State of the Industry

State of the industry

The state of the industry in the music business seems abysmal to many.

I disagree.


It’s definitely changing which makes it uncomfortable for everyone. It’s more treacherous for bigger companies as it is far more difficult to steer a huge ship to navigate the constantly moving target of the new market.

I feel the outlook is actually amazing and quite bright for all artists, especially indie artists.

Industry Aground Ship


This post is a little different than most and I chose to show this because I have received a ton questions and requests.

Complete transparency, this is somewhat self-serving as I am going to give y’all a glimpse into portions of the marketing proposal we use with our private clients and record labels.

I don’t ever want this blog to come off as “sales-y”, rather, I hope you’ll find this article to be educational.

I hope it will inspire you to begin putting the marketing pieces of your music efforts into place. When you do that, you will begin the journey of making a better living at your music career.

It starts with a breakdown on the state of the industry and then answers some questions on how we address these changes to create cash flow for artists.

Please let me know what your thoughts are on this.


Current State of the Music Industry

Record sales are dramatically down. This is factually accurate, the numbers don’t lie because the numbers can’t talk. The question everybody is asking is, “Why?”

Industry Shania Twain UP


The bestselling country record 10 years ago was Shania Twain’s “Up!” which sold 11 million copies. The bestselling country record of 2014 was Jason Aldean’s “Old Boots, New Dirt” which barely cracked 1 million in sales by 12/31/14.


I’m certain that the unbundling of records by iTunes contributes to this degradation of sales, but only because the market wants it. I’m certain that technology like Spotify, Pandora, Deezer, Slacker, iTunes Radio, etc. also contributes and the market seems to want that as well.



The question is WHY does the market want it?


The biggest reason consumers have stopped purchasing records is because they don’t feel the full CD is worth the price anymore, plain and simple.Industry Is it Worth it Meme







That’s a marketing failure.

Industry Amboo Who License

Photo Credit: Amboo Who


If we can sell bottled tap water, a commodity consumers can obtain free of charge, for twice the price of a gallon of gasoline, we can sell music. We can also sell it for what it used to cost.





Industry Water Collage







Let’s define what it used to cost:

In 1978 I purchased Tom Petty’s “Damn the Torpedoes” for $8.00, which when put into an inflationary calculator, is worth $28.80 in 2015 dollars; it was worth it. As a point of comparison, the new Tom Petty record “Hypnotic Eye” is selling on iTunes for $10.99 which is 38% of the total inflationary adjusted price of “Damn the Torpedoes”. So the cost of a 2015 album has decreased by 62% and, STILL, unit sales are down about 90% from just 10 years ago.


Are consumers simply over listening to and owning music?


Consumers love music. We’ve already proven over decades that we are willing to invest in the music; we need it as it is quite literally the soundtrack of our lives.

So what’s changed?

The platforms for exposing and marketing artists have transformed. The new platforms require a completely different language to effectively communicate to consumers. The music industry, which continues to utilize marketing strategies that have proven to be successful for decades, is now doing it wrong.Industry Doing it Wrong


The game/market has changed, and the industry hasn’t.



Here is some data to support my statement.

Jason Aldean has a multi-million dollar marketing budget for his new release “Old Boots, New Dirt”, MASSIVE radio promotion (every single is in heavy rotation), and he has sold barely 1 million copies.

Taylor Swift has a multi-million dollar marketing budget and her new release “1989” has eclipsed 7 million in sales with ZERO support from country radio where all her prior releases were promoted.


Taylor Swift has a big marketing budget, ZERO country radio promotion, and has sold 7 times that of Jason Aldean because her fans FEEL like they have a relationship with her.

Industry CD Pawel Loj License

Photo: Pawel Loj


Taylor gets it.






On a smaller, more relatable scale, any indie artist who completes a project doesn’t have any problems selling 50 or so CDs, right?  Who is buying these CD’s? The buyers are his/her friends and family. They do this because they have relationships and they wish to support their artist regardless of the quality of the product.



Within the context of even a perceived relationship, $10-$15 is NOT that much money so it doesn’t take a whole lot to make the purchase “worth it”.

Industry 2 Cocktails WIKI free image


That’s 2 cocktails, 2 beers, a dinner, or lunch that you’d gladly buy a friend or someone you really wanted to spend time with.

Consumers are savvy now and they demand more from the artist before their buying decisions can be influenced.




The trick is to target an audience, then build and deepen relationships between the artist and the fan enough to monetize. Monetizing requires the consumer to feel good enough about the relationship with the artist to part with some cash.



Marketing Language Breakdown:

We are all human beings, and as such we require acceptance and belonging.  We are wired up to want to be a part of something; this is not news.

Due to our tribal, lemming-like human nature, there is implied power granted by audiences in mass market presentations. That is to say that we behave like lemmings (I’m generalizing but this is factual or mass marketing and politics would never work) when we consume as a crowd.Industry Military Tribal WIKI Free image


When you see someone on TV, you immediately feel they must be important, and you can share your experience with anyone else who watched what you watched. When you hear something on the radio, the artist must be important and you can share your experience with anyone else who listened.




Even when you attend a concert and the lead singer (Think Axl Rose from Guns & Roses) commands, “EVERYBODY GET YOUR CELL PHONES Industry Axl Rose LIVE WIKI FREE ImageUP IN THE AIR,” most of us will do it because the implied power we give to the performer in a sold-out venue is intense, somewhat unconditional, and we want to do what everyone else is doing; we want to belong.


Now here is how the market changed.



Imagine Axl Rose sitting directly across from you at your kitchen table and delivering the message using the same language and tone, “EVERYBODY GET YOUR CELL PHONES UP IN THE AIR!!!”

How would you feel?Industry Kitchen Collage

Probably like he was over-the-top, crazy, hyper, possibly disrespectful, definitely intrusive, too LOUD, high, etc.


The mass market is splintering and therefore constantly shrinking into niche markets referred to as the “long tail”.


The long tail market is more effectively reached using a content marketing approach via email, text, and social media exchanges all of which are always consumed one-on-one; just like you and Axl at your kitchen table.


Industry Skeptical FREE Pixabay imageThere is no implied power in a one on one interaction, so it’s all about creating relationships.


Nobody is going to impress you with hype at your kitchen table.

If you want to sell 10,000 units, you are going to have to meet 10,000 people and shake 10,000 hands.



You haven’t had very many people sitting at your kitchen table that you didn’t have a relationship with, have you?

Proper care and attention to written messaging, verbal messaging, non-verbal messaging, and paraverbal messaging (AKA how it’s served up) is paramount to persuading somebody enough to get them to perform for you.Industry One On One


A relationship has to be made and deepened or we simply don’t care, especially when we are not influenced by what everyone else is doing (because it’s one-on-one); it’s personal, not tribal…at least initially.


There is a lot of talk about creating a tribe on social media. A social media tribe can be created, however, new members of the tribe have to be inducted one by one.


This is where the industry is screwing up.

This is where Daredevil Production thrives.



Daredevil Production Approach

Daredevil Production monetizes attention.

This process is effective, sustainable, and creates an ever-expanding, very solid, engaging, loyal grassroots fan base. As such, this marketing Industry Increasing FREE Pixabay imagestrategy takes time to create and once created takes time to cultivate.  Daredevil Production provides a long term, steadily increasing, measurable growth program for up and coming artists as well as legacy artists.


Facilitating this program ensures a more maintainable ride to the top, optimizes relationship building and monetization at the top, and provides a more profitable ride back down, actually allowing exponential cash flow to the business once the media “ride” is over (80’s and 90’s vocal superstar Michael Bolton quietly makes 7 figures a year from his mailing list, remember him?)


The measurable data we monitor is social media expansion, social media engagement, contact data accumulation, and revenue per contact.


Once implemented, there are metrics that provide guidance with mathematically predictable ROI’s on capital marketing expenditures ensuring Industry Data Accumulation Memeany marketing effort will return the highest and best value for each dollar spent. Each step is carefully placed in the attempt to reach critical mass with an artist’s brand. Of course, some business exposure costs are more risky than others but there are no “darts in the dark”.


If you can measure it, you can manage it.



Industry Measure FREE Pixabay Image


Assuming the product is well done, attention and exposure will create traffic. We focus on increasing traffic, framing the consumer input experience to accentuate the brand and create excitement, accumulating contact data, and optimizing the revenue from the buyers via creative product bundling packages and residual revenue streams.

The attention can be generated from live shows, television, radio, press, public relations, and social media exposure.




With the mass market continuing to erode and the long tail growing, we see the music industry heading quickly towards Direct-To-Fan marketing scenarios.

This approach is extremely effective when executed correctly, and requires expertise in:

  • Social media marketing
  • Content marketing
  • Squeeze page technologyIndustry Juggler MEME
  • Text capture technology
  • Web store sales/bundling tactics
  • PPC (Pay Per Click) technology
  • CRM Integration
  • Framing initiatives
  • Remarketing technology
  • Exit-pop technology
  • Annotations
  • Effective web store staging
  • PR relationships to craft new campaigns that will likely be unique and foreign to the firm
  • Subscribership based website themes
  • Subscribership based business model structures
  • The language to effectively integrate these technologies in a profitable manner
  • The psychological skill set to evaluate, script, and comfortably incorporate the artist role to maximize sales.

We have effectively implemented these techniques on various levels with multi-platinum artists such as Collin Raye, Jamie O’Neal, Ty Herndon, 7Horse, Andy Griggs, and Tracy Lawrence.

On an indie level, we are working with a 12-year old artist named Bailey James. We began simultaneously building her audience and developing the artistic project on January 2 of this year. The EP was written a few weeks ago, we will record it at the end of June (recording this week!). We expect to release the EP end of July or mid-August depending on the launch strategy.

We have already begun creating the market demand before we release the product.

Here is a list of our marketing accomplishments with Bailey James in the 4-5 months of work thus far:

  • From zero to over 17,000 targeted Twitter followersIndustry_Bailey_YouTube
  • From zero to 20,000 targeted Instagram followers
    • Bailey gets a solid average of 500 likes and 50 comments for each post
  • At least 5 Bailey James “fan pages” have been independently started on Instagram
  • YouTube channel with over 1000 subscribers
  • YouTube channel with 64,000 views
  • Email list of 1,200 subscribers
  • Squeeze page conversion rate of 38% (we expect 25% with an unknown artist)
  • Text capture of 223 phone numbers
  • Added 1,500+ Facebook LIKES

Understand that with the contact capture mechanisms operating on all cylinders, any TV, press, Public Relations, and tour exposure will be Industry Capture FREE WIKI imagecaptured and monetized making promotional budgets exponentially more cost effective. Additionally, each promotional campaign will have measurable ROI.







Sales Structure Example

Here is a quick generic example of how it works.

Let’s use 1,000 contacts (emails and/or phone numbers) as a sample.

Online sales are mathematically predictable with any business. Depending on the brand, framing, and source of the lead, we can predict a 3-8% contact conversion rate to sales. Let’s use a 5% conversion rate to keep the numbers easy and conservative.

  • 1,000 contacts x 5% = 50 buyers
  • 50 buyers at $10/CD = $500 in revenue
  • $500 in revenue divided into 1,000 contacts = each contact is worth .50 cents
  • 30% of the buyers are willing to be upsold if there is a bigger package available for purchase (this statistic is scarily accurate)
  • 50 buyers x 30% = 15
  • 15 buyers purchase a bundle which adds an additional $40 per sale
  • 15 x $40 = $600 of additional revenue
  • $500 + $600 = $1,100 total revenue
  • $1,100 total revenue divided by 1,000 contacts = each contact is now worth $1.10
  • Statistically we know 55% of the buyers will be willing to explore a subscribership based business relationship paying $2.97/month and receiving X, Y, and Z from the artist (10% off future releases, getting releases 2 weeks before the market, 1 free song per month,tchotchkes, meet & greet discounts, Special subscriber content, etc.)
  • 50 buyers x 55% = 26 subscribers
  • 26 x $2.97 = $77.22/ month x 12 months = $926.64/year (round down to $900)
  • $500 + $600 (upsells) + $900 (Subscriptions) = $2,000/year gross revenue
  • $2,000/year gross revenue divided into 1,000 contacts = $2 per contact.

If we want to make $40,000 we will need 20,000 email addresses

If the squeeze page converts at 25% (conservative) we will need 80,000 hits per year.

80,000 divided by 365 days is just 219 hits per day. That number decreases if a text capture implementation is successful in the market.

Furthermore, if you’re considering a solid PR firm for $1,500/month and after the first month you obtain 750 contacts, you’re breaking even on your brand expansion. Even if you’re not breaking even you can measure the growth and you are offsetting the PR costs with real cash flow.

Get it?Industry Juice Worth The Squeeze

That’s doable.

That’s scalable.

That’s real.

This kind of data provides guidance on future promotional expenditures.




In today’s record business, major labels are not developing talent, rather they have moved to and acquisition based business model. In plain English, they are buying small businesses, not developing raw talent.

It is now up to the artist to demonstrate, beyond a reasonable doubt, that their music has value in the market place and a viable audience.  The truly iconic, game-changing artists like Mötley Crüe, Metallica, Neil Diamond, Zach Brown Band, Ani DeFranco, Kiss, Florida Georgia Line, etc. didn’t get lucky, they proved their worth in advance of the big deal.

Industry Make Your Mark Raphael Labbe

Photo: Raphael Labbe

Today’s music market is no different in that you have to prove your value. However, it IS DIFFERENT in that it is easier and less expensive than ever before for an independent artist to make their mark.












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You Got It All Wrong

Wrong Marketing Feature Image

Your marketing strategy, you’ve got it all wrong.

Wrong Marketing Unplug Rennett Stowe

Photo by Rennett Stowe


Don’t worry it’s fixable, but you are going to have to unplug from what you think you know and consider some alternative, foreign ideas to win this one.


Let me explain.





Most artists don’t even think about marketing their music. Most artists think iTunes, Pandora, and Spotify is marketing and that’s where their future fans, who are currently unaware of said artist, are going to find this artist’s music.Wrong Marketing Why Meme

Yes, they can find the artist’s music at these digital distributors, but why would they do it?

Artist: “Because my music is epic!”

How do these consumers know that?

Artist: “Because I created it and I’m awesome!”

Yes, but how do they know?


Doing it Wrong Adam Swank image

Photo by Adam Swank


Because most artists don’t think about marketing, their budgets always reflect this oversight. When you get the coveted major label deal, the MAJORITY of the budget will be allocated to the marketing of the artist, not the creation of the art.


Think about that.




How many projects have you recorded?

Each project had a budget.

How many of those budgets had any kind of money allocated to marketing?

Wrong Marketing Monopoly Money SEO credit

Photo by SEO


Record labels are not developing artists anymore, rather they’re buying small businesses. This means you have to become a small profitable business to get any real attention.

To become a small profitable business it is mission critical to implement an effective marketing plan.


It’s that simple.



What about the artists who ARE thinking about marketing?


Wrong Marketing No Copy image

This subject is doubly heartbreaking for me.


If you have a brain in your head and your thinking about marketing, the LOGICAL idea would be to recreate some marketing strategies that were effective in making you aware of some of your favorite artists, right?



Strategies like touring with a killer headliner for exposure, radio promo, Letterman, The Tonight Show, SNL, press interviews, etc.Wrong Marketing Damn the Torpedoes MEME

Of course I’m generalizing but the major labels are essentially doing it wrong now too, so you if your plan is to copy (what you believe to be working) you are wasting your time with an outdated marketing plan that is probably cost prohibitive.


Think about these facts for hot second.

  • Tom Petty’s “Damn the Torpedoes” came out in 1978 and cost $8.00. 8 bucks in 1978 is worth $28.80 in 2015. That’s called an inflationary adjusted price
  • Tom Petty’s new record “Hypnotic Eye” is available on iTunes for $10.99 which is 38% of the $28.80 he used to get per record.
  • The bestselling country record of 2004 sold 11 million and the bestselling country record of 2014 barely sold 1 million that means record sales are down 90% from 10 years agoWrong Marketing Hypnotic Eye Tom Petty MEME
  • CONCLUSION: the price of a record has plummeted 62% and still overall sales are down roughly 90%


See how the game has changed?



The days of terrestrial radio as a super effective promo mechanism are over. 51% of GM automobiles in 2016 will be equipped with 4G LTE Wrong Marketing Apple Carplay imagecapability and some form of Apple Carplay or Android Auto streaming music service.

You don’t need (and may not even want) terrestrial radio in your car.


Game over.

What will the major labels do?



Their main mechanism for delivering the drug we call music is becoming exponentially less effective. The system is broken.Wrong Marketing Broken Needle


Proof is in the pudding, record sales are down.




When you heard your now favorite artist on the radio back on the day you were first exposed to them, there was a majesty to it.

Wrong Marketing Impressed theJbird credit

Photo: theJbird


You were intoxicated with the music.


You were like, “Who is THAT?”

There was an implied power you gave that artist. They were already put on a pedestal of sorts by consumers because they were getting massive exposure on the radio.



This dynamic helped to create the long lost heyday of the coveted “rock star”.


But those days are gone.Wrong Marketing Rock Star


Now every artist is going to have to find their audience on their own.


Now every artist is going to have to connect with their audience on their own.

Wrong Marketing Connect



That means y’all are going to have to actually be social on social media.

Just sayin…Wrong Marketing Antisocial 2



Once you connect, you will need to market your music to consumers. That is to say that you need to begin to influence their buying decisions.


HINT: “Buy our single on iTunes” or “I’m freakin’ awesome check me out” is NOT marketing. That’s digital “door knocking” or straight up panhandling.

It doesn’t work.

It’s also a major turnoff to consumers.

Listen, consumers will buy ANYTHING if you serve it up right. Remember the Pet Rock?

Wrong Marketing Pet Rock


Are y’all aware that you spend twice the price of gasoline to purchase bottled tap water which you can obtain for free?

How about specialty vodkas for $50 per bottle?

Get it?




The trick to marketing your music online is that you need to understand it’s not about the music.

It’s about you.Wrong Marketing YOU finger 2


But you have to make consumers feel it’s about them.



Every “Swiftie” feels that Taylor Swift is their BFF in a certain special way. 7 million of them felt so strongly about that relationship they purchased her record.


Read Taylor’s Instagram posts and tweets.  Have you EVER seen her say “BUY MY RECORD ON iTunes”?

Wrong Marketing Taylor Swift


No, you see a lot of social proof with different milestones she’s reaching on Billboard, VEVO, etc.


You see a ton of fan pics.

Taylor Swift’s social media strategy is this: it’s about them.



If you’re not Taylor Swift you will need to set up an infrastructure for converting attention into contacts, and contacts into cash.

Wrong Marketing Contacts = Cash Meme

If you market correctly, the consumers will line up behind you.





Here’s a pic of Bailey James an artist that we have been working with since January.  She went from Zero to 19k followers. But look at the engagement. She has over 700 likes and 120 comments. The social proof was Bailey singing at a contest.

Wrong Marketing Bailey Instagram image


She’s amazing.


Now these consumers are AWARE of her.


They are lining up behind her and by the time we record and release her first EP, they will feel close enough to her to purchase either the $4.99 mp3 download, $7.47 HD download, or some bundle TBD that will cost $40 more.


Oh yeah, she just turned 12 years old in January.



I’m hoping this example of Bailey, who is an independent artist like you, is proof positive that you can change your strategy and get measurable results in just a few months.

So yes, whether you’re ignoring the idea of marketing all together or you are trying to fashion a strategy based off of your favorite major label artists, you’ve probably got it all wrong.Wrong Marketing Fix It


If you’re ignoring marketing that’s your fault.


You can fix that.


If you’re trying to market or thinking about marketing in the way you have been marketed to, that’s not your fault but the fact remains that it isn’t working. I’ll bet you feel like you don’t have enough money to make it happen this way as well.

It’s less expensive than you think.


Wrong Marketing Expensive


Marketing doesn’t have to require a $500,000 radio promo budget to connect you with fans who are willing to purchase your music.


You can fix this.



So what will you do to fix it?






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GM Killed the Radio Star

Radio Feature Image

I just read THIS ARTICLE about how next year, in 2016, 51% of GM automobiles sold in the USA and Canada will have 4G LTE capability and will offer Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.  Good bye terrestrial radio.Radio GM Logo

If you’re younger, you may not get the significance of this infrastructure to the music industry and marketing.


If you want to be a student of the game.


Radio Apple CarplayYou better read this.



Radio Android Auto







You better read this because you think you know how to market you music. If you have a brain you have spent time dissecting the methodologies in which you were made aware of your favorite artists.


Then, naturally, you’ll want to duplicate that strategy to pave the way for your own success.

Radio 1951 Radio image


You’ve already failed.


Be smart enough to avoid stepping in the hot gum on the street.


Radio Hot Gum



A TON of music is consumed in the car.



Back in the day, terrestrial radio (your local radio station(s) that broadcast in your listening area) was the MOST powerful promotional tool because it was the only way to hear the music from your favorite artists and be exposed to new ones.


Think about this dynamic very carefully. I grew up in Southeastern Wisconsin. I was definitely a hair band metal guy. There were 2 rock radio stations in Milwaukee I could pick up in my small hometown.

Radio Vintage Prison Arrows

My listener experience was this: turn on the radio to my favorite rock station. If they were playing a crappy song or a song I was unacquainted with, I’d change the dial to the 2nd rock station. If they were playing something I didn’t like OR WAS UNFAMILIAR WITH, I would go back to my fav station and listen to whatever they had going on with my fingers crossed that they would play something cool or familiar to me on the next song.

Do you understand how powerful that was?

I had to listen.

I had to wait out the new song from the new band I never heard of in the hopes of hearing something I liked or was more aware of.



Many of those unfamiliar songs became huge hits.

Many of those new artists became icons.


I was forced to be exposed to them because there was only 2 storefronts selling what I liked.

Terrestrial radio literally had a captive audience.

Radio Ruth Hartnup Pez Candy Image

Choices Photo by: Ruth Hartnup

Now they don’t.

Now the consumer has choices.

Choices that include terrestrial radio, satellite radio, HD Radio, Deezer, Pandora, Spotify, iTunes Radio, I Heart Radio, Tidal, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, your own personal play list, etc.

Ask network television, more choices mean less viewers/listeners.

Less listeners means less exposure.

Less exposure means less ad sales.

Less exposure means less record sales for the artist/label.

Radio Artist Ice Cream Cone


Have you paid attention to declining sales in the last 10 years in the record industry?


The bestselling country record of 2004 sold 11 million copies. The bestselling country record of 2014 barely broke 1 million.




I think not.

If a consumer doesn’t like what they are hearing OR is unfamiliar with a new song/artist, they can keep changing the dial to a never ending selection of audio picks that ensures they are going to find what they want.

What they want is what they are familiar with.Radio We Covet What We Know


We covet what we see and hear every day.


This new technology in GM automobiles is a game changer.



Understanding the declining importance of terrestrial radio is a game changer to an any artist, indie or on a major label.

This news is a game changer to every label as well.


Radio Barking


You’d better be barking up the right tree.


It’s your precious resources. That is to say your precious time, money, effort, etc., that you are putting into the game; you have to make it count!

Don’t be nostalgic, man. You’ll lose.



If you are fashioning your hopes and dreams as a new artist on the power of terrestrial radio for your promotion strategy you are wasting your time.

Worse yet, you are waiting to be “discovered” so a major label can just handle that for you.


Terrestrial radio is still powerful, yes, this is true.Radio vintage radio recording


It won’t be by the time you get your act together and make a play.

That said, the artists who OWN the airwaves now are barely selling their music.

Think about that!


Consumers need and expect more than a song on the radio to influence their buying decisions these days.

Radio Relationship

Consumers want a relationship.

This is clear by the abysmal record sales of 2014.


Consumers will purchase from an artist they are familiar with.


Consumers will purchase from artists they feel they have a relationship with.




Taylor Swift knows this. All her fans think they are “besties” with Taylor.Radio Taylor Swift 1989


She had no problem selling 7 million copies of “1989” without any promo from country music radio where all her other records were promoted.


Most of you can’t really comprehend the significance of that feat.



If consumers aren’t familiar with you, they won’t purchase from you and you’ll stay at your day job; your “backup plan”.

Radio Beehive



If you want to succeed, you’ll need to learn how to reach out and find your own beehive, make relationships in that beehive, and deepen relationships in that beehive.

If you want to sell 10,000 records, you will have to shake 10,000 hands which means you will have to meet 10,000 people.Radio Shaking hands


If you figure that out, your bees will make you honey.


Most of you still aren’t taking marketing seriously at all. You think as long as you build the masterpiece, they will come.

Radio FalseThis is categorically FALSE.


You believe this so much that you blow your entire budget on the recording with zero left for marketing.


It won’t happen without marketing.


YOU won’t happen without marketing.

For those of you that do think about marketing, you’re probably still strategizing exactly how to get your music on the radio.

Oh, and you’re oddly antisocial on social media which baffles me.Radio Antisocial

The crappiest most ineffective social media strategy is to NOT BE SOCIAL!!!

You have to make yourself available and adorable and compelling to the consumer so they will become familiar with you.

Get it?

Radio Bailey Instagram

People, this puts the power COMPLETELY in your hands.


We have a 12 year old artist we have been working with for 4 months (ish) and we have built up an Instagram account to over 19,000 followers.  She averages a SOLID 500 likes per post. She averages a solid 50-60 comments per post.


Many of these people will buy her EP, merch, tickets, trinkets, etc.


We are making her available and getting her following familiar with her.



They will buy.

We will create more traffic.

This new traffic will also buy.

She will develop a following.

We did all this from a laptop computer.Radio Laptop Computer

What’s your excuse?


It’s never been easier.


You seriously need to be as good at marketing as you are at making music.


Radio Coffin Meme


GM just put an exclamation point on the demise of terrestrial radio.


Why chase it?







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Consumers Are Starving For Your Music

Music Starving Millions

Consumers really want to buy music.

I keep hearing everyone complain from the bottom and from the top that record sales are down; consumers aren’t buying.Consumers Buy Feature Image

This is true.


Why aren’t people buying music like they used to if they really want to buy music?


Music is such an important part of so many of our lives. Is it that we just don’t care these days?

Are we in danger of having a society where music just isn’t present in the fabric of our lives?

Music is Important


No, it’s not that we don’t like music anymore as a society.

Consumers aren’t buying music because we aren’t reaching them.




The methods and dynamics to connecting with consumers has changed, therefore the marketing needs to change to influence their buyingMusic When You Are Happy decisions.

For the most part it hasn’t. We keep holding on to what used to work and by “we” I mean all of us; indie artists and major labels.

Either consumers aren’t aware of the product or they are aware of the product and don’t think it’s worth the price.

The previous statement was the very definition of ineffective marketing.


Yikes! They don’t think it’s worth it??


Access to the “mass market” is becoming more difficult and complex. The result is the mass market is nowhere near as “massive” as it used to be. This is because the mass market is continually fragmenting into smaller and smaller pieces.

Music Mass Market Niche Market

As a big market disintegrates into smaller, more focused markets the definition changes from “mass market” to “niche market”.


As a marketer (of your music) you have to consider the fact that the mass market simply isn’t as easy to reach as it used to be because consumers have so many choices to hang out.


In any given media market, there used to be only 3 TV networks (CBS, NBC, and ABC), 1 or possibly 2 (genre specific) radio stations, 1 or 2 newspapers, and maybe MTV for consumers to receive input about any product, project, or artist.

Think about how easy that was for the record labels to reach us when we were such a captive audience.


Now we have well over 500 channels on TV in addition to the initial 3 networks.file00041345220


There are endless possibilities for consumers to devour radio including their 1 or 2 local terrestrial radio stations, HD Radio, Satellite Radio, I Heart Radio (1,000 stations), Pandora, Spotify, Deezer, Slacker, personal playlists, etc.


Every magazine, YouTube, social media, and countless music sites are accessible online at anytime, anywhere in the world from a smartphone.


There is a fundamental, paradigm shift happening right now in the music industry.


Simply put, the methods that were once effective in exposing consumers to new music and influencing their buying decisions has gone through a drastic change.


Music Paradigm Shift


These formerly effective methods were geared towards communicating to and converting a mass market.


The WHOLE industry will have to change with it and adapt. Until then, it will continue to suffer.



Consider this, as indie artists and human beings for that matter, our understanding of our everyday reality is directly related to the input we receive.


Think about that concept outside the realm of marketing music for a second.Music Input Brain Chart

  • Poor children aren’t aware that they are poor until they are exposed to how the other half lives.
  • Children of famous parents aren’t aware that their parents are famous until they are exposed to other children whose parents aren’t famous.
  • Mentally and physically abused people are sometimes not aware (or forget over time) that there are more peaceful ways to live because they get only one kind of input.
  • People that are constantly told they are bad, horrible, not important, etc., will ultimately begin to believe that if it is the only stimulus they are exposed to.

We are all products of the input we receive in life and, of course, input from the market place is equally applicable.


The input we receive becomes our reality.


Music Time To Adapt


My point is when you think about marketing your music you naturally think about how music (in the form of your favorite artists) has been marketed to you in the past.


It’s the only input you have ever received with regards to music marketing, and it worked.




It’s not working now.Music it's not working

Not for you.


Not for the major labels either.


Shania Twain’s “Up!” was certified 11 million units sold in September 23rd, 2004.Music Shania Twain Up



10 years later, Jason Aldean’s “Old Boots, New Dirt” was the best-selling country record of 2014 and it barely cracked 1 million in sales by December of last year.


Music Jason Aldean Old Boots



Clearly the record labels haven’t got it figured out yet, man.


So why follow them?


Consumers haven’t stopped wanting or liking music. The way in which they receive their input about music has drastically changed due to technology and a fragmented marketplace.


Music Who Else Should We Target


So, in a way, they’re starving for good music, they just can’t find it in the new marketplace. They can’t find it because we aren’t getting it to them in a language/manner they find acceptable.

The artists and labels that have figured this out are thriving.

Listen, consumers are just as desperate to be turned on to really good music as you are to sell it to them.  Crazy, huh?


The new way for receiving this marketing stimulus via social media and content marketing through email and text exchanges is consumed Music Chicken Paradigm ShiftCOMPLETELY differently than the mass media branding methods that were effective before.


Systems and strategies for addressing mass media don’t work for private, one on one interactions which is how social media, text messaging, and emails are consumed.



Once the fundamental changes to language and the approach have been internalized, understood, and executed masterfully music sales will rise.



Taylor Swift provides us with proof of concept on this statement.

Music Taylor Swift 1989


While Jason Aldean is an undeniable superstar at the top of his game with TONS of country radio support for his new record, he barely broke 1 million copies.


Taylor Swift released “1989” in 2014 and it was certified 4 million in sales January 22 of this year and she did it WITHOUT any help from country radio.

She knows how to communicate with her audience effectively in the new marketplace and she has the sales to prove it.

Not only is Taylor’s audience aware that her new record was released, they all felt it was worth it.


Right now I want you to quit lamenting the fact that you aren’t as popular as Taylor Swift and concentrate on the concept here.  COUNTRY RADIO ABANDONED this artist and still, she QUADRUPLED the sales of the #1 selling record that country radio unwaveringly supported!


How did that happen?!?!?!  Your future as an artist lies in the answer to this question, people.Music is Live image


You hear Jason Aldean’s singles every day, multiple times a day on the radio, every single he’s released is in heavy rotation.


You never hear Taylor Swift anymore on country radio (except for very recently but only on the limited number of NASH ICON stations which is a joint venture between Cumulus radio stations and Scott Borchetta’s NASH ICON label who is Taylor’s record label head…so that was just a matter of time).

In plain English, record sales are down because labels are not marketing properly. Period.


Music Marketing Sucks

Your marketing sucks too.


That is if you even think about marketing.




People want music, people need music, and people continue to consume music.

Just not your music.


It’s about the marketing.


Artists need innovative marketing strategies.


Want some staggering proof that it’s all about marketing?

I’ll give you 2 examples.

This is the absolute dumbest most insanely unnecessary product ever produced.

I believe the infomercials for this product still run today.

That is because of only one reason, it sells.

It sells for only one reason, marketing.

Nobody NEEDS the Pasta Pro but the buyers all feel it is worth it because it’s marketed correctly.



Here is another example that is simply mind blowing.Music Bottled Water

Bottled water.

Everyday people purchase a 1 liter bottle of water for $1.99.

On average. There are 3.7 liters in a gallon.

That equates roughly to $7.40/gallon for a product we can get for free.

We happily pay more for water, something we can obtain at no cost, than we do for gasoline.


Music Worth It


This is because of marketing.


We feel like it’s worth it.





Bottom line to all artists and major labels, if you aren’t selling your music, it’s because people aren’t aware of it and the ones that are don’t feel it’s worth it.

What has to happen for consumers to think your music is worth it?

If we can sell free water for more than twice the price of a gallon of gas, we damn sure can sell music.






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Fatal Flaws

Flaws Gun Pointing

The record business is rife with fatal flaws. Even in the heyday there were huge mistakes constantly made by major record labels and those flaws are showing big time Flaws Flawed eggin the new music industry.


 If you ask any CEO from any company in any industry on any part of this planet what their most valuable asset is, they will tell you it’s their customer list.



Yes, their people are important but you can’t pay good people without cash flow from customers.

Yes, their intellectual property is hugely important, but you can’t monetize intellectual property without customers.


Maybe you’re a fan of Chevy, Ford, Toyota, Dodge, Porsche, BMW, etc.flaws automakers

From the perspective of the CEO’s of any company, you are a customer, maybe even a loyal customer.


Artist “fans” are called “customers” in every other business.


Get it?

Businesses go to GREAT lengths not only to build and maintain customer lists but also to DEEPEN the relationships with those customers.

Think about your Kroger or Ralph’s (grocery store) discount card.  They offer discounts in exchange for information on your buying habits.


flaws discount card

They KNOW if you like 1% milk or 2% milk.

They KNOW what kind of beer you like.


They KNOW when you prefer to shop, how much you normally spend, and what products you normally spend your money on.


Now, if we put a gun to Tim McGraw’s head, Katy Perry’s head, AC/DC’s heads, Jay-Z’s head, or Daft Punk’s helmets, they couldn’t tell us who’s buying their music.

The fatal flaw is they don’t know who their customers are!


If you don’t have a customer list, not only is it impossible to identify who the customers are, you certainly can’t contact them.


If you cannot directly contact the customers, you have to spend MILLIONS of dollars on what they call “Branding Campaigns” (that’s super expensive advertising in plain English).

Branding Campaigns put an artist everywhere there is to be for a few weeks at a time to plug the new release and continue to promote it.


People, Us, Vanity Fair, Country Weekly, Taste of Country, blogs, nationwide radio, Letterman, Fallon, Ellen, Seth Meyers, GMA, Today Show, Newspapers, blah, blah, blah.


But what of the artists who don’t have million dollar budgets?



What about the artist you USED to have million dollar budgets?


Even with a million dollar brand name (think any former major label artists who no longer have a major label) the sales will suffer simply because the customers don’t know the product is available.

What if there was a way to “capture” contact information that would become a customer list?


An artist with an active customer list could:

  • Deepen relationships with customers creating a tribe-like following.flaws iceberg
  • Offer exclusive content to make customers feel like they’re “in-crowd”.
  • Monetize it by changing to a subscribership business model (think Netflix).
  • Inform the customers of new content on YouTube and grow the subscribership.
  • Then Monetize YouTube (creating another cash register).
  • Inform the customers of any contests the artist is having.
  • Inform the customers of upcoming concerts.
  • Disseminate any images or content offering social proof of awesomeness.
  • Cross promote other artists
  • Obtain Corporate Sponsorships
  • Monetize it through sales on the artist’s web store.

Some of you hate this idea but I’ll bet if you were famous you would at least entertain the idea of a clothing line, or perfume scent wouldn’t you?

The tremendous power that direct customer contact will bring to an artist was demonstrated quite clearly by Taylor Swift in 2014.

flaws taylor swift 1989


We have probably the biggest superstar on the planet who released a new record but she switched genres.


Yeah, yeah some will argue that Taylor Swift was never really “country” but the point is that all Taylor’s previous records were promoted on Country Radio and “1989” wasn’t.



Country radio felt that Taylor abandoned country music and moved WAY too far into the pop world and therefore refused to promote it by spinning her new singles.

Come to think of it, in Nashville, I haven’t heard ANY Taylor Swift songs on country radio for quite some time which is crazy considering they are continuing to spin every single ever put out by her country peers like Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney, Carrie Underwood, etc.

Here’s the point, she still had the bestselling record of 2014.flaws social media nails


This was true because her fans KNEW the record was coming via her social media.  This is huge because while I’m sure most of you are plugging away at your social media, “Swifties” feel like they have a special connection with Taylor.


That’s the key.


Don’t fool yourself on the power of her superstardom either, it was the connection.


Want proof?


George Michael was a superstar stadium act that had sold 25 million albums and 15 million singles with Wham! before he ever got his solo deal with Columbia.  His first solo release was “Faith” which sold a whopping 25 million copies. In September of 1990 George released his 2nd solo effort entitled “Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1” (arguably considered his artistic masterpiece).

flaws george michael



George was sour at the fact that the Sony Corporation had purchased CBS records. He tried to exercise a “Key Man Clause” in his contract once artist beloved CBS Records President Walter Yetnikoff was replaced with Tommy Mattola in 1990.  Tommy took that action personally and detested George’s artistic refusal to appear in any videos to promote the record. As a result, Sony chose not to promote “Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1” and it sold a disappointing 8 million units.

What would have happened if George had been able to contact his 25 million customers?


Want to know how you capture this information?


There are 2 primary ways (depending on the age of your audience) that you can capture customer contact data and begin to build your list.

1 way is called a “Squeeze Page”. flaws_Twitter_Squeeze_Page

A squeeze page is designed to “squeeze” the contact information out of a potential customer (usually a name and email address) while allowing the customer to “opt in” to email driven marketing initiatives.

The idea is you offer what my friend Rick Barker calls an “ethical bribe” by exchanging a free track(s) for the contact information.

I mean, you need to know where to send the customer’s free track right?


Here are a few links to some squeeze pages we have created at Daredevil Production, LLC. I recommend you experience some of these as a consumer. You can always UNSUBSCRIBE at the bottom of each email address if you want.

  • (this is to a free download of my bestselling Twitter Book which you are welcome to have if you don’t already own it)Flaws_Ty_Herndon_Squeeze_Page
  • (this is a free track from Platinum country artist Ty Herndon)



While there is an art to structuring a squeeze page that will optimize conversions, it can totally be mastered.  Check out companies like Lead Pages to help you capture that info and store it.  (If you have any problems, simply give us a flaws lead pagescall and we are happy to help you set up your own squeeze page.)




A second methodology which is extremely effective for younger audiences (not so much for audiences over 50) is the text capture methodology.flaws call loop logo

Check out companies like Call Loop. They offer the ability for your customers to text a “key word” and receive instant downloads of your music.

Now you have their phone number.


Text messages have a 99% open rate.iphones



So imagine you’re playing a live show and you own the crowd. From the stage you instruct everyone to “Raise their phones in the air for a FREE track!” and just like that you get 50 phone numbers.


Did you rock the house?


Did you leave your audience wanting more?


Does your show feel like an event?


Would they LOVE a text from you 1 week before your next show?Flaws no fatal flaws


I’ll bet they would.


As an independent artist, you can avoid fatal flaws.


Stay In Tune.


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Fearless Production and Marketing

Fearless Production fate loves the fearless

I really want to share something with y’all.  It may sound a bit self-serving but I’m thinking of you (as always) so read through to the end…you’ll get it.  Here’s the deal, I’m super excited today. Kelly Schoenfeld and I were chosen to develop an artist who has really got the gift.  This artist’s vocal tone is rich and the control she has over her instrument is astounding.  She sounds vintage, like REALLY vintage.Fearless Production Patsy Cline

She sounds like a cross between (and this is going to sound weird but it is accurate) a 25 year old Patsy Cline and Dwight Yoakam.

So here’s the kicker…she’s 11.

The reason they chose Daredevil Production was fearless production and marketing.

I feel they recognized we were willing to find a formula to feature her Fearless Production Dwight Yoakamold-fashioned vocal tone with a modern musical landscape.  Also we had the added benefit of a solid marketing plan to begin building a demand for the record now to create sales whenever it’s finished.

We are quite proud of that.

We wanted to accent her strengths and build something current around where she lives artistically which once again is a vintage sound.

Fearless Production do something different for a change

We wanted to do something different.

We wanted to do something that is currently NOT happening on the radio.

We were in tune with where the artist and her parents wanted to go and we are in a position to do something about it.


This got me thinking about all of you.

Your artistry.

Kelly and I are fearless when it comes to developing artists that are unique (thus the name Daredevil Production) because we are confident that we know how to find an audience that is willing to and wanting to listen to their art the way they want to do it.

You can target your audience through social mediafile000458994938

That’s a big bonus in the new music industry y’all should be exploiting regularly.  You can target your audience through social media.  You can create demand.  It will be foreign at first but it’s doable and people make money at it every day.

Radio will change for her instead of her changing for radio

We understand that we can artistically guide this artist to a place where she can make a living her way. If there is enough momentum to really blow her up then radio will change for her instead of her changing for radio.

Love ‘em or hate ‘em that’s the way Florida Georgia Line did it. There’s your proof it can be done.

How many of you are chasing something that is already popular artistically speaking?

Here we have a very cool situation that shouldn’t really be that unique but sadly, it is.  The circumstances are that we have an artist with extreme talent, who we believe has an insatiable work ethic, is completely open to “playing in the sandbox” with us artistically, and willing to embrace new marketing strategies as well.

In other words, the artist and her parents are unencumbered by “the way it used to be” or by “the way it should be” in their heads which literally frees them up to accomplish anything.

Fearless Production the sky's the limitThe Sky’s the limit.


Are you thinking like this?

Are you open to and actively operating your independent artist business in the new music business model or are you stuck in the old music business model?


Want some more proof?

Taylor Swift is operating out of the new business model.Fearless Production Taylor Swift

  • As of this week she is the only artist EVER to have 3 records in a row sell more than 1 million units in the first 7 days of release.
  • She is also the first artist to have a 1st week million selling release since Eminem in 2002.
  • 1989” is a personal best with first week sales outselling all her previous albums.
  • If that wasn’t enough, she is the ONLY artist in any genre to have a million selling record this year.

All this happened with a record that received ZERO support from country radio where all her previous releases were Fearless Production Taylor Swift 1989promoted.

Think about that for a second.

She literally jumped ship and abandoned the pipeline that fed her so well throughout her storied career.

1 word:  GUTS.

The reason she can do this is because she has a serious connection with her audience (they’re called Swifties).  She is constantly thinking about new ways to market her music.

Fearless Production mark twain quoteIn many past articles I have written about how it is much easier for the artists to make a living these days in the music business. This is true if you’re willing to operate with a completely open mind free of your ego, daydream scripts, and nostalgia.

Are you truly making something great or do you have to give a disclaimer before someone listens to your music?

Are you serious about cracking the code to creating and deepening relationships online with your fans?


That takes real work.Fearless Production Do one thing every day that scares you

I promise that if a fan feels they have a connection with you and your music they will easily pay $10 to support you. Even more.



The only thing standing in your way is you.


Stay tuned about this 11 year old artist, you will be hearing from her soon.


Oh, and stay in tune.



Fearless Production keep calm and stay in tune



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