Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

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


November 30, 2005

Tag You're It: Amazon's New Marketing Tool

Bookselling behemoth Amazon.com has been adding some cool new interactive features to make its site more community oriented. One of the newest holds the potential to be a powerful online music promotion tool.

Go browse the pages of individual music CD titles at Amazon, and you'll notice a field under the CD title labeled "Your tags." What is this? As Amazon explains ...

Tags provide an easy way for you to "remember" and classify any item on the Amazon site for later recall. For example, you might be shopping for holiday gifts and tag items with the names of the people on your shopping list. At any time, you can review the items you've tagged and make final gift decisions. You might also want to tag items you've purchased in the past. This allows you to organize your collection in any way you wish ...

Because people's tags are (by default) visible to others, a great side effect of tagging is that you can navigate among items through other people's tags. What items have people tagged "gift" or "Tuscany" or "robot?"

How you can use Amazon's tags: Go to the pages of the most popular CDs in your genre and start tagging away. You'll need to log into your Amazon account to do this. Then make sure your personal profile on Amazon is complete. Upload an image and give a compelling description of your music and what you do. Also, be sure to list your web site.

Why go through this trouble? Because your name and tag will show up right on the sales page of every CD you tag. And thousands of music consumers will be able to link to your profile, where they can find out more about you and your music.

Example: Go to the page for Peter Spellman's The Self-Promoting Musician. Scroll down to "Customers who tagged this item" and you'll see Bob Baker, with a link to my Amazon profile page. Just for fun, I even tried it with the bestseller The Da Vinci Code. And there I am.

Hardly anyone knows about this new feature yet, so you'll be one of the first to stand out by doing it. So go to Amazon now and start tagging!

Get more tips like these when you subscribe to my free Buzz Factor ezine — the longest running music career tips email newsletter on the planet. Since 1995. Learn more about the free subscription here.


Or just sign up using this quick and easy form:

Your First Name
Your Primary Email


Your email address will not be shared. Unsubscribe at any time.

Connect with

posted by Bob Baker @ 9:28 AM   0 comments


November 29, 2005

New Podcast, iTunes & How I Goofed

On my latest podcast I admit that I goofed. Yes, I'm secure enough to admit it. And I share a new perspective on how long it should take you to succeed with music. Long term or short term or somewhere in between? Check it out to learn more.

You can listen to it on my own podcast page or at GarageBand.com. Stream it, download it or subscribe to the feed. Whatever you do, just listen! Okay?

Super Cool News

This just in: My Artist Empowerment Radio show is now listed in the iTunes podcast directory. To find it, just go to the podcast page of the iTunes Store and search for Bob Baker. New shows will be automatically downloaded into your iTunes Podcasts folder.

Of course, you can also do the same thing with the "podcatchers" listed here (scroll down and look at the column on the right).

Get more tips like these when you subscribe to my free Buzz Factor ezine — the longest running music career tips email newsletter on the planet. Since 1995. Learn more about the free subscription here.


Or just sign up using this quick and easy form:

Your First Name
Your Primary Email


Your email address will not be shared. Unsubscribe at any time.

Connect with

posted by Bob Baker @ 10:05 AM   0 comments


November 28, 2005

Free Music Downloads: The Truth

There's been a lot of debate over the years regarding the effect that illegal music downloads and file sharing have on actual sales. I've had my own theory on this -- but it was only speculation until a Harvard PhD student named David Blackburn published a paper on it.

As reported in this post on Chris Anderson's Long Tail blog, Blackburn's research concludes that P2P file-sharing "does indeed depress music sales overall. But the effect is not felt evenly. The hits at the top of the charts lose sales, but the niche artists further down the popularity curve actually benefit from file-trading."

The New Music Math

You probably already figured this out on your own, but it's interesting to see the numbers once they've been crunched. The most fascinating factoid is this:

If you took all musical artists and placed them on a graph from least popular to most popular, the 25% of artists on the popular end of the scale would have lower CD sales because of file sharing, but the remaining 75% of not-so-popular artists actually benefit from fans freely sharing their music.

Anderson writes, "The Long Tail implications of this are pretty clear. For the majority of artists further down the tail, free distribution is good marketing, with a net positive effect on sales. Which is yet another reminder that the rules are all too often made to protect the minority of artists at the top of the curve, not most artists overall."

Take-away marketing lesson: If you're not on the Billboard charts, don't be so tight-assed with your songs. You won't sell more by hoarding your recorded music. Give a few of your best songs away to any fan who will listen, and encourage them to share and spread the word.

Despite the old music business cliche, it's not who you know that matters -- it's who knows you!

Get more tips like these when you subscribe to my free Buzz Factor ezine — the longest running music career tips email newsletter on the planet. Since 1995. Learn more about the free subscription here.


Or just sign up using this quick and easy form:

Your First Name
Your Primary Email


Your email address will not be shared. Unsubscribe at any time.

Connect with

posted by Bob Baker @ 9:45 AM   2 comments


November 25, 2005

The Psychology of Crowds

It's the day after Thanksgiving -- widely known in the USA as one of the busiest shopping days of the year. And it's always amazed me. Why do people go out in droves to crowded malls and risk trampling just to save a few bucks on a DVD player or crock pot?

One answer has everything to do with crowd psychology.

I learned this lesson years ago as I watched people file out after comedy shows. (Yes, in a former life I performed stand-up comedy and music parodies regularly.) I sold my own comedy tapes and usually parked near the exit to catch anyone who wanted to buy the recording I had plugged onstage.

One show in particular stands out. The audience was about a hundred people strong. Nearly half of them marched right past me. Then one person stopped to buy a tape. Then another.

One of the buyers noticed I had a stack of promo photos and asked how much it would be for an autographed copy. No one had ever asked that before, so I said, "If you buy the tape, I'll give you an autographed picture free."

The other buyer overhead the conversation and said, "Then I'll take one too." By then, other patrons who were filing out had stopped to see what was going on. I heard a number of remarks along the lines of "What's going on? Oh, he's selling tapes. Let's stop and get one." Within minutes, there was a long and growing line. Each person saw that I was signing photos and wanted one too.

It was an eye-opening experience. What was so appealing to the second half of the audience that the first half couldn't care less about? You know the answer:

They were at first curious just to see what all the commotion was about, then interested in getting a piece of what so many other people were enjoying
.

Mel Torment of Finger Records writes, "The packed house, frothing crowd mentality creates a sheep-like response, and when everyone suddenly thinks a band is cool, it is automatically assumed that so and so is the only band that matters ..."

And Stephen Bucaro writes about the importance of "consensus" when selling: "Consensus involves getting prospective customers to believe that 'everybody's doing it.' Everybody is just waiting in line to purchase your product. Everybody can't be wrong, so the product must be fantastic!"

This topic may be worth covering over a number of blog posts. So check back for more thoughts on the psychology of crowds.

In the meantime, start thinking about ways you can stimulate curiosity and attract a crowd feeding frenzy.

Get more tips like these when you subscribe to my free Buzz Factor ezine — the longest running music career tips email newsletter on the planet. Since 1995. Learn more about the free subscription here.


Or just sign up using this quick and easy form:

Your First Name
Your Primary Email


Your email address will not be shared. Unsubscribe at any time.

Connect with

posted by Bob Baker @ 11:53 AM   1 comments


November 23, 2005

Indie Music News: Feed Your Head

If you're like me, you know the benefit of keeping up with the latest ideas and news stories related to music -- especially independent music. But maybe you don't visit the sites and blogs you need to be reading as often as you like. Perhaps you haven't taken the time to set up a free news reader like Bloglines and subscribe to your favorite blog feeds.

Regardless, you should check out the new Indie Music News Feed page I just set up on TheBuzzFactor.com site. There you'll see the latest headlines and summaries from some of my favorite independent music promotion blogs.

I used a new service at FeedDigest.com to set it up. It's pretty cool. Maybe you can use it to create a news feed on your own site focused on your particular genre. Check it out.

On another note ... Have a great Thanksgiving! I hope you have a true "attitude of gratitude" toward all of the things your life has handed you -- the good and the bad. It's all part of the evolution that is you.

I am sincerely thankful for your support and encouragement. Big hugs to you!

Get more tips like these when you subscribe to my free Buzz Factor ezine — the longest running music career tips email newsletter on the planet. Since 1995. Learn more about the free subscription here.


Or just sign up using this quick and easy form:

Your First Name
Your Primary Email


Your email address will not be shared. Unsubscribe at any time.

Connect with

posted by Bob Baker @ 1:59 PM   0 comments


November 22, 2005

Artist Empowerment Radio Podcast #5 Is on the Air

I'm testing a new shorter version of the podcast. Hopefully, by making each show shorter, I'll be able to post a new one more often. This time I share some ideas on how the Grammy Awards teach us an important lesson about music marketing -- one that indie artists in particular should be aware of.

You can stream it, download it or podcast it from my own podcast page or GarageBand. Enjoy!

Get more tips like these when you subscribe to my free Buzz Factor ezine — the longest running music career tips email newsletter on the planet. Since 1995. Learn more about the free subscription here.


Or just sign up using this quick and easy form:

Your First Name
Your Primary Email


Your email address will not be shared. Unsubscribe at any time.

Connect with

posted by Bob Baker @ 11:10 AM   0 comments


November 21, 2005

Let's Get Metaphysical

"Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into." -Wayne Dyer

It was just a few years or so ago when I apprehensively dipped my toe into the pool of writing about it. I tried to slip it into the conversation when readers were looking the other way.

I'm talking about the expanding core of what I write and speak about. It's evolved from talking about marketing tactics (such as press kits, cover letters and package design) to encouraging musicians to embrace positive thinking. Now I also touch on concepts that border on being "metaphysical" or "spiritual" in nature.

The good news is, I'm no longer alone in writing about this stuff. Joe Taylor Jr wrote last week about Music Miracles and the Power of Intention, and today David Hooper responded with Manifesting Music Business Success.

Don't think for a second that these guys are, as my daughter says, "copying off of me." Not at all. What's most amusing to me is that three different people located in different parts of the country, who spend a lot of waking hours thinking about music career success, have come to similar conclusions: We live in an abundant world, and with the right mindset, we can tap into its many gifts and rewards -- while giving back at least as much as we take.

If you've seen the movie What the Bleep Do We Know? or read books by Wayne Dyer or Deepak Chopra, you know what I'm talking about. This isn't about promoting a religion. In fact, it's not about religion at all. I don't sit around and burn incense and meditate all day. I don't pretend to have all the answers to life's great mysteries.

I'm just a regular guy who has learned to open his mind to the possibilities that everyone has access to. And that's probably the biggest thing that has influenced my writing in recent years: understanding that answers, solutions and opportunities aren't "out there" somewhere. They reside within, and it's up to each one of us to stop searching high and low for the Holy Grail and look under our own noses for the real keys to success and happiness.

This philosophy dovetails perfectly with the "do it yourself" movement that is sweeping the planet. People are learning that they no longer have to rely on gatekeepers or lucky breaks to influence their progress.

Hot tip: Want to connect with the most powerful person who can impact your music career? Look in the mirror.

"All the breaks you need in life wait within your imagination. Imagination is the workshop of your mind, capable of turning mind energy into accomplishment and wealth." -Napoleon Hill

Get more tips like these when you subscribe to my free Buzz Factor ezine — the longest running music career tips email newsletter on the planet. Since 1995. Learn more about the free subscription here.


Or just sign up using this quick and easy form:

Your First Name
Your Primary Email


Your email address will not be shared. Unsubscribe at any time.

Connect with

posted by Bob Baker @ 11:19 AM   0 comments


November 16, 2005

Indie Music Success Stories

Here's more wood to throw on the independent path fire, courtesy of two items posted recently at GarageSpin.com.

According to this post on the Prefix Mag blog, indie band Clap Your Hands Say Yeah -- based in Brooklyn and Philadelphia -- has sold 17,000 copies of it self-released debut, all thanks to word-of-mouth.

"And while major-label artists make only about a buck a record, the Clap guys are making a whopping eight dollars per disc -- putting their take so far at more than $130,000. Not too shabby for an album recorded for less than ten grand and distributed by the band itself via countless trips to the post office."

And across the pond, this story in The Telegraph:

"Traditionally, bands have been forced to use radio play and record company marketing to create a buzz around their music, but the Arctic Monkeys, a Sheffield-based guitar band, built a committed following of young fans well before being noticed by the music industry."

Yup. Musicians are taking their music to the people like never before.

What have you done today to create music worth getting excited over ... and to find the people most likely to be excited by what you create?

Get more tips like these when you subscribe to my free Buzz Factor ezine — the longest running music career tips email newsletter on the planet. Since 1995. Learn more about the free subscription here.


Or just sign up using this quick and easy form:

Your First Name
Your Primary Email


Your email address will not be shared. Unsubscribe at any time.

Connect with

posted by Bob Baker @ 1:55 PM   0 comments


November 14, 2005

Create a FREE Music Podcast

If you're hooked up with GarageBand.com, you may already know that the site just announced a new free service. Take a look at Gcast.com and you'll see that you can now create and host your own podcast via GarageBand.

I went ahead and tested the service by setting up a page there for my Artist Empowerment Podcast. I posted one of my earlier shows plus a newer one with more marketing tips material along with some killer songs by GarageBand-hosted artists Chris Gallagher, Heidi McCurdy and Denny Blake.

The GarageBand podcast deal is pretty quick and easy to use. In addition to basic podcasting, you can also record podcasts by phone, encourage other sites to embed your podcast onto their pages, and have fans sign up for email alerts.

I think I'll combine this new Gcast page with my own hosted Artist Empowerment Radio podcast page (which I also publish for free using a combination of Blogger, FeedBurner and OurMedia), along with a streaming version at Live365.

You should probably do the same with your original music podcasts. The more places people can access your songs, the better your chances of connecting with fans.

Get more tips like these when you subscribe to my free Buzz Factor ezine — the longest running music career tips email newsletter on the planet. Since 1995. Learn more about the free subscription here.


Or just sign up using this quick and easy form:

Your First Name
Your Primary Email


Your email address will not be shared. Unsubscribe at any time.

Connect with

posted by Bob Baker @ 10:36 AM   2 comments


November 09, 2005

Meet Obstacles (and Go Around Them)

I'm a big fan of Curt Rosengren and his Occupational Adventure blog. A couple of months ago, he wrote two great posts on overcoming fear and steering around obstacles -- a topic that most musicians can learn from.

In Fearless choices, not fearful choices, he writes ...

It's so easy to stop with the assumption that it can't be done. Rather than assuming that [our goal] is forever out of our reach -- based on either past experience or beliefs we have absorbed along the way -- we can stop and ask ourselves, "OK, if it doesn't work this way, how else could it work?

And in a post titled Develop a 5 to 1 habit, Curt explains ...

When I talk to people about pursuing their passions in their careers, I often encounter an endless litany of "reasons why I can't." It seems to be wired into us to look for obstacles and declare them reality.

One of the ways to change that perspective is to develop a 5 to 1 habit. For every obstacle you recognize, commit to writing down five ideas for getting around that obstacle.

Great attitude. Roadblocks are rarely eternal or insurmountable. Most of what holds creative people back comes from within -- a false perception, a weak belief, a negative expectation.

These disempowering ways of thinking can be deeply ingrained. So you may at first have to force yourself to think in more optimistic terms. Stick with it and you'll eventually think less fearful thoughts automatically.

Thought nugget: Don't buy into the music biz obstacles you encounter. Find another route. If you can't work your way through or over a speed bump, find a creative way to drive around it. And keep going.

Get more tips like these when you subscribe to my free Buzz Factor ezine — the longest running music career tips email newsletter on the planet. Since 1995. Learn more about the free subscription here.


Or just sign up using this quick and easy form:

Your First Name
Your Primary Email


Your email address will not be shared. Unsubscribe at any time.

Connect with

posted by Bob Baker @ 12:13 PM   0 comments


November 04, 2005

A Different Way to Tour

I just received an e-mail from a realtor pal and it got me thinking about unique exposure opportunities for musicians. It seems a number of houses in the same neighborhood have just been renovated and are now on the market for sale. To draw potential buyers, the realtors involved are having a house tour.

But the focus of this tour isn't only on the houses. To make things interesting, each house will host an exhibit by a fine artist and live music from an area musician. Cool idea.

Thought nugget: Anywhere that a group of people gather, it's an opportunity to get your music into the ears of potential new fans. Don't think about nightclubs, coffee shops and traditional venues only. Think in terms of opportunities to reach groups of people.

What other events and venues might apply? How about singles events, bingo nights, haunted houses (since we just celebrated Halloween), tenant appreciation parties at apartment complexes, art exhibit openings, or strip mall sidewalk sales?

The possibilities are limitless. Think about it. Then act on your ideas. Talk to people, make some calls, and make things happen!

Get more tips like these when you subscribe to my free Buzz Factor ezine — the longest running music career tips email newsletter on the planet. Since 1995. Learn more about the free subscription here.


Or just sign up using this quick and easy form:

Your First Name
Your Primary Email


Your email address will not be shared. Unsubscribe at any time.

Connect with

posted by Bob Baker @ 9:59 AM   1 comments


November 01, 2005

Name That Tune

Your mission: Create a name for Werner John's distinctive style of music. That's the challenge being issued by my friend and fellow author Marcia Yudkin on her new web site, Named At Last.

The reward: If your entry is selected as the best new name, you'll win $100 and a shot at becoming a professional namer. The best name will sound great, fit the music, convey its intended essence and make a positive connection with the target audience.

Anyone, anywhere, any age may enter. And you can submit as many name candidates as you like. The contest closes at midnight, Dec. 31, 2005. Marcia will choose the top ten entries, and from these Werner will select the winner.

So visit NamedAtLast.com/contest.htm and start naming names!

Get more tips like these when you subscribe to my free Buzz Factor ezine — the longest running music career tips email newsletter on the planet. Since 1995. Learn more about the free subscription here.


Or just sign up using this quick and easy form:

Your First Name
Your Primary Email


Your email address will not be shared. Unsubscribe at any time.

Connect with

posted by Bob Baker @ 9:52 AM   0 comments