This is in direct response to this story written by Oliver Jackson of Trucker Bangin Ent.
*graphic jacked from here: also a great article.
On many levels, we overlook the validity and importance of proper advertising and marketing. You have to properly brand yourself to be able to reach your target audience who will in return purchase your product.
The CD example that Oliver spoke of is valid. Yes, it would be some sort of recoup for you as an artist but it goes far and beyond the immediate items in front of you. There is a much bigger picture to look at.
In rebuttal I think that artist must give away as much music as possible to be effective. The trip in this is they, the artist, already do it and don’t even know it.
Let’s use a few examples that already exist that they use: Video warehouse and Mix CD websites. These sites like Vimeo, DailyMotion, Youtube, Blip, and about 150 more websites are used as internet based video storage. They serve a greater purpose. Also, sites like LiveMixtapes, Datpiff, TweetMyMixtape and about 55 other mix CD sites are used as internet based mix CD storage. (For the sake of argument, lets take it for granted that you are NOT selling your mix CD since it is a traditional mix CD that has a combination of jacked beats/hooks that you do not own. If you are selling them and you do not own all of the music on there then you can stop wondering why you are not progressing; that bitch Karma is not letting you.)
These sites, video and mix CD, are used as a resource. Resources are tools that can be used to assist in basic functions. You, as an artist, MUST get to the people and you do this via Advertising and Marketing tools.
People do NOT come looking for you, you HAVE to go looking for them and these sites, along with the other hundreds of social media based sites, allow you to do that. They allow you to properly advertise and market yourself as a brand on THAT piece of property.
Now what is more effective?
Walk in the door and say and say:
“hi, my name is —, would you buy this for $1?”
As a fan, the person you are reaching out to, they gravitate to the sites that THEY like but if you are not on THAT site, they will not find you.
Here is where the free comes in.
On each of these sites you MUST create a profile and add links to where someone can listen to something by you for free. If a potential fan does nto know who you are, online or in person, to approach them with any scenario of them buying something to get to know you would be a major flaw on your part. In fact, create a project that you completely devote to being “the free thing” just to open a few doors that lead to the next project that you will then begin minimally charging for.
As a fan, free is always better than ANY amount that you can spit out. You won’t be respected any less, it only leads to opening up the dialogue and relationship between you (the artist) and them (the fans).
On the other side, as an independent A&R, I am lazy and I don’t buy shit. Since Spotify, Rdio, Mog and the hundreds of Blogtalk radio stations out there, in combination with iHeart radio I do not NEED to buy music. I am sure that a large part of this is attitude and ego but I can assume that most other industry people who have access to a lot more free music with the New Music Server and DJ Service Packs, they too do not have to purchase music. So to approach any mid-to-high level music professional with the intent of getting them to buy your music would only hinder your progress with them. This is purely ego driven. So if you know this going in, why not cater to their/our egos and send it directly to them/us. Even go a step above and send your project with personally addressed messages and/or graphics.
It is what it is. This industry is not about how you get in the house. If you can get in the house via a hole in the roof, the backdoor, frontdoor, climbing under the house, through a window, be invited by a friend of a friend, schedule an appointment…regardless; the goal is to get IN the house by any means necessary and sometime stroking egos comes with that “by any means”.
Doing these activities will cost. You either have to get the songs on the mix CD produced, mastered and or mixed properly; pay a DJ to host it, pay the website to sponsor it and a few other pay here items…yes these things cost.
With the video, after you have paid for the song, you MUST have a video to be effective. Videos offer a visual presentation to YOU, not just the song. The visualization of you creates a window into your life that the fan opens up every time they hit play. This is what you desire, one-on-one connections with people. Once you get this connection, it is up to you to convey the right message that makes them buy the product and they will only buy it if they connect with the brand.
PAUSE: You do realize that you are a business right?
You are as much as a business as is McDonalds, Target, Adidas, Nike and WalMart. As with those major corporations, they all create visuals for their products. We call them television and internet commercials. They too create audios for their brand, we call them radio commercials. You have to treat your brand as they do theirs. Invest in advertising and marketing (this is a necessary expense) as you begin to promote your brand. You already do it. You buy graphics from artist for you logos, mix CD covers, single covers and flyers. This is an investment. You buy beats from producers, rent studio time and space, rent booth space or ask convenient stores to display your product. This is an investment of not just money but also time. So you already are giving away parts of yourself to your fans, music is no different.
Don’t look at it from a singular perspective. Look at the bigger picture. You must be progressive thinking and formulate a proper business/marketing plan for you, THE BRAND, so you can obtain more customers, THE FANS and you can NOT do it without giving away something for free.