Bob Baker's The Buzz Factor
Music marketing tips and self-promotion ideas for independent songwriters, musicians and bands.
Music marketing ideas for DIY artists, managers, promoters and music biz pros
September 27, 2007
Dealing With Anti-Marketers
I'm talking about "anti-marketers." These are the musicians who have an automatic disdain for anything related to the subject of "marketing." They feel it's unnatural or unbecoming of an "artist" or too analytical for their own good.
One reason I'm so surprised when I hear these people is because I pride myself on approaching this music marketing subject from a musician's perspective, not from a business person's dry point of view.
I was an active player and performer (guitarist/singer/songwriter) long before I wrote a word about music promotion. I continue to play part-time to this day. And I like to think I bring that perspective to everything I write and speak about now.
But, despite my best efforts, that doesn't always register with every musician who comes across my ideas. And you know what? That's perfectly fine.
All I can do is share what I've learned and talk about marketing through the only lens I can: my own experience. And my personal experience doesn't just hint at, but it screams that creativity and smart self-promotion can find a happy home together within an artist.
Some musicians disagree. And not just starving artists. There are successful and prosperous ones who see things a different way. They preach about the importance of following your passion, letting your intuition guide you, and allowing your career to organically unfold -- and suggest that thinking too much about marketing is detrimental to your career and level of happiness.
The crazy thing is, I agree with that philosophy ... to a point. I've always let passion and intuition guide me. I believe in doing what feels right and allowing "happy accidents" to take you in new directions. Absolutely.
BUT, I also believe in expanding your awareness, trying new things, pushing beyond your comfort zone, striving to be more effective, spending your time on productive activities, and always attempting to reach more people with your musical gifts.
For some musicians, success seems to happen "organically," with no forethought on their part. And if you can make that work for you, congratulations! For others, relying on passion and intuition alone leads to continued obscurity and little progress (as they themselves define it).
Learning and thinking about marketing doesn't suck the life out of your art. It doesn't turn you into a nerdy analyst who gets cut off from your natural creative flow. Quite the opposite. Being a student of music promotion expands your awareness of what's possible. It gives you more options and more tools at your disposal.
Just because I point out how a certain artist has established himself in a niche market doesn't mean you have to copy him or think that's your ticket to fame or shut yourself off from other opportunities.
Most musicians simply don't know the massive variety of ways that other artists have attained success. By making yourself aware of what others have done and what's possible, it might just put you in a frame of mind to recognize a new opportunity when it crosses your path -- an opportunity you might have missed if you were just doing your own thing and "winging it."
So, don't be afraid of marketing, sales and self-promotion. They don't weaken you. Knowing about them makes you a stronger, smarter and more empowered artist.
That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!
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What About Bob?
Bob Baker is an author, speaker, teacher, indie musician and former music magazine editor dedicated to showing musicians of all kinds how to get exposure, connect with fans, sell more music, and increase their incomes.
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