Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

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


December 31, 2005

Top 10 Music Blog Posts of 2005

Everyone's doing year-end wrap-ups. I might as well hop on the train. Last summer I offered my top 10 blog posts of the first half of 2005. Here are 10 posts that either got the most response from readers or flipped my trigger the most since midyear.

- A New Day for Indie Music?

- One Kick-Butt Music Web Site: Look & Learn

- It's Like Complaining About Gravity

- Keys to the Music Success Kingdom

- Music Biz Headaches: You Need the Eggs

- Outrageous Music Marketing Ideas

- What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

- The Psychology of Crowds

- Create a FREE Music Podcast

- Ask Your Fans for Help

Happy New Year!

-Bob

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posted by Bob Baker @ 3:47 PM   1 comments


December 26, 2005

Planning Your Music Revolution

"Artists used to need a record label to be heard. Now, all they need is a powerful PC and a broadband connection. For any musician with at least a pinch of talent and a desire to perform, the Internet has become a godsend."

So begins a recent article in USA Today. Nothing new here for most active musicians. But it does offer even more evidence that the independent revolution is well under way and gaining ever growing waves of attention.

Hopefully, you're a participant and not just an observer. In fact, 2006 would be the perfect year to make great strides with your music. The best way to make that happen is to set goals and achieve them through focus, accountability, persistence and personal integrity. Check out this resolution planner and web site for inspiration.

-Bob

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posted by Bob Baker @ 12:07 PM   0 comments


December 21, 2005

Another Kick-Butt Music Web Site

I've talked about kick-butt music web site ideas here and there. Well, here's another example of an artist who is making great use of the Web.

Check out Josh Woodward's site, and particularly his My Songs section, where he employs the following features:
  • A line that states "Not sure where to start? What kind of music do you like?" Then he lists categories such as "Darker Pop/Rock," "Light Folk" and "Heavy," with suggested songs to check out for each style.

  • Free MP3s of 77 original songs. Not only that, he gives people the option to stream or download the tracks AND supplies the lyrics and guitar tabs to each song. Wow.

  • Links to where you can purchase his CDs (for only $5 each) and his music "sharing policy."
That's going above and beyond to provide benefits to fans. What are you doing to deliver value on your web site?

-Bob

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posted by Bob Baker @ 7:07 PM   0 comments


December 20, 2005

Guerrilla Music Marketing Book #1 on Amazon

Early this year, I was excited to see that the Guerrilla Music Marketing Handbook had reached the #3 spot on Amazon.com's Music Business Books bestseller list. That's as high as I have ever seen it get. Most of the time it consistently ranks in the top 10, hovering between spots 6 and 10.

Well, today the little book that could hit the #1 spot in the category (and #4,432 among all books on Amazon). Click the image below to see the full-sized screen shot.


I'm thrilled that this title continues to chug along and grow in popularity every year. Hopefully, the same thing will happen with the sequel, Guerrilla Music Marketing, Encore Edition, which gets released next month.

Stay tuned as this indie publishing success story continues.

-Bob

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posted by Bob Baker @ 4:46 PM   0 comments


December 15, 2005

The MySpace Value Debate

UPDATE: Since I made this post, I have published a new book called MySpace Music Marketing. Check out my new web site, www.MySpaceMusicMarketing.com, for details.


I recently announced the dipping of my toe into the social cluster [expletive deleted] that is MySpace. I started my page there on 12/3/2005. As of this writing, I have 434 friends and 692 profile views. Respectable numbers, I suppose, depending on what you compare them to.

The jury is still out on how effective it will ultimately be for me personally, but there is a debate brewing over how worthwhile the site can be for indie artists using it as a marketing tool.

Scott Andrew got the ball rolling with this post about a band that was a "featured artist" on MySpace. As a result, the act had its music played 20,000 times with 1,200 friend requests ... and zero CD sales. David Hooper and Joe Taylor Jr chimed in with their doubts about the value of MySpace.

I'll play it safe and not take sides at this point, but here's a comment from pop dance artist JANAJANA, who was apparently inspired to start her own MySpace page after reading my e-zine last week:

"Hi Bob. This was a great suggestion to join here! Since we joined last Tuesday, we have had over 1,100 plays, 1,500 new friends add us, and our CD sales are off the hook (had to get more ordered). The web server is maxed out and we can hardly keep up with it ... all in 7 days!"

I'm sure there are as many different opinions of MySpace as there are artists setting up shop there.

To be continued ...

-Bob

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posted by Bob Baker @ 8:51 AM   7 comments


December 13, 2005

Your Lousy Music Career

Joe Taylor made some great comments last week on his Spinme.com blog regarding ongoing media reports about "lousy" CD and concert ticket sales. He pointed out that a major label's definition of "lousy" can be an indie artist's ticket to a thriving career.

How can that be? Because today's audiences are fractured -- something I touched on early this year with my observations on the Grammy Awards (which I recently turned into a podcast).

Then Joe posed this rhetorical question:

Would the world be more vibrant if one out of a hundred professional musicians made $100,000 per year, as opposed to one out of ten thousand musicians making ten million dollars per year?

Of course, his answer was a resounding YES. These days, there are countless opportunities for artists who operate under the radar screen and cater to niche audiences.

Joe also offered up this bit of reality-check wisdom:

The deflation of the mainstream recording industry as we know it opens up tremendous opportunities for working musicians. And I mean "working." You can't sit back and wait to be discovered -- you've got to go build your own audience. If the labels aren't willing to get out of bed to chase niche audiences and "small" markets, all the better for you.

I agree. The opportunities are there. Are you willing to work to uncover them?

-Bob

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posted by Bob Baker @ 10:30 AM   3 comments


December 12, 2005

Exposure on NPR's Open Mic

Since it began in 2003, NPR's Open Mic segment has showcased nearly 800 independent, unsigned and self-produced bands. It's described as "a virtual stage for aspiring musicians to reach a larger audience with their work and a place to discover music you likely won't hear anywhere else."

Starting last month, Open Mic became a daily podcast. A new song with comments from the artist is featured each day, Monday through Friday.

Who can submit music?

"Anyone who puts out their own music -- from basement tapes to studio-quality recordings -- can submit their work for consideration on All Songs Considered's Open Mic. We are looking for wholly independent artists playing any genre of music."

Read the submissions guidelines and get cracking!

If you're concerned about the wording in the permissions form, check out this CD Baby post for some thoughts on that.

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posted by Bob Baker @ 2:24 PM   1 comments


December 09, 2005

Vinyl Quality Making a Comeback?

According to a Wired magazine article titled "When Hi-Fi Meets the IPod," there's a growing discontent among audiophiles over the lower quality sound of MP3 files vs. the clearer and richer experience of music on CD and, yes ... even vinyl.

A majority of new releases are still printed on vinyl. And many of the same kids who illegally download music for free will actually purchase the LP because that quality can't be found anywhere else.

According to the RIAA, vinyl's percentage of overall sales doubled in 2004, grossing $110 million over 2000's $72 million. This growth came at a time when overall music sales dropped from $14.4 billion to $12.2 billion.

How you can use this trend to sell more music ...

Give away free MP3 downloads from the Web, and remind your fans of the higher quality experience they'll get when they purchase your CD (or vinyl record, if you dare.) This will work especially well, of course, if your music is intricate or textured or in some way sonically detailed.

So freely share your lower quality tracks for exposure, but sell the sizzle of owning the actual thing!

-Bob

P.S. For more tips about online music marketing, check out 50 Ways to Promote & Sell Your Music on the Internet.

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posted by Bob Baker @ 10:19 AM   4 comments


December 08, 2005

Ask Your Fans for Help

I've written about Scott Andrew and his awesome music web site before. And I continue to be impressed with the clear and tasteful way he communicates with fans online.

A newer section of Scott's site worth noting is his How You Can Help page. There fans and supporters can:
  • Find out how to link to his site
  • Get free Scott Andrew post cards to give to friends
  • Learn where they can post online reviews of his songs
  • Suggest a venue or media outlet
  • Get details on how to present a house concert featuring Scott
Speaking of which, the Host a House Concert page begins "Why wait months or years for me to finally come to your town when you can bring me there yourself? ... Here's how it works, step-by-step ..."

Then he explains what a house concert is and how to host one. Now that's making smart use of the Web.

Which gives me an idea for some things I can add to my own web site. Hmmm ...

-Bob

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posted by Bob Baker @ 12:26 PM   2 comments


December 05, 2005

My New Space on MySpace

UPDATE: Since I made this post, I have published a new book called MySpace Music Marketing. Check out my new web site, www.MySpaceMusicMarketing.com, for details.


I finally took the plunge and set up shop on MySpace.com. You'll find my new page at www.myspace.com/thebuzzfactor. If you're hip to the MySpace thing, go there and add me as a friend, leave a comment, check out some of my audio tracks and a groovy set of new photos.

Even though I knew the site was a great place for artists to network and gain fans -- from indie garage bands to major label giants -- I've resisted staking a claim there myself. Why? Well, frankly, it seems so many of the people who use the site just mindlessly flirt and post nonsense comments, silly images and more.

However ...

Because so many active young people (as mindless and nonsensical as they are) use the site, MySpace is obviously an excellent online hangout to meet new music fans. And as demonstrated by the huge numbers of profile views, song plays and friends that some acts have racked up, it's been very, very good for a lot of indie artists.

Some of the nicer, high-traffic music pages I've discovered so far include:

Cori Yarckin
www.myspace.com/coriyarckin
930,658 profile views, 90,569 friends, 1,050,787 total plays

Atomic Blonde
www.myspace.com/atomicblonde
220,142 profile views, 31,084 friends, 269,536 total plays

Adama
www.myspace.com/adama
181,194 profile views, 23,108 friends, 90,155 total plays

Tara Leigh Cobble
www.myspace.com/taraleighcobble
19,306 profile views, 3,220 friends, 20,110 total plays

You may know that one of my indie music marketing rules is this: Go to where your ideal fans are. My fans happen to be independent musicians who are actively promoting themselves.

Following My Own Rule

It didn't take me long to figure out that MySpace is where thousands of indie acts are busily promoting themselves. If they're crawling all over that site, I need to have a presence there too.

That's the long version of this short story: I've got a new page at MySpace. Check it out at www.myspace.com/thebuzzfactor.

:-)

-Bob

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posted by Bob Baker @ 7:10 PM   1 comments


December 02, 2005

Podcast Directories & One Cool Player

Here's a followup to my recent post on how to Create a FREE Music Podcast ...

I just discovered a cool Flash-based podcast player called the PupuPlayer from Pupu Studios. It's free and involves no messy installation by you or your fans.

Test it out by listening to my Artist Empowerment Radio podcast now:

PupuPlayer FREE

Offering an easy streaming option to test your podcast might be a wise move to cozy up to those folks who are still unsure about podcast feeds, subscriptions and downloading.

Click Yourself Into Submission

And here are four directories where you can quickly submit your podcast:

Yahoo! Podcasts (this is new and in beta mode)

Podcast Alley

Podcast.net

Podnova.com

Get busy doing your thing, baby!

-Bob

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posted by Bob Baker @ 11:07 AM   2 comments


December 01, 2005

Creative Commons 365 & Newsweek

Here's a cool idea masterminded by Grant Robertson of Indieish.com. It's a podcast called "Creative Commons Three Sixty Five." Starting Jan. 1, every day it will deliver one song licensed under the Creative Commons.

According to the site:

We're diligently working to build the music library, with a large portion of next year already in the system and ready to feed. If you're a musician who releases music under the Creative Commons and want to be included in the CC:365 calendar, let us know.

Check it out.

Making Their Own Breaks

How did I miss this one? The Oct. 3 issue of Newsweek magazine featured an awesome article called "Making Their Own Breaks" and subtitled "Technology is helping aspiring writers, musicians, artists and filmmakers go from amateur to pro. Who needs an agent when you've got the Net?"

My indie-minded friend Gilli Moon is prominently quoted, as is Buzz Factor patron Dave Cool, self-published author Angela Hoy (who was featured in my Branding Yourself Online book), author Peter Spellman and several other do-it-yourselfers.

Great article. Read it and let their stories inspire you to greater indie heights!

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posted by Bob Baker @ 11:15 AM   0 comments