Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

Music marketing ideas for DIY artists, managers, promoters and music biz pros


December 31, 2004

Best Music Marketing Tips of 2004

Since we're on the eve of a brand-new year, I thought it would be fun to take a nostalgic stroll through 2004 back issues of my Buzz Factor e-zine. Why? Well, to select what I consider to be the top five music marketing ideas I dished out this past year. Read 'em again and put these concepts to use as you head into 2005.

(Note: Most of these are in the old text format of my e-zine. From now on, most of my tips will be posted on this blog and on TheBuzzFactor.com web site. However, I still encourage you to subscribe to the e-zine for my latest updates, etc.)

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posted by Bob Baker @ 9:24 AM   0 comments


December 30, 2004

Do Your Part to Help Tsunami Victims

This may be off topic, but the recent tsunami disaster is just too significant to overlook. While many are criticizing the Bush administration for its slow response to the tragedy, many companies and countless individuals are stepping up to donate money to the historic relief effort. For an overview, MSNBC and CBS each have a news story on current tsunami relief activities.

You may not be able to help in person, but you can make a donation to any number of organizations that are actively involved. Check out this Google page of tsunami information and donation links. You can also donate to the American Red Cross via this page at Amazon.com, which has raised more than $5 million as of this writing.

Maybe an unthinkable disaster like this will help us all realize that we really are all one.

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posted by Bob Baker @ 1:54 PM   0 comments


December 29, 2004

Pounding the Virtual Pavement in Electronic Musician

If you pick up the December 2004 issue of Electronic Musician, you'll find a great article on Internet music promotion by my pal Ravi. It's called "Pounding the Virtual Pavement" (page 54) and I'm thrilled that Ravi included a quote from me regarding the importance of branding yourself online.

The article serves as a good overview of online music marketing basics: Using e-mail, building a fan-friendly web site, selling CDs and merchandise online, letting people know about your Internet presence, etc. (Sorry, but the article isn't available online.) One of the things Ravi suggests is having a separate section of your web site devoted to your online press kit. He even uses his own www.heyravi.com/presskit page as an example.

Ravi was the touring guitarist with Hanson (yes, that adorable band of brothers) in 1997, the band's peak year of popularity when the group sold 15 million albums. That year Hanson toured the world and performed on all the top TV shows: Lettermen, Leno, Saturday Night Live, The Today Show, you name it. And Ravi was there to enjoy the ride.

When the rollercoaster came to a stop, Ravi pursued a career as a solo artist and also wrote a book for Simon & Schuster about his whirlwind year with Hanson. Today he continues to perform music while also writing and speaking at industry conferences (in fact, we met each other at 2NMC in Nashville last year).

Do yourself a favor and check out Ravi's www.ArtisticIntegrity.org site and e-zine. Here's a description of what it's about:
"We live in a world of diminishing integrity that is losing its ability to recognize true value. Corporate America is turning us into a lowest common denominator society. Artists have the gift to create, inspire, and shape the world through passion. We can encourage free-minded people to think for themselves and rediscover what truly drives happiness. By remaining honest with the audience and true to ourselves, we inspire the public to reach new cultural heights, resulting in a larger audience for artists."
While at the site, be sure to click the links Free Tips for You and Articles by Ravi. Good stuff!

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posted by Bob Baker @ 10:15 AM   0 comments


December 27, 2004

Are You Wired to Profit from The Long Tail?

Still think being an indie artist means you're small potatoes? Think again. An article in the October 2004 issue of Wired magazine has been causing a stir and forcing people to rethink the realities of modern entertainment marketing and sales.

Please read the article, by Wired's editor in chief Chris Anderson, and get a grip on the way indie, small-budget and self-produced products are weaving their way to end users -- while turning a profit!

Here's the gist of the article: The old way of marketing and distribution was based on physical scarcity. Entertainment products (music, books, film and video games) were primarily offered to the public through retail locations. Due to costs and space limitations, only the top-selling titles were stocked in stores. If a title couldn't justify its shelf space, it was eliminated. Hence the creation of lowest-common-denominator hits and bland superstars.

Many creative people and products obviously still found an audience via other means (live shows, word of mouth, creative marketing), but the mainstream sales channels were mostly unavailable to these "fringe" players.

However, in recent years successful Internet-based companies such as Amazon, iTunes, Netflix and others have turned the old business model on its head. While all three of the aforementioned web sites indeed sell the "hits," they also see the value in also offering lesser-known titles to their customers. And by doing so, they've seen some interesting results ...

People are willing to explore and try new things. Using posted review comments, ratings charts and personal recommendations, consumers are discovering new music, films and books they would have never found in a retail store.

And -- gasp! -- these fringe titles are profitable. Sales reports indicate that nearly one-third of these sites' revenues come from selections that fall well below bestseller status.

It's a fascinating read. Check it out here. Writer Chris Anderson is working on a full book on the subject. Read his Long Tail blog for updates.

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posted by Bob Baker @ 1:13 PM   2 comments


December 22, 2004

Three Simple Words That Can Dramatically Improve Your Marketing Efforts

Here's a fresh idea that I think will give you a healthy perspective on your music career and marketing activities.

While reading an article a few weeks ago I came across a phrase that caused alarm bells to go off in my brain. I was so inspired, I wrote down these three simple words so I wouldn't forget them: "Recognize your uniqueness."

In the article (sorry, but I forgot where I originally read it), the phrase was meant to motivate people to take a look at their own talents and qualities. As I'm sure you're aware, people (perhaps you?) often don't give themselves the credit they deserve when it comes to their individual attributes and accomplishments.

But it also occurred to me that this is exactly what effective music marketing is all about, only you must shift the focus away from yourself. In other words, self-promotion is about inspiring other people to "recognize your uniqueness" as a musical artist. And it's the "uniqueness" aspect of that effort that makes all the difference.

Many musicians make the mistake of simply trying to get the general public to recognize them as musicians. That's a start, but it doesn't complete your ultimate mission, which is to connect with the music fans who are most likely to be blown away by the specific type of music you create.

So when you promote yourself, always ask if you are communicating who you are clearly enough that people will immediately "recognize your uniqueness."

However, there's another all-important side to this equation. For you to communicate your uniqueness, YOU must have a firm understanding of it yourself. If you are fuzzy about the kind of music you play, how can you ever convey the essence of who you are to others?

That's the problem with most of the shoddy music marketing campaigns that litter the promotional roadway. Artists are sometimes too close to their own creations. They assume people will just "get it" on their own. But that's not the case. Music fans need solid clues. More than clues, they need clear descriptions, obvious indications and specific details about what you play and how they'll benefit from it.

So from now on, make sure you help both yourself and others "recognize your uniqueness."

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posted by Bob Baker @ 9:26 PM   1 comments


December 17, 2004

Sell Your CD at Aware Records' Online Music Store

You've probably heard of Gregg Latterman and Aware Records, the indie label he started in 1993. What started as a series of compilation CDs led to the advancement of a number of regional acts into the mainstream, most notably Five for Fighting, Train and John Mayer.

Well, the label also runs an online music store at www.awarestore.com which welcomes submissions from independent artists. Please note that Aware Store is pretty picky and does not accept every CD submitted. But if you want to give it a shot, send your CD and press kit to:

AwareStore.com
c/o Submissions
2336 W. Belmont Ave
Chicago, IL. 60618-6423

According to the Aware Store web site, "Feel free to include any kind of press info that will help us get a better idea of the artist. Make sure to include contact info. If you have any questions, please contact us at 800-AWARE-65 or by e-mail at submissions@awarestore.com."

To learn more about the history and philosophy of Aware, read this Star Polish interview with founder Gregg Latterman at www.starpolish.com/features/article.asp?id=514

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posted by Bob Baker @ 9:24 PM   0 comments


December 13, 2004

Links to Free Sales and Marketing Ideas

The Power of People (by Derek Sivers of CD Baby)
www.marketingyourmusic.com/show.php?idea=18

Confessions of a Master CD Sales Woman
www.bardscrier.com/articles/music_marketing_20020114.shtml

5 Tips for Keeping Track of Your CD Sales and Inventory
www.galaris.com

42 Telephone Sales Tips You Can Use to Get More Business and Avoid Rejection
www.businessbyphone.com/telemarketing-tips.htm

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posted by Bob Baker @ 9:06 PM   2 comments


December 08, 2004

How to Boost Your Music Sales

Here are three simple steps you can take to sell more of your CDs, tapes, DVDs and other music merchandise:

1. Identify your most profitable selling areas

To double your CD sales, you must know where and how to concentrate your energies. First, consider if geography will play a part. Will you most likely sell more CDs locally? In the Midwest? Along the East Coast? In Denmark? Next, consider the method of sales: mail order, retail sales, distributors, sales at gigs, the Internet ... which ones will work best for you?

2. Understand who your ideal fans are

Determine what type of person is most likely to spend money on you: young or old, men or women, lavish tastes or budget-minded, hyper or mellow? Other questions to ask:
  • Do these people have the money to buy your CDs?
  • Is this segment of the population growing in number or shrinking?
  • Are there any other ways of positioning your music to also appeal to a different group of people?
Write answers to these questions, brainstorm and zero in on fans who will buy your music.

3. List ways of getting access to your fans

Once you know exactly what type of music fan you're going after, make a list of various ways to communicate with these specific people.
  • What magazines and newspapers do they read?
  • Where do they hang out?
  • What radio stations do they listen to?
  • What retail outlets do they frequent?
  • What web sites do they surf to?
  • What e-mail newsletters do they subscribe to?
List every conceivable way of reaching these important folks. Then design an action plan to make the most of these avenues.

The tips above are a very brief excerpt from the new 22-page special report Double Your Music Sales (in 90 Days or Less).

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posted by Bob Baker @ 9:04 PM   0 comments


December 03, 2004

My Own Little Indie 500

Pardon me while a do a little horn tooting. I just received an e-mail from Live365 congratulating me on surpassing a milestone of 500 listening hours since the debut of my Artist Empowerment radio show. It's great to know that so many people have tuned in and taken in my spoken-word advice in recent months.

If you're not familiar with the show (or if you sampled only a small portion of it previously), now is a good time to right that wrong. Find out more about Artist Empowerment radio and stream it directly to your computer for free. I hope to have a new one-hour show up soon, so be sure to listen to the current show before it's replaced.
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posted by Bob Baker @ 9:00 PM   0 comments