No one will care about your music without marketing.
Exactly zero new people will hear your music to care about it without marketing yet so many indie artists continue to make these mistakes.
Nobody needs new music so they donâ€™t care about your music because itâ€™s new.
Great art does NOT find its own audience and it never has. There has ALWAYS been a clever, hard-working marketer ensuring that new people are exposed to the artist’s work. PERIOD.
Why do you think record labels have marketing and promo divisions?
Whether you want to believe it or not, whether you know it or not, a record label will give you 10% of the budget to make your record. They will use 90% of the budget for marketing.
How does that jive with your budget percentages?
My guess is most of you give zero dollars for marketing or the recipe is severely flip-flopped with maybe 10% going to marketing. It’s these mistakes that will crush you!
Too many artists have a false believe that they â€œneedâ€ to make a 10-12 song CD to succeed.
Other artists believe that they need to make a 5-6 song EP to succeed.
FALSE, FALSE, FALSE, FALSE, FALSE.
You are telling yourself stories if you believe this. This is your ego talking.
I get it, this is and has always been your dream but this is a sure-fire way to FAIL.
Has your dream always been to make a CD or was more like you thought that CD would lead to a career?
Wait, if your intention is to make a CD just for you and yours then you wonâ€™t fail. Theyâ€™re surely going to listen to it. But if your intention or real dream is to be a professional artist, then this is a horrible decision.
When you arenâ€™t clear on your intention, the â€œdreamâ€ can skew your vision causing you to make crippling, sometimes career-ending money decisions.
I remember speaking to a really nice artist on the phone who was hell bent on making a CD. He had a ridiculously small budget of $2,500.
His thinking was that he NEEDED a 10 song CD (because that was his dream) and so he went looking for someone who would record these 10 songs for $2,500.
He found him.
I PROMISE if youâ€™re hell bent on anything, youâ€™ll find what youâ€™re looking for.Â Of course, there were ZERO dollars allotted for marketing from that $2,500 budget.
Which sadly, is probably a good thing, if Iâ€™m being honest, because the quality of those recordings at $250 a song (keep in mind the artist was NOT an engineer, did NOT own any recording software, nor a studio of any kind) are going to be atrocious.
Artists need to take a breath and decide, RIGHT NOW, what exactly they are trying to accomplish.
If youâ€™re just recording the songs for yourself, for friends and family, or your significant other, then awesome. There is no wrong answer.
If your intention is to get your music out to the world and you create a crappy sounding product, you will have crappy results. GUARANTEED. Your songs and the recordings have to compete with whatâ€™s on the radio right now.
If you execute zero marketing on that crappy sounding production or on the most beautiful recordings ever, you will have crappy results too. GUARANTEED.
If you manage the budget for your project like it was for friends and family but then grow angry and bitter when the world doesnâ€™t freak out about your art, youâ€™re completely missing the boat. Why would they care if theyâ€™ve never heard about it?
I have news for you, your first CD or EP isnâ€™t going to sell. Youâ€™re not going to make your money back.
This is NOT news.
MOST major label artists end up in debt after the first record. The label spends a couple million dollars on marketing a $200,000 record and maybe they sell 50,000 units.Â Nowhere near enough to recoup the initial investment.
But the artistâ€™s brand name is now a reality in the minds of a few consumer/fans.
Then the second effort comes out, and things are looking better. The artist has a little rabid fan base that is eager to hear the next release. The second record usually sells far better than the first. Hopefully enough to break even on the recording and promotion costs. You’re hopefully BUILDING the whole time.
Then on the 3rd record, the artist blows up, the records start selling, and everybody starts making money.
Itâ€™s a long game.
Marketing your music is NOT like opening a lemonade stand where you make a profit on every transaction or pull up the stakes.
Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Tom Petty and Def Leppard all had breakthrough records and record sales on the 3rd release.
Think about that. You need to know this.
Your first record isnâ€™t going to sell because you donâ€™t have an audience to sell it to.
Your first record isnâ€™t going to sell because your future audience doesnâ€™t care about your music right now.
The way Springsteen, Bon Jovi, and Def Leppard accumulated their audience is DIFFERENT than the method youâ€™re going to acquire yours.
The old record business was about the music first. Iâ€™m not speaking about the quality of music (although it must be AMAZING), and Iâ€™m not speaking about the importance of music. Iâ€™m articulating THE MARKETING PROCESS.
When you put your clothes on in the morning you start with your underwear. There is a process to execute this task or youâ€™ll look like an idiot.
In the old record business, the PROCESS was to release the music and launch the artist brand on radio where each market had massive reach and repetition. Consumers were essentially forced to hear that debut single multiple times while waiting to hear their â€œjamâ€ because they didnâ€™t have choices.
I am CONSTANTLY approached by indie artists who want me to â€œmarket their CDâ€.
It doesnâ€™t work that way anymore. If theyâ€™re only focused on marketing the CD rather than creating a brand, theyâ€™ll be disappointed.
The beginning of your artist journey is NOT about marketing music and merch (although these can be a byproduct), rather itâ€™s about creating a brand.
Do you want to succeed as an artist?
If you do, youâ€™re going to need an audience. Unlike the old days, your music is NOT going to generate that audience for you.
The artist comes first now.
Guess what? You donâ€™t need ANY tracks, exactly ZERO recordings to begin marketing your brand.
You can start building an audience, aka a fan base by intelligently using YouTube, and all social media platforms.
Build up an audience first and then release one single and GIVE IT AWAY.
Youâ€™re not trying to make money at this point, this is what I mean by â€œlong-gameâ€.
You ARE trying to create and deepen relationships.
Then repeat the process on a second single.
Continue to build relationships.
If you suck at creating relationships on social media youâ€™ll need to get better because itâ€™s the only way youâ€™re going to be successful.
Your education on this matter will require a little bit of money and TON of time. Find the time or face the facts.
No time means no career. Period. (but this is true of any career, isnâ€™t it?)
If you refuse to spend the massive amounts of time it takes to create relationships on social media, then go get a day job. Your future in the music business will be one of frustration, aggravation, and bewilderment.
Nobody will care about you because nobody will be aware that you exist because you refuse to reach out to them in an intelligent manner.
The new music business industry wants you to be talented, trust me, but they donâ€™t care about your talent. They care about your audience.
If youâ€™re waiting till you finish the project to begin marketing you donâ€™t get it and youâ€™re going to fail.
This is true for record labels too. Theyâ€™re still trying to do it the old way spending obscene amounts of money on P1 (major market) radio only to find that nobody is aware of the artist because new artists DONâ€™T BREAK ON RADIO ANYMORE.
Itâ€™s all about YOU first.
Iâ€™ll say it again, ITâ€™S ALL ABOUT YOU FIRST.
You have to create the relationships first before theyâ€™ll care about listening to your music.
The process has changed. Pretending like it hasnâ€™t isnâ€™t going to do a damn thing to help your career.
Underwear first, then your pants or dress.
Find your audience first, then release your single.
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