Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

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


November 30, 2006

Free Music Downloads: The Smart Way

A couple days ago I expressed my frustration over the Best Buy/Rhapsody "free holiday music downloads" promotion. (You can read my rant here.)

Now let's shift gears and examine why I was intrigued by the concept to begin with and how you can use this basic idea to promote your own music downloads.


One of the coolest things about this type of promotion is that it combines the power of the online and physical worlds. Most free music download announcements are delivered online -- which makes sense, since that's where fans are looking for digital music. But if you can also reach fans in the offline world and send them to the Internet, all the better.

So here's what you do ...

Design and print something that you can give away in the real world. It should scream something like "Get 3 Free Reggae Songs from XYZ's New Album" or "Download 3 Free Blues Music Tracks from New Artists." Be sure to include a special web address where fans must go to get the downloads.

The item you print this on can be as simple as a colorful business card or post card, or as slick as a shiny candy wrapper package or cardboard cut-out in the shape of an MP3 player.

Then give away these "free music download" promos at your live shows, at festivals, outside concert venues, and at any retail stores that will allow you to distribute them.

When fans go to the special web page, design it so that all they have to do is enter their name and email address into a form and click Submit. This easy process should take them right to the page where they can start downloading the songs you promised. (Most email list management programs can be configured to take subscribers right to a welcome page. In this case, it would be your download page.)

Don't make the mistake of requiring too much of people. Getting an email address alone would be great. At the most, ask for their name, email and postal code. No more.

Here's the thing ...

I suggest that you follow up with these people by email -- maybe a few times over the next few weeks. They have identified themselves as people who are interested in what you play. Make the most of this relationship and send them a few reminders of who you are and what you do.


Through your follow-up emails, thank them for taking the time to download your music. Make them aware of the other things you have to offer: Your CDs, merchandise, paid downloads, additional free downloads, your regular mailing list, where they can get the latest on your live show schedule, etc.

This is the smart way to market music downloads offline. Compare this to what I (and thousands of other unsuspecting people) had to go through to get misled by Best Buy's "free" downloads.

But, as a self-empowered, independent artist, you're smarter then a "big box" retail chain. Right?

-Bob

P.S. 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 @ 10:55 AM   3 comments


November 28, 2006

Sweet Tracks & Cheap Tricks

I was in the check-out line at Best Buy yesterday and came upon something I immediately wanted to blog about. As it turns out, I am blogging about it, but for all the wrong reasons.

What caught my eye near the cash register was a display of what looked like candy in bright, shiny wrappers. Looking closer, I saw that the packages read "Sweet Tracks." The text on the back read as follows:
Sweet Tracks is a delicious blend of 14 free holiday music downloads. You'll also enjoy 5 mouthwatering bonus tracks and tasty holiday ringtones ...


Sounded good. What a creative packaging idea to promote music! I was hooked. When I got home, I opened the package and went to the web site listed on the enclosed fold-out card. That's when things started to go down hill.

First, I had to register for the Best Buy Digital Music Store. Fair enough. Turns out this "Sweet Tracks" thing is a cross-promotion with Rhapsody, the online music subscription service. To take advantage of the "14 free holiday music tracks," I had to download and install Rhapsody. This was an unexpected hurdle. But I've heard good things about Rhapsody and figured I'd move ahead to check it out.

Once the program was installed, I had to register with Rhapsody. Yet another task I had to complete before getting to the free holiday music. Then I was given the option of signing up for a free Rhapsody trial (with a monthly subscription payment to follow after the trial period). I wasn't ready for that commitment just yet, so I opted for Rhapsody's free version.

Well, when you don't sign up for the potential paid membership, all you get of the holiday music is 30-second streaming samples of each song. So much for the "14 free holiday music downloads."

This is a great example of two corporations with money and the ability to reach lots of people taking a good idea and blowing it. Why make it so hard for people to take you up on an offer? Why mislead music consumers with the promise of free music downloads and then put so many hoops and requirements in the way?

I scoured the "Sweet Tracks" retail package in search of some indication of all that was needed to actually get the downloads. There is no mention of having to join Rhapsody in order to get the 14 full music tracks. Maybe they just figure consumers will deal with it. But frankly, I find it misleading and frustrating.

In my next post, I'll spell out what indie musicians can learn from this promotion and how to create your own version of it -- one that will endear music fans and not piss them off.

-Bob

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posted by Bob Baker @ 11:58 AM   6 comments


November 27, 2006

Bob's New Video, Podcast & More

My mission these days is to deliver music marketing ideas and empowering messages by engaging most of your senses -- your eyes, your ears, your brain. I haven't incorporated a sense of touch or smell yet, and that's probably a good thing ... but I give you lots of choices to receive the message nonetheless.

Here's a rundown of my latest audio/visual food for thought:
  • A new video clip featuring the three timeless music promotion principles that all artists should use to make their marketing most effective.

  • A new Artist Empowerment Radio podcast that reveals clever networking strategies, creative ways to work your way into the songwriters' inner circle, the importance of fans and how to find them, and more.

  • Another podcast that covers how video has exploded on the Internet, and how you can make the most of this new online music promotion opportunity.

  • And if you haven't grabbed it yet, be sure to get this FREE collection of music promotion reports, tip sheets and tools.
That should keep your senses busy for a while!

-Bob

P.S. For more in-depth study, check out my books, special reports, and audio programs.

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posted by Bob Baker @ 2:20 PM   0 comments


November 24, 2006

Why Am I Thanking You?

Yesterday was Thanksgiving in the U.S. While a lot of focus is put on tasty meals, parades and football ... it's also a great day to express gratitude for the people, things and events of our lives.

With that in mind, I would like to acknowledge the role YOU play in my life and thank you if you have ever ...
Without someone paying attention, I'd just be flinging words into the ether. The time and attention you give my work gives it meaning. And for that, I thank you!

-Bob

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posted by Bob Baker @ 11:02 AM   0 comments


November 22, 2006

Music Promoter from Hell: Clell Tickle

This video is hilarious. It's described as "A behind the scenes look at Clell Tickle, the man who makes indie rock dreams come true. By any means necessary."


Funny, huh?

-Bob

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posted by Bob Baker @ 5:06 PM   0 comments


November 20, 2006

Universal Sues Myspace for Copyright Violations

According to this ZDNet News article ...

Universal Music Group sued MySpace.com late Friday, claiming that the social-networking site is infringing on the copyrights of thousands of songs and videos. Universal, owned by French media conglomerate Vivendi, claims that Myspace has looked the other way as users unlawfully uploaded copyright music videos.

James Hutchinson posted some sharp remarks about the suit on Blogcritics:

Give music labels time and they'll sue their own grandmothers upon the sole premise that said grandmothers aren't buying enough of the labels' music ... Unfortunately, this is an inevitable action in a bid by music labels to ensure that the money keeps streaming out of wallets.

Of course, [MySpace still has] the might of Rupert Murdoch himself to compete against, but as much of a burden as MySpace appears to be, it has actually done the music industry some good. Rather than relying on Saturday morning video charts for music recommendations, the average consumer can now find for themselves whether a band is worth their hard-earned cash or not.

I'm sure MySpace has been bracing itself for this kind of legal battle for a while now. But it will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

-Bob

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posted by Bob Baker @ 12:57 PM   0 comments


November 17, 2006

Nova Scotia Music Week Rocked!

I'm still catching my breath after the exhilarating trip I just took to Nova Scotia. The reason for the visit was Nova Scotia Music Week, held this year in the charming town of Liverpool and the nearby White Point Beach Resort -- about an hour and a half from Halifax.

I honestly can't remember the last time I felt so good about attending a music event. The people I met were wonderful, the amount of musical talent I witnessed was truly impressive, and the way the organizers treated my girlfriend, Pooki, and I during our stay was top-notch.

new york city times square

Check out photos of the people we met here on Flickr:

Nova Scotia has a rich musical history. Some of the artists who have made their mark include Hank Snow, Anne Murray, Sarah McLachlan, Sloan, the Rankin Family, and Joel Plaskett. (Check out this Wikipedia entry on the province.) There appears to be yet another surge of incredible songs and acts emerging from the region.

Here's a list of just some of the awesome artists we were lucky enough to hear live over three short days:
Here are a few more friends we made that weekend:
A big thanks to Gordon Lapp, Chuck Teed, Mickey Quase and Keith Publicover of Music Nova Scotia for inviting me and making us feel so welcome and at home!

-Bob

P.S. The cool thing is, I may be returning to Halifax in February for the East Coast Music Awards, an even bigger event. Stay tuned.

P.P.S. To cap off an already memorable trip, guess who sat behind us on the flight from Halifax to JFK? None other than Tom Selleck, Mr. Magnum PI himself.

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posted by Bob Baker @ 1:57 PM   3 comments


November 09, 2006

Meet Me in NYC, Nova Scotia, St Louis

Would you like me to come to your city and speak? Maybe I will. Read on ...

It looks like I'll be in New York City the weekend of December 9 & 10 for the Global Entertainment & Media Summit. It'll be held at the Laugh Factory in Times Square. My panel is scheduled for Dec. 10 at 2 PM. Go here for more details: www.globalentertainmentnetwork.com

new york city times square

While I'm in the Big Apple, I'd love to organize another speaking event and meet some of my longtime readers -- like you, if you're in the area. And that's where I can use your help ...

Do you know of an association, school, store, or studio in the NYC area that would like to host a marketing workshop by yours truly? Ideally, the event would draw at least 50 people. The evening of Dec 10 or 11 would probably be best. If you have an idea, send an email to Bob AT TheBuzzFactor.com and let me know.

Or if you simply would like to attend such an event in the area, let me know and I'll put you on a special email list and let you know where I'll be.

In New York I plan to talk about social networking and "The New Rules of Internet Music Marketing." I'm taking that same workshop this weekend (Nov. 11-12) to Nova Scotia, Canada, where I'll speak at White Point Beach Resort during Nova Scotia Music Week. Visit www.musicnovascotia.ca/default2.asp for details.

And on Monday, Nov. 20, I will present the same workshop in my hometown of St. Louis, MO. It'll be held at the Regional Arts Commission, 6128 Delmar, 63112, 7 to 9 PM. To register, just visit www.vlaa.org/workshops.asp and scroll down to "The New Rules of Internet Music Marketing." Or call 314-863-6930.

In 2007, I plan to take my message on the road a bit more. So let me know about speaking opportunities in your city. Especially places like Chicago, Nashville, Memphis or Kansas City. You never know, maybe I'll come to your town and get to meet you in person.

-Bob

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posted by Bob Baker @ 10:18 AM   1 comments


November 07, 2006

John Legend: Success Without Radio

John Legend sold more than 1.7 million copies of his last album, Get Lifted, in the U.S., but he has yet to put out a single that gets major radio play.

john legend

So says the Wall Street Journal, by way of an item on Kurt Hanson's "Radio And Internet Newsletter." Legend's new album, Once Again, was just released to rave reviews -- but still no significant airplay. Turning again to the WSJ article ...

"A growing number of musicians are marketing singles and sometimes turning them into hits without the support of radio, at least initially. Radio still matters -- a recent report by Mercury Radio Research, a company that studies the industry, found that the medium is still the primary way people discover new music. But other methods are making inroads ... Panic! At the Disco, a Nevada rock band, got an early push from Purevolume, a music fan site, and the social networking site MySpace."

Here's the interesting thing:

"The online attention spurred radio stations to play Panic! At the Disco's music and fans to buy their albums and attend their shows."

Lesson: In the old days, radio was the main thing that spread new music and created hits. Today, radio is much less important than it once was, but it can still help a great deal. The key to getting radio airplay these days is to first make a splash in another medium: online, live shows, print media or TV exposure.

Grant Robertson at the Digital Music Weblog reported on this story as well. He pointed out John Legend's previous stint as a consultant for a Boston consulting group, then remarked ...

"This is so important for any up and coming musician to understand. You may be bright, hot and talented but today's music business requires you to be a sharp business person as well. Certainly, those with business or marketing skills are at an advantage but, increasingly, those without face greater hurdles to expansion."

Take heed!

-Bob

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posted by Bob Baker @ 3:10 PM   1 comments


November 06, 2006

Music Business Radio: The Dave & Bob Show

This past summer I took a drive to Nashville and spent some time in the studio as a guest on David Hooper's Music Business Radio show. It aired a week ago Sunday in Nashville and is now available as a podcast.

On the show we talk about what music marketing really is, how to double (and even triple) your music income, and the biggest mistakes artists make with their press kits. You can download an MP3 of the show using this link or subscribe to the podcast with iTunes using this link.

Hats off to whomever edited this show. I remember not being particularly articulate that day in the studio (see this picture). Perhaps it was engineer Dan Buckley who painstakingly removed all my mumbles and stumbles and made me sound like a silver-tongued expert.

In any event, enjoy the show. We had fun doing it.

-Bob

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posted by Bob Baker @ 9:52 AM   0 comments