Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

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


May 28, 2007

Music Audio Tips on Snocap

I just opened a Snocap account and loaded it up with some of my best spoken-word tips and advice. You can listen to 30-second samples, then purchase and download individual MP3 tracks.



If there's a demand, I'll add more. Let me know what you think.

-Bob

Guerrilla Music Marketing Handbook
Check out the revised and updated edition of Guerrilla Music Marketing Handbook, with four new chapters on Internet music promotion. Get more details here.
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posted by Bob Baker @ 8:38 AM   0 comments


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.

-Bob

Guerrilla Music Marketing Handbook
Check out the revised and updated edition of Guerrilla Music Marketing Handbook, with four new chapters on Internet music promotion. Get more details here.
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.


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posted by Bob Baker @ 9:58 AM   9 comments


May 24, 2007

June 2 NYC Music PR Workshop, 2nd Session Added

Every seat for the June 2 "Indie Music Publicity Bootcamp" I'll be doing with publicist Ariel Hyatt sold out in just a few days. So we decided to add a second session later the same day, from 3 to 7 PM, at the same midtown Manhattan location.

If you're in the area and interested, secure your seat fast -- because they won't last long. Just go to this page:

www.bob-baker.com/buzz/nyc-music-pr.html

Hope to see you there!

-Bob
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posted by Bob Baker @ 9:55 AM   0 comments


May 23, 2007

11 Reasons Not to Sign With a Major Label

Lefsetz is at it again, this time with his latest blog post, Reasons Not To Sign With The Major Labels. Here are my favorite parts:

3. They don't pay you.
Oh, they'll give you an ever-shrinking advance. But royalties? No one sells enough albums to go into royalties anymore. And they own the rights to the recording. Terry McBride's got it right: You want to control all the rights, so you can license INSTANTLY! So you don't have to get someone on the phone to say YES to YOU about YOUR music!

Oh, they'll give you money to get started, but it's like making a deal with the Mafia. They own you, forever.

8. They only want you once you've proven yourself independently. If you've created the base, why give up control now?

11. They specialize in saying no. Music is now about inspiration, made by the seat of one's pants. You have to do business the same way. In this fast, ever-changing world, you need to take risks, you've got to make snap decisions, you've got to be able to say yes, QUICKLY! The major is against innovation, it's hard to get an answer AT ALL, never mind YES!

You want to give your new track away for free? No! They won't even let you SELL IT if it competes with the track they're working at radio/in the marketplace. It's not about artistry, but commerce.

Lefsetz sums it up with this gem:

But, if all you care about is commerce, if you want all your money up front, if you want to whore yourself out to corporations, do whatever it takes to sell your lame, paint by numbers, built by committee music ... then sign with the major label. I hope you achieve your goal and get instantly rich, because after this instant, you'll be done.

Brilliant! Still want a record deal?

-Bob
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posted by Bob Baker @ 8:54 AM   1 comments


May 19, 2007

Is There a Book Inside You?

If you read this blog, you obviously have a song inside you. Or you have a need to share what you have to say through music. But a growing number of people also want to express themselves through a book -- and do so by publishing it themselves.

As you may know, I've been actively involved with writing and publishing for many years. And over the past four years in particular, I've made a good living exclusively from the sales of my self-published books, reports, audio programs, and more.

It's how I plan to spend the rest of my days, as I truly feel I've found my right livelihood.

I know first-hand the sense of personal satisfaction that comes from putting out your own book. I also understand the deep sense of purpose and meaning a book can give you when it touches people's lives in ways you never imagined.

I've benefited greatly from my pursuit of do-it-yourself book publishing, and now I'm on a mission to empower others to enjoy the same thrills as I have.

I've done that for the past three years serving as president of the St. Louis Publishers Association. And now I'm taking things a step further with the release today of my new audio/ebook package called "Self-Publishing Success Secrets 101."

It's an ideal resource for first-time authors and other self-publishers wanting to kick-start their book publishing efforts.

What's different about this guide? A lot of the popular publishing manuals out there are hefty and cover a lot of ground. But the sheer volume of technicalities causes confusion and information overload for many aspiring authors.

That's why I created this guide. To give you a quick crash course on the most important things you need to know to become a successful self-published author -- and to share some of the untraditional methods that got me where I am today.

Anyway, take a closer look at
www.bob-baker.com/self-publish-book/ebook-audio.html

I'd love to hear what you think.

-Bob

P.S. Do you prefer to read, or listen to books on your iPod or CD? I love doing both. That's why "Self-Publishing Success Secrets 101" comes as a 25-page ebook AND 50 minutes of MP3 audio files. Print it and read it, or burn it and listen on the go. You'll have multiple ways to soak up these self-publishing tips and advice.
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posted by Bob Baker @ 8:32 PM   0 comments


May 16, 2007

How to Hit a Marketing Home Run


I just received this email from Jordan Olsen of The Gorgeous Hussies:

Hey Bob, I was reading about the marketing techniques of this minor league baseball team owner on different ways he attracts people to games by not being a marketing "purest." Reading the story, I instantly thought about your repeated suggestions to market outside of the box. So I thought I'd forward this to you.

Thanks, Jordan. What a great idea starter! Here are just some of the creative promotion night themes that minor league teams have used:

Awful Night - Attempting to produce the worst atmosphere ever at a baseball game, the Altoona Curve had music by William Shatner and Milli Vanilli, a gate giveaway of a 12-inch square of bubble wrap, pregame autograph sessions with non-celebrities, and a special presentation to the 1962 Mets -- baseball's worst team ever.

Silent Night - The Charleston Riverdogs went for another record against the Capital City Bombers when they tried to play the quietest game ever. For the first five innings, there was no talking. Fans wore duct tape over their mouths and held placards that read "YEAH!," "BOO!" and "HEY BEER MAN!" Also, ushers were replaced by librarians and golf marshals held up "Quiet Please" signs.

Richard Nixon Bobblehead Night - The Nashua Pride decided to commemorate the 32nd anniversary of the Watergate break-in by giving out 1,000 Nixon bobbleheads. Anyone named Woodward or Bernstein got in free, and there was 18 1/2 minutes of silence recognizing the gap in the Watergate tape.

Ted Williams Popsicle Night - When Williams' body was cryogenically frozen, the Bisbee-Douglas Copper Kings gave popsicles to the first 500 fans.

I encourage you to read the entire article, on the Sports Illustrated site, here or here.

I've long advocated looking to other industries and forms of entertainment for marketing concepts. Good ideas can always be borrowed and customized for your particular situation. You have to admit, you could easily use the same line of thinking as these minor league baseball teams did to add a special twist to all of your upcoming gigs.

Which announcement would be more likely to bring people out?

"Hey, we're playing again at the Corner Bar this Saturday. Please stop by."

Or ...

"Come help us celebrate George Costanza Night this Saturday at the Corner Bar. Make sure you're there at 11 PM for the George Costanza look-alike contest. The winner will get a half-eaten eclair and a double-dip chip."

Use your creativity and have some fun! You do that with your music. Why not with your marketing too?

-Bob
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posted by Bob Baker @ 12:11 PM   1 comments


May 14, 2007

4 More Music Sites You Need to Know About

They're growing like weeds. New web sites that cater in some way to indie musicians, that is. Here's the latest batch that came to my attention ...


MVSpy
http://www.mvspy.com/
Artists and record labels upload their videos to this web site, where users view and vote on them. The top-voted videos each month are then aired on MVSpy TV, available in over 11 million homes nationwide as part of the Comcast On-Demand Network.


Phone Sherpa
http://www.phonesherpa.com/
This site allows you to turn any MP3 file into a custom ringtone and sell them. You can also embed a custom web store on your web site or blog. Customers browse and buy content without leaving your site. Free and paid options.


Phling
http://www.phling.com/
A mobile music community service that connects you to all the music, podcasts, and pictures stored on your PC, to your friends, and to everyone in the Phling community. All from your mobile phone.

Scriggle
http://www.scriggleit.com/
Using Scriggle Mail, you can easily send email campaigns to your fans and use "geo-location" to target fans by area. Choose from a plethora of email templates. Also includes mobile text message marketing and more.

That should keep you busy for now.

-Bob
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posted by Bob Baker @ 11:47 AM   1 comments


May 13, 2007

Music PR Workshop June 2 in NYC

This just in ...

Get four hours of personal PR training from indie music publicist Ariel Hyatt and music marketing coach Bob Baker -- on Saturday, June 2, from 10 AM to 2 PM, in midtown Manhattan.

In this fast-paced but intimate workshop setting, you'll learn how to get media exposure and make the most of the latest Internet publicity trends.

Only 20 seats available (and 8 of them are already reserved as I write this). They'll go fast, so lock in your reservation now.

Get all the details and register at this page. Hope to see you there!

-Bob
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posted by Bob Baker @ 12:59 PM   0 comments


May 09, 2007

Attract Subscribers, Not Visitors

There's nothing more powerful than a direct connection with a fan. And the most potent way to make that connection is to inspire someone to give you their name and email address (and snail mail address too, if you can get it).


Having your own web site and MySpace profile is fine, but you must do more than just sit back and hope that people visit. You need to be more proactive and convert casual visitors into connected fans.

Brian Clark wrote about the importance of subscribers on his excellent Copyblogger site. He may have been writing specifically about blog subscribers, but the principle applies to your email subscribers and anyone who signs up for your mailing list online or off.

(Note: I changed the word "prospect" to "fan" to make it apply directly to you.)

A subscriber has made a commitment to you that a mere site visitor hasn't. Something magical happens when someone raises their hand and says "please communicate with me on a regular basis." This small commitment is the heart of permission marketing, a very powerful concept that seems to be getting lost in all the Web 2.0 hoopla.

A subscription not only increases the frequency and regularity of contacts with a fan, it also changes the frame through which that fan will view your eventual offer. The fan's world view may now be such that a purchase is more likely thanks to the subscription relationship.

Subscribers and participants in your blog comments can be your most loyal allies. They'll tell their friends about you and rush to your defense in times of trouble.

Yes, a subscriber will be far more committed to you than a random, drive-by web visitor. So build that mailing list and use it often!

And ... don't get stuck because you think starting a mailing list will be complicated and time-consuming. It's not. It's something you need to do to survive and thrive as an independent artist.

Just do it!

-Bob
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posted by Bob Baker @ 11:29 AM   4 comments


May 07, 2007

No More Codependent Link Love!

You have a great music web site. Now you want lots of music fans to visit. "What do I do?" you ask. "I know: Start a link swap campaign!"

Not so fast!



It seems every other day I get an email that states something like, "Dear webmaster, I just visited your web site and feel we would both benefit from cross-promoting each other. Please add a link to my site at BoringGenericWebSite.com and I'll return the favor."

Not only is this type of marketing impersonal (these form letters are all too obvious), but it's massively ineffective. Link swapping is history. It's so 2002.

There's a better way.

I stopped publishing a links page several years ago. But that doesn't mean I ever stopped linking to outside web sites. I do it all the time through this indie music promotion blog, my ezine and podcast pages.

I never send senseless emails asking people to link to my site. What I do is write about topics of interest to my audience. In the course of doing so, I frequently reference news stories and blog posts I come across, new services that look promising, and other online music resources of note.

Then I shoot an email to the site owner or person I wrote about letting them know that I mentioned them. I ask for nothing in return. But a funny thing happens ...

More often than not, the person who runs the site I plugged will post something about the exposure they got from me -- with a link to my web site!

Notice what happened here. A link swap did indeed take place. But there were no mindless emails begging for link love. No "I'll link to yours if you link to mine" groveling. Instead, what took place was a natural conversation, an organic cross-reference to useful information.

And that's the best way to swap link love in 2007. Write about and link to online destinations that interest you and your fans. Send a short, friendly note to the blogger, podcaster or site owner you mentioned. Then let it go.

Keep doing that over and over. Give out links without asking for anything in return and it will come back to you. Or, to paraphrase The Beatles ...

"... in the end, the link love you take is equal to the link love you make."

-Bob
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posted by Bob Baker @ 10:38 AM   1 comments


May 03, 2007

12 Steps to Niche Music Success

Here's a great example of a music site that does more by doing less: Sunlight of the Spirit Music. Of course, what I mean is, it reaches more ideal fans by appealing to fewer people -- and by doing so, is much more effective than a more generic music site.



Here's a description from the site's home page:

Sunlight of the Spirit Music exclusively sells CDs from artists in recovery -- all kinds of CDs and all kinds of recovery -- with the largest selection of twelve step and recovery music available for dealing with alcoholism and addiction in all its forms.

The site was founded last year by Gracie Hollombe Vandiver. According to this article in The Tennessean, Vandiver "helped start 12-stepradio.com in 2004. And seeing there was demand for recovery music, she started Sunlight of the Spirit Music in 2006 ... It was just the enterprise to combine Vandiver's skills as a songwriter, author and publicist and also give her a chance to market the artists in recovery she was representing."

The site offers recovery articles, a blog, a newsletter, and a Sober Cafe podcast -- in addition to the music store.

The lesson: Find a niche you're passionate about -- one not currently being served well -- and build a buzz (and a business) around it.

-Bob
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posted by Bob Baker @ 10:44 AM   0 comments