Marketing Your New Music, pt 1

How many times have you been dorking around online and realized a smaller, independent artist you LOVE has a new CD out, and on top of that it’s been out for six months?

For any criticisms anyone can have for my music, live shows, attitude, or whateverthefuck, I can say pretty one thing quite confidently: I know how to sell my music with pretty much zero budget.  I’ve been fortunate to have not released any CDs at a loss to my label, and most of the time have planned far enough in advance to actually be nearly at breakeven financially even before the music is actually out.

Here are some simple things you can do to maximize sales, aka “minimizing losses”. 

1)  Don’t be a site snob and get online! 

Everyone is on some social networking site these days, and as an artist sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Livejournal, Trig, Vampirefreaks, and a dozen more are vital for you to get the word out.  Also, the more of these sites you have a presence on the better, even if you don’t visit them all at the same frequency.  Why?  Even if you’re on all of them, potential fans may only be on one, so it’s best for them to easily be able to find you where they’re comfortable.  It’s all about the customer service, and that’s an easy way to at least let people know you’re out there.

2) Talk it up! 

Join forums and frequent them.  Let people get to know you and get to know them.  Side-Line, Vampirefreaks, etc are places where artists and listeners gather, so let them know you exist and link your stuff in the appropriate place.

A couple big no-no’s, though:

a) Do NOT just join a forum and have the first post you make be spam about your music.  Hit and run spamming makes you look like a troll and will most likely turn off any forum regulars.

b) Do NOT hijack threads, even jokingly, with links to your music.  Stay on topic and don’t be a dick.

c) Be careful about how you act on forums, especially with snarky drunk posting (and believe me, I know this one well).  Even if you don’t see someone on that forum chances are that a pal of theirs IS on there and will direct whoever you’re being a douche to that thread.

In short, if you’re trying to develop a reputation and be known more for your music than trolling on a forum, you can never say it’s “just the internet”.  If it’s “just the internet” you can close up shop right now, as you’re never going to succeed, or at a greatly reduced rate.  And given sales of CDs and the availability of as much music as there is these days, you need every advantage you can get.

Having people on your side is invaluable.

3) Presales can save your ass.

Selling your CDs to as many people early achieves two goals: It brings in capital to offset your printing and replication costs of the music, and for every CD you sell before the whole world is trading the files for free is a sale you have in your pocket.  For my last CD This is Jizzcore we were able to sell over a fifth of the initial print run before the CD hit the proverbial shelves.  This paid for a very large portion of my label Crunch Pod’s costs and minimized stress over recouping our overall costs.

Plus, fans got a lot of perks out of preordering, but I’ll wait until part two of this blog to get into that and a lot of other ways to draw new and established fans into your lil’ musical world.

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7 responses to “Marketing Your New Music, pt 1

  1. 1.5) Get your own real site and domain name, and use it. If MySpace is your main website, you will never be taken seriously, ever, by anyone.

    2.5) make sure the networks and forums you join are appropriate. If you are a hardcore thrash band, joining CountryWesternFans.com is going to hurt you more than help you.

    2.6) If you’re going to post on a forum or site, make sure you know what the hell you’re talking about. If you decide you’re going to talk out your ass about gear or shows or bands, somebody is going to call you out about it.

    2.7) have your own identity. POsting that everything is awesome, or everything sucks, does nothing to differentiate you as an artist or as a person. Every forum is filled with shameless boosters and annoying naysayers. Form a few well-reasoned opinions.

    4) Stop worrying about selling CDs and concentrate on selling music. With so many formats available to consumers now, focusing on just CDs, just mp3’s, just iTunes, etc is going to leave you frustrated and kind of sore.

    • Good points all, and luckily for me none I was going to bring up.

      And I still worry about selling physical CDs, although not to the point where I used to, mainly because I don’t want them sitting in the label’s storage space (or my own) for years to come. Totally agreed though– get it out to as many outlets as possible.

  2. One thing that I’ve noticed is that a lot of bands only use myspace – they don’t even have their own website with their own domain name, and that is a big no-no. I know that managing multiple social networking sites IS kind of hard, especially if you’ve got a full time job/school on top of you. BUT, even having some kind of a central informational point of presence on the internets is something that could be a godsend, especially if you’re dabbling with Facebook, Myspace, Purevolume, VF, etc as they all might have different information in the end.

    Something that does help with managing the main website is a CMS (content management system) and that’s something that everyone who fails at programming/website making should look into. Still, you oughta know enough (or get someone) to design a web design for you so you don’t look like a turd with generic themes/templates, but with enough time spent playing with it, any band would love it.

    But with a CMS, it will help anyone update the “main point of presence” website just like any blog or whatever, without editing HTML/whatever. Sure it’ll cost to get something like that running ($10/month, you’re a band if you can afford a synth or a geetar, you will be able to afford proper webhosting), but the end result will be (somewhat) professional.

    Oh, and hail the almighty out-of-tune deathkey.

  3. And goddamn it, wordpress hijacks my link to my site (hey look at me, spam) -_-

  4. Pingback: Marketing Your New Music, Pt 2 « C A U S T I C

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