Congrats! You just put your heart and soul into producing your very first album. The average person is unable to accomplish what you have just done. It takes a tremendous amount of work just to get out the gate. To get pen to paper and write the lyrics down for eight to twelve songs is amazing. So, now that the record is finalized, you have decided to do a CD release party. Here is how this process looks. You find a venue, book the gig and advertise your release on social media. The night of the show comes and all of your family and friends come out. You sell a bunch of cd’s and the next day you are satisfied with your performance and turn out. As the days pass, you feel accomplished and sit back and play your gigs. Every so often you post on Facebook about the cd and that it’s available on iTunes. And, that is the extent of your marketing. So, how can we apply the 1% theory to your band’s marketing efforts? Let’s begin with the 1% theory. Small, gradual changes will eventually add up to big gains.
Back in the day, pre-social media bands marketed their shows through creative outlets such as artwork, merchandise and word of mouth. Over the last five years, bands have gone stale as they post the same boring updates on social media . Even when you go to their website, the first thing you normally will see are links to their social media. What is the purpose of having a website? To host your links for social media? Your website should be your creative outlet, a place to showcase your art and music, your voice and the opinions that differentiate you from the band down the street. Links for your social media are just that… links. Use them to help boost traffic to your website, not the other way around.
Fans will want to hear your music, view your next available show and check out the latest news on your upcoming album or tour. And, more importantly, streamline your tunes and watch the latest music video. Streamlined music and views are what you should be in search of. Very rarely do Facebook “likes” convert into money or anything that will separate you from the band next door.
Over the last thirteen years since social media (Myspace 2003, Facebook 2004) have become main stream, the two social media sites have controlled the way we work, socialize and think. We have lost our creative touch as artists. Music has been watered down, blogs have turned into click bait and art has been transformed into memes. I miss the days when you caught up with a friend and the first conversation you had was about the latest album you picked up, and how an album not only sounded, but affected you personally. Music set the tone, it had feelings and we used to all discuss these feelings. Now, we watch two minutes of a new YouTube release, and either hit the “like” button or leave it alone. Why have we silenced the one thing that has positively connected us over the years? I only have a couple of friends that talk about tunes. Most of my friends think the music died when hip-hop took over, which is a ridiculous statement because the world is filled with artists covering and spanning all genres. It’s searching for and finding these artists that is the hard part. I, personally, don’t think that music is dead. I just think that good music never gets marketed the right way anymore, and this leads me to writing about Facebook, and why it is slowly killing the industry.
In the past, I remember seeing band flyers and visual aids throughout town depicting an upcoming show. Remember when Marylin Manson & The Spooky Kids used to depict cartoon characters such as Scooby Dooby Do in their band posters? When was the last time you have seen an eye-catching band poster that was out of the ordinary? I rarely see any such things in town anymore unless it’s at a music venue that features all original music. When I speak with artists about making band flyers, I typically get the normal response: why would we pay for printing costs when we can post our shows on social media for free? Free will win you a sprint, but will not enable you the front runner in the distance race. Unpaid marketing is limited and is not always the best laid path. It’s the easiest road to take because no creative process needs to go into free. Just type the words, attach a picture and hit post. Voila! You have your band’s show posted for the evening. Social media has taken over the mindset of many artists in that they don’t even update their websites anymore. They assume that each fan will automatically check the band’s Facebook page. Most bands still have their attached link to their social media, but when you click on on it, the website has expired. I understand the restraints on a band’s budget but you need to have something more informative and more creative than a Facebook page if you want to truly build a fan base and move forward in the music businesses. I recommend logging off and creating!
So how do we get out of the pigeonhole that has overcome our daily habits? To spark creativity we need to adjust the way we think. Control the mind and you can control anything. Here is what the experts say about creativity.
Unplug from all devices so that you can limit distraction I use the 20 minute rule. I set my timer on the phone for twenty minutes, and I start working on one thing. I do not let my mind drift from the project until my timer goes off. This is easily done when you log off anything with incoming messages such as social media, text messages and email. Get out of the habit of feeling like you have to respond to every message right away.
When was the last time you reached out to a musician or artist outside of your genre and started PLAYING WITH THEM? This will not only spark new ideas, but help you learn from each other.
Creating comes with years of work. It has to be a daily ritual, nothing will come overnight. The more time you spend researching and tweaking old ideas, the better chance you have at marketing the band in a more professional way. Don’t rely on one source. You never know where your next fan may be.
I love talking about the creative process so feel free to share your thoughts and comments below.