Follow me on this and I’ll steer you to asking the right music marketing questions.
It was 1976 (I believe), I was 8 years old. Don’t ask me why, but my parents (thank GOD) took me to our local outdoor concert shed called Alpine Valley to see Neil Diamond live. He had JUST cut his hair but was still totally rocking. I was super familiar with the music, especially Hot August Night which was recorded live in 1972 at the Los Angeles Greek Theater.
FYI, if you haven’t heard that record is a must. Neil recorded a ton of records, but in my opinion, none of them compared or sold as well as the live records. They just couldn’t ever capture the magic that happens on stage with that man.
I was more than familiar with every song, every lyric, every note. I couldn’t believe it was him!
I was utterly fascinated.
I decided right there, that music was my gig; that’s what I was going to do.
Looking back, that was a REAL epiphany, you know?
Hey I’m curious, hit me back via email, in the comments below, or social media, what was your epiphany? What artist made you decide to become an artist?
After that show I begged my parents to get me guitar lessons and an acoustic guitar.
I used to daydream about writing songs with Neil and performing with him.
I used to do that in front of a mirror with my guitar on, of course.
I did get some guitar lessons too.
They totally sucked.
I lost interest.
My teacher was boring and forced me ONLY to learn exercises and chords, you know, rudimentary stuff.
My homework was to learn “3 Blind Mice” and “Mary Had a Little Lamb” from some crappy beginner book (OK, look I was a beginner but sheesh!)
Not once did he offer to teach me the 3 chords necessary to learn a Neil Diamond song.
For the record, I don’t remember asking either, I was 8, but still.
That might of changed the course of my life a little sooner.
Fast forward to 6th grade; just 4 years later but a lifetime for a kid. We had moved a couple small towns over from Whitewater, WI to Delavan Lake, WI. 20 minutes apart from each other but a GALAXY away to me as I had a new school and was forced to find new friends.
A good move looking back, by the way, as most of my childhood Whitewater friends are in or have been in jail. This is why my parents moved; they understandably didn’t like my friends and that town was too small to avoid them.
One of my new friends was Michael Ancevic. We met on the lake during my first summer there.
He came over to hang at my house one day and brought a huge woodgrain Peavy electric guitar with a cord.
No amp so we plugged into the stereo.
He knew a couple Cheap Trick songs.
My jones was reinvigorated BIG TIME.
I wanted a guitar again; BADLY
I got one with a small practice amp and began taking lessons from this dude in Delavan named Mark Waelti (who later became a senior roadie for L.A. Guns). Mark would spend our lesson time teaching me the obligatory scales, chords, modes, theory, etc. but would end every lesson teaching me whatever song I wanted to learn that day.
That was our deal.
All of a sudden I instantly knew more than the one note adaptation of “Smoke On the Water”.
I could play “War Pigs”, “Heading Out to The Highway”, and “Crazy Train”.
I had homework I wanted to work on!
Now we were getting somewhere.
Mike and I had a little silent gear competition going on. We both worked jobs to afford better gear. Every time one of us got a better amp or guitar, the other had to reciprocate; right up to Marshall Stacks.
Next thing you know we had a band. We were horrible but we were the only band in town so the girls LOVED us.
That was enough of a response to keep us going.
Obviously the rest is history.
Sometimes the circumstances that accompany a new adventure are not ideal and these can impact your experience in a negative way.
Like with marketing your music. I mean you’re either asking the wrong music marketing questions or you’re not asking at all.
This can be so detrimental that you lose sight of even the most destined life path.
If you know me, CLEARLY I was definitely fated to tour in a rock & roll band, however, even after a life changing epiphany, the lame-ass guitar teacher sucked all the wind out those sails; albeit for just a few years.
You know what?
Marketing your music is the same way.
Yeah, some of you can truly sit down with an instrument and somehow it just makes sense to you so beautiful music comes out; these people don’t ask questions.
Some of you think you can do that but you should be asking questions because you need music and/or vocal lessons, but I digress.
Some of you took lessons like me because you wanted to improve. You started asking someone with authority some good questions.
Many of you hate marketing because you didn’t get into music to be a salesman, right?
You hate that feeling.
Consequently, you don’t ask any music marketing questions.
Many of you embrace marketing but y’all sound like salesman because you suck at it, which is a horrible feeling for us.
And completely nonproductive for you.
Again, because you think you’re good, you don’t ask any music marketing questions.
When you excel at marketing the feeling you get is not any different from how you feel when you write a song and during a performance you really move someone emotionally.
How about when you overcome the challenge of a stubborn audience and still manage to walk off stage with them in the palm of your hand?
How does that feel?
Music when it’s well done reaches people in a profound manner. It’s life changing for us, isn’t it?
Music, when it’s well done is super effective communication.
Marketing when it’s well done is effective communication too.
In order for you to succeed at music, SOMEONE has to succeed at marketing your music. Period.
That has always been true since we started recording and selling music.
What if you could learn how to market like I initially learned guitar from Mark Waelti, in a more engaging manner?
What if you were asking great music marketing questions and actually getting answers?
If you viewed your music career like you view marketing, you wouldn’t be chasing that dream anymore.
Remember when I said my band sucked?
Your marketing sucks right now, you just need to approach the challenge a bit differently; like all my guitar teachers following that first hack. Once I knew what to look for I never had to play “3 Blind Mice” again!
I got results after EVERY lesson; measurable results.
Most of you reading this have downloaded my free Twitter book.
How many have read it?
This book is still a bestseller and answers many of your music marketing questions.
How many of you have implemented it?
FYI, everyone that implements the strategies in that book hits me back with INSTANT results, like how I felt when I would learn a new song at the end of each guitar lesson.
If you allowed yourself to be overwhelmed by the desired end result of making a living in music, you’d of quit eons ago.
Why do you allow yourself to be overwhelmed with marketing?
Whatever answer just popped into your head just now is a REALLY GOOD EXCUSE.
Start with one platform.
Start with Twitter.
You have the book. If you don’t, get it free right now at GiftFromJohnny.com. Just click the button and tell me where to send it.
Master the strategy for targeting your audience and reaching out to them. They’ll follow back, I promise.
That’s easy and immediate. A quick win which is necessary for building your confidence.
You’re not done though.
Then dig into applying that amazing creative brain of yours to craft awesome, compelling content.
What is awesome, compelling content you ask?
You’ll hate this answer but it’s literally different for every one of my clients.
The content has to be consonant with your brand, your personality, what you stand for, but it also has to be valuable for THEM.
Oh, and your music is valuable to no one until they know you better so if you think that is the answer you sound like a salesman and you’re probably a little arrogant.
Once you crack that code, you’ll start deepening relationships and the last step is easy, just ask for the money.
If they like you enough, they’ll buy. Every time.
How do you create content that is consonant with your brand and valuable to them, exactly?
Ahh, NOW you’re asking the right questions.
Keep asking those questions and your subconscious will reward you, I promise.
It may seem vague but it’s exactly how I built this company, client by client.
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