Let’s talk about YouTube.
We could talk about VidCon, which sold out 12,000 tickets a month in advance. We could also talk about the over-dramatized and sensationalized YouTube vs. indies misinformation war. However, it’s so much more constructive to focus on growing your audience, serving your audience and monetizing your audience. Not only is YouTube is the largest streaming music service in the world, it allows you to use video to connect directly with your fans in almost any way you can imagine.
I hear you: “But I’m on YouTube and I’m not getting any views!” Here are five of the most common reasons why your YouTube videos may be getting ignored:
One of the first things I learned when I began my career as a publicist was what the typical timeline for an album campaign is – in other words, the specific order of events from the moment an album is ready to be announced until its release.
Not all publicists adhere to a campaign of identical length. Some prefer to work more compressed, fast-paced timelines, whereas others like to space things out to gradually build anticipation and momentum. Whether you’re self-releasing a record, working with a freelance publicist, or working with an in-house label publicist, it’s important to have a grasp on the approximate timeline of events and know when new assets (songs, videos, album streams) should be shared with the world. Here’s a breakdown of the essential steps in this process, based on my own experience (though these may vary if you’re releasing a digital album instead of an LP, CD or cassette, or if you’re merely releasing an EP or 7” single).
Market segmentation involves breaking down a broad audience into a smaller subset of customers. You can divide along demographics (age, gender, ethnicity, etc.) and/or psychographics (values, lifestyles, interests, etc.). The more that you can segment a market by narrowing it down while still having an audience large enough to offset any investment, the better. Broad marketing is not only very expensive, but generally ineffective as well.
Example of Poor Segmentation (too broad):
I want to target the young (ages 12-25) Christian market in the Midwest.
The above example can be improved by narrowing and/or adding additional qualifiers. For example, this could be re-written to:
I want to target male Christians, ages 18-25, who live in the Midwest and are interested in bluegrass music.
Here are some guidelines on finding new markets based on segmentation:
As you (hopefully) know by now, Twitter is one of the best online marketing tools you can have in your band’s toolbox. It’s a free and simple way to communicate directly with your fans, but you’ve got to be strategic about when and how you use it to really make it an effective platform for fostering your fanbase. Here are nine strategies to make your Tweets count:
There’s a recent piece about a musician who has built a huge online following by simply focusing on those who care enough to interact with him online. I can’t find the article now but the theme of focusing on those who care, rather than amassing large numbers of likes and whatnot from those who are simply aware of your existence, is a recurring one that recently appeared in two tech posts featuring musical examples.
The piece I can’t find, though I think it came out in the last month, gets better and better in my mind. It was an amazing tale of a man who chose to release his music online, maybe via Facebook, and instead of promoting it he just began to chat with people who responded and from there built an enormous Facebook (or related social media) following that would simply astound you.
Or something similar. But I do know it was a strong example of a musician building a following by communicating directly on an ongoing and deeply engaged basis with the people who cared about his music enough to connect.
Choosing a manager will be one of the most important decisions you make as an artist. Who you let represent you to the outside world is a direct reflection of how you handle your business, and a great manager can do magical things for your career. More often than not, you come across the not-so-great managers that are slowly putting your band’s career in a dank, dark corner one email at a time. The wrong fit can quite literally sink you. Here’s some common manager archetypes we recommend steering clear from if you’re looking to grow a long and steady career in the music biz.
#1 - The Too-Busy-To-Call-You-Back-Ager
We know… they’re busy and ‘important’. Being a busy manager is usually a good thing, but not taking time to hear their artists’ needs, cater to them, and collaborate with them will often cause fractures in the relationship. Beware the chronically-busy manager. As the artist, you need to be able to reach your manager at any time for advice and late night strategizing. A constant dialogue is essential; after all, your manager is out on the industry front lines hustling for your career. When the manager is too busy to prioritize communication with the artist, it can lead to career decisions that the artist doesn’t support being made on their behalf. More importantly: what other calls is the manager not keeping up with? Opportunities are likely being missed if the manager is too disorganized to see them. Sometimes this type of manager is closely related to the my-career-is-more-important-than-yours-ager… which I’m sure I don’t have to elaborate on.
There’s a buzzword I see popping up a lot lately in articles about how to become a career artist: superfans. The idea is that if you have a subset of your fans who will support everything you do – buy every album you release, go to all your shows, buy all your merch – then you can build a sustainable career with the support of these hyper-dedicated fans.
As someone who has made a career as an independent artist, I have found no better way to build a collection of superfans than partnering with existing fans to put on deeply connective concerts in their homes. The remarkable success I’ve experienced with this model has led me to abandon traditional club touring, instead performing almost 150 house concerts in the last 2 years.
House concerts are the most connective, fulfilling, and rewarding performance experiences I’ve had as an artist. I’ve built relationships with fans at house concerts that have turned into meaningful friendships. And those connections go both ways; it’s not surprising to hear a guest at a house concert say, “I’ve never been to anything like this before and it’s the coolest thing I’ve done in a long time!”
I’ve thought a lot about why house concerts are so good at turning audience members into committed fans. I think it comes down to intimacy, exclusivity, and connection.
Social media is the cornerstone of your music career. It’s what lets you stay in touch with your fans. However, it’s hard to find a balance between social and promotional – after all, you still need to sell your record or tickets to your show. Here’s 10 secrets to help you find that social media balance.
Socializing is, by nature, a two-way exchange. Try holding a conversation with someone with your ears plugged. Social media is talking with your audience! There are other tools out there for talking at an audience. Make it a habit to read comments and messages. You’d do the same on your personal accounts, wouldn’t you? By listening to your fans you could also get valuable information like what new song they are digging the most or what they liked about your show last night.
2. Leverage Online and Offline
There is no one-size-fits-all solution. While some artists have managed to build their career on one channel, most of us need to find a balance of online and offline. Maybe you leverage Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and some local shows in your area. The key is to think about how you can send fans from online to offline and visa versa. You need to create a flow.
All the rage, at least with regards to income from digital music distribution, has been centered around YouTube monetization. However, the problem is that many artists are misinformed on even the basic strategy about obtaining more views and subscribers, which ultimately leads to more income.
We stumbled upon a very informative case study from Flight Drummers on how they were able to build their YouTube subscriber base and capture 500,000+ views in a 10 month time frame.
Check out the entire article below and see if you can adapt some of their strategy to help improve your results!
As an avid marketing blog reader, my inbox and Feedly are constantly filled with fantastic marketing techniques on Google+, Twitter, and Facebook.
Although I use these social media sites heavily, I’d like to bring in another extremely powerful (often overlooked) marketing platform to the table—YouTube.
At the beginning of 2013, my business partner and I decided to attempt a different marketing tactic for our (slow) growing drumming education company, Flight Drummers.
We constantly used Facebook and Twitter as our prime marketing resources, but it was soon apparent that the dream wouldn’t last long if we didn’t pick up more traffic or make more sales.
That month, we studied our competition hard and realized that Youtube was a rare marketing commodity in the drumming industry. Sure, a majority of drumming education companies had Youtube channels, but the view count, subscriber count, and interaction was minimal.
Seeing as this was a difficult marketing strategy for competition in our niche, we decided to capitalize on their weakness by filming some Youtube videos.
The following month, we geared up, filmed, edited nearly 70 videos, and began harnessing the true power of Youtube.
Within three months, we had accumulated more than 100,000 Youtube views with 1,800 subscribers, and by month 10, had generated 500,000+ views, accumulated a Youtube subscriber base of more than 8,400 people, and established paid members in 14 countries—primarily through Youtube.
Despite our current success with Youtube marketing, it wasn’t until we began following these eight steps, that we began to experience 2,000-3,000 views per day (5,000-7,000 views on release days) and a highly interactive subscriber base.
We’re gonna tell you a lot of things that you might not want to hear (especially if you’re doing or NOT doing some of these items). A lot of mags and industry professionals (mostly those who want your money) don’t want to hurt your feelings, so they patronize you and talk to you like children when it comes to these things. I’ve seen some God-awful, condescending nonsense in print when it comes to career advice for musicians.
We respect you more than that. We think you’re adults (for the most part) who can handle a dose of reality every now and again if it means making some positive changes in how you conduct your business. And if your band isn’t a business, maybe you should re-think seeking out press in the first place.
A healthy majority of these list items come from discussions we’ve had with editors and journalists from around the country, and some of them are our own pet peeves. Take everything with a grain of salt, if you must. We’re just telling it like it is, giving you a peek behind the curtain.
OK, no more preamble, no sugarcoating, no bullshit. Here (in no particular order) are about two-dozen plus reasons why your band isn’t getting anywhere with press. So, if you’re ready for some harsh truths, read on. We start with…
1. You look, sound or act like the ass-clowns in Brokencyde. See Exhibit A below.