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How do you find somebody who will market your music project?
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kierkegaard
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#1
27th June 2013
Old 27th June 2013
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How do you find somebody who will market your music project?

I have the material... now how do I find somebody who will be interested in doing the dirty, devil's work (marketing) for me? I'd prefer to not talk to any of my fans, if at all possible. I know that isn't the hippest answer for 2013 with all this social medial interactivity peanut butter and jelly, but it's true. I just want to make the music and leave the rest to somebody else.
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27th June 2013
Old 27th June 2013
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"The rest" is how you make a living... or don't.

It depends quite a bit on the rest of your plans. If you're touring and playing out every night, it's much different than if you're living in a cave.

People can handle all the social media stuff for you if you like, but it'll cost you and it will never be as effective as if you're involved.

Sounds to me like what you're looking to do is hire a digital PR firm. I've never used her, but I've read a lot of her stuff and she knows what she's talking about, so if you're dead set on handing over the reigns to your career, you might want to check out Ariel Hyatt at Cyber PR Music.
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27th June 2013
Old 27th June 2013
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I agree with Aint Nobody...look into some marketing firms...some that specialize in marketing artists & musicians. Marketing isn't cheap...as that's where most of your revenue will come from, so if you're looking for something cheap then check out Craigslist...there's usually plenty of freelancers looking for work there and would gladly market you for a small fee.

Edit:

I also wanted to add that marketing involves more than just posting your music online and spamming people. You need to take promo photos, run contests, make youtube videos, ect...if you really want your campaign to be successful.

In my experience with marketing...a client that just tells me to "make me more relevant online." or "get me more business." usually will have an unsuccessful campaign (or one they aren't proud of) because they expect me to wave a magic wand and make content relevant to their business and target customers.

I can use a cookie cutter campaign I used for a previous client but each client & their customer base is different and in order to optimize the returns there usually needs to be some form of involvement from the client. Not a lot where they're eating, living, and breathing the marketing but just enough to give me direction and then I take it from there.
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27th June 2013
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The first step is to make a great product that will sell itself. You're pretty much on your own with that. And once you get that taken care of you don't really need to worry about marketing because your music will market itself to the point where other interested people will start to market it for you.
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28th June 2013
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The work of making a living doesn't even really start until after you've made the best product you can. The products that "sell themselves" are often the ones with the largest, most dedicated team of full-time people working to market them.

Of course you need to have a product people want to purchase and share. That's just a given. Thinking you've arrived at that point or that your job is done is myopic at best. A good product is just a ticket to the dance. You need to show up before it means anything to anyone else. The dance itself doesn't even BEGIN until people are exposed to it.

OP is looking for actionable items (as he should be).
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28th June 2013
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If the great product is a given, then the OP will have people coming to him wanting to help. If he's asking how to find somebody then I don't think he's there yet. And I don't believe that an independent artist should spend money on that sort of thing.
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28th June 2013
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I'm not advocating that he just throw money at it. If he insists on that route, there are better and worse ways to spend it, that's all. The more involved he or people close to him become, the better.

Successful artists either handle these issues well themselves, or they have people who do it for them, or they are signed to labels who have people who do it for them. The "none of the above" artist who sits around waiting for it to happen and pretending the world is going to deliver itself to him on a silver platter is a fool.

The fact that someone asks about marketing doesn't tell me they are a lousy musician. It tells me they realize that the notion of a good product not benefiting from proper marketing is as much a myth in this field as it is in all others. Musical skill and the desire and ability to market are two completely different things.

The "best" mousetrap in the world won't have a single person beating a path to it's doorstep until people are exposed to it. That doesn't happen by NOT marketing it. NO ONE cares about something they're not exposed to. Without traffic, he's just a guy with a store in the middle of the desert wondering why business is so bad. Could be the worst music in the world too. Without marketing of some sort, no one will ever know.
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28th June 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by initialsBB View Post
If the great product is a given, then the OP will have people coming to him wanting to help. If he's asking how to find somebody then I don't think he's there yet. And I don't believe that an independent artist should spend money on that sort of thing.
While there is truth to that...if no one knows about your "great" product then it will not sell itself. There are many great products that do terrible because of horrid marketing plans. It's not about how good your product is, but how many people are paying attention to it or using it/listening to it...ect.
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28th June 2013
Old 28th June 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kierkegaard View Post
I have the material... now how do I find somebody who will be interested in doing the dirty, devil's work (marketing) for me? I'd prefer to not talk to any of my fans, if at all possible. I know that isn't the hippest answer for 2013 with all this social medial interactivity peanut butter and jelly, but it's true. I just want to make the music and leave the rest to somebody else.
Open your wallet.
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28th June 2013
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Originally Posted by Aint Nobody View Post
Successful artists either handle these issues well themselves, or they have people who do it for them, or they are signed to labels who have people who do it for them.
I guess to me the first and most important part of marketing something is knowing who your audience is and figuring out how to make something that appeals to them. So I would say that all successful artists handled these issues well themselves in the beginning until they got to a point where people wanted to do it for them.

You can't just make something great and then step back and hire somebody else to push it to people. Music doesn't really work that way imo.
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28th June 2013
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You seem to be making a habit of not actually reading what I've read and pretending I've said something else. I just said SOMEONE has to do it. Better him (for the third time now), but if not, then SOMEONE. And if he's going to do it with no help, he'd better be way more adept at it than your average guitar jockey.

What you're suggesting: Making a product and NOT marketing it yourself OR hiring someone to step into that role...

... is called a hobby.

If he needs advice on how to run a hobby, you've got him covered.

And no, actually, most successful artists have either been on major labels where there are teams of other people handling these issues, or have had a strong marketing focus from the beginning. That may be the ONE thing that the Beatles, Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Three Dog Night, Michael Jackson, and Neil Young all have in common.
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28th June 2013
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And which of those artists got where they are by hiring a PR firm on their own dime before any managers or labels were interested in them?

Quote:
What you're suggesting: Making a product and NOT marketing it yourself OR hiring someone to step into that role...
What I'm suggesting is that if the OP has put his music in front of people and he's not building any kind of word of mouth buzz organically then it's probably a waste of his money to hire somebody to promote it for him. And if he can't put forth the minimal amount of effort necessary to get his music in front of a few people in the first place then that's not good.

Marketing really isn't as important as branding, which isn't something that you can hire a pr firm to help you with.
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28th June 2013
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Originally Posted by initialsBB View Post
And which of those artists got where they are by hiring a PR firm on their own dime before any managers or labels were interested in them?



What I'm suggesting is that if the OP has put his music in front of people and he's not building any kind of word of mouth buzz organically then it's probably a waste of his money to hire somebody to promote it for him. And if he can't put forth the minimal amount of effort necessary to get his music in front of a few people in the first place then that's not good.

Marketing really isn't as important as branding, which isn't something that you can hire a pr firm to help you with.
How many of them had people working on marketing full time before they had much (if any) following?

All of them.

Of course he's much more likely to fail if he can't be bothered to be personally involved in working to build a following...

... Which is what I said in the first place.

... And nearly the opposite of what you said.



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28th June 2013
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You seem to be totally misunderstanding what I'm saying and then accusing me of doing the same to you, so I guess neither of us is understanding the other here. I think we also probably have very different ideas about what marketing means.
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28th June 2013
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Ok...

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Originally Posted by initialsBB View Post
... you don't really need to worry about marketing because your music will market itself to the point where other interested people will start to market it for you.


I meant the same thing the op did:

Marketing = all the non-musical stuff someone needs to do to build and maintain a following.

Pr folks I've bumped elbows with like to start the conversation with branding, btw.

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29th June 2013
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Originally Posted by Aint Nobody View Post
Marketing = all the non-musical stuff someone needs to do to build and maintain a following.
Exactly. IMO it's way too broad of a term to be very meaningful on its own. What exactly is the OP looking for? A publicist? Radio promotion? Somebody to help with design and the visual side of things? It sounds like he just wants somebody to handle social media but that alone doesn't really constitute "marketing." And I would be very skeptical of anybody who claims to do all of that for you for a fee.

I checked out that Cyber PR site and frankly it smells kind of scammy and Taxi-esque. It looks nothing like any of the reputable publicists I've dealt with, all of whom tend to specialize in publicity and don't claim to do all of that other stuff. It looks like they specialize in publicizing music to niche non-music related audiences. So if you make yoga music they'll get you featured on a yoga blog. Not a terrible idea I suppose, but hardly the foundation of a real music career. Their list of clients kind of says it all.

Their idea of branding seems to be that they design your facebook page for you. To me, an artist's brand is who they are. It encompasses their look, name, persona, artwork, titles, videos, public behavior, what they say in interviews... everything. That should come from you. Collaborating with a label, manager, designers, etc. can help you develop and evolve that brand but first you have to have something going on that you can build on.

If you do have all of that together then you're going to attract people who can help you take it further. You don't really need to spend money on it, and I would be very cautious and skeptical toward anyone who is willing to take your money and promise they can do it for you.
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29th June 2013
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I'd suggest that you're missing the bigger picture of what they do, but again, I've never used them... just answering specifically what the OP asked.

I'd say we probably agree on quite a few things... even if the degree of non-musical effort required isn't one of them.

I agree there's a problem on display here. It's not necessarily anything about musical quality. Musical talent and business acumen aren't even related. Some of the best musicians I've met could barely tie their shoes, let alone manage their enterprise. Musicians sometimes tend to be introverts too, who can dread the very thought of SOCIAL media.

I agree that the question itself here doesn't bode well for future prospects. Personally, I would estimate a much higher chance of success for someone who was asking something like "Can anyone suggest some resources, or people I can partner with so I can learn how to market my music and effectively manage the fans I pick up along the way?"

Might seem like a subtle difference, but attitude is everything. The days of a musician phoning it in every few years while someone else takes care of everything are gone if they ever truly existed. The major label acts I've known were constantly having to do things that had nothing to do with music. The good and bad news is that there was always some photo shoot, interview, signing, etc. Between that and the tour schedules, I never did understand how they ever got around to actually recording anything.

Major labels these days are looking for people who are tuned in and actively working their networks. More and more, they're looking for people who are already doing it, not those they have to teach. We live in an era where Trey Songz is pulling in half a million annually from his app, and rappers are getting 7 figure deals based solely on their subscriber count.

Independents today? Forget it. SOMEONE on their team has to know what they're doing, and we don't all have a Sharon Osbourne in the family. It's not necessarily all about social media or any one thing, but anyone who DOESN'T understand those things owes it to their career to find someone who does.

To be realistic: It's not hiring a PR firm vs having everything done perfectly that's being discussed here... it's hiring a PR firm vs. nothing getting done.
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7th July 2013
Old 7th July 2013
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This is all interesting. I am trying to encourage my songwriting buddy. I'm the guitar side man. We are going to a monthly songwriting group here in Texas run by someone who has their own publishing company. According to them Nashville is dead, unless you are Toby Keith or Carrie Underwood. Rap is everywhere but don't get me started on that topic. I know people still want good music (I think) but has it all come down to ITunes? You mentioned independents. Are they fooling themselves? What if you goal is to be really good in just your region, like Texas? Can you be a songwriter and not a performer?
Thanks.
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7th July 2013
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As someone who works at a music digital marketing and PR firm (for 4 years), I'd advise you to do it yourself until you can't anymore.

Honestly, most artists that hire PR, shouldn't. They're wasting their money. And the main reason for that being is that PR should supplement great material. If the material isn't quality, than you don't need PR, as it won't do anything for you. And if your material is quality, than you don't need PR as much because the songs will generate a lot of press on their own. So...yeah.

A lot of artists go into it expecting PR/marketing to be some magic formula. It's not. If a journalist or publication doesn't like your material, he/she won't cover it. Period. If kids don't like your material, they won't add you on Facebook. Period. There's no golden equation to it.

Traditional PR is dying. Smart advertising (re-targeting advertising, branding, personality development), is definitely important. But even still. Make sure the songs are undeniable first. They have to be able to stand on their own.
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7th July 2013
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Originally Posted by stratguy65 View Post
This is all interesting. I am trying to encourage my songwriting buddy. I'm the guitar side man. We are going to a monthly songwriting group here in Texas run by someone who has their own publishing company. According to them Nashville is dead, unless you are Toby Keith or Carrie Underwood. Rap is everywhere but don't get me started on that topic. I know people still want good music (I think) but has it all come down to ITunes? You mentioned independents. Are they fooling themselves? What if you goal is to be really good in just your region, like Texas? Can you be a songwriter and not a performer?
Thanks.
Yeah. I don't think Nashville is dead. That's a ludicrous statement. It's more alive than ever.

Country music is getting bigger than ever. So many sick writers are coming out of there with more and more country artists crossing over (Hunter Hayes, Florida Georgia Line, etc). And more blockbuster joint ventures (EX: Dr. Luke/Scott Borcheta). Nashville and LA are songwriting havens right now. NYC is a bit dead at the moment (aside from the hipster/Brooklyn scene).
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8th July 2013
Old 8th July 2013
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Ok, I would not disagree with anyone on this board especially on this topic. I'm just a novice. I see more artists in Nashville but are they really making it? The Toby Keith's and the Carrie Underwood's are but is that because they are doing well on ITunes or are they making most of their money from touring? Last time I went to the Bluebird I heard good tunes from songwriters but is that the old Nashville? Does that still work? Thanks again.
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8th July 2013
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Originally Posted by initialsBB View Post
What I'm suggesting is that if the OP has put his music in front of people and he's not building any kind of word of mouth buzz organically then it's probably a waste of his money to hire somebody to promote it for him.
100% correct! Do yourself the favour and prove that you really WANT that and that you're actually ABLE to "deliver". Anything else is self-deception and a waste of energy and time. Ah, and money, yes.
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8th July 2013
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I believe that EVERYTHING you do in representation of your brand is marketing. Live performing...releasing music on Soundcloud, having an online presence, interacting with your fans...ect. Whether it's good or bad is another question. That's what the professionals are for.

I also work for a digital marketing agency and I would recommend that you just do what you can by yourself...don't go wasting money in places where you don't need it. You can get a very good footing on your own.
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8th July 2013
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Interesting thread, subscribed
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8th July 2013
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Are we talking about country music?
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9th July 2013
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That's kind of what I meant about the way the question is framed... it doesn't suggest an attitude on behalf of the OP that's likely to succeed.

Whether some of the things that a third party can offer have value is only a portion of what it takes to succeed, and it is very likely that someone who chooses to be completely uninvolved in their career outside of playing music is doomed as an independent.

That sort of isolationism only works for a few major label artists, and it only works in their case BECAUSE they have third parties doing all the marketing for them. Even that's rare these days, though. Ironically, the way to get a major label deal these days is to show that you know how to market yourself.

To that end, if you don't have a clue, then you need to find someone who does. If that means hiring someone, and learning as quickly as you can, then so be it. We all need money to live, but if you have it sitting in the bank doing nothing for you, and your career is moving nowhere, you have no one doing marketing for you, and you don't have a clue where to start...

There's a BIG difference between someone who performs an actual needed service for you (and yes, you do need to have a FB page, a private page, a properly managed mailing list, etc)... and a company that just sticks you in a database with some vague promises of being discovered because you're on their site. It's also a better attitude going into such a situation that you need to LEARN what they're doing so you are capable of handling these things yourself if need be.

If you don't know what it takes to personally mow a lawn, you don't know whether $1000 / week is a good deal or not. That's no way to run a business. If you don't know what it takes to install a toilet, you don't know whether the 10,000 hours the plumber billed you is reasonable. That's not to say a successful business owner has to do all these things personally forever, but he should WANT to know what's involved and want to have an informed opinion about how things should work.

It would, of course, be better if you have a seasoned marketing genius as a brother or something, but realistically, that may not be the case.

There's a lot of info online, though. It's very possible for people to handle all this stuff themselves though there is a lot to learn, and it will take some time.
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10th July 2013
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just writing in to say this is a damn good thread/question and hope the OP gets an answer they're satisfied with. i'm also struggling. i know which demographics listen to my music but i don't know how to target the ones i want: the ones with the money that will share my work with everyone they know and promote me while i keep making the best material i can. i guess i'm like the OP in that way.

where do you START? making a page and joining a music site of your choice is a given, but then what, after you've reblogged/shared/liked/commented/subscribed? what's next?
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10th July 2013
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- - - - but i don't know how to target the ones i want: the ones with the money that will share my work with everyone they know and promote me while i keep making the best material i can. - - - -
It may sound romantic, but why don't you just aim for the audience that loves your songs, regardless of their money? You describe a hen-or-egg situation which won't help you decide at all.
I strongly believe that if you come up with the best material for the target audience that loves* your music, some kind of (monetary) success will come.
And I don't even think that you have an option to choose your audience – they will choose you.

People feel if music is "meant" or if they're abused as a money making target IMO. I don't believe that all those top 10 tunes emerge from cynical minds that sold their souls to the devil.



* why does anyone "love" someone's music? Because it gives them energy: makes them smile, or cry, or jump around... If you can deliver that, they will more than happily spend their money for your stuff.
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10th July 2013
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Originally Posted by beingmf View Post
I strongly believe that if you come up with the best material for the target audience that loves* your music, some kind of (monetary) success will come.
And I don't even think that you have an option to choose your audience – they will choose you.
Yep, exactly
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10th July 2013
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Quote:
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It may sound romantic, but why don't you just aim for the audience that loves your songs, regardless of their money? You describe a hen-or-egg situation which won't help you decide at all.
I strongly believe that if you come up with the best material for the target audience that loves* your music, some kind of (monetary) success will come.
And I don't even think that you have an option to choose your audience – they will choose you.

People feel if music is "meant" or if they're abused as a money making target IMO. I don't believe that all those top 10 tunes emerge from cynical minds that sold their souls to the devil.



* why does anyone "love" someone's music? Because it gives them energy: makes them smile, or cry, or jump around... If you can deliver that, they will more than happily spend their money for your stuff.
Posts like this restore my faith in the industry. Thank you. I guess I just haven't been trying hard enough then...
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