In all of this talk about freeing musical restrictions and the evil record biz, sometimes we forget that we are actually IN this business of music. With that said, always be on the lookout for nuggets of wisdom from the rest of the biz world to help build your enterprise.
A big tip from the Internet marketing world...
BUILD YOUR MAILING LIST and market to it over and over again!!!
Look, about the smartest thing you can do - even before you write the song - is build a list. Your mailing list is THE MOST IMPORTANT tool your band will ever have. Period. Your list knows who likes you. It knows who's going to your shows. It knows who bought or will buy t-shirts from you. It knows all!!! (If you're doing it right.)
If you already have a good sized mailing list at your disposal, and you've been diligent about building it up at shows then you're way ahead of the curve on this one. However, even to you guys, I'm going to ask you a few questions that may provoke some thought....
#1 Do you collect the info of everyone you sell a CD to?
#2 Do you collect the info of everyone you give ANYTHING to?
#3 Do you mark down where the info came from?
#4 Do you mark down who bought/took what item?
If you haven't considering doing any of these, you could be missing a huge opportunity!!!
Now listen because this knowledge is powerful...
You can't sell anything to anyone unless you know what they want!
Well, how are you going to find out? ASK THEM!!!
This is one of the pillars that the new music business will be built upon and it highlights a major credo that will be adopted by many - Community BEFORE commerce!
Encourage your fans to write in or comment on your website. Ask them what they'd like from you next or what song they think it would be cool for you to cover at your next show. Give them stuff. Incentivize them by giving fans free tickets for getting their friends to sign up for your list. Set up a forum on your website or a blog that fans can sign up to.
The point is to include these people that will sustain your career. Make them feel like they're part of your family and that you welcome what they have to say. Ignore this at your peril!!! Once you turn your back on them, they will also do in kind. Frankly, if you don't respect and appreciate your fans, you should probably stay home anyway.
Now you're well into the process of collecting info and further building your list. Be a good pen-pal and keep in touch, will ya? Communicate with your list at regular intervals (though not TOO often.) and continue to give them things - even if it's just the inside track on what the group has been up to. But while doing this, always continue to market to them. Offer them exclusive goods and a variety of them at different price ranges. Find out which items sell the best and you'll know better how to market to the next batch of signups. You can even encourage fans to suggest products they'd be willing to buy from you.
I'm going to tie this off with a few truths you should get hip to very soon.
#1 If you want to earn a living as a musician you will be in the music business.
#2 Marketing is smart - ignore this and you may not make it.
#3 Everyone is a potential mailing list signup. EVERYONE!!!
#4 The music biz is commercial.
#5 MUSIC is not. Give it away.
#6 The music business is also known as the TOURING business.
#7 The music business is not the RECORDING business. Let it go.
...and one more thing...
Make sure you collect physical mailing addresses - direct mail is a great tool for fan contact!
About the Author
As an experienced studio and touring musician, producer and writer,Aaron Trubic has proudly garnered numerous commercial recording credits for both major and independent labels spanning 16 years.