You Make the Music. Then What?

It's a serious time for serious musicians. They, like many in media and art, are faced with complete disruption of a business model. For sure, the way things worked doesn't work anymore.

Playing the local circuit remains a staple. What's changed is how the local circuit has widened in opening itself to hundreds of competitors. Before the internet, not many bands from Cleveland, Ohio worked clubs in Madison, Wisconsin. It was too difficult to get the attention of club owners there, but not so much now.

There's also pay-to-play in clubs tripping up artists today, along with what's considered low royalty payments - IF you can get a song on a digital service.

You've made a slight adjustment if you've joined thousands of musicians already accepting this fact: Getting exposure (marketing) is more important than a single song. For a large number of musicians, deciding that having people know your name is more important than your music is a tough adjustment to make. But it's true.

The thought has been "I make the music and hope others will like it well enough to pay." Today's reality is that consumers are looking less to ownership of music. Supporting a band that produces music they like is replacing "I need to own that song." This puts artists in a position of rethinking how to do business.

There aren't a lot of bands getting enough digital "spins" to put food on the table, so let's put dreams of hitting it big with a single song on the back burner. I'm not saying it doesn't happen. Just keep in mind that since few new songs explode with popularity, it's best to temper expectations.
You make music. Then What?

Don't try to sell music. View each song as one more step in building your band's brand. (They are not the same.) Your goal is to increase support for what you do.

Quit thinking how good you are and start thinking how you can serve fans better; ultimately, any money coming in will be from the consumer's pocket. Even if it's in the form of performance royalty, that money will have started in a fan's pocket, spent on the advertiser's product (which the audio service gets money from to run commercials). Current royalty payment plans work off this concept which, in online audio, is a weak way of generating revenue.

Unknown or starting artists need to think "new business model." More emphasis on marketing is vital. Enhance a relationship with consumers by building mailing lists, working social media, and selling original songs on flash-drives. Get your name in front of the audio service programmers in a more than "pay me for airplay" way by providing your music to web sites - free - so they may expose your name; offering to cut promos for stations airing your songs is one way to stand out.

You make the music, and it's great music. The reality is not in producing quality songs, though. It's in getting people - be they consumers or programmers - to take time and listen. Then, you must get them to listen again! This is where the "enhancing a relationship" part comes in.

We all do what we do out of passion. For the successful, they also do those extra steps out of a realization that just making music isn't enough anymore.

Serious musicians aren't putting all bets on just making good music. Many are beginning to see that "then what" matters more.

Thursday, June 4, 2015      eMail to a Friend

Today's artist introduction is to Rap Rock from BrothersP.

  Give "Where Are the Kings" a listen.

Stations: Add it to your playlist, free.