Content Marketing for Musicians: How to Get More Superfans

Content marketing for musicians

Marketing and promoting your music is a task every musician has to face throughout their career. But it’s also the one thing many musicians wish they never had to do again. With all the noise out there it can really feel like no one’s even listening to you.

So how do you stand out and get heard? How do you break through the noise and get your music the attention it deserves?

Today I’m going to key you in on a secret.

The BEST thing you can do is shift your approach – instead of PUSHING your music out in front of people, you need to PULL fans in with enticing and interesting content. Make them want to hear from you. 

That’s where content marketing for musicians comes in.

Now I know “content marketing for musicians” sounds a little intimidating… But here’s what we’re going to do to make this really simple for you (hint: once you get this strategy down you’ll find that everything just falls together and you have even more time for music):

As you’ll see, you can easily turn the content you’re already creating every day into plenty of interesting and engaging social media posts, but for now let’s talk about what content marketing for musicians actually is, why it’s such an important tool to have in your music promotion arsenal, and how you can use this approach to authentically promote your music and grow a powerful fanbase.

What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is quite literally exactly what it sounds like.

You use valuable and interesting content to draw your audience in. It’s a form of “pull marketing” where you get your fans interested and emotionally invested in what you do. Think about it like you’re pulling fans in rather than pushing your music in their face.

So that means instead of posting “check out my new song,” you release a short video telling your fans about what the lyrics mean and include a link to purchase or pre-order.

Instead of relentlessly posting announcements about your new album (you know, the “buy my new album” spam), create a blog series or a vlog series on YouTube documenting the album creation process with easy links to pre-order.

Instead of just asking fans to join your email list, offer valuable video lessons or exclusive events to make them want to join.

You see the difference?

The Problem With Push Marketing

In the past, marketing was all about pushing out messages with big money to get it in front of as many people as possible and hoping some would bite. Artists with big record label backing could thrive because they had the big bucks to promote.

But in today’s social media-dominated world, this shout-louder-than-everyone-else tactic just doesn’t work (even the big labels are having trouble despite their big budgets). You just can’t shout loud enough to be heard over the crowd anymore. Especially as an indie with a minimal marketing budget.  

Now, don’t get me wrong – announcements and push marketing style promotions will always have a place in your marketing mix.

But the problem arises when you literally base your entire strategy on shouting at your fans.

Instead, turn it into a conversation, draw them in, and they will be much more interested.

Reaching The RIGHT People

I also want you to understand that you don’t need to reach everyone when you’re promoting your music. 

I know, I know… This is hard to remember in a social media world where big follower counts are glamorized. But try to keep it in perspective – the number of followers you have on Facebook or Twitter is just that – a number. And having people on your email list or following you on social media who don’t really like your music that much won’t do anything to further your career.

50,000 followers who don’t buy your album won’t help you fund your next project or go on tour. 50,000 subscribers who don’t come out to gigs won’t help you step it up to play bigger venues.

Instead, focus on finding the fans who will actually buy your music, come out to shows, and support you.

1,000 true fans is infinitely better than 50,000 followers who don’t really care. In short, it’s not about reaching more people. It’s about reaching the right people and nurturing those relationships.

This is going to influence the kind of content you release in your content marketing strategy. Always keep your ideal fan in mind when you’re creating new social posts, blog posts, videos, or events. What will they want to see? (Hint: if you’re not sure, ask them!)

Why Content Marketing Works SO Well

Let’s do a little thought experiment to illustrate just how powerful content marketing for musicians can be…

Would you be more likely to purchase an album from an artist you follow if you just saw one or two announcements about it’s release?

OR if you had been following a weekly vlog series documenting the album creation process for a month?

Most people would go for the latter.

You see? Present it like entertainment. Who wouldn’t be interested to see what goes on in the studio? And after spending all that time watching that series, the fan is invested in your project – both from a time perspective as well as emotionally.

Start Before You’re Ready

The key to effective content marketing is to start before you’re ready. Don’t wait until you have something to promote (like a new album, tour, gig, or song) to start building an audience. Fans don’t form around nothing.

Start NOW. Begin creating a fanbase around what you’re already doing everyday (even if you don’t have anything to sell yet).

Remember, the process can be just as valuable to you from a promotion standpoint as the finished product. Then, by the time you’re ready to release something, you have a captivated audience just waiting to see what you have in store for them next.

Tie in Relevant Calls to Action

Now I know it can seem counter-intuitive to use content to promote. BUT, the key to successful content marketing is adding relevant calls to action. Try to make the content you release have a purpose.

In marketing-speak, a call to action is just asking your fans to take some further action. Maybe you want your fans to vote on a merch design, pre-order your album, pre-order a ticket to a show, support you on Pledge Music, or sign up for your email list.

Let’s run down some ideas:

  • Post a picture to Facebook of you and a fan who won a merch bundle for pre-ordering a ticket to your recent show. Let your fans know that they could be entered to win free merch too if they pre-order instead of buying tickets at the door.
  • Share a short video montage on Facebook of your last email-subscriber-only live stream. Give your fans a link to subscribe to get in on the next one.
  • Make a YouTube video teaching your fans how to play your new song on guitar. Include a link where they can buy the song. (Bonus points: ALSO give fans the chance to download the tab or sheet music in exchange for an email address.)

Conclusion: Content Marketing for Musicians

Hopefully this article has given you some ideas to promote your music. Keep in mind that content marketing doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Don’t think of content marketing for musicians as a completely new approach. It’s just OPTIMIZING and sharing content you’re already making.

That being said, it will be a bit of a transition. If you want some guidance, click here and take the short quiz. We’ll send you a series of free content marketing lessons.

We also have a content marketing checklist for you right here. Click to download it for free:

A Guide to Marketing Your Creative Work

How to Sell More Music with Landing Pages

How to sell more music with landing pages

Today I want to talk to you about selling more music. (Or merch… Or tickets.) More specifically, I want to key you in on one of the most effective ways to get fans to take that next step and support you. Surprisingly enough, this tool is extremely under-utilized by musicians…  

What is this powerful marketing tool? The landing page.

Granted, landing pages are only one part of your music promotion strategy. If you want to see how all your social media, email list, website, and store all work together to help you grow your fanbase and sell more music, download this free ebook and get 3 social media checklists.

What is a Landing Page?

We talked about using landing pages to grow your email list here, but there are plenty of other awesome ways to use landing pages.

In short, a landing page is a page on your website with a specific purpose – usually to prompt your fans to take some further action like buying your music, entering a contest, or signing up for your email list. If your fan chooses to follow through, it’s considered a “conversion” in marketing-speak.

These landing pages are simple, focused, and free of distractions. In fact, the best landing pages don’t even have a navigation or any links other than a big button.

Why? Well there’s a bit of psychology at play here. Think about your own browsing tendencies. If you’re on a page and you can see a social media feed with cool posts from Instagram and Facebook and a link to an interesting blog post, how likely are you to get distracted and click off to something else? (I know I would.)

Even if you have focus of steel, attention overload is a real thing. So, the more you can limit distraction, the more conversions you will get.

You can have as many landing pages as you’d like (and we’ll talk about all the different ways you can use them in just a minute). The key is to make sure each has a single, very specific purpose.

Once created, you can link to them from social media, a blog post, or an email.

How to Create a Landing Page?

You don’t need anything special to actually create your landing pages, though there are plenty of tools and services out there.

At the most basic level, you can simply create your own landing page with whatever website platform you use. (Think WordPress, Bandzoogle, Square, Wix, etc.)

Create a new page, give it a short, memorable URL like “www.myband.com/free-song,” and you’re good to go.

On that page, simply add an email optin form and some text telling fans exactly what they get for signing up. (Here are instructions to create embeddable forms with Mailchimp.)

Other services like LeadPages and Sumo are specifically designed to help you create amazing landing pages. BUT, I always suggest that you start creating landing pages and growing your email list NOW with the tools you have available rather than waiting until you can afford this or that software.

3 Types of Landing Pages

Different types of landing pages serve different purposes (and can look extremely different as well).

Always start by determining the purpose of your landing page.

  • Do you want to sell something?
  • Are you trying to sell a low-priced item or a high-priced item?
  • Do you want fans to opt into something (like an email list or a contest)?

Once you figure that out, you can start putting your page together. So now, let’s go through a few of the most common types of landing pages, how you can create them, and how to use them.

1. Email Signup Landing Page

You probably guessed it, but this type of landing page is used to grow your email list. And it’s probably the one you’ll use most often (so read through this section a few times to let it sink in if you have to).

Most of these landing pages will ask for an email address, but you can capture other information as well. Like a first name (so you can personalize the emails you send). Or a zip code (so you can send them emails about gigs in their area).

Essentially, you’re goal is to get these fans on your email list so you can contact them.

Most email signup landing pages will literally just have an image, a bit of text, an email signup form, and a submit button. The text on the page should tell your fans exactly what they’ll get for signing up.

It’s best to offer something free as an incentive for opting in. Almost like a trade.

As an example, you could offer a discount on merch for all fans who opt in to get notified when you’re touring through their area.

Some other things you can trade for an email address are:

The key of course, is to make sure that what you’re offering resonates with your fans. Every fanbase is a little different. That means what your fans consider “valuable” may be completely different from another band’s fanbase. If you’re not sure, test some things out and see what works best.

2. Microsites

A microsite is exactly what it sounds like – a miniature website that lives on your domain. These pages are much longer than an email signup page and are usually used to sell something.

As a musician, you could create a microsite landing page for your new album. Create a URL like “www.myband.com/album-name” (obviously use your band name and the album name). Use it to tell the story of the creation of the album with text, videos, and photos. Link to a place where fans can buy or pre-order the album and also link some higher end bundles with signed merch and other exclusives.

You can link fans directly to this microsite from social media and email. All the cool information on your microsite can get fans more emotionally invested in your album and more willing to buy.

3. Long Form Landing Pages

A long form landing page is usually a very long page with a lot of text explaining to your fans exactly what it is you are offering. Dispersed throughout the text should be call to actions.

This may not be the most common landing page, but it can serve a purpose – typically for things that require a bit more explanation to convince fans to convert.

As an example, a long form landing page would be a great option for a page that calls potential house concert hosts.

For many fans, hosting a house concert is completely new. That means they will be hesitant to volunteer up their personal space unless they know all the details.

To make the process easier for your fans, you could create a long form landing page that includes everything they need to know about hosting a house concert. Include details like how many guests they will need to RSVP, how big their space needs to be, if they need any kind of equipment, chairs, tables, or lights, a suggested concert schedule, and photos and testimonials from past house concerts. Include links to a form where fans can volunteer.

Landing Page or Home Page?

Can your website’s home page be a landing page? The answer is yes and no.

Yes, you can make your site’s home page into a landing page. BUT it’s probably best to keep it as a temporary thing. (Remember, landing pages typically have no navigation, so your fans won’t be able to get to any other pages on your site.)

If you’re trying to hype up your new album, you could temporarily make your album microsite into your home page. That way, anyone who visits your site will know you have an album and won’t get distracted by anything else.

If you don’t want to go all in with a landing page, you could opt for a temporary splash page instead. A splash page pops up over your homepage when a fan visits your site. It can include information and a short call to action.

Landing Page Best Practices

Okay, now that we’ve gone through what landing pages are and how you can use them, let’s run down a few more best practices.

1. Keep the Background Simple

The content of your landing page should be the star, not your background. That means no large tiled background images (unless it’s very minimal), no bright colored backgrounds, and no video backgrounds. When in doubt, go for white (or some other neutral that goes with your site’s theme and your image.

2. Bring Focus to the Call to Action

On any landing page, the call to action should be the main focus. And an easy way to draw attention is with color. Try choosing a button color different from any other element on the page. Of course, you don’t want a completely jarring color, so pick something that fits with your theme without being obnoxious.

You also want to be sure the text you choose for your call to action is relatable for your fans. Something like “Click here,” isn’t too enticing. On the other hand, something like “Get a free song,” is obvious and valuable.

3. Build Anticipation and Urgency

The best landing pages create a sense of urgency. In most cases you want your fans to hit the page and make a decision fairly quickly. And that means you need to get to the point, be as brief as you can, and hit most of the important points up front.

You could even use countdown timers or a hard-close date right at the top to show fans that this won’t be around forever.

So if you set up a landing page to encourage fans to pre-order your upcoming album. Add a date right at the top to let fans know when pre-orders are closing down.

4. Make Sure Page Loads Quickly

This goes for any page on your site really, but it’s especially important for landing pages. Most people are just too busy to wait around for a webpage to load. They’ll move on and find something more important to do.

To increase your page’s load speed, avoid oversized images, stay away from javascript in the header of your page, and try to do as much with CSS and HTML as you can.

Conclusion – How to Sell More Music with Landing Pages

Landing pages can be an extremely effective tool to promote your music, and hopefully this article has inspired you to give them a try. Remember, you don’t need to dive in the deep end and create tons of different landing pages right away. Try making just one to start – maybe an email collecting landing page to grow your list.  From there, you can expand out your landing page strategy one at a time.

If you want more promote-your-music guidance, download this free ebook. You’ll learn how social media, your website, and your email list work together to turn fans into buyers who support your music. AND you’ll get 3 free social media checklists with tons of ideas for social posts. Click to download your free copy:

How to Promote Your Music Ebook cover copy

Email Marketing for Musicians: Writing Emails Your Fans Will Love

email marketing for musicians writing emails your fans will loveEmail is one of the best ways to get in touch with your fans and promote your music these days. But make no mistake, this isn’t a 100% thing. Most people get hundreds of emails per day.

The big question is, how do you stand out? How do you make sure your fans are clicking on all (or most) of the emails you send their way?

Email marketing for musicians is plain and simple: You write quality emails filled with awesome value. Think stuff you would want to receive from your favorite musicians. That means your emails need to have valuable or entertaining information, they need to be easy to read, have great offers, and feel like something personal.

Here’s what I recommend:

I know as musicians sending out emails can feel a little pushy and overly promotional. And it definitely can be if you write your emails to be really spammy and treat it like a push marketing outlet (hint: don’t do that).

BUT, if you’re writing more personal letters to your fans and you’re giving them all kinds of great stuff for being a part of your email list – then it stops feeling pushy and starts feeling like an awesome community.

So let’s take a look at a few easy ways you can make your emails more effective than ever before.

1. Know Your Fans (And Write for Them)

Your emails are going to real people. I know, groundbreaking! But so many musicians write emails that are either completely irrelevant to their fansbase or totally generic.

But, if you keep your fans in mind as you write, they will find your emails much more interesting.

Take New Artist Model member Lee Norman for example. He’s in his 40’s and he know’s his target fanbase is around the same age. So when he writes his emails he’s going to talk about things they can relate to.

The first step obviously is getting to know your fanbase. Here are some places to start:

  • You can get some quality data from your social media analytics as a start. Look for age, gender, and interests.
  • Do some market research. Subscribe to bands and musicians who you know have a similar target fanbase to you. What do they send to their list?
  • Talk to your fans at gigs. Get to know them and talk about their interests.

Once you feel like you know your fans a little better, use that knowledge to make your emails more relevant.

2. Use Actionable Language

Actionable language just means you’re not beating around the bush. If you want your fans to watch your latest music video, tell them – seriously.

Here’s a really passive way to say it:

We have a new music video out! It was really fun to make and I hope you guys will like it too. [insert link]

Here’s a more actionable approach:

Hey guys our new music video is finally here! Click here to watch it. And leave a comment on the video letting us know if you can spot my dog trying to sneak his way into the video 😛

3. Align Your Subject Line with Your Body Copy

Your subject line should sum up what’s in the actual email. Think of it like a little preview of what they will get if they open.

That means you should never (ever) use click-baity and irrelevant subject lines just to boost your open rate. Your fans will most likely feel betrayed or see it as spammy and never open another email (or unsubscribe). Getting a high open rate on one email isn’t worth it if you tarnish the trust your fans have in you.

Some people say the subject line should be the main benefit of reading the email. Others say it should sum up what’s inside the email. Still others will pull out a small, catchy piece of the email and leave the recipient hanging so they have to open the email. I say go for a variety of all three. 

Just like with the email copy itself, it’s best to keep subject lines fairly brief. Many email readers like Apple’s Mail will cut the subject line off after a certain amount of characters, so keep it short and to the point.

4. Add That Personal Touch

Most email services will have some personalization token function. Basically this just automatically inputs personalized words or phrases that are specific to each fan on your list.

The easiest option, of course, is to add a personalized greeting using your fans’ first names.

This may seem like a trivial thing, but I want you to think about the emails that you receive… What do you prefer to see:

  • Hey Graham!
  • Hey guys!

Of course, if your name is Graham you’d probably prefer the first option. The personal greeting is just a nice sentiment.

Keep in mind that you can only use information you have collected to personalize your emails. If you only ask for an email address when your fans opt in you obviously won’t be able to address them by their first name.

5. Write in Your Own Voice

The most successful emails are written in a more casual, conversational voice. It’s important to remember that although you’re sending to hundreds of people (or thousands if you’re awesome), each email is going directly to a single person.

And that means you should write like you’re talking to that specific person – almost like you were talking to them face to face. This instantly makes any email feel less “salesy” and more like a one-on-one conversation.

A good rule of thumb is to switch between the first and second person. You should refer to your fans as “you,” not “her” or “him.”

You should also throw in some of your own thoughts and experiences in a more first person style.

If you’re not sure, try reading your email out loud to a friend. If it feels like you’re talking to them (not at them) then you’re probably good.

6. Get to the Point

As a musician you’re obviously pretty passionate about your work. And no doubt you could go on and on about it for hours. While it’s great that you’re so excited about what you do… email is not the place for that.

The very first line of your email should get straight to the point. That means if you want to share a studio vlog with your fans you shouldn’t go on a loosely-related tangent at the beginning only to get to the actual vlog at the very end of a 2000 word email.

That being said, it’s perfectly okay to send longer emails if you have something really interesting to say. But make sure you establish the email’s relevancy and connect the content to the subject line right up front.

As an example, let’s keep going with the studio vlog idea. You could use a catchy subject line like, “You’ll never guess what happened when we hit record…” The first line of your email could be a call to action to watch the vlog. You could then go on to tell a little bit of the story.

7. Be Brief

We’re all busy. And people don’t have a ton of time to read huge emails, so keep that in mind.

Now, I’m not saying to skimp on the value for the sake of brevity. There’s just a bit of a balance to be found. In short, if you can say something in less words, do it.

Here are some guidelines to help:

  • Each email should have one main purpose, idea, or goal. That means if you’re announcing pre sales for your new album, don’t try to squeeze in your latest blog post. Make sure every sentence in your email is related to that purpose or goal. You can always send another email, so don’t feel like you need to cram everything in.
  • Edit, edit, edit. Give yourself enough time when you’re writing emails to edit. A good approach is to write the email, save the draft, do something else for an hour or so, and then come back with fresh eyes. You’ll usually find a lot of stuff you can cut out that you missed the first time around.

8. Make Being on Your List Rewarding

Your email list can really be viewed as a special community of your more serious fans. These are people who have actively taken the step to opt into regular communications from you, so they represent your superfans and more dedicated fans.

That being said, it’s the perfect place to share some rewards and give back a little for their support. Now, “rewards” don’t need to be actual things (like freebies or music). Think of “rewards” as anything your fanbase will find valuable.

Here are some ideas:

  • Share a phone wallpaper download of your album artwork
  • Give out downloadable lyric sheets
  • Host private streams or Q&A sessions
  • Feature a “Fan of the month”
  • Share exclusive coupons code or discounts

If fans know they will get awesome valuable stuff if your emails, they will be much more likely to open when you do have something to sell (like a new album or merch). Plus many fans are more likely to support artists that give instead of just sell, sell, sell. It creates a much more authentic relationship.

Another quick tip is to segment your email list by interest and activities. Not all fans on your list will have the same interests, so the more you can target your messages, the better.

9. Ask for the Click

Every (or most) emails you send should have some kind of call to action (CTA).

A “call to action” is just marketing-speak for asking your fans to take some step – usually clicking a link.

After all, your career depends on your fans clicking through and supporting your crowdfunding campaign, or buying tickets for an upcoming gig, or purchasing a t shirt from your online store, or buying your new album. (I mean, the worst that can happen is the choose not to and close the email, right?)

Let’s say you’re trying to get fans to support your crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. Use an email to tell them about all the cool benefits they’ll get for supporting you and then ask for a click to your campaign.

Here’s some guidelines if you’re still nervous about asking for a click:

  • Keep it short. You don’t need to beg. You don’t need to justify or explain yourself. Just ask.
  • Make it distinct. Your link should be a different color from the rest of the email text to draw attention. Format it like a standard link (with an underline and an alternate color) so fans know it’s a link or create a button.
  • Focus on the why. Instead of just using “Click here” as a CTA, try something like, “Click here to support the Kickstarter campaign and get exclusive merch

10. Present a Clear Deadline

This one really builds off the previous point. Well-crafted CTA’s will get you far, but putting a deadline on the thing you’re offering will add a sense of urgency.

Why is urgency so powerful? We all like procrastinating and putting things off, right?

We say, “Oh I’ll do it tomorrow.”

… And the next day we say, “Oh, I forgot. It’s fine, I’ll do it tomorrow.”

… And after a few days sometimes it gets lost or forgotten.

Sound familiar?

But if there’s a deadline, we’ll get our butt into gear and take action for fear of missing out.

If you share a discount for your merch store, have it expire after a few days (and actually mention that deadline in your email).

Obviously some things like crowdfunding campaigns and gigs have a deadline built in.

Email Marketing for Musicians: Conclusion

If you’re not experienced, sending emails is going to be a bit of a learning process – and that’s okay! The best advice I can give is to just try things.

Experiment. Play with subject line ideas (heck, run split tests on subject lines if you want an “A” for effort). Try shorter emails or longer-form emails. Checkout how plain text emails and formatted emails with images perform.

For everything you try, look at your data (your open rate and click rate). Use the data to decide what works best and go from there.

Of course, email is only one piece of the “promote your music” puzzle. If you want to see how email and social media work together to grow your fanbase and market your music, checkout this free ebook.

Click the ebook image to download your free copy:

How to Promote Your Music Ebook cover copy

Musicians: Here’s 10 Ways to Grow Your Email List

10 Ways to Grow Your Email List for Musicians

As an indie musician, if you don’t have an email list (or you have one and never use it), you’re shooting yourself in the foot. Compared to social media – where most of your posts can get lost in the feed never to be seen again – email open rates can be on average 25% (or higher if you have awesome content).

What does that mean? It’s your direct ticket straight to your fans, without the distracting videos on social media pulling their attention away. Which means that when you send an important email about your upcoming album, there’s a much better chance your fans will actually see it (and pre-order the album).

Obviously, it’s not as easy as just writing an email and pressing “send.” BUT if you don’t start building your email list now, you won’t be able to reap the rewards.

A lot of musicians and creatives get a little apprehensive about asking fans for an email address. It feels a little too “salesy.” But, especially these days, many music fans are on the lists of all their favorite bands. Email is no long an engine for overly-promotional spam. It’s now a place where fans get get insider access, exclusive content, first looks, and a whole lot more. Think of it like a special club of awesomeness.


Promote your music. Learn more strategies to promote your music and grow your fanbase.


Now onto the big question: How do you build an email list for you music if you are literally starting from nothing (or you have an empty list that you set up ages ago but have been too scared to promote)? Let me throw down a bunch of ideas to get you started.

What is an Email List?

Let’s start from square one. An email list is collection of email addresses you’ve gathered.

Note that these addresses are from people who have opted in somehow. Maybe they bought a t-shirt from your store or they signed up to be notified when you’re touring through their area. Essentially, these people are you more dedicated fans – the ones who have taken an action beyond just following you on social media.

You store and email your list through an email marketing service like Mailchimp. Personal email services like Gmail or Yahoo are completely different and should not be used to email your fans. Services like Mailchimp also give you the ability to segment your list (that’s just a fancy word for splitting up your list into different categories based on interest and activities).

There are plenty of email marketing platforms and services to choose from. Mailchimp is a great place to start (free up to 2K subscribers, yay!), but I suggest doing a little research to see which best fits your needs.

How to Build an Email for Your Music

Okay, now let’s dig into some approaches you can use to actually grow your email list. All of these ideas will work for someone with literally zero subscribers AND ALSO someone who’s already built up a bit of a list and is looking for some new ideas.

Of course, you don’t by any means need to use all 10 of these strategies – just pick the ones that fit best with your career and run with them. Everyone will have a slightly different approach (since we all have different fanbases, career levels, etc), so try some things, see what works, and go with that.

A few quick side notes about email (I don’t want anyone getting in trouble).

  • You need permission to email someone. That means they need to opt in to your list, buy something from you, or put their name on a signup list at a gig.
  • You need to let people opt out of your emails. Some people just won’t dig your emails for whatever reason. And that’s fine. Let’s get them off the list and focus on the people who do dig your emails.
  • Use your own email habits as a guideline. Do you like reading novel-length emails? Probably not. Do you like getting overly promotional “buy my cool stuff” emails? I’m going to guess no. Keep it valuable, keep it concise.

1. Create an Opt In Form

A good ol’ embedded opt in form on your website is something you should always have. An opt in form is just a simple form that requests information (usually just a first name and email address), with a submit button.  

Pretty much any email service will have the capability to create embeddable opt in forms that can be added to any website platform. (Here’s a link to a tutorial for Mailchimp’s embeddable opt in forms so you can see what I mean.)

So if you don’t have an email signup form on your home page, go set one up now. Seriously. Right now.

Fortunately, a lot of musicians have gotten this memo already so let’s talk about how you can make your opt in form perform even better.

  • Contrast is important. You want your opt in form to stand out on your website so your fans will notice it (and hopefully fill it out). So that means if your page is black, your form should be a contrasting color or white. If your page is white, opt for a color that fits with your theme but still stands out.
  • Keep it simple. You don’t need to know everything about your fans right now – just a name and email address will suffice. The easier it is to fill out, the more subscribers you’ll get.
  • Tell fans exactly what they get for opting in. A generic “signup for my email list” isn’t going to convince anyone and you’ll more than likely see low conversion rates. (More on what you can trade for emails coming up next 😉 )

2. Trade Something of Value for Email Addresses

Your email opt in forms will perform much better if you give your fans some kind of reward for opting in – think of it like a trade.

At the most basic level, your fan would fill out the form and your autoresponder would deliver the cool reward

Most musicians are pretty familiar with the notion of trading songs for an email address. BUT, let me share some ideas that will get your fans really excited about opting in.

Your best bet is to offer exclusive content – a.k.a. something fans can’t get anywhere else. Things like exclusive or unreleased songs, acoustic versions of songs, video lessons or tutorials, or gear sheets are all great ideas for gated content. (Get even more ideas here.)

Obviously what you offer in exchange for email addresses will vary based on the interests of your fanbase and your career. So do some testing. Try a few different things and see which drives the most signups.

3. Set Up a Landing Page

In the world on online marketing, a gated landing page is about as basic as it gets. And yet, I see very few musicians utilizing it. Without a doubt, this is the most effective way to grow your email list (which is why I’m putting it right up front 😉 )

We have a more detailed, step-by-step guide to creating landing pages here, but for now let’s go through the basics.

First step is to create a gated piece of content (which we just talked about in point number 2).

Next, you need to create a landing page that tells your fans exactly what they’ll get when they opt in. A headline like “Get unreleased acoustic versions of these three songs,” or “Signup to get a list of all the gear I used to get the guitar tone on my latest single,” would be perfect.

Include a few bullet points to explain what they will get and/or how they will benefit from it, and an opt in form. The sole purpose of a gated landing page is to get fans to sign up to get the cool thing you’re providing, so avoid adding anything that will distract fans from this purpose (that means no social feeds, no blog posts – nothing!)

4. Gather Emails in Person and at Gigs

Never overlook the value of a face-to-face interaction – ever. If you’re a performing musician, live events, gigs, and house concerts are a perfect opportunity to grow your email list.

The easy-mode approach is to just have an email signup form sitting on your merch table. Have a blurb written large across the top (big enough so it’s easy to read in a low-light venue environment) telling your fans what they will get when they signup.

If you want this approach to work even better, do a little announcement during your set telling fans that they can sign up for emails to receive some cool exclusive thing. It doesn’t have to be a big uncomfortable pitch – just let them know it’s there.

If you want to get a gold star for effort (and probably get even more signups) try turning it into a contest. Enter everyone who writes down their email into a contest to win a cool merch bundle or something like that.

5. Use Social Media to Grow Your Email List

You have a ready-made group of people who have self-identified themselves as being interested in your music on social media. So why not use it as a channel to promote your email list?

It’s very easy to share a link to your landing page (remember the one we setup earlier?) on social media. Don’t overdo it though. Social media is mostly for fun and interesting content, and a place for you to engage with your fans, so a tweet promoting your email list every day is probably a little much.

To make things less promotional, try making these posts about your fans, not you or your list. Simply shift the language from, “I have a mailing list, click here to sign up,” to “I’m going live for an email subscriber-only event. Click here and signup to get in on the fun,” or “A lot of you guys asked how I got the guitar tone on [song name]. Here’s a list of everything I used and a quick tutorial: [link to landing page]”

So it’s all about having a light touch and focusing on value. Keep that in mind and you’ll see more email signups from social. (And you’ll feel a lot less uncomfortable about waving your own flag.)

6. Host Some Kind of Online Live Event

You don’t need gigs to get that in-person, face-to-face connection with fans. And with all the online streaming and concert platforms, there are a lot of options.

Obviously you could host a live online concert. But here are some other options:

  • Host Q&A sessions with your fans on Facebook or Instagram Live
  • Stream your rehearsals
  • Have “write with me” sessions where you stream some of your songwriting process
  • Teach your fans something specific like how to play a certain riff, or how to set up a home studio. (This is best for musicians who know a lot of their fans are also musicians)

Now how do you use these live online events to collect email addresses? There are two options…

One, you could make the event public for all your fans to join. While you’re live give your fans the chance to opt into your list to get some cool thing. If you hosted a live concert, give them a free download of one of the songs you played. If you used the live session to teach your fans something, give them a free checklist or toolkit PDF.

And two, use the live event as a piece of gated content. Promote it on social media in the days or weeks prior. Let fans know that they need to be signed up for your email list to join. You can host private streams on YouTube quite easily. Just set the stream’s privacy to “unlisted” and share the direct link with your email list.

7. Start a Blog (Or Podcast)

Getting into the habit of posting regular longer-form content on your website will do wonders for your email list.

  • It gets fans visiting your site on a regular basis. (And the more they visit the more they will be exposed to your opt in forms.)
  • Every article or podcast you post is an opportunity to promote your list.

So, for every blog post or podcast you post, have a call to action encouraging fans to sign up for your email list. It only has to be one line with a link to your landing page or opt in form.

8. Make a YouTube Channel

This is in the same vein as the previous point, but it’s still worth mentioning.

The description box below your YouTube videos is a great place to put a link to your email landing page or optin form and the face-to-face connection that you get talking to your fans through the video will usually get you more conversions.

Take a second in the video to actually tell your fans that you have a link to sign up for emails in the description. Tell them what they will get for signing up and all the cool stuff you send exclusively to your email list.

Something as simple as saying, “Thanks for watching! If you want more music there’s a link in the description box to signup for my email list. I’ll send you 3 free songs and you’ll be able to join in the fun email-club-only live streams we have here every month.”

9. Set an Exit Popup

An exit intent pop up is an email opt in form that will appear if someone on your site moves their mouse to exit the page.

Your pop up should offer your site visitor something of value. So a simple pop up may have a headline saying, “Want 3 free songs? Signup for my email list to get 3 unreleased tracks.”

There are some plugins for WordPress and other website platforms that will allow you to easily set one up.

Don’t worry if this seems a little pushy. If you go to pretty much any website these days, you’ll see exit intent popups. Fans are pretty used to it at this point.

10. Make Your Emails Engaging and Valuable

Of course, all these tips won’t be worth much unless the emails you send to your list are awesome (the last thing we want is to go through all this effort to grow a list only to have everyone unsub).

Make sure you’re writing in your own voice, sharing interesting stories or opportunities, and not overwhelming your fans with too many emails (or too few). Try starting out with these email templates and do some experimenting to see what kinds of emails seem to get higher engagement.

Click to get the free email templates:

10 Attention-Getting Email Templates for Musicians

How to Promote Your Music

How to promote your music

The internet has opened up endless possibilities to promote your music. And, while that may seem daunting, it really allows you to experiment and let your creativity run wild!

The key to successfully promoting your music in today’s music industry is to try new things, learn from the promotions you run, make changes, and fine-tune them to your unique career.

Let’s take a look at some basic strategies you could be using to promote your music right now.

1. Live Music Promotion

With everything moving more and more towards digital, it’s easy to forget about the value of that person-to-person interaction. After all, these days you can create great quality music, release it, distribute it, promote it, and even play live without ever leaving your room.

But, just because you can release something entirely online doesn’t mean you should! In fact, these personal interactions are still extremely important in the music industry.

Let’s take the live show as an example. Sure, it’s a chance to make some money and perform your music and have fun. But it also presents some really unique marketing opportunities.

Gigs are a great place to promote your new album or song. Tell your fans that you’ll be premiering a new song (or the whole album if you want to go all out) before it’s released. Choose one local gig and turn it into an event. Maybe fans who come to that show will be able to buy the album at your merch booth before anyone else.

You could also use gigs to grow a fanbase in new cities, states, or countries. Work with a local established band and propose a headline swap. You’ll open for them in their home town and they’ll open for you in your home town. Just make sure you pick a band with a similar musical style. Do this a few times and eventually you’ll be able to do your own headlining show.

If you want our free guide on
How to Promote Your Music with 3 Social Media Checklists (Click Here)

2. Use Social Media the RIGHT Way

We all use social media. If you’re not on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter these days, it’s almost like you don’t exist. However, you may not be using social media to it’s full potential to promote your music.

Social media is NOT a straight-up marketing platform. It’s really a catalyst for conversation and word-of-mouth marketing. About 80% of your posts should be funny, conversational, and interesting, leaving about 20% for promotional material.

That’s not to say that conversational posts can’t be promotional! You just need to learn how to frame the content in interesting ways. For example, if you’re in the studio recording a new album, try sprinkling little updates on social media. Tell a story about your studio experience that day, share a photo of the mix, or post a short teaser video of a song.

If you’re out on tour, take photos at the venues or share short videos or photos of the audiences. These things aren’t obviously promotional, but they still let fans know what’s going on.

It’s important to remember, though, that social media isn’t the end-all-be-all when it comes to promoting your music. It can easily become a huge time suck that takes you away from your music if you don’t manage your time properly (Hint: get social media time management tips here).

3. Promote Your Music and Sell it on Your Website

Your website shouldn’t be a static thing. It should be ever adapting and changing to reflect new events in your career. Basically, you want your fans stopping by your website as often as possible. The more often they’re on your site, the more they’re exposed to your albums, merch, and tickets.

If you’re just starting out, you probably don’t have a lot of big updates other than the occasional album release and tour. Starting a blog is a great solution.

It’s fairly easy to set up a blog on the homepage of your website. Most website tools like Bandzoogle, and WordPress, have blog capabilities. Plan out blog posts at regular intervals like once or twice a week and share anything you think your fans would find interesting. This could be the inspirations behind certain songs, new lyrical ideas you’re working on, a funny story from the last band practice, or even a run-down of the gear you use.

Another idea is to create landing pages on your website. Landing pages can be used to collect email addresses, to raise awareness, to give your fans more information, or to make a sale.

4. Reach out to Music Blogs

If you want to promote your music, it isn’t just about sharing things with your fans. You also want to reach out to new audiences and convert them to fans. And music blogs are a great way to do that. Bloggers are always looking for fresh, new content, and the cool thing is, there are a ton of smaller blogs that are totally within your reach as an indie artist. Blogs also tend to have a pretty niche following. This means that if your music is run on a blog, it’s guaranteed to be seen by people who already like the genre!

Do some research, find blogs that cover your type of music, and send personal emails out to the bloggers. Are there any interesting stories about your new album, song, or tour? Having a unique story will definitely help you stand out from the thousands of other musicians releasing an album. Make it as easy as possible for them to cover your story and treat them like people. Remember, it’s all about establishing a relationship.

5. Collaborate with Other Musicians

Collaboration is an often overlooked aspect of music promotion. It’s a great way to get your music in front of a new group of people and grow your fanbase exponentially. You can collaborate on pretty much anything. Just make sure you collaborate with musicians whose fans would appreciate your music. Choose to work with bands in a similar genre or with similar fanbase demographics.

Of course, the headline trade strategy we looked at earlier in this article is a great option. But let’s talk about some things you can do online as well.

Obviously, you could also work together on a song or album. Try recording a cover song or two together and release them on your YouTube channels or Facebook pages. The key is to drive your fans to each other. If you create a song or video, link to each other’s website and social channels.

An even more easy-mode option is to just agree to give each other shout-outs on social media. Share each other’s newest track and tell your fans how much you dig it. (Obviously work with artists whose music you actually do dig.) The power of a recommendation is one of the best marketing tools out there.

6. Promote with Email

Your email list is an extremely valuable tool to promote your music. Unlike collaboration and blogs, your email list is marketing to your current fan base. If someone signed up for your email list, they want to hear from you, so take advantage of it!

Remember, your emails should be driving your fans to your website, so you want to include links.

So what do you send to your email list? The obvious use of an email list is to let your fans know when you have an album coming out or a tour. BUT you can also use your email list to send fans to your blog when you have new content. (Remember, you want to get your fans on your website as often as possible.)

Of course, you need to get fans to actually signup for your emails before you can start using it as a music promotion tool, right? An easy option is to trade something of value for an email address. Keep in mind this doesn’t have to be a free song (in fact there are a TON of more effective ways to grow your email list)

If you’re not sure where to even start when it comes to growing your email list, here are 10 easy ways to build an email list for your music.

 

“No matter how many followers you have, you can’t eat a tweet. Get New Artist Model and learn how to turn traffic – into fans – into money.” – Dave Kusek

How to Promote Your Music: Conclusion

Your music promotion strategy is going to be something that you refine over time, so don’t get frustrated if things take some time to come together.

The important thing to remember is that you should be taking advantage of all the different promote your music tools you have right here at your finger tips instead of relying on just one thing.

If you want more music marketing guidance, download this free ebook. You’ll get a roadmap showing exactly how different elements like social media, email, and your website come together into a music promotion machine that will help you grow your fanbase and make more money. You’ll also get 3 social media checklists with easy post ideas you can use on your own social channels.

 Click to get the free eBook:

How to Promote Your Music Ebook cover copy

NAM_FINAL-horizontal-dk
The New Artist Model is an online music business school for independent musicians, performers, recording artists, producers, managers and songwriters. Our classes teach essential music business and marketing skills that will take you from creativity to commerce while maximizing your chances for success.

See what thousands of independent musicians are excited about. Learn different ways to promote your music with free lessons from the New Artist Model online music business school when you sign up for our free video training series.

Watch the video on this page to learn more

promote your music

 

 

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Top 20 TV Radio Interview Tips

When you are promoting a show or a tour or an album you may get the chance to be on TV or the Radio. I’ve been on TV Radio Interviews many times and got media training that really helped. Here are my top 20 TV Radio Interview tips that you can use to get ready to tell your story and deliver a message that the viewer will remember:

  • Make sure you understand the exact takeaway you want the viewer or listener to have.
  • Work on your “quotable take away” and practice giving it in different situations.
  • What is your CTA – what do you want them to know about you or do?
  • Get a simple and succinct set of phrases down to deliver your story.
  • If you can include facts, figures or references in your story it will make it easier to remember.
  • Practice your interview several times so you are prepared and confident.
  • Be early and get yourself ready for the event, hair, makeup, confidence.
  • Wear solid colors, not all black and not all white. No patterns.
  • Smile and be positive. No negativity of any kind.
  • Know where the cameras are.
  • While being interviewed in person, look at the interviewer, not the camera.
  • If you plan to perform, practice before you go in and see what you look like on video ahead of time.
  • Lean forward a bit towards the camera. Let your personality shine.
  • Bring/send any logo or graphic with you so they can flash it on the screen.
  • Be sure to talk with the interviewer before you go live and ask what questions you are going to get.
  • If there is a producer involved, ask where to stand or sit, where to look and what they’re expecting.
  • If you can feed the interviewer part of your story before you go live they can set you up to deliver it.
  • Don’t mumble or use umms, uhhs, wells, you knows, likes. Don’t say “I think”.
  • Don’t refer to any prior conversations you had off air.
  • Avoid jargon and speak plainly so a 12 year old can understand you.
  • Don’t drink alcohol before the interview, avoid milk and carbonated beverages.
  • Have fun with it
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Live Webinars this week on Content Marketing!

Content Marketing for Creative Entrepreneurs

This week we are holding live training on content marketing and how to build and connect with an audience around your creative work.

If you want recognition for your work, or to attract industry partners or create income from your creative passions and pursuits, then this LIVE Master Class is for you.

We’re going to break down the steps and show you how to BUILD and CONNECT with an audience around your creative work.

So you can boost your CONFIDENCE and really amp up your promotions and get your music the attention it deserves.

Join us in a LIVE MASTER CLASS and build your confidence and understanding of how content marketing works.

>> Sign up here – We go LIVE Friday and Sunday

MASTER CLASS: >> Content Marketing for Creative Entrepreneurs

  • What is content marketing?
  • How to get your content marketing engine setup
  • How to build and connect with an audience around your creative work
  • How CreateBiz can help you reach your goals

>> Sign up here – We go LIVE Friday and Sunday

OR Sign up for the live event or get the recording and watch the replay, all for free.

PLUS we’ll be taking your questions and walking you step-by-step through our system of content marketing for creative entrepreneurs.

We will be giving away a free online CREATEBIZ course to one lucky person during each live event. Will it be you?

>> Sign up here

LEARN MORE ABOUT CREATEBIZ HERE: CreateBiz.com

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5 Easy Hacks to Make Your Cover Songs Stand Out – WEBINAR Wednesday 12 noon EST

With the DIY revolution and the rise of the music middle class in today’s music industry, it’s really easy to get caught up in all the business and music promotion stuff.

But despite all the tools and resources and services at your fingertips online that can potentially get your music in front of a huge audience… The MUSIC still comes first. Quality music trumps all!

So we’re going to get back to our roots and share some confidence-boosting skills that could help you take your music to the next level so you can really stand out and get people excited at gigs and online.

One approach is to use cover songs. If you take the time to really bend the song and put your own flair on cover tunes, they’ll serve as a transition that will introduce your original music to new listeners. Think of it like a relatable point of reference that new fans can come through to become acquainted to you and your music.

So, to help you make the most of cover songs and turn them into tools that help you grow your audience and raise awareness for your originals – instead of being a big roadblock, Daniel Roberts from Hit Music Theory and I will be presenting a free webinar to explore how you can use music theory to create some killer cover songs on Wednesday June 21st at 12PM EST.

Sign up for free here, or sign up to get the replay if you can’t make it live.

Come join us! During the webinar we will be covering:

1. How to manipulate rhythm and subdivision to keep your performances fresh and interesting and keep fans on their feet.

No matter how good a musician you are, your understanding and manipulation of subdivision, time and groove is always a rich creative well to draw from. This is especially important for live performances – simple shifts in the rhythm or subdivision can add that extra flair of interest to keep fans dancing and rocking through the whole song.

We’ll take a look at the Red Hot Chilli Pepper’s version of Higher Ground and explore the many ways these concepts are used in the tune and how you can manipulate the rhythm to adapt the song to your style.

2. How to use your understanding of scales and tonality to create tension, anticipation, and release in your covers, and how to use these techniques to support the mood and lyrics of your songs.

Whether you know it or not, every piece of music draws heavily from at least one scale which is centered around a particular note. Knowing this scale and how you can manipulate it can open up enormous possibilities for how you approach playing and arranging a song.

But beyond just basic tonality, the notes and scales you draw from can very much influence and comment on the mood of a song. The scales you choose can create tension, anticipation, or release to illustrate musically what’s going on in the lyrics.

We’ll explore this using Get Lucky by Daft Punk and Nile Rodgers.

3. How to use harmonic function to create endless compelling hooks and riffs.

Many of the greatest hooks and riffs we love seem to have been created as if divined by some spirit or given by magic to a special artist…

But, if we break it down, a lot of the most iconic hooks and melodies are taken directly from a very limited set of notes that the artist knows work well. Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues is a timeless classic that illustrates this extremely well.

Once you see what’s going on, you’ll be able to use the same techniques to create your own hooks and melodies or even adapt the greats to create your own unique cover version.

4. How to use modes to add variety to hooks to keep fans listening and excited even in repetitive songs.

“Modes” can sometimes be a scary word, but an understanding of this concept can open up endless musical possibilities for you.

We’ll check out what’s going on in Message in a Bottle by the Police to show you how you can use them simply and effectively to keep a song interesting and new no matter how many times you or the listener has heard it.

5. How to use voice leading techniques create space in your arrangements so you can improve the sound of your live set and get that huge sound we all look for.

Your live show is where you’ll make the biggest impression on new and potential fans, so getting that perfect sound is really important. Unfortunately, if you’re playing in smaller venues and clubs, the sound system may not be ideal.

So we’re going to go through an easy voice leading technique that will allow you to create space in your arrangement – sonically separating your instrument parts so they don’t muddy each other down. (Hint: THIS is how those 2 or 3 man bands manage to get that HUGE sound.)

Plus, if you can master this, I guarantee every sound guy is going to love you!

We’ll be covering this and a whole lot more during the webinar on Wednesday, June 21st at 12PM EST. Click here to sign up for free.

If you can’t make it live, you can sign up here to get the recorded replay.

Oh! And during the webinar we will be giving away a free online course called Hit Music Theory to some lucky person!

About the speakers

Dave Kusek

Dave Kusek is the founder of Berklee Online and New Artist Model. Since teaching at Berklee College of Music, he’s been working to reinvent the way music theory is taught. The very best way to learn music is to apply what you are learning right away, so we developed a fun way to learn music theory by looking at popular music and finding the teachable patterns that make up the hits.

Daniel Roberts

Daniel has produced, composed, arranged, recorded, mixed, and mastered many music projects through his own record label, Ivystone Records, and he’s been teaching music theory to thousands of students. His radical approach makes understanding theory easy and something that you can immediately apply to your music.

Details:

Date: Wednesday, June 21st
Time: 12:00pm EST

SIGN UP HERE FOR FREE

Planning a Viral Music Video – Back to the 90s with New Artist Model Member Jensen Reed

An Interview with Jensen Reed on the Viral Music Video Back to the 90s

It’s the big question on most musicians minds… How do you create that perfect viral video? One that can launch your career forward and raise awareness for you and your music.

New Artist Model member Jensen Reed found the right formula with the recent viral music video, Back to the 90s. To date, the video has received 30+ million views on Facebook and YouTube.

But Jensen says that this seemingly overnight success was years in the making. He’s been hard on the scene for years releasing music and music videos, learning about the industry, and most importantly, making the connections that made such a large-scale production possible.

“The New Artist Model really helped to get me organized for a plan of action this year. By filling out the Career Map, I was able to set up time tables for goals and feel more confident about the direction of my career.

I’ve recently had success (25 Million Views on Facebook in 3 days) with a comedy music video called ‘Back to the 90s’ which I think is my 17th music video. It can take a long time to break through.

My strategy has always been to consistently work hard to improve my craft, partner with great collaborators and release quality content. I feel most fulfilled personally when I’m creating new music and videos independent of whether or not they reach a large audience.

Ultimately you have to love what you do and be grateful for the opportunity to share your vision. Thanks for your guidance Dave!” – Jensen Reed

If you were wondering just what went into the planning and production of Back to the 90s, CD Baby’s Chris Robley caught up with Jensen to find out exactly what went into the viral video…

This interview is from CD Baby’s DIY Musician Blog. Check out the full interview here.

Can you tell me about the timeline for the production? How long did each phase take?

It took almost a year and a half from concept to finished video. Ben Giroux came to me with the idea of doing a music video that’s a celebration of all things 90s. We both were 90s kids and sensed a movement for 90s nostalgia, so we knew we were on to a solid idea.

A big part of the challenge was incorporating multiple genres into one song effectively. My production partner Christian Hand had the genius idea and I knew we had to figure out a way to execute it. I enlisted my buddy Jared Lee who is an amazing songwriter and artist to help us with the chorus and my man Dirty Hollywood who is pure rock n roll to work out the grunge bridge with us.

Our Cinematographer Zach Salsman absolutely crushed this shoot. Zach and I have worked together on a bunch of my music videos and his eye and talent behind the camera is unmatched.

We shot the video in two long production days. (check out the making-of video below)

The key to knocking it out so efficiently was the pre-production process that lasted for months…locations, crew, cast, times, logistics etc. It was truly a massive production with over 100 people on set.

One thing that allowed for the shoot to go smoothly was the lyrics. Because we had so many specific 90s references, we knew exactly what shots we needed. Unlike most of my other music videos where we roll the entire song and do a bunch of performance takes, we only shot the snippets of the song in each setup we needed. This also made the original skeleton for the edit come together quickly because we knew which shot went where in the timeline.

Did you call in a lot of favors to get this video done?

There was an immense amount of talent involved in the project that donated their time and expertise or worked for us at a major discount. This was a team effort in every way imaginable.


If you want more ideas on how to promote your music and easy ways to turn the music and content you create every day into social posts and videos, download this FREE social media guide and checklist: How to Promote Your Music: With 3 Social Media Checklists


I found the attention to detail super impressive. Can you talk about scouting locations, gathering props and costumes, finding lookalikes, and so forth?

Locking down an airplane hangar to re-create the vibe of the iconic Backstreet Boys video “I Want It That Way” was the biggest challenge. We found Whiteman airport outside of Los Angeles and the owner was open to cutting us a deal because he was a former film school student and understood the idea of a passion project. All of the locations and minutia involved in a shoot this big were handled masterfully by our Producers Jon Rosenbloom, Scott Thomas Reynolds, and Marc Barnes. They are masters of getting sh*t done!

We secured Bullock and Snow Casting to cast all of the roles and they knocked it out of the park! Every person they cast was incredible. They also got us the amazingly talent Alexander Arzu (who plays the kid we educated about how great the 90s were).

Our Art Department Melissa Lyon and Marissa Bergman took the production to another level with the ridiculous attention to detail in creating spaces covered with 90s paraphernalia. There are so many ‘Easter Eggs’ littered throughout the video for viewers to discover, which has led to many people watching the video over and over. And our Wardrobe Designer Chelsea Kutun found all of the iconic and memorable looks for everyone involved in the shoot.

What happened between the final edit and the launch? How did you prepare to promote the video?

Ben and I edited the video and got it to an almost final point before we enlisted Animators Doug Bresler, Ilana Schwartz, Tony Celano, and Zoran Gvojic to add their magic touch including NBA Jam, Ren & Stimpy, Doug, Celebrity Deathmatch etc. VFX by Jake Akuna was the final piece of post production that added more detail and interesting effects, upping the ante yet again.

We had a live release party in Los Angeles the day before we released the video. It turned out to be one of the most fun parties that any of our 300 guests had been to in a while. We encouraged everyone to dress in their best 90s gear. Jared and I performed a couple of our original songs and we then screened the video and performed “Back to the 90s” live.

We encouraged everyone in attendance to share the video at 10am on Monday, May 1st when it was released to get the ball rolling. It helped tremendously that many people in attendance have a lot of social influence because of their own creative pursuits. We didn’t hire a publicist. We just put it out to the world with the hopes of it being so good that people would instantly want to share and that’s what happened.

This interview was originally posted on CD Baby’s DIY Musician Blog. To read the full article and get Jensen’s tips for shooting music videos on a limited budget, check out the full interview here.

 

The Best Musician Website Tips – 3 Easy Fixes to Try Today

The best musician website tips

You’ve probably heard this a thousand times before… as a musician, you need to have a website.

Sure, it’s easy enough to put together a website for your music with all the easy website builders available today, but making a REALLY EFFECTIVE website? One that will help you actually engage with your fans and sell more music? That’s a little more difficult.

So I’ve got some easy and quick musician website tips you can use to take your website from good to GREAT.

To help you make sure your website is a powerful tool that will help you grow your fanbase, connect with your fans, and sell more music, merch, and tickets, Dave Cool from Bandzoogle and I are hosting a free website webinar on Thursday, May 18 at 1PM EST.  See the agenda below…

Sign up for free to join us live, or sign up to get the free recorded replay.

But in the meantime, here are some musician website tips and best practices you can start using right now.

Give Each Page a Purpose

I want you to start thinking of your website like a tool – something that will help you promote your music, connect with your fans, unlock opportunities, or sell music and merch.

And that means each and every page needs to have a specific purpose – something that you want to accomplish through the content on the page or some action you want your fans to take after viewing the page.

So if you have a gig page, the purpose should be to sell tickets to your upcoming gigs. You should have a gig calendar with buttons to purchase tickets, and possibly an email signup form where you offer some kind of gig-related incentive in exchange for an email address (like early access to tickets, or notifications of secret meetups or events).

In the same way, if you have a press page or EPK, all the information on that page should be 100% focused on getting press coverage or a review. You don’t need an email signup form, a gig calendar, or social media feeds.

As a little exercise, take a look at your own website. For each and every page, ask yourself, “What is the purpose of this page? What am I trying to get my fans to do? What am I trying to accomplish?” If you cannot think of a specific purpose for a page, change it, consolidate it into another page, or just remove it entirely.

Keep Your Navigation Simple

This builds off the previous point, but you really want to keep your website’s navigation as simple and straightforward as possible. The last thing you want is for people to click off your website because they can’t find what they’re looking for.

As a rule of thumb, don’t have more than 8 buttons in your navigation and limit the amount of sub-navigation pages you have if possible.

So instead of having a “Gig” tab with sub-navigation pages for gig calendar, live recordings, book a house concert, and live photos, consolidate to pre-existing pages. Your live recordings can go to your music page, your live photos can go to your media page, and house concerts could become a separate tab if it’s something you want to really focus on.

Focus on Engagement

Once you’ve simplified and streamlined your website, you need to ask yourself, “What will keep my fans coming back again and again?”

For the most part, musicians will keep their website pretty static and maybe update it every few months. That’s definitely a good start, but first and foremost, your website is the place where you will sell music, sell merch, and get fans on your email list, right? And if fans aren’t going back to your website on a regular basis they won’t be exposed to those offers.

So how can you keep your website’s content fresh, dynamic, and interesting? One options is to create a blog where you publish new content on a certain schedule – maybe it’s once a week, or maybe once a month, the key is to find a schedule that works for you.

I know “blogging” sounds kind of silly to a lot of people, but it’s important to remember that a blog doesn’t have to be you just writing about your day diary-style. You can write posts or release videos on whatever topics interest you.

Use your blog to share more insider-access to you and your music. You could easily create a blog post about how you get a certain tone or how you set up your gear, you could do video tutorials of your songs, you could post monthly Q&A’s with questions that you gather from social media, or you could share the behind-the-scenes process of your current project.

As a bonus tip – try giving each blog post a purpose by linking to relevant items on your store, gig page, or email signup form. So if you’re taking fans behind the scenes at your gigs in a blog post, link to your gig page. If you’re talking about the tone from your newest single, link to a place where they can actually purchase it.

AGENDA:

Here are a few of the musician website tips you’ll learn during the webinar:

  • We’re going to tell you exactly what you need to include on your website and WHY (so you don’t miss out on opportunities and sales)
  • We’ll break down the big website mistakes to avoid (You’d be surprised how many musicians make these mistakes, but we’ll show you EASY ways to fix them!)
  • Learn the 3 DIFFERENT audiences your website needs to be serving (most musicians only focus on 1)
  • Enter for a chance to win a LIVE WEBSITE REVIEW! (Yep – a few of you will get live feedback on your website and actionable tips for how you can make it BETTER 🙂
  • Plus all your burning website questions answered during the live Q&A

Sign up to join us live or sign up to get the recorded replay.
We hope to see you there!

Promoting Your Music on Social Media – How to NOT Waste Time

how to not waste time promoting your music on social media
 

Let’s talk about promoting your music on social media.

More specifically making the task of promoting your music on social media not suck. I mean, who has time to spend hours coming up with social media posts to promote your music on Facebook and Twitter?

The secret is NOT doing more to promote your music. It’s about working SMARTER – making the most out of everything you create.

Of course, there’s a lot more to promoting your music than social media. But for today, I’m going to walk you through a quick approach to making your social media efforts more efficient and more productive (so you can save time and get your music heard).

Keep in mind that implementing a music marketing strategy on social media like the one I’m going to give you today takes TIME. There is going to be very little instant gratification here, so get yourself in that mindset.

True success on social media is like a relationship (a relationship with each of the hundreds or thousands of fans you have on the platform). And like any relationship, it will take some time to develop.

That being said, I do have a jumpstart guide for you that includes 3 social media checklists that will give you the music promotion tips that the most successful indie musicians use online. Click here to download it for free.

Think long term with these tips, be consistent, and after a few months, you’ll start seeing more activity.

Use Content You Already Have to Promote Your Music

If you think you need to create a whole new set of content for promoting your music on social media, you’re wasting a lot of time and effort (time that could be spent playing gigs, practicing, recording, writing…).

Instead, think about how you can repurpose and adapt all the great stuff you already have.

As musicians, we create A LOT of stuff. You know – riffs, songs, lyrics, covers, jams, live performances, albums, tones, beats, effects, and the list goes on and on.

BUT, a lot of musicians I see out there promoting their music online don’t actually use half of the stuff they create. And that’s a missed opportunity.

I know, there is a bit of a balance to find here. Especially if you’re working you way up to a big album launch you don’t want to give everything away before the actual release date. But giving away little pieces here and there can actually get fans more excited for the release as you build up the anticipation.

Today, take a few minutes to look at all the creative work you do every day.

  • How much of it are you actually sharing with your fans on social media?
  • How can you start weaving the content you’re creating into your music promotion strategy?

If you want our free guide on How to Promote Your Music with 3 Social Media Checklists (CLICK HERE).

Music Marketing is All About Frequency and Consistency

Okay, one quick aside before we get into how to actually create your social posts…

A lot of musicians have this mindset that their work can’t be released until it’s 100% perfect and finished. And that it needs to be released in its entirety or not at all. The result is often long periods of radio silence on social media followed by frantic promotion of the new thing.

At the most basic level, success on social media is all about balancing frequency and consistency. The more you post (as long as it’s quality, interesting posts), the more of a response you will get over time. Fans will start to expect and anticipate your posts.  

Which means that radio silence is actually hurting you when you get around to promoting your album or next big thing. (Especially on Facebook where the algorithm favors posts that get more engagement.) Less fans will see your promotions, less fans will respond to your promotions, and you’ll start feeling that social media is a waste of time.

So try to focus on getting some kind of posting rhythm down. After some time you’ll be in a much better place to promote your music (and have your fans actually notice your posts and respond).

Before you move on, look at your social accounts and figure out how often you’re posting.

  • What does your schedule look like?
  • Are there any gaps?
  • How can you be more consistent?

Splinter Your Content

Now we’ll move a little deeper and start talking about how you can actually take something like a new song, a new video, or a live performance, and turn it into multiple social media posts – posts that will get your music heard by more people.

I like to call this “splintering” your content. Think of it like taking a big thing – like a song – and breaking it down into smaller pieces that you can post on social media. Each of those smaller pieces will lead fans back to the full song.

So for a single song, here are some “splinter” post ideas:

  • Take a quote from the lyrics. Post as is or create an image with the quote. You can probably get a lot of quote posts from a single song
  • Open up and share the meaning behind the lyrics. You could create a post, a blog post, a short video, a live stream, or all of the above.
  • Create a short video (or do a live stream) walking fans through the tones (or beats, or pedal board setup…) you used in the song so they can recreate the sound
  • Share photos of the lyric sheet or lead sheet
  • Do a playthrough or tutorial of a certain riff or beat
  • Create a “making of” video series for the song
  • Post a lyric line you’re working on and ask your fans to finish it with their own words
  • If any of your fans cover the song you could share that too

See what we did there? That was just one song and we got a ton of social posts. Individually, these posts don’t give away the full picture of the song. Many of these ideas can be used in the days leading up to the song release to create hype.  

Exercise: Splinter the Content You’re Working on Right Now

Try to do this exercise for something you’re working on right now. Make a list and brainstorm everything and anything you could splinter off from that main piece of content. You don’t need to use all the ideas you come up with, but write down everything that comes to mind and proceed from there.

Use Automation

Okay, so now we have all these social media post ideas. You probably don’t want to post them all at the same time. (Remember – consistency is key). So that means you need to space things out over time.

And that’s where automation comes in.

Automation tools help you pre-schedule posts on many different social media platforms so you don’t need to be constantly remembering to post on social media. That way, you can get your promotion over with and allow yourself to focus completely on music.

Check out these tools:

  • Hootsuite – this will allow you to schedule posts for multiple different social platforms. The free version allows you to post to 3 different social channels
  • Facebook (there’s a scheduler built right in. Instead of choosing “post,” choose “schedule” and pick a date and time you’d like it to hit your page)
  • Tweetdeck – this is a great free platform for posting, scheduling, and monitoring Twitter
  • Buffer – the free version allows you to schedule and manage 1 account from each social platform (so you could have a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc). You can schedule up to 10 posts at a time per social account
  • SocialOomph – the free version only allows you to schedule and monitor Twitter, but the paid version covers multiple different platforms

Be Relevant and Authentic

A little word of caution. Automation can be overdone. The very purpose of social media is to be able to connect with your fans authentically and in real time. If you’re pre-scheduling all your content out weeks or months in advance, you’re totally missing that real-time connection with your fans.

So, here’s what I suggest… Create your posts by splintering up your content, schedule them out for maybe a week or two, and then make time each day to post something relevant that you’re working on right now and respond to comments and messages.

If you take the time to implement these steps over the next few weeks or months you’ll start seeing major changes. And not just in how much attention your music attracts online.  But also in how much time you’re spending promoting your music on social media.

If you want more concrete examples of social post ideas, don’t forget to download your free social media guide and checklist! Here’s the link again:

If you want our free guide on How to Promote Your Music with 3 Social Media Checklists (CLICK HERE).

The Art of the Cover Song – Using Covers to Grow Your Audience

Free Webinar April 26th at 4PM EST

The Art of the Cover Song - Using Covers to Grow Your Audience

For a lot of musicians, there’s a bit of a love/hate relationship going on with cover songs. On one side of the equation, it’s fun and insightful to cover other people’s songs and, if you pick the right song, fans will really go crazy when they hear a classic tune.

On the other side, covers can be downright frustrating. Especially in the early stages of a music career, venues want mostly cover sets, and the covers you release online can seem to get more attention than your originals. It can make you feel underappreciated, almost like the industry is pushing you into a cover band box. Tributes “R” Us.

To help you make the most of cover songs and turn them into tools that help you grow your audience and raise awareness for your originals – instead of being a big roadblock, Kevin Breuner from CDBaby and I are hosting a free cover song webinar on Wednesday, April 26 at 4PM EST.  See the agenda below…

Sign up for free to join us live, or sign up to get the free recorded replay.

Here are some Cover Song Basics and best practices you can start using right now.

Make it Your Own

Best way to get people who hear your covers into your original music? Put your own unique spin on every song you cover. That means bending the songs stylistically to fit with the kind of music you play and write. Sometimes that will mean a few minor tweaks or just adding your own color. Sometimes it’s a total genre switch and completely different instrumentation.

Not only does this make you stand out from the multitude of cover songs flooding the internet and venues, it also makes the transition to your original music a lot smoother. In a way, listeners have already gotten a little taste of your original sound by listening to your cover rendition. They’ll have a much better sense of what you’re all about as an artist and will be much more comfortable when you move to the original song.

Subscribers Over Views

There’s this fascination with “viral” videos in the music industry. But a ton of views on a cover aren’t worth much on YouTube unless you can get in touch with those people again. We’ve seen a lot of musicians hit it with a crazy viral video only to release an original music video on deaf ears.

So instead of thinking, “How can I get 10,000 views,” get yourself in the mindset of, “How can I get as many viewers as possible to subscribe?” Setting up suggested videos or playlists on your YouTube channel can be a great way to get people to continue watching, which increases the chance they’ll actually subscribe.

This goes for your live shows too. If you are forced into doing cover sets, think about ways you can connect with those people again. Maybe it’s a contest where they have to follow you on Facebook to enter, or even a USB stick that you hand out for free with a recording of one of your original songs and your social media channels written out on it.

Don’t Be Afraid to Use Call to Actions

And that leads us into the next point – utilizing call to actions. So what exactly is a call to action? It’s basically just you directly asking your viewers or listeners to take some further action. Maybe it’s watching another video, or subscribing to your channel, or entering your contest, or clicking the link in your description box.

If you’ve never done this before, it can definitely feel a little awkward and even pushy at first, but it’s been proven time and time again that directly asking people to do something increases the chance that they will.

If you’re releasing covers on YouTube, you can easily use “cards” to suggest other videos your viewers can watch next. As you upload your video, you’ll be able to add cards in the “Cards” tab across the top of the upload screen. Use cards to suggest other cover songs or even original songs when people reach the end of your videos.

If you’re doing a cover gig in a venue, it’s pretty easy to add little call to actions as you talk to the audience. Ask them to follow you on Facebook for more covers and originals, or to see photos that you posted from the show.

You could also ask them to visit a certain URL where they can get a few songs for free in exchange for an email address (give them a cover and an original to introduce them to your own music). If you’re really savvy, you could even give out little download cards so they don’t even have to memorize the URL.

As you can see, cover songs can be an extremely valuable part of your approach and can really help you grow your audience and get more fans.

To get loads more cover song tips, join CD Baby’s Kevin Breuner and I in a free webinar on Wednesday, April 26 at 4PM EST. Sign up to join us live or sign up to get the recorded replay.

AGENDA:

Here are a few things you’ll learn during the webinar:

  1. WHY COVER SONGS? – Learn why covers are so powerful and how you can use them along side your original music to get more attention and grow your fanbase.
  2. WHAT CAN YOU COVER (LEGALLY)? – Stop worrying about whether you need a license for covers, or whether posting them will get you in trouble. Learn exactly what you can cover and how so you can jam on in peace.
  3. HOW TO LICENSE A COVER SONG? – Want to put your cover on YouTube? We’ll explain how that works. Want to release a cover on your album? We’ll show you how to do that too!
  4. USING COVERS TO ATTRACT ATTENTION? – We’re not all out to be cover bands. But you can (and should) still make use of covers in your sets! Learn how to use cover songs to get people interested in you and your original music.
  5. GET COVERS NOTICED ONLINE? – There’s A LOT of cover song out there online. Learn how to stand out and get your versions discovered, shared and noticed.

Sign up to join us live or sign up to get the recorded replay.
We’ll not only be expanding on some of the tips we presented in this post, we’ll also be breaking down copyright law so you know how to release cover songs legally – both online and on your albums.
We hope to see you there!

Tips for Emailing Music Bloggers (And Other Industry Professionals)

emailing music bloggers

Emailing music bloggers, music venues to book gigs, and other industry people like press outlets and record label execs is just downright frustrating for a lot of indie musicians. More often than not, you put all this time into your emails, and then when you hit the send button, you never even get a response.

There are a lot of factors that go into whether or not your emails get opened, read, or responded to, and unfortunately, a lot of them are out of your control. But today, we’ll go through a few things you can do to increase the chance your email will get noticed and taken seriously.

The key to writing effective emails is to touch on the points specific to the recipient. If you want to get a response, you need to know what the person on the other end is looking for and write an email that peaks their interest.

So how do you write emails that get responses from music bloggers, press outlets, and record label executives? Take a look at the tips below.

Keep it Short

Most people that you’re going to want to reach out to are short on time, so be respectful of this. It’s important that your email is as short and as easy to read as possible.

It sounds counter-intuitive, but it’s often more difficult to edit your message down into something really concise. As musicians, we have a tendency to want to tell our whole story, but that can make your emails very hard to read and very difficult to understand the purpose of the email.

With this is mind, when emailing music bloggers and other industry people, it’s best to write your emails in steps. First, write down the purpose of your email. Do you want to get a blogger to review your album? Or get a local news outlet to cover your upcoming tour?

Once you have that, take a first-pass and write down everything that immediately comes to mind. Then, do a series of cuts. For each sentence, ask yourself, “Is this really important to the person I’m emailing? Does it support the purpose of this email?” If the answer to either of those questions is “No,” cut it out.

Writing short emails will take more time, but it’s respectful to your busy recipient. Remember, the average human attention span is just 8 seconds, so try and keep your emails under 5 sentences.


Need some ideas to start emailing music bloggers? Download these 10 free email templates: 10 Attention-Getting Email Templates for Musicians


Use a Website or EPK for Supplemental Information

Continuing on a similar point, if you feel like you absolutely need to include some additional information about your band, you can add it to the email without clouding or confusing your message by linking to your website or EPK.

If you’re emailing music bloggers to review your new album, rather than telling them about your band’s formation history and where you’re from, link to a page with this information in case the blogger wants to learn more (like a bio or an EPK), and get straight into the details about your new album.

Including too much background information is a sign of inexperience and dilutes your email’s message. It can easily turn people off, resulting in fewer responses to your emails.

Make Use of White Space

Not only do emails need to be short, but they must also be very easy to read.

Most people don’t read entire paragraphs – they scan them to pick out important points.

To ensure your recipient is getting all of the information you want them to get from your email, space things out so the email is easy to skim. Here are some tips:

  •      Write short, 1-2 sentence paragraphs.
  •      Make use of white space.
  •      Make use of bullet points and numbered lists.

Write Compelling Subject Lines

Of course, the first step in getting a response is to get your email opened and read, and that means you need to have a great subject line.

Here are some things to keep in mind when constructing a compelling subject line:

  •      Keep it short.
  •      Include the recipient’s name, if possible.
  •      Hint at what’s inside.
  •      DON’T USE ALL CAPS or overuse exclamation points!!!!

Use the Recipient’s Name in the Email

If you’re emailing music bloggers, rather than opening your email with “Hi [Music blog name]” you want to include the recipient’s name directly.

This simple addition shows that you put in the extra effort to actually do the research and will set you apart from the vast majority of emails that hit the inboxes of music bloggers. 

Failing to include the recipient’s name can make it feel like the email was sent automatically (even if it was not). Remember, there’s a real person on the other end of every email you send.

As you can see, getting your music covered on blogs and other news outlets isn’t all about luck. There are easy tweaks and strategies you can use to get your emails read and taken seriously. If you want more up-to-date and practical indie musician success strategies, check out the full online course. Or sign up to get the Hack the Music Business ebook for free.

Instagram for Musicians: 5 Tips You Need to Know

Instagram for Musicians

Social media is one of the most effective marketing channels for musicians. With over 500 million users – 300 million of which are using the app every day – Instagram is a great way to engage with and grow your audience.

That being said, if you’re not using Instagram correctly it can be a major waste of your time. So here is a guide to Instagram for musicians and 5 tips to get you started. 

Know if You Should Use Instagram

While Instagram is great, it’s not for everyone.

As a musician, you should use Instagram if the demographics of your fanbase strongly correlates with their user base.

While 36% of all social network users are on Instagram, 55% of 18-29-year-olds are using the service. So it’s clear that a majority of their activity comes from 20-somethings.  Additionally, 65% of Instagram’s daily active users are female.

So, if a segment of your audience falls into the female 18-29 year old demographic, Instagram should be part of your social media strategy.

If you’re not sure, the easiest approach is to take a look at the audience at your next concert. Who’s in the crowd? Male or female? How old do they look? Of course, a more accurate option is to glance through the analytics of any other social channels you’re using like Facebook or Twitter.


Not sure what to post to Instagram? Download this free social media ebook: How to Promote Your Music: With 3 Social Media Checklists


When to Post on Instagram

If Instagram is definitely going to be a part of your social media strategy, you need to determine the best times to post to get the most engagement.

According to a study by CoSchedule, Instagram users are most active on Mondays and Wednesdays from 8-9am. 

That being said, any data out there is an estimate based on everyone using the platform, and your audience could very well be different. If you want a more accurate idea of when to post your best bet would be to convert your Instagram profile to a business account to get access to on-board analytics specific to your audience.

To convert to a business account go to the “settings” menu and choose “Switch to a Business Account.” You’ll have to connect to your Facebook artist page to set it up. A Business account functions exactly like a personal account plus some additional features like analytics and a direct contact button.

Determine How Often to Post

With Instagram, you’re going to have to find a bit of a balance with posting. Posting too often can spam your fans’ feeds and lead to unfollows, but generally, the more active you can be, the faster your account will grow.

With that in mind, even if you have a bunch of photos ready to post it’s best to spread them out over a few days. Try posting once or twice per day depending on the amount of content you have available.

According to research by Buffer, the ideal frequency to post to Instagram is 1.5 times per day on average.  They noted, however, that posting more frequently didn’t seem to reduce engagement.

It’s important to remember that these numbers are just guidelines. If you know there’s no way you’ll be able to maintain one post per day, that’s fine! Figure out what you can realistically manage and stick with it – even if it’s every other day or even once a week. Putting out quality posts is always more important than meeting some number quota you read in an article.

Use the Right Hashtags

Just like Twitter, hashtags are big on Instagram. Think of them as organic discovery drivers. People will often browse through certain hashtags to find new posts and new accounts to follow. The “Explore” tab will also use your hashtags to recommend your posts to relevant audiences, which is especially important if you’re just starting out.

When choosing what hashtags to use, don’t simply use what’s trending. You want to choose hashtags that reach a targeted audience that’s likely to be interested in your music. Relevance is key here. So instead of #music, use #progrock.

To choose the right hashtags, check out what hashtags similar artists are using, especially on posts that are reaching a large number of users and have high levels of engagement.

Another way to see if a hashtag might effectively reach your audience is to simply browse the posts containing that hashtag. If these posts are related to things your audience is interested in, consider adding them to your next post. You’ll also see a list of related hashtags at the top of the Explore page if you search a specific tag.

Cross-Promote Your Instagram Posts

If you’re new to using Instagram for musicians, a great way to start is by adding followers by cross-promoting your posts to other social media accounts.

When sharing a photo on Instagram, share the post to your Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts inviting people to follow you.

A study by Buzzsumo found that photos posted to Facebook via Instagram receive more engagement than natively posted images, so posting your Instagram images to Facebook can improve engagement and grow your following on both social networks.

The Bigger Picture

Even if you’re posting incredible content on Instagram and you have a ton of fans on the platform, it’s still only one part of your promotion strategy. If you want to effectively promote your music, you need to be thinking big picture and start getting your social followers to go deeper by signing up for emails and buying your music.

We show you how to do this in the Musician Power Tools Promote Your Music Crash Course. Learn how to set up your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, how to build a killer website, and how to start collecting emails and emailing your fans.

How to Make Free Music Make Money

how to make free music make money

Technology. It’s provided a lot of really cool opportunities for musicians. I mean, now you can create incredible quality music with your laptop, you can release that music to the world with the click of a button, and you can connect with a global fanbase from your home.

But – and this is the big but – for a lot of musicians all that opportunity hasn’t necessarily made their lives any more secure revenue-wise.

I’m sure you know the story… Free music is everywhere so it feels like no one is willing to actually pay any more. Even music instruction is available for free online on sites like YouTube now so even side income from lessons seems to be dwindling.

As a result, the average musician – whether it’s your career or passion project alongside your day job – seems to always run into the same brick wall: “How do I compete with FREE?”

What if I told you that you don’t have to compete with free music? That you should embrace “free” into your approach for promoting your music?

No, I’m not saying renounce money and go live in a cave with an acoustic guitar. I’m saying USE free as a stepping stone – a point of entry for new and potential fans to come into your camp and get turned on to your music and a small piece of your overall approach. Let’s take a look.  

Free Music is One Part of the Bigger Picture

A lot of musicians will look at the idea of giving away free music and think they are just throwing away potential income. But it can actually have the opposite effect. It can help you create fans who will buy more music, merch, and tickets – if you use it correctly.

Think about how you discover new music. Let’s say your friend recommends a really cool new band. Are you going to go out and buy their album right away? Probably not. You’re going to get on YouTube or SoundCloud and listen to a few songs and make your decision from there.

So once someone has heard a song on your YouTube, what’s the next no-brainer step they can take? They can download it for free by trading their email address. It’s a little bit more of an investment on their part because they’re giving you access to their inbox, but it’s still a relatively painless step.

And now you’re getting permission to contact them again – and that’s key. That contact will open up the door for you to send them more cool stuff they can buy. So we’re opening up the potential for them to be repeat buyers.


Not sure what to send your fans when they join your email list? Download these 10 free email templates: 10 Attention-Getting Email Templates for Musicians


One Size Does Not Fit All Fans

And now to dispel the common myth: Fans DO want to spend money. They want to support you – it’s up to you to one, give them the opportunity to, and two, figure out what they want to buy.

Giving stuff away for free can also help you piece together the puzzle to figure out what fans really want to buy.

Here’s the thing. As musicians, we tend to group everyone into one category – fans. And that category includes everyone from people who literally just found your music to hardcore fans who have been following you and supporting you for years.

But all of those fans have different interests and want to buy different things. Some fans might like collecting merch, other fans may be musicians themselves and would be totally into lessons and instructional videos, and some may want signed stuff and exclusives. So if you just give them a chance to buy a $10 album, you’re missing out.

Get to Know Fans’ Interests

Here’s where free stuff comes in. Seeing which fans opt into which free offer can give you hints at what they’re interested in.

So someone who wanted one free song may be interested in buying the full album. A person who entered a contest for a chance to win a big merch bundle may be interested in buying a new merch design you come out with. A fan who opts in to get a gear list for your pedal board may want to buy a bonus version of your album with the Pro Tools files for remixing OR PDFs of the tabs and sheet music. And a fan who comes to your live Q&A streams on YouTube may be into meet and greet packages at upcoming gigs.

In most email programs like Mailchimp, you can mark these interests automatically by segmenting your list into “groups” and adding hidden form fields on your opt-in forms.

So try to go beyond just offering free music. Think about the things you can sell and figure out what you could offer for free to sort your fanbase by interest. This is where free stuff gets to be really powerful in your overall approach.

Build a Ladder

Once you get some free offers in place you can start building a ladder – something that will work your fans up towards bigger purchases and move them into the realm of superfans. Start piecing together your free offers so you’re constantly giving your fans free stuff and simultaneously figuring out more and more about them and what they want.

This approach is taken out of the New Artist Model Essential Music Business Course. As you can see, the strategy is designed especially for indie musicians to work in today’s modern music environment – not the industry of 10 years ago. If you want more up-to-date and practical indie musician success strategies, check out the full online course. Or sign up to get 4 lessons for free

How to Use Facebook Ads to Build Your Email List

how to use Facebook ads to build your email list

Social media is great for musicians – it gives you the ability to interact with your fans and promote your music to a well-targeted audience.

Even with all of the benefits, social media sites come and go. However, one thing seems to remain constant – email.

This is why the most important asset you’ll ever have is your email list.  Growing an email list is a great way to increase sales of your music and merchandise, and allows you an avenue of direct communication with your fans. (If you want ideas for what to send to your email list, check out these 10 free templates.)

Because of this, if you have even a $5 per day marketing budget, you should spend some of it on building your email list. In this post, I’m going to show you how you can do this with Facebook ads.

Use Facebook Ads as a Part of a Bigger Strategy

Keep in mind that Facebook ads should not be the entirety of your strategy to grow your email list. Instead, it should be one aspect of a larger music promotion strategy. So maybe you use Facebook ads to get in front of new fans, but you also have an email form on your Facebook artist page as well as your website where you offer things like free music, discounted merch, and early access in exchange for an email address.

The Facebook ads will be targeting people who may have never heard of you before but are inclined to like your music based on their interests. Having forms on your website will target current fans who already know about your music and want to go deeper. Both are necessary for an effective email strategy.

About Facebook Lead Ads

In the world of music marketing, a lead is – in simple terms – someone who has shown enough interest in your music that they’ve shared their contact information with you.

Because of this, Facebook has built a type of advertisement that lets you easily collect information like email addresses and phone numbers (with a user’s consent) through their ad platform – they call them Lead Ads.

These ads can be a great way to build your email list with your Facebook advertising budget.

Targeting

When targeting Facebook users for any ad campaign, you should aim to reach people who are interested in music similar to yours.

To do this, you need to find out what your current fans listen to.  One easy way to figure this out is by looking at your “related artists” page on streaming services like Spotify, and by seeing what kind of playlists people are placing you into. You could also post a simple message on Facebook asking your fans to comment their favorite bands and musicians. 

When targeting your ads on Facebook, it’s a good idea to have at least 2 ads running at a time, each with a different audience.  So if you’re targeting punk music fans, you might have one ad aimed at Blink-182 fans, and another targeting Green Day fans.

After each of these ads run for a few days, continue with the one that’s performing best, and replace the one that’s performing worse with a different targeting set.  This process is known as A/B testing and can help you make the most of your online ad budget. No sense paying for an ad that’s not working for you, right?

Formatting Your Ad

Another thing you want to test with your ad is the format.  With Facebook Lead Ads, you can use images or videos and have a number of choices for a call to action.

As mentioned above with targeting, you also want to A/B test your format and call to action.  

Try combining a music video ad with an option for viewers to download the song for free in exchange for their email address, or if you’re promoting your email list to current fans, an image announcing that mailing list subscribers have a chance to win a signed copy of your upcoming album might work.

Test multiple combinations of ad formats and value propositions to see what converts best.

What Fields to Use

When creating a Facebook lead ad with the intent to collect email list subscribers, it’s obvious that you want to include a form where people can enter their email, but what other information do you need?

Too many form fields can make people wary of signing up, so it’s important to limit the fields to only what’s necessary.

Here are some fields to consider:

  • Name – Personalizing your emails by using a subscriber’s name can increase open and click thru rates. You probably only need the first name.
  • Zip code or City, State/Province, and Country – This can be helpful when planning tour dates.  Rather than blasting your entire tour schedule to your email list, you can personalize it to them by including only the tour dates closest to them within the email with a link to purchase tickets.  Since zip codes don’t exist everywhere, you may want to use city, state/province, and country instead of zip code if you’re an international artist.
  • Address – If you plan to host giveaways for your mailing list subscribers or send them anything physical, ask for their address. If not, stay away from this. Remember, simpler is better. 

Remember, paid advertising should only be a small part of your overall music promotion strategy. If you want more ideas for how to promote your music, we recommend the Musician Power Tools course. You’ll go step-by-step through setting up your social media pages, your website, and your email list (and how to turn them into conversion machines that will help you develop superfans who will support your career).

3 Resources for Designing Awesome DIY Images

DIY Images for social media

Images are one of the most engaging types of content. It’s been proven time and time again that social posts that include images will usually get more likes and comments than plain text posts.

With that in mind, most everything you put out there to raise awareness for your music – from blog posts to YouTube videos, and social posts to emails – will usually need at least one good image, so being able to design awesome DIY images yourself can give you a powerful edge in promoting your music.

Of course, images for your press kit or music releases should be taken with great care, and in most cases should be put together by a professional designer. But if you’re looking to design images for a social media post, profile picture, or an upcoming event, DIY images can work and keep your costs down.

When designing images yourself, you want to make sure you can put together the best looking work possible.  We have more step-by-step tutorials in the Musician Power Tools Promote Your Music Crash Course, but here are 3 resources to get you started:

Canva – A free online graphic design site for DIY images

Canva is an awesome graphic design tool for just about anything you need to create on a DIY level.  This service is completely free to use, and provides the ease of use necessary for putting together quick, simple designs, but offers features that can help you put together pixel perfect, near-professional level designs as well.

They have a great collection of templates available for selection, along with a variety of shapes, icons, text, filters, and photos – some free, some available for a fee – in a drag and drop interface that lets you easily mix and match elements, change their colors, and more.

You’ll also find a ton of ready-made image sizes for just about anything you need, so you don’t need to go searching around to figure out the correct image size for the platform you’re using.

While this shouldn’t be used for professional design, it’s a great tool for putting together nice looking graphics for social media or quickly adding filters to your photos. We’ve personally used Canva for New Artist Model graphics for social media and blog posts (including this one!)


Want some ideas for what kind of images you should be posting to social media? Download this free ebook – How to Promote Your Music: With 3 Social Media Checklists.


Pixabay – A resource for free, professional quality photos

There are a number of reasons you’d need photos other than those of you or your band.

Maybe you’re writing a blog post, setting up an event on social media, or are in need of some images for a custom design.  Whatever the case, you want to make sure you’re using images that are free of copyright so that you don’t face any legal trouble.  People have gotten sued for using photos without permission, and it can be a really big fine if you get caught.

Pixabay is a website that offers millions of copyright-free photos to use however you want for free.

Once you’re on the website, simply type a keyword into the search box and start browsing.  When you find something you like, just click download.

Images are often available in different sizes.  Keep in mind that when using images online, smaller ones will load faster, but for print, you want the highest resolution possible.

Material.io by Google – For understanding colors

When designing DIY images, you want to make sure you use colors that mix well together.

To effectively use multiple shades of colors, it’s a good idea to use colors that are on the same color scale.

This is where this page from Material.io can help.

While the entire site works as a complete design guide, mostly intended for app developers, this page contains a color palette that contains around 500 colors – starting with primary colors, then filling in the spectrum – to create a complete palette designed to show which colors work harmoniously together.

You can also find plenty of color palette generators, creators, and libraries with a simple Google search. Try out a few options and choose colors that best reflect the brand you’re trying to create. As an easy guide, try to have one main color, one accent color, and a few more neutral colors to keep things clean.

Knowing which colors work well together is important for any design.  If colors mix well together, they draw attention – which is the entire point of an image in the first place.


Try these three resources out and see what kind of images you can come up with. If you need help setting up things like your Facebook cover, your Twitter header, or even your YouTube channel art or thumbnails, we recommend the Musician Power Tools course. You’ll go step-by-step through creating those images (and how to turn them into conversion machines that will grow your email list).

Easy Steps to Get Started with Email Promotion for Musicians

Easy steps to get started with email promotion for musicians

Email is a big topic (which is why we dedicated an entire module to it in the Music Power Tools course), and it’s something that a lot of musicians put off. But I’m here to tell you that email doesn’t have to be scary, time-consuming, or intimidating.

Instead of thinking big picture, narrow it down to a few easy steps you can take right now to get emails flowing in.

Choose an Email Promotion Provider

Before you do anything with email promotion, you need to choose an email provider – Gmail or Yahoo isn’t going to cut it here, you need something professional and legit with the ability to group and segment your list.

There are a lot of options, but let’s run through two big ones quickly so you can start deciding which may be best for you.

Mailchimp

Pros

  • Very easy to use, even if you’ve never used email services before
  • You can start with a free plan – which will give you up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month
  • Affordable pricing for paid plans starts at $10 for 500 users/unlimited sends (see more here)
  • Good templates are available, you can create your own templates, and the editor is very easy to use
  • There is awesome RSS feed support
  • You can track where signups come from and automatically add to group statuses with hidden form fields
  • Easy to understand reports
  • Customize signup forms for mobile devices
  • Easy to import and customize your lists
  • Easily share songs from iTunes or YouTube
  • Segmented email campaigns, such as by location (great for tour alerts)
  • Mobile apps available
  • Lots of integrations with website providers

Cons

  • Many advanced features require a Pro plan, which starts at $199/month
  • Some segmentation features require a paid plan

Aweber

Pros

  • Awesome drag-and-drop editor which allows you to easily format text, add hyperlinks, and insert images
  • You can schedule emails by time-zone
  • There are 700+ email templates to choose from
  • The interface is clean and easy to use
  • They take spam very seriously
  • Split A/B test your emails
  • Mobile Apps are available
  • The shopping cart integrates with PayPal, Shopify, and Google Checkout
  • You can add attachments to emails
  • There is extensive tracking and reporting of email campaigns

Cons

  • Lacks Google Analytics integration
  • No social media tracking or reporting
  • You can’t build your own email template.
  • You can only import xls, xlsx, tsv, csv, txt files

Need some ideas on what to send to your email list? Download these 10 email templates – Attention-Getting Email Templates for Musicians


Don’t Ask for Too Much

Once you have your email provider, your next step in your email promotion plan is to start creating opt-in forms where fans can signup to receive emails.

As you’re doing this, remember that it’s important to only ask for what you need. People are wary of giving out too much personal information, and too many form fields can lead to people dropping off before they submit their email.

You need to decide what information you absolutely need (and what you can live without).

Keep in mind that you can create multiple different forms that collect different information depending on where they’re located on your site. So for example, an opt-in form on your homepage may just ask for email and first name (so you can personalize the emails you send). An opt-in form on your tour page may include email, first name, and zip code so you can notify them when you’re playing in their area.

Add Opt-In Forms to Your Website

Where you place your email opt-in forms will have just as big an effect on how well they perform and how many fans signup.

To start, make sure you have an opt-in form towards the top of your website’s homepage (it should be visible without scrolling down). Tell them what they’ll get for signing up right on the form.

If you have an active blog page, include another opt-in form towards the top or in the sidebar allowing fans to sign up for blog updates or weekly blog roundup emails.

Another option is to add an opt-in form to your merch page giving your fans the chance to sign up for emails to receive a discount code.

Pop-ups and welcome mats can be used, but be sure to adjust the settings so they’re not popping up all the time and getting annoying. Sumo.com is a great one to try, but there are plenty of other plugins for WordPress and other sites that will do similar things.

Let Fans Subscribe at Checkout

Another easy way to get more people signing up for your emails is to add an opt-in checkbox to your store’s checkout page. Don’t assume that everyone who buys from you is on your list. Plus, for the most part, fans who actually purchase from you are probably your most loyal fans, so you want to be able to contact them again!

Add a Call-to-Action to Your Facebook Page

Adding a button to your Facebook page to get mailing list subscribers can help create a mailing list from your Facebook following.

Here’s how to do it: Click the “Create Call to Action” button on your cover photo, select “Sign Up” from the button options dropdown, then enter the URL to your mailing list and click “Create.”

It’s a pretty easy step, but it’s yet another way to funnel fans into your email list.

Collect Emails at Your Merch Table

Your merch table is another place where email signup forms can easily be added into the mix. It can be as simple as having a clipboard on the table, or you can tie it to some kind of a contest to really make it worth their while. Tell your fans that anyone who signs up for emails will be entered to win a merch bundle at the end of your set.


If you want to go further with email marketing and learn more about what to send and when to send, consider signing up for the Musician Power Tools Promote Your Music Crash course. There’s an entire module dedicated to email promotion, and 5 other modules covering social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, as well as your website so you can get everything working together to promote your music.

Written by Nicholas Rubright of Dozmia, Chelsea Ira

5 Ways to Boost Facebook Engagement on Your Musician Page

5 ways to boost engagement on Facebook

Boost Facebook engagement and get more attention for your music

With organic reach declining as a result of more content being shared, Facebook is largely becoming a pay to play platform.

While this makes it harder to reach your fans without using advertising, don’t be too quick to give up on Facebook as a marketing channel for your music.  Facebook is the most popular social network, with nearly 2 billion users, and it’s still possible to increase the effectiveness of your Facebook page by focusing on engagement. 

Here are 5 things you can do to boost Facebook engagement.

Show Your Personality

People relate to other people. That’s a simple fact. (And a big reason why major brands have a hard time relating to an audience on a deeper level)

So when you post, try to talk in your own voice. This may be challenging at first as you get used to communicating through short social updates, but it will become more natural the more you work at it.

As a simple way to check yourself, try actually reading out your posts and asking yourself objectively, “Is this something I would actually say?”

And don’t be afraid to be polarizing! A lot of people lose their voice and are afraid to speak their mind on the internet for fear of rejection. Now, I’m not saying you have to take major stands on big world issues, but let the little quirks in your personality show.

So maybe you’re a punk rocker with rebellious, high energy, anti-establishment views. Or maybe you’re a singer-songwriter who’s also really into geek culture. Don’t be afraid to let that out on social media from time to time.

Some people may not get where you’re coming from, but some will! And that connection that goes beyond just the music is what will help solidify the artist-fan relationship.


If you want some ideas for what to post to Facebook and other social media platforms, download this free ebook: How to Promote Your Music: With 3 Social Media Checklists 


Ask Questions

Asking questions and using fill in the blank posts (or even funny Mad-libs style posts) are great ways to get people to up your Facebook engagement.

Why does this work? For the most part, a direct question elicits a response much more than a statement.

I’ve noticed myself that when I post questions on my own Facebook page, friends and followers of New Artist Model are more likely to like and respond to it, often with a great amount of detail, which leads to even more responses.

Here are some questions and fill in the blank posts you can try that could be easily adapted to any audience

  • Looking for some inspiration – What songs are you digging right now?
  • Which t-shirt design do you like best?
  • We’re ordering pizza from the tour bus. Topping suggestions?

Not only will questions drive engagement, but you can get a better idea of what your fans interests are so you can more effectively promote your music.

Share Engaging Photos (and Videos)

Photos and videos are the most shared type of content on Facebook and are a great way to tell stories in a quick and powerful way.

If you have songs with inspirational lyrics, try creating a nice looking photo with pieces of your lyrics using a service like Canva, and insert your logo at the bottom so those who see the photo and don’t already follow you are exposed to your brand.

Here are some other ideas:

  • Share photos of your gear, pedal board, drum set up, or home studio with some information so fans can re-create your sound.
  • Create a short video explaining the meaning behind a song’s lyrics (remember to add subtitles)
  • Share a photo of a lyric sheet, lead sheet, or Pro Tools file you’re working on.

Use Your Fans’ Content

Social media is all about multi-directional communication.  Many larger artists post on social media and let their followers respond to them, but don’t engage with those who took the time to respond.

If your fans take the time to share a tattoo, painting, or cover of one of your songs to your Facebook page, reshare it with your fans.  It’s a great way to show appreciation to your biggest fans.

Not only that, but the excitement you give your biggest fans by sharing their content with other fans can drive valuable word of mouth.

There are a few things you can do to encourage your fans to post shareable content on social media. Encourage them to post photos from gigs, remixes of your songs, or covers and tag you. Maybe make it a regular thing (like “Fan Feature Friday”).

Post More Frequently by Scheduling Your Posts

When it comes to Facebook, scheduling your posts in advance can be a valuable way to continually engage your fans without staying on Facebook all day.

Tools like Hootsuite and Buffer let you schedule posts in advance.  This means that with a little bit of work at the beginning of the week or day, you can continue to provide posts throughout the day for your fans to engage with.
Now, it’s important that you don’t rely too heavily on these social media management tools. Social media is dynamic and it happens in real time, so make sure you block out a little bit of time every day to respond to comments and post live. 

Where to Go From Here?

If you need more ideas on how to stand out on Facebook (and other social media channels like Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube), check out the Musician Power Tools Promote Your Music Crash Course. You’ll learn how to create posts that will get your music noticed (and how to not waste hours of your time on social media).

Check out Musician Power Tools.

5 Ways to Get More Twitter Followers for Your Music

Get more Twitter followers

Image via Depositphotos

Twitter is a great channel for promoting your music and engaging your fans online. However, for it to be effective, you need to get more Twitter followers.

First off – what you should not do. Don’t buy followers unethically online and risk getting your account banned, or buy ads to promote your account ( the cost of this can add up quickly). For the most part, you’ll just be attracting numbers – a.k.a. people who don’t actually engage with your content or support your music and just serve as a validation number. And what’s that really worth?

Your best approach is to grow your Twitter account by getting in front of potential fans organically.

Now, just because we’re talking organic doesn’t mean you need to just sit around and wait. There are some things you can do to get more Twitter followers and get your tweets out there, and here are 5 options you can try:

1. Stick to the social media rule of thirds

Social media isn’t about self-promotion, it’s about engagement. People follow you because the things you share are of interest to them, not so they can be sold to.

Many musicians make the mistake of tweeting only when they release new music or merchandise, and making almost all of their tweets about their music without engaging their fans.

Instead, split your tweets up as follows:

  •      One-third of your tweets should be promotional.
  •      One-third of your tweets should provide value to your fans.
  •      One-third of your tweets should be engaging.

So instead of only tweeting about your merchandise and new music, reply to tweets from fans, engage them with questions, share what you’re working on, or even give them tutorials for how to get your sound. They’ll love hearing from you, and the replies from them can get you seen by their followers.

Plus, you’ll find that with this method you have a lot more to tweet about. As a musician, you’re producing really awesome content every single day, whether it’s new lyrics, new tones, new songs, riffs, beats, covers, performances, and gear. When you start thinking of social media as sharing engaging and interesting content instead of just promotion, it opens up a world of possibility.

2. Mention other artists in your Tweets

With social media, it doesn’t have to be all about you. Another effective way to get more Twitter followers is to mention other similar artists in your tweets.

It could be as simple as doing short, Twitter video mini covers of some of your biggest musical inspirations. Share the video and @mention them.

You could even just share some of the songs you’re digging at the moment. Share a tweet with the song you’re currently vibing off, or create a playlist of your favorite tunes. Once again, in both cases @mention the artists. Fans love getting music recommendations, especially from artists they respect. Plus, it’s a great way to get a conversation started about shared musical taste.

Not only that, including other artists in your tweets can get your content in front of their audience, which can grow your following. The mentioned artists may even give you a retweet.

3. Follow and reply to similar artists

Engaging other artists within your music scene can be an effective way to get yourself noticed by fans interested in your style of music and get more Twitter followers. But above all, it’s one of the best ways to start building yourself a network of musicians who you can work with on collaborations, joint gigs, and even cross promotions.

Find similar-sized artists who have a compatible sound to yours, follow them, and start engaging them. Like and retweet their music, and start building relationships with them. It’s all about giving before you receive.

Doing this can get your tweets in front of their followers, and may result in them following you back and returning the favor. These relationships can also result in future collaborations with mutual benefits.

4. Know when to tweet

When you tweet is almost as important as what you tweet.

The most popular time to tweet is noon-1pm, but tweets sent between 2-3pm get the most clicks on average. Use a combination of some of the Twitter data you can find online and intelligent deductions you can make from your Twitter analytics. So, for example, if you’re seeing that most of your audience is 13-17 or 18-24 you may want to tweet after 3PM when most of your fans are out of school.

Experiment with different times to see what results in the most engagement and use your analytics to guide you. If you simply send tweets at the same time every day, you’ll never know if there’s a better option.

5. Use trending hashtags

Hashtags are a great way to increase the reach of your tweets.

Look at what’s trending on Twitter using their website, then get creative and compile a tweet that makes sense for that hashtag. You can also use tools like Trendsmap to see what hashtags are being used in different locations, which can help you use hashtags to your tour based tweets in front of a targeted audience.

The key is to be relevant – don’t just jump on a hashtag train if you have no business joining the conversation. Think about your ideal target audience – the fans you want to attract – and ask yourself: “Will they be using this hashtag?” If not, don’t waste your time. Sure, you might get your tweet seen by a lot of people, but if they’re not the kind of person that will become a fan then it’s not worth your efforts.
Remember – with social media, it’s all about picking your battles and consolidating your efforts so you get the most benefit from your limited time. [free PDF: The Musician’s Guide to Getting More Done]

7 Smart and Creative Ways to Sell Out Your Gigs

Image via Stocksy

First thing that comes to mind when thinking about promoting your music is probably social media, right?

Social media breaks down so many barriers for indie musicians to reach and communicate with an audience – and that’s awesome!  But sometimes it’s easy to forget about the in-person, experiential facet of music. That face-to-face connection will always be a powerful way to grow an audience, even in the face of technology advances.

With that in mind, don’t limit your efforts to strictly online music promotion. Playing live shows is a great way for musicians early in their career to gain new fans.

Obviously, the first step is booking a great gig, but here are some easy and creative ways to sell out your gigs to get you started.

1. Play Some (very few) Shows for Free

Not all free shows are bad. The simple fact is that no matter where you are in your career, you need to weigh the benefits vs the downsides of performing for free. You need to assess the opportunity.

Here are some questions you can ask a promoter when you’re asked to play without pay:

  • What other artists are playing?
  • When do we play in relation to other artists?
  • How many people will be at the show during our set? (it’s important to specifically ask about the expected audience size during your set. Many promoters will give totals when asked otherwise, but many people will show up later in the day.)
  • Will we be able to sell merchandise?

If the opportunity really is going to provide a huge leap in the size of your fanbase, it’s for a cause you believe in, or it’s for a huge conference or event – go for it.

If you’re a new musician or band and don’t have much experience playing live, it might be a good idea to take what you can get for practice and even small amounts of exposure.

In the extremely early stages, any amount of free exposure is good. It gives you a chance to figure out who your target fanbase might be so you can figure out how to get in front of more of these people using targeted music marketing strategies. So pay close attention to the type of people who dig your music during any performance. Better yet – go talk to them after the show!

So, if someone does ask you to play for free and you’re early in your career, don’t be so quick to jump on it. Alternatively, if you’re a bit more established, don’t be so quick to say no. Assess, figure out what you stand to gain, and make your decision from there.

2. Play with Established Artists in Your Scene

If you play a show by yourself, it’s going to be hard to draw a new audience, and if you’re new to the scene, it’s going to be hard to get anyone to show up at all.

A great way to add a jumpstart to your fanbase and sell out your gigs is to play with musicians who have a more established fanbase than you. So network with local artists in your area, or in cities you’re touring to – check out their social media followings (both in size and engagement), and reach out to new artists who you’d like to play a show with.

If you’re not sure where to start, Facebook is a great way to find new musicians of a similar size and genre to yours. Here is an easy way to do that:

Go to the Facebook page of an artist in your niche and targeted city, like the page, then you’ll see a whole list of recommended pages based on what that artist’s fans have liked.

These recommendations can be great ways to find new musicians, especially if you’re using this method from your own page because that means there’s some fanbase overlap and you can increase the perceived value of the event among ticket buyers.

If you already like the artist’s page, unlike it, leave the page, come back again, and like the page again to see the recommendations.

Granted, this is just the first step. After that, it’s on you to put on your networking hat and actually form a relationship with them. Start by leaving valuable comments on their posts and engaging to get on their radar and then try messaging them and proposing a joint gig or a headline swap. Have a plan in mind that will benefit you both.

3. Don’t Gig Too Often (So You Can Sell Out Your Gigs That Matter)

If you play every weekend in the same city or town, your shows will lose their value.

Think about it like this – if your favorite band played in your city every weekend, how likely are you to go this Saturday? How likely are you to spend a good amount of money on the ticket? After all, you could always catch them next weekend, right?

Chances are, you’ll put it off.

Separating your shows increases the urgency of each event. Your fans are less likely to put it off, more people will show up, and it’s a better show for everyone involved.

Now, of course there’s a balancing act here. If you’re a relatively new band you’re going to want to play any opportunity you get to work up your performance chops, but as you start developing a local following, start spacing them out.

Another option is to play smaller gigs regularly and do a big, almost event-like gig every few months. Try to make these bigger gigs something your fans won’t want to miss. Maybe it’s a cool collaboration, an interesting theme, or a new release.

4. List Your Shows on Bandsintown and Songkick

Both Bandsintown and Songkick use various databases to find local events, but you can sign up for Bandsintown as an artist to ensure all the information about your events is correct. For Songkick, you can sign up for Tourbox.

5. Send Emails to Local Mailing List Subscribers

When you create your email list, make sure you segment subscribers by location so you can send them relevant links to buy tickets. Just add a form field to your email signup forms for zip code and let them know it’s to send them info about your local gigs.

Sending gig emails to only relevant fans who will actually be able to come is much more effective than simply sending the entire tour dates list to every subscriber and results in less people unsubscribing from your mailing list.

6. Create an Event on Facebook

Create an awesome event photo for free with Canva, set up the event on Facebook, and invite everyone you know. You can also promote the event using Facebook ads.

7. Publish the Event in Local Event Calendars

Check the websites of local churches, newspapers, and other media outlets in your area to see if they have event calendars. If they do, look into how you can be included in the calendar.

 

This article was written by Nicholas Rubright of Dozmia.

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Séan McCann becomes a musical entrepreneur

After two decades and a turn to sobriety, Séan McCann took a good look at his life in the music industry. He wanted a change.

It had been a good living for a while. As a founding member of Great Big Sea, Mr. McCann spent nearly half his life playing and touring with friends. But the road’s familiar rhythm belied the shifting world around them. People weren’t buying records as much, and some years, making payroll for the band’s support staff – let alone the members themselves – could be a tenuous feat.

The Newfoundland-born singer-songwriter had gone sober, too, making tours soaked in the old black rum less enticing. He also wanted to play by his own rules, performing different styles of music and in smaller rooms. In 2013, he announced he’d leave the band at the end of that year’s tour.

Then he started over, alone.

Mr. McCann has retooled his music career for the 21st century. He has brought new meaning to going solo: He is his own manager, booking agent and sound technician. Stripped of the support system of a major-label band, but determined not to give up a career in music, Mr. McCann took a new tack. He became an entrepreneur.

“Right now, the cash flow allows for me and a guitar,” he says. “No tech, no roadies, no agents. That’s what I can sustain financially. And I love it.”

Even for artists who want to break into the major-label mainstream, an entrepreneurial mindset is the price of admission, says Dave Kusek, who founded the Berklee College of Music’s online program and now oversees New Artist Model, a digital music-business school.

“Labels and publishers are generally not making investments in anything that isn’t already proven,” he says.

“You need to be able to find your audience, you need to be able to communicate with that audience and build it.”

Mr. McCann grew up in Newfoundland’s Gull Island and later St. John’s, where he began playing music with Alan Doyle, Bob Hallett and Darrell Power.

In the shadow of the cod fishery collapse, “the economics were bleak,” Mr. McCann recalls. Even as university graduates, “we were functionally unemployable,” he says with a laugh. The quartet began performing as Great Big Sea in 1993.

The band signed to Warner Music in the industry’s cash-flush 1990s and released a bevy of bestsellers including the quadruple-platinum album Upand triple-platinum Play. Their pop-rock take on East Coast traditional music made them darlings on the Canadian scene, and they flooded radio and MuchMusic with songs such as When I’m Up (I Can’t Get Down), Ordinary Day and Consequence Free.

But recorded music has undergone a remarkable change since Napster sunk the business’s sales-centric model in the early days of this century. While streaming-music services have introduced year-over-year industry revenue growth for the first time in nearly two decades, the continuing decline in sales of CDs and downloads has radically reshaped income streams for musicians, in many cases forcing them to depend more heavily on concerts.

Touring helped sustain Great Big Sea through the early part of this decade, but complications arose, Mr. McCann says. After coming to terms with being an alcoholic, he went sober in 2011; following that, playing in one of Canada’s biggest party bands became difficult.

“Every night for us was Saturday night on tour. And going to work, our rider was extensive: a bottle of Scotch, four bottles of wine, 48 beers. That’s our daily allowance, with 10 dudes on a bus.”

Sobriety, too, made touring life seem stale and unsustainable. “Our setlist hadn’t changed in 15 years, and I couldn’t drink enough to continue doing it.” He decided to reel it in.

He’d been writing songs that didn’t quite fit Great Big Sea’s optimism, in some cases confronting his drinking and the reasons behind it – including sexual abuse by a priest as a teenager. As he wound down his time in the band, he took dozens of songs to his friend Joel Plaskett. The Halifax musician and producer sifted a solo album, 2014’s Help Your Self, from the pile.

“He’s got an edginess about him, where he wants to stir the pot,” says Mr. Plaskett, who also produced Mr. McCann’s follow-up, You Know I Love You. “He wanted to push into something more independent, and without rules.”

Walking away from the life and money of Great Big Sea was “brave,” says Mr. Plaskett, who himself runs his career like a small business, with a studio, record store and various touring band configurations. “He’s taken what was a large business and took a small, independent approach. … It becomes about being accessible to your audience, and doing unique things, so the people who care about you can connect with you.”

In 2015, Mr. McCann and his family made another crucial decision: They moved to Ottawa. Newfoundland might offer hundreds of kilometres of highway, he says, “but there’s only three gigs.” (His wife also likes the inland weather better.) In Ontario, Mr. McCann can travel alone by car, visiting two or three new cities or towns for concerts each weekend.

He books the gigs himself, eschewing the cost of an agent. For as much guff as he’s gotten for leaving the East Coast, it has allowed him to build a fresh, growing audience for his solo work.

This is the kind of entrepreneurial groundwork that all bands need to do to sustain themselves, says Mr. Kusek. While Mr. McCann has an existing reputation through Great Big Sea, younger bands need to hustle like this to sustain their work – and doubly so if they lack the financial backing of a record company.

“It’s like in the venture world,” Mr. Kusek says. “Labels are the Series B and C money. You’ve gotta find your angels and Series A.”

Mr. McCann doesn’t want to dip back into big business anytime soon. He’s seen it all, and, at least for now, he doesn’t mind the change. He’s seeing fans – and a whole new side of the country – close up.

“I realized that I’d been all over Ontario a million times, but in the middle of the night, asleep on a tour bus,” he says. “I don’t ever wanna get on a tour bus again.”

This article was written byJosh O’Kane and originally published in the Globe and Mail

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How to Book College Gigs as an Indie Musician

How to book college gigs - indie musician Mike Sullivan

How to Book College Gigs – Case Study from Indie Musician Mike Sullivan

Musician Mike Sullivan makes his living touring the college circuit.  The Los Angeles-based independent singer-songwriter knows exactly how to book college gigs, playing more than 250 over the past 10 years.

Some of the schools he has played include Hawaii Pacific University, Odessa College, Indiana University, Purdue University, Green Mountain College, Shenandoah University, Embry-Riddle University, Lipscomb University, Spokane Falls Community College and many more.

Mike Sullivan started doing college shows after a record deal fell through.  He had never played a college before and didn’t know how to book college shows. “I was so naive.  I didn’t even know that colleges paid bands,” he says, adding a Chicago Tribune newspaper article opened his eyes to the college market for music.  “When I was in school I went to lots of great concerts and figured that the bands made their money off merch.”

Contrary to what many musicians think, college shows aren’t any less “cool” than traditional gigs. Not only are they a good source of revenue from the booking fee and merch sales, they’re also yet another way to get yourself out of the crowded and competitive gigging market while still getting in front of a very large and potentially relevant audience. Plus, huge artists like John Mayer, Dave Matthews, Sting and Prince all got their start traveling the college circuit.

How to Book College Gigs Step-by-Step

So now the big question: How to book college gigs? Let’s go through a few steps to get you on the road. Of course, every good strategy starts with a good plan. Click here to download a free planning guide and start taking steps to break into the college market.

1. Use the NACA, APCA, and SGA

There are a few organizations that specifically deal with getting acts booked in schools. There’s not really a “college music booking directory” that you can crack open, send off some emails, and book some gigs. Most colleges prefer to go through trusted agencies – just for ease of use and protection of their students. You’ll have a much easier time getting started if you use these showcases, resources, and connections.

When Mike was first getting started, he got in touch with the National Association for Campus Activities (NACA) and the Association for Promotion of Campus Activities (APCA), two agencies that hold “showcases” around the country where college activities directors and students check out talent to book at their schools. To participate in the NACA showcase, you’ll need to be a NACA member, which costs a few hundred dollars per year. But on the plus side, that is a small fee compared to the income potential of college gigs and once you have the connections you need you can ditch the membership.

There are college booking agents that specialize in booking college gigs, and if you work with one they will more often than not cover your NACA fees and showcasing fees. Keep in mind though, you’ll have to give them a cut of every gig they book for you, so it ends up evening out in the end.

It may also be worth looking at is the Student Government Association. While the agencies showcase many different kinds of acts in addition to musicians, it’s still a good place to start to get the connections you need for schools across the country, not just your local area.

As with anything in music, if you want to get a showcase spot and book gigs, you need to have a professional EPK, active social accounts, and a professional look. After submitting a demo, Mike earned a 15 minute set at a national APCA showcase. He nailed that first appearance and got another 25 gigs right away.

2. Your Connections Are Everything

Just like in the gigging world, it’s possible to get college gigs on your own if you have the direct connections. So once you get some gigs from your NACA showcase and the APCA showcase, it’s really all about maintaining those connections.

You also want to keep in mind that students are usually in charge of booking music gigs for their college, so that means you need to make new connections every few years as they graduate. It will be a constant effort of managing your contacts.

At first, Mike Sullivan looked for a good agent to help him get more college gigs. “One college booking agent told me she had 30 or 40 colleges interested and would set up a tour but didn’t follow up,” he said.  “Fortunately, schools started calling me directly and I booked the gigs myself. It was a huge lesson.”

Because most colleges seek out the act, if you take the initiative to make the first contact it can make a big impression. “I was fearless and would pick up the phone,” Mike says.  “It opened a lot of doors that would have otherwise have remained closed.  But today people think that they don’t need to talk with email and social media.”

3. Book Gigs in a Row

When an artist works with NACA or APCA, they can take advantage of their “block booking” system when booking or “routing” their college tours.  This system allows individual schools to work together and get a discount when they book an artist around the same time — and it gives artists the chance to make good money.

“The more gigs you put together in a row, the less you charge and the more school saves.  Everybody wins,” Mike says.  “When it works it’s awesome.  Getting three or five gigs in a row is when you can really make a fantastic profit.”

4. Don’t Just Focus on the Big Schools

Just like with traditional gigs, it’s easy to fall into the mindset of “bigger is better.” But, especially with colleges, that’s not always the case.

“You can make a great living playing colleges. You know every year my price has gone up,” Mike says. When he started out in 2005, he charged $1300 for a gig. Today, he gets $2500. But one of his biggest tips is to avoid overlooking the smaller schools, which is a little counter-intuitive to how we think about traditional gigs.

“Smaller schools sometimes pay more than big ones because it is harder for them to attract acts. A lot of community colleges feel neglected and they have budgets to spend,” Mike says.

5. Be Flexible

Flexibility is key when it comes to getting asked back to play at schools.  “Colleges have good and bad budget years just like any other organization, so be open to being the act the school needs. If you usually bring a band but money is tight, offer to do a solo or duo performance instead. You’ll keep your connection to the school alive and generate lots of goodwill.”

Beyond just the price, the settings of college gigs can vary dramatically. Mike books 20 to 35 college gigs a year for audiences of 50 to 200 people.  His sets run from one to two hours.  He’s played intimate coffee house settings, in theaters and even in a hallway.  “It can be all over the place — a regular concert or a huge party.  One time there was a clown blowing up balloons right beside me while I played.” It’s all about being flexible.

6. Book Traditional Gigs Around College Gigs

College gigs aren’t something you need to dedicate 100% of your gigging efforts to. In fact, you can make even more of a profit if you book traditional gigs en-route to college gigs.

If you take advantage of the block booking method, you’ll have a mini tour route setup in a certain region. Instead of spending your off days just sitting around, get proactive and contact local clubs and venues to book a few gigs. After playing a few college gigs in the area you’ll have a local audience to draw on when you come through. If you don’t quite have the following to book a headliner show, try getting in touch with local bands and getting an opening slot.  

Hopefully now you have a better idea of how to book college gigs as an indie musician. Whether you want to spend all your time gigging the college circuit or you just want to squeeze in a few college show in your tours as little revenue boosters, college gigs can be a big income driver. Of course, the key to any successful strategy is PLANNING. Click here to download a free planning guide so you can get more done faster.

ES4Social

 

For more information on Mike Sullivan visit his website at mikesullivanmusic.com

New Artist Model is an online music business school developed by Dave Kusek, founder of Berklee Online. The online school is a platform for learning practical strategies and techniques for making a living in music. Learn how to carve a unique path for your own career with strategies that are working for indie artists around the world. Learn to think like an entrepreneur, create your own plan and live the life in music you want to live. New Artist Model provides practical college-level music business training at a mere fraction of the cost of a college degree. Programs start at just $29/mo.
For more information visit http://newartistmodel.com

 

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How to make it in the new age of music

There’s no question whether or not the music industry has changed. Some say it’s for the worse, but others see opportunity in the new age of music and are helping others do the same.I has a chance to talk with Nick Ruffini of Drummer’s Resource a few weeks ago about the realities of the new music business and strategies for success that I see working in the New Artist Model online music business school.”Dave has been in the music industry for over 30 years, starting in music technology, then founding Berklee Music Business School online and his most recent venture, New Artist Model. New Artist Model is an online school to teach independent artists how to navigate their way through the music industry.”

new age of music

In this Podcast Dave Kusek talks about:

  • Being an early trendsetter with MIDI
  • Founding Berklee Music Online
  • Mistakes people are making as independent artists
  • Advice for getting gigs as a sideman
  • Networking advice
  • The future of music
  • The new age of music
  • Much more

 

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Dave Kusek Podcast

Dave Kusek Podcast

I had a chat a couple of weeks ago with my friend Bobby Owsinski that he recorded for his Inner Circle Podcast. I I hope you enjoy it.

We talked about a lot of things in the Dave Kusek podcast including the early days of electronic and digital music, the creation of MIDI, the digital music revolution and the release of ProTools and the rise of online music education.

“Dave has been a pioneer in the digital space in many ways. Dave is the creator of Berklee Online, one of the first online education programs in the world, and now teaches music business at New Artist Model.”

You can listen to the full podcast at bobbyoinnercircle.com,  There is also some news about Spotify creating its own music label in an attempt to dominate certain playlists.

or via iTunesStitcher, Mixcloud or Google Play.

Read more here:
http://bobbyowsinskiblog.com/2016/09/06/dave-kusek-inner-circle-podcast/#ixzz4JamVjcPw

Learn more about the New Artist Model online music business school here.

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What’s Working in Indie Music Today: Lessons in Success from New Artist Model Member Matt Powell

New Artist Model member Matt Powell

New Artist Model member Matt Powell

By Dave Kusek and Lindsay McGrath
Sponsored by the New Artist ModelTurn your passion for music into a rewarding career.

On His Own — And Loving It

Canadian Singer songwriter Matt Powell isn’t a big believer in conventional wisdom.  Especially the old saying that there is safety in numbers.  After spending most of his musical career as a member of two different bands, Matt recently stepped out on his own as a solo artist — and is loving it.

The Ottawa-based musician will drop his newest album “Year One” this fall — the title chosen to celebrate his first anniversary as a solo artist.  The songs on the CD represent a journey back to his musical roots inspired by the likes of John Mayer, The Strokes and The Black Keys.

Matt is using a strategy that combines a strong social media presence and lots of gigs to generate buzz for his upcoming release.  He put together his plan with help from the New Artist Model, an online business school for indie musicians.

Currently, Matt has 10,000 followers.  He communicates with them using email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube and other social media channels.  His videos on Youtube have captured more than 20,000 views and 80,000 on Facebook.

“If you want to be successful online, it is important to respond to every person who contacts you,” Matt says.  “It is also good to “turn the tables” on your fans and give them star treatment.”

“What you want to do is treat everyone as if your favorite artist just responded to you on social media,” Matt says, adding that enthusiasm helps create superfans.  “When I consistently started responding to every single fan, I went from 200 followers to 1000 followers in three weeks.  My fan base grew from 300 to 5700 in 6 months.”

“If they (fans) feel you are their friend and treat them with kindness consistently, they will stick with you and be really, really loyal.  So I am going to continue to be engaging and follow them back even as the numbers go up, up, up.”

Matt communicates often with the people who follow him often.  He also reaches out to the super fans of other artists in his genre.  Matt posts weekly clips and asks his audience what they want to hear.  If enough followers urge him to cover a certain song, he will.  Once the cover is up, Matt engages with the original artist’s following.  He never asks them directly to follow him — rather he simply engages.  It is a strategy that works, he says.

Matt says his success on social media has taught him never to underestimate how significant your reach will be.  You never know you will connect with.  One thing Matt is passionate about — in addition to music — is fashion.  Recently, he had the chance to connect with Anthony Bogdan, a style blogger he’s admired for years “My jaw hit the floor when I got the request,” he says.

“I have people who are happy and eager to share my content,” Matt says.  “The networking and the decency I have been inspired to use have taken my first year as an independent artist and propelled me forward.  I wouldn’t have believed myself at this time last year if I knew where I would be today.”

When Matt is not sharing his music on the internet, he can be found playing at local clubs and bars.  In addition, he hosts a popular open mic event held once a month in the city that is broadcast on Rogers TV Network.  Matt also performs as part of this showcase.

“Doing the open mic is great for networking,” he says, adding that many of the artists he meets during the show ask him to join them at upcoming gigs.

When he plays out, Matt regularly distributes up to 2000 business cards emblazoned with personal email and social media information and asks people to send him a personal message to start a dialogue.

Matt says being an independent artist in Canada requires balancing a unique set of challenges and opportunities.  For instance, radio airplay can be hard to come by.  Most stations are owned by major labels like Warner Brothers, Sony and Universal and play only their signed artists.  

At the same time, Matt says, significant support for indie artists exists in the form of grants offered by the Canadian government.  This is particularly important to Matt who is committed to touring but will keep his home in Ottawa.

“There are lots of government grants available for musicians who stay in the country,” Matt says.  “They can range from $5000 or $10,000 to even as much as $20,000.  Artists can use this money to help record their albums.  This is something I am looking into.”

A typical day for Matt includes communicating with with fans and working on music.  He also takes time, when he can, to review the latest offerings at New Artist Model.

When he wakes up, Matt immediately checks his Twitter Instagram, Youtube and other social media feeds.  He then spends about an hour communicating with fans from around the world including the States, Europe and Brazil.

“I call it upkeep.  I poke and market.  I talk to them in the moment,” Matt says.  After working on his music and spending time with family, Matt finishes his day by checking in with fans again.  “I love interacting with people.”

Matt says that also making time on a regular basis to review material on the NAM site helps keep him inspired and effective.

“I’ve gone back and watched some of the same workshops 4 or 5 different times.  I do that especially when I’ve hit a funk or need some guidance,” Matt says, adding that he has watched some of the video from NAM’s 2015 Nashville gathering 10 times. The Indie Artist Summit was a live mini conference that attracted hundreds of attendees. Top industry pros like Benji Rogers, Patrick Clifford, Barry Coffing, Jay Frank, and more covered topics like building a community of superfans, licensing your music for film and TV, making Spotify work for indie artists, getting your music in front of publishers, and much more. The entire recorded event now lives in the Music Business Guide to Success course.

Matt’s is hoping to reach 25,000 followers soon.  His other goals include playing more big venues, creating merchandise, touring and doing house concerts.  He also wants to open for other artists he admires.

Through it all he plans to continue to stay close to the people who support him — in person and online.

“I will never stop communicating with his original true fans that have helped me from the start.  I have an appreciation and love for them that will never expire,” Matt says.  “The time invested in being personable, kind, and humble, and being appreciative. It comes back to you. ‘The love you take is equal to the love you make.’”

 

To see more about Matt Powell look here

New Artist Model is an online music business school developed by Dave Kusek, founder of Berklee Online. The online school is a platform for learning practical strategies and techniques for making a living in music. Learn how to carve a unique path for your own career with strategies that are working for indie artists around the world. Learn to think like an entrepreneur, create your own plan and live the life in music you want to live. New Artist Model provides practical college-level music business training at a mere fraction of the cost of a college degree. Programs start at just $29/mo.
For more info on the New Artist Model visit http://newartistmodel.com

Why Lyric Videos Are a Great Option for Bands & Musicians on a Budget

Lyric Music Videos

Guest Post by Caroline of Culture Coverage

When everyone is scrambling to bring more to the table, lyric videos pop up to prove to the industry that less is not only better but also incredibly effective. Cropping up as fan posted videos long before they became a thing emulated by artists, lyric videos harken back to days of Bob Dylan, but the contemporary counterpart of Cee Lo Green and his breakout hit “F*ck You” is attributed for breaking the ice this time. And from there, the videos only get edgier, but no less aggressive, at grabbing viewers and getting them to hit replay in the millions.

For bands and artists looking to make it to the big time with a small time budget, here’re a couple of reasons why the lyrics video should be your next project.

1. Big Budget Films

Skyfall  Lyric Videos

Lyric videos have a natural segue into the industry to keep fans content while bigger budget, artistic music videos were being made. Lyric videos for artists such as Katy Perry were essentially just created as placeholders until the big bucks could be dropped on making groundbreaking artistic music films.

But in the case of artists such as Adele and her Skyfall single, the lyric videos brought in the big bucks up front, and for indie artists, landing on movie soundtrack can be a big deal, even if it’s just for an opening. Why the love for the lyrics? Fans love being able to sing along, and with a lyric video, it’s taking the place all those ugly lyric websites and put what the artist has to say right in the forefront. What’s better than that?

2. Social Media Madness

Social Media Lyric Videos

Ever since Facebook and Instagram updated their platforms, lyric videos have become the new gateway to followers. Since the move to instant video play while scrolling through a feed, Facebook and Instagram have pushed viewers to respond to images and the overlaid words in a new way—even if it’s a music video intended for sound.

While music videos used to be most concerned with the best sound, now they have to be concerned with the triple threat of sound, visual and words because viewers are getting sucked in by sight alone and getting more hits than videos that forego the lyrics overlaying the images. While it may seem backward, words are getting back into the mainstream as indicators of whether you’ll like the content (and as a writer I see this as a good thing).

For new artists, don’t worry about having the best video first, worry about getting the lyrics out there. With royalties you can get from your songs being attached to photos (check out #3), you can fund a bigger project by creating a lyric video first. And the good news? Even lyric videos can go viral.

3. YouTube Changed the Game

YouTube Lyric Videos

Before the internet, music came on records, often with no lyrics, and the only visuals to accompany the sound were those that came on the jacket cover. YouTube’s crop into the music industry radically changed that forever, and lyric videos are taking their share of the fame and fortune.

When access to the world’s population is no longer a problem (thanks to my Virtual Private Network for that), videos can rack in the numbers simply by existing—and that’s exactly what they’ve done. While online radio players have skyrocketed, YouTube has done the same, giving access to millions to free music at their fingertips. And it’s not just the “official” version that’s playing, but the fan made ones too. Now we’re even starting to see the artist made videos that sometimes leak online long before they make it to streaming companies. Thanks to the boom, “Best Lyric Video” is now a category at the VMA’s, making it a cash cow all on its own.

When new artists get onto this trend, they can see big results in a short period of time. So ask your friend who’s getting married to post their wedding video with your song attached to it—YouTube will start sending you bigger checks with each video hit.

From updates on social media to the contribution of YouTube, it’s a worldwide trend that’s about to hit the big times, so stay tuned for more—we’re sure Justin Bieber has much more left in him!

 

About the Author: Caroline is an entertainment blogger, who specializes in all things music and soundtracks. She hopes these insights into the world of lyric videos will make your listening experiences that much more entertaining. You can find Caroline on Twitter at @CultureCovC

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What’s Working in Indie Music Today: Lessons in Success from New Artist Model Member Declan O’Shea / Mako

New Artist Model member Declan O'Shea

New Artist Model member Declan O’Shea

By Dave Kusek and Lindsay McGrath
Sponsored by the New Artist Model Essential Power PackTurn your passion for music into a rewarding career.

Keep moving or die

If you’ve ever been near the ocean, chances are you’ve heard that sharks need to keep moving or else they die.

In his own unique way, singer-songwriter Declan O’Shea is taking that knowledge to heart.  

A member of the edgy alt-rock band, Declan is on the move as he puts together a social media campaign for the band’s upcoming album “The Runner.”

A single from the album entitled “World Set Alight” dropped early this year just in time to be nominated for a Grammy for best rock song and best music video. “The Runner” will be released in its entirety by the end of 2016.  It will feature songs mixed by Tim Palmer (U2 and Pearl Jam) and Bill Appleberry (Stone Temple Pilots, The Voice).

“I am using the New Artist Model to learn how to market the new album properly,” says Declan, who is very active in the Indie Artist Network group.  “I neglected all of this stuff before but am figuring it out.  I am putting a lot of time into Facebook and getting very good at Twitter.  Email marketing starts next month.”

The band, which includes Declan and Christian Montagne, is hoping to build on the buzz generated by its first album “Living on Air” released in 2011.   The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences recognized the band that year, placing MAKO on its Official Ballot.  Nominations included Best Rock Album, Best Rock Performance By A Duo or Group with Vocals for the song “Unstoppable,” ;  Best Rock Song for “Miss Alison” and Best Short Form Music Video for “Unstoppable.”

Before launching MAKO in 2010, Declan and Christian were part of Cyclefly.  The iconic Irish/French rock group toured Ireland, the United Kingdom, Europe and the U.S. sharing the stage with artists including Iggy Pop, Bush, Live, Linkin Park and others.

Cyclefly released two full length albums.  “Generation Sap” was produced by Sylvia Massy and released in 1999 by Radioactive Records, a division of MCA.  Its second album “Crave,” released by Proper Records in 2002, features a guest vocal spot on “Karma Killer” from Linkin Park vocalist Chester Bennington.

“We played the main stage at Oz Fest and also toured with Bush.  We did the Redding and Leeds festivals.  We did the Woodstock 50th anniversary.  It was all about live then,” Declan says.  “Social media only started kicking in 2000.  Now it’s about downloads, not sales.  Everything’s become ‘game-ified.’  People want to visually see stuff and listen at the same time.”

Declan is using a variety of social media tools to spread news about MAKO and its music.  Email, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and other channels are all part of his marketing mix.  Currently, Twitter is his most powerful tool.

“We get a lot of airplay through Twitter,” he says, adding that he identifies bands with a sound similar to MAKO and connects with their fans and the radio stations that play their music.

Using auto responders on Twitter is a great way to attract more followers, he adds.  People who follow MAKO automatically receive a message offering a free download of their first album in exchange for an email address.  The message includes a link the MAKO’s website.      

In addition to finding new fans, Declan uses Twitter to collaborate with other musicians, get feedback on singles and find help with marketing.

“I read Dave Kusek’s e-book on Twitter marketing and started sending out tweets and emails to ask for feedback on the new single.  I got lots of positive replies and one fan is helping me with marketing in the States with Spotify,” he says.  “Another is doing photos for the new album and a guy from Germany wants to help find opportunities in Berlin for the band.”

Emailing is an essential part of the band’s marketing strategy, Declan says.  He reaches out to fans on a regular basis with offers of free music and other incentives.  MAKO also gives away its first album for free on NoiseTrade.  

Declan’s day typically begins with meditation and a run.  Then he gets down to work, spending most of each day writing and recording music in his home studio.  He usually turns his attention to marketing in the evening.

He makes it a point to read books that inspire and motivate him.  “Essentialism, The Disciplined Pursuit of Less,” by Greg McKeown — a book recommended by New Artist Model — is one of his favorites.  The bestseller shows readers how to simplify their lives, identify goals and achieve them.

“Every night, I’m reading 10 pages of something. I am going through one after the other.  Lifestyle and business.  Through New Artist Model I’ve gotten many recommendations and blogs to read.  Right now, I’m reading “The 7 habits of Highly Effective People,” Declan says.  

Additional titles he’s found useful include “The Richest Man in Babylon,” by George Samuel Clason,  “The Lean Start Up,” by Eric Ries “Think and Grow Rich,” by Napoleon Rich as well as spiritually oriented volumes like “The Power of Now” and “A New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle.

MAKO is playing the occasional acoustic gig these days.  Once “The Runner” is released, the group will tour in support of the record.  MAKO has played throughout Ireland and toured Brazil twice where they recorded a song and music video with the popular band Medulla.   

Declan has lots of plans that will keep MAKO moving forward — a tour to support the album, continued outreach through social media and a foray into the world of licensing.  If he works hard, Declan figures, things ought to go swimmingly.

“I am working to focus my energy towards my goal and know who I am as an artist,” Declan says.  “Treat your music like a start up business.”

 

To see more about Declan O’Shea and Mako look here http://www.makotunes.com/                    

New Artist Model is an online music business school developed by Dave Kusek, founder of Berklee Online. The online school is a platform for learning practical strategies and techniques for making a living in music. Learn how to carve a unique path for your own career with strategies that are working for indie artists around the world. Learn to think like an entrepreneur, create your own plan and live the life in music you want to live. New Artist Model provides practical college-level music business training at a mere fraction of the cost of a college degree. Programs start at just $29/mo. For more info on the New Artist Model visit http://newartistmodel.com

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What’s Working in Indie Music Today Lessons in Success from New Artist Model Member Rishi Deva

New Artist Model member Rishi Deva and Parvati

New Artist Model member Rishi Deva and Parvati

By Dave Kusek and Lindsay McGrath
Sponsored by the New Artist Model Essential Power PackTurn your passion for music into a rewarding career.

Rishi Deva manages the chart topping, award winning Canadian artist Parvati.  With his help, she has risen to twice to #1 on the Canadian electronica charts with her rich pop songs, dance anthems, and electronic soundscapes.  

Parvati has performed live at venues including New York City’s Madison Square Garden and Earl’s Court in London and reached millions of listeners in Asia on Asia Pop 40 radio and YAN TV.  She has three singles coming to top 40 pop radio in 2016:  “I Am Light,” “Yoga in the Nightclub” and Shanti Om.”

Rishi not only works with Parvati on her music career but helps manage her other business interests as well.  Parvati is founder of YEM: Yoga as Energy Medicine, a company dedicated to teaching a gentle form of the art  that combines chi-energy work with yoga poses.  She is also the author of self-help book “Confessions of a Former Yoga Junkie” and publisher of the online “Parvati Magazine.”

“The lines between management and artists have blurred a lot,”  Rishi says. Says.  “Parvati is a producer and does some things on the business side.  Parvati and I, we are doing 90 percent business and 10 percent music. The music is a component in the whole piece of getting it out there.”

“I’m really happy to have discovered The New Artist Model. I’ve had over 20 years experience at labels and in management. I also have a Masters degree in Business”  he says. “I consider the New Artist Model a little ‘mini-masters’ in business. There’s a lot of value in the program if you work it.”

Working the New Artist Model program has not only brought him more ideas about how to be a great manager it’s also helped him describe Parvati’s musical style more effectively, Rishi says.

“Her song ‘I am Light’ cradles two worlds.  We couldn’t figure out if it’s pop or New Age,” he  explains.  “So I posed the question to the Indie Artist Network that we got as part of the New Artist Model and Dave (Kusek) said ‘It’s celestial pop.’  Sure enough, we used that genre and that’s what’s working. That’s what we’ve been calling it. I just heard the song played on the radio after Coldplay and before Ed Sheeran.”

Being a successful manager has a lot to do with being organized while also trusting your intuition, Rishi says. It is essential to balance strong strategic planning with the ability to jump on unexpected opportunities. He urges independent artists to constantly be on the lookout for collaborations that will be a “win-win” for everyone involved.

Don’t have a plan B, have a really good plan A. It’s really important to plan, and don’t give up. The power used to be in the hands of the big tastemakers: labels. That’s crumbled now.,” Rishi says, adding that many independent musicians don’t own their own power. “They don’t know everything. It’s you and your fans, which you can now build up with powerful platforms on the internet.”  

“Labels can connect you with big names, networks. But you can still do that on your own and retain all the rights to your music,” he adds. “The role of the artist and label is merging into one. Artists need to be more business-minded and artistic, which can be a challenge. Good managers will be able to work both sides of that and work hand in hand with the artist to help develop the marketplace.”

“That’s why I feel what Dave is doing with the New Artist Model is essential. He is empowering so many artists to go for it. Giving them the tools to have more confidence in these situations.”

Rishi says he goes to a lot of trade shows and always make a list of people he wants to network with ahead of time. Preparation is key. However, one of his biggest successes came one day when he decided to do something he hadn’t planned on.

“All of the success that Parvati has had on Asian radio lately is due to the intuition I had at a conference. I sat in on an Australian panel. Thought why not?” Rishi says. “ I met a big wig guy who owns radio stations and had the intuition to link up with him. He’s helped us get all over Asian radio. This was not a part of the original plan. As a result, we are having success in a lot of areas we hadn’t expected like Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines.”

Rishi rises most days at 5 a.m. and begins his morning with meditation. Afterward, he reviews finances, looks at the outline for the day and gets started on work. His day is filled with meetings and ongoing discussions around strategy to keep things working smoothly. There is “a lot of putting out fires” and dealing with social media, he says.

“I go to bed early and get up early,” Rishi says. “The biggest skill I’ve learned over the years is to always have the attitude of of the absolute beginner, with the self-confidence to know yourself.”
 
Rishi says that Parvati’s fanbase has grown significantly this year especially in Asia. He credits her song “I Am Light” with opening the door to that market.

“I didn’t expect Asian radio to be so promising,” he says. “The song itself has a sanskrit component, a Buddhist chant. So that’s why Asia is probably picking up on it. We are in the process of doing an English version.”

Parvati spends a lot of time interacting with followers on social media, Rishi says. Fans who sign up receive valuable content on an ongoing basis from free yoga classes, uplifting affirmations and guided meditations to tips on living with a positive attitude and more.

Rishi says that one of the biggest challenges he faces as a manager is figuring out how to generate more income from Parvati’s music. Streaming services currently do not bring in much money so he is putting much of his work into creating dynamic live performances.

“The general notion I’m seeing is that people believe music is free. The streaming companies are not providing the revenue system that they should to artists,” Rishi says, adding.  “I am a fan of streaming — but not without the correct royalties.  I believe it will iron itself out. I am still a big believer in radio. Radio is an important platform.”

“We’re on the top 40 charts in 12 countries right now. It’s not equating to a lot of sales. What can we generate that people can’t download for free? Live shows. We need to put on the best live shows possible.”

They lost money on their first couple of live tours, Rishi says, but built up a fanbase and developed a style. Then Parvati went back to her hometown of Toronto to perform. People from Cirque du Soleil caught the show, loved it, and have been talking with Rishi and Parvati about future collaborations.

Currently, Rishi is working on ideas for funding Parvati’s upcoming Asian tour.

“Right now, We have support with radio and fans, but not the funds. We’ll look for a sponsor rather than a loan from a label that we will have to pay back later, Rishi says.  “We’re looking for sponsors that fit Parvati’s brand. They must be environmentally and health conscious.”

Rishi is looking forward to continuing to collaborate with Parvati as they grow her fanbase, increase her revenue streams and create iconic live performances. “Parvati has an incredible business head on her shoulders, that is a testament to where we are going. She is very active in music and business.”

 

For more about Parvati and Rishi visit https://parvati.tv/

New Artist Model is an online music business school developed by Dave Kusek, founder of Berklee Online. The online school is a platform for learning practical strategies and techniques for making a living in music. Learn how to carve a unique path for your own career with strategies that are working for indie artists around the world. Learn to think like an entrepreneur, create your own plan and live the life in music you want to live. New Artist Model provides practical college-level music business training at a mere fraction of the cost of a college degree. Programs start at just $29/mo. For more info on the New Artist Model visit http://newartistmodel.com

Learn more about the Essential Power Pack special offer here.