that’s necessarily a thing. So yeah, it sounds like you are doing that. And that is interesting. It is true that unless you are having an impact, unless there are people who can come back to you and say, “You taught me how to do this and because I did this, something really shifted for me.” I mean, I think that is something that if you could begin to get some data from the people that you’re touching and moving and inspiring, you could really begin to show a shift.
But I think there’s always an interesting issue with helping people. And, you know, Brian Tracy thinks 90% of all people want to write a book. Well, what percentage of people actually do write a book? I had an artist that we wrote a plan for and our plans, unlike your plans of really thinking that plan should be one page, our plans are 150 pages that we write for artists. So, they’re like brutally long and painful and involved. And, you know, I sent her a plan in December and now it’s April, and she’s hysterical on the phone with me going crazy screaming that, you know, the plan was too long and there was too much in it. And, you know, her album is coming out. She just she read it once. It was so overwhelming. She just made up this whole story that she just wants to be overwhelmed. And, you know, she’s screaming at me. I’m like, “Girl, this is not my problem. I spelled out exactly what it is you need to do in December. That was four months ago, and you’ve done none of it. Now your album is coming out and you’re flipping out.” If you had just read 20 pages per month, that’s less than a page a day. You might not be hysterical and overwhelmed right now. So, you know, half of that is on her but half of that is on me. If you deliver someone something and they can’t figure out how to get it into play and how to make it work, part of our job as the educator, as the person that’s providing the solution… Well, it’s not part of your job. But the question is, do you want to make it part of your job? Is it part of your job, David, to call that artists to check in with them to find out are you putting the pedal to the metal? What has resonated with you? And why? And how can I help you get it to resonate a little bit more.
But, you know, I think that’s where you might have some success is like when you can drill down with people. It always amazes me like, some people come and they coach with me and they spend a lot of money with me holding their hands and we do their PR, and we do their marketing, we do their branding, and we do their social media. And yes, we move the needle and things move well, and they spend a lot of money in order for that to happen. That’s Plan A. I mean, that’s Client A right. But I’ve also had Client B, who comes up to me at a conference and I’ve literally never met them. And I don’t even know their name. And they say something like, I’ve never even purchased one of your books. I just read your blogs. And I did three things that you said. I mean, I once met an artist who said, “You once said on one of your earlier blogs. Be a shark in a sea of tuna.” And I think I got that from T. Harv Eker, who was a huge mentor to me back in the day. And this artist heard me say that, realise that he was just another hip-hop artist in New York and whatever. He went to Japan. He literally became a shark in a sea of tuna. And his whole career opened up like he was the only rapper. He was the only black man half the people that ever seen. He started learning Japanese. He really got into the culture there and created an amazing career for himself. I meet him four years later and he’s like, “Thank you. That was all because of you.”
So, you know, you don’t even know how much you’re affecting people. And even when you like send an email out to your newsletter and be like, “Hey, can you all send me a testimonial?” People don’t even sometimes realise how much you’ve helped them until, like I said, you know, like you said about your career until the loops are closed. And those loops can take a long time to close. But my advice for you and your journey is… and I think the most powerful thing that any of us can do. And when this goes for artists, ask your people how… You know when you’re driving on the highway, and you see the little sign on the truck, it says how’s my driving. It’s that. It’s like, if you can ask people how am I doing? Talk to me. Give me a sign. Tell me how it’s going for you. And yes, some of it might be what you’re teaching them but you might learn something completely different that you didn’t even know you’re going to learn about them that might inspire you for your next book. I’ll put a whole other section in that you didn’t even think to do because you started asking for feedback that wasn’t necessarily just feedback about you.
That would be my one piece of advice. It sounds to me like everything is going really well. Slow and steady does win the race. I know this because I’ve been in business for 23 years. And no, I don’t have one big giant artist that I can wave in front of you and brag about. I do that for one person. I did a little thing for thousands.
David Andrew Wiebe: I love that. Yeah. And I think there probably is no magic bullet to the whole thing. It’s just sticking with the process. So, thank you so much. That’s fantastic and well thought out answer. Thank you so much for your time and generosity, Ariel. Is there anything else I should have asked?
Ariel Hyatt: No, this has been a great chat. I love… I mean, I listen to your podcast so I knew what was coming. And, you know, unlike tell how you came up with… you know, you don’t do that. And I love that. I think that’s what’s great about listening to you is you get in the crevices where other people don’t.
David Andrew Wiebe: I’m glad you noticed that. That’s very intentional. I try not to ask too many straightforward questions. I’m more interested in the story. If you use that as your metric, you can probably go back into my archives and figure out which is the least favourite interview I’ve done. There was one with no story, but it’s still worth doing. It’s not like it’s not worth doing. So, great.
Ariel Hyatt: Excellent.
David Andrew Wiebe: Thank you so much.
Ariel Hyatt: Pleasure.
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Majoring in music is not easy. Mastering musical skills is hard work and it requires devotion and sometimes even sleepless nights.
But since you clicked on this title, it means that you are interested in a music major. The enthusiasm alone doesn’t cut it – what you need is passion.
Depending on the school, there are many stages of auditioning to get into the program. But one thing they all have in common is that students applying for the course are mad about music and ready to put all their efforts to reaching their goals.
So, when choosing a program that’s creative and demanding in nature, you need to prepare.
Here are some useful tips for prospective music majors. They will help you prepare for the programs efficiently and complete the studies successfully.
Take Private Lessons
Before you even apply for a course, it would be wise to take private lessons.
Some colleges also require students to take lessons for both primary and secondary instruments or vocals. In other cases, you will only need to learn one.
Find an excellent instructor who has a degree in music, with some experience in professional performances. To get into a music program, it is recommended that you find an instructor that’s a good mentor, because not every great musician is a great tutor.
Study Music Theory
Students who don’t have any prior knowledge of music theory often find themselves struggling in college. To overcome these obstacles and troubles, devote your time to studying theory.
Further, it would be wise to apply for Music Theory class in High School Advanced Placement, as it will give you the needed theoretical knowledge. If local education doesn’t offer anything of the sort, search the Internet for relevant videos and courses.
Practice with Diligence
You will need to spend plenty of time practicing. If you’ve been playing your instrument for any length of time, this should not be a foreign concept to you.
Plan a personal schedule and don’t cheat yourself out of practice time. With a dozen things to concentrate on, a strict routine might be the only way to find the needed time to practice regularly.
There are other ways of effectively managing your time, especially if you find the homework demanding. Getting help creating an essay outline can be helpful.
There are online services offering highly competitive services to assist students with both the school and academic works. Right from drafting essay outlines to crafting an elaborate research paper, these platforms help students in completing the most challenging tasks.
With their help, you can stay on top of assignments and free up time to practice consistently.
Work on Your Vocals
Most music colleges have vocal classes as part of the compulsory course. Why not join a choir? Vocals are prioritized there, and begin in a choir also gives you the opportunity to read music, which is always good practice for beginners.
Play with Others
Being in a band or an ensemble will boost your resume and give you a chance to improve your skills. Once in college, you will have to take part in performances and other events as a member of an ensemble.
Having prior experience working with a team could benefit you a lot. If the high school does not have a strong music program, you can always look for possibilities outside. There are many opportunities you can pursue at community and private music schools, junior colleges or religious centers.
Improve Your Skills
Traditional skills like music reading, blending or tuning can’t necessarily be gotten in band practice.
As a music major, you will need to learn how to follow a conductor and work in a team context.
If you are going to apply for a serious music college, try to find a local ensemble with skillful players who can help you to master new music skills.
Get Familiar with Technology
Computer notation programs play a significant role in the industry these days. Sooner or later you will need to learn how to use them. So, it’s time to work on the basics.
Finale and Sibelius are the most common standalone notation programs. Logic includes a larger platform with MIDI, notation and digital audio.
There are also many PC-based music applications which can do a lot more than notation. It is no longer an aspect of music These are powerful tools everyone who wants to start a successful career in music should learn.
Listen to Music
The easiest way to advance your rhythm and timing skills and continually challenge yourself is to listen to music.
Sure, it’s something you do all the time. But adding some new music styles to your library and actively listening can help you make new discoveries.
If you are listening to rock or jazz every day, download some hip hop or neoclassical and listen to them every morning.
Know What to Expect
Preparing for a music major also includes knowing how the program works.
A music major has requirements in terms of credits, often making it necessary to take more classes for fewer credits.
They must also start on their coursework right away. Required courses extend beyond theory, ear training, private lessons and ensembles, because they will be required to take general courses.
Music majors should expect fully and busy semesters.
Now you have a better idea of what to expect as a music major. But if you love music, the work won’t seem too demanding to you. You can focus on self-improvement and enjoy every step of the journey.
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John Oszajca is in the house!
Do you know what funnels are? Are you using them to promote your music? What level of success have your achieved with your marketing funnels?
In this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast, you’ll learn about this timely and vital topic from the best of the best – John Oszajca of Music Marketing Manifesto.
- 01:11 – Four record deals!? – John’s story
- 07:16 – What led to your breakthrough?
- 16:50 – Trying and failing – finding a winning formula
- 20:56 – What type of results do musicians achieve with your method?
- 28:07 – What are the main upsides of using funnels to build an audience?
- 31:50 – Are there any hiccups or downsides to the method?
- 35:20 – What’s the biggest challenge you’ve encountered as an entrepreneur?
- 38:15 – What’s the biggest victory you’ve experienced as an entrepreneur?
- 43:47 – Are there any books or other resources that have helped you on your journey?
- 47:29 – Is there anything else I should have asked?
David Andrew Wiebe: Today, I’m chatting with the creator of Music Marketing Manifesto and singer/songwriter John Oszajca. How are you today, John?
John Oszajca: I’m great. Thanks for having me on your show.
David Andrew Wiebe: Yeah, thanks so much for coming on. And on that note, I know that in the space of music marketing, we can sometimes become precious about our ideas and methods but always find it such a joy to talk and share with experts like you. I always learn a lot. The more I dig into this niche, the more I find that there’s probably only a few dozen of us or maybe a hundred of us out there doing this kind of thing.
So, I want to thank you for your willingness to come on the show, and also for the important work you’re doing for artists.
John Oszajca: Thanks. Yeah, my pleasure.
David Andrew Wiebe: So, I’ve done a bit of reading about you. One of the things I found interesting is that you had four different record deals, none of which really benefited you in the way you hoped it would.
John Oszajca: I did.
David Andrew Wiebe: So, what happened there?
John Oszajca: Well. Yeah, so I can’t say none of them benefited me financially, you know, particularly the first deal was very successful. That set much of my life in motion. So, I don’t regret any of the experiences but certainly, when you’re a young, aspiring musician, and we all dream of getting record deals, the idea is not just that you’re going to fill your bank account, it’s that you’re going to go on to have a meaningful career and become a household name.
So, cut me off if I go into too much detail, but the sort of short version is that, you know, like a lot of young musicians… I’m from Hawaii. I left my small town and moved to [unclear 02:01]. I went to Seattle first, later to Los Angeles in pursuit of success as an artist. I eventually, after a lot of hard work, a lot of, you know, I really hustled. I was one of those guys that really worked my butt off. I promoted clubs and pursued every opportunity I could to find success. I eventually did land a record deal after many demo deals and a lot of struggles. I signed with Interscope. The trade paper said it was the largest new artists signing in history. It looked very good for a moment.
I had one of those deals where I was on a soundtrack and my song became the single for that soundtrack. It started taking off all over the United States. That song did. And I had no record deal but was getting heavy rotation on the biggest stations in the country. That’s what sort of kicked by this big bidding war. But there was no album and by the time the album actually got finished, and by the time… I had Jimmy Iovine as my A&R rep, you know, the Head of Interscope, which sounded fantastic, but all it actually turned out to mean is that I had the busiest guy at the label as my A&R rep. And so, there was a lot of confusion. Music changed a lot at this time. This is back in like 2000 when there was that shift from alternative to sort of active rock, if you remember that. This is like when the No Doubt, Bex, and Sugar Rays of the world were supplanted by that Metallica, Korn, and Limp Biscuits. And so, by the time my album came out, it didn’t really fit in the alternative world so it got ultimately put out on pop and hot AC. So, my album came out the same week as Madonna and 98 degrees. It was nothing like that music.
I don’t know. I had a few things stacked against me but at the end of the day, you know, I had a fantastic experience. I toured and had song/music on the radio across the country and was on MTV and all that kind of stuff, but I just didn’t sell enough records. With no conversation about it, it was dropped. You just kind of get a letter to your lawyer. When some board makes a decision, or some, you know, not literally a board, but some… what’s their committee that makes a decision. And was sort of back at the drawing board. I had a weird thing that’s sort of a double-edged sword. I had this blessing of this massive publishing deal as well, where we’re talking about a half a million dollars per album. The first one is even a bit more, but I was half a million on the second album but I needed the album to come out on a major label in order to trigger the advance. So, rather than just going back to doing what I did before I got that deal and going back to hustling, I was more of one of these… I don’t know what you’d call it, but you know, I was… Not a studio musician but I was living in this industry bubble just trying to get another deal. So, years passed, frankly, I did eventually. I got a deal with Universal. That triggered half the advance as it got closer to release. Some shifts around there. They decided not to put it out. Then, I got a deal with a Warner Brothers sub called the Record Collection. They put it out as a one off, and that triggered the publishing but they did very little to promote it. And then a third album came out… sorry, a fourth deal, third album came out on an indie and it just sort of seemed to go worse and worse and worse, to be honest. But yeah, I wouldn’t categorize it as a regretful experience. As I say, I still feel quite good about the things, the accomplishments that I had during that time.
And you know, the albums did come out and I toured to support them and you know, had a blast. But yeah, it didn’t… The people that promised they were going to do a lot of things on my behalf, in the end didn’t do a lot of those things. I kept being, you know. At one point I was more or less put myself on a hiatus as I turned to try to figure out ways to make money without having to get a traditional job. I don’t want to keep riffing and rambling on into the story. But that was chapter one. That was basically the sum total of those initial record deal experiences.
David Andrew Wiebe: Yeah. And I’m sure there will be some benefit to any record deal, even if it’s just a lesson that you learn along the way, which it sounds like you did. I’m just wondering, like, obviously, your music did not belong with new metal but was there any advantage to being placed with pop?
John Oszajca: No, not for me. I don’t think so. No. I don’t think I really ever stood much of a chance in that genre. We really needed to come out when I had that initial radio success before the album was done. It was right for that moment and we missed the moment, I think. But I don’t even know that that was necessarily it. I think anyone at the label at the time would tell you there was just a lot of confusion surrounding the album. Nobody was really shepherding the project, and I think that was probably my biggest downfall on that first album.
David Andrew Wiebe: Seems like a common story with many of my favorite artists. I know that They Might Be Giants went through a similar thing where the label they were working with knew what they were about and how to market them. And then suddenly they were working with people that didn’t know. They went independent from there. So, I can definitely understand where you’re coming from.
And I’m really interested in hearing about, you know, this is what led to the creation of Music Marketing Manifesto. I’m kind of fast forwarding but I’m wondering what sort of researching and digging you were doing at the time that ultimately led to that breakthrough.
John Oszajca: Well, so where it actually started, and I always sort of neglect to mention this when talking about it is in the album number three that came out on indie, which basically meant I did everything to try to market it. And I knew nothing about marketing at this time. I want to say and actually I have to check the back of the album. I want to say this is 2005-ish, 2006 maybe. I don’t know. But if you remember… I don’t know how old you are but in the days of Myspace…
David Andrew Wiebe: I remember MySpace.
John Oszajca: Yeah. We all jumped on Myspace and bought these bots and spam the hell out of everyone saying, you know, “Click on this link.” and send them to iTunes or CD Baby or wherever and hope that they’d buy our music because it was all we knew how to do. I did it too and the bots would always break because Myspace would change the way their sites work so the bots couldn’t do what they did. And we’d all jump in or many of us anyway would jump in the support forums and start asking questions. I’d see all these other people in the forums that were using these bots to do other things to clearly make money online. It had nothing to do with music. And that was what first kind of made me go, “What’s this? What’s this make money online thing all about?” I did not jump into buying Myspace bots and spamming the world to try to make money but I started reading.
John Oszajca: Actually, one day some flashy red headline was selling some internet marketing course promising to teach me how to make millions of dollars in my underwear while I slept or whatever. It jumped out at me. I finally bought it. I spent 200 bucks, which was a lot for a course back in 2006 or whatever it was. It was an advertising-based strategy, so a Google Ad strategy with affiliate products. I sat up all night. I spent $10 on advertising. I set everything up, went to sleep, woke up and had sold a $20 eBook. I went, holy crap, this isn’t a “scam”. It actually works. I got the bug, you know, where there was one sale, I knew there were more.
Unfortunately, I still had some of that record deal advanced money in the bank so I had time to figure it out. I didn’t have the pressures of a job or anything breathing down my neck and I became obsessed. I tend to be an obsessive guy when I’m into something and I went and probably bought the… I went through probably about… I don’t know somewhere between 500 and 1000 books and lectures and courses and things on marketing. I just went out to learn everything I possibly could. I experimented a lot, you know, like a lot of new internet marketers, I probably had 100 domain names, each one representing some failed experiment. And when I say failed, many of them would generate a little bit of money but nothing that was going to set me for life.
I finally had one product and it was a great product. This is good. I don’t talk about this too often but it was electronic cigarettes of all things early like in 2007, I think. Yeah, somewhere around there. They were unheard of, you know, no one had ever heard of them. And again, I was just trying anything at this time. I thought, “Anytime I could find a cool product that I could set up a website for I was keen.” So, somebody brought it to me. I set up a website, and lo and behold, it sold. It sold almost by itself. I was really into search engine optimization at the time. I ended up striking a deal with the company. I became basically an independent online distributor and started selling the crap out of these e-cigs. I sold a couple million dollars worth of electronic cigarettes within a couple of years.
Once you kind of have a success online it all kind of falls into focus. You suddenly understand what it is you’re doing. And you get much better at it very quickly and things scaled up really fast. Once my finances were kind of in order and I wasn’t so much worrying about paying the bills anymore and I had this newfound skill, I thought, “What if I started using some of the stuff on my music?” I initially used myself as a guinea pig. I’m always in a precarious situation because record labels and publishing companies own all of my material. But I can go and quietly do a few things here and there so I’d go and build a list, send out my link to buy it to my list. Wake up and have $300 worth of album sales.
This was shocking to me. Like, my entire career I needed a manager, I needed lawyers, I needed a record label, I needed musicians to tour, I needed a budget for all of it, I needed producers. I need all of these people to run a career. And that was what most of my early career was, was just amassing a team hoping that they would do the work. This was something that I could do really easily, you know, in my own home with very little overhead. And was just amazing.
Shortly thereafter, friend of mine, Billy Burke is his name. He was going to put out an album and he had a pretty big Twitter following, but, you know, having a big following does not necessarily translate into generating a lot of money if you don’t do it the right way. He told me what he was planning. I thought I could do better. I said, “Hey, why don’t you let me handle the marketing for this? We’ll put it out to be our little case study.” And put it out and I think we’ve been $400 on marketing total, and we ended up just setting the all time single day sales record at CD Baby, he landed on the heat seeker, you know, Billboard Heatseekers Chart, recoup the first week and you know, and then some, of course, and we thought it was a tremendous success. So, at that time looking for something else to do, I was not particularly passionate about electronic cigarettes. And I’ve since sold that business.
At one point, I was thinking maybe I’d start educating people about marketing, but this opportunity to teach what I had done with Billy arose and I turned that into a course and that was Music Marketing Manifesto. Technically, I had actually, in one of my early failed “experiences” I put out a little eBook called Music Marketing Manifesto. It was in late 2009 that I beef that up and turned it into a sort of video course. Again, my own knowledge really grown since that time. I put it out and it’s sold really well with the initial launch and I had really enjoyed communicating with the music community and being sort of back in the industry, so to speak. I felt that I was really good at it. So anyway, that kick started basically what’s been my journey for the last 10 years. That’s how I make my living primarily is through Music Marketing Manifesto and teaching independent artists how to use basically online marketing strategies, more specifically direct response marketing strategies, to build their audience and to monetize the relationship with that audience at the time.
So, this is you know, I teach people how to basically build funnels. At the time, there was really nobody. This concept was new. If there was someone out there, I don’t know who they were and I’m pretty sure I knew everyone. So, I was very early in the space in terms of teaching people how to do this. It’s not a magic bullet. It still takes a lot of hard work. You have to have something remarkable about you as a person and as an artist, but it really can work and it has worked for thousands. There’s nothing more rewarding than getting emails from people who have sold their first album to some fan who had never heard of them until a couple of days ago when they clicked on a link. And yeah, the rest is history.
David Andrew Wiebe: I have a few comments there. And one of the things is I can kind of relate to you in the sense that the whole thing about music entrepreneurship, when I was first starting to look around, they were definitely people talking about the connection between business and music. I’m not certain anybody had quite made the leap to music entrepreneurship yet. And that’s actually becoming more of a common term these days on podcasts and blogs and so forth. I’m not taking credit for creating it necessarily, but it’s cool how it’s spread.
I definitely remember those days with the landing pages and the big read headlines. I was looking at a lot of them and I was just sitting there going, “Oh, man. If I had the money, I would try to buy that thing.” But at the time, I wasn’t quite that independent. But on that whole topic of being independent or working independently, I mean, just like you, maybe you had a couple of Joe jobs here and there, but I couldn’t stand them. I think I’ve worked in traditional employment for almost six months because you never get paid on performance. It was always, you know. No matter how little or how much I did, it was a flat rate that I got. That wasn’t sitting well with me.
John Oszajca: I’m with you.
David Andrew Wiebe: Yeah. The other thing was just trying and failing. I think that’s the part that a lot of people don’t see. This online space looks sexy and attractive and awesome. You feel like it’s a promise that you’re going to succeed if you just put enough work and effort into it, which is one of the messages going on out there. But that’s not always the case. You kind of have to keep digging until you find that loading formula.
John Oszajca: Sure. Sure. Yeah, I think… I think, you know. Okay. I don’t know if I should say this or not, but like, when you do what we do, there’s a lot of people… Or anytime you’re selling any kind of marketing advice, there’s a lot of people that are quick to kind of call it scammy, or a scam or something like that. I see it every day, frankly, in my comments. I also see, “You changed my career.” every day in my comments. But a lot of that I think comes from the fact that people have been burned many times over buying different kinds of marketing courses. But for the most part, I can tell you as someone who spent probably… I don’t know if I’m in the 10s of thousands or not. I’ve spent a lot. I’ve spent many thousands of dollars on marketing training and almost all of it has been really valuable.
I’ll give you an example. I bought a $2,000 on internet marketing course early in my days. It was one by Frank Kern. It was 2000 bucks. That seems so crazy to me. I didn’t do it until after I was making a lot of money. I did his little freebie thing that he offers to kind of whet your appetite before you even start the course. I applied it to my e-cig business at the time. I made like $24,000 in five days or something or four days. The point of this is that, all of it can work. It’s not actually that hard. Where people fail is that they are trying to cut corners trying to sell crappy products, not following through, not sticking with it. I mean, you can’t go and take… you know the old saying you can’t Polish a turd. You can’t go and take a crappy product or a not very unique solution or in the case of music, not very good music from a boring and uninteresting person, and just run traffic and turn that into something. You really need to provide genuine value. If it’s a traditional product, you need to genuinely help people and offer real solutions. If it’s music, you need to inspire and entertain and excite people. But if you can do that, then you can take just about any of our courses, apply the steps, stick with it, and you’ll find success. It really just comes down to whose style you like and whose approach resonates with you the most.
Business is not that difficult. It’s just going, finding, and having a great product or service, and then creating a compelling offer. And then, getting more and more people exposed to that offer. Anyway, I’m kind of rambling but what you described is fairly common. There are a lot of people who get burned because they don’t stick with it. Like I said, I had probably 100 failed domain or websites before I finally had one that succeeded. And my process wasn’t very different with any of them. Just one of them just took off. And it turned out that I needed a great product. And when I finally had one, my marketing skills took over and propelled me to a success.
David Andrew Wiebe: No, I really like how you address that. I’m glad you brought it up. I was, you know, at one point, having 12 or so niche blogs that I tried to update all the time. It certainly did not last forever. When one of them kind of stuck out, I decided to go and run with it which happened to be in my passion area of the music industry, hardly surprising that it’s something that I care about. What type of results do you see musicians achieving with your method? I’m sure it varies a lot because everyone’s music is at a different level and their skills as a marketer and copywriter could vary. But is there such a thing as a typical result, you’ve noticed with the artists who’ve taken advantage of your material?
John Oszajca: Well, there is such a thing as kind of normal or optimal metrics or average metrics. But results are really, really, really going to vary based on you know, how much work someone puts in and how much someone is spending on advertising and all these kinds of things. I mean, of course, naturally, I’ve had people who’ve had no results. They’ve taken the course and they’ve done nothing. I have one artist who’s, I think on target to generate half a million dollars this year. So, it’s all over the place.
I surveyed my customers at one point and I asked all the people who had bought the course, or I asked all the people that had implemented the course, if they saw a positive impact on their career. I think I got… it was about 70% said yes. I say that knowing that some people might not for some reason think that that’s a good result. But to me, those numbers are fairly astonishing. It’s hard to do this stuff. I’m teaching people with no experience with marketing, how to get out and generate something and to have 70% of those people ultimately get results that they’re looking for, see a positive impact on the career, to me feels pretty astonishing. I couldn’t be happier with it.
In terms of metrics, what I kind of like to look for… I don’t know if this is getting too down the rabbit hole because people don’t necessarily know what it is that I teach, but I teach people how to build these online funnels for their music. On average, I like to see people’s landing pages converting at around 25% or more so the range is like 25 to 40%. That means 25 to 40% of the people that land on your squeeze page are handing over their email address and signing up to get some free music, and then getting added to your email follow up series that does the job of trying to build that relationship and get them to read posts, watch videos, become more acquainted with you. It’s not an intense selling environment. It’s much more of a relationship building environment with little links here and there if they do want to listen or buy. Eventually, we run some more aggressive promotions where we try to get people off the fence and say it’s, you know, now or never because of some advantageous terms like a discount or a bundle or something like that.
When it comes to sales, I’m typically seeing probably between four and 6% of those people to sign up. So, if 100 people signed up, you might see 6% of those, let’s call it 5% of those people will actually buy again. That can range anywhere from zero to… the highest I’ve seen is about 30%. That’s exceptional and rare. Ten percent is exceptional but happens a fair amount. And then, we also would typically or at least I’ll suggest that people offer an upsell. So, they’ve ordered, now let’s give them maybe a box set or some slightly higher priced product at a really great deal and even better deal than the retail price they just paid for your initial product. What we’re doing though, what is important to realise or remember is that what we’re doing is we’re basically buying a fan base, and we’re using the initial offer to try and cover our advertising costs. Many profits right there. Some lose a little bit of money, but what we’re doing is that we’re buying an audience so that we can monetize our relationship with that audience for years to come. We don’t just run them through our funnel, make a sale and stop. I mean, I suppose you could. And like I say many do profit there. So, if you were fine making a fairly small profit margin and just letting that grow, you could. However, the idea is that now you’ve got the attention of an audience, let’s keep them engaged over the course of the year and then some and run maybe a few months after they sign up, you’re running a Patreon campaign or a membership site. Maybe a few months after that you’re doing a house concert tour. Maybe a few months after that you’re running a holiday promotion or whatever works for you. But that’s kind of the bird’s eye view of the strategy is basically create a funnel to cover our advertising costs. And then, once we’ve got this machine that builds our audience for us, we can we can monetize our relationship with that audience forever. You can scale that up based on whatever your budget is, and your stomach for risk. But that’s kind of how this works. So, instead of going out and spending millions on “exposure” and waiting for those people to come to us, we’re spending a relatively small amount of money going out grabbing the attention of these people and pulling them into our… by comparison to the mainstream models, our tribe, and we’re making a vastly greater amount of money from each fan with a small… Sorry, let me rephrase that. We’re making a vastly greater amount of money from a very small audience as compared to the more mainstream model, which is to make a very tiny amount of money from a huge amount of people.
I think the reason that the mainstream industry does it the way they do is because they need to systematise their process to a certain extent. In that sense, they do find some talent, throw a bunch of money at the wall and see what’s sticks. Rinse and repeat. But as independent artists who can’t, you know. We are our only business. We are our only client. If we fail, our career is over. It ends. And so, we can’t afford to throw a bunch of money at the wall and see what sticks. We need to go out and employ these smart strategies that allow us to really measure our ROI. And, again, make a large amount of money from a very small number of people. When I said the major labels need to do what they do because they need to systematise it, you know, every artist is different. It would be challenging, I believe, for a label, for example, to go and manage these very personal campaigns for 100 different artists, each one of them be different, as opposed to an artist who can craft their own marketing campaign around who they are and manage it themselves because they are the product, if that makes sense.
David Andrew Wiebe: Oh, yeah. I think those are some impressive results. For sure. That’s great. And it makes sense that if you put more effort into it, you get more out of it. So, what are the main upsides of using a funnel to build an audience?
John Oszajca: The main upsides? Well, I think I kind of touched on it with that answer but, you know, the biggest beauty of this approach is that you can measure your ROI. You can change your stimuli to affect the ROI. Again, when I was on the labels, you know, it was just throwing a bunch of money at the wall and see what sticks. Pay a bunch of money for radio promotions. If they got phones, if people liked it, then you know, it would spread. And if nobody else was putting out an album that week that competed with you, things might look good. And then, you’d have this album life cycle and people would move on and the album will be over and you need to go and do it again.
But it didn’t function like a normal business. There was no spend X amount of dollars and measure the results. Any every business works that way. You spend your money and you measure the results. You change the stimuli, meaning the advertising, the packaging, all those variables, until the results are favorable. But the music industry didn’t really work that way. No one really ever talked. I never heard any kind of talk of ROI or things like that. There certainly would have been, you know. People in marketing would have been conscious of ROI, but it was kind of a… Again, throw it at the wall and see what sticks. It was all or nothing sort of approach to ROI. Whereas, as an individual artist, we go out and we spend, let’s say, X amount of dollars on our clicks and we measure our conversion rate. So, how many people are signing up? Did we spend $1 or $4 to get a subscriber? Well, if it’s $4, that’s going to be too expensive for us to stand any chance of profiting so what can we do to bring that price down? Well, we can try different images in our ads. We can try different copy. We can try different targeting. We can change up the colours of our landing page or the copy on our landing page.
And most likely, try changing all of those things. But each thing is going to have a measurable result. If you let the math lead you and just keep making changes, you can continue tweaking and pushing until you get within the optimal range. And we can do that with every aspect of the experience. If people are signing up but they’re not buying, let’s take a look at the email open rates. Let’s take a look at you know, maybe it’s the content that people aren’t engaging with. So, let’s change the nature of that blog post. Let’s change the songs we’re giving away for free. Again, every variable becomes something that will impact the final results and that gives you control, as opposed to just hoping and praying that the world thinks you’re amazing.
There’s so many very talented artists that just didn’t connect in the right way with the millions of people that they needed to connect with in order to be successful, according to the major labels with that model, but just because maybe your stuff doesn’t have what it takes to appeal to the masses doesn’t mean that you can’t find 1- 5-10-50,000 people out there in the world that think you’re amazing. By going and using the funnel approach and relying on metrics and math to point you, to steer you towards those fans, virtually anyone with good music can find a path to success.
David Andrew Wiebe: Have you noticed any hiccups or downsides with the method?
John Oszajca: Not really. I mean, it takes great music. It takes a lot of refining. Well, it usually takes a lot of refining. If there are any hiccups, it’s more with the temperament of maybe individuals and employee. Not every musician is, you know, it’s not in the DNA of every musician to care about marketing, to care about metrics, to pay attention to this stuff, to want to do this stuff. There are a lot of musicians, frankly, who really just think that their music is amazing and everyone else should see it. And if they’re not successful, it’s everybody else’s fault. That’s a thing.
There are also many musicians who are willing to work their asses off and do what it takes to make a life in music. I mean, the things that I’m teaching, the method, I mean, it’s not even new. I mean, while the internet’s new and some of the catalysts are new, direct response marketing as it’s known has been around since the old days of the giant catalogues since 1800s. You know, where we’d send out catalogues. It was the same thing. They’d write, copy it, send it out to X amount of people and they’d see what kind of results they got. And then, they either change with the next pressing of the catalogue or they’d continue on based on the results they got. Those ads we used to see in the back of our comic books when we were kids, that was direct response marketing. We can do it much more effectively and much more inexpensively with the internet. It offers musicians in particular, opportunities that traditional direct response marketing didn’t. But when I say not really, I don’t mean to be, I don’t know Cavalier or silly or arrogant. There’s no question that this approach works. But it’s not always easy and some people can struggle to really ever get into that optimal range. But more often than not, that’s because of a lack of follow up. I mean, there are… Again, this is just the reality of it.
A lot of musicians who their life’s work is one album and ask them to communicate, ask them to continue to produce, ask them to tour and they don’t have that follow up. The people that are succeeding are incredibly vibrant. They’re out there connecting with people, making a lot of art. And if you’re not going to do all of that, and a lot of people don’t want to, a lot of people would prefer to be that JD Salinger in music where they live in their little bubble and release an album once a year and pretend not to care about any of it. You’re going to have a much harder time because the world has changed and many, many millions of people are out there willing to do all of that stuff. So, I’m not trying to say there’s no problems and that everyone is happy. The majority are, as I said in those stats, the majority of the people to apply it feel that it’s benefiting them. But we all have different work ethics and some of us come to it more naturally than others.
David Andrew Wiebe: Totally fair. What’s the biggest challenge you’ve encountered as an entrepreneur?
John Oszajca: As an entrepreneur? Are we talking about me and Music Marketing Manifesto or are we talking about as a musician? Are we talking about my clients? Like, what are we talking about?
David Andrew Wiebe: Whatever comes to mind.
John Oszajca: I don’t know. Like, I mean, it’s always taken a lot of work. I feel like I’m going to sound arrogant. Like, my life has always worked in this way. Universe has never given me anything for free but if I work really hard, the universe is kind of knock on wood always rewarded that. So, I don’t feel that the world is full of obstacles. There are little things, you know for MMM, there’s a whole lot of competition now that I probably wish wasn’t there but it really hasn’t impacted the bottom line.
I suppose one challenge that I’m conscious of is 10 years ago. This was such uncharted territory that it felt very easy to stay on top of. There is just new stuff coming so rapidly right now that even for someone who works in the space, I feel it can be a little intimidating. Like, “Oh, man. Am I going to suddenly be irrelevant at some point?” I don’t know. There’s a lot of new technology and it can be challenging to stay on top of it. However, again, I think one of my skills more than any of the other stuff is just I have a solid grasp of copywriting and I think that hasn’t, you know, that’s at the core of all the strategies I teach. I don’t think that changes too much but I suppose that is an obstacle. Just the rapidly changing landscape and the struggle to constantly stay on top of every little new opportunity so you’re always the expert, increasing competition.
On a more practical level, as a musician, you know, the one real challenge is always just to get those initial conversion costs high enough or the subscriber acquisition cost low enough to get you in range so you can comfortably spend and spend and spend and grow that fan base. I suppose on the other side of that coin, another obstacle is scaling. It can be relatively easy to pull in a small audience and get them to engage and convert, but to go from $10 a day to $100 a day and then on to $1,000 a day, that’s not easy. That’s a very real challenge.
David Andrew Wiebe: Actually, I really love that perspective. And it just sounds like if you stick with it and you’re committed to it, and you find the right method, it’s going to work. What’s the biggest victory you’ve experienced as an entrepreneur?
John Oszajca: Well, I don’t know if you’d call this as an entrepreneur, but you know, I’m still going to go back to that initial record deal that I had with Interscope. My dream in life as a young person, as a teenager, was to be a rock star to go out and get a major label deal. I remember very consciously feeling as a teenager that stardom is never guaranteed, but I wanted that major label record on the mantle, so to speak. I wanted to be part of the annals of rock and roll history. To me that meant releasing an album on a real record label.
I’m quoting something that somebody else told me so I’m not sure how far off I am. Something from Dirt, The Mötley Crüe Book. It was explained to me and I’ve quoted this so many times, I don’t even know if he actually says this in the book, but there’s somebody, I think Nikki Sixx or somebody was talking about success as being this big machine full of spinning cogs. And a lot of people jump and they make it onto the first cog, and it’s spinning. It’s hard. You got to hold your balance and stay on top of that cog so you don’t fall. And then at some point, you try to make it leap to the next cog and you go higher and higher. Very few people make it to the very top cog. Most people fall somewhere lower. Fall off of the machine somewhere lower in the hierarchy. A few people do. But everyone falls at some point. Some fall all the way. Some fall a little bit. But that is the kind of reality of the music industry. So, whether I became the next Bob Dylan or had the success that I did, I still feel very good about it. I was part of the major league, so to speak. I’ve talked about it elsewhere so I’ll just drop. And it was very publicised, but you know, with the publishing deals and everything it generated like $2.1 million or something like that.
For a 25-year-old kid to get this bidding war where you’re… I went from so broke I remember having holes in my shoes and I tried to stay in when it rained because my boots had holes in them and my feet would get soaking wet. I had a tooth cracked because I didn’t have money for the dentist. I had no car. You know, busing around Los Angeles is fun. I had nothing. I lived in a $400 a month apartment on a very gang infested street. It was hard but exciting because as young and you’re up for it when you’re young. When I got that first deal, or it was just… I shoot around New York.
I remember this is a very funny anecdote. Do you remember Crocodile Dundee? You remember that scene where he gets out of New York City and the guy puts his hand out for a tip and he shakes it and says, you know, “Good day, mate!” or whatever. You know the scene I’m talking about? I remember getting flown to New York as part of the bidding war. Picked up in a limousine. Taken to the hotel. And the… whatever he was, whatever you… What do you call those guys that stand the bellhop or whatever? Put out his hand and I shook it. He was looking for a tip but I just shook his hand. “Hey, man, nice to meet you.” And he’s like, “No sir, your bag.” And I remember feeling like so Crocodile Dundee at that moment because I was a very unsophisticated, never had a cent kind of guy and my world changed. I remember literally kind of dropping to my knees in the privacy of my own home just kind of thank you to God or the universe or whatever for what happened. So, that will always be a tremendous career victory for me.
The other victories were less profound and more spread out over time. The fact that I can live anywhere I want in the world and do what I do, make a living, change lives, have a community that trusts and follows me, and still make music and get to talk about it with people that care. I still perform and record and all of that. That’s a tremendous victory. I work from home so I get to have breakfast with my children every day and lunch if they’re not at school and dinner. Not that I felt like my dad was missing from my life. I didn’t but when I think back on it, I do realise like, “Wow, I never saw him in the morning because he was gone before I woke up and he came home for dinner and my life was just dinners and weekends.” Whereas, you know, I’ve been lucky enough to not have that relationship with my kids because I’m always around. So, all of that is victory as well. It’s just a less, you know, there is no chequered flag thrown at the end of it. It’s just a slow and wonderful victory. But, you know, I love a world where you can work hard and get rewarded. I feel pretty successful or feel pretty fortunate or blessed or whatever that we do live in that world. Knock on wood, my perspective has led me to believe that it does work, or my experiences have led me to believe that it does work like that.
David Andrew Wiebe: Are there any books or other resources that have helped you on your journey?
John Oszajca: Lots of books have helped me. A lot of where I’ve really gotten stuff is internet marketing stuff, you know, a lot of it’s expensive. As I said, that Frank Kearns first course was a big one for me. It’s the Copywriters Debt. So again, there are people that are just fantastic with algorithms and you know, they’re either SEO guys or they’re CPA guys. I’m better with understanding just the fundamentals of selling and copywriting and human psychology. Those people are the copywriters. They’re the people behind the funnels. They’re the people that understand what it takes to take a person who’s never heard from you or heard of you and make them care about what it is you have to say by the end of it and that’s more where I find my home or whatever, that’s my wheelhouse.
Frank Kern was one. He’s a bit intense, perhaps for my liking these days but you know, he is good at what he does and it helped me in my early days. But copywriters like Dan Kennedy. Kind of anything by him is great. A lot of it doesn’t apply to music, but none of it really applies to music, but the lessons learned can be applied to anything. It’s really just about understanding human psychology but on a totally different tip. People like Gary Vaynerchuk just kind of helped keep the ethics grounded. And he’s so about just treating people well. He’s inspired me from the get go and that’s, you know, customer support is where I put all of my focus. You can’t please all the people all the time, but we hear wonderful things about our support just about every day. I feel pretty good about the value exchange between me and my tribe. Tim Ferriss was such a big one. His Four-Hour Work Week was pretty instrumental to me when it came out in terms of just representing a mindset shift.
Who else? I’m trying to think. There’s so much good stuff out there but those are at least real business. You know, books people can easily find that are out there. Chris Rempel is a marketer. He’s become a friend. We’ve done a few things together that also I got a lot out of. I don’t think he’s doing it anymore. He’s moved on to other… He’s wildly successful as far as I know but he’s moved on to other things in the marketing space. He’s not teaching it anymore as well. Who else? Inevitably there’s a bunch that I’m probably forgetting. I like Ryan Deiss stuff in general. But I don’t have any one book or course that really stands out. He’s just someone who I generally find valuable. That’s what’s coming to mind.
David Andrew Wiebe: Awesome. It’s so funny because Dan Kennedy is one of those that I’ve been hooked on recently in the last couple of months. I’ve been getting a lot of value out of that. Like you say, it’s not music industry material. I can see some areas that could be applied but yeah, it’s just general business copywriting advice that could benefit anybody on a general level.
John Oszajca: Indeed.
David Andrew Wiebe: So, thank you so much for your time and generosity, John. Is there anything else I should have asked?
John Oszajca: No, I think we covered it. I’m sure I’ll think of it as soon as we wrap up. But no, I think we’re good. And yeah, it’s been a pleasure to chat. Hopefully, it turned on a light bulb for somebody.
David Andrew Wiebe: Yeah. And people can find you at MusicMarketingManifesto.com as well as JohnOszajca.com. Is that right?
John Oszajca: That’s right.
David Andrew Wiebe: Awesome. All right. Thanks again.
John Oszajca: Thank you. Cheers.
David Andrew Wiebe: Cheers.
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Countless people around the world would love to work full time as a musician.
Children and adults alike dream of a life where working in music for a living is a reality.
There are a lot of people out there who have tried and failed. Those mistakes often revolve around missteps including some of these common blunders:
- Thinking a college degree in music is the only way.
- Striving only for a record deal.
- Spending more time in the studio than out playing live shows.
- Working with the wrong musicians.
There are countless individuals who know how to transcend the ranks and make a living with music, and that’s enough evidence to know it’s possible.
As you’re looking to break into the professional music scene, a few tips can go a long way.
So, here are the best things to focus on when you want your dream to become your job.
How to Break into the Professional Music Landscape
As many people that have worked in professional music will tell aspiring professionals, talent and timing are everything. Much of the process relies on good timing and knowing the right people or places to play.
With that in mind, individual ability also makes a difference. That leads us to the first point in the journey…
Know Your Instrument or Voice as Well as You Can
There are few things more frustrating than someone who wants to work in professional music but lacks the know-how. So, you must work on your skills.
Open mic nights tend to be great for honing your craft, as the community is generally supportive. But keep in mind that people won’t want to book you for a show unless you know your stuff.
So, if you want to play at specific venues but don’t have the ability to do so, keep improving until venue owners and booking people start looking your way.
Regardless, a total control and knowledge of your instrument or voice makes a huge difference. So, keep practicing until you feel comfortable doing what you do.
Play Live as Much as Possible
There are a lot of things that could help build talent and experience, but nothing compares to playing live.
First and foremost, you get experience playing in front of an audience, which is key. It forces you to roll with the punches, whatever they may be. And, gaining experience can help you do something about those jitters.
Second, live shows are essential for breaking into the professional scene. Since it’s difficult if not impossible to make a living with album sales, you must supplement your income elsewhere. Live performance is a good place to look.
While you’re still developing as a musician, play out every chance you get. As you get booked for more and more gigs, you’ll get more regular and paid gigs.
Network with Other Professional Musicians
An important part of breaking into a music scene, no matter what the size, is knowing the others in the scene.
That doesn’t just mean musicians. Venue owners, promoters for local shows and concerts and even local media outlets are worth getting to know.
Build a presence locally, and take it from there. New opportunities should begin to present themselves as you get yourself out there.
Find a Music Scene Mentor
This goes hand-in-hand with networking with professionals. A mentor helps guide you through the early stages of a music career.
Not only can they offer helpful advice and tips; they can also be a sounding board for your ideas.
Your mentor also knows much more about the industry than your friends or family who are simply providing support.
To make the most of a professional career, find a mentor early and utilize their knowledge and support often. They can likely offer some other useful suggestions as well, whether it’s networking or show opportunities.
Market Yourself on Social Media
Marketing as a local musician doesn’t mean putting up posts on Facebook or Instagram saying, “listen to this great song I just wrote.”
People want to see that you’re out supporting the arts and playing live shows. You can share the writing process, practice sessions or other behind-the-scenes footage with your fans.
Overall, social media is the cheapest way to market your music. Take your existing social profiles and make them work for your aspiring career.
Breaking into the professional scene can be tough, but it’s doable when done right. Take the time to let yourself ease into a role in a local scene, and be patient with yourself and your craft.
The growing popularity of vinyl isn’t just associated with vintage fashion, but with high-quality sound.
The fall of lossless audio formats has brought vinyl records back into focus, so many musicians have started releasing their albums in digital and analog formats to capitalize on this trend.
Is this something all musicians should consider doing? Here are five reasons you should release your music on vinyl.
Vinyl Records Have Unique Sound Qualities
The combination of a high-grade player and the best budget receiver can improve the already amazing quality of vinyl and deliver an even warmer sound, the kind vinyl fans have come to love.
But where do these qualities come from?
First, vinyl produces an analog sound.
Second, the mechanics. The needle height fluctuations and impacts from a running motor create additional vibrations.
Vinyl lovers say that this effect “animates” the player, making the sound unique. It is important to realize that the transition to vinyl in terms of sound is not a step backward, but rather a new path.
Analog sound has its inherent characteristics, which some people love.
Listening to Vinyl is an Immersive Experience
People who are passionate about vinyl collect everything from players and components to records. They keep their devices in good working order by wiping them from dust, washing the phonograph disks, changing the needles, performing upgrades and even preventive maintenance.
It seems the process of caring for their players and music library brings them pleasure and emotional satisfaction.
Listening to the music itself also turns into a ritual. Unpacking the envelope and observing the circular motion of the faceplate with the disk is much more fascinating than a couple of clicks or taps on the screen.
Today, when people listen to music, they do not listen to whole albums, only a few selected tracks. That’s fine for most modern music.
But what about concept albums? What about albums that are cohesive from top to bottom? What about albums where every track matters?
Here the vinyl manifests its magic. Listening to records is an immersive experience you can’t duplicate with lossless audio formats on high-quality modern devices.
Additionally, with records, the listener can’t change the track. Listening to a record is a commitment
You Can Include Exclusive Bonuses with Vinyl Releases
Thousands of musicians release their albums on vinyl.
In addition, vinyl versions of their releases often contain extras.
The Stars Wars: The Force Awakens vinyl, for example, comes with a multi-page booklet and hologram.
To further illustrate the growing popularity of vinyl, about a decade ago, The White Stripes’ lead singer Jack White founded the label Third Man Records, which specializes in vinyl music. The studio is experimental: it makes scented records, disks with liquids or dried rose petals inside.
In the same building, there is a concert hall where you can record a performance and stamp the first edition of it on the same day. All these things mean that the culture of vinyl is not in stagnation.
Physical Media Brings in More Revenue Than Digital Media
According to the RIAA, the revenue from sales of physical media exceeds revenue from music purchases on the Internet. CDs and records bring more money to publishers than purchases on iTunes, Google Play and other digital platforms.
This data speaks of one thing: vinyl remains on an upwards trend, and the most progressive way to listen to music today is to listen to records.
The Growth of Quality Record Players & Parts
Record players are available in abundance. Some are cheap. Some cost more. Whether you’re a casual listener or a serious connoisseur, you can find a player that’s right for you.
The same goes for accessories. You can find just about anything you’re looking for, should you need to replace parts or upgrade them.
Higher-priced items are made of sturdy materials and since there are plenty of tutorials and how-to guides out there, you can easily care for your records, record player and accessories with no additional hassle.
What this means for you as a musician is that you can sell records without worrying about whether your fans have the right equipment to play them. They can get set up easily without spending a pretty penny and enjoy your record on their own time.
There are plenty of great reasons to release your music on vinyl.
At the end of the day, however, it depends entirely on your fan base. Do they want your music on vinyl? If you released your music on vinyl, would they listen to it?
If you find that most of your fans listen on streaming sites and they’re not interested in owning physical media, then there might not be much point releasing your music on vinyl.
So, be sure it’s something your fans want before you rush into pressing your music on vinyl.