Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

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


October 31, 2006

Knocking Music Fans Off the Fence

When it comes to generating music income from your web site, you must start thinking of the fans who visit your site as falling into one of three categories:

1. People who will buy from you no matter what

2. People who have no intention of spending any money on you

3. People who are on the fence about making a purchase

People in that first category are often your hard-core fans who just found out about a new recording or piece of merchandise you have available. And they want it now. These people have already made up their minds to buy from you, and they go to your web site with the direct intent to make a purchase. These are quite likely some of your favorite fans.

People in the second category are the musical version of tire-kickers. They're looking for freebies or are simply nosing around the Internet checking out new music -- with no intention of parting with their money. And that's fine. You shouldn't curse these people. While they won't buy your music or merch, they may very well talk about you to people who will. And that's a good thing.

It's the people in that fickle third category -- the fence-sitters -- that I suggest you spend more time thinking about. They have money to spend, and are actually considering spending it on you. Some of them actually end up clicking the "Buy Now" button. But some of them -- perhaps a lot of them -- end up clicking away from your site. An opportunity for both of you lost.

So, what can you do to persuade those people on the fence?

A money-back guarantee? A special bonus offer? A discount if they act now? A more appealing description of what your music will do for them? A better song sample?

Take a long look at your music and sales pages. What would it really take to knock a music fan off the fence and into the purchase side of your yard?

-Bob

P.S. A couple of chapters in Guerrilla Music Marketing, Encore Edition go into depth examining how to sell more music and merchandise, both online and off.


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posted by Bob Baker @ 11:41 AM   0 comments


October 30, 2006

Hits and Misses vs Hits and Niches

I've written about Chris Anderson and his Long Tail blog before. I finally got around to reading his new book, The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More. It's a real eye-opener. Do yourself a favor and go to Amazon or wherever and get a copy, because in it he writes at length about the changing face of the entertainment industries.
How to Use Video to Promote Your Music Online

Here's the Long Tail concept in a nutshell:

For decades, we lived in a scarcity economy. We got introduced to new music, books and films via retail outlets, radio, TV and print publications. But all of these avenues of exposure had physical limitations. There was only so much shelf space, air time and editorial pages to fill. So, in order to appeal to the widest audience and turn a profit, only those things that were determined to be most popular were stocked or covered.

This lead to a cultural mentality that a band, book or movie was either a big hit or a giant dud. There was little ground in between the two extremes of popularity. You were either part of the system ... or an outsider.

Then came online retailers such as Amazon and Netflix, which were not constrained by the physical space limitations of traditional sellers. For example, the average Borders bookstore carries about 100,000 titles, while Amazon offers nearly 4 million book titles. The average Blockbuster carries about 3,000 DVDs, while Netflix offers close to 60,000.

And guess what? About 25% of the total revenues on Amazon and Netflix come from products not available in retail stores. Yes, from titles outside the "hit list." Anderson's overwhelming research concludes that, when given unlimited choice (along with the ability to filter through the choices), people will stray from the hits and spend a considerable amount of money on non-mainstream products.

Unfortunately, the old scarcity business model is so ingrained in our culture, it has lead to many unfounded beliefs, such as:
  • If it isn't a hit, it's a miss

  • The only success is mass success

  • "Independent" = "They couldn't get a deal"

  • "Self-published" = bad

  • Low-selling = low-quality

  • If it were good, it would be popular
Luckily, a growing number of creative entrepreneurs are figuring out ways to make the most of this new "abundance economy" -- where practically everything is available to the public, where the cream rises to the top based on what consumers actually want, and where you can make an impact (and a living) without ever ranking on the Billboard Hot 100.

So, what kind of world do you want to live in? One of scarcity, hits and misses? Or one of abundance, hits and niches?

The choice is ultimately up to you.

-Bob

P.S. To make the most of the abundance economy, you simply must squeeze everything you can out of Internet promotions. I just completely revised and updated my popular special report 50 Ways to Promote & Sell Your Music on the Internet. Take a look at this guide and the free bonuses that come with it.

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posted by Bob Baker @ 10:17 AM   2 comments


October 27, 2006

Online Music Video Promotion: New How-To Guide

Have you seen the treadmill video from Ok Go? It was a simple but creative concept that spread like crazy online and primed music fans for the band's debut CD release.

How to Use Video to Promote Your Music Online

Or how about the regular video clips published by indie artist Terra Naomi? During a two-month period in 2006, webcam music videos she produced in her apartment were viewed 2.5 million times on YouTube. Because of this exposure, Terra sold 2,000 copies of her new CD in eight days.

No doubt about it ...

Video Is Huge on the Internet

Over the past six months video has exploded online. YouTube alone now delivers about 100 million videos a day to its users. And much of it is music.

Are you making the most of this new online music promotion opportunity?

To help you create, promote and profit from online video, I just published a 22-page, info-packed special report called "How to Use Video to Promote Your Music Online."

To learn more about it (and get a special discount), please visit this special page:
www.bob-baker.com/buzz/music-video-promotion.html

Here's just some of what you'll find in this one-of-a-kind report:
  • 9 ways to produce music videos on a shoestring budget

  • 4 places to find indie film directors who will produce your music videos at no cost

  • 14 Music Video Themes you can use to create clips your fans will love (many of these will surprise you)

  • 28 places to host and stream your videos online for free
Don't sit on this. Online music video promotion is hot. Get the ideas and tools you need to make the most of it. Visit this web page before you get distracted:

www.bob-baker.com/buzz/music-video-promotion.html

-Bob

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posted by Bob Baker @ 12:40 PM   0 comments


October 25, 2006

Choose Your Words Carefully

Timing is everything. Just yesterday I published a post about learning from failure. Then this morning I open up today's DailyOM, an ezine I subscribe to. Here's part of the message:

The word failure puts forward a very simplistic way of thinking that allows for only two possibilities: failure or success. Few things in the universe are black and white, yet much of our language reads as if they are. The word failure signifies a paradigm in which all subtlety is lost.

When we regard something we have done, or ourselves, as a failure, we lose our ability to see the truth, which is no doubt considerably more complex. In addition, we hurt ourselves. All you have to do is speak or read the word failure and see how it makes you feel ...

When you are consciously aware of the word and its baggage, you will not fall victim to its darkness. In your own use of language, you may choose to stop using the word failure altogether. This might encourage you to articulate more clearly the truth of the situation, opening your mind to subtleties and possibilities the word failure would never have allowed.

Read the entire DailyOM message here.

-Bob


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posted by Bob Baker @ 12:18 PM   1 comments


October 24, 2006

Learning From Failure

For years now I've been preaching that we live in an incredible era of self-expression and self-empowerment. And it's true. It's never been easier to record and distribute music, publish a book, or produce a short film.

But just because practically everyone can do these things, that doesn't mean everyone who does will succeed on a large scale. We often focus on the success stories and use them to inspire us, but we should be able to learn just as much from artists who don't make it to the limelight.

Scott Andrew expresses this idea well in a recent blog post:

Something like nine out of ten business ventures fail, for various reasons. We're told to embrace failure, to cherish it. Fail faster, fail better. Take your lumps and keep moving, lessons learned. So why is it only that the grand successes get lavish attention and adoring media play? The way things are spun now, it's like some people honestly believe that blogging creates everyday millionaires the same way they believe MySpace creates rock stars.

I'd love to learn more about the failures. I'd love to know why something didn't work out, why a great idea fizzled, how some crucial detail was overlooked or market overestimated. I think that'd be fascinating. I think there's real value in sharing your mistakes.

We need a new magazine. We'll call it Modern Failure or maybe Do-Over Monthly, and every month it'll contain in-depth interviews of people who screwed up, made mistakes, made wrong assumptions, and had plain ol' bad ideas. There will be no trace of snark, not an ounce of gloating. Just profiles of people who tried something and flunked it. What they learned, and what they'd do differently if they had a do-over.

Sure, some people only care about the summit and who's on top of it. Me, I want to hear more about the climb, and that time you rolled to the bottom in the center of a giant snowball!

Great post!

Final thought: Failure is nothing to be ashamed of. Looked at another way, it is simply a result you got when attempting to do something. And we can all learn from results -- our own results and results produced by others.


-Bob

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posted by Bob Baker @ 10:38 AM   2 comments


October 16, 2006

Bob Pics on Flickr

I recently opened a Flickr account and am having fun loading up my account with pictures. Pay a visit yourself and see what stunning images are awaiting you at www.flickr.com/photos/bob-baker/.


So far on the site I have:
  • Screen shots of my book in the movie "The School of Rock," starring Jack Black
  • Pics of people I met at this year's SXSW and previous music conferneces I spoke at
  • Shots taken during this year's 48 Hour Film Project (I was a co-writer and actor on my team)
  • A picture of me with bestselling author Jack Canfield, Harry the Gorilla, and more.
Is there a picture of YOU there? Pay a visit and find out.

Enjoy!

-Bob

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posted by Bob Baker @ 3:57 PM   3 comments


October 12, 2006

The Smartest Thing You Can Do

Do you think you're an indie music know-it-all?

Chances are, you aren't that bombastic. But I'll bet, if you really think about it and are honest with yourself, you'll agree that in many ways you have stopped learning all that you should.

Don't feel bad about it. It's human nature to fall into routines and neglect some of the things that are important. Plus, once you're officially out of school, people just don't have a system in place for continuous learning. Or, if you're currently in school, there doesn't seem to be any room to squeeze in extra studies.

Why am I bringing this up?

Because learning and growing mentally should be a lifelong activity -- especially when it comes to your music career. There's always more to understand. More ideas to consider. More success stories to be inspired by.

Here's one of the smartest things you can do to increase your indie music knowledge base:

Grab a spare three-ring binder, or go to an office supply store and buy one. As you come across articles and tip sheets that interest you, place them in the binder. Print off things you find on the Internet, photocopy articles from magazines, grab effective promotional pieces used by other artists ... anything that will expand your mind.

Organize these various items in the binder. Have sections for marketing, sales, recording, web design, songwriting, etc.

In addition to the articles, insert blank sheets of paper into the binder that you can brainstorm and doodle on. Let your creativity soar and then capture your ideas on paper.

It's one thing to randomly surf the Internet and read books and magazines. That's better than doing nothing, but the ideas you find are fleeting. Putting them all in one physical place (like a binder) adds muscle to your learning activities. It also gives you a place to turn when you're in need of a new idea or you want to remember that brilliant PR plan you came up with six months ago.

Here are some places to find learning material for your binder:
So, buy a three-ring binder today and start your own Indie Music University!

-Bob

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posted by Bob Baker @ 8:18 PM   1 comments


October 05, 2006

Win a Free Ride On the New 'Billboard Publicity Wire'

This just in ... Today Billboard and Vocus announced plans to launch a major music and entertainment online press release service called "Billboard Publicity Wire." Billboard, of course, is the company that publishes the music charts, the trade magazine, and more. Vocus is an online communications company that recently acquired PRWeb, a popular site that pioneered search engine optimized (SEO) and social media press release distribution.

What does that mean?

Combined with Billboard's brand and Vocus's technology, the new service will help everyone from indie artists to major labels reach a wider audience on the Net when they post their press releases.

Here's the cool part: The service will be very affordable -- even for the most budget-minded acts -- with pricing plans ranging from roughly $80 to $200.

But here's the coolest part of all ...

I will be giving away 20 free press release submission coupons for the new Billboard Publicity Wire service. Look below for details on how to enter to win. But first, a little more about it:

When you post a press release through the new Billboard service, it will be indexed by major search engines and published on many news and entertainment sites, including Yahoo! News, Billboard.biz, eMediaWire and PRWeb. It will also be delivered through more than 20,000 PRWeb RSS feeds that reach millions of consumers and thousands of journalists daily.

Press releases will also be search engine optimized and enabled with such features as blog trackbacks and Technorati tagging. Each release can be categorized geographically and tagged with up to ten subjects and genres. Customers can elect to receive distribution reports that show how many times their releases were accessed, downloaded and printed; the most popular search terms used to find their releases; and a geographic breakdown of readers.

"Okay, enough with the hype, Bob. How can I enter to win?"

One more important thing: The Billboard service will officially launch on October 24. The press release coupons I'm giving away to 20 lucky winners must be used and posted sometime between October 16 and October 26. So if you won't have a press release ready to send during these dates, please don't enter. I only want people who will use them to win.

Here's what you need to do to enter:

By email, send me a short headline and subhead of the press release you plan to distribute using the Billboard Publicity Wire. That's all I need. So make them mouth-wateringly good! I'll select the 20 best headline/subhead combos and those smart people will get a free ride on the new service -- at the premium Double Platinum plan level.

For info on what a good headline is, read this recent blog post and this older article for insight into what I'm looking for.

  • Email your entries to MrBuzzFactor AT Gmail.com (please replace the AT with @)

  • Use the subject line "Billboard PR Entry"

  • Deadline to enter is Thursday, Oct. 12.

Good luck. And may the best PR headlines win!

-Bob

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posted by Bob Baker @ 5:19 PM   1 comments


October 04, 2006

Cingular YouTube Underground

Savvy cell phone company Cingular and video mega-site YouTube have teamed up to present "YouTube Underground," a talent hunt for unsigned bands and musicians.

Indie artists can submit their videos from Oct. 2 thru Oct. 18. After that, millions of YouTube users will vote for the finalists. From this smaller group, four grand prize winners -- best song, best music video, best live performance, and best creative work -- will be chosen.

Winning acts will get a video featured on Cingular mobile phones, an appearance on ABC's "Good Morning America," and new equipment from Gibson and Epiphone, among other things.

Might be worth a shot.

Visit this page for more info:
www.youtube.com/contest/youtubeunderground

-Bob

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posted by Bob Baker @ 10:16 AM   1 comments


October 03, 2006

Erections and Good Headlines

I was skimming over the home page of MSNBC last week trying to digest the top news stories of the day ... when I was suddenly stopped dead in my virtual tracks by the following headline:

"Man with 10-Year Erection May Not Get His Cash"

Sorry, but that was just too intriguing to pass up. So I clicked the link and read about this poor fellow who had a failed penile implant that refused to ... um, let's say, relax. If interested (and I know you are), you can read the whole story here.

Why am I sharing this with you?

Because it's a good lesson in what it takes to stand out in a sea of competing news stories. You may not land a story on MSNBC, but there are a growing number of options these days for posting your own news stories and press releases online. In fact, Internet press releases have become standard operating practices for most businesses -- including bands, solo artists and record labels.

A well-placed online press release carries a lot of benefits. First, it gets listed in the news database of whatever service you post it on. Plus, your press release page can show up in search results on Google and various news feeds across the Internet.

All of these little glimpses of your musical activities across the Web add to your credibility and increase the odds that someone will stumble across your news item.


The thing is, your press release headline is usually the only thing surfers see before they click to the full release. And, your headline often becomes the title of the web page the release appears on.

So, to be effective, your press release headline must accomplish two things:
  • Be intriguing enough to inspire people to click on it for more details

  • Be filled with key words that will help it come up in targeted search results
Therefore, don't make a reference to erections in your headline if the release itself doesn't cover erections. But do find an interesting angle for your music news story and find a way to describe it in as few words as possible.

Examples ...

Lame headline: "Local Chicago Band Releases New CD Called 'Red, White & Blues'"

Good headline: "New CD Reveals the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Chicago Politics"

That second headline might not be as eye-catching as the "10-Year Erection" one, but you have to admit it's better than the lame version.

What can you do to make your music news story (and headline) stand out?

-Bob

P.S. For more music PR advice, check out:

Killer Music Press Kits - Deluxe Edition
www.bob-baker.com/buzz/presskits.html

Do-It-Yourself Internet Music PR
www.bob-baker.com/buzz/diy-internet-pr.html

Online Music PR Hot List 2006
www.bob-baker.com/buzz/music_pr.htm

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posted by Bob Baker @ 11:17 AM   4 comments


October 02, 2006

Grow Your Music Business

My Internet radio show blitz continues. A couple weeks ago I did a rollicking 40-minute phone interview with Fred Hueston and Lyna Farkas. I was a guest on their Growing Your Business show, which explores all aspects of running and marketing a small business.

The show featuring yours truly airs tonight at 8 PM Eastern / 7 PM Central U.S. time at AllTalkRadio.net

Tune in if you can.

Update: If you missed the live airing of the episode, you can still catch it on Fred and Lyna 's "Growing Your Business" audio archive page or download the MP3 directly using this link.

Enjoy!

-Bob

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posted by Bob Baker @ 9:42 AM   1 comments