The music biz is a very competitive industry.
For every great success story we hear about, there are plenty of failed attempts. But, that’s the same in every industry, and as with any venture you can jump into, it’s not about what you produce, but how well you sell it.
A question I got a couple weeks ago was “So do you have any good ideas for marketing an album”? I always shudder when I get a question on how to sell because the answer is not what most people want to hear. In fact, even the most experienced business people sometimes don’t ”get it”.
The Brass Ring Of Selling
The answer that everyone wants to hear is an amazing viral marketing idea that puts a product or service on the global stage quickly and effortlessly. Great success and great riches follow.
It happens. These are the stories we all hear about because they’re so amazing. They’re also few and far between. And truthfully, there’s usually a long backstory of hard work behind these success stories that we don’t hear about.
It’s reaching for the brass ring. And for the most part, it’s not so much of a business model as it is a product of circumstance. Right place, right thing, right time. And all the right people.
There’s a better way to ensure success. A much better way that’s practiced by very successful businesses everywhere everyday.
Knocking On Doors
The idea of getting out and knocking on doors to sell is not entirely metaphorical. But mostly it is. Mostly it means getting out there and taking what you have and putting it in front of as many people as you can.
One person at a time. And then as you create some success and grow … 10 people at a time. Then 20. You get the idea.
Build The Up And Down The Street Business First
A very good salesman that I know told me how Naya (a water company that was purchased by Danone) built their business up from nothing to selling 12 million cases a year in a few short years.
When they first started out, the big retailers would have nothing to do with them. So they went after all the little ma and pa corner stores. Basically, they went after what’s called the up-and-down-the-street business first. The more little customers they got, the more the big ones started to see them around and take interest.
It’s not sexy. It’s not a brass ring idea. But while many other companies are sitting around trying to come up with the perfect idea to rocket themselves to riches, this works every time. And it starts working the minute you start working it.
Some EPic Ideas For Music
So back to marketing music. The brass ring scenario is where a big label picks it up and throws a ton of money at it and it becomes a huge success. This could happen.
But by forgetting about whether it happens or not, and focusing on the up-and-down-the-street business, you can increase the odds of making that happen. Drastically. And since different things work better for different people, it’s good to work a lot of different avenues. So here’s a list of ways and places to market an album:
- Perform at music festivals
- Perform at coffee shops and pubs
- Put it on iTunes and other internet download sites
- Make a YouTube video
- Put a couple songs on a MySpace page
- Connect with radio stations
- Canvas satellite radio stations (there’s hundreds of them)
- Participate in song writing contests
- Hand discs out to friends
- Send it out to a bunch of record labels
- Get it into the hands of music directors for television and film
- Perform on one of those little cable shows that feature independent artists
- Talk to the purchasing departments of major record shops
- Sell them on consignment to little indie record stores
- Stage an impromptu rooftop public performance
- Get a friend to write about you on their blog!
There are probably many more avenues, but this is a good starting list. Some of them are easy and some are harder. But none should be discounted as each of them lead to more exposure and that up and down the street exposure is how you get the big fish to notice you.
Every business should practice marketing “every way they can”. Getting out there and knocking on doors works. You’re taking it to your customers instead of waiting for them to find you. There are always plenty of ideas that are too big.
There are none that are too small.