You Got It All Wrong

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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it wrong now too, so you if your plan is to copy (what you believe to be working) you are wasting your time with an outdated marketing plan that is probably cost prohibitive.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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