Bob Baker's The Buzz Factor
Music marketing tips and self-promotion ideas for independent songwriters, musicians and bands.
Music marketing ideas for DIY artists, managers, promoters and music biz pros
July 08, 2005
A New Day for Indie Music?
Not everyone is convinced. For instance, regarding an item I posted earlier this week, Jonathan Carson (a former indie rocker and current word-of-mouth business expert), wrote this on his BuzzMetrics blog:
"I find it hard to imagine music blogs, or p2p or iTunes or any of these other potential disruptive technologies, truly breaking the current pop music paradigm. I have come to sincerely believe that most people want their music force fed to them, and have no interest in exploring the long tail of independent musicians who are doing things on their own."
While I respect Jonathan's work and like to think I'm open to a variety of opinions, I have a different view. And the thing is, I agree with him. "Most people" aren't overly concerned with how they get exposed to music. They're happy to encounter music as background noise and turn to commercial radio and other safely programmed sources to learn about artists.
So new technologies won't influence a good chunk of the population -- which means there will always be a place for corporate-created tunes.
However, independent artists shouldn't concern themselves with "most people." That's the mentality behind the old major label way of thinking -- blockbuster hits on a massive scale. In a recent Small Business Trends blog post, media expert Robin Good articulated the point I'm trying to make here quite well ...
"Artists are saying 'Who needs audiences of millions?' Without the marketing burdens and the huge overhead of trying to reach mass markets, artists find they can be successful and make a profit with fewer customers."
Bingo. Don't worry about "most people." Zero in on that small percentage of the population that is open-minded not only to music blogs, podcasts, digital downloads, etc. -- but also to your particular style of music. And considering there are about a billion people worldwide with online access these days, even a miniscule percentage can equal tens of thousands of people who could potentially embrace your sound and become lifelong fans.
And that's where new technologies are making the most impact. Allowing artists to find those previously hard-to-find fans.
At the same time, it isn't all about new tools making all the difference. I believe musicians have always had a lot more power to steer their own careers than they ever gave themselves credit for. But now it's a lot easier and less costly to reach savvy music fans using technology. Whatever era we happen to be in, it's all about looking for opportunities, creating your own lucky breaks, and making the most of what's right in front of you.
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Bob Baker is an author, speaker, teacher, indie musician and former music magazine editor dedicated to showing musicians of all kinds how to get exposure, connect with fans, sell more music, and increase their incomes.
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