Let’s get right down to it. You need to sell more music, book more gigs, sell more merch, license more music. Sell, Sell, Sell.
Your in the business of making music, right? Well yes, but to create a successful business out of creating music, you have to be in the Music Business. I’m not going to beat around the bush… Making it in the music business is hard.
We sell a very cheap product, which is expensive to produce and manufacture, and our market is inundated with competition. Moreover, the product we sell (music) does not overtly solve any clear or specific problem and therefore the old problem/solution marketing tricks don’t work for us.
It’s a tough business…
But I don’t think any of us signed up to be musicians because we thought it was an easy way to get rich. We became musicians because we felt “the calling”. At some point in our lives some aspect of music made us think to ourselves… that is what I want to do with my life!
At some point a little further down that track we asked ourselves, ok… how exactly am I going to be able to make a living doing this?
It used to be fairly straight forward: Record, perform, sell music from shows, rinse and repeat.
Hoping all the while, that some record executive would take notice and give you a million dollars to sign with their label. While that still does happen from time to time, that’s just not the way it works anymore.
The bad news first:
Record Labels can’t afford to develop artists anymore. If you’re not already attracting millions of fans on your own, or you’re not 16 years old and attached to a Grammy winning producer, most record labels just can’t afford to take the chance and invest in your career. And when they do, the money is not what it used to be. Moreover, streaming has killed the “curiosity sale” and for many independent artists, revenue has plummeted.
Now the good news:
On the positive side of things, the internet has (to a large extent), decentralized the music industry. The major label distribution channels as well as mainstream radio, just doesn’t matter like it used to. Anyone with good music and some drive, now has access to the market. If you employ smart direct to fan marketing strategies anyone can make a living as a musician.
It’s really not that complicated… Instead of the old “If you build it they will come” strategies, today’s successful independent artists need simply:
- Drive traffic.
- Turn that traffic into a mailing list and/or social media following (usually by giving away a little free music to new subscribers).
- Build an authentic relationship with your subscribers.
- Ask your subscribers to spend a bit of money with you from time to time on music, tickets, and merch.
- Your income will be in direct proportion to the size of your list.
Why does it seem so hard and why doesn’t this work for everyone?
The reality is that there are a lot of little nuances behind each one of those steps outlines above. Get something wrong and it can throw everything off. If your marketing is not completely optimized it can be VERY difficult to make paid advertising profitable (remember… cheap product, small profit margins, competitive market). And it’s very hard to scale your fan base up to where it needs to be without advertising.
So… success with direct to fan marketing means that every step in the process really needs to be on target.
If your ads are not performing well, subscribers will be too expensive. If subscribers are too expensive then you won’t profit on your sales. Every single aspect of your marketing needs to be “optimized”.
Successfully optimizing a campaign boils down to one, not-very-sexy word, that few musicians really understand…
That word is “COPYRIGHTING”.
Copyrighting is a term that gets thrown around a lot in marketing circles.
It often gets confused with writing product descriptions, brochures, or traditional advertisements. Those are forms of copyrighting as well, but the kind of copyrighting we marketers refer to is the art of using words to motivate people to take action. Aka, “direct response copyrighting”.
It’s all about the “Fan Journey”…
To visualize how copyrighting can help you build your fan base and sell more music, start by imagining a total stranger who has never heard of you on one end of an arc. On the other end of that arc you have a raving fan who shares your music with others and regularly spends money on your music, merchandise, and tickets to your shows.
But people don’t just go from total stranger to true fan in a single click. There are many steps in between those two points.
The key 7 steps on the true fan journey include…
- Awareness (prospect sees a post about your music).
- Interest (prospect identifies with the sound and experience that you claim your music offers and becomes intrigued.
- Engagement (prospect listens to your music, comments on blog post, engages with you on social media).
- Purchase (prospect makes their first small purchase or – if streaming your music – adds your music to a playlist).
- Becomes fan (prospect gets value from their purchase).
- Becomes true fan (your fan becomes a true fan and continues to support your creative endeavors by making additional purchases).
- Endorsement (fan shares your music with others).
Occasionally a person will complete this arc all on their own. But there is much that can be done to influence the masses to take this “fan journey” each and every day.
We give you the tools and training or do it for you (depending on your needs and budget).
Tell us about your immediate needs and let’s get started making your passion a sustainable business!
HOT TIP: NoiseTrade offers musicians the opportunity to give their music away in exchange for an email address and a zip code. Again, this data is arguably more important than the sale itself. But fans can also leave a tip when downloading the music, which helps add some revenues to the equation.
There’s also a huge music discovery element to NoiseTrade. They send a daily newsletter to over 1.5 million fans looking to discover new artists, so it can be a great resource to build up your mailing list and gain new fans.