Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

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


November 25, 2009

12 Keys to Building a Thriving Music Career

1) Embrace the New Gatekeepers

2) Understand the Real Key to Creative Success and Fulfillment

3) Treat Every Day Like You're Bill Murray in 'Groundhog Day'

4) Carve Out Your Slice of the Pie

5) Have Specific and Measurable Goals

6) Engage Your Fans and Get Personal

7) Question Everything You're Ever Been Told About the Music Business

8) Learn How to Deal With Criticism, Bad Reviews and Rejection

9) Define Your Musical Identity

10) Put Fringe Fans in Their Proper Place

11) Let Go of Your Need for Certainty

12) Have a Meaningful Purpose That Drives You

-Bob

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posted by Bob Baker @ 8:35 AM   0 comments


November 18, 2009

7 Simple But Effective Steps to Reaching Your Music Career Goals

Last week I posted this question on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites:

What's the #1 Thing That Keeps You From Reaching Your Music Goals?
I received a flood of great responses, most of which I posted here. I encourage you to look over the list and see how many of them you can relate to. But don't use the list to get comfortable and think, "I'm in good company when I don't reach my goals, so I should just relax."

Instead, use the list to realize that you are not alone when it comes to distractions, resistance, and excuses. People who succeed at greater levels don't have some secret code and aren't immune to the everyday obstacles we all encounter.

What they do have is a different mindset and a different approach compared to the masses that get lulled into accepting stagnation as a way of life.

Since this is such a widespread issue (and one I wrestle with myself), I wanted to share my version of the Cycle of Success -- a concept I first heard from Jack Canfield. It's a bare-bones outline of the simple steps you must take to accomplish worthy goals. It may appear simplistic at first glance. But I ask you ...

Honestly, how well do you embrace each of these steps ... and on which ones do you typically get hung up?

1) Decide

The first step to reaching any goal is to know where you're headed. The clearer the target, the more purposeful your actions will be. That's why the first step to accomplishment is to set a specific, measurable goal (or set of goals). "Be a successful musician" is a nice idea, but it's a fuzzy goal. A more concrete goal would be "Perform four live shows a month that generate $3,000 in total revenue" or "Sell $1,500 a month in live show CD/merchandise sales and $1,000 a month in digital downloads." Decide what you want and be crystal clear about what it is.

2) Plan

Once you know exactly what you want, the next step is to craft an action plan that will move you toward it. Take some time to brainstorm on paper. Make lists of the different types of activities you will need to engage in to reach the goal. Who will you need to contact, what do you need to learn, and what tools will help you get there? Work backwards from the goal and determine the specific steps you'll need to take.

3) Start

Now it's time to dive into the step that holds back most human beings: taking action! Look over your grand plan and ask yourself, "What's the very first thing I need to do in each category?" Focus only on those initial things and ... do them! Don't worry about the entire project or the immensity of your goal. Just do the very thing that needs to be done today: make a phone call, send an email, design a web page, repair your equipment, or sit down to write a new song (or finish one you started).

4) Continue

Taking those initial actions in the Start phase may actually come easy if you're exciting about the goal. Your enthusiasm is running high and you're eager to get busy. But what happens after a week or two, when other life demands grab center stage or when you don't make as much progress toward the goal as you had hoped? This step is another biggie that trips up many musicians. But people who succeed muscle through the distractions and "continue" taking action, even when they're short on time and energy. If your goal is truly important, you will find time to chip away at it and make progress -- on a consistent basis.

5) Evaluate

If you get this far, congratulations! You've accomplished more than the majority of creative people (as sad as that is to say). You have decided what you want, created an action plan, started taking action, and have continued to work toward it, despite many temptations to do otherwise. Now you must take a little time to measure the results of your efforts. Don't just stay busy for the sake of movement without knowing how effective your actions are. Are you moving closer to the goal, or further away? What has brought the best results? Now is the time to evaluate your progress.

6) Adjust

Once you look at the actions you've taken thus far and measure the results (as in number of live shows booked, number of new fans on your mailing list, amount of music and merch sold, etc.), you'll have a clearer picture of where you stand. Then look over your plan and tweak it. How you do that is super simple: Do more of what's working and less of what isn't working. Also, this is a good time to introduce a new goal or strategy that makes sense based on what you've learned from your actions so far.

7) Continue

Once again, consistent action and progress is key. So with your adjusted plan in hand, continue to move forward. Another trait that will help you in this phase is the ability to simultaneously see two contrasting perspectives: 1) Keep the big picture vision alive of where you are headed -- the specific and measurable goal you have set, and 2) Focus on the micro task at hand and realize where you actually are on the path. There will almost always be a wide gap between where you are and where you want to be. But don't let that disparity frustrate you. Instead, let it pull you toward the goal even more fervently.

Bonus Step: Repeat Steps 5 through 7. From here on out, your progress will be a series of evaluating your efforts, adjusting your goals and action plans, and getting busy pursuing them again.

There you have it: 7 Simple But Effective Steps to Reaching Your Music Career Goals.

Are you truly incorporating all of the steps? Where do you get hung up the most? Did I miss anything? Let me know in the Comments section below.

-Bob



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posted by Bob Baker @ 10:31 AM   7 comments


November 12, 2009

What Keeps You From Reaching Your Goals?

I posted this question on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites this week and got a flood of great responses.

Below you'll find a summary of the top reasons people cite for falling short of their goals and not making as much progress as they'd like.

Recognize any of them?

  • Lack of time
  • Lack of money
  • Lack of confidence
  • Self-sabotage
  • Not setting goals to begin with
  • Not planning well enough
  • Procrastination
  • Having too many goals
  • Not prioritizing my goals
  • Spreading myself too thin
  • Lame but convenient excuses
  • Popular trends not going my way
  • Not knowing where to start
  • My day job
  • Not putting what I know into action
  • The government and its stupid rules
  • Setting really BIG goals
  • Perfectionism
  • Fear of failure
  • Not knowing how to raise things to the next level
  • Clutter
  • Me, Myself, My own mind
  • Facebook

If I missed something, please add your own obstacle in the Comments section below. Also leave some extra thoughts on what holds you back, along with any tips you have to overcome these hurdles.

I'll post my own ways of conquering these personal demons in future blog posts, and may even turn this into an ebook some day.

-Bob


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posted by Bob Baker @ 4:25 PM   1 comments


November 03, 2009

7 Ways to Destroy Your Music Career

Everybody wants to know the easy, proven steps to music success. Therefore, every expert offers tips and strategies to help you reach your goals -- including me.

Well, it's time to shake things up and serve a new audience -- which explains why this post takes a look at the dark side: How to ruin your music career in seven easy steps ...

1) Give Away Your Personal Power

The first step to destroying your music career is to realize that your destiny is in the hands of other people and circumstances beyond your control. Fully embrace the fact that you need to be in the right place at the right time to get your "lucky break" and be "discovered."

Industry people and music critics must deem you worthy of success for you to have value as a musician. Also, cling to the belief that all the answers are "out there" somewhere and you will be incredibly successful at failure.

2) Turn Marketing, Promotion and Sales Into a Huge Burden

Do you really wanna fall flat fast? Then start referring to marketing as a "necessary evil" quick. Realize that you don't have what it takes to "sell yourself" and reach more fans. In fact, there's probably a biological reason you hate promotion: you were born without the critical marketing gene that all those "gift of gab" people have. Therefore, you are destined to live a lifetime of hardship as you struggle with having to engage in the ugly chore of self-promotion.

3) Be Fearful of Being Perceived as a Greedy, Capitalist Pig

Paranoia will go a long way to helping you fall short of a thriving music career -- especially when it comes to earning money. Just know that every one of your fans is watching you and waiting to jump ship the second they smell any scent of capitalism. Therefore, if you make any sales pitches at all, they better be so low key as to be barely perceptible.

In fact, it would be best not to even make people aware that you have things for sale. Just wait till they come to you. If they're interested, they'll ask. And if you want to score extra points, when they do ask, tell them you left all your CDs and T-shirts at home.

4) Use a Lack of Time, Money and Connections as Your Biggest Excuse

Here's a surefire way to go down in flames. Have convenient scapegoats based on scarcity. Tell anyone who asks (as well as a lot of people who don't ask or care) how lousy your career is because of all the lack in your life. Frequently use phrases such as "There aren't enough hours in the day," "If I had that kind of money, I'd be a rock star too," and "It's not what you know, it's who you know." To spice things up, every now and then throw in an angry reference to "The man."

5) Market Yourself to the Faceless Masses Using Traditional Big Media

Why spend all that time dealing one on one with fans, when someday someone could just throw a bunch of money (you know, the funds you don't have enough of now) into a massive marketing campaign? Realize that it takes big bucks spent on radio promotion, retail placement, billboards, and paid display ads in national magazines to succeed. This mass media mindset is your ticket to success ... at hitting the fast track to failure.

Bonus tip: Never answer your email from fans, and rarely -- if ever -- log into your Facebook, MySpace or Twitter accounts. Better yet, don't even start these accounts.

6) Promote Yourself Sporadically and Only When It's Urgent

If you have a mailing list (and with sucky email delivery and open rates these days, why bother?), be sure the fans on your list don't hear from you very often. One of the best "road to ruin" marketing tactics is blasting your fans with urgent "come to my show" or "buy my new album now" messages when they haven't heard from you in months. Your ultimate goal is have fans read your promotions and go, "Who is this band again?"

7) Know That Everyone Owes You Something Simply Because You Exist

I've saved the best way to destroy your music career for last. Simply know that everyone will care as much about you and your music as you do. Understand that complete strangers will indeed listen to every note of your 70-minute concept album and read every word of your 10-page bio. Be sure to send long, in-depth emails and leave lengthy, rambling voice mail messages for the imbeciles who don't recognize your greatness. Also, be sure to insult anyone who doesn't get back to you within 10 minutes.

There you have it -- the top seven ways to ruin your music career.

So ... what are you waiting for? Now get out there and demote yourself!!!

-Bob



Featured Resource

Guerrilla Music Marketing HandbookGuerrilla Music Marketing Handbook

201 Self-Promotion Ideas for Songwriters,
Musicians and Bands on a Budget

Learn More or Order Now
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
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posted by Bob Baker @ 8:52 AM   23 comments