Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

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


October 31, 2007

Are You a Crap Magnet?

Here's a quote that may very well change the way you think -- and increase the amount of money you make with your music!

I found it in T. Harv Eker's Secrets of the Millionaire Mind. I've heard about him and this book for years, but only recently got my hands on a copy. The first time I flipped through it, the book randomly opened to page 58, where one of his "wealth priciples" jumped out at me in bold type:

"When you complain, you become a living, breathing crap magnet."

What an awesome quote. Wayne Dyer expressed the same idea years ago when he said "What you focus on expands in your life." But I have to admit, Eker's version packs a more potent slap to the face.

Whenever I bring up this "law of attraction" stuff, I know there will always be a group of people who write it off as "positive thinking nonsense." If you feel that way, then this message is not for you.

But if you have an open mind, think about this: Your outer world is a direct reflection of your inner world. As Eker points out, your mental perspective is like the roots of a tree -- a crucial but unseen part of who you are. The tree is the visible result of the root system. Sick roots lead to an unhealthy tree.

Your brain works the same way. Crap in, crap out.

Enough preaching. You get the idea.

-Bob

Coming Nov. 12 to Los Angeles: Gilli Moon and I will co-present a workshop called "How to Build a Successful Career in Music (and the Arts)." Get more details and reserve your seat here.

Did you enjoy this blog post? Subscribe now and get all of my newest ideas delivered by email or RSS feed. Learn how 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.


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 @ 2:10 PM   7 comments


October 29, 2007

Wampus Packs a Wallop

Who knew I'd find such a gem in an unexpected email?

Like most people who write about music online, I get tons of email announcing new bands and CD releases and music services. And I don't even review music. Most of these messages get deleted within seconds of being opened or aren't opened at all.

But something about this one from Wampus Multimedia caught my eye. It had everything to do with this lead-off description of a new CD release:

It isn't about image. It isn't about entertainment. Great rock is about movement -- of the heart, the mind, the feet. The May Bees, a scrappy, uncompromising duo from The Netherlands, understand this instinctively. They want to make a good impression, sure, and they want to amuse and engage you. But mostly they want to move you, to change you, to leave an indelible mark upon you.

What an awesome way to introduce potential fans and reviewers to a new band! Read that paragraph again. It isn't a dry reading of facts and features about the band. It's an intriguing description that puts the focus squarely where it should be: on the reader (the fan) and what you'll get from hearing the May Bees' music.

Plus, it's a great lesson on how to promote music using emotion -- engaging the imagination and painting word pictures that stimulate the senses.

Wampus Multimedia (a music label, ebook publisher, recording studio, and marketing communications company based in Virginia) is the brainchild of Mark Doyon. Check out his blog, where he has some great things to say about the value of music -- included this rant:

If quality = value (and it does), why not talk about the value of music? Who else on the planet but recording artists are expected to devalue their work for some amorphous promise of deferred compensation? Doctors? Lawyers? Plumbers?

The reigning nonsense about giving away music now so you can fill stadiums later is little more than "trickle-down" economics -- a Reaganesque delusion that "a rising tide floats all boats."

Does anyone really believe Salvador Dali would have stood on a street corner giving away paintings to people who didn't care enough to pay for them, just so people would like him and talk about him? Would Apple do that? Would Target? Would Barack Obama? No great artist is going to do that -- unless, of course, money is no object.

Great stuff from Mark Doyon and Wampus.

-Bob

Promote Your Music on MySpace
Ready for a Major Publicity Boost? Check out the new Indie Music Publicity Bootcamp. Ariel Hyatt and I just released an in-depth home study course filled with insider secrets on how to reach the music media and get the exposure you deserve. Get more details here.

Did you enjoy this blog post? Subscribe now and get all of my newest ideas delivered by email or RSS feed. Learn how 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.


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 @ 8:52 AM   14 comments


October 26, 2007

Why Chicago Music Rocks

No, not the band from the '70s. I'm talking about the city. Yes, the Windy City - which I'm now calling Indie City. That's what it felt like last Sunday at the Chicago Actor's Studio when I presented the "7 Secrets to Low-Cost Music Promotion" workshop to a full house.

Check out these photos, then read more notes and thank you's below. (The first four images were taken by Matt Dolinar of GetMadBaby.com. The last two were taken by Pooki.)

Pictured (l to r): producer (and all-around gracious human being) Michael Freeman, super networker and PR gal Helena Bouchez, me, Pooki, and Randy Chertkow, co-author of the forthcoming book The Indie Band Survival Guide.

Attendees were obviously mesmerized by my hypnotic hand gestures at the "7 Secrets" workshop in Chicago.

Every last seat and stool was taken at the Chicago Actor's Studio for the "7 Secrets to Low-Cost Music Promotion" workshop.

My longtime author pal Jeffrey P Fisher wowed the "7 Secrets" audience in Chicago with his best music success tips.

Choking up across the street from the legendary Wrigley Field in Chicago, at the intersection of Clark and Addison.

Once we saw the name of the place, we couldn't resist stopping by the Buzz Cafe in the Oak Park area of Chicago. Cool place, cool people.

A big thanks to Helena Bouchez, the best PR-minded supporter an author could ever have. She worked her tookus off to spread the word in Chicago. For that I am extremely grateful. Thanks, Helena! (And, I hear she's a mean bass player.)

Thanks also to indie musician Phil Circle, who helped book the Actor's Studio venue. It was great seeing old pals Rob Gillis (of Waterdog Records), producer Michael Freeman, and Chicago Mike Beck. I really enjoyed meeting Dennis Snipe and being a guest on his FocusTalk radio show.

Met some new friends on this trip, including Maureen Herman of Fuzz.com (former Babes in Toyland bassist, who was a guest speaker), Randy Chertkow, Jason Feehan, Matt Dolinar, Paul Taneja, and Ian Narcisi.

In all, a great weekend in Chicago!

-Bob

P.S. Check out this video clip from Chicago:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKkNwTW3ltE
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 @ 10:10 AM   1 comments


October 25, 2007

Shocking News About the Music Industry

Are you feeling down because CD sales keep falling and the traditional music industry is tanking? Well, you shouldn't be.
As Chris Anderson writes in this blog post:

"It's a big mistake to equate the major labels and their plastic disc business with the industry as a whole. Indeed, when you stand back and look at all of music, things don't look so bad at all."

His research indicates that every part of the music industry, except the sale of compact discs, is up. Here are his stats:
  • Concerts and merchandise: UP (+4%)

  • Digital tracks: UP (+46%)

  • Ringtones: UP (+86% last year, but probably just single-digit percent this year)

  • Licensing for commercials, TV shows, movies and videogames: UP (Warner Music saw licensing grow by about $20 million over the past year)

  • Even vinyl singles (think DJs): UP (more than doubled in the UK)

  • And, if you include the iPod in the music industry, as I'd argue a fair-minded analysis would: UP, UP, UP! (+31% this year)

I don't particularly agree with Chris Anderson's "most music will soon be free" prediction. If you have an audience that truly gets value from your music, they will pay for it.

I do embrace the notion that music should be free in the sense of unencumbered and "free" to flow digitally where the marketplace takes it. But that doesn't mean all music should be free (as in no cost) just because it can circulate that way.

YES, you should give away some of your music to create awareness and build a fan base (or all of it, if that's what you want to do). And NO, you shouldn't waste your time with digital rights management (DRM) and suing people who share your files for free.

BUT don't make the mistake of thinking that no one buys music anymore. If you make music that matters to your fan base, and if you establish bonds with your audience, they will reward you with money. And there's nothing wrong with that!

-Bob

Coming Nov. 12 to Los Angeles: Gilli Moon and I will co-present a workshop called "How to Build a Successful Career in Music (and the Arts)." Get more details and reserve your seat here.

Did you enjoy this blog post? Subscribe now and get all of my newest ideas delivered by email or RSS feed. Learn how 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.


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 @ 10:44 AM   2 comments


October 17, 2007

Free Oct 23 Teleclass on Profitable Music Niches

What can you learn from a man who wears a kilt and promotes a CD called Irish Drinking Songs for Cat Lovers? A lot when that kilt-wearing man is Marc Gunn.
Marc is a master of online music marketing and finding gold in the strangest musical places. During this call you can find out the true story behind his hilarious Irish Drinking Songs for Cat Lovers and other secrets for finding riches in musical niches.

The phone lines will be open at the beginning of the call, and I'll open them at different times throughout for questions. Please introduce yourself and jump into the conversation.

Here are the call-in details for Tuesday, Oct. 23:

Starting time: 9 PM Eastern (8 PM Central, 6 PM Pacific)

Dial-in number: 1-218-339-7800 (a Minnesota number)

Access code: (enter this number when prompted) 37251

There's no cost to access the call. However, please note that your regular long distance charges will apply. The number of participants is limited, so call in near the top of the hour to make sure you get in.

This call is part of my Indie Music Marketing Insiders Club teleclass series. You can join us on the live call, but you have to be a member to access the MP3 download of this and all previous teleclasses. Learn more at www.MusicMarketingInsiders.com.

-Bob

Did you enjoy this blog post? Subscribe now and get all of my newest ideas delivered by email or RSS feed. Learn how 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.


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 @ 12:42 PM   0 comments


October 15, 2007

Seth Godin on Radiohead & the Mediocre Middle

Radiohead, the Eagles and Madonna were all over the news last week with their various ploys to shun the major record labels they used to depend on. With it came a common response from many aspiring musicians:

"Sure, they can get attention and succeed doing those things because they are already household names. How's a lowly indie act like me supposed to compete with that?"
Good question.

The answer: You don't have to compete on that level. Borrow the idea and apply it to whatever situation you are currently in.

You may not persuade Wal-Mart to be the exclusive seller of your next CD, but you might make a special sales arrangement with a single indie record store in your town. It's not the grand scale that counts. It's how you position yourself to connect with more fans -- whether the number of fans is 1 million, 10 thousand, or 10.

In this post, Seth Godin points out that forward thinking indie acts have been giving away MP3s and asking fans to pay what they like for years. It's only now that well-known acts are jumping on the bandwagon.

He writes:

Most industries innovate from both ends:
  • The outsiders go first because they have nothing to lose.

  • The winners go next because they can afford to and they want to stay winners.

  • It's the mediocre middle that sits and waits and watches.
The mediocre record companies, mediocre A&R guys and the mediocre acts are struggling to stay in place. They're nervous that it all might fall apart. So they wait. They wait for 'proof' that this new idea is going to work, or at least won't prove fatal. (It's the impulse to wait that made them mediocre in the first place, of course).

So, in every industry, the middle waits. And watches. And then, once they realize they can survive the switch (or once they're persuaded that their current model is truly fading away), they jump in.

The irony, of course, is that by jumping in last, they're condemning themselves to more mediocrity.

So, do you want to be mediocre and complain that you don't have the clout to compete? Or ... would you rather innovate, experiment, and have fun promoting yourself in new and daring ways?

Go for it. You just might find yourself with a growing audience -- on a scale that is just right for you.

-Bob

Did you enjoy this blog post? Subscribe now and get all of my newest ideas delivered by email or RSS feed. Learn how here.

Guerrilla Music Marketing HandbookCheck out Guerrilla Music Marketing Handbook, the classic guide to indie music promotion. Now revised and updated, with four new chapters on Internet and Web 2.0 music marketing. 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.


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 @ 4:20 PM   1 comments


October 11, 2007

Me in E! Online (or Bob and Britney, Together Again)

As Ariel Hyatt and I discuss in our Indie Music Publicity Bootcamp, effective PR is not just being proactive about contacting the media. It's also being ready and responding quickly when the media contacts YOU.

Such was the case yesterday when I got an unexpected voice mail from a reporter for E! Online doing a story on -- of all people -- Britney Spears.

Apparently, Jive Records is moving the release of her new album up two weeks. The reporter wanted opinions on the release date shuffle from two "experts." She found me while doing a Google search online.

You can bet I was surprised as anyone to be asked to comment on the troubled pop princess, especially after spending years building a reputation as the "indie" music marketing guy.

But here was an opportunity for exposure on a well-read web site (albeit tabloid-esque) run by the same company that produces the E! Entertainment channel and the Style Network.

I had to act quickly. The reporter left just enough details on her voice mail to allow me to formulate some ideas before I called her back about 15 minutes after she left the message.

I decided to take a stand and deliver an opinion with a little edge to spice up the story. The conversation didn't last long. But before I hung up, I asked if she could identify me as the author of the Guerrilla Music Marketing Handbook (my most widely known title).

Well, at the moment, "Britney's Label in a Hurry" is the lead story on the site's home page. Here's one of the quotes she used:

According to Baker, the problem is of Jive's own making. "To me," Baker said, "it seems like another pathetic ploy by the traditional music industry. It shows their desperation -- in the same way she was rushed into the VMAs."

The only other person quoted in the story was the director of charts at Billboard magazine, who took a more polite stance. And, sure enough, I was identified as "author of the Guerrilla Music Marketing Handbook."

Lesson: By all means, be proactive and pursue media exposure. At the same time, be ready when it comes knocking on your door. And respond quickly with something the journalist can use.

-Bob

Did you enjoy this blog post? Subscribe now and get all of my newest ideas delivered by email or RSS feed. Learn how here.

Promote Your Music on MySpace
Ready for a Major Publicity Boost? Check out the new Indie Music Publicity Bootcamp. Ariel Hyatt and I just released an in-depth home study course filled with insider secrets on how to reach the music media and get the exposure you deserve. 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.


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   0 comments


October 10, 2007

New 'Music PR Secrets' Podcast

"Insider Music Publicity Secrets" is the title of my latest Artist Empowerment Radio podcast. It features audio clips from the Indie Music Publicity Bootcamp I did with NYC publicist Ariel Hyatt.

Also check out Angela Stevens, the new voice-over talent for the podcast. She gives the show a whole new sound.

Listen to it now at www.bob-baker.com/podcast

-Bob

What They're Saying About ...

"I've been a member of Bob Baker's Indie Music Marketing Insiders Club since the day it was launched. Bob is always finding new ways and fun tools to help me market my web site -- and never a 'clinker' in the batch." -Dave Jackson, Musicians Cooler (www.musicianscooler.com)

Check out all the benefits of membership at www.MusicMarketingInsiders.com.
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 @ 3:04 PM   0 comments


October 05, 2007

Create an Experience for Your Fans

If you've ever seen performance coach Tom Jackson give a workshop, you've heard him talk about the importance of creating "moments" -- those special times during a performance when you make a meaningful connection with the audience.

Tom's gift is helping musicians use song arrangements and stage presence to create those moments. But there are other ways to add value to your live shows and create experiences that your fans will rave about to their friends and remember for years.

Two places I visited last weekend in Kansas City drove this point home. One was the KC Renaissance Festival, where atmosphere and interaction run rampant. Check out this video which spells out the important marketing lessons I learned there:


The Limeybirds (pictured below) were one of many saucey musical acts that entertained the throngs at the KC RenFest.
After a long day at the festival, we headed to the T-Rex restaurant for dinner. What an experience this place was -- an eatery with a dazzling prehistoric theme.
My daughter Kelli enjoyed petting a mechanical moving Apatosaurus as we ate.

What's the point? I realize you may not be able to resurrect Jurassic Park at your next gig. But you could create a vibe, choose a theme, promote a costume night, or add some similarly fun element to spice up your live show.

Don't just show up and go through the motions at your next gig. Make it an experience -- one your fans will thank you for and tell their friends about.

-Bob

Did you enjoy this blog post? Subscribe now and get all of my newest ideas delivered by email or RSS feed. Learn how here.

What people are saying ...

"I just wanted to let you know that I already feel like the 9 dollars I spent yesterday on your Music PR Hot List was worth every penny. I'm beginning to get the word out and generate an online buzz now. Thanks for your advice and optimism. I find it truly refreshing and empowering." -Mark Freifeld

Promote Your Music on MySpace
Ready for a Major Publicity Boost? Check out the new Indie Music Publicity Bootcamp. Ariel Hyatt and I just released an in-depth home study course filled with insider secrets on how to reach the music media and get the exposure you deserve. 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.


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 @ 10:23 AM   1 comments


October 03, 2007

Radiohead & the Set Your Own Price Debate

Radiohead is the latest high-profile band to not renew a major label contract and continue on as an indie. The band will release its 7th album, In Rainbows, on Oct. 10. The entire album is available as a digital download from www.inrainbows.com for whatever price the purchaser wants to pay.
Here's a great observation from the TechDirt blog, which points out that there's more going on here than just free downloads.

Rather than just offering up the content, [Radiohead is] also trying to give people a reason to actually buy something else. In this case, it's a "discbox," which will include the new album on both CD and vinyl, as well as an additional CD of seven extra songs and photos, artwork and lyrics. The whole thing will be packaged in a nice container.

In other words, the band is following in the footsteps of folks like Trent Reznor, in realizing that the music is promotional for other stuff -- and you can still sell stuff if you make it worthwhile. In this case, Radiohead isn't really selling the "music." After all, you can get that for free. They're selling the full collection of stuff that comes with the music. Funny how it's the musicians, and not the record labels, who seem to realize that adding value and getting people to pay for it is a business model that beats suing fans.

Also worth reading is this other TechDirt post:

With Radiohead's new business model getting so much attention, we're hearing a bunch of folks start to claim that this kind of business model only works for big, established bands. Funny thing is, when we point to smaller artists doing similar things, people say that such a model may work for no-name artists, but couldn't possibly work for big pop stars, who would inevitably lose money.

The fact is that a business model that involves using the music as a promotional good can work for both small and large bands if you understand the economics of infinite goods and how to apply the appropriate business model based on the stage of the musician's career.

The simple fact is that these types of business models allow some less well known musicians to have a career in music in the first place -- whereas in the past they may have been forced out of music into another job. It's opened up plenty of new possibilities for ways to make a living by growing a fanbase and charging them for additional (scarce) products.

Thanks to indie musician Alun Parry, who was the first to make me aware of this Radiohead story. He's been using this "choose your own payment plan" method for some time now. He cleverly calls it Buskernomics.

Parry, a former Liverpool Echo Busker of the Year, says, "When I was a busker I made my music freely available and bought my first guitar with the proceeds. So why not do the same now. I let people decide how much they want to pay, whether that be free or whether that be lots more. It's up to them."

-Bob

Did you enjoy this blog post? Subscribe now and get all of my newest ideas delivered by email or RSS feed. Learn how here.

What people are saying ...

"Your MySpace book is brilliant. Two of my artists worked all weekend updating their pages based on several tips and ideas you provided." -Leanne McNeil, PopArt Management

Promote Your Music on MySpace
Make the most of the world's biggest social networking web site with this great primer on MySpace Music Marketing. Available in paperback or ebook format. 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.


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 @ 4:11 PM   5 comments