We all know that the music business has changed big-time in the last 5 years. Albums and record companies have been replaced by digital downloads. If you want to sell your music, or promote your band, you pretty much have to do it yourself.
Now this has been coming for a long time. As “labels” began to disappear, musicians had to start recording their own music and producing their own CDs. And then they had to figure out ways to distribute their music. There was no rules and certainly no manual to tell you how to do it. You figured it out on your own.
Of course there always have been the “haves” and the “have-nots” in the music business. Back in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s the goal was to get a record contract and then get your music played on the radio. Usually the record company did all the work so everyone wanted to get “signed” to a record company. It really was the only path to success. If you got signed then you were a “have.” And all of the thousands and thousands of bands out there wanted to “have” that success.
Of course, there were many small labels in years past. Sun Records and it’s owner/producer Sam Phillips, was just a small little label out of Memphis Tennessee until it recorded a young Elvis Presley and caught the brass ring. Of course, Presley later went to RCA Records in 1955, when RCA purchased the recording contract from Sun Records for the then astronomical sum of $35,000. Elvis would become RCA’s biggest selling recording artist. His first gold record was Heartbreak Hotel, recorded in January 1956. He became the classic success story in Rock and Roll. And because the Baby Boomer teens were buying so many records, there was plenty of money, and plenty of demand for more bands. So the the record labels were in a buying mood.
And it really was possible for a small local or regional band to “make it” if they had a good song. And if you ever saw the movie, That Thing You Do, where a small local band records themselves, is “discovered” by a local “producer,” and then that producer promotes them to a big-time record label, and they become famous… well that’s the path you took back in those days.
But things have changed. Record companies don’t look for small, local bands. They seldom sign new artists unless they’ve already established themselves somehow.
And the fact is, there’s really very little money selling your own music today, even if you can get it on iTunes or Spotify or CD Baby, or wherever. That ship has pretty much sailed as a way to make big money. But you can create a small income stream selling CD’s… usually at gigs.
But you have to build up a following and an online presence. And you must have your “ducks in a row.”
Today in order to make money you must have these ducks inline (and online).
- Play concerts, clubs, or shows whenever you can. Then leverage those shows to…
- Sell your own CD(s)
- Have your own website you can send people to from your “touchpoints”
- Build up a following from gigs and online promotion
- Develop am email list of as many fans as possible. Tell people about it at gigs and all online locations
- Sell merch at your shows
- Make music videos of your live shows and use them to promote yourself on Facebook, YouTube, and wherever
All this adds up to your Fan Funnel for turning people you meet (in person and online) into stark, raving fans that want to come to shows and buy your stuff. You must have a call to action in as many places as possible to move people into your Fan Funnel so you can leverage that contact
Your Online Presence
It’s an online world. The more places you can be found online, the more “touchpoints” you have where you can connect with your potential fans. So you need to have a web presence in as many places as possible. This includes…
- Your website (duh)
- Reverb Nation
- Music Forums
On this locations you can put your songs, your videos and you can send people into your fan funnel on your website.
And who knows what other online locations will pop-up in the next few years. Most of these sites didn’t exist 10 years ago (most not even 5 years).
So you’ve got to be ready to adapt… and change with the times.
But it is clear. It’s become a digital world. You must have mp3 versions of songs to distribute and videos that let people know what you are about.
After all, that’s what this website is really about. I use it to drive traffic to my band website here. So this is just one of my many touchpoints for turning strangers into fans.
But of Course The Most Important Thing Still Is…
You’ve got to make good music. This has always been true no matter how the music business works. If your music can’t compete, stay home and rehears and practice until it is good enough. As some famous politician said. You can’t put lipstick on a pig.
So how do you go about turning your band or music into a profitable business. Here’s a course that teaches you how. As a long-time online marketer myself, I wish I had written this book myself. It pretty much teaches everything I’ve learned in the last 7 years doing online marketing for a living.