Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

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


January 30, 2007

14 Things I've Learned About Indie Music Success

  1. Turn your mistakes into a reference library, not a room to live in.

  2. Do not take advice from people who are broke and struggling -- unless you want to end up like them you can admire them and appreciate their talent, just don't take career advice (especially financial) from them.

  3. Great marketing is falling in love with something, then selling your love for it -- not the product itself.

  4. Realize the lifetime value of a fan: It's far more than a $15 CD sale.

  5. Pick one aspect of your music or personality and make that the cornerstone of your public identity.

  6. Conduct yourself as if you deliver great value to everyone you encounter -- even if you don't believe you actually do at the moment.

  7. Be willing to take smart risks and overcome the fear of failure. Ask: "What's the worst thing that can happen?" Usually, not much.

  8. Beware of the quick fix. The sure and steady marathon beats the sprint every time.

  9. Ask: "How did you hear about us/me/the event?" It's one of the best, low-cost research tools you can use.

  10. Ask: "What will it take to get from 'Here's what I dream about' to 'Here's what I did'?"

  11. No one will manage you until you can manage yourself.

  12. Be proactive instead of reactive. In other words, create the circumstances you want, don't merely respond to what's handed to you.

  13. Stagnation occurs when your fear of the unknown is greater than your desire for a better life.

  14. What you do today sets the stage for the success you will enjoy tomorrow. Don't squander today.
-Bob
Get more tips like these when you subscribe to my free Buzz Factor ezine — the longest running music career tips email newsletter on the planet. Since 1995. Learn more about the free subscription here.


Or just sign up using this quick and easy form:

Your First Name
Your Primary Email


Your email address will not be shared. Unsubscribe at any time.

Connect with

posted by Bob Baker @ 10:18 AM   25 comments


January 26, 2007

The Best Music Marketing Thing You Can Do

There are basically two aspects of effective music marketing. They include:
  • The mental part (expanding your knowledge and generating ideas) and

  • The doing part (taking action)
Each step is vitally important. Reading and thinking about music promotion means nothing without following up your ideas with action. And getting busy for the sake of "getting your name out there" without a plan and a reason why you're taking action can often lead to frustration as well.

Regular readers of my books, this blog and my music marketing tips e-zine rarely complain about a lack of ideas. Within these pages you'll find plenty of them. But I bet many stumble because they fail at that important next step: Not choosing the best ideas and acting on them.

So here's what I want you to do right now. Go through the archives of this blog. Or use the little Blogger search box at the top of this page to hunt down specific topics. Also, look over my collection of music success articles.

As you look these over, write down the ideas that strike a chord with you. The concepts that you can really apply to your genre, style or image. The tactics that resonate the most with you.

Then look over your list. Hopefully, it's a lengthy one. But that doesn't matter. What you need to do now is this:
  • Pick your top three ideas off the list, and no more.
Then take this important step:
  • Place these items on your calendar -- whatever you use to plan your activities.
Don't have a personal calendar? Start one. Or use a Google Calendar. Whatever. The main thing is that you put a priority on them and pick a date and time when you will implement these ideas.

Don't overwhelm yourself. Just work on one idea a week. But put them on your calendar. Then use your calendar. And when the date comes, get busy working on the idea.

Pretty easy, huh? Now get busy reading, writing and planning to act!

-Bob
Get more tips like these when you subscribe to my free Buzz Factor ezine — the longest running music career tips email newsletter on the planet. Since 1995. Learn more about the free subscription here.


Or just sign up using this quick and easy form:

Your First Name
Your Primary Email


Your email address will not be shared. Unsubscribe at any time.

Connect with

posted by Bob Baker @ 3:57 PM   0 comments


January 23, 2007

Bob on Musicians Cooler Podcast

"Jammin'" Dave Jackson just posted the first of two interview segments with me on his excellent Musicians Cooler podcast. On the first episode, we discuss "7 Things Every Musician Should Know About Self-Empowerment," one of my favorite topics.

Visit the episode's podcast page here:
www.coolerpodcasts.com/index.php/podcasts/115/

Or download an MP3 of the show using this link.

-Bob

P.S. If you'd like an even bigger dose of this "mental game" aspect of the music biz, I cover a lot more on the audio CD "Guerrilla Music Marketing Live."
Get more tips like these when you subscribe to my free Buzz Factor ezine — the longest running music career tips email newsletter on the planet. Since 1995. Learn more about the free subscription here.


Or just sign up using this quick and easy form:

Your First Name
Your Primary Email


Your email address will not be shared. Unsubscribe at any time.

Connect with

posted by Bob Baker @ 5:11 PM   0 comments


January 18, 2007

Hilarious: Garage Orchestra Story in the Onion

Had to pass this along. It's a riot. From TheOnion.com ...
Garage Orchestra Hands Out Demo At Boston Philharmonic Show

BOSTON, MA -- The 104 members of the upstart Melrose Philharmonic Orchestra of Melrose, MA stood outside Jordan Hall Sunday and passed out demo CDs to the crowd exiting a Boston Philharmonic performance of Prokofiev's Symphony No. 6 In E-Flat Minor.

"Hey, you like orchestral?" said third cellist Paul Gleiberman as he thrust copies of the recording at visibly bemused concertgoers. "We've been meeting in my conductor friend's four-car garage every Tuesday, and we're getting pretty tight ..."
Read the rest here. Funny stuff.

-Bob

Get more tips like these when you subscribe to my free Buzz Factor ezine — the longest running music career tips email newsletter on the planet. Since 1995. Learn more about the free subscription here.


Or just sign up using this quick and easy form:

Your First Name
Your Primary Email


Your email address will not be shared. Unsubscribe at any time.

Connect with

posted by Bob Baker @ 9:42 AM   0 comments


January 17, 2007

Chicago Music Workshop Jan 25

Sorry for the short notice, but I was finally able to set a date, time and location for a workshop next week in Chicago. I'll be bringing the ever-popular New Rules of Internet Music Marketing presentation to the Windy City.

Internet Music Marketing Workshop

Thursday, January 25
The Music Garage
345 N Loomis
Chicago, IL 60607 - Map
(312) 997-1972
7 to 9 PM

Seating is limited, so get there early. Bring a pen and be ready to take notes, ask questions, and empower yourself with dozens of online music promotion ideas. Best of all, admission is free!

Hope to see you there!

-Bob

Get more tips like these when you subscribe to my free Buzz Factor ezine — the longest running music career tips email newsletter on the planet. Since 1995. Learn more about the free subscription here.


Or just sign up using this quick and easy form:

Your First Name
Your Primary Email


Your email address will not be shared. Unsubscribe at any time.

Connect with

posted by Bob Baker @ 12:11 PM   0 comments


January 15, 2007

How to Rank Higher on Google

In part 1 of this post, I detailed where my web pages rank on Google for keyword phrases related to my books and online identity: "music marketing" and "music promotion." Now I'll share a few simple tips you can use to rank better on search engines for your own keywords.

As an example, let's say you're in a band that plays easy listening music. Here are the steps you would take:

1) Get Genre Specific

So you play "easy listening" music. Fine. But ask yourself, "Is there an even more specific way to describe what I play?" Easy listening music can be further defined as lounge, cabaret, love songs, mood music, soft rock, and more. What words best clarify your type of easy listening? And more importantly, what words might fans of your music search for online?

2) Title Tag, You're It

Be sure to include your chosen keywords in the Title tags of your pages' HTML code -- especially your home page -- with the most potent words first. Example: "Soft rock love songs from The Smooth Tones." For my purposes, I called my blog "Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog," which appears in the Title tags of every page. Google loves it when pages specifically reference what they're about.

3) Use a Keyword-Rich Domain Name or Subdirectory

The easy listening band might register SmoothTonesLoveSongs.com or SoftRockLoveSongs.com. I grabbed MusicPromotionBlog.com to reinforce what my blog was about. Again, search engines like to send people to sites that clearly communicate a specific topic, and a well-chosen domain name will help.

If you already have a domain name (such as SmoothTonesMusic.com), add a subdirectory and send people to SmoothTonesMusic.com/lovesongs/. While I own MusicPromotionBlog.com, my blog is actually hosted on my main site at bob-baker.com/musicpromotionblog. Therefore, my blog name, subdirectory name, and Title tags all reinforce the keywords I want to emphasize.

4) Link to Yourself

To show up on Google, you must have incoming links from web sites that are already indexed by Google. The more the merrier, and the higher profile the site, the more weight its link to you will carry.

In the old days of the Internet, you got incoming links by trying to get other sites to link to yours. You can still do that, but these days there are tons of options to create dozens of your own incoming links.

Examples: Include active links to your site (or your specific subdirectory) from your profile pages on MySpace, Flickr, YouTube, Blogger, Amazon, and tagging sites like Del.icio.us and Technorati. Links from these popular sites carry weight with Google.

5) Link Using Targeted Keyword Text

Whenever possible, use your exact keywords as the active link text. Don't just write, visit our "home page" for more info. Better: Check out samples of our "soft rock love songs here."

Use these five simple tips to improve your Google search engine rankings, whether you play "music for the glass armonica" or "Irish drinking songs for cat lovers."

-Bob

Get more tips like these when you subscribe to my free Buzz Factor ezine — the longest running music career tips email newsletter on the planet. Since 1995. Learn more about the free subscription here.


Or just sign up using this quick and easy form:

Your First Name
Your Primary Email


Your email address will not be shared. Unsubscribe at any time.

Connect with

posted by Bob Baker @ 3:50 PM   1 comments


January 12, 2007

Google Music Keyword Search Rankings

Would you like to rank higher on Google and other search engines for your particular keywords? Let me show you the success I've had and share a few simple Google ranking tips.


First, let's take a look at how I'm doing when it comes to words related to my books. For years, I've been pounding away at the two-word phrase I want to be known for the most: "music marketing."

Actually, I'm probably most associated with the three-word term "indie music marketing." But I figured if I could fare well in the slightly more generic "music marketing," I'd be doing just fine.

The good news is, for some years now I've ranked very well for these word combos. Take a look right now at the Google results for music marketing.

As of this writing, I appear three times on the first page of results -- at the 4th and 5th spots for two pages on my own web site, and again in the 9th spot where my Guerrilla Music Marketing book's Amazon page appears.

That's pretty damn good. But a few years ago, I discovered that the term "music promotion" was searched for about five times more often than "music marketing." At the time, I was buried about three pages deep in the results for "music promotion."

This wasn't a good thing for reaching more people with my message. So what did I do?

One thing I did more than two years ago was start my Indie Music Promotion Blog. I purposely chose the word Promotion instead of Marketing in the name of the blog. For nearly 27 months now, I've been posting to the blog and getting the word out about its existence.

Today, if you search Google for music promotion, my blog pops up in the third spot on the first page of results. That's a big improvement! And it has a great impact on my ability to empower artists -- and on my bottom line.

I also discovered an unintended Google perk. If you simply search for "promotion blog" -- with no reference to music at all -- my blog is in the very top spot! Nice.

In my next post, I'll cover a few simple things I did -- and you can do -- to improve Google search engine rankings. Stay tuned.

-Bob

P.S. I touch on this topic and dozens of others in the special report 50 Ways to Promote & Sell Your Music on the Internet.

Get more tips like these when you subscribe to my free Buzz Factor ezine — the longest running music career tips email newsletter on the planet. Since 1995. Learn more about the free subscription here.


Or just sign up using this quick and easy form:

Your First Name
Your Primary Email


Your email address will not be shared. Unsubscribe at any time.

Connect with

posted by Bob Baker @ 11:55 AM   2 comments


January 11, 2007

Music Promotion Blog Makes the Z List

Seth Godin started a Plexo-driven Z List Squidoo lens of the best blogs (now maintained by Ray Edwards). This very Indie Music Promotion Blog is on the list at position 104. That's pretty nice, considering how many blogs there are in the world.

Check out the list here: www.squidoo.com/zlist
Be sure to scroll down and click to see all the blogs.


If you're so inclined, vote to move your favorite blogs up the list (whether they're mine or any others you choose). You just might discover some new voices and insights on this list!

-Bob

Get more tips like these when you subscribe to my free Buzz Factor ezine — the longest running music career tips email newsletter on the planet. Since 1995. Learn more about the free subscription here.


Or just sign up using this quick and easy form:

Your First Name
Your Primary Email


Your email address will not be shared. Unsubscribe at any time.

Connect with

posted by Bob Baker @ 12:50 PM   0 comments


January 10, 2007

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Last year I blogged about some cool indie film projects I was involved in. Well, the most ambitious of them is slowly starting to take shape. Check out this page to watch a trailer for Heidi Meets Death. Yes, that's me in the blue shirt, and yes, I play "Death" -- but a kinder, quirkier version than you might think.

It's interesting how Erin, who plays Heidi and whose production company produced the film, created a MySpace page for her character.

MySpace now has separate sections for film, video and music videos. Have a look around and think about how you might tap into the buzz surrounding these visual forms of entertainment.

-Bob

Get more tips like these when you subscribe to my free Buzz Factor ezine — the longest running music career tips email newsletter on the planet. Since 1995. Learn more about the free subscription here.


Or just sign up using this quick and easy form:

Your First Name
Your Primary Email


Your email address will not be shared. Unsubscribe at any time.

Connect with

posted by Bob Baker @ 9:21 AM   0 comments


January 09, 2007

Where in the World Is Bob Baker?

I finally put up a live event schedule web page. It includes all of my public events: music marketing workshops, book publishing-related talks, even my live music performances (yes, I still actively play part-time).

Most of the events are in St. Louis, MO. But some are in Halifax, Nova Scotia and New York City, and I hope to add dates in Chicago and Nashville soon.

So check out the new Where in the World Is Bob Baker? page. Hope to see you at an event soon.

-Bob

Get more tips like these when you subscribe to my free Buzz Factor ezine — the longest running music career tips email newsletter on the planet. Since 1995. Learn more about the free subscription here.


Or just sign up using this quick and easy form:

Your First Name
Your Primary Email


Your email address will not be shared. Unsubscribe at any time.

Connect with

posted by Bob Baker @ 9:12 AM   0 comments


January 08, 2007

Remembering Laurie Z

I just received some sad news -- nearly a year late, unfortunately. But it's not too late to pay tribute to an independent musician who touched a lot of lives during her too-short life.


I never met Laurie Z in person, but we began corresponding with each other back in the late 1990s. She was an indie artist who reached an impressive level of success. We shared a passion for music and independence and empowering other artists to create music on their own terms. I wrote about Laurie in one of my Guerrilla Music Marketing books.

Erin Graffy de Garcia wrote a wonderful article about Laurie Z's life for the Santa Barbara Independent. You can read the whole thing here.

Here's an excerpt:

By the time she was ready to launch her solo career, Laurie had seen many friends get burned by their recording deals, and was determined to put out her albums herself. "My parents absolutely do not support me making music my career," Laurie told me at that time. Her father would have preferred her to go into business. As it turned out, she did -- melding both her musical gifts and business acumen by launching her own record label, Zebra Productions, Inc., Laurie Z. was not afraid of taking on a male-dominated industry to pursue her passion. The epitome of determination and perseverance, Laurie thoroughly researched all aspects of production, including promotion, distribution, radio airplay, and album pressing.

Laurie toured the country, sold more than 20,000 CDs, was featured on the cover of Keyboard magazine, and made a splash on many new age music charts. She started sharing her success tips through live workshops and a video called The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Releasing an Independent CD.

Laurie passed away in February 2006 after a two-year battle with lung cancer. (She was a non-smoker.) I searched my email yesterday and found a message from her from May of 2005, just 9 months before she died. I got chills reading it.

A friend of Laurie's was quoted on the tribute page of her web site. This sums up her life best:

"If asked, Laurie would probably tell you that her gift to the world was her music. If you ask me, her gift was teaching. She taught us that no obstacle is too great. You can be anything you want, if you just don't give up."

Get more tips like these when you subscribe to my free Buzz Factor ezine — the longest running music career tips email newsletter on the planet. Since 1995. Learn more about the free subscription here.


Or just sign up using this quick and easy form:

Your First Name
Your Primary Email


Your email address will not be shared. Unsubscribe at any time.

Connect with

posted by Bob Baker @ 9:21 AM   1 comments


January 04, 2007

MySpace Indie Music Promotion Podcast

MySpace.com. It's one of the most popular destinations on the Internet, and certainly the biggest of the so-called "social networking" sites with about 145 million registered users. MySpace is the site where all your rock star dreams can come true in 7 days or less. Or can they?


Listen to the latest episode of the Artist Empowerment Radio show to find out how to really promote and sell your music on MySpace.

For more details on how to reach more fans and build your career on MySpace, check out my book MySpace Music Marketing.

Cheers!

-Bob
Get more tips like these when you subscribe to my free Buzz Factor ezine — the longest running music career tips email newsletter on the planet. Since 1995. Learn more about the free subscription here.


Or just sign up using this quick and easy form:

Your First Name
Your Primary Email


Your email address will not be shared. Unsubscribe at any time.

Connect with

posted by Bob Baker @ 3:02 PM   0 comments


January 03, 2007

The Worst Year for Hit Albums in 23 Years

How can this possibly be? Interest in music in general, legal music downloads, and all the new gadgets people can use to store and transport audio ... is at an all-time high. Yet, the number of blockbuster albums (and the sales figures of the most popular CDs) continues to drop year after year.


As Chris Anderson explains in this Long Tail blog post:

It's January, so it's time to start updating the death-of-the-blockbuster stats. Here's my favorite, the precipitous decline in gold, platinum, multiplatinum albums (that's 500,000, 1,000,000 and 1-10 million units sold). According to the RIAA's database, just 285 albums were awarded one of those certifications in 2006, the lowest figure in 23 years.

The reason: As I wrote about before, we're moving from an economy of hits and misses to one of hits and niches. Consumers are as passionate about music as they've ever been. It's just that now the distribution of money and attention is spreading out. The hits aren't as big as they used to be, and niche markets are fattening up with increased exposure through blogs, podcasts, MySpace, YouTube, and more.

I've said it before and I'll say it again ... It's a great time to be an independent artist or music promoter. The tools of self-empowerment and self-expression are at your fingertips. The only question is ...

What are you going to do with them?

-Bob

Get more tips like these when you subscribe to my free Buzz Factor ezine — the longest running music career tips email newsletter on the planet. Since 1995. Learn more about the free subscription here.


Or just sign up using this quick and easy form:

Your First Name
Your Primary Email


Your email address will not be shared. Unsubscribe at any time.

Connect with

posted by Bob Baker @ 9:25 AM   1 comments


January 02, 2007

How The Beatles Inspire DIY Behavior

This New York Times article is about some Beatlemaniacs and how they focused their passion to self-publish a book. There are lessons here for indie musicians. I've often said there are many similarities between the book publishing world and the music business.


These quotes from the article demonstrate why:
Like indie rock bands rebuffed by major record labels, some of the self-published authors tried getting publishing deals before deciding to go it alone. But a growing number are saying: Why bother? Self-publishing, on top of giving the authors all the profits, gives them editorial and design control too, which they feel outweighs the drawback of having to research on their own dime rather than on a publisher’s advance.

Here's a quote from Recording the Beatles co-author Kevin Ryan:

"Brian [Kehew] and I have both dealt personally with record company contracts in the past, and we could see a correlation between the world of publishing and the music world. In both cases, unless you're going to sell a million copies of your product, you will never make a significant chunk of money. The publisher or record company takes the lion's share and you get scraps."

Question: Why settle for scraps?

-Bob

Get more tips like these when you subscribe to my free Buzz Factor ezine — the longest running music career tips email newsletter on the planet. Since 1995. Learn more about the free subscription here.


Or just sign up using this quick and easy form:

Your First Name
Your Primary Email


Your email address will not be shared. Unsubscribe at any time.

Connect with

posted by Bob Baker @ 6:31 PM   1 comments