Advice for starting musicians - DIY

 
 
Advice for starting musicians16 November 2008
By Marko www.helloecho.com Last week I was in Seattle doing a panel for the grammy organization as part of a two day music and technology fest. the conference was one of the better I have been involved in as of late (thanks ben!) and as we had our big thinking philosophy discussions I was struck by the lack of a how the hell do I get started" discussion for the folks at the conference that were not necessarily ready to engage a company like echo. so I thought I'd put a little run down of a set of tools that you can use to get started with very little time or dough to get to it (DIY right?!) obviously there are tons of options tools and no shortage of companies or people to advise you on what the right thing to do might be. so take what you like and leave the rest. or as my friend rufus says "the advice is worth what you are paying for it..." before we get into tools lets do chat a bit about philosophy for a sec. you want to sit down and think about what you want out of this...be specific. if you want to be kanye or bon jovi the path is much different that if you want to be over the rhine or slaid cleaves.
I don't believe that anyone sets out to be "small" but getting to a self-sustaining business is much different than being on the cover or rolling stone and playing the garden. you need a plan. take the time to think it through. write it down. decide how you are going to measure the success (when you quit the job at the coffee shop and your music is paying all the bills that's a great measurement.) consider hiring someone to help you write a plan. a strategic plan. most successful people understand where they are going and generally how they will get there (the plan). they also never give up. ever. the other piece of esoteric thinking you need is to understand the basics of permission marketing and gradual engagement. if you have not read this book please buy it and read it.
in simple terms the concept is that you only talk to people that want to be talked to. and when they don't want to hear from you anymore you stop talking to them. simple right? now you have the philosophy decide what you want how you will get it and how you will engage your audience. now tools... .:the music
funny how this is not first on everyone's list. this is the easiest piece of the puzzle for the creative (he says flippantly). the rest of this information is irrelevant if you don't have this piece correct. if you don't know how to get this done please don't quit your day job. .:yourbrand.com
better be thinking about growing you own brand no one else will do it for you. myspace and facebook don't care about you as an artist they care about page views for their advertising revenues. so get a domain name that you will use as the hub of the wheel of your business. buy the domain from godaddy.com cheap good tools and pretty easy to use. get an email address you @ yourbrand.com everything you do should promote your web address. so when people get email from you they can cut and paste your URL if they don't know you (and for the love of God please promote your site in your email sig and spare us the great quotes). .:the hub
tools galore here. my vote here is wordpress.
blog like a fiend. hopefully something reasonably compelling. make videos give your tunes away invite people to sign up on your mailing list (see next tool for this...) and begin to engage your audience. you can also look at other tools like blogger tumblr blah blah blah but something to start getting your ideas out there. .:communicate
if you've got a blog that's the first piece of engagement puzzle but you will want to do some outbound messaging. for the foreseeable future email and mobile messaging are good bets for reaching your audience. for email I have to go with my pals at myemma for email delivery. great guys great product. for SMS and mobile messaging gotta go with mozes.
again good folks great platform. there are tons of options out there for delivery these are my fav's. one more thing here. if you get an email or a friend request or whatever RESPOND. engagement is how you will build your audience. country artists understand this better than
most and its why their careers are often much longer than other genres they connect to their audience on many levels throughout their careers. remember who brung ya to the dance kids! .:monetize
now you have an audience. I'm going to assume that if you've gotten this far you are reasonably serious you have some talent and persistence you are TOURING (please if you suck live stop) and now we want to monetize the audience?! FYI they want to be monetized. what you are creating is a connection from the ear to the heart and if that connection is real people want to support it. don't feel bad you have to eat too... so couple things here. digital first. get your music on all the major DSP's using tunecore ioda or one of the other services. you can also look at CD baby as a resource (and now that they are part of discmakers you can get some discs pressed up to take on the road!) remember there are only a couple digital services that matter iTunes emusic amazon and rhapsody.
90% of digital is sold by these four services so don't get too hung up on anything beyond that. you'll need some physical product for your live shows see discmakers noiseland or any of 1000 services out there for this...or consider using Amazon's disc on demand service.
finally you will want to have some swag to sell (God knows we can always use more beer koozies). plenty ofArticles,Resources here but focus on keeping your costs down (print on demand is always better...) so I'd look to cafepress or spreadshirt for your swag and hold the beer koozies please. .:spokes on the wheel
build the following please; a myspace page a youtube channel a flickr page a facebook page and whoever else has launched since this blog was written. sign up for eventful ilike lastFM Pandora purevolume stumbleaudio and all the other services. get your brand out there (there will be a separate blog on this stuff later...) these services help create awareness and your job here is to use these spokes to drive back to your hub - yourbrand.com remember that? as I said earlier these other services don't care about your brand they are trying to monetize their own businesses. .:advertise and measure please
make sure that if you are doing all this work you are setting yourself up to understand whats working and what ain't. google analytics is your friend and if you are really feeling frisky take a peek at google adwords.
if you don't measure this stuff you won't be able to understand if you are moving in the right direction (remember that plan thing??!) .:tour
I think I've mentioned this but if you are a musician you better be on tour. when you get peoples email addy's and cell numbers get their zip code. now you can send relevant and geo-targeted messaging. nothing like burning an email to your whole list when you really only needed to talk to Cleveland.
be a smart marketer. your email open and response rates will be better if you send well crafted relevant targeted messages kids...trust me
on this. .:repeat
now do it all over again. if you are good and doing the basics correctly your business will grow. I guarantee it. as you measure and work against that strategic plan you invested in you will see progress. now it will come down to persistence. as I said earlier successful people never give up...ever. and if you know what success looks like for you and you are working against a plan and executing you will get there...to that success you defined as you began your journey. seems like a lot of work no? IT IS! the days of others doing for you are over - until you reach a level that your business is throwing off enough cash that you can start to pay others to handle all this lovely stuff we just covered. and even then you will still need to recognize that you will always have a responsibility to your audience beyond looking fabulous and posing for pictures. the rules have changed. as you grow your business you can look to folks like echo or my pal ian at topspin
to take some of this work off your plate and help you grow your business to the next level...i would love to see that happen for you. got otherArticles,Resources I missed here? please comment! good luck and never give up! blog main
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