Music Promotion Storytime: My Music Marketing Stories

by Matt @ Kurb on September 22, 2008

What does the brand of Kurb Promotions stand for?

Kurb could be as simple as me having always tried to work out how to do things more cheaply.

Or it could be always looking, knowing theres always shortcuts, loopholes and tricks on the internet that can take a lot of work out of marketing.

It could be that I have a first hand and daily experience of how exciting the new digital economy is because it provides me with a pretty decent full time job, and it is where more and more musicians and other creative people with value to contribute will realise rewards from the value they can create and deliver. This is the future, it may not be here for many people yet, but it’s coming!

Kurb is about understanding and surviving now in a changing music industry environment.

Kurb is a concerted strategy of minimising costs in order to sustain sound marketing practices and content management as it matures into distinct opportunities to realise the value you provide, as revenue.

The old structure held together by traditional record labels is diminishing and a whole new model is coming to the fore. There just simply isn’t the money in it for music industry entities to survive in the old ways that they did, the era of the superstar is over. There will never be starts as big as Elvis Presley or Michael Jackson, and you may never have your own stylist. What I am saying is that if the music industry is in fall out, then you had better get down with Kurb and the Cockroaches if you’e going ot winter it out.

I was reading in another article about the decline of the music industry that old school record label marketing departments haven’t shifted to reflect that the revenues just aren’t there any more. Kurb is about leverage. It’s about leveraging as much value as you possibly can.

You shouldn’t pay heaps for posters, or flash looking CD’s to sell for $20 a pop. There’s just not the return on it, there’s not the future in these old ways! Sure do, them, that’s why I offer such cheap posters and such cheap CD’s and DVD’s, because you have to go through the motions, pay your dues.

But what is the future of the music industry?

The real challenge is in building your brand into something that represents ongoing value to your fanbase, to your tribe. To the people who have connected with you and your brand and draw positivity and community from interacting with your music and what it stands for.

That is your career. Not colourful bits of some dead tree glued up and down main street. Not some round bit of plastic. That’s not your career. Your career is your connection with your fans.

Kurb’s job is to help you on that long, long road to connect you with your fans and then manage that connection for revenue in new ways.

What’s the Story?

Kurb promotions comes from this idea that began with underground music, we couldn’t get our music signed, we couldn’t get our music out there, so we had to do it ourselves.

But see, my problem though is that I have always been tight with money.

I wasn’t really thinking about the way the music industry was about to change. I just wanted to run my  little label and throw my events and save money where I could by doing as much as I could my self,  so I started to find out the cheapest way to do things. Posters and Flyers for gigs, I started with. Then I learnt to use Dreamweaver to make websites and Photoshop to do stuff with graphics and pictures. Then I started making CD-Rs with sticky peel on labels and selling them at shows.

Needless to say I didn’t really  see the path of a music industry and internet marketing entrepreneur rolling out before me at that point. I just started spending way too much time online on unsigned artist sites and then to all day on Myspace.

But slowly I learned and grew an insight into the way the world was changing due to technology and digital connectivity, and the way in which content that was valuable could be created as part of a system that could turn that value into revenue by anyone.

10 Story drop

As a marketer, You hear me talking about “Stories”.

Marketing folk who are in advertising just love stories, because stories engage people, they connect people to a brand which creates a commitment beyond the simple need of . . .

“I wouldn’t mind listening to some music” . . . to . . . “I’ve got to have that @#$king song!!!!”

Songs work in this way because most all songs are within themselves a story. That’s why we hear a lot of our favourite bloggers talking about how the radio used to make people hear songs that they then would want to buy, but now on the internet, the biggest challenge is getting enough people to hear your music for you and I to get paid.

And that’s not built on one song. We’re working with musicians here who want to build an asset, who want to build a body of work as the basis of their career, something they can earn off even if they get sick and cant perform or decide to settle down.

That’s why you need more stories than just good songs. I’ve talked about how content IS promotion.
What we’re seeing here is that you, as a musician; as a brand; are a channel.

And as a channel you’ve got to deliver engaging content. You cannot control your content, you can only engage people with it in a way that creates real value. Connections for people.

So let me tell you another story.

I used to go on about how I did the cheapest CD/DVD duplication in New Zealand.

I emphasized how cheap it was because I did free graphic design and free delivery, and we were also pretty fast.

It’s kind of like saying

“I’m a young musician and music is my passion. Music is my life.”

It’s kind of like . . . yeah, so . . . and? What’s really to get excited about?

But now I’ve changed that so that I am beginning to emphasise the story that lies behind what my brand, kurb promotions, represents, and that’s what you’re trying to do with your website, with your blog posts, with your video content, tell stories that involve people on a different level.

Sure I still mention we are the cheapest. But I also now mention that I know our customers appreciate our commitment to problem solving. That it’s not really the price that mattered in the end, or that they were top quality, it’s that I made a contribution to make the outcome better for the client, whether adjusting their design so it came out evenly and as sharp as possible, or putting in the effort to get a job done in time.

And that’s a story that the people who have the most to gain from what I offer will connect with, and increase my chance of engaging htem and getting their business over all the other cd/dvd duplication outfits they could choose.

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