Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

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


January 30, 2008

Does Business Ruin Art?

An anonymous musician just posted this comment regarding my latest podcast episode:

"Business ruins art. It's unfortunate that most people are reshaping their musical goals to fit their financial ones. All this just makes me want to keep music a hobby instead of a profession so I don't feel like I have to make crappy, watered-down poop music."

Here's my response:

I understand the frustration that mingling art and commerce can create, especially when it comes to music and "big business" -- where quick results and bottom lines rule.

But let me ask you something ...

Does holding a general belief that "business ruins art" empower you? Only you can answer that, but there's no denying a belief like that colors how you feel about music and how you interact with the world.


All mental beliefs -- whether positive, negative, or in between -- are simply perceptions that an individual has chosen to buy into. None of them exist as objective truths in the real world. They only exist in the thoughts of each person who decides to let certain beliefs take up permanent residence in their minds.

Here's the belief I have chosen to give free lifetime room and board in my brain: There's nothing wrong with wanting to be compensated for the value that your music delivers to fans. It's healthy and natural to want to grow and prosper.

But if you can't get over your hang-ups about music and business and money, then do yourself (and the rest of us) a favor ... and play music as a hobby for the best reason of all: the love of it.

That's what I believe. How about you?

-Bob

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.

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posted by Bob Baker @ 11:19 AM   17 comments


January 28, 2008

How to Get a Record Deal

Want to know how to get signed to a major label? Interested in grabbing the attention of a record label A&R exec? Well, Music Connection magazine spilled the beans in a recent issue.
On my latest Artist Empowerment Radio podcast, I reveal their secrets and give you my own advice on how to increase your chances of having a successful music career and gaining music industry attention.

Start listening to How to Get a Record Deal now.

-Bob

Ready to Transform Your Musical Life?

Mark your calendar for June 20-22 in St. Louis, Missouri. That's when I'll present Indie Buzz Bootcamp, a life-changing, one-of-a-kind weekend event. Join me, Derek Sivers (of CD Baby), music publicist Ariel Hyatt, and other visionary speakers who will inspire you. Register to win free tickets!

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posted by Bob Baker @ 3:53 PM   0 comments


January 24, 2008

How to Quit Your Day Job

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." -Mark Twain

So begins a recent post on Leo Babauta's incredibly useful Zen Habits blog. In the post he announced that he had quit his job and would become a full-time blogger after just one intense year of high-quality blogging. (He also just announced a book deal with a major publisher.)

How did Leo do it? And what can musicians learn from his example? I mean, the guy is married and has six kids. Plus he lives on Guam. It's not like he's been hobnobbing with the social elite in LA or NYC (like Perez Hilton).

Luckily, Leo explains what he did to quit his job on this page. You may not aspire to be a full-time blogger, but his "habits" can be applied to any field.

Here I've paraphrased his main points:
  • Create from the heart.
  • Be insanely useful (serve your fans).
  • Focus your efforts and your creativity.
  • Ask for donations.
  • Create and sell something.
  • Interact with your supporters
  • Transition from your day job.
  • Get out of debt and build an emergency fund.
But do yourself a favor and read his entire blog post on the subject. It just might inspire you.

-Bob

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.

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posted by Bob Baker @ 4:06 PM   4 comments


January 21, 2008

Do You Have a Millionaire Mind?

One way to increase the flow of money into your life is to study the ways that other successful people do it. (Hint: It's not about getting an inheritance, ripping people off, or being a super salesperson.)

Readers Digest may not be the first magazine you pick up at the newsstand, but last month it ran an interesting article called "Secrets of Self-Made Millionaires." And ... believe it or not, there are a lot of lessons musicians can learn here.

Some of my take-aways from the article:

Don't paint yourself into a small corner. Think Big! The article quotes "Secrets of the Millionaire Mind" author T. Harv Eker: "The biggest obstacle to wealth is fear. People are afraid to think big, but if you think small, you'll only achieve small things."

I wrestle with this myself. I make a nice living as an author who serves a niche market: aspiring indie musicians. And I advocate that artists should serve their ideal slice of the music fan population and not try to please everyone.

I still embrace that philosophy, but that doesn't mean you should limit yourself or downplay the impact you can have with your music. You can serve your niche in a big way -- and profit accordingly. And, should you choose to do so, and if your fans support you in your quest, you CAN take your music to a wider and wider audience.

I try to raise the level of my activities every year. You should too. But that won't happen until you give yourself permission to think big and act accordingly.

Educate yourself. From the article: "One of the biggest obstacles to making money is not understanding it: Thousands of us avoid investing because we just don't get it. But to make money, you must be financially literate."

Even if you don't have much money to work with and invest right now, start preparing for the day when you do. Get comfortable with cash flow and how to direct it. Hint: The wealthiest people are very good at saving it and giving it away to worthwhile causes.

This education thing extends beyond finances. I've made a lifelong habit out of feeding my mind with positive messages and information on marketing, publicity and sales, in addition to health, wealth and spirituality. It all gets ingrained and makes you a better (and more prosperous) person.

The passion principle. Also from the article: "According to research by Thomas J. Stanley, author of "The Millionaire Mind," over 80 percent of millionaires say they never would have been successful if their vocation wasn't something they cared about."

You already have this one down, I'm sure. You love what you do. But this is more than just "do what you love and the money will follow." It's about staying connected to your passion for music, and finding a way to serve your fans and make a living doing it.

There you have just some of the success secrets of self-made millionaires. Think big. Educate yourself. And immerse yourself in something you love that serves others in a meaningful way.

Ready to take the plunge? No time like the present!

-Bob

Ready to Transform Your Musical Life? Mark your calendar for June 20-22 in St. Louis, Missouri. That's when I'll present Indie Buzz Bootcamp, a life-changing, one-of-a-kind weekend event. Join me, Derek Sivers (of CD Baby), music publicist Ariel Hyatt, and other visionary speakers who will inspire you. Register to win free tickets!

Did you enjoy this blog post? Subscribe now and get all of my newest ideas delivered by email or RSS feed. Learn how here.
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posted by Bob Baker @ 10:27 PM   2 comments


January 18, 2008

How to Master Online Music Marketing

On Tuesday, Jan. 22, my teleclass guest will be Mitch Meyerson, author of "Success Secrets of the Online Marketing Superstars" and the new book "Mastering Online Marketing."

Mitch is not only a savvy marketing expert, he's also a seasoned guitar player and songwriter. I had a chance to hang out with him at the TAXI Road Rally. I know you'll enjoy what Mitch and I will share about marketing your music on the Internet.


Here are the call-in details for Tuesday, Jan. 22:

Starting time: 9 PM Eastern (that's 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 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

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.

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posted by Bob Baker @ 3:47 PM   1 comments


January 14, 2008

Indie Buzz Bootcamp: Ready to Transform Your Musical Life?

Mark your calendar for June 20-22 in St. Louis, Missouri. That's when I'll present Indie Buzz Bootcamp, a life-changing, one-of-a-kind weekend event with Derek Sivers (of CD Baby), music publicist Ariel Hyatt, and a few other visionary, hand-picked speakers who will inspire you.
Why am I doing my own event when there are already so many others? Good question. Let me explain ...

I've attended a lot of music conferences over the years. Some great, some good, but most not so good. The educational part of most conferences consists of "panels" of music biz people thrown together haphazardly. They're often a rambling side show to live music showcases; not the main event itself.

And many of these panels are attended by musicians who simply want to get their demo into the hands of some industry bigshot who will save them. (Have you ever witnessed the Hail Mary pass into the overflowing demo box?) They're not there to learn and grow, to absorb and transform their lives, to build a bigger and better music career.

I thought there was a better way. So I decided to present my own event in St. Louis. One focused on strategies and inspiration and action steps you can put to use right away in the real world ... and keep using for years to come.

Indie Buzz Bootcamp is that event. If you're ready to learn and grow and transform your musical life, I hope you'll join us there.

For more details, visit www.IndieBuzzBootcamp.com and register to win a pair of FREE tickets.

-Bob

Also on this Indie Buzz Bootcamp page, you can get on a special notification list and be one of the first to know when registration opens.

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posted by Bob Baker @ 1:51 PM   1 comments


January 10, 2008

What a Difference 7 Years & 285 Million Can Make

Some interesting sales figures from Bob Lefsetz, proving that not all artists are being affected the same way by declining CD sales:

Sales in 2007, including both physical and digital, topped out at 500.5 million albums. The peak year was 2000, when 785 million units were sold. So, you’d expect sales of best sellers to drop by approximately one third, or 36.25%, to be exact.

The best selling albums of 2000 were:

1. "No Strings Attached/'N Sync: 9,936,104
2. "Marshall Mathers LP"/Eminem: 7,921,107
3. "Oops!…I Did It Again"/Britney Spears: 7,893,544
4. "Human Clay"/Creed: 6,587,834
5. "Supernatural"/Santana: 5,857,824
6. "Beatles 1"/Beatles: 5,068,300
7. "Country Grammar"/Nelly: 5,067,529
8. "Black & Blue"/Backstreet Boys: 4,289,865
9. "Dr. Dre 2001"/Dr. Dre: 3,992,311
10. "Writing's on the Wall"/Destiny's Child: 3,802,165

The best selling albums of 2007 were:

1. "Noel"/Josh Groban: 3,699,000
2. "Soundtrack"/ High School Musical 2: 2,957,000
3. "Long Road Out of Eden"/Eagles: 2,608,000
4. "As I Am"/Alicia Keys: 2,543,000
5. "Daughtry"/Daughtry: 2,497,000
6. "Soundtrack"/Hannah Montana 2: Meet Miley: 2,489,000
7. "Minutes to Midnight"/Linkin Park: 2,099,000
8. "Dutchess"/Fergie: 2,064,000
9. "Taylor Swift"/Taylor Swift: 1,951,000
10."Graduation"/Kanye West: 1,892,000

So, the drop from number one over the past seven years was a whopping 62.77%! In other words, best sellers ... are outpacing the decline of the industry SIGNIFICANTLY!

The major label scorched earth policy of overexposing an album to ubiquity seems to be less effective than EVER!

Note that the sales of independent music in general and many niche music genres have been GROWING in recent years. Check out these figures from CD Baby.

-Bob

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.

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posted by Bob Baker @ 9:49 AM   2 comments


January 07, 2008

Use This to Make a Living With Your Music

Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. Go directly to the blog entry Seth Godin posted today: Music lessons. He lists 15 "things you can learn from the music business (as it falls apart)."

If you've been feeling confused or off balance by all the shifts taking place in the music industry, read ALL of this for a fresh perspective.

Here's one of my favorite parts, #4 (see my comments below):

Permission is the asset of the future

For generations, businesses had no idea who their end users were. No ability to reach through the record store and figure out who was buying that Rolling Stones album, no way to know who bought this book or that vase.

Today, of course, permission is an asset to be earned. The ability (not the right, but the privilege) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who want to get them. For 10 years, the music business has been steadfastly avoiding this opportunity.

It's interesting though, because many musicians have NOT been avoiding it. Many musicians have understood that all they need to make a (very good) living is to have 10,000 fans. 10,000 people who look forward to the next record, who are willing to trek out to the next concert. Add 7 fans a day and you're done in 5 years. Set for life. A life making music for your fans, not finding fans for your music.

The opportunity of digital distribution is this:

When you can distribute something digitally, for free, it will spread (if it's good). If it spreads, you can use it as a vehicle to allow people to come back to you and register, to sign up, to give you permission to interact and to keep them in the loop.

Many authors (I'm on that list) have managed to build an entire career around this idea. So have management consultants and yes, insurance salespeople. Not by viewing the spread of digital artifacts as an inconvenient tactic, but as the core of their new businesses.

Count me in this camp too. From my earliest days on the Internet (1995), my business model has been to give away free tips in order to spread my ideas and inspire people to get on my email list.

Over the years, I've heard a few references to this 10,000-person threshold. I quit my full-time job (the last one I ever plan on having working for someone else) four years ago when my email list was around 8,000.

Of course, it's not the number of people on your list that allows you to make a living. It's how you use it and deliver benefits and experiences that people are willing to pay for. But building the list is the crucial first step.

These days I offer free subscriptions to my blog, podcast and video clips ... in addition to an email newsletter. But the concept is the same for all of them: inspiring people who are interested in what you do to "sign up" to hear from you directly on a regular basis.

Building your list = building your career and prosperity.

-Bob

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.

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posted by Bob Baker @ 7:43 AM   2 comments


January 04, 2008

5 Steps to Setting Music Goals You Will Reach

Last week I published a new resource called Indie Music Confidential, a multimedia package filled with 47 advanced marketing strategies any musician can use to make 2008 their best year ever. Watch this video to learn more about it.

In one part of Indie Music Confidential I share my 30 best tips on goal setting, productivity and motivation. Here are five of them:

1) What's your big WHY? You want to book lots of shows, sell tons of music, and have throngs of fans. That's great. But why do you want those things? What's the bigger reason? What's your grand vision? What's your life's mission and purpose ... and how does being a successful musician fulfill that? Yes, these are deep questions. But having a clear answer will make all the difference in the world.

2) Write them down to make them happen. And write them in ink. Don't keep your goals in your head. Commit them to paper (or at least type them into a computer program and print them out, which is still producing them on paper). The idea is to make your goals tangible, and getting them on paper is the first step.

3) Make your goals specific and measurable. Saying "I want to be a rock star" is admirable, but what is that exactly and how do you know when you've arrived? Instead, make your goals concrete: "I want to play 25 live shows and build my mailing list to 2,000 people by the end of May." That kind of goal is also measurable. By the end of May, you'll know how close you came to reaching (or exceeding) it.

4) Focus on the little chunk at hand. Don't get overwhelmed by the entire scope of a daunting project. For each of your big music career goals, ask yourself, "What's the very first thing I should do on this project?" or "What's the very next thing that needs to be done?" The answer may be as simple as "Call Sue to get the name of the web designer she used for her site." Put that -- and only that -- on your list of next action steps. Don't expend mental energy on the many steps that will follow. Just focus on that one phone call until it's completed. After it's completed, ask, "What next?"

Effective goal setting, then, is simply a matter of taking micro action steps, one at a time.

5) Just do it for 5 minutes. Wanna know the best way to overcome procrastination, hands down? Tell yourself that you'll spend just five minutes working on the thing you know you should be doing ... but don't really feel like doing now. What stops you is the thought of working for hours on end. But anyone, no matter how lethargic, can muster the strength to play around with something for five measly minutes. What you'll find, though, is that once you get started, you'll get into a flow that will carry you well beyond the first five minutes. I've done this for years with my writing projects. It works. The trick is just starting.

To learn more about Indie Music Confidential, pay a quick visit to this page.

-Bob

indie music publicity pr promotion
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.

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posted by Bob Baker @ 1:24 PM   4 comments


January 02, 2008

2008: Jump-Start Your Music Career

Happy New Year!

There's something important I want you to watch and read. Monday night, before Pooki and I left for a New Year's Eve party, I recorded a special video clip. I just posted it on this page.

It's all about how you should be taking advantage of the new year. How the slate has been wiped clean -- and you now get a fresh start and a new chance to grow your career and share your music with the world.

The video also reveals one of the most unusual resources I've ever created. I'd love to know what you think. Watch and read it here.

In addition to that, here are a few books and blogs that will help you get focused and on track early in the new year:

Organizing for Your Brain Type: Finding Your Own Solution to Managing Time, Paper, and Stuff by Lanna Nakone and Arlene Taylor. It's scary how well they have me pegged, based on their brain type profile questions. No wonder I stack things. It's part of my DNA!

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen. Lots of great ideas in this best-selling book.

ZenHabits.net - Leo Babauta's wonderful blog of practical tips.

Lifehack.org - a site filled with tools and tricks to help you get things done.

-Bob

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.

Did you enjoy this blog post? Subscribe now and get all of my newest ideas delivered by email or RSS feed. Learn how here.
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posted by Bob Baker @ 9:00 AM   1 comments