Treasure Maps and Unicorns

Treasure Maps feature image 6

The mythical treasure maps you see in the movies are like unicorns, they don’t exist. You have to make your OWN treasure map if you want to be successful.CSC_0010


This was the first thought that entered my head when I read some of the comments that were posted an old article I wrote entitled “How To Avoid Artistically Starving To Death” that was circulated by Music Clout again last week.

Artistically Starving To Death


As per the usual, I get plenty of anonymous positive and negative comments.  I was thinking about some of these negative comments not because they hurt my feelings, (let’s be real, I’m thrilled they’re even taking the time to respond), it was because people are still totally missing the boat.


FYI, in this article I explained the difference between marketing and digital distribution which seems to be commonly confused amongst artists.

If you don’t truly understand the difference it would make your sales and marketing efforts as productive as screen doors on a submarine.



Most of the negative comments hovered around the fact that I didn’t explain HOW to market in 1,200 or so words.  Ugh, impossible.

So I AM going to try and share some of the marketing initiatives we have executed and will execute in future posts to give y’all some “HOW” with details.

But for now, let’s really explore the notion of marketing first.

The beginning of “how to market” lies in the concept. Isn’t it better to know what we’re looking for before we can effectively search for any answers?

Marketing is WHY consumers buy and distribution is WHERE they buy.

Don’t get them confused.

Why do you go to any retail store? Is it because you’re dying to spend money on the first thing you see that inspires you or is it because you already knew what you wanted and went there to get it?

Get it?

First you need to focus on a specific artistic lane. Whether you like it or not, whether you want to believe it or not, nobody buys records that contain multiple genre tracks; it’s confusing to the marketplace.

Consumers actually get hostile.Treasure Maps Foreigner

FACT: When the amazing rock band Foreigner released “I Want to Know What Love Is” it was a HUGE Pop hit.  It was their biggest hit.  It also marked the END of the band because consumers showed up to concerts expecting to see a sappy pop act and got gritty rock & roll instead.  They were pissed off because they felt misled.

There are always exceptions to the rule but your favorite artists have always put out records that contain tracks that are genre specific FOR A REASON.

Why question it?


The second step requires exposure of the music.

Targeted exposure is absolutely paramount.  Think about this way, if you made the world’s BEST hamburgers would you sell any in a vegan community?



While the misstep may be naïve it’s also borderline self-sabotage.  Even if sabotage is unintended, the damage is the same. Remember that.

A good exercise on market targeting is to ask yourself, “What famous artist’s fan base would probably love your music too?”

In other words, ask yourself (from a business perspective not an artistic perspective) what artist would my business benefit from the most if I opened up for them on tour?


As many of you know, I was the front man for a hair band back in the day.  I LOVED Metallica and Megadeth but opening for either one of those acts wasn’t going to help me build my fan base at all. This thought process, is show business, not show heart, friends, or idols.

Make sense?


Next, the exposure has to be “framed” or “served up” correctly to this targeted audience.

There is a difference between marketing and pandering. I constantly see tweets that say “TY 4 following, check out my music” or “REAL TALK MAN, dis artist is da BOMB”, with a link; this is pandering and hype.  These two strategies actually turn people off on social media and email marketing. The worst is “Discover this artist on iTunes” where it has to be purchased.  Why would anyone “check out” your music or purchase your music if they don’t know who you are?  Especially in today’s market where EVERYONE is on iTunes, Pandora, Spotify, etc.

Do you respond to these kinds of pitches?Treasure Maps Turn Ons and Turn Offs

What turns YOU off on social media?


Consider what emails, tweets, Facebook posts, YouTube videos, and Instagram posts turn you on and peak your curiosity?

Which ones turn you OFF?

Make a list.


Why would you ask someone to “discover” your music and make them pay for it?

Do consumers pay for radio?

Do consumers pay to see new artists on TV?

Have YOU ever purchased music BEFORE you heard it?



Tons of artists are discouraged by the fact that everyone can and DOES put their “art” up on the world’s refrigerator.  Listen, this is not an ideal situation but it is winnable if you think about marketing from a business perspective and leave your sensitive woundable artist heart out of the equation.

The good news is that anyone can expose their music to everyone online. So with regards to the market, the proverbial “sky is the limit”

The bad news is that anyone can expose their music to everyone online; which results in a ton of noise on the RADAR screen. Focused attention needs to be paid to how you disseminate your information to excel at this game.


If a man named Bob, whom you do not know, randomly introduces himself to you the street, you might be polite but your guard is definitely up no matter how nice Bob may be.  It’s a cold call essentially.  This strategy for meeting people can work but is statistically a loser with regards to creating relationships.

How would that random encounter make you feel?Treasure Maps Referral Magnifying glass

Isn’t that why many of us feel a little weird about introducing ourselves to people?  Don’t you think it’s because we feel more comfortable being introduced by someone else?

Why should you introduce your music to someone any differently?


If Bob was introduced to you for the first time by a trusted friend at a party, you are definitely more open to the thought of Bob, aren’t you?

Treasure Maps CREEPYIt’s almost like with the cold introduction you half expect Bob to misbehave and you would be surprised if Bob turned out to be cool.  When the same person is referred by someone you know in a comfortable environment, the opposite is usually true; you expect Bob to be cool and would be surprised if Bob turned out to be offensive.



Here’s where you have to get creative in the market.


What clever methods would allow you to present your music to a consumer online in a referral fashion?


How can you create a comfortable environment for consumers to really give your music a chance instead of being on edge?

If this article still pisses you off you simply aren’t ready.

Treasure Maps Teacher


For those that are inspired by this I give you this Buddhist Proverb:

When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.




Lastly, I wanted to mention that all these new music marketing concepts are inexpensive if they aren’t free.  The thought that you have to spend millions of dollars to market yourself is asinine and archaic.

This is the first time in the history of marketing where artists have so much access to targeted markets for little or no money.Treasure Maps Earl Dibbles Jr


Study Earl Dibbles Jr who is a completely independent artist making 7 figures every year via social media (the CBS gig came AFTER the social media explosion).


It can be done people.


It is being done people.

You can do it too.


Once you get the concept of what you need to be doing I have one word for you.

Treasure Maps GoogleGOOGLE.


Find your teachers


These are a few of the marketing teachers I follow.  This is how you create your own treasure map.  All treasure maps are different for each artist so the only way up is THROUGH.


You have to discover what works for YOU.


I recommend following/subscribing to all these people, most are free, some are not.

Let me save you the suspense, ALL of them have products to sell and so do you, so get over it.

Start a new folder in your email for each and just save them as they come in to keep from getting overwhelmed.  It’s a TON of free information with the ANSWERS you’re looking for.  Read them when you have insomnia, or when you’re motivated, or when you’re bored, etc. but READ THEM…or you can continue to complain.

Jeff Bullas – Maps Jeff Bullas

Sales Lion –

Lewis Howes –

Jon Loomer –

Jon Oszajca –



Stay in Tune


If you like this post, please SHARE it and/or LEAVE A COMMENT thank you!

[ois skin=”Bottom Post”]

Tell Us Your Comments

Loading Facebook Comments ...
0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.