Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

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

May 25, 2007

Everything You Need to Know About Music Marketing

Confused about music marketing? Read this and you won't be ...

Last month, Mark Cuban posted some thoughts on the changing music industry on his blog. These two sentences really caught my attention:

"Music is not just entertainment, but a tool for people to describe themselves to those around them. We use music in our ring tones, on MySpace pages, blasting through the windows of cars to let people know something about who we are."

It's true. The type of music a person listens to speaks volumes about who they are. In much the same way that hair styles, clothing choices, car models and body piercings indicate who someone is.

So, let's get introspective about this for a moment. Ask yourself: "What does my music say about the people who listen to it?" What kind of socio-economic vibe does your sound plug into?

It is earthy and rugged? Sexy and grooving? Smooth and sophisticated? Hard and heavy? Upbeat and bouncy?

And if we compare music to other shopping choices that people make, where do you fit in: Neiman Marcus, Target, Wal-Mart, Toys R Us, Winn-Dixie, Barnes & Noble, Sears, or Dollar General?

Fans are attracted to music that either resonates with who they already are or reflects the type of person they wish they could be.

It's about hopes and dreams and aspirations and finding one's place in the world. It's about using music to support self-image and express your personality to the world.

In other words, music is personal.

When marketing music, we may talk about niche markets and target audiences, blogs and podcasts, radio and TV, retail and online sales, etc.

But all it's ever really been about is one thing: Connecting with real people through your music in a very personal way.

Always remember that and you'll never be confused about marketing again.


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posted by Bob Baker @ 9:58 AM   9 comments


At May 29, 2007, 2:58:00 PM, Anonymous Kerianne Mellott said...

Great blog, Bob. It's true. Very true. And even though it may not seem fair to you artists who haven't been noticed by a major label yet (grrr..why not?! You're awesome, right?) it's really a luxury as an indie for you to connect with the fans you want to connect with instead of who they tell you to. You control your image which makes you happy and lets you keep being YOU. And it's always easier to sell something you know about than something you haven't gotta clue on...

Keep up the good work!

Kerianne Mellott
Mellott Marketing Group

At May 29, 2007, 7:49:00 PM, Anonymous DRXL said...

True. At my label, we used to have a fairly idealized notion of whom our listeners were (nerdy, music-savvy, young, educated, blah, blah, blah), but then we never saw anyone like that at our shows! It took us a while to realize that we should try to communicate to our REAL listeners, instead of our idealized vision of them.

We have also learned a lot about our real fanbase by exploring website profiles of people who list us under 'favourite music' or 'listening to now', and sometimes even contacting them directly on their sites! I hope this helps us be closer to our fans.

At May 30, 2007, 8:07:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice write up Bob.

Going along with what you've stated I would like to direct you to These guys have made some incredible tools for indie musicians. I know I'm not a smart man to begin with but they have really blown my mind with what they've done.

The various tools really help you understand your audience, what they like, what they don't, what your listener demographics are, etc.

and if you've tired of myspam(aka myspace) this is a fantastic site.

Cheers again Bob!
Matt Larson

At May 30, 2007, 12:23:00 PM, Anonymous Catya Maré said...

It´s a fantastic blog!
Really valuable....

Best wishes,
Catya Maré

composer / violin-singer

At May 30, 2007, 1:18:00 PM, Anonymous Kathena Bryant said...

what a nice quick reminder about how to visualize yourself. It occured to me recently that I should
focus on the fans I already have and then visualize
finding more like minded people and imagine a huge party with all of them together having a blast. Bruce Springsteen's concert was like a huge party, very intimate even though it was in a stadium. The Cure also. Next time you go to a show check out the vibe of the audience and think of that niche approach to marketing.

Kathena Bryant The Hippy Nuts

At May 30, 2007, 7:53:00 PM, Blogger said...

Great blog, Bob. We know better who we are than a major label trying to make us into an image that they want us to be so that they can line their pockets with money.

At Jun 3, 2007, 10:30:00 AM, Blogger Jess said...

question: as an "indie publicist", so to speak, how can I get my band to recognize this necessity to connect with the fans. Although I love the guys to death, the majority of them have naturally abrasive and egotistical temperaments. I've discussed the necessity of identifying who you're trying to identify with, but they're insistent on their mixed messages. I also attempted to "poll" their fanbase by perusing their myspace friends. Unfortunately, the majority of people they are connected with are for business purposes. How can I reach out more (or get the band to) to the actual listeners?

I was also wondering if you ever lecture or do workshops in Asheville or Atlanta. I'd love to attend one your events, but unfortunately I never will if they're constantly in New York and other far away places. :(

At Jun 3, 2007, 4:00:00 PM, Anonymous Nat JM said...

Funny drawing.

IMHO, there is an obvious link between music and how people's mind works, but clothes and general attire are somewhat different, especially as people get older. Their style might have changed due to pressures from work or partners, but their taste in music remains their own, especailly on the internet where they can freely browse through music without having their friends criticising their CD collection.

At Jun 5, 2007, 11:08:00 AM, Blogger Bob Baker said...

Jess, That's a tough question. If the band members are abrasive and/or anti-social, I'm not sure how to force them to be nice to people and appreciate their fans. You can't fake that kind of thing. You may just be dealing with the wrong types of musicians. OR ... use it to your advantage, and have their image be dark and mysterious.

I hope to hit the road more this year and next. Atlanta is on the list. Nothing booked yet. If you -- or anyone -- has ideas on venues, events, etc ... let me know.



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