Do You Want to Be Loved? Start Marketing Right Now
The music market has gone through an 180° paradigm shift with regards to how to connect with an audience and break an artist but the music industry hasn’t figured out how to crack this new code, therefore record sales are abysmal.
Consequently, y’all are scared.
Do I have your attention?
Too many of you, including the record labels, are trying to break artists (or yourselves) the old way. The way we used to do it for over 75 years.
This is understandable for you, the indie artist because you’re smart and you’re aware that marketing must happen (at least you’d better be), but you’re going to try and emulate the marketing methods that your favorite artists used to reach you.
It’s all you know, isn’t it?
I mean, I always learned quicker by watching something get done and then replicating the process. So, show me and I’ll execute, I get it.
It’s also understandable that the labels are sticking to their old tactics because they have a rich, successful heritage but it’s extremely difficult for corporations to change their rudimentary methods of anything.
This is the nature of any corporate organization, by the way.
Take Proctor & Gamble for instance. Their first product was Ivory soap. Ivory soap was the first product created to replace homemade soap. This was sometime in the EARLY 1800’s, more than 170 years ago.
Proctor & Gamble is a multi-BILLION-dollar conglomerate with many brands, 19 of them individually gross over $1 Billion dollars annually.
For almost 2 centuries, marketing was easy for P&G. As long as they advertised their products, they would sell. In fact, the more they advertised, the more they sold.
If you think about it, there were very few ad messages floating around back in the 1800’s and throughout most of the 1900’s. Some print ads, a few billboards, radio stations, and 3 TV channels towards the end of the advertising glory years.
No clutter really.
Nowadays, we all see around 3,500 messages per day! PER DAY!
We’ve grown numb to them. It’s human nature. That means we just don’t see them that much anymore so we don’t pay attention.
That’s bad for the advertiser.
When P&G hires a new marketing person, they expect that person to do exactly what the person before them did. P&G knows how to sell Ivory soap; they’ve been successfully doing it for well over 170 years.
But when a newbie marketer is hired, even though they KNOW the old way isn’t working, they are smart enough to understand that they weren’t employed to dismantle the current distribution channels or question the sales heritage of such an amazing company.
Therefore, the corporation continues with little change to the processes decade after decade.
The illustration of the catch-22 is like a simple math equation.
It used to be that companies like P&G spent (x) number of dollars and got a return of (y) on their sales. Now they spend (x) number of dollars and get a return of (y-1000) or (y-10,000) or whatever. Exponentially LESS of a return on the same advertising investment.
So, what do they do?
They spend more money to create more ads.
Which creates more clutter.
Which makes us shut down even more.
The catch-22 is the less it works, the more money they spend and the more money they spend the less it works!
Here’s another interesting statistic. Somewhere around 67% of all the advertising dollars spend in the USA every year come from the top 100 advertisers. You know them well: Coke, Pepsi, Budweiser, Chevrolet, Ford, McDonald’s, etc.
More than 80 of these companies have been doing business for longer than 30 years. That’s significant because 30 years was before the internet, before smartphones, before computers, and before cable TV.
So, they all find themselves in the same boat as P&G in that their messages are not getting through as well as they used to and they change their strategies very slowly over time.
Why does this matter to you?
Because the record labels are in that same boat too.
That boat is clearly sinking.
This is undeniable.
We’re down to just 3 major labels.
Unit sales are down 90% and the price of a complete record (be it vinyl, CD, or download) has dropped by 62%.
It’s not about the money in the market place.
It’s not because consumers can get it for free, that’s a story too many artists and industry pros are telling themselves to relieve the pain of horrible sales.
That’s a cop out.
If “free” mattered, the poorest people in this country wouldn’t spend 3 times the price of a gallon of gasoline to get something they could obtain for free by taking 20 more steps into the gas station bathroom and turning on the faucet.
Yeah, man, that’s how much y’all pay for cheap bottled water and you can get that for free.
Why do they pay?
Answer: Because they feel it’s worth it.
Why don’t consumers buy records anymore?
Answer: Because they don’t think it’s worth it.
Here’s a marketing FACT: When you’re presented with a purchase opportunity for a product that you are very familiar with, that you like or even love, but you don’t purchase, it’s because you don’t think it’s worth it.
Somehow Taylor Swift managed to sell 8.6 million units of her last record and Adele has sold around 7.5 million, I believe.
Why are their fans buying?
Answer: Because they think it’s worth it.
I promise it’s not because they’re famous. That’s a cop out too. A story we all tell ourselves. Ask George Michael who had sold 50 million records before Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 was released how much being famous accounts for sales with zero marketing.
SO HOW DO YOU MAKE YOUR FANS FEEL THAT YOUR MUSIC IS WORTH IT?
If you follow these old-school methods, you should expect the same results in your artistic endeavors. Complete crap.
Especially now when every wannabe artist can put his/her “masterpiece” up on the world’s refrigerator.
Why are so many of you (who even acknowledge that you need marketing) still marketing the same way and expecting different results?
It used to be, for 70+ years, the first interaction a debut artist had with a consumer in the marketplace was the music.
You heard the debut single on the radio. Then you heard it again and again and again. All this while you were waiting for the DJ to spin your jam.
If it was a hit, the song wove its way into the fabric of that time in your life.
Naturally, an artist finished the record first, released the single, and THEN began marketing the act/record. There was not much to do before the single was released and no real way to do it besides touring.
I constantly hear artists tell me, “I just have to get this recording finished and then I’ll worry about marketing, one step at a time, Johnny.”
But now it’s different.
Therefore, if you don’t change and ADAPT to the new market, you’ll continue to endure the same agonizing results.
Consumers no longer need to suffer through the getting-to-know-you-process of a debut single on the radio because they have CHOICES via a smart phones and an aux cable.
We ALL want to hear the same thing when we listen to music; we all want to hear our jam.
“Our jam” = something we know, something we’re already familiar with.
Today the radio spins a debut single from an artist the consumer is unaware of, but they change the channel searching through endless choices to find music they ARE aware of.
Therefore, THEY WILL FIND THEIR JAM.
Therefore, they won’t listen to new music from debut artists on the radio.
This is part of the reason the sales are down so much.
Here’s the real results of the market change to artists and labels who cannot or will not adapt.
The top 10 grossing tours for 2016 have only 2 artists that are in their 20’s. (One was Justin Bieber who broke on YouTube, HELLO, but I digress.)
5 of the artists, in other words, HALF of the top grossing tours this year are from artists whose ages range from 67-72 years old.
2 of the artists were nearing their 40’s.
By point of comparison, the artists that toured in 1987 for example, were Bon Jovi (Slippery When Wet), Kiss (Crazy Nights), Madonna (True Blue and the Who’s That Girl soundtrack), Def Leppard (Hysteria), Michael Jackson (Bad), Metallica (Master of Puppets), Ozzy (No Rest For The Wicked), Aerosmith (Permanent Vacation), Iron Maiden (Somewhere in Time), and U2 (Joshua Tree).
Kiss, Ozzy, and Aerosmith were in their 30’s at the time. The rest were in their 20’s.
Today, radio works wonderfully if you’ve been making records for 30, 40, or 50 years.
Radio doesn’t work if you’re a brand-new artist to the market because you haven’t recorded “their jam” yet. Regardless of how good it is, they don’t know it and they’ve PROVEN that they’re not going to discover new music on the radio anymore, haven’t they?
Nowadays, the first interaction that a debut artist will have with a market will be the ARTIST.
Aside from a lucky TV show casting, YOU must connect on social media or YouTube and make friends FIRST.
Next, you provide content that is relevant and personal to THEM.
Then, if they like you, they’ll listen with an open heart and an open mind.
So, you market YOU and your talent NOW while you’re developing the project. If you do that right, you’ll have an audience when you release it.
Know that it takes TIME.
If you don’t have an audience before you release your project, shame on you.
Why the hell do so many artists NOT understand the power of YouTube?
I’ll tell you why because it means they must WORK MORE.
There are THRONGS of artists who have BROKEN in a BIG WAY on YouTube meaning they were exposed to tens of millions even hundreds of millions of people.
There are millions of music fans who are now aware of these artist’s talents.
These artists now tour relentlessly selling hard tickets to fans who pay to see THE ARTIST.
…and the artists make a living.
What more do you want, man?
These artists are deemed to be “lucky” by the have-nots because y’all are afraid to work and you tell yourself stories as to why they’ve “made it” in one form or another, but it’s not you.
Not yet anyway.
There is an overwhelming amount of noise and clutter that currently exists online in the music industry but practically NONE of the artists know how to market in the new music business.
That’s why I’m not scared. There is very little traffic and very little clutter for those who understand new marketing.
Everything you need is out there, baby, you just need to recognize it, learn it, execute it, and start your upward journey.
Go make some mistakes on the right path, you’ll be ok, I promise.
You don’t need anyone’s permission.
Therefore, the only one standing in your way is you.
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