This past weekend, the California Music Industry Summit
took place at the Marriott Hotel in Oakland, California. One of the standout panels featured experienced music marketers sharing knowledge for a crowd of independent artists and indie music marketers. Some of the highlights: Michael Fiebach
of Fame House
asserts that while one doesn't necessarily have to be a fan of their client's music, it's hugely important for marketers to understand what their artists stand for and what their music represents in order to understand their audience. Steffen Franz
of Independent Distribution Collective
suggests that bands need to think regionally and conquer their own domain first.
Small success is real success," he said. Once you begin making even just small amounts of money from your music, you'll be more inclined to invest in your art and your business."
He goes on to mention that the more niche the music is, the better. As a marketer, the key is to take whatever's novel and make that the focal point of what you're selling. Hannah Wagner
of ConsuMusic mentions that many artists assume that the personal branding process merely includes artist logos, the website, or CD covers.
In actuality, it's how they interact with people; the emotions, qualities, and thoughts that are associated with them. That is far more reflective of their brand than anything else."
She believes the challenge in working with independent artists is that they tend to lack structure.
As a marketer, it's important that they understand what I'm doing so they can work with me more effectively," Wagner said. It's a 50/50 effort between me and the artist. If they're not implementing the ideas, than we're just having a conversation."Michael Brandvold
of Michael Brandvold Marketing
agrees that the artist needs to be involved in the marketing process. He finds that the most fulfilling artists are the ones who desire to be involved with him as a marketer.
They check their egos at the door when they're meeting about business and they keep it on stage where it belongs."
Hannah Wagner cleverly analogized marketing to dating strategies.
The mindsets are similar (marketing and dating)," she said. You don't just ask someone for their number right away, do you? You treat it with a little more tact than that. When communicating with your audience, 80% of what you're talking about should be about you as a real person and 20% should be about selling."The Takeaway
We're ALL marketers - artists and business personnel alike. If an artist gets to the point where they feel the aid of outsourced and professional music marketing services are necessary to grow their businesses, they still can't afford to sit back and not take part in the marketing efforts.
In other words, artists today need to come to terms with the fact that they're salespeople as well.
In essence, you're selling yourself to your fans and the music acts as the medium in which you reach and engage with them at the most intimate of levels. Make sure that's on point first before even thinking about any marketing details. Otherwise, you'll be lost in a sea of mediocrity that exists in today's heavily saturated music space.