Posts Tagged ‘ Marketing

Marketers in sheep’s clothing…

Here’s a nice article, not about the music business, specifically, but still very applicable. It’s about the differences between “audience” and  “community”.

They are not the same, at all. One you can buy, one you have to build. An audience can be purchased, and doesn’t require “substance”- community, on the other hand, requires some meat in the bun.

You can not buy a community. Creating a community of people who support your brand and its products takes time. Creating a community occurs when you tap into the passions of an audience and allow them to see your product or brand as part of their daily lives.

The difference between an audience and a community in new media

Partial-song Previews, RIP, Please!

For years I’ve been harping on this, and slowly but surely the tide is turning.  All of the streaming song previews on efolkMusic all full-length, complete songs, always have been, always will be. When we started in 1999, I had a stock letter for responding to artists who only wanted preview “clips”, 30 or 40 second bites out of songs, for their previews.  I never liked them, never wanted them on our website.  Try my logic:

If you are a painter, and you want to sell your work, do you show prospective buyers just a corner of the picture, tell them they have to trust you about what they can’t see?  Does that corner impart the full emotional weight of the art work? Obviously not- if I’m listening to a song, just starting to get “hooked” and it stops, do you think I’m more or less likely to want to continue the relationship than if I heard a complete song?

I think MySpace figured it out pretty quickly, following our lead (don’t they all), and all your Reverbnations, etc. now offer full-length previews. The plays an artist gets through these online encounters are filling in – as much as they can- for the paucity of radio play most of us fringe artists receive.  You certainly wouldn’t want to hear yourself on the radio and have it abruptly cut off after a minute. Wouldn’t be much of a sales pitch, now would it?

Take my advice, don’t hide your light under a blanket, if you’ve got something to sing about…

Better to give it away

Taking the Dead’s way-ahead-of-the-curve business philosophy one step further, I’m now recommending that the best way to get gigs –and fans — is to give as many away as you possibly can, as quickly as you can.

Except for a few breathing the rare air of celebrity (a fleeting thing, anyway), nobody is making money selling CDs in the real on-the-road world. Let’s do the math for a typical band, as if there were such a thing.

Let’s say you’ve got a four-piece band that makes $1000 on a good weekend gig, and you’ve got a new platter. Let’s expect a modest crowd of 100, and let’s sell 10% a CD for $10 (you may get more, but it’s a zero-sum game, the more you charge, the fewer you sell). So you gross $100 on your CDs, get 10 into the world.

You won’t get rich from the sales; it’s nice frosting on the gig-cake, but not much more. So WHAT IF your game plan instead was to give away 500 as step one in your promo plan, with the goal to get gigs. You’re thinking, send to 500 clubs? No, they are barraged with submissions, often, the only way to rise from the mire is from an outside push. This means the booker hears about your CD from a “3rd party”.

“I just got so-an-so’s new platter, wow, you should get ’em on the calendar.” Comments from trusted friends mean more than you can imagine. Now for the ciphering: Maybe you get a gig indirectly from 1% of your promos, that’s 5 jobs, gross $5000 (plus you sell 50 CDs on the gigs)- and you should do better than that.

So forget the business cards and fancy promo packs- just put your best foot forward, start giving away as many CDs as you can.

Make sure every friend you have gets one — you just can’t beat the gift of music, especially if you are trying to make a living at it..

Links, Links, Links

A chapter from Folk Music 2.0: Better odds through science.

One thing you’ve got to admit, the internet is what we call reality-based even if the reality is virtual.  And it’s based on science, isn’t it? Acts logically, mathematically, to make it all work. You want better odds on being heard, an increased chance of success, so put SCIENCE ahead of ART for a few minutes and consider this:

Go to Google and start typing. But just one letter, say A. Whoah. What do you see? I get Amazon, AOL and American Airlines suggested to me. Mind you, you may get different result, especially if you are logged in to, say, a Google account; they know everything about your browsing habits and will attempt to choose what their computer’s think you are looking for. But no matter, Google is still using science to make those suggestions.

OK, so what? Well, let’s examine how they come up with these suggestions.  If you want to do any testing (you know, the scientific method), log out of any account that might affect your searches, again, especially google. You also might want to delete your browsing history. This takes any ‘user bias’ out of the equation (notice how we can smartly bandy these math terms about)- try the A test again.  I still get the same big three, and I bet I know why. There are 671 million reasons for Google to pick Amazon first, as that’s how many LINKS they found for that term. What’s more, I can see from Google Keyword Analytics that 83 million people a month search for that term. They are just laying odds that Amazon is likely to be what you are after when you start typing with an A. Number two, AOL, as you might expect, has lower numbers than Amazon, take my word for it or check for yourself.

Get to the point! Read more

Let efolkMusic Promote Your “Concertcast”

Broadcasting an event over theInternet (webcasting) used to be a HUGE deal.  Getting live video and audio distributed to a larger audience required the ‘caster to have a big “pipe” to serve many streams at once, but now days anyone with a decent high speed connection can get it out to any and all with one of the new services like

A game-changer for traveling AND stationary pickers.

The email came from from Massachusetts folk-rocker Erin McKeown, and announced a series of house concerts, with a twist. She’s webcasting the shows using a new service, The service allows anyone with a webcam and a mic to broadcast live “TV” from wherever to an unlimited number of viewers- and if you have higher production values (lights, good sound, nice video cameras, duh) it looks and sounds fabulous! The best part is that she is selling tickets on her website (through paypal, $10) and sending ticket holders the URL and a password just before the show to give them access.

Her press says she is “inviting you into her living room, onto her porch, into her river, and into her yard” and I’ll be shocked if she doesn’t make some money on this. I’m not trying to sell tickets for her (although I wish her luck and will be curious as to how it turns out), but this is just such a great concept, I had to tell you about it. I suggest you get your email lists up to date, sign up at ustream, and produce a concert.

efolkMusic wants to help artists and producers get the word out when a concertcast of interest to our community is happening, so please write us and we’ll let our 9,000+ newsletter subscribers know:

Marketing Mistakes 101- Chapter 1

The One-hit Wonder

You know ’em, you love ’em, but you don’t remember them: artists who had one hit and went away forever. That’s because marketing, like comedy, when it’s effective, comes in threes. Whether the product is an album, a concert ticket, or a booking, one “impression” does not a sale make.  Sure, once in a while you do get caught by a single event that is so extraordinary that you are moved to action, but that is a rare exception, and we’re trying to get consistent results.

Three impressions in a short amount of time. Why three? How long is a “short amount” of time? To tell the truth, I don’t know why, why, why, it just is, as Van Morrison says (Using 3 whys…). OK, four is better, forty even better, just don’t put all your chips on ONE or TWO. As for the time period for the impressions, the quicker the better, as the “spin” speed is higher. Read more