More from Gerd Leonhard via Berklee Today

1. Think hard about what you are all about and the message you want to relay to people. Are you the next hot guitar player or the new John Coltrane? Shape your image and message to support that.

2. Attract as much attention as possible. Performing live is a must, but you can set up your own radio station that allows people to take your music and make widgets, which are embedded objects like a YouTube player. Fans can then have-and distribute-your music by copying the player and putting it on their own site. The player actually sits on another site and links back to YouTube. That’s syndication. You want your music available for people to cut and paste and put somewhere else to play creating a syndicated viral system.

3. Put your photos on Flickr. Upload photos of everything you do, from band rehearsals to backstage moments to scenes on the tour bus. Just make sure they are authentic and convey your “brand.” The images don’t necessarily need to be high quality.

4. Write about what you do on a blog and publish things on Twitter. Set up your own YouTube channel. Fully exploit the Web-which is pretty much free-to create a large output. Offer everything for free initially.

5. Create applications that can be downloaded to mobile phones. Many bands have done this to create a personal window to their world on mobile devices. Be advised, though, that this avenue of music distribution involves some costs.

“This output becomes the foundation for your audience,” Leonhard counsels. “You’ll know pretty quickly if people like you. These efforts-coupled with live appearances, e-mail newsletters, and working the social networks-will help you build a fan community. Once you gain a lot of followers, those who are really hooked will help you do the rest of your marketing. This is the mechanism that will increase your revenue.”

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9 replies
  1. Greg says:

    Hi David,

    Good recap!

    To add to your 5th point: mobile apps are certainly important, however one of the problems with apps is of course that different hardware requires separate apps (iphone, blackberry etc..), and as you point out most solutions out there now are costly.

    If I can point out an alternative: we have recently launched a platform that allows bands to go mobile, and have chosen to focus on a web-based solution for now (it’s a bit like wordpress for bands).

    By not requiring people to download a specific application for your band, and instead directing them to a URL, you can attract a larger audience.
    Also, we believe that there is a lot of value in allowing bands to “merge” their mobile websites when they play gigs together to give access to all the bands’ information (and real-time updates during the gig) through a single URL.

    We think this is a viable alternative to the “1 custom app per band” model, and it’s free to use.
    I believe this to be the first platform of this kind to be made available – in any case feel free to check it out @


  2. Hoover says:

    I love it..give before you get.

    Give as much as you can and nurture fans without the friction of price.. allow people to really become fans of the artist, not just a song.

    Great summary!


  3. Debra Russell says:

    I think you leave out a critical piece. And that is identifying who your niche market is. Yes, it’s critical to know who you are. But if you don’t know who your audience is – then you can’t target all of these efforts.

    I have a member in my Artist’s EDGE Membership whose primary audience is over 60 yrs. They’re not likely on MySpace – and if he hadn’t targeted them specifically, he’d still be struggling.

    So, you need to target your market and put all of the branding efforts you described in the format and locations where they will most likely find you. Otherwise it’s just spitting in the wind.

  4. Cory says:

    Great little article. Also presence on sites such as and ilike is crucial. And when on on tour, what about the musicians giving talks/workshops at local schools? (Fanbase for the future!) A lot of musicians shy away from this but it really does blow children’s minds if you make the effort.

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