The Value Proposition

by Scott Feldman
Not a Honda

You’ve got a bunch of sweet tracks recorded.  You can’t wait for the world to hear ‘em.  What’re you going to do to make people notice?  Well, obviously you’re going to make a super-expensive video, because you’ve heard that YouTube is where people are finding cool music these days.  And you’ve heard people ramble on about making things go viral.

So you mortgage the farm, sell the children into slavery, and spend oodles of cash making this amazing video.  It gets uploaded to YouTube and your friends think it’s awesome, but then … nothing.  Suddenly you’ve spent a ton of money to create this cool product and it doesn’t generate the bang you were looking for.  Even worse, you don’t have anything left to try a Plan B.  So what? Well …

You don’t need a $10,000 solution to a $500 problem!

We get clients coming to us expecting to hear things like, “in order to be successful, you’ll need to spend a kajillion dollars per month.”  Lots of musicians equate cost with effectiveness.  When that happens, usually the artist is looking for a scapegoat:  ”I paid you all this money, so why aren’t I successful?”

Let’s think about where the problems start and work forward from there:

Is the music any good? 

We hate having to even ask this question, but alas, we do.  No amount of expert marketing will make up for a lackluster product.  Before you tell me that One Direction is mighty successful, think about how much massive machinery is shoving them down every teenage girl’s throat.  In their case, it’s barely about the music.  Instead, it’s the whole swoony, schoolgirl crush thing that’s being sold.  Don’t be fooled into believing that those guys are putting their musical integrity on display.  If that’s a road you’re willing to go down, fine.  But let’s not confuse it with musicmarketing.

What are you doing

So there you are, you’ve got this album in the can.  Are you playing gigs?  Are you posting on Facebook?  Are you a mad blogger?  Do you have a mailing list? You can’t wait for people to find you — you’ve got to find them!   First you build the audience, then you sell them something.  Think of it this way:   What would happen if your favorite restaurant cooked up 100 orders of coq au vin not knowing if anyone was going to order it?  However, if they’d done a series of interviews with local media specifically discussing how amazing their coq au vin was, and then they gave out free samples at their local mall, and they had an ad running in the local newspaper touting their coq au vin as the greatest thing since The Beatles, well ….. then things would be different, right?

Budgets don’t have to be excessive!

Keeping costs reasonable allow you to both make a profit and not end up homeless.  That restaurant with the coq au vin didn’t have to spend oodles of cash to get their message across.  They knew that the materials cost (chicken, vin) were low, so giving out free samples was an easy way to ingratiate themselves with the local media outlets.  They partnered with a local winery which gave them a great deal on wine and a place to hand out samples.  The winery was so excited, they sent out a newsletter to their entire mailing list talking about the partnership with the restaurant.  So far, the costs are at a minimum compared to the sizeable return.  When the budget was spent, it was on that one “extra” ad in the local paper.

Know when you need help!

You’re indie.  You’re your own producer, mixer, and manager.  Gold star for you, bunky!   Unfortunately, you also haven’t slept in weeks, and the overall quality of your output is starting to falter.  That’s a slow path to disaster.  Figure out what you can spend (time, money, in trade) to get things done.  Having a team, or at least a partner, involved makes the difference.  If you’re not an expert in marketing, why are you doing it yourself?

We’ve had clients come to us for help, but their budgets were slim.  Instead of doing their marketing for them, we used the budget available to teach them the basics.  Everybody walked away happy.

D.I.-Why is glad to help you figure out what to do.  Talk to us!

This article originally appeared on here

One Response to The Value Proposition

  1. Richard Axtman ~ Northern Music says:

    Artists and bands need to build their fan base before they go out looking for gigs. Yes you may score a gig without it, but if you don’t have good promotions and no one comes it will be the last gig you’ll get at that venue. Do this several times around your area and you’ll soon have no place that will hire you. But if you do good show advertisement for the venue, the venue may overlook a smaller turnout if they feel their venue and your show was properly promoted. So the first thing an artist needs to do is build a good web presence and a social media network of listeners. Promotional Advertisements comes first, gigs come second.

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