What Internet Marketer James Schramko Can Teach You About Building Your Music Career

by | Mar 23, 2017 | Uncategorized

Occasionally, I come across a brilliant piece of content I wish I created.

A couple of months ago, I found out that Chris Rockett interviewed James Schramko on his music promotion podcast. The interview is at least five to six years old, but the advice, not surprisingly, is stellar.

I’ve been following along with James’ content for a while, and I happen to think it’s some of the best in the internet marketing category. You might think that someone in internet marketing wouldn’t have much to say on the music industry, but you would be wrong. It doesn’t hurt that James’ son is a musician either.

So, I took notes and recorded my key takeaways below. Have a look and let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Note: This interview was uploaded to YouTube in 2011. I don’t know when they were originally recorded, but I assume the same year. Some of the information is outdated. But James says he is constantly adjusting and adapting in business, sometimes on a weekly basis. This is a key point.

Regardless, there are some great takeaways here, which I’ve highlighted below.

Part 1

Building a Business

  • Jobs are unsafe. The best way to have control over your outcome is to build a business with cash flow and build assets you can own and potentially sell.
  • If it’s not inside you, it’s not going to happen. You must be motivated.


  • If you want massive exposure, you must think about who your target audience is, and how you’re going to reach them.


  • Create content that people love, because good content gets shared.
  • With the number of portable devices out there, a podcast makes for an amazing marketing tool (I dedicated an entire chapter of my book, The New Music Industry, to this subject of podcasts).
  • You could pre-sell your music using a podcast by offering a director’s cut or a look behind-the-scenes.


  • Get your own .com website and stake your claim on the internet. Register a central website you own, and have complete control over. Build a list/fan base using your website.
  • You can use a variety of content types – audio, song snippets, interviews, pictures, videos – to get people interested in what else you have to offer.

Part 2

Your Audience

  • When you poll your audience, you can ask people what they want, and then create it for them.
  • It’s cheaper to deal with the same customers than to go and get new ones. It’s also more profitable when you can move a customer through different solutions. You can have different price points and different categories of products that you can sell – services, coaching, tools, assets.

Active & Passive Business

  • With an active business, you’re very hands-on with customers. But you can also have a more passive business where you systemize and automate the business to run by itself.
  • The active style business has a higher payoff upfront, but the passive style business has an easier, long-term payoff.
  • A back catalog of albums would be a form of passive income for musicians.
  • You could set up a website that collects people’s details and sends them good content with a mix of offers. This could be set up with an automatic email service. A mini training series is easy to automate. As customers complete a course, you could send them the next relevant one.


  • The most important stuff often isn’t the most urgent.
  • You must filter out distractions. Ask yourself, “is this something I want to do?” James says he is very cautious with anything that requires active involvement and doesn’t have a passive payoff.


  • Set up a blog and publish one post per day. Take the latest news, report on it, and add your own perspective to it.
  • If you don’t want to do it, it’s not going to happen.
  • Ideas: 1) Start a YouTube channel and upload one new song per week. 2) Get on Facebook and build relationships with industry people.
  • You can do it all with just a blog or Facebook page, combined with Twitter and YouTube.
  • Pick the medium that suits you best – text, audio, or video.
  • You can build a massive following by uploading a new song to YouTube every single day.


  • What is your Key Performance Area (KPA)? Make a goal for what you need to accomplish in a day and track it.
  • James gives the example of his press release writer who helps him get thousands of backlinks to his website every day (!).

Part 3


  • Rolling Stone doesn’t make music. They report on the music industry. You can build an audience using the same methodology.


  • Think about what you’re doing right now and if what you’re doing right now is taking you to where you want to go. Are you enjoying the process?
  • Thinking about what the highest and best use of your time is is something most people don’t do but should. Focus on doing the right things.
  • Lock in the coordinates for your destination – just be aware that you will need to make many corrections and adjustments along the way.
  • If you want it, you will get it, but you have to want it bad enough.
  • You get the success you believe you can achieve, and that’s the limit.

Building a Career or Business

  • It will take time to build something worthwhile. You must put your time in.

Recommended Resources

  • Getting Everything You Can Out of All You’ve Got: 21 Ways You Can Out-Think, Out-Perform, and Out-Earn the Competition by Jay Abraham.
  • Peter Drucker. Drucker resources will teach what you need to know about business strategy.
  • Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini.
  • Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin.


  • Your handwritten notes can make for great content, because when your audience looks at your scribbles, they can see your personality coming through – it’s analog content in a digital world.

Final Thoughts

I like what James said about putting three to four hours into his business every single day for three years to replace his employment income. I think this is the same mindset we must adopt in our careers and businesses if we’re looking to get results. Most of all, we must use those three to four hours productively, remembering to focus on the right things.