Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

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


March 30, 2007

2 Internet Music Promotion Tips

Here are a couple of quick tips from my special report 50 Ways to Promote & Sell Your Music on the Internet (which actually features a total of 65 ways to market music online).

Plug Your Web Site During Media Interviews

Web sites shouldn't operate in a vacuum. Combine traditional print and broadcast interviews with your online presence. But be cool and clever about it. Anyone can say, "If you want to find out more about the band, visit our web site at ..." Yawn.

Instead, create some special valuable resource that's easy to describe on the air or during an interview for a feature story. And make it available from your web site. A free download of one of your songs probably won't cut it. Give it more widespread appeal and have it tie in directly with your musical identity.

Example: "I'd like to offer your listeners a free report called The Top 10 Best Jazz CDs of All Time. You can download it right from our web site at ..."

Or "Your viewers can help themselves to a free report called Ten Ways to Use Music to Relax and De-Stress Your Life. It's available at ..."

See how valuable this would be in attracting new fans?

Consider Amazon's New CDs on Demand Program

Amazon has hooked up with a service called CustomFlix. According to the site, "CustomFlix now offers disc-on-demand services for audio CDs. Forget mass production of CDs: CustomFlix offers independent musicians, artists, labels, and other music content owners an inventory-free way to reach a worldwide audience and make their audio CDs available to millions of Amazon.com customers."

Sounds interesting. Visit www.CustomFlix.com to learn more.

Again, you'll find a lot more of these tips in the 50 Ways to Promote & Sell Your Music on the Internet report.

-Bob
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posted by Bob Baker @ 11:23 AM   0 comments


March 27, 2007

Blog Tag: 7 Songs I Like

Ah yes. Blog tag. I remember when I was a child and all the neighborhood kids would hop on their wireless laptops and IM each other and then play a rollicking game of blog tag.


Okay, I'm lying. Maybe this will be a childhood memory for a new generation. But I digress ...

I have been tagged by blogger Jay Moonah to list "7 Songs I Like." This is similar to the 5 Things You Didn't Know About Me meme I participated in a few months ago.

Well, you know me, I just can't play by the rules. So I'm putting my own spin on things. I'll give you seven songs from some of my favorite indie artists, then my top seven from more established artists.

So here goes:
Check out these artists. They're awesome. And now for songs you're more likely to recognize:
  • "Accidents Will Happen" - Elvis Costello
  • "Tempted" - Squeeze
  • "Don't Dream It's Over" - Crowded House
  • "New Sensation" - INXS
  • "Are You Gonna Be My Girl" - Jet
  • "Behind a Wall of Sleep" - The Smithereens
  • "Come Together" - The Beatles
Geez, my tastes are obviously stuck mostly in the '80s. This was really hard. On another week, I probably would have picked seven different songs.

Instead of tagging more bloggers, I will issue a general public challenge. Feel free to list the top 7 Songs You Like, then come back here and add a link to your list in the comments below.

Cheers!

-Bob
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posted by Bob Baker @ 9:59 AM   2 comments


March 23, 2007

Signed, Sealed ... See Ya!

Ever since Nelly broke onto the national scene, my hometown of St. Louis, Missouri, has been a hotbed of hip-hop activity. No artist has come close to Nelly's numbers (but who does these days?), although acts such as Murphy Lee and Chingy have made a dent.



But that hasn't stopped a new army of St. Louis rap and hip-hop talent from taking a stab at it. And in recent years, a number of major labels have tried to get in on the action by signing several St. Louis artists who have great potential.

But, according to an article in The Riverfront Times, the big alternative weekly here in town, getting signed does not equate to getting anywhere in the music business.

The article's subhead reads, "Local rappers ink major-label contracts, only to be left wondering: Deal or no deal?" It chronicles several hip-hop acts that are bound to contracts with production companies and labels -- who have waited months and years with no album release and no career development.

Here's a quote from artist Ruka Puff, who learned a valuable lesson from record label stagnation:

"This is really the era for the independent hustler. Back in the day, the record labels used to do a lot of this stuff for you, but in this day and age the mindset is more entrepreneur. That's the mindset of most of the artists that are winning: They're super entrepreneurs.

"A lot of the artists coming out don't have backbone," he continues. "They don't have no kind of fan base, they don't have the streets. So you might find your little ditty pop that the record label built from top to bottom, but most of the people that are winning is the entrepreneur cats that were able to get it on their own -- without the record companies."

But you knew that already. I just wanted to remind you :-)

-Bob
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posted by Bob Baker @ 9:07 AM   1 comments


March 22, 2007

Black Lab Bum-Rushes the iTunes Charts

Authors have been doing this for years. They ask everyone on their mailing list (and the mailing lists of other authors conspiring with them) to all buy their book on Amazon on the same day. This concentrated surge of sales pushes the book to the top of the Amazon sales charts, where even more people will see it and buy it.



The band Black Lab is doing the same thing with iTunes today. Here's part of their story from the Bum Rush the Charts blog:

On March 22, we are going to take an indie podsafe music artist to number one on the iTunes singles charts as a demonstration of our reach ... The track we've chosen is "Mine Again" by the band Black Lab. A band that was dropped from not just one, but two major record labels (Geffen and Sony/Epic) and in the process forced them to fight to get their own music back. We picked them because making them number one, even for just one day, will remind the RIAA record labels of what they turned their backs on -- and who they ignore at their peril.

I'm not sure how much peril this will cause, but it's a cool idea -- if for no other reason than because they are one of the first bands to use this creative tactic to chart on iTunes.

Another smart thing Black Lab is doing is donating a chunk of their profits to a number of college scholarships.

Interested in making a 99 cent statement? Visit http://bumrushthecharts.blogspot.com/ today.

-Bob
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posted by Bob Baker @ 10:46 AM   0 comments


March 21, 2007

The James Brown/Don Knotts Publicity Factor

Here's a great idea from Bill Stoller's Publicity Insider eZine:


In 1993, the citizens of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, held a vote and officially renamed a local bridge "The James Brown Soul Center of the Universe Bridge." [The Godfather] himself showed up at the naming ceremony and a good time -- and lots of media coverage -- was enjoyed by all.

Try something similar. Run a campaign to name a local street or hill or park after a celebrity, a local notable, or even a fictional character.

Start a petition to rename something that will never really be renamed (the state capitol, Google, a major league ballpark) after, let's say, Don Knotts. I guarantee, if you can get 25,000 web visitors to sign a petition renaming Shea Stadium to Don Knotts Field, you'll get a news story out of it!


Hmm ... What about the Borat Museum of Modern Art?

-Bob
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posted by Bob Baker @ 4:57 PM   2 comments


March 20, 2007

Do You Have a Book Inside You?

I've been writing about music marketing and self-empowerment for a good 15 years now. First, it was through monthly columns I used to write for the local music magazine I published in the early 1990s. Later, those tips moved onto the Web through articles I distributed online and the ezine I've been publishing for more than 12 years now.



By acting on my passion, chipping away at success, and making smart use of the Internet, I've reached a point where I now make a nice living as a self-published author (or indie book publisher, as I also like to call it).

While I'm best known for "indie music marketing" (in fact, I come up #1 on Google for that search phrase), I find myself dishing out a lot of advice lately to aspiring authors. I'm serving my third term as president of the St. Louis Publishers Association and am speaking and writing more frequently on this topic.

If you feel you have a potential book inside of you too, I invite you to check out my new FullTimeAuthor.com web site. Everyone has a story to tell or a personal message they need to share with the world. You can do that through songs and music CDs. But you can also do it through your own book.

And you won't be surprised to learn that I embrace the same DIY attitude with publishing books as I do with pursuing a music career.

Again, if this interests you, pay a visit to FullTimeAuthor.com.

-Bob
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posted by Bob Baker @ 1:22 PM   0 comments


March 19, 2007

The Secret Music Life of Kat

Would you like to be more productive with all the things on your music career to-do list? Then check out The Organized Musician post over at The Secret Music Life of Kat blog.



She writes ...

As an independent artist, you wear many different hats. Those hats can be divided into two main arenas: the creative arena and the business arena.

The creative arena, of course, includes roles such as musician, singer, entertainer, songwriter and producer. Kat breaks down the much longer business arena into three subcategories: strictly business, promotion and management roles.

Then she encourages artists to divide and conquer these areas:

While you need to be the bottom line decision maker and aware of everything that affects your career, many of these roles can and should be delegated to others [such as other band members, family members, friends and fans].

The key is to outline all the responsibilities you are delegating as well as the results that you expect. If you treat your career professionally, so will others.

It's good advice and a helpful way to tackle all that needs to be done to build your music buzz.

A Word of Caution ...

When it comes to marketing, don't lock yourself into the "business" aspect of it too tightly. Too many musicians make the mistake of thinking of promotion and sales as drudgery work. It shouldn't be that at all!

Derek Sivers (of CD Baby) said it best during his recent talks at the ECMA conference in Nova Scotia: Marketing should be a natural extension of the creative music-making process.

You're excited about the music you make (or at least you should be). Hopefully, you also realize how your music positively affects your fans. Sharing it, talking about it, and spreading the word should come easily.

Stop thinking about marketing as something that big business does, and start looking at it as something that people do: talking about and sharing cool new music.

It's not a crime to list marketing as an activity separate from writing and recording songs. But it would be a big mistake to categorize marketing as something that's not every bit as "creative."

-Bob
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posted by Bob Baker @ 4:32 PM   1 comments


March 16, 2007

How Musician X Sold 500,000 CDs

This past Tuesday night I held a teleclass with Musician X. Who is he? Well, this smart instrumentalist has sold nearly 500,000 copies of his self-released CDs -- without a record label, distribution or significant airplay. And during the call he revealed his true identity and the unique way that he sells so much music.



The teleclass was part of a new series of phone interviews I'm doing primarily for members of my new Indie Music Marketing Insiders Club. Members get access to the live calls themselves and can download MP3 files of them later. I just posted the Musician X audio to the members-only site.

If you'd like to find out more about the new Insiders Club, just visit this page for a free quick access guest pass, or this page for details on how to join. (Hint: It only costs $8 to $10 a month.)

In addition to the teleclasses, the members-only sites now features:
  • The name and hard-to-find contact info of the music supervisor who places indie music on 'Grey's Anatomy,' 'Shark,' 'Without a Trace' and other hit TV shows

  • Free access to my live workshop audio called "16 Insights for Indie Music Success" (which I sell for $14.95 from my site)

  • A great marketing idea I stole from the real estate business

  • An often-overlooked press coverage source in New York City, Chicago, Minneapolis, Denver/Boulder, Milwaukee, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Madison, WI

  • An hour-long audio of a talk show on which I discuss how bands and musicians can double (and even triple) their music income, how to improve press kits so they don't get trashed, and a lot more

  • Two ebooks filled with dozens of publicity tricks and ideas
Also, check out the free bonuses you get just for joining.

And next week my teleclass guest will be NYC publicist Ariel Hyatt, who will share her top Internet PR secrets for indie artists.

Don't miss out on these opportunities. Visit www.MusicMarketingInsiders.com for more details now -- before you get distracted.

To your success!

-Bob
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posted by Bob Baker @ 2:02 PM   0 comments


March 15, 2007

5 New Music Web Sites

It seems that every day I get at least one email from someone promoting a new web site that's the latest, greatest thing for indie musicians. I can't write about them all, of course, without taking precious time away from the marketing and self-empowerment ideas I'm most passionate about. But every so often, I like to make you aware of some sites that are worth checking out. Here are a few:



www.mogopop.com
A site that helps you create and share multimedia content for the iPod for free.

www.wikimusicguide.com
The music fan site that anyone can edit -- the wikipedia of music.

www.digitalfreakz.com
An indie CD and digital download site. Sell you music and keep 70% of your download sales.

www.jukeboxalive.com/musictoolbox.php
A site described as "a feature-rich music promotion web site with social networking."

www.terapad.com
A promisng service that allows users to create web pages with lots of bells and whistles: blogging tools, e-commerce, event calendar, forums, and a lot more.

-Bob
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posted by Bob Baker @ 10:23 AM   2 comments


MySpace Music Article in Australia

A big shout out to Lisa Butler, who included an article I wrote about MySpace in the latest issue of her Imaginotion Songs newsletter.

Also included in the 17-page issue is an interview with hit songwriter Jason Blume, an article on creating a music buzz, John Batson's tips on writing song parodies, and a lot more.

The best thing about it is, you can download the issue for free at www.imagi-notes.imaginotionsongs.net/ or by opening the PDF file directly using this link.

While Lisa is based in Australia, her networking group is open to songwriters, musicians and industry pros from around the world. Check it out.

-Bob
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posted by Bob Baker @ 9:54 AM   0 comments


March 09, 2007

YouTube, Dating Tips, and Gym Class Heroes

In this post-MTV video world, you have to think beyond the traditional. Get creative and have some fun when it comes to creating music video clips for the YouTube generation.

Exhibit A: Check out this YouTube video clip called "Travie's Dating Tips." It was posted last month around Valentine's Day by the band Gym Class Heroes. At last count, it had been viewed nearly a half million times.

How can you use this kind of thinking to produce video clips that would reinforce your musical identity and resonate with your fans?

-Bob

P.S. I discuss this topic at length in my new report, How to Use Video to Promote Your Music Online.
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posted by Bob Baker @ 2:59 PM   2 comments


March 05, 2007

Da Vinci Code Meets Rock & Roll Jihad

Here's another story from The Onion to brighten your day and start off your week on a lighthearted foot: a fake news article with the headline ....

Unreleased Jimmy Page Guitar Riff to Be Retrieved from Secret Vault to Save Rock and Roll

Here's part of the story:

Calling it the planet's last, best hope for saving rock music, the Guardians of the Protectorate of Rock announced Monday that they would take the extraordinary step of unleashing a never-before-heard Jimmy Page riff, hidden for decades in a mythic, impenetrable vault.


"We who believe in the immortality of rock took a vow 30 years ago that we would never release this incredibly powerful force unless we faced a Day of Reckoning -- and that day has come," said Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi, one of the chosen few who helped forge the Secret Vault to Save Rock and Roll, at a press conference in the Welsh highlands. "Just look at the pop charts, and you shall know I speak the truth."

The Guardians said recent developments in the music world, such as the unaccountable popularity of the Dixie Chicks and Sufjan Stevens, have created a "perfect storm of lameness" from which rock might never recover.

While Iommi refused to say when the vault would be opened, hard rock sources believe it will take place just prior to next month's Fall Out Boy-Honda Civic tour, which many fear will suck the remaining lifeblood from all that still rocks.

"Citizens of Rock, we refuse to stand idly by any longer," ZZ Top founder and Protectorate High Elder Billy Gibbons said. "When a puss like James Blunt is allowed to rule the airwaves, we must respond by exposing this monster riff, and blowing minds into the stratosphere."


Read the whole, hilarious article here. And rock on!

-Bob
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posted by Bob Baker @ 8:41 AM   1 comments


March 02, 2007

Develop a Guerrilla Marketing Calendar

It's the age-old dilemma: Having too many promotion ideas and believing you don't have the time and money to pull them all off. Relax. Here's a good idea that's a follow-up to my recent post called "The Best Music Marketing Thing You Can Do":

In an article from Entrepreneur.com, Al Lautenslager writes about using a marketing calendar ...

A marketing calendar doesn't have to be fancy. I recommend a simple spreadsheet matrix. Across the top x-axis, I place column headings representing the months of the year. Down the y-axis, or the first left-hand column, I list each individual marketing initiative, event or activity I'll use during the plan year.

For instance, if I'm going to do a press release every other month starting in February, I would put an X in the February, April, June, August, October and December columns. If I were going to issue a print newsletter once a month, each monthly column would have an X in it for that item.

How do you know which activities to include in your calendar? Brainstorm all the marketing ideas that make sense for your plan year but keep in mind that you can't do everything. Balance your marketing workload with the other things you need to do for your business. Plan for what you can do completely, not halfway. Also plan what you feel comfortable with, emotionally and financially. Prioritize accordingly, then place your ideas in your matrix.

He then spells out the four reasons to use such a calendar:
  • It organizes, categorizes and prioritizes your marketing initiatives and activities.

  • It allows you to spot "bunches" in your marketing activity. Too many X's close together might indicate the need to spread out your activity.

  • It offers a way for you to spot gaps in your marketing activity.

  • It allows you to more easily evaluate your marketing.
Smart advice there from Lautenslager, who is the co-author (along with Jay Conrad Levinson) of Guerrilla Marketing in 30 Days.

-Bob

P.S. For more in-depth guerrilla marketing advice specifically for musicians, check out this classic book and its sequel.
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posted by Bob Baker @ 10:17 AM   1 comments