Monday, May 9, 2011

7 Marketing Basics Every Musician Should Know

Industry pundit Derek Sivers (who's also featured in my Music 3.0 book) had his "7 Critical Marketing Basics Every Musician Should Know" reposted by If you don't already know, Derek founded CD Baby, but also spent time at publishing giant Warner Chappel so he definitely knows the biz (he was a touring musician as well). But maybe the most interesting thing about Derek is he's a great student of marketing and how traditional marketing applies to musicians.

Here's his 7 marketing basics.

Lesson #1 - A Marketing Golden Rule: It’s about THEM Not YOU
When he was a student at Berklee College of Music, Derek was attending a music business lecture. Before the lecture started, he overheard his professor whispering to guest speaker Mark Fried from Warner Chappell Music that there would be no time to eat before the lecture and it was a 3-hour talk. Mark was looking hungry and there had clearly been a miscommunication about eating before the class started. So, Derek slipped out of the room to a pay phone and ordered pizza for Mark and for the entire class. Forty-five minutes into his lecture, Mark was eating pizza with the class and was extremely grateful to Derek (who was one of many students in the room) who went out of his way to help him.

After the lecture, Mark gave Derek his card and told him to keep in touch, which Derek did for the remaining 2 years he was at Berklee. When he came to New York he would meet Mark for coffee and their friendship grew. A week before his graduation, Derek called Mark to ask if there were any jobs at Warner Chappell opening up. Seven days later Derek had a job working at Warner Chappell in the tape room.

The pizza took Derek one phone call and $25 and it secured him a job in the music industry. There were probably 45 students sitting in that lecture hall that day and he was the one who ended up with a relationship with Mark and in the end…a job.

Lesson #2: Unsolicited Actions Will Get You Nowhere
While working in the tape room at Warner Chappell, Derek got to see first hand what it looks like from the inside when indie musicians send unsolicited music to a publishing company. Warner Chappell is a large publishing company that was not looking to sign new artists and Derek saw the packages arrive by the dozen on a daily basis. From this he learned exactly what never to do.

Lesson #3 - No One Is Coming To Save You In The Music Industry
If you hire anyone to be on your team, no matter what they are doing for you, you must understand that that person is your hired partner. You will both have to work to achieve your desired result. This is especially true in the realm of social media and online marketing.

Lesson #4 - Marketing = Consideration
Reach People the Way You Want to Be Reached. Stop thinking of it as Marketing and start thinking of it as creative ways to be considerate. Begin to pay attention to other artist’s messages and notice what works on you. The considerate thing is to be so novel and creative and innovative so that people say, "You have GOT to see / hear this musician play!"

Lesson #5 - Sharply Define What You Do
You cannot slice through the world’s attention if you are using a blunt knife and you will most definitely be blunt if you are trying to be all things to all people. Your message must be sharp and pointed. It’s OK to exclude 99% and have 1% worship you! Be unapologetic in your bluntness.

Lesson #6 - DIY Does Not Mean Do It All Yourself - Decide It Yourself
DIY does not have to mean do it all yourself. Doing it all yourself will surely set you up for exhaustion and will leave you no time to be creative. Decide It Yourself - you call the shots but you MUST learn how to delegate, put your fans to work and get things off of your plate.

Lesson #7 - It’s Who You Know Mixed With How You Persevere
Everything major that happens in your career starts with someone you know. Get used to staying in touch with hundreds of people with blogs and with your newsletter. It’s a psychological shift in your head but once you can make it you can be very very effective staying in touch with many people. This is the miracle of technology.

Make yourself meet 3 new people every single week: Do this by picking up the phone - people get hundreds of emails and dozens of phone calls.

TIP: AVOID saying the words “pick your brain” to anyone. That says, "I want something from you"
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1 comment:

Chris Rockett said...

Some really practical advice from one of the "godfathers" of the DIY biz.

Thanks for posting.

- chris


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