Tag Archives: indie music

Insights From The Musician’s Webman Andrew Apanov

Andrew Apanov

Andrew Apanov

In the digital age, we’re not limited to location for who we can learn from or be aided by.

One of my favorite people doing great things for musicians is Andrew Apanov. Based out of Poland, Andrew’s platform Dotted Music is a great resource for all things digital and web for musicians. His blog is a fantastic resource with great articles and posts that shine new light on not just the pieces of building a digital brand as a musician, but the how-to steps to make that happen.

What Andrew Apanov says about online branding for musicians

Andrew and I have had several conversations about what musicians need to do with their online branding and platforms to really grow their audience. We’ve also talked about media, which is why he was one of the first people I sent the DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook to, because back in the day Andrew was a radio host too.

His inclusion in the DIY Artist Route Podcast is perfect for us as we start the summer. I know a lot of artists are taking the time to re-evaluate their growth and what they’re working on. If that’s you, you’ll gain a lot from this episode. Music marketing online, online branding, relationship building a whole lot more are all in this episode.If you’re looking to hire a publicist or work with a music marketing agency, and you’ve read up on We Spin and Dotted Music, there are some things you should prepare for in consideration before you start writing checks.

What do marketing agencies and publicists look for with new musicians

Great publicists and music marketing agencies look for specific things from artists before they sign them. Do you know what they are? Andrew does, and now in turn you do too. I see a lot of musicians paying for services that they can do themselves. The reason they don’t do it themselves (like music marketing, radio promotion, etc) is because they’ve tried methods that don’t work and they gave up. So they pay money to someone else to do the work that creates networking connections. Except, they pay the money for the airplay, but don’t get the network. It’s so backwards. And it’s one of the things I appreciate most about this conversation with Andrew. His blogs and podcast get you even more form him.

How to be your own music publicist and promoter

Speaking of music promotions and publicity, don’t be one of those artists who get suckered into some promoter’s game of paying 100s or 1000s of dollars for promotion. It’s crap. Literally. Be your own radio promoter by doing 3 big things that many musicians and even labels get wrong. Learn how to do it right. I’ll show you. Click here to get it right.

Make Your Radio Submission Count With This Strategy

8204195250_6d4e042d25_zRadio submission is a big part of the growth of any musician. As a radio program host (and music curator), I get a LOT of music submissions and people asking for feature on The Appetizer Radio Show.

It’s really a great opportunity for us as a radio program to connect with new artists across the country and around the world.

However, I’m seeing some really bad trends in how artists are contacting media outlets. These trends have gone on for a while now. They’re happening more and more each month. I want to address these negative trends and encourage you to not make these mistakes.

justin-wayne-ill-micFirst, you really have to promote and submit your best music to radio and media. That means, your best songs are what you promote to media for being featured.

Too many musicians are not showcasing their best work, and it affects the way music curators have a first impression of them.

What I mean by this is, if you’re going to try and put your work in front of a media professional, make sure it’s the best you have, and that it’s amazing. It’s best if you get some objective critiques from media professionals before you embark on radio submissions or blog review requests. Justin Wayne (host of the Justin Wayne Show) said something very powerful about submitting your best music. Listen to his take on music submissions here.

Get Objective Critiques Before Radio Submission

There are plenty of good sources for objective critiques. One I highly recommend is Fluence.io. It is made up of music industry pros who run blogs, websites, radio shows, video programs, and everything in between. You do have to pay a small fee depending on who you submit the work to, but the payoff is that your music gets heard and you get honest feedback on it.

Critiques are one of the ways I work with artists too. If you’d like to submit music for a critique, contact me on Fluence.

Fluence

Here’s how an objective and professional critique benefits you: you know that what you offer media is of the quality and caliber of what music business professionals are looking for. If there’s something amiss in your sound, production or listener experience, that information should be presented to you so that you can fix it and revise it.

When you submit music to radio or blogs that is not top shelf, there’s a good chance it gets discarded. Your band name is more than likely forgotten, unless it’s creative enough that it sticks for a little while. But that memory of a less-than-savory sound can come back if the media rep gets another submission. So make that first impression count.

Your Radio Submission Is Part Of The Growth Journey

Get Your Music Radio Ready-Revised CoverRadio submissions are a necessary part of your journey as a musician. You should get your music out to radio as a way to promote and market your sound, gain new fans, and sell more music.

If you’ve contemplated sending an mp3 or CD to a station hoping for airplay, make sure you have the best version of your music ready to go. Get a good critique before you do so. It will pay off dividends in the process of making those radio connections.

BEFORE YOU SUBMIT MUSIC TO RADIO:  Gain insights into your the Radio-Ready-ness of your music with this free Ebook Get Your Music Radio Ready here.

Once you’re Radio Ready, getting your music added to radio stations becomes a matter of networking and strategy. Networking has that ugly buzzword feel because so many artists and marketers have misused it to do things other than what it should be used for.

diy musicians radio handbook print how to get radio airplay

 

 

Networking is essentially connecting dots with other dots that make (individual and collective) worlds better. How to target the right radio for your music, how to build your contact list, and what specifically to say to stations is illustrated in detail in The DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook. Click here to get your copy.

Why Musicians Don’t Need A Label For Music Growth

“If I can just get signed to a label then I’ll be able to get my music out to more people and finally build my fan base.”

Unexpect out of Canada

Unexpect out of Canada

I’ve heard this phrase (in a few iterations) countless times in the past year alone. Here’s the thing: a label might save you a little bit of time but being on a label doesn’t guarantee your growth.

The reason for this is that a lot of labels AND PR firms AND marketing agencies AND music promoters don’t serve their artists as well as the artists could serve themselves if you only knew what and how to do it. This is where I come in to help you learn the what and the how. Read on if you want both of those things.

How you can do the work of a label and do it 300% better

There is this ongoing misnomer among DIY musicians that you need to get your music on a label so that they can really market and grow your music audience. This belief is mistaken, that labels are better at connecting with music industry influencers and platforms with big audiences.

Image by Johan Oomen

Image by Johan Oomen

The “label savior” belief stems from a historical period that the music industry was at around 60 or more years ago. Back then, every new artist was on a label because that was the only way that distribution worked. There weren’t indie presses for individuals to create their own records (on vinyl), CDs didn’t exist and tapes were the way that demos were recorded at home. Labels emerged as the main method for distribution for music for media companies to have something to broadcast. Remember though, that was in the 1950s and 1960s. Times have changed.

It’s no longer the case that you need a label to win in this music industry. We all know the power of the Indie Music Movement that has changed the rules for how music growth happens.

“Indie” means more than independent from an artistic standpoint. It can also mean individual.

Labels continue to exist and continue to spend GOBS of money marketing their artists. Major labels spend the most money and put their artists out every where they can as a method to gain leverage.

Let’s pause for a moment and dive into this term, because it’s really important for you.

Gain leverage without signing to a label

Leverage is the crux of what growth is built on. The more people know who you are, become connected with your name and brand, the more opportunities you have to sell your uniqueness to the world. This is leverage.

In a sense, leverage is a numbers game but only in the capacity of very big picture ideals. When labels strive to gain leverage by only playing a numbers game, they miss the mark. This missing creates negative results for artists.

Truthfully, the most powerful and successful leverage makers are those who get themselves out to the RIGHT people, and lots of them. This is one way that labels large and small can miss the mark, by not targeting their audience appropriately or communicating properly with them.

When you’re trying to reach everyone, often you’ll miss the mark. Everyone isn’t an audience or a target, it’s a black hole. Think about a bow and arrow. You can aim for a target on a tree or a post that’s 50 yards away. If you simply lift the bow into the air and shoot the arrow into the sky, did you hit anything?

Think about all the advertisements you see for artists you don’t care about, or music styles that don’t appeal to you. They’re all over the web, TV and other media. Those are attempts to gain leverage. Many of them are unsuccessful because they’re not aimed at the right audience, they’re aimed at everyone.

You don’t need a label to gain leverage in growing your music brand, gaining more fans or creating more opportunities to sell your music (both live and online). What you need is to recognize that the people who serve as gatekeepers for audience reach are just that, they’re people.

Wow, did that seem a little too simple? People are people. Radio people are regular people. People who write blog reviews and host music podcasts are regular people too. Yes they have platforms that reach hundreds or thousands (or maybe even millions) of other people that you also want to reach. At the end of the day, people are still people.

I say this “people are people” ideal because this is where labels often miss the mark. Their outreach to music curators, radio platforms, or even audience groups doesn’t communicate in a person-to-person way. The communication is far too formal and hard to embrace.

What works better for you, a friend of yours talking about a new band they just heard that sounds like Mumford & Sons but with only 3 band members and since you like Mumford you should check them out, OR a graduate level term paper detailing the exploits of a new Americana band and everywhere they’ve traveled and all the inspirations of their music and how incredible they are?

You want to listen to your friend because your friend communicates in a way that gels with you. People talking cordially with other people communicate in a way that gels. Companies trying to communicate with people don’t often do so very well.

This is one of the most common areas of difficulty I see both artists, PR companies, indie labels and management companies struggle with in terms of getting their music out to radio, media, and music fans as a whole. We’re all trying to get regular people who do specific jobs to give us their attention, their interest, their care, and ultimately their support. That’s the whole process of fan conversion.

How does that happen? How can you as an artist figure out what works to get your music in front of radio platform makers, blog reviewers, media outlets, and even individual fans both online and offline?

If only there was a book or something that showed you all of this

Actually there is. The DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook reveals everything that individual artists, bands, and musicians need to do what a record label or PR firm is supposed to do, AND do it better. If you decide that you’d still rather delegate the responsibilities and time to a company or team to do your marketing and outreach, that works too. The book will show you exactly what to look for in bringing the right people into your team to get you successful results.

What kind of successful results? You’ll not only get airplay on radio but you’ll build your personal network of industry contacts for long-term relationships that benefit you over time so that your future record releases will have instant traction and you won’t have to start the “marketing” process all over again.

RadioCourseMainImage-CoverImageDo you want even more insight into how to build a stronger network of media contacts, connections with radio, and gain more support from your fan base using effective communication and messaging techniques? Click here to get all of this and much more in the Indie Radio Promotion Course and save 60% by joining now.

This is how businesses who network with other businesses work. They build connections and relationships that benefit both parties in the immediate and future time periods. That’s real connection. Gain the step-by-step process to not only getting your music heard on radio but also how to grow your connections with music industry influencers in this powerful new book, set to publish in February. Sign up for the Book below.

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Why Milestones Are How We Reach Our Dreams

Vision. Milestones. Perspective.

Looking forward to the future and doing a combination of goal-setting and forecasting of what lies ahead, taking into account outside influences and things you have absolutely no control over.

Looking at the big picture and the future of what lies ahead, combined with the aforementioned goal setting, is one of my gifts. It’s what helped propel me into the radio industry at the ripe age of 16, into creating a radio/media property at age 21, turning that property into a business and converting a “project” into an entrepreneurial element at age 26, then setting out on my own to take on a new career outside of the radio industry to work as a coach and mentor for folks like me in the creative business space (musicians, entrepreneurs, startups, etc) at age 32.

Today marks not only a new day, but a place on the map of my future vision that will bring a new set of accomplishments of goals and achievements with it.

MeByAbbeyRoadSignI turn 34 today, and I’m writing about that because aging has been something that I look forward to instead of dreading. I want to share with you the fulfillment and successes of my journey up to this point, a few philosophical lessons learned along the way, and tell you what I hope to achieve in the coming year. As you know, community building is the mantra I live by, and as part of not only my community, but our growing group of creative entrepreneurs, I want to open up to you about the steps taken to get to this point, and the ones I want to reach in the coming year.

Call this accountability or transparency. These things matter.

“Life is a journey, not a destination.”

You’ve heard this phrase before. I used to not pay any attention to it when teachers at school or mentors in my life would say this. It was one of those things I could imagine Mr. Miagi tell Daniel in the Karate Kid or Yoda tell Luke as he trained to be a Jedi, but never really thought it applied to me. However, it doesn’t matter how old you are, the wisdom here is still on point. Yet what if we modified the phrase to have a little more practical application. What about this:

“Life is a series of milestones that lead us the destinations we choose.”

I don’t believe we have to settle for one destination in life. You can choose to have one truly huge, magnificently giant dream and work all of your life to achieve it. However, to reach that big, giant goal you’re going to first reach some milestones along the way. Consider a milestone to be markers that indicate that you’re making progress and give you some direction for how to move forward.

My high school graduation pic. People thought I was 16 until about 4 years ago (I'm in my 30s now)

My high school graduation pic. People thought I was 16 until about 4 years ago (I’m in my 30s now)

I mentioned briefly some of the milestones I’ve had up to this point. At age 16, like any teenager I was excited to get my driver’s license and drive all over town. But looking back that wasn’t the pinnacle achievement of that year. Becoming an on-air DJ on a college radio station while I was still in high school is what I remember as being the pinnacle of age 16. That experience planted seeds in me about what I believed radio had the potential to be, how it could impact the lives of indie and unsigned musicians, and it showed me the skills needed to do radio as a professional. That experience gave me what was needed to become an announcer at public radio station KACU as an incoming freshman at age 18. There hadn’t been a freshman walk in their door with radio experience and a resume that showed on-air and production credit up to that point. I’ll always remember age 16 as reaching that milestone.

TARSLogoTM2014Fast-forward to age 21, which we all have different degrees of fondness for. That was the age I was when I had this seemingly strange idea to make a radio program that played different genres of music from known and unknown artists, all in the same hour. The show wouldn’t follow a format of just rock or just folk music or just jazz. I paired songs that flowed together, or that I thought flowed together. And it stuck. In a little over a year, The Appetizer Radio Show was becoming one of the most talked about programs by the supporters of the station, leading to some positive feedback and later an interview with the Dallas Morning News. That would segue into the start of taking the show to other stations for carriage (syndication). Syndication would lead to turning the show into a business and a myriad of other achievements. It all began with that milestone at age 21.

TARS10thAnnConcert-LindsayKatt-ElliottPark A little over a decade later and a whole lot has happened. The Appetizer celebrated its 10th birthday in 2013 with a live concert at a historic theater in our hometown of Abilene (The Paramount Theater) featuring indie music sensation Lindsay Katt and Billboard #1 songwriter Elliott Park. That was a great milestone for me because I’d never organized and put together a live concert on my own before, but achieved success for all parties involved by utilizing strong community engagement and bringing together a powerful team of people to help make it happen. There were a lot of lessons learned in that process, and it certainly created a platform to do more live events that drew the greater regional community together.

As I enter this new year and transition into casting a vision for what I want for the next several years, the game has changed a lot, not only in regards to media (radio, online, streaming services) and music (both from the standpoint of musicians and the music industry), but also the landscape for how to succeed in the creative marketplace. I came into the world of self-employed coaching from spending over a decade in the nonprofit realm. It’s still an adjustment that I’m getting used to, and there have been a lot of lessons learned in just 2 years. Moving forward I want to achieve two big goals, which will create two big milestones to reach.

One goal is releasing the first in a series of books I’m working on that delves deep into providing a road map and guide into community building, starting with unsigned and DIY musicians (and those on the indie music circuit). Community building is the same as growing your fan base but it includes so much more. It’s the combination of your super fans, your fringe audience, the people who help get your music to other people in other places, and the people who help grow your outreach. It takes a community to succeed, and I’m currently writing a book that not only illustrates the practical steps to achieve this, but highlights some real life musicians who are doing this right now.

I’m going to take that framework and apply it to other books that will show entrepreneurs, startups, and nonprofits how to do the same thing in their fields and regions.

That’s a big vision to have, and some very serious milestones to reach.

DGrant-SpeakingOnStage

 

The second big piece of the vision is taking that message to the streets, and doing speaking engagements that teach individuals and groups the key elements they need to not only build strong fan bases, but cultivate powerful communities of support for their music. Again, this is big picture vision casting, and I am sharing this with you because what I’m building will impact your world. I want you to know what I’m working on so that you can benefit the most from everything I have planned.

This is how I’m going to be spending my 34th year.

BoJacksonOn a side note, another reason I’m excited about turning 34 is it was Bo Jackson’s number when he played for the Raiders. Bo is my all-time favorite athlete. We also share a birthday, which makes it extra special. One of these days, I want to be able to meet him. That will be a milestone for a different time, and one that I can’t see clearly at the moment, but believe strongly to be possible.

What are you milestones for this coming year? As we enter the end of our calendar year and have 1 month left in 2015, share with me the milestones you’ve had this year and what you’re wanting to do in 2016. Let me know in the comments below.

Why I Work With Musicians & Entrepreneurs As A Coach

DGS-StairsProfileHeadshotRemember wanting to be cool when you were younger in grade school? As I get older, the desire to be cool in the eyes of other people still lingers but it’s not near as strong as it was in an
earlier time in my life. Part of that change is due to age, and hopefully a little maturity, but most
of it is because I know who is going to be interested in me, what I have to say, what I do and
who I am. Who I am is not for everyone, and that brings me comfort instead of fear.

The desire to be liked or to be cool with people is the same as the desire to be popular. Often
times, I think we confuse our desire to be respected and appreciated for a desire to be praised
by everyone. As technology keeps allowing for individuals to connect with each other across
spectrums without the former barriers of distance, time, or even language, there are more and
more people to potentially appeal to.

For people who don’t know their specific craft in life, or the certain colors that they paint better than others and the unique story that separates them from the crowd, coming to this realization can be daunting.

This is why I work with musicians and creative entrepreneurs as a coach and mentor. These struggles kept me from fulfilling my dreams for a long time, and they keep talented people stuck for far too long.

Musicians feel some version of this fear in several ways, as do entrepreneurs and creative startups. One way this fear comes into play is how it’s becoming harder and harder to promote your music and your business on a small scale or limited budget.

For musicians this is because the amount of indie and unsigned musicians (not including artists on major labels) is vast and large and growing by the day. For entrepreneurs, often the marketing and development side of networking isn’t something they’ve given a lot of thought to, but is absolutely necessary to reach the levels of success we all dream about.

All of these artists are creating and trying to sell their music. Innumerable options available to a
limited number of people creates fears of how it will work.

The music fan has changed too, because he or she is able to access so much more content
than any period in history, from anywhere in the world, and not have to have a hard copy of it to listen to,or have to take up room on their computer. Oh, and it’s free too. How do you sell a
product to a populace who is used to getting something without cost and who just wants a taste
of it without taking any ownership or commitment to it?

The whole identity thing is bigger than just knowing who you are and what makes you cool. It
helps you know what makes you and your story appealing to others. When you know the what, you can find the who. All you have to do is look inside.

I created a radio program (The Appetizer Radio Show) over a decade ago.  Originally it was designed for people who love music. I’m a big fan on noncommercial artists, but also love the B-side tracks on some very well-known albums. Those songs don’t get heard on the radio, not the big named stations. I was sick of having to listen to the same 40 songs repeated constantly. So I made a show that featured nearly every genre and type of artist. The radio program was called The Appetizer Radio Show, because like food, we sample different types of music regularly for our music diet.

As I tried to appeal to fans of all music, I became frustrated with the inability to really grow the
program. It’s hard to move forward when you’re trying to carry the weight of the world with you.

The whole world wasn’t going to follow one idea, and when I started to discover the stuff I was
drawn to the most, and then started featuring more of that, our audience grew. Growth was not
just in numbers but in quality of connections and relationships. I used my ability to connect with
people to single-handedly syndicated the show to markets across the country and even a few
international ones without using a high priced marketing agency (I did look at a few of those and the cost versus the return was outstanding).

Working with indie artists over the years has taught me a lot, and it’s made me a better
professional, both in music and in the relationship business that is life. One of the biggest
lessons I can give, and help people with in their process, is drilling down deep within themselves to discover the specific elements about themselves that make them great, so that they can know who will be most drawn to their art. If you want to make a million dollars in music, good luck. No one has discovered the formula for making that work, not even the billion-dollar labels. They lose money constantly trying to promote artists who don’t make real music or connections with people.

Relationship building through good old-fashioned methods has brought me more growth and
opportunity than I could have achieved using any other way. It’s what I want to pass on to
others, especially musicians and entrepreneurs.

There is a LOT of competition out there, but there is also a lot of opportunity. People are searching for stories, powerful ones that empower them and inspire them to do more. We’re looking for interesting people worth celebrating and connecting with, who value true connection instead of flash-in-the-pan fakery. Syncing up with the people who fit your music and artistic identity is the key to you finding the ongoing, long-term success that makes for legendary artists.

That’s what I do, that’s what I love. That is my why. Tell me your why. What is it that drives your music or your entrepreneurial endeavor? Connect with me to discover new ways of getting your story out to the audience that is hungry for it.

William Fitzsimmons, the DIY Artist Route, And You

Don’t you love how an experience can teach you things you didn’t exactly ask for, all in a good way?

I find myself here a lot, but only when I’m conscious of it.

Sometimes that experience is watching a movie, or reading a book, or even having a conversation with someone. In the process of the experience, some incredible wisdom, insight or piece of advice comes forth that makes your day.

williamfitzsimmons-240This happened to me this week in an interview conversation I had with indie singer-songwriter William Fitzsimmons. William is a fascinating guy, a songwriter who was first a psychiatrist and therapist before leaving that professional world to pursue music.

It’s an interesting transition, but it does go to show you that you don’t have to have a degree from Berklee College of Music to have success in the music industry.

William hasn’t completely left the field of therapy though, and he admits it. Calling himself a “musical therapist,” that area of his life is also a part of his music and for good reason. Helping people through rocky patches and into greener pastures is what therapists do. It’s also what music does. Shouldn’t the two go together?

Your life is similar. If you’ve worked only in music, that realm has brought its own series of events that have helped shape who you are as a person and as an artist.

If you’ve worked professionally in a different field, and dreamed of being able to pursue only music, that dream is entirely possible. What can you do to see how to make William’s story your own? Listen to the podcast interview and he’ll tell you.

Like I said, sometimes in the midst of a conversation, little pieces of golden wisdom come forth that change everything. That happened in our chat, along with some other really good insights into how family dynamics change how you make music.

What did you get the most from this experience? Reach out and let’s talk about your DIY route and where it is leading you.

Keep Your Music Submission Email From Looking Like Spam

 Many artists present their music messaging/submissions as a Spam-A-Lot special. Many PR firms for radio do the same thing. The result is your music doesn’t get heard by the people you are trying to reach. Here’s how to change that:

It's not healthy or tasty. You don't want to eat it. So don't try to give it out to people you don't know.

It’s not healthy or tasty. You don’t want to eat it. So don’t try to give it out to people you don’t know.

When you don’t know someone, the way you communicate with them matters.

How you put your music out there and initiate their interest determines whether they listen. It also determines if they give you some of their time/interest or whether they treat you like a spammer.

Don’t follow what you see others doing that turns your stomach when people do it to you. That’s not a strategy you want to emulate.

In other words, if you don’t like getting spammed by strangers in your email inbox, don’t do that to others.

Every music blogger or radio host gets more than their fair share of unsolicited messages from artists and bands every day. Many of these messages go unread and the music not listened to. Why is that? Is it because our email in-boxes or our social media PM boxes are too full of incoming messages? Nope!

Is it because we only read or respond to messages from people we know, remember or have an existing connection with? Not necessarily.

Sometimes I prefer to limit the amount of content I take in from people I don’t know personally. But that’s not necessarily a pre-requisite to getting a read from me. What makes a message seem like Spam and instantly get put in the Trash?

The answer to this has everything to do with the basics of relationship building. If there’s a generic, wide-net subject line that doesn’t pertain to me, and if the message is from an unknown person, my instincts tell me it’s SPAM. Yours probably do too when it comes to your email inbox.

If the first few lines of the message doesn’t contain any introduction or even a greeting, if the content is specifically only mentioning the artist, song or album, or if there isn’t any content other than the song and band name, that’s Spam. My friends and colleagues in radio, blogging, and other media treat email and social messaging this way too. Trust me, it’s something that comes up in conversations when we chat with each other.

There are plenty of sites and more than plenty of artists who are constantly promoting and pitching their music. Most of these promotions are really in-effective in building the curator connections needed to really be beneficial to you and your music.

Once a message gets trashed it’s out of the realm of recognition for the me as a recipient. Too many messages from the same sender that come across as spam, the sender can be blocked.

That’s a burned bridge or a connection not made. If your messages get flagged as spam, not only does your intention of getting your music heard by gatekeepers not happen, but your ability to send out messages through email systems can be lost.

social-networking_110003874-012814-intDo you use an email service like Mailchimp, Constant Contact, or AWeber to send e-newsletters? If so, pay attention to  the content of your messaging and the way that your messages and emails are being received.

You won’t be able to keep everything you do from being flagged as spam, even by your closest contacts. Some people flag messages as Spam because they’re too lazy to unsubscribe. But if your emails are being flagged for spam before you get to a place where you have a connection or subscription with someone, that very negatively affects the reputation of your email address. It can hurt potential future endeavors for email marketing.

That’s a more technical consequence to not doing email the right way. The more direct and obvious consequence is a loss of connection and promotion that you were looking for in the first place.

How can you solve this? One key is to not try a broad-stroke approach to how you market yourself and your music. Even if you employ a message that is copied and pasted to different email addresses to send to, take just a little time to add something that is a unique greeting or introduction.

Keep your message simple but make sure you do these 3 things:

  1. Introduce yourself and your band/music

  2. State the reason why you’re reaching out

  3. Reference how you know of the person/entity you are contacting and indicate some experience or knowledge you have of their work and the impact of their platform.

Going this route does take more time than just putting your name, band name, album, single, and website/video link in an email addressed to 200 contacts and hitting send. However, do you know what the max return is for going this road? less than .01% (aka less than .0001) You might get lucky and have 1 person respond.

Take a little extra time, do a little research and make notes of the people you are reaching out to. Make sure that their platform and offering fits in line with your sound, your brand, and that you have similar fan bases. It does you absolutely no good to send your single or band video to a website that promotes and reviews progressive rock when you are in a country or folk duo. Just because a blog or web station may be included in a list of “indie publications,” make sure you make a good match with the platform before you contact them.

Doing this little bit of research and taking the time to make a genuine connection will pay off in spades when you start getting responses. You’ll get actual messages back from people who want to talk with you more. And doing so creates connections that open bigger doors down the road. Even if you don’t get a long note back, you may just receive a mention of when your song will be featured or played, which is fairly uncommon in many media platforms due to timing and lack of information presented.

Indie Music Submissions music guide diy musician radio handbookYou want to build your network and the connection database for people who are playing, talking about and promoting your music. You do this through not being spammy with your messages. Go down a slightly longer road to build much better connections and relationships through stronger conversational messaging. The benefit is for both you and the platform that showcases your music. And it gives you something you can build on instead of a dead end.

Take everything you’ve learned here and go further. Get the full how-to process for contacting music media, music influencers, and building your network in The DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook.

 

 

Quality Issue With Radio And Music

Radio Mic Old FashionedToday I’m going to give you Keys To The Having Remarkable Sound.

Radio wants good sound. I’m going to reiterate that a bit here but dive deeper into the elements of that sound beyond just the production. But production is where we start.

Sound quality is the number 1 requirement for station managers and program directors in both realms of radio (the commercial side as well as the public/community/web radio avenues).

When big time mainstream artists release “demo” tracks, notice the amount of production work that has been done to the quality so that it’s “radio friendly.” There are exceptions to this rule, and some stations don’t hold to the sound quality requirement due to their broadcast signal, but for the most part quality is king here.

It’s audio only, therefore the sound quality having the top criteria makes sense.Where this applies to you is everything you post on your website, social platforms, and music outlets is a reflection of your brand.

Radio has a QUALITY rule, and you should too.

Put music out to your fans that is of high quality, preferably that has been worked through some form of studio recording and given a little tweaking on the EQ for the best quality.

Remember, some of these recordings and songs could be the first impression you make with a potential fan. You want that first impression to be positive, so give them a reason to come back. Plus, you want the music you link to or include with your Press Kit to be the best reflection of your band/brand that it can be.

Can you still release a demo version of a song or maybe even a video of a new tune you’re working on to your fans? Yes, of course.

There are exceptions to nearly every rule out there, and there are times when a short demo recording could be released to get a feel for what your Super-Fans think. But be careful with how you do that, and don’t make releasing unfinished songs as demos a part of your music release strategy for everything you do.

What if you’re cash-strapped, how can you get a high quality recording of your music made to post to your Soundcloud page? Wouldn’t it be better to release something so you have a representation of your sound?

Good question. This is the reason (excuse) many artists make for putting lesser-quality music on their site or sending to stations. It’s a bad idea.

[Gut Check]  The reason for that has a lot more to do with what stage of the music process you’re on. This may sound harsh, but it’s the truth. From the perspective of a decision-maker for programming, you need to have experience doing this for a little while to be taken seriously, especially when it comes to releasing music for distribution.

If you’re using Reverbnation or Facebook page to get more fans, you can do that and still have a good quality recording. There are ways to get a strong quality recording of your music without having to spend thousands of dollars in a big studio. If you need help doing this, just ask me. The key point though is that you should make quality of recording a big priority for your music.

Quality is a branding avenue in music

As you prepare to post your brand to the world, make sure you are putting representations of yourself that truly reflect the high quality of art that you create. You don’t have to promote every single one of your songs, or promote each new one.
Make sure the music you are publishing for people to see is your best work, and make sure you’re playing these songs at shows. Don’t promote music to radio that you aren’t playing live in your gigs. That won’t serve your best efforts.

3 Paths Of Help For Songwriters

The music industry is ever changing for emerging songwriters and artists who are trying to navigate their next steps, any help you can get is greatly appreciated. I’ve had the opportunity to work with some great individuals in this business who are successful in different ends of it. Fortunately for us, they also have blogs and platforms where they share their insight and experiences which benefit us. I want to plug you into their platform so you can benefit from what they have to say to give you a better grid for your decision-making process.

 

KSCR_400x400 Resource 1: Radio KSCR

This is one of the premier web radio stations out of California. Internationally recognized, their programs cover the gambit of music styles and their listeners regularly engage in the bands that are featured. Getting on to this station can be a great way to start (or continue) your band marketing to other college outlets. Their social media (Facebook in particular) provides regular links to articles of significance for musicians and songwriters. Check them out here.

 

 

ShellyResource 2: Shelly Peikin

Shelly is the self-proclaimed “Serial Songwriter.” Her songwriting credits include hits for Christina Aguilara, Meredith Brooks and Natalie Cole, though she’s also written for a great many more well-known names in music. Her blog has incredible insight into what it takes to be in the professional songwriting business, where you write for other people in hopes they will take your song to the studio. It’s a lot more complicated than it seems, and the ever-changing state of the music industry hasn’t been kind to this avenue of its content creators. However, Shelly remains hopeful and continues crafting her brilliance. Follow her on Facebook for insights.

 

 

JesseHeadshot09 Resource 3: Right Arm Resource

There are some excellent music and band promotion companies representing truly remarkable talent. Many of them send me music on a weekly basis from artists all over the country in a variety of styles and genres. Right Arm Resource, run by Jesse Barnett, is one of the best. Aside from the great work they do as a promotion company, Jesse also writes a regular newsletter that gives insights into what’s trending in indie music and what’s working well for artists in their marketing avenues. Check out their site for more info.

A Little Introduction

color close upMusic is a really big industry, and there are many components to it. Like most really big industries, there are several avenues that you can take to have a career and be profitable.

There is also a LOT of competition.

If you spend any amount of time online, you see posts about bands and musicians, some you know of and many you don’t. Over the past several years, the whole “indie music” movement has revolutionized the industry. Now it’s not essential that an artist cut a deal with a record label to be successful in any capacity. There are multiple channels where music can be heard across the web and even through traditional routes of TV-film, radio, and print. With all these channels come a myriad of options for your audience to choose to be on.

TARSLogoTM2014I’ve been a part of the indie realm for over a decade, helping in some ways to contribute to the change in the media landscape concerning indie music. When I created and launched The Appetizer Radio Show in 2003, web-radio was still in a beta-test of sorts with a few stations operating across the country and few had large audiences. Public radio was the only music platform that gave any time to non-labeled bands. Social media platforms of Twitter and Facebook didn’t exist, at least not in the national and international realms of present day. Even cell phones were different, as they were used for (believe it or not) making and receiving phone calls. Blogs hadn’t become a method of storytelling or review posting. There was a lot that was very different about how we engaged in music as well as how we shared it.

My work developing and later syndicating our radio show around the globe was influential in promoting the careers of several established indie acts. You can see and hear the folks we’ve had the honor of working with at The Appetizer website. Those experiences with artists in a variety of capacities led to the work I do one-on-one with artists in developing their sound, branding, and press material for audience growth. Radio airplay and mulit-media presentation is a part of audience growth, especially on social channels and blogs.

Soundcloud and Reverbnation are great outlets to get your music heard, but marketing to your target audience members through all the noise and competition on these platforms is intense and fierce. For bands and artists who want to shotgun success, good luck to you. It’s doesn’t work out very well regarding the time it takes the the frustration inherent in the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants approach. If it’s true in small business, it’s probably true in this industry.

A little introduction of who I am and what I do is important for you to know. I’m here to help you grow your music into what you dream for it to be. Growing your audience is elemental in that process. It is a process, not something that magically happens if you do a series of 5 or 10 steps. Here in this blog, I’ll give away some of the keys I’ve discovered in growing audience-share as well as how you can develop your sound and presentation to stand out above the competition and apart from the noise. Music is a very noisy industry. In the posts and content to come, I’ll help you take your music to the next level and get you Radio-Ready, even if radio is not what you think you need.

Are you ready? Join me and be on the lookout for my upcoming eBook.