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20 Biggest Marketing Mistakes

20 Biggest Marketing Mistakes

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This past week Kelly and I were honored to be panelists on Grammy nominee Amanda Williams’SongwritingandMusicBusiness.com songwriting conference. Whoa, let me tell you Amanda and Todd put together an informative, well organized, event that had attendees rubbing elbows and getting their music heard in front of many music industry professionals including, managers, publishing company executives, record executives, live performance coaches, and social media experts. There were many panels, events, networking, and performance opportunities during the day at the lovely Preston Hotel in Nashville.

One of the highlights was definitely Amanda Williams performing “Asstastic”…just sayin’.

20 Marketing Mistakes Amanda WIlliams Big Stage image

I am quite sure there were more than a few new songs written as artists and songwriters took their long day and extended it to jump on impromptu collaborations at the pool every day after midnight.

What a sweet vibe, man.

Kelly and I had a blast! We also became aware of several amazing artists we invited to submit to the TV show that we are casting. One writer we saw happened to look like a perfect fit for an artist we are currently developing.

 

 

The introductions have already been made.

Additionally we began a relationship with the management from a Barbados duo that we may just do some business with. Both Kelly and I were blown away by the talent and relished the environment provided to meet these people and interact.

I’ve been telling y’all about this event for well over a month now. Many of you continually email me with stories of your networking challenges, frustrations with your progress, and questions on how to “get in the business” deeper so you can make a living at it. Well, here was the PERFECT opportunity.

Why weren’t you there?

One of the breakout sessions I was asked to head up was a social media/marketing session. During this tutorial I got to thinking about the most common mistakes EVERYONE from indie artists to major labels are making with marketing in the new music business.

 

So here’s a list of my top biggest marketing mistakes

  1. Social media is about THEM not you – There are many clever ways to get what you want by thinking about them first. Start 20 Marketing Mistakes NOT YOUproviding something for them, cool quotes, inspiration, humor, knowledge, etc. Start talking about them, asking about them etc. I told a story of the Twitter campaign we did a year ago for an artist. This fan tweets that he’s CRANKING the song in his garage, drinking beer, and LOVING IT! Instead of basking in the glory (I was tweeting as the artist at the time) I asked a question. Which lead to an answer. Which lead to another question. This happened just 4 times and that guy invited the whole band to STAY AT HIS HOUSE in Texas when they came through on tour. 4 questions = Superfan
  2. Hype doesn’t work – Have you ever heard the phrase “A person is smart, people are stupid”? Have you ever heard PT Barnum’s famous quote “Nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd”? There is an energy in a crowd that speaks to our core need to be a part of something; we are wired up to want to belong. When we see someone on file0002005996090a stump with 30 people around him there is an implied power given to the speaker. How else did he get all these people to stop and listen? Mass media like TV and radio put the speaker in a similar but largely amplified position of power. A Donald Trump-esque hype speech actually works in mass media scenario or on a stump in front of a crowd, however, social media and email interaction is always consumed 1 on 1; privately. Now, imagine someone totally hyping a product during private conversation with you. Total turnoff right? If you must hype yourself the time to do it is at a live show where you pack a crowd in; they’ll believe whatever you tell them. If you propagandize through social media and email they will think you’re an idiot. Stop it.
  3. No list building and lead capture strategy– OMG I talk to artists every day who play for huge audiences during the summer. When it’s over they have nothing. This is a perfect time to capture phone numbers or email addresses…nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd,20 Marketing Mistakes List Building right? There are many companies like CallLoop.com who provide text capture technology that connects with your CRM (aWeber, Mail Chimp, Constant Contact, etc.). Give away a song in exchange for their phone number. Text messages have a 99% open rate. Squeeze pages are a super effective way to capture email addresses in exchange for a free track(s) which will expose the consumer to your music; win, win, win. Work out a deal with the bar owner to pony up a $25 bar tab (costs him about $4) that you would award at the end of the night to a lucky person you choose from the list they just opted into (works like a champ)
  4. Y’all record before you have an audience – To quote my friend Rick Barker, “would you open a hamburger stand in a vegan community?” Social media, YouTube, Blogging, and LIVE SHOWs are killer ways to build up a following before you release a product. Otherwise it’s a vanity project, which is cool, but you can’t really be pissed it isn’t selling, ya know?
  5. You’re trying to get “laid” on the 1st or 2nd date – Social media initiates the relationship and allows you to deepen it. Clever email campaigns can further deepen a relationship. There HAS TO BE A RELATIONSHIP before you ask for the sale. Period. You can’t just 20 Marketing Mistakes Getting Laidput a compelling PPC ad or tweet up that instantly drives people to iTunes to “get to know you”. Consumers will say “screw you”. However, we all know someone who purchased a CD to support an artist they “know”. See the difference?
  6. Crappy unproduced product – Remember how you felt when you bought the last product that totally disappointed you? Odds are you need help SOMEWHERE. Maybe you’re a great writer but not a producer. Maybe you’re a great singer but not a great writer. Maybe your lyrics aren’t as strong as your melodies. Identify the weak suit(s) and find help to make your music better. Just because you, your mate, and your mom like it doesn’t mean anybody else will; they are always going to encourage you. Find out what people think about the track on social media and get your answer. We had an artist that we did one single on and promoted it on Twitter. We got 2,000 downloads (giving it away free) in a couple months. This was a great litmus test because people responded and LOVED the track. Yes, art is subjective. But successful artists reach beyond their friends and family so if everyone else doesn’t get it you’ve got a hobby not a career.
  7. You don’t have a website and therefore no web store – Since you’re an indie artist and you will doing all the work to drive traffic, why not drive fans to your OWN STORE where you get 100% of the money? Yes, you will need a presence on sites like iTunes, Spotify, and CD baby because healthy percentages of fans prefer to buy there, but many will buy directly from you if you tell them to; especially after you have created a relationship. This is just common sense, isn’t it?
  8. You’re not bundling – Have you ever gone to a bar to order a cocktail and the server gives you 2 choices of top-shelf liquor to choose from? You either choose one of them or have the balls to say, “Give me the cheap stuff”; this is called “upselling”. 30% of your buyers will be willing to be upsold if you have something for them to spend more money on. Old CD’s, demo tapes, posters, set lists, autographed 8×10’s, t-shirts, hats, and key chains, make for great bundles. Check out this company for amazing bundling products that are simply unbelievable
  9. You’re only on 1 social media platform – While it is definitely counterproductive to try and be on all of them, at least 2, preferably 3 are a solid choice. Remember MySpace?
  10. You’re overexposing your act – get outta town, man. If you play every week or twice a month or even once a month (depending on how big your town is) in the same market, it’s too much. If any iconic superstar played every week down the street people would get sick of seeing them, I mean there’s always next week, right?
  11. You aren’t making your shows an event – When we got our start we opened for a band in Minneapolis called Hericane Alice. They were the biggest band in the Twin Cities at the time. They played about once a quarter and brought in FULL national act production and lights. They always sold out. When I lived in L.A. I would book a show and buy a keg. I’d tell people to pay the $10 at the show then beers were on me at my house afterward till the keg crapped out. It was an EVENT, an anticipated social gathering. What can you do to step up your game here?
  12. You haven’t studied content marketing – Social media is about content marketing so you better learn this fast. Gary Vaynerchuk is a pioneer in content marketing, learn from him. He says content marketing is like boxing, jab, jab, jab, RIGHT HOOK (which is your 20 Marketing Mistakes Gary V“call to action”) So content, content, content, then a call to action to a squeeze page of some sort or text based opt-in technology. Get it?
  13. Your live show sucks! – C’mon man! This is totally a pet peeve of mine. When we toured we worked our ASSES off on creating a compelling live show. 99.9% of the time I see a band they are totally boring even if they can play well. Have you ever seen Bruno Mars live? His show is one of the best. WORK. PERFORM. GIVE EVERYTHING YOU HAVE. That’s is what people want to see.
  14. You’re panhandling or worse, begging – Wade Sutton shared a great quote with me last weekend. He said “Take the napkin off your chest and put it on your IMG_2815arm”. In other words, stop asking “What can you do for me” and start asking “what can I do for you” to the people that can help advance your career. “Making millions off you in the future is a weak and markedly naïve pitch. Intern, clean, run, do whatever it takes to create a relationship. Jon Bon Jovi used to clean the Power Plant in NYC to gain access to studio time where he recorded over 50 versions of “Runaway”. One of them was picked for a WAPP compilation record, which in turn made the song a hit single, which ended in a record deal for Jon. Trent Reznor did the same to gain the access he needed to record “Pretty Little Hate Machine” from Nine Inch Nails. Both of these men accomplished this in an environment where records cost the 2014 equivalent of $550,000 to make. Now you can do it with a killer producer for less than 10% of that…what’s your excuse?
  15. You’re not adding images to every Tweet – images significantly improve open rates. Add images. Learn to Meme because it’s a great way to add your unique perspective to any image. Addtext.com is a killer resource for memes and not-for-nothing it’s a fun creative release. You might surprise yourself.
  16. You don’t fully understand the Sales Funnel – You need a sales funnel. A relationship building process that uses effective language to convert email addresses into cash. Once you have figured out the sales funnel portion you only need to focus on 2 marketing areas; traffic and average revenue per email address; the rest is mathematically predictable.
  17. You don’t understand the definition of marketing – Remember marketing is defined as influencing buying decisions. Distribution is where they go to purchase your music once the buying decision has been made.
  18. You won’t pay for coaching – This past weekend was an amazing chance for songwriters and artists to meet and create relationships, learn, evaluate, regroup, plan, and strategize using accurate information from many industry pros. With all the Woe-is-me emails I get about how hard it is to get ahead and meet the right people here was a great opportunity. No money is not an excuse; sorry. Jon Bon Jovi20 Marketing Mistakes Earl Dibbles Jr. found a way around a $550,000 hurdle. So did Trent Reznor, so did many artists. FIND A WAY TO WIN and stop getting in your own way. Sell a guitar, get an extra job, do whatever it takes to learn what you need to learn to succeed at what you love to do. IT’s worth it, right? Some great resources to consider are Rick Barker for virtual management, Wade Sutton for live show coaching and PR development, Amanda Williams for publishing, placement and copyright knowledge, James R. Meny for vocal instruction (we spent TONS of money on vocal lessons when we toured, everyone needs vocal lessons).
  19. You won’t focus on one genre – I get it, you love many genres and you’re talented enough to do more than one genre justice. If you can’t figure out a way to combine them into a stylistic thing, then choose the one you really excel at and go there. Consumers can’t digest a record with many different genres on it. It doesn’t mean you are abandoning the other genres you love so much. It means you are focusing on one first because it’s smarter for your career.
  20. You don’t believe it can really happen by marketing online – Want proof? Earl Dibbles Jr.is the alter ego of indie country artist Granger Smith. Check out both sites. Earl has over 1 million FB likes and Granger is over 276,000. I know for a fact there are 4 people working this marketing juggernaut. They are geniuses, they cracked the code because they wanted to figure it out. They move 7 figures worth of product every year and, of course, all the major labels want him…well both of them I suppose. LOL. They aren’t biting. Why would they? This could be you if you developed a passion for cracking the code.

 

 

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Imagine Every Artist

Imagine Feature image

Imagine Every Artist just wanted to make art.

Imagine Every Artist started paying attention to effective content marketing and social media.

Imagine Every Artist stopped SELLING on social media and focused on building relationships.Imagine Lyric image

What if legacy and heritage artists monetized their million dollar brand names via direct-to-fan marketing?

What if legacy and heritage artists changed their business models to be subscribership/internet mail order businesses?

Imagine indie bands, singer/songwriters, and major label artists actually had a customer list like every other successful business on the planet. (How is this constantly overlooked?)

Imagine indie bands, singer/songwriters, and major label artists surveyed these customers to see what exactly they wanted and what they were willing to pay for like most other successful businesses.

Imagine Customer List image

Imagine Every Artist wanted to learn from a producer

What if every artist could be half as good at creating relationships on social media as Amanda Palmer?

 

 

Imagine Every Artist was interested in being better rather than famous.

What if every artist stopped making excuses for why they aren’t doing their art?

Imagine Every Artist lived for the journey and stopped focusing their emotions and self esteem on the time it took to get to some fleeting destination.

What if every artist could find a way to make a living being an artist? ($30k-$40k isn’t that difficult. What do you make right now?)

Imagine Every Artist stopped coveting other artists and started working on their own art?Chain

Imagine Every Artist knew the idea of being famous was a lot better than the reality.

What if every artist replaced the energy they spent on worrying, hating, coveting, pontificating, waxing nostalgic, brooding, complaining, and being narcissistic with real work/creativity?

Imagine Every Artist understood that their weak points need to be as cool as their strong points.

What if every artist could hear the difference between “art that is done” and “well done art”? (Yes, art can be objective)

What if every artist continually worked to create opportunities instead of waiting for opportunities to show up at their door?

Imagine Every Artist understood that commerce wasn’t a bad thing if it was done on the artist’s terms, done well, and done consistently.

Imagine Every Artist understood that to really be unique you need to be brave enough to be yourself. (Stop being derivative!)

What if every artist knew how to build a decent team?

Imagine Every Artist knew terrestrial radio was going to be 1000 times less effective tomorrow that it is today. (How would that change your approach?)

What if every artist used a company that offered text phone number capture technology to build their customer list during live shows because text messages have a 99% open rate?

Imagine Every Artist didn’t give away 90% of their revenue to tell their parents and friends that they have a record deal.

Imagine Every Artist understood how a squeeze page with the proper language could maximize the exposure of Imagine Don't Be Afraid imageevery public appearance including live shows, magazine interviews, podcast interviews, song placements, TV interviews, blog interviews, etc.

Imagine Every Artist wasn’t afraid to be afraid.

Imagine Every Artist expected relationships in the music industry to work like their personal relationships with quid pro quo and adding value.

What if every artist focused on making a living being and artist instead of being famous?

 

Imagine Console imageImagine Every Artist stopped making excuses and started recording.

Imagine Every Artist used Stage-It to reach out to their fans for the purposes of including them in the song selection for the upcoming release ala Bon Jovi’s Pizza Parlor Jury

What if every artist understood that it’s a numbers game and you have to constantly create opportunities through hard work rather than placing all their emotional “eggs” in one basket, for one deal, with one person, at one company?

Imagine Every Artist stopped being closed off to constructive criticism and opened their mind to constant improvement along their journey.

Imagine Every Artist wasn’t afraid to fail.

What if every artist understood it starts with the song and spending money on a better recording of an average song will render a better recording of an average song?

Imagine Every Artist stopped asking and started giving.

Imagine Every Artist knew they needed a team to get to the next level.

What if every artist knew they needed to shop for this team rather than shop for studio rates?

Imagine Every Artist stopped bad-mouthing successful artists.

Danger & Opportunity

Danger Opportunity Feature image

Baron Rothschild, a 18th-century British nobleman and member of the Rothschild banking family, is credited with saying that “The time to buy is when there’s blood in the streets.” By now, you must be aware that the music business is in a serious crisis. Yes, there’s blood in the streets. I think about this crisis a lot these days.

Crisis = Dangerous + Opportunity

Did you know that the Chinese word for “crisis” is made up of 2 characters: 1 means “danger” and the other means “opportunity”?Crisis Danger Opportunity image

That’s the way I think about the music business; danger and opportunity. The old music business required you make demos and connections until you could find a label that was willing to sign you and invest millions.

THEN you had to be really lucky again to end up in the 10% of signed artists that actually made money on said label. You heard me right, in the heyday of the music business, only 10% of the artists made money, meaning 90% of the signed artists lost money. The old music industry business model was beholden to what they call the “Tyranny of Space”. There was a finite amount of valuable shelf space to place your CD and an even more finite amount of radio spins allotted for new artists. That equates to the limited space of distribution and the limited amount of spins on the radio each hour. The old business model created situations where an artist who had a great record out, was charting in the top 20 on Billboard, touring like crazy, creating real momentum, essentially doing EVERYTHING right would often lose their deal because the label found another act in the same genre with a little more momentum and had to drop the prior artist due to the “Tyranny of Space”.

Huh?

Yeah man, there are only so many radio spins per hour so the label would (intelligently) put their eggs into the better basket Radio Airplay Danger Opportunity imageso-to-speak. THIS is the old model that is falling apart right before our eyes. Tragic to some I am quite sure but very necessary and I believe much better overall for the art and the artists who create it. As an artist, you have to be aware of the big picture to really see the opportunities that lie within the danger and chaos.

The new music business doesn’t suffer from the Tyranny of Space. The costs to make a record are much less expensive, there are no distribution issues because there is always room for one more CD on a server, and (most) social media is free. So as a developing artist, the velvet ropes are gone, the ‘luck of the draw’ has disappeared to a large degree. Now artists are really freed up financially, and in the marketplace to make their own way, to create a name for themselves on a worldwide basis.

As an artist, YOU now hold all the power to write music that YOU love, record it the way YOU want to, find your audience online, and sell it to make a living.Danger Opportunity YOU have the power image

YOU now have the opportunity to create a small profitable business that will sustain YOU and your family while doing what YOU were born to do; music.

As an artist, YOU now hold all the power to create your reality and prove to the world that there is a market for your specific music. Once YOU do that work, all the big money in the form of private investors and major record labels will find YOU.

YOU literally can change what “mainstream popular music” is going to sound like; you can change what the “suits” are willing to get behind.

Don’t believe me? Look at the Zac Brown Band and Florida Georgia Line. Whether you like these artists or not, they got deals after they created the buzz and sales on their own. This was after both acts were turned down by every label.

Mumford & Sons and Adele were also acts that forged their own way and STILL didn’t get major label deals (they Danger Opportunity Mumford and Sons logo imageboth have indie label deals). So it really can happen in a big way for you but you have to come to terms with the fact that

YOU will be responsible for making it happen.

YOU will have to put together the team that will take you to the next level artistically and in the marketplace.

YOU will have to create enough buzz to get the bigger money involved.

 

So how do you do it?

You have to start by understanding that the new music business now suffers from an equally abrasive oppression called the “Tyranny of Choice”. Have you ever eaten at a restaurant (like Jerry’s Famous Deli in Los Angeles orCheesecake Factory) with a ridiculously massive menu?? I was always apprehensive to eat at JFD because I could never decide what to eat! There were too many choices.

This is the current issue we need to overcome as artists, managers, labels, etc.how do you stand out? How do you rise above the noise on the RADAR screen and get the attention of the music consumers?

The answer is 10% making good music and 90% doing good business

The answer is 10% making good music and 90% doing good business. Most of you have that equation reversed; you Danger Opportunity Music Biz Now imagebelieve it to be 90% good music and 10% good business. If the latter were true, only good music would be on the radio. Think about that for a second.

YIKES

There’s your proof. Good business trumps good music in the marketplace. You can morally & artistically agree or disagree with this statement, but it’s true nonetheless. The sooner you get your head around that concept the more successful you’ll be regardless of your talent.

 

Bottom line is everybody can always improve. To be a successful business (which you have to be to succeed as an artist these days, like it or not) you need a good team, accurate information, and the drive to execute many little tasks that are crucial to your momentum.

You can grow your brand.

You can grow your audience.

You can expand your influence.

You can make a living making music.

Doesn’t that mean you’re successful?

 

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Who is Monetizing Your Social Media?

Social Media and Momentum

We recently had an opportunity to pitch an indie artist on Daredevil Production’s online marketing expertise. This artist (who shall remain nameless) has generated some serious momentum and attention from a key song placement in an Oscar winning movie. This momentum has garnered them over 30,000 downloads of the placed song; not bad.

Check this out, their social media company has taken this momentum and worked it into just

  • 3,900 Facebook Likes
  • 943 Twitter followers
  • NO EMAIL addresses to speak of

W…T…F

They are smart enough to know what they don’t know

Here’s the snafu. Indie bands like this are quality artists because they are very smart. When you have an indie act that is this intelligent, they are smart enough to know what they don’t know, like social media, accounting, booking, legal matters, etc., and they surround themselves with a team of professionals who are hopefully experts in their respective fields. Of course, the artists build a relationship with these professionals and they (have to) choose to trust their professional opinions; after all these purported experts are part of their team.

This tactic makes absolute sense as long as the professionals are doing their job. I understand how social media is somewhat of a mystery to many people, but many artists are not “inspecting what they expect” with regards to their social media team members.

If the job description is to expand your Twitter influence then you should see measurable daily gains.

If the job description is to expand Facebook likes then you should see measurable daily gains.

If the job description is to monetize the social media you should see money rolling in every day/week/month.

You have to remember that “Social Media”, “Social Marketing/Content Marketing”, and “Monetization” of the social media assets are 3 completely separate processes that are easily confused.

Artists, I implore you to ensure that whoever you are paying your hard-earned money too is taking care of business and earning their paycheck. I have had meetings now with several indie artists, even a few multi-platinum artists who used to have big record deals, and their trusted advisors on social media are completely inept. The artists understandably aren’t aware of all the details regarding social media and therefore remain unaware of any methods to measure the effectiveness of these companies and rely too heavily on the opinion of their chosen experts to determine if they are doing a good job.

This is akin to leaving the fox in charge of the chickens and then accepting the fox’s professional opinion on exactly how many chickens are left in the coop.1-IMG_9155

If you don’t stick your head inside the coop, you will never really know what the hell is going on.

Btw, in every one of these meetings the social media contact person for the company the artist was using was present or on the call. ALL of them condescendingly responded to our strategies with,

“Oh yeah, we are familiar with email lists.”

“We are familiar with squeeze pages”

“We are familiar with all these technologies”

…as if to dismiss our silly age old ideas. You know what?? I am familiar with open heart surgery but I won’t be performing any operations today because I DON’T KNOW HOW TO FREAKING DO IT AND THE LIVES OF THE PATIENTS ARE DEPENDING ON THE EXPERIENCE OF THE DOCTOR!

The process of targeting, finding, contacting, engaging, and maintaining a core audience online is comprised of very common technologies mixed with, a consistent work ethic, and very common sense…which is not so common.

In an effort to ensure this isn’t happening or won’t happen to you, I have attached a report we regularly present to artists so they can more effectively measure the performance of their social media company against some successes we have had with our clientele (if we have real conversations on the phone with their social media experts online, it ends in confrontational disaster). Think of it as a sort of social media report card. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.

I hope this helps you.

DDP EMAIL LOGO social media image

What We Do Different

Gents, you asked me a question during our conference call that I felt was better answered with visuals rather than just words. The proof is always in the pudding. You asked regarding your current social media strategy, “What will you do differently than what we are doing right now?”

Here is a good look at what we are doing DIFFERENTLY than what your social media company is currently doing with you.

Twitter

We will actively expand your social media accounts. Take a look at daily/weekly numbers that Daredevil Production gets on Twitter.

DDP_Twitter_numbers Social Media image

Take a look at another Twitter account we are working for a Facebook magazine called Real Country Music Fans. Again notice the daily/weekly gains in followers and unsolicited fans.

CountryMusicFB_Twitter_numbers Social Media image

These are the kind of monthly gains you SHOULD be experiencing. With both Twitter accounts you can see that we average a solid 1500 to 1800 new followers per month with 12 to 14 per day being unsolicited followers.

Twitter_Monthly_Totals social media image

Facebook

Take a look at the Facebook LIKES for Real Country Music Fans. I should point out that this is our magazine and we haven’t even been pushing it or trying to expand it, yet you can see through clever activity we experience regular gains on LIKES.

Real_Country_Music_Fans_FB_LIKES social media image

 

Social Media ENGAGEMENT

This particular case study was with an artist named Collin Raye. Check out the results from a Facebook contest we put together. With this contest we were able to create much needed activity on the artist’s Facebook account. We generated over 70,000 comments in just 40 minutes.

NOTE: there are over 100,000 comments because people kept playing well after we ended the contest.

Collin Guitar Contest 100k comments Social Media image

Additionally, this contest created 5,000 new Facebook LIKES for Collin.

Lead Capture

Collin Raye Email List Growth

The image above shows that we added 1,268 emails in 13 days.

MONETIZATION

Of course, getting the emails through consistent online and live show disciplines is one thing. Turning those social media follows and LIKES into email addresses, and the email addresses into revenue is something else completely.

Take a look at this 4-day sale we did for Collin Raye. Note the different product columns and the fact that most of sales happened during the sale days which are highlighted.

NOTE: these numbers reflect the sales that came from the web store we set up for the artist. There was an additional $1,750 of revenue generated from Tunecore as well.

Collin_Raye_4-Day_Sales_social media image

Red arrows below show there are 5 pages of receipts. 172 receipts to be exact

Collin_Raye_Email social media image

Here is a look at what one of the receipts look like. I show you this to support the data shown in the excel spreadsheet.

Collin_Raye_Reciept social media image

Hopefully this will demonstrate exactly what we are doing differently. In my humble opinion, after all the attention you have received from “Insert Oscar Winning Movie Here”, your social media numbers should be much higher. They’re abysmal at less than 1,000 Twitter followers, less than 3,900 Facebook Likes, and no email addresses to speak of.

Again, the technology is nothing new. In fact, the solutions you are looking for to grow your business are about 10% common technology and 90% language and experience. Compare these numbers here to your current numbers and I think you will find the differences compelling. My father always taught me “The numbers don’t lie because the numbers can’t talk.”

Some points to consider:

  • If you or your current social media company is aware of all this technology why isn’t it being implemented?
  • How do you have 30,000 downloads and hardly any followers on Twitter, Facebook, and hardly any email addresses?
  • How have you been using your YouTube activity to drive traffic to your website?
  • Why are your social media numbers so low?
  • What social media strategy, exactly, has your current company been using?
  • What are your financial goals with this project?
  • Are you certain you have the right team around you?

 

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How to Avoid Artistically Starving to Death

Artistically Starving To Death

I have amazing conversations with artists and songwriters every day; I love my job.  Some of those conversations are with beginners, some with intermediate artists, and some are with professional indie artists whose careers are well on their way.  I have to say with the exception of the pro artists, the beginners and intermediates suffer from the same disease; they lack marketing knowledge.  I should say they seem to lack the very concept & definition, never mind the methodology of marketing.  Simply put their artistically starving to death.

Wha?

Marketing vs. Distribution

Yeah, that’s right, the concept and definition of marketing.  I’ll ask and artist “how exactly are you marketing yourself?”

iTunes logo Artistically StarvingThey will undoubtedly answer, “Well, we are up on iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, etc.”  I then wait for their retort to continue, and it doesn’t.  Now I think, What the?!?!

Let’s go back to some good ol’ plain common sense for a second.  Why do record labels have promotion and marketing departments?  I mean if marketing meant getting the music up on iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, etc., would actually move product why the HELL would a broke record label keep paying the people in the marketing department?  Any moron can place music up on all these sites; right?Spotify Logo Artistically Starving

How about this perspective:  When you used to go into a record store to buy an album or CD, did you always walk in and magically get attracted to some piece of shrink-wrapped plastic or cardboard spend your money and then leave?  NO!!  You already knew what you wanted to buy which is why you were there in the first place; this is called marketing.  Marketing is the art of influencing buying decisions.  The outlet that is available to sell the product to the person whose buying decision was influenced is the distributor.

Pandora Logo Artistically StarvingGet it?  Just having it “on the shelf” isn’t enough.  In fact, I propose that this is actually part of the problem in today’s music industry; no accountability for product that doesn’t move.  This will never change, but if it did, you would find every artist quickly learning the difference between distribution and marketing; necessity is the mother of invention.

 

Let me explain.  Anderson Distribution is (I believe) the largest music merchandise distributor in the country right now.  They are an awesome company.  They handle the distribution of all CD’s toAnderson Dist Logo Artistically Starving Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, and Best Buy stores to name a few.  When a Label wants to put product (aka your CD) on the shelves of a Wal-Mart, they go through Anderson Distribution and they need to ensure that the marketing of the product (aka your CD) is already underway or the label gets screwed.  This is initially exciting because to get product (aka your CD) on a Wal-Mart shelf, the minimum order is like 100,000 units.  Do the math, if the retail price is $11.99 then Anderson is probably buying the product (aka your CD) from the label for $6.99; $6.99 x 100,000 = $699,000.00!!!  YEEHAW!!!  Um, er, wait a minute…

Let’s back up and do a little more math.  Anderson doesn’t send you a check in advance for this order, just like every other major corporation their accounts payable is on a Net-60 day basis, or in this economy probably a Net-90 day basis.  In plain English, the record label doesn’t get their quote, $699,000 check, end quote, for 90 days.  So that means that the label is going to front you, the artist, $50,000 to manufacture 100,000 CD’s (this is JUST manufacturing of the CD and they get them for .50 cents each because of the large order, you can too if you order this many) this does not include the cost to ship them to Anderson Distribution.  Now, here’s the tricky part.  Anderson is a business.  Their business is DISTRIBUTING PRODUCT (aka your CD) and if the product (aka your CD) is not moving, Anderson Distribution is not making money.  Get it?  In fact, if the product (aka your CD) is Burning money artistically starvingnot moving Anderson Distribution is LOSING MONEY.  There are a limited number of spaces to place CD’s on a shelf in Wal-Mart, I don’t know exactly what that number is but they are only going to put product on those shelves that will MOVE and make them money.   So, the label essentially has 90 days to sell enough of that product (aka your CD) to show Anderson Distribution that it’s a product (aka your CD) that already is or will be a money maker for them.

What’s the exact number?  I have no freaking idea, but this is just common business sense, if you think about it.

What happens if the label doesn’t move enough product (aka your CD)?  Then the Net-90 payment the label will get from Anderson Distribution will consist of a check in the amount of exactly how many of your CD’s they sold minus the shipping cost to return the rest of the product (aka your CD) that didn’t sell.  YIKES!  You read that correctly.  If you sold 1,000 units, you would get a check for $6,900 minus the cost of shipping the remaining 99,000 units back to you.

Does the label put the product (aka your CD) on the shelves of Wal-Mart and say, “we marketed it because it’s now available to be purchased”?  NO!!  You see, this is where the real fight begins.

What exactly are you doing to win this fight with your music?

So, let’s put that in terms of your music.  Websites like iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, and your site; these are storefronts, man, not marketing strategies.  They are an online place to stock product (aka your CD) where interested parties can easily purchase it.  Yeah, yeah, you will get a few sales here and there by just stocking product (aka your music), but you will never get enough to repay the cost of recording and manufacturing.  So after (or even before) you stock the product (aka your CD), you need to market it!  You need to expose it to the world and drive business to these storefronts; then people will buy because their buying decision was influenced by your marketing or sometimes by your music!

Good Marketing = Not Artistically Starving!

Are you picking up what I’m putting down?  If you ask yourself, “what am I doing to market my music” and the answer is “I have it up on iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, and my website” then you have already lost the fight.  Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” states that every battle is won or lost before it’s ever fought.  Think about that for a second.  Internalize some of these Sun Tzu quotes real quick.

“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win”
Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Sun Tzu Art of War Artistically Starving Which one are you?  If your music is up on iTunes and you have no marketing strategy then you are the latter; an already defeated warrior going to war first and hoping to win.

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”
Sun Tzu, The Art of War

This is huge.  Strategy is defined as a plan, method, or series of maneuvers or stratagems for obtaining a specific goal or result.  Tactics are defined as the maneuvers themselves or any mode of procedure for gaining advantage or success.  In plain English strategy is the plan, tactics are the methods & procedures used to implement that plan.  So a plan to market your music without procedures is the slowest route to victory.  Employing methods or procedures without a plan is wasted time & energy before certain defeat.  Apply this concept to making sandwiches to get a simple perspective on marketing your music.  If you have a strategy for making a sandwich but never get off your ass to go to the kitchen and make one, you can think about it all you want but the sandwich won’t make itself; you go hungry.  If you go to the kitchen and begin preparing to make a sandwich without strategizing as to exactly what kind of sandwich you want you will waste energy pulling out all the breads, mustards, different lunch meats, lettuce, cheeses, etc for no reason because you haven’t decided on the mission critical strategy; what kind of sandwich you want to make.  Until you actually decide to make a specific sandwich your best efforts are fruitless; you go hungry.  It seems so stupidly simple because it is.

Marketing music is no different than making sandwiches, there are just more details to learn.  The smart artist is going to simplify the idea just like this, and start strategizing and creating/learning tactics.  All the information you need is on the web or in a mentor’s brain for the artists who seek it.

One of my favorite movie quotes is from “Auntie Mame” and it says “You’ve got to live, live, live!  Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!”  This is a perfect quote with regards to today’s music marketing because there is literally an embarrassment of effective online marketing methods available right now; and their available to everyone.  Many of these methods are FREE OF CHARGE like Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc.  If you were forced to prepare before you put product (aka your CD) up on iTunes for fear of product returns and non-distribution after a certain amount of time, you would be pretty focused on marketing, wouldn’t you?

So why aren’t you?

Just because you don’t have any repercussions doesn’t mean you shouldn’t approach stocking product (aka your CD) the same way.

This final Sun Tzu quote is actually my favorite because it’s so inspirational.

“Opportunities multiply as they are seized.”
Sun Tzu

In other words, the more you dig in to this marketing thing seriously, the more opportunities you are going to uncover.

The more money you are going to make.

This in turn, means you make more music; because you now make a living as an artist.

Think about it.

 

Stay in Tune

 

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