Like I said yesterday, I missed out on attending the New Music Seminar this week in NYC, but I am in the middle of a 4-day intensive on Internet Marketing, which I think is really going to benefit you guys in the long run. But, I had some more eyes in the crowd that were taking notes and taking names. Today Carla Lynne Hall shares a David vs. Goliath marketing strategy that I think resonates with a lot of what is happening in the industry right now. Check it out and let us know what you think in the comments.
This week I attended the New Music Seminar in New York City. Because the New Music Seminar is supported mostly by current and former members of the old school music biz, I wasn’t expecting to learn anything ground-breaking – and I didn’t. BUT I did realize that indie musicians are much more powerful than they believe.
As a DIY musician, my favorite inspirational quote is “Goliath was the best thing that ever happened to David”. In this well-known story, a teenage boy steps up to battle a nine-foot giant.
I should also mention here that while armies of grown men were afraid to fight the giant Goliath, young David refused the unfamiliar battle armor, spear, and javelin offered to him by his King. Instead, David insisted on his simple shepherd’s tunic, slingshot, and a pouch of stones.
If you’re familiar with this story, you know that David won this battle. Because of the similarities, I’ve always viewed indie artists as “David”, and the traditional record industry as “Goliath”, and I remind myself of this story whenever I feel discouraged about the state of the music biz.
At NMS this week, “Direct to Fan” marketing was one of the major themes being discussed, and I couldn’t help but realize that this area is where indie artists have the advantage. While major labels use their large marketing budgets on massive scales, most indie artists fit into niches – and not only musical ones. There’s no way that you can outspend a label, but you can definitely reach the smaller niches that they can’t.
Create your own “David vs. Goliath” Music Marketing Strategy
Find Your Niches
Just like you, music fans have lives outside of music. Some of your fans are moms, pet owners, cigar smokers, etc – just like you. Take the time to get to know the other people in your various tribes. After making an authentic connection, let them know that you’re also a musician. Invite them to gigs and share your music. As “The Singing CPA”, accountant Steven Zelin books gigs at trade shows all-year-round, thanks to referrals from colleagues and clients. On Tax Day, April 15th, he has a standing gig performing at NYC’s Main Post Office. Who says that accounting is all math?
Build Your Email List
As Topspin Media recently announced, 30% of their artists’ music revenue – the largest piece of the pie – was driven by EMAIL. Not from Facebook, MySpace, Google, or other online sources, but simple email. Set up online and offline systems to give away mp3s in exchange for email addresses.
Regularly Connect with Your Fans
Even when you have a regular email newsletter that you send to your fans, PLEASE do not abuse them by only contacting them when you want them to come to a gig, buy your CD, help you win a contest, etc. Share fun happenings, videos, and stories, even when you don’t have a gig coming up. Share your gratitude by highlighting a different fan each month. “Me, Me, Me!” is boring, so aim to create an email newsletter that’s worth opening.
Perform and Publish Often
Offline, the best way to win new music fans is from the stage. Take the time and effort to create special moments during your live show, and your fans will spread the word.
Online, get a blog and share your music, photos, and personality. Update it regularly, and respond to comments. Be sure to visit other blogs, leave comments, and make friends with other bloggers.
Wield Social Media Like a Ninja
Facebook and Twitter status messages are not just for announcing your gigs and telling us what you’re up to. Use social media status messages to start conversations and ask questions.
Notice the folks who respond the most to you on your various social networks. Send these online BFFs messages on their Facebook Wall, just because. Fill your Twitter timeline with @messages to other people, not just your announcements.
So there are definitely things indie artists can do to build a fanbase that major labels can’t. Feel free to share some of your David vs. Goliath indie music marketing strategies that have worked for you below.
This post was written by Carla Lynne Hall, a NYC-based singer/songwriter and music marketing consultant. She blogs about the life of an indie musician at her Rock Star Life Lessons blog, and is launching a new podcast and video series for Fall 2010.