The ability for an artist to connect with their fans is the most important part of being successful in the music industry. There are more tools than ever to allow independent artist to reach their existing fans as well as gain new followers. The music industry has traditionally done the legwork for new artists through marketing & promotion, however, nowadays it's up to each one of us to be our own marketing team.
by Tommy McWilliams
Revolutions wipe out the perfect and make the impossible possible. That’s what we have here – a revolution.
The problem with monetizing your Art in the current new music biz is the same problem as monetizing your Art in the old music biz…finding your audience. Or maybe, more accurately, how does your audience find you?
The old biz still exists. You know it well. Record company picks your act to fill one of the slots it has available to stick into their distribution network and on and on. The thing that makes this revolution so exciting is that you don’t have to wait to get picked. You get to pick yourself. Right now. Right here. BOOM, YOU’RE IN THE MUSIC BIZ!! Here’s the catch; you have to do everything. Not only do you have to deliver something with enough authenticity and passion that people will demand you do it again and then really want to be a part of it but you also have to gain attention AND find your audience.
One of the realities of this revolution is the old Media Empires are falling. This was the main way attention was gained for your music. Mainstream media, PR firms and press releases and, of course, radio airplay. Most are still available if you choose to go the old major record company route. But, you’ve chosen yourself. So, how do we gain attention for what we do in the Connection Economy?
On of my favorite online tech guys Chris Brogan has some insights - First and foremost you are your own Media Empire. No need to wait for anyone to pick you. This blows my mind. It’s still difficult to get a grip on the importance of this monumental shift in process. It’s pretty revolutionary.
The story – your story – is what gives you the ability to connect. You are the one connecting to others and to opportunities through your story. Using your Media Empire to tell your story is how your audience finds you. Connecting without the hindrance of time and place. There is no need for you to be in the same place as your audience for them to hear your story.
So, what is your Media Empire?
Website: Your primary digital channel
Your website is your Home Base. Your website should have one fundamental function. It should be pursuing some type of conversion or next action. If your site looks confusing or your visitors are not sure what’s going on, you’ve lost them.
Make it really obvious what your story is.
You’ve got to do something at your Home Base so there is the desire for the visitor to connect further down the line.
Make sure whatever tells your story the most effectively; video, photos, your latest music is featured prominently.
Straightforward intent is the objective.
Your site shouldn’t look like advertising. The object of advertising is to distract. Why would you want to distract from the content that your visitor was there to look at in the first place. The goal of your site is to bring you the relationship.
Your Outposts: Your social media presence
If your website’s primary goal is to send me to Facebook, you have just pushed me off your most important piece of digital real estate onto the most distracting site on the web.
Making Facebook your primary site is a bad idea. You never know when the rules will change. At the rate Facebook is going it’s not a question of IF the change will happen it’s WHEN.
Video Broadcast: YouTube, Vimeo
Providing consistent, high-quality content that is relevant, congruent and benevolent to a certain group is called [buzz-word warning] Content Marketing.
Your tribe desperately craves more information.
They want to be on the inside. They have to feel like they are connecting with you and your Art. You have to be a critical component to their day [hopefully]
Own all the interactions. Answer all the questions, even the hard questions. As a matter of fact – RUN to the hard questions!
Your people want to see the sausage being made, they want the contact, they want to know how you played the second solo on the third track on your latest release or what the drummer was thinking when he played the verse on the toms instead of the hat.
With this revolution, it’s no longer about feeling safe. You have to feel like you’re risking everything. You can no longer rely on the systems that were put in place by the Henry Fords and the Jimmy Iovines of the world.
It’s about how are you going to connect? How are you going to build trust? How are you going to find your Tribe? Well, you find them by having the courage to not be average. You find them by not doing what’s easy. You find them by putting your best out into the world. And it’s got to be great, really great, “I gotta call all my friends and tell them all about this” great. And it will be, if you want it to be….
photos courtesy of: Brad Divens