Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

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


March 29, 2005

Mark Cuban on RIAA Sales Figures

In addition to being the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban is a respected technology entrepreneur with some pretty progressive views. In a recent blog post he questions the logic of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). In part, he writes:

"The RIAA claims that sales of the top 100 CDs sold 195mm units in 1999, materially above the 154mm units sold in 2004. Which leads to a question. Are sales down due to filesharing, or have RIAA members just lost market share?

"I contend RIAA sales are down because they lost market share. There are more CDs being self-published or released by non-RIAA members than ever before. Sales from web sites, concerts and car trunks are taking away sales from traditional labels. Access and awareness of that music has exploded through web radio, web sites, p2p, satellite radio and tours."

Here, here! There's a lot of activity brewing below the surface of SoundScan.

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posted by Bob Baker @ 1:08 PM   3 comments


March 25, 2005

Promote Your Music with a Blog

If you're reading this post, you're obviously hip to blogs. The past year or so has seen a major rise in the impact and usefulness of blogs. As a self-promoting musician, you should have one and use it wisely.

Journalist and musician Grant Shellen has written a nice primer on how to use blogs to promote your music. If you can look past the cheesy song title spoof subheads, there's some good advice on blogging to build a fan base.

Highlights include:

"You might want to have a place to write about your experiences touring, recording or simply living. Fans can see what it's like to be you, hearing about your experience at a post-show party in Atlanta, a plush studio in Manhattan or the sofa in your living room. Each band member can have his or her own journal page or at least alternate contributing to a centralized one ..."

"If you're on tour, or just take interesting pictures, photography can be a nice element to include. Whether you include shots of yourself on stage or photos of things you see when out and about, readers will surely wish they were wherever you are."

Smart stuff you should consider doing to promote yourself online.

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posted by Bob Baker @ 1:37 PM   2 comments


March 23, 2005

The Musician's Profit & Loss Friend

Want an easy way to calculate how much money you'll make (or lose) on an upcoming show? How about getting a ballpark figure on what it will take to make a profit on your next CD project?

David Hooper offers two nifty online number crunchers: The Gig Calculator and the Album Release Calculator. Just fill in the blanks and hit Submit to find out if you're in the black or in the hole.

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posted by Bob Baker @ 1:20 PM   0 comments


March 17, 2005

What Is Podcasting?

You've certainly heard the term. If you're active with music on the Internet, "podcasting" pops up more often than "Paris Hilton" and "Cialis" combined. Perhaps you're an early adopter and are already podcasting your music from your own site or someone else's.

But, just perhaps, you're still trying to wrap your mind around this whole podcasting thing. If so, don't feel bad. After all, it didn't really hit the mainstream Internet until August of last year. That was sooooo seven months ago. What are you waiting for? :-)

For a nice overview of what podcasting is, its history and more, take a look at Wikipedia's definition.

Also, Engadget.com has a cool tutorial on how to listen to and create podcasts.

In fact, I'm planning to put an alternate version of my Artist Empowerment radio show into a podcast format soon.

So get educated and get up to speed. Just in time for the next technological trend to come racing around the bend.

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posted by Bob Baker @ 10:34 AM   0 comments


March 15, 2005

Nationwide Exposure Without a Record Label

Geoff Byrd has become the new poster child for indie music success. This Portland, OR-based artist is getting commercial airplay in several markets across the U.S. He's been on the covers of Billboard magazine and Radio and Records. He has a growing legion of fans.

I'm happy to consider him an e-mail pal and fellow warrior in the independent music movement. But unlike many musicians who are working toward a worthy vision of success, Byrd is actually doing it and reaching unheard of levels ... without official industry backing.

This week the San Diego Union-Tribune ran an article that serves as a good overview of his career and rising status. Read the printer friendly page here. If that doesn't work, try this link.

There's also a six-page article on him in the March issue of Unsigned Music Magazine and a piece on the Always On web site.

Read about Geoff Byrd and know that he is paving the way for many more indie success stories to come.

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posted by Bob Baker @ 8:24 PM   2 comments


March 11, 2005

Self-Help Music Promotion Tips

Sean McManus is a business and technology writer based in the UK who has also written extensively about music and how bands can promote themselves better online. On his About Promoting Your Music page he offers a section called "How you can help yourself." Among the great tips are these two gems:

Take control: Don't wait for success to happen to you. Build an audience. Whether that's a substantial mailing list, email list or gig audience, it doesn't matter. As long as it's people who have asked to hear from you and are likely to buy your album, it's a valuable asset.

Keep it simple: music marketing has a lot to do with image, but some web sites put this before the music. Don't forget people are there to read about you, listen to your work, see your photos and interact with you. They're not usually there to watch a five-minute animation before they can do any of that. The easier your site is to use, the more likely it is you'll sell CDs. Simplicity pays.

Also take a look at McManus' Promoting Your Music Online page for a nice list of resource links and interviews he's done with successful indie artists.

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posted by Bob Baker @ 10:52 PM   1 comments


March 08, 2005

Free E-zine Audio Class from the Queen

Promoting yourself online seems to be getting more dizzying all the time. Blogs are all the rage, and podcasting is growing faster than a plant in Little Shop of Horrors. You should be considering those options. But don't overlook something "old hat" like publishing your own free fan e-zine just because it isn't fresh and sexy. E-mail should definitely be one strong component of your Internet promo arsenal.

If you've been hesitant to start your own e-mail list for fans, set aside a little time right now and listen to this 45-minute audio class from Alexandria K. Brown. She's known as the "E-zine Queen." Not only does she have a nice-looking photo of herself on her site, but she has an equally appealing voice that takes you through the basics of publishing your own promotional e-mail newsletter.

All you have to do is sign up for her free e-zine to gain access to this audio program, which you can stream or download. I've listened to it and thought it was wonderful. I wish it had been available years ago when I first dipped my toes into the e-zine world.
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posted by Bob Baker @ 10:25 PM   0 comments


March 04, 2005

Two Tips for Commercial Radio Airplay

The January 31, 2005, issue of Music Connection magazine featured a good article by Bernard Baur called "The Future of Radio." Here are a couple of nuggets I took away of particular interest to indie acts:
1. Secondary commercial markets. Even though you may think the major labels have all commercial radio stations wrapped around their dollar-laden pinkies, that's not quite true. Remember, big labels are struggling to be profitable. They've got smaller staffs and thinner marketing budgets these days.

When it comes to commercial radio promotion, the big boys focus on the major markets -- New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and other big cities. That leaves a small crack in the door for acts that focus on commercial stations in smaller cities (called secondary markets).

2. A high-quality, radio-ready recording. While airplay opportunities may exist for indies in secondary markets, the quality of the recording submitted still needs to be top-notch before a commercial station will consider it.

One radio promoter quoted in the article recommends that indie artists pursuing a radio marketing strategy should spend their money recording, producing and mastering just one or two songs. With radio, you don't need a full album. You just need at least one killer radio single.
Visit this page to order a back issue of the magazine.

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posted by Bob Baker @ 1:22 PM   2 comments


March 01, 2005

14 Qualities of Successful Musicians

My friend David Hooper (of Kathode Ray Music and the Nashville New Music Conference) and I share a passion for helping musicians get off their rears and make the most of their musical talents.

David just announced an awesome offer to get his new audio program, called "The 14 Qualities of Successful Musicians, Songwriters, and Music Business Professionals." He's basically giving it away for free to anyone who reads this blog (except for a modest $3.95 shipping fee).

This same audio program is listed on Amazon for $39.95, so this is one heck of a deal. And he'll not only send you the CD, he'll also let you download the entire transcript of the recording. Way cool!

Click here to get your copy now.

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posted by Bob Baker @ 12:59 PM   0 comments