Musician Marketing Basics: Your Newsletter, Your Product Line & Asking Your Fans What They Want

I’m just back from the mighty ASCAP Expo in Los Angeles where I spoke on a panel, did a book signing and sponsored.

I learned so much from the hundreds of artists I spoke to over the 3 days there and I boarded the plane with a whole new perspective on just how confronting marketing and social media is to 90% of artists.

You guys REALLY hate this stuff

You hate it so much that I literally felt like I had been beaten up over the concerns, complaints and sheer confusion directed my way.

So I  will kick off with this: Making it in music is HARD

No matter what side of the fence you are on.  My friends who are managers and agents and club owners work just as hard as my artist friends.  And, music industry professionals are getting laid off left and right. This game (if you choose to play it) is not for the meek!

And now you, the artist are required to do a WHOLE LOT MORE than you might have 7, 8, 9 or 10 years ago (if you were lucky enough to have a label).

But here’s the thing:

The basic rules for success are still the same.

They have always been the same and those artists who understand this succeed: To Increase Your Bottom Line (no matter how you define your bottom line) you MUST focus on your fans!

The first step towards this is building rapport with everyone you come into contact with in person, social media and on your email list.

Everyone always references the astonishing Amanda Palmer as the poster child for success in this paradigm – the woman focuses on her fans!

You know how Amanda does this?

She STAYS at the venue after each and every show signing every CD and piece of merch and scrap of paper put in front of her

She STAYS until she has personally touched the last fan.

Then she STAYS in touch with them long after she has left their town with her newsletter, her blog, her Facebook posts and her Twitter stream.

She understands the rules of engagement.

It’s not magic – its just hard work.

You can have what she has too and here is how:

Today we are going back to three very important basics

(I’m not going to focus on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and all the social media that drives you bonkers this time – you can read many articles I wrote about social media on this blog)

  1. Your Newsletter
  2. Your Product Line
  3. Asking Your Fans What They Want



Get Paid in 2010

Want To Increase Your Bottom Line? Focus On Your Fans!

moneymaking1Its here! A whole new Decade :)

Paying attention to this article could be the difference between you making a little money off of your music in the New Year vs. making A LOT of money!

All of the current news surrounding the music business is bad news. Music industry professionals are getting laid off left and right and CD sales continue to drop.

But I think that this is a very exciting time to come up with some alternatives and some offerings for your core fanbase that could make you a lot more money. (more…)


In Defense of 1,000 True Fans – Kelly Richey – Part IV

Kelly Richey has been described as “Stevie Ray Vaughan trapped in a woman’s body with Janis Joplin screaming to get out.” That’s an apt appraisal of the Lexington, Kentucky native who’s now based in Cincinnati for many years. A working musician since her teens, she began her professional career as a member of the Arista Records group Stealin’ Horses; in 1990 she formed The Kelly Richey Band, with whom she has become both a national and international touring artist.

Kelly Richey is also consummate entrepreneur who refuses to quit. Since establishing her own label, Sweet Lucy Records, Richey has released 11 albums and a live DVD.  When I first spoke to her in August 2008 she was at the end of a long struggle to try to break through using traditional PR and radio.  She had spent a fortune on radio promoters, and traditional publicists, retail positioning and other old school tactics that were just not working for her. (more…)


In Defense of 1,000 True Fans – Amber Rubarth – Part III

I met Amber Rubarth through Derek Sivers who wrote a wonderful profile on her on his blog.

Here is what Derek wrote: Amber Rubarth is a 26-year-old singer/songwriter from Reno, who only started playing music five years ago, but is making a full-time living touring, including four tours of Europe, booking it all herself. She’s also one of the happiest musicians I’ve met. Most musicians I know feel it’s tough, but Amber seems to glide through it all effortlessly.

My interest was peaked and I concur with Derek’s assessment! I am delighted that she was willing to be the subject of my ongoing conversation about 1,000 true fans. (more…)

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