Why Musicians and Artists Need Internet Marketing Strategies for Promotion and Management

by Matt @ Kurb on December 20, 2008

I’m writing this post because I’m concerned that musicians aren’t grasping internet marketing.

Have you seen that Gerd Leonhard slide of the horse pulling the car? Always thought that was a great metaphor.

Using the internet to sell CD’s, downloads and T-shirts is not a long term sustainable model for optimum earnings. I’m a businessman, so I will always assess the opportunity to develop proven revenue, but selling physical products such as merch and CD’s is not a proposition that can be extended quickly.

When I launch a new proposition I want to know immediately if it’s going to be a winner. Like within days. Because I’m not going to start selling kurb t-shirts, because if I do, I’m not going to be able to change my mind next week and scrap it.

Things happen fast online. Culture is moving fast.

If you take an internet marketing approach to music promotion and management, you certainly wouldn’t ignore the opportunity to create revenue in traditional ways, but this sort of activity certainly wouldn’t be the core of any modern internet marketers business model.

It’s been almost 18 months since I wrote my first article for the purpose of sharing and leveraging targeted content online.

The title of that article was “your music is worth nothing”. And it described how we were living in a world where copies of music, whether stored on computers or sold as physical product would lose significant financial value over the coming years.

This was a description of how changes taking place in the music industry, mainly due to internet based digital technologies, meant we had to prepare to start shifting the way we approached the business.

That was 18 months ago. Early in the year I wrote about how 2008 was all about 2009, that we had this year to brace for the impact of these changes to be felt.

And what I predict is that all this recession/downturn talk is just going to accelerate things. People have more access to content, information, stimuli through the internet than ever before they are going to be hungry for value and they will continue to demand it.

So real opportunities are going to start to emerge for those who have been preparing for them, not just the token novelty quirky viral video stuff.

But I’m definitely running into a few unexpected problems with the rebranding process here at the music. marketing. management. blog.

A big part of the new flavour here was being unapologetic about building successful strategies, strategies that I know work, which are internet marketing strategies.

I build income for artists and their management online. That’s what I do. I don’t care what you look like or what you sound like, I create strategies to prepare musicians and entrepreneurs to make money in the future.

I still hear a lot of artists who have been struggling and lamenting about the state of the music industry, and I still see a lot of music industry blogs who are not showing much practical support for artists, that’s why I decided to just focus my blog on revenue strategies, and the strategies I use to create revenue are based on solid internet marketing practice.

When I’m talking to artists now I tend to gloss over the myspace and youtube stuff.  Because I say – you can pay me $500 to get your myspace popping and thousands of people to watch your video on youtube but then what? Where are you going to take that?

Yes, but Matt, people come from myspace and youtube and they buy downloads and merch.

Yes, but that’s an old model! Selling T shirts and downloads is only going to take you so far.

If you don;t have decent web property, you’re not building an asset that you can leverage in so many ways it’ll take me the next 6 months to get through it all on this blog.

We haven’t even got into the email management stuff with aweber properly because we got too many artists with ratty websites that don’t do stuff we need them to do!

It comes down to this, if you have no understanding of internet marketing practice you’re going to have a really hard time making your band viable, and it’s going to be a lot of work explaining it to you. You should keep reading this blog, I’ll try as much as I can to keep it simple.

But this is what I’m hearing talking to artists. That they want me to do myspace and youtube. And I’m like sure. What about your website. What about your blog. What about your mailing list. And I’m drawing blanks.

I haven’t even got started! We haven’t even started about leveraging recurring income streams which is a blog post I’m about ready to publish. I’m about to launch into all this heavy internet marketing stuff and building multiple niche web properties because I want to share solid revenue strategies with artists and they don’t even have a clue about the kinds of income that can be leveraged from high quality traffic that you commit to building.

Artists must get business minded about their propositions. Don’t have super premium high value products/services?

Get some! Do the math. You make 10 sales of your CD on your website. You make $100. I make 10 Sales of a 3 month consultancy package. I make $5000. Maths lesson over.

And relying on Myspace is so totally like living at your parents house. Time to face the real world and get out there.

It’s very concerning to me. If I was really committed to artists, it’s most likely I’d have to pull away from how heavily into internet marketing this blog is going so it was easier for musicians with only basic understanding to engage with, but I’m not going to feed you the same industry blog stuff about how to get gigs or get signed to some kind of deal if ultimately it won’t help you, if such things are even still relevant.
It makes me feel that more than ever I need to choose my clients, if you’re not prepared to attempt to understand internet marketing, then you’re not ready for the internet where the mainstream music industry is now increasingly situated. It wouldn’t surprise me if in years to come I go full circle and swap consulting for actually managing and developing acts that I felt were exceptional, by leveraging the brand and financial capital I’m now building up now I’m getting some momentum.

I still feel really committed to the clients I’ve worked with up until now, for all the bands who put faith in me, even though I’m not completely sure where all this going, I’m totally indebted.

But did I mention how everything becomes a lot easier when you’ve got the money to pay for it?

When I was a musician, all I wanted was a bit of coin to keep the wolves from the door. To be able to afford to be able to keep doing what I was doing. And that should be easy for artists who are deliberate in applying internet marketing to their music promotion in 2009.

Standby in the next post I’ll be talking about recurring income streams – different forms of ad revenue and affiliate offers.


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