Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

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


September 30, 2010

How to Create an Indie Artist Profile on Apple's Ping Network

When Apple launched it's new Ping network with the new version of iTunes, a lot of independent musicians were frustrated that they couldn't immediately set up an artist profile page on the network.

So most of them just grumbled and sat back to wait for Tunecore or CD Baby to work out the details for them.

But not Frank Colin of Gulture Enterprises.

"I assist the legendary independent blues and rock musician Jimmy Z with his website and social media," Frank writes on his blog. "As soon as I upgraded iTunes ... it became my mission to get his profile on Ping ..."

That's an understatement. Through persistence and some creative communications, Frank was able to set up a Ping profile by working directly with Apple. But it wasn't easy.

Frank chronicles how he did it, in great detail, in a great series of blog posts:

First read "How an Independent Musician Might Get a Profile on Ping."

Then read "How to Create an Independent Musician Profile on iTunes Ping" for even more of the nitty gritty."

Congrats to Frank for finding a way to get inside the machine and work the system!

-Bob

P.S. Have you had any luck setting up a Ping artist profile? Let me know in the Comments section below ...
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posted by Bob Baker @ 5:03 PM   0 comments


September 28, 2010

Guerrilla Music Marketing Comes to Memphis & Nashville Oct 9 & 10

I always thought it would be cool to drive down from St. Louis (where I live) and present back to back workshops in the two music cities of Memphis and Nashville.

Well, that idea is finally happening in one big weekend in October as I present two workshops on Guerrilla Music Marketing.

If you're in the area, I hope you can make it. If not, I would appreciate if you could spread the word to music people you know who live nearby.

Here's the scoop on how to register and attend:

Saturday, October 9
Guerrilla Music Marketing
Memphis Music Foundation
431 S Main St. #201
Memphis, TN 38103
1 to 4 PM
Map and directions
Bob presents a Guerrilla Music Marketing Workshop at the Music Resource Center. Free admission compliments of the Memphis Music Foundation. But you need to register here.



Sunday, October 10
Guerrilla Music Marketing Worshop
Nashville, TN
7 to 9 PM
Bob presents a Guerrilla Music Marketing Workshop in Nashville. Go to this page to register. Get $10 off admission when you enter this code into the coupon field: INDIE1



There you have it. Let your friends know. Hope to meet you in person at one of these events.

-Bob
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posted by Bob Baker @ 11:33 AM   0 comments


September 24, 2010

The Black Keys Guide to Shattering Excuses

We creative types have so many good ideas: new ways to vocally interpret a lyric, guitar sounds that make a song pop, using unexpected instruments on a recording that bring it to life, etc.

These ideas serve us well.
We also have equally creative ideas that hold us back, such as:
  • I don't have enough contacts in the business to be able to get anywhere.
  • Everybody else knows more than me, so I'm going to be taken advantage of.
  • I'm too old to do much with my music now.
  • This music project is doomed because I don't have enough money to promote it.
These are all very creative ideas, in my opinion, because none of them are actually true.

Think about it. Your guitar sound or vocal arrangement isn't actually "cool" or "awesome" until someone decides for themselves that it is. Otherwise, it's just sound vibrations and noise.

Someone has to determine they think it's good for it to be so.

The same goes for the negative beliefs listed above. They're just ideas without substance -- until you decide they are real.

Seriously, do you REALLY need a bunch of music biz connections to make progress? Are you REALLY too old to make an impact with your music? And are you REALLY doomed due to a lack of money?

I don't think so.

Consider the topic of graphic design for your next album. Ideally, you want to hire a professional designer to create a stunning cover. That would be great. But ... you're short on funds. So that means you're destined to be stuck with a crappy looking album cover, right?

That brings me to The Black Keys and the cover art for their CD, called Brothers.

I saw this in a store recently and was struck by the simplicity. I found it both funny and eye-catching at the same time. Very creative indeed.

So let me ask you ... Did they spend a fortune on graphic design for this release?

Could YOU have done something similar, if you had thought of this idea?

Of course, you could.

My advice: Put all of your creative ideas under a microscope. Examine them for what they truly are. Keep the ones that serve you, and discard the rest.

-Bob

P.S. Did you like this blog post? If so, subscribe to my long-running Buzz Factor ezine and get a semi-regular dose of music promotion tips and tools delivered to your inbox (about once a week).

You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook.
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posted by Bob Baker @ 10:27 AM   4 comments


September 10, 2010

Is Apple's Ping Network Shutting Out Indie Bands?

I have yet to download the latest version of iTunes, but that hasn't kept me from hearing the buzz (and controversy) surrounding Apple's new Ping.

It's described as a "Social Network for Music" that is built into iTunes. Apple is hyping it this way:

"True fans know it all: What their favorite artists are playing - and when and where they're playing it. Set your inner groupie free by following your favorite artists on Ping."

That's why a lot of independent musicians were excited by the prospect of creating their own profile on Ping and using it as a way to engage with more fans on the hugely popular iTunes platform.

But excitement quickly turned to frustration as indie artists could find no way to create a profile (as they can a band page on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc).

So, is Apple slamming the door on indie artists and bands?

Hopefully not. Apple is reportedly working with CD Baby, Tunecore, and other indie music aggregators to allow artists of all kinds to create profiles on the site.

The prevailing logic behind it is to make sure that the artist or band itself is creating the profile -- instead of a fan or imposter claiming to be the band.

Makes sense -- but it was short-sighted on Apple's part to overlook this aspect before launching Ping with so much hype.

It also demonstrates the company's overbearing need for control -- and raises a lot of questions about their being in bed with major labels instead of championing the indie underdog (which was a big part of their brand identity as the "cool company" going up against Microsoft).

I hope Apple wakes up and finds a quick way to make Ping artist profiles available to independent musicians. I'm a big Apple fan, and I hope they continue to give me good reasons to stay one!

What do YOU think about Ping? Please leave a comment below.

-Bob

Follow me on Twitter and get my latest links to useful music and marketing info!

Here are some related Ping links across the web:

Apple's official Ping page

Apple's Ping has major label bias

TuneCore: Apple Does Not Hate Indie Bands

Hey, iTunes Ping: What About the Bands?

Why Apple's Ping Stumble May Help Google Music

Ping: Apple should leave social to Facebook, Twitter
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posted by Bob Baker @ 9:44 AM   7 comments


September 02, 2010

3 Ways to Become a Music Marketing Ninja

To be effective in today's noisy world, you can't be lazy when it comes to marketing your music. You have to stretch your thinking and your methods. You must break old paradigms and shatter trusted formulas.

You must become a marketing ninja!


Here are three ways to do that:

1) Reconsider all of your marketing tactics. One of the biggest promotional mistakes you can make is doing something just because that's the way it's always been done before. Just because everyone else pursues radio airplay, retail distribution and media exposure in a certain way (or even MySpace, Twitter and Facebook), that doesn't mean you have to.

Your marketing decisions should be based on what's best for your particular situation, genre, target fan base, etc. Don't mindlessly follow the flock. Be different. Think creatively. Get focused on how you can most effectively reach new fans -- regardless of how the established artists or "experts" (including me) say it needs to be done.

2) Think in terms of opposites. Make a list of all the specific things that major labels and mainstream artists do to promote their music. Then imagine what would happen if you did the exact opposite.

What if you were in a band that never toured? Or made your albums available only on USB drives? What if you were mysterious and never displayed your photo and never did interviews? What if you performed live only on tennis courts, city buses or roller coasters? In short, what could you do to radically set yourself apart?

3) Redefine your small-scale, independent status. One of the reasons musicians feel they need to "act" like a major label artist is because of an inferiority complex. Without a label's or a manager's official backing, independent artists often feel they're imposters and aren't worthy of pursuing their dreams.

Guess what? This is nonsense!

Embrace your independence! Don't hide it. Flaunt it! As an indie, you have the unique ability to communicate on a far more personal level with your fans. You get to call the shots and control your destiny. You have freedom. Celebrate it!

And let your fans know you are doing this on your own, and how much you appreciate their help. Make them a part of your success story. So don't you dare shy away from your independent status.

These tips were adapted from my book, Guerrilla Music Marketing, Encore Edition.

-Bob
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posted by Bob Baker @ 12:03 PM   2 comments