Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

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


August 31, 2006

Elvis, Ok Go & Stephen Colbert

A recent Colbert Report show featured a great bit on shared pop culture experiences, along with some fun insight into how bands are being promoted these days online. It dovetails with something I wrote earlier this month in my Buzz Factor ezine on the anniversary of Elvis Presley's death.

Below is the Stephen Colbert clip via YouTube. But first, here's what I wrote about Elvis:

August 16 marks the 29th anniversary of the passing of the Swivel-hipped King. I read one of today's news stories on the subject. It reminded me that when Elvis Presley made his first appearance on the The Ed Sullivan Show in 1956, more than 60 million viewers tuned in. Back then, that was 80% of all U.S. TV owners. Amazing.

It's a great lesson on how much things have evolved over the last 50 years. Not only has the population grown, but the entertainment choices people now have are staggering. This growth and information overload is not necessarily a bad thing. It just means that with a little filtering and searching, anyone can find the exact type of audio, visual or verbal stimulation that's right for them.

It also means that widespread shared media experiences are mostly a thing of the past. Sure, 25 million people may tune in to watch American Idol, but that's only about 14% of U.S. households -- a huge percentage by today's standards. Most TV programs are happy with decent single-digit numbers.

Whether you run a cable network, a book publishing company or an indie band, your focus should be on attracted a small but loyal sliver of the population. It's great to have ambitious, superstar goals, but if you insist on being a household name, you may miss the truly golden opportunities that await you in the musical niches.

Serve your core audience well and your exposure will multiply in good time!



Now check out this funny clip. Note: Ok Go is signed to Capital Records. I think the singer interviewed on the show really blew an opportunity to say more about the empowerment of bands and fans -- but I may be biased :-)



Did you enjoy that?

-Bob

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posted by Bob Baker @ 3:25 PM   1 comments


August 30, 2006

How to Be That Guy or Gal

My friend and fellow author Scott Ginsberg may be only in his late 20s, but he's racked up a number of nice achievements in his young life. Three books, an active speaking schedule, and more media appearances than you can shake a remote control at. On top of that, he's a musician!

His latest book is called "How to Be That Guy: 47 Ways to Create an UNFORGETTABLE Brand That MAGNETIZES More Business" -- and it's his best yet. (Don't let the gender reference in the title fool you. His info is for men and women alike.)

So, are you That Guy or That Gal to your fans? Are you the Funny Folk Singer Guy or the Sexy Latin Singer Gal or something else equally descriptive? If not, it would help your marketing efforts if you were.

Scott is giving away free chapters of his book this month. There's a lot of advice here that applies to the music business. Here's an excerpt from chapter 1:

Why Be That Guy?

Being That Guy is advantageous to your business in several ways.

First, there’s the connection. Customers don’t buy products, they buy people they like and relate to FIRST. Then -- and only then -- do they buy products.

Next is trust. You see, customers no longer trust big companies due to the proliferation of corporate scandals and corruption. (Thanks Enron!) They want a face. A person. An individual they can confide in. So when it comes down to business, everyone trusts That Guy. Because he's a human, not a company.

Then there's credibility, an aura of expertise which is perceived by your customers based on your actions. Not your intentions, your actions. Because people only give you credit for what they see you do consistently.

That Guy also projects authenticity. This is a characteristic present in anyone who is That Guy because he keeps it real. He maintains congruency between what he believes, what he says, and what he does.

This is essential to business success not only because your customers are smarter than ever before, but also because they have better bullshit meters than ever before.

Lastly, there's confidence, the one emotion you want flowing through the mind and heart of every customer you serve. Because when you're That Guy, customers will be confident you're the best. Confident that you will serve them better than anyone. Confident that you're so incredibly unique, knowledgeable and valuable, that you become somebody who reminds them of nobody else.

And in the end, customers want to work with someone who is authentic, real and has passion for what he or she does.

In other words, people want to work with That Guy, not Some Guy.

Good stuff. Also check out Scott's blog and podcast.

-Bob

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posted by Bob Baker @ 12:10 PM   1 comments


August 29, 2006

What Music Fans Want

Over at his excellent Long Tail blog, Wired magazine editor Chris Anderson writes about the three stages of figuring out what music fans want. He quotes Tim Quirk, general manager of music content and programming at Rhapsody, who lists the following measuring sticks:

1. Airplay Charts: "Measure what people are being fed."
2. Sales Charts: "Measure what people are eating from what they're being fed."
3. Usage Charts: "Measure what, from the music people can listen to, they listen to the most."

Here are Anderson's comments regarding the three charts:

Now that people can listen to nearly anything, the third of these is the really important one. It reflects a metric that's only become available with digital distribution. What's on your iPod? What do people replay? What are they sharing? These are the metrics that really matter.

Now, perhaps for the first time in history, we can measure the real shape of demand, and thus the real shape of music culture. And it turns out that it's not what we thought it was in the Top 40 era.

Amen to that. Given real choice and diversity, truly buzz-worthy music is finding an audience -- whether it was produced by a Grammy Award-winning producer or a teenager in his bedroom.

-Bob


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posted by Bob Baker @ 10:14 AM   0 comments


August 28, 2006

Names, Numbers & Big Breaks

Last week I received an e-mail that sounded similar to many I've received over the years:

"Bob, I have a band with hot players and great songs. But we need to get to the next level. Please give me the name and number of someone who can give us a break and help us move ahead."

Hmm ... How am I supposed to respond? "Oh, you need to get to the next level? Then call Joe at 555 ..." The e-mail writer didn't even tell me what type of music he played, much less try to establish a relationship with me before making this plea for help.

Two things are wrong with this e-mail request. First, when music people say, "I just need my big break" or "If I could only be discovered by someone," they're putting control of their career in someone else's hands. I don't believe success is determined by something outside of yourself. With the independent-minded attitude I advocate, success is directed from within.

So if you're waiting to be "discovered," you may wait a long time. Take control and push forward on your own to create great music and reach more fans.

That said, I do agree that it can be beneficial to have fans who are in a position to help you reach even more fans. For instance, when a disc jockey, music editor or booking agent "discovers" your music and really enjoys it, sure, they can do things to boost your notoriety. And that's a great thing.

But those specific key people are unique to each artist, and they usually appear organically throughout the natural process of an artist pursuing his or her career (although you can take reasonable steps to make those connections happen quicker).

The agent that can help Punk Band A will be of no use to Country Singer B. Understand? So begging for "a name and a number" doesn't make sense unless it's targeted.

Bottom line: Make sure your career is inner directed and controlled by you. And keep your eyes open for the natural key contacts that are a good "match" for you and your music.

-Bob

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posted by Bob Baker @ 11:37 AM   1 comments


August 18, 2006

Music Career Mode Reality Check

I've come to the conclusion that much of the frustration exhibited by aspiring musicians is a result of mixed modes. I'm sure you know people who suffer from this affliction. They are currently doing music part-time, but they talk to themselves and others about their full-time goals. However, they continue to take part-time actions.

Does this describe you? Or someone you know?

It's vitally important to get clear about which mode you're in and make sure your goals and your actions are aligned. If you're convinced that music is your life's work, then get busy putting in the effort it takes to write great songs, get exposure, reach fans and more. That doesn't mean you have to do anything drastic right away (especially if people are counting on you for financial support), but you should be taking steady but sure steps toward realizing that full-time goal.

The worst thing you can do is delude yourself into thinking that stardom is inevitable as you keep making excuses about why you can't get moving on your music plans just yet. This situation creates the most frustration: full-time intentions with part-time actions.

Another friction-inducing scenario is the person who takes action in waves. A couple of months of concentrated activity followed by six months of being distracted and doing nothing.

The ideal state is when you know to the core that music is what you are meant to do. And regardless of what circumstances life throws at you, you stay focused on that purpose. Every day you think about it, and every day you take at least some small step toward transforming your internal musical identity into a material form.

And if you decide that music is not your overriding destiny, that perhaps another calling takes a higher priority, it's okay to admit that music should become a part-time pursuit. You can still squeeze a lot of satisfaction from it, but at least you won't be ailing from the tension that mixed career and action modes bring.

To your success!

-Bob

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posted by Bob Baker @ 11:20 AM   2 comments


August 16, 2006

MySpace 100 Million Friend March

A few days ago the behemoth web playground known as MySpace hit a new milestone: 100 million registered users. When I started researching my recently published MySpace Music Marketing book in January, the total number of MySpace users then was between 50 and 60 million. That's a lot of growth in six short months.

On a related note, my total number of MySpace friends recently topped 1,000 at www.myspace.com/thebuzzfactor. If my math is correct, that means I have now made friends with .001 % of all MySpace users -- a whopping one out of every hundred thousand MySpacers is my pal.

Rock on! :-)

-Bob

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posted by Bob Baker @ 1:03 PM   4 comments


August 13, 2006

GarageSpin Interview

A big shout out to Mike at GarageSpin.com for running an in-depth interview with me on his blog. Take a look at my views on effective marketing, positive thinking, and why so many musicians stuggle with self-promotion. I also discuss how I've used guerrilla techniques to promote my own books over the years.

Read the interview here. I had fun with this one. Perhaps you'll enjoy it too. Give it a "spin."

-Bob

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posted by Bob Baker @ 5:39 PM   0 comments