Prove You’re Real: Building Trust and Brand in Music 2009

by Matt @ Kurb on April 24, 2009

Alright, now I’m all back on it we got to get back on to branding.

Branding is the image that you represent through your content, and obviously branding plays a massive role in building trust and of course you know I’m all about trust based economies now because I’m just so damn sick of this “blood out of a stone” formula for making money trying to sell one damn song at a time for 69c!

That’s not a strategy for a building artist to generate the cash they need now to build momentum long term that leads to a career. The copy based model is now just too hard for up and coming and undiscovered artists.

Trust based models are close to ideas we’ve heard before about the “1000 true fans model” – that 1000 true fans who spend $100 on the artist in a year can support them in a full time career. But now we’re looking at ways in which on the basis of trust and support for the artist and their craft, you can motivate your fans in a respectful and authentic way to take actions or grant attention to a subject which directly leads to revenue for the act without the fans actually having to cross the line of opening their wallets in a significant way.

But how the hell do you build that much trust with that many people that you could actually convince 1000 or even 100 to try some free trial for some product just because you said please and it would really help you out for your next record or tour?

Well you build brand for a start. You should have a clear picture about your brand, you MUST know that everything that you stand for and represent has gotta be basically jumping off your site and connecting and engaging immediately with your audience, it’s gotta be unique.

And it doesn’t happen overnight. You make that great first impression and you facilitate the opportunity for the relationship between you and your fanbase to grow.

That’s exactly why I put email list sign ups as top of the list of priorities in terms of managing our fanbase and of course every good artist will also be on the social networks building up relationships and engaging fans with content there.

Now lets not be under any illusions about how far you have to go with this, there’s no point being coy.

If fans are going to be engaged by content then they must have access to content, as much content as you can provide!

So stop clinging onto that 69c, please, just let it go, just give it away and focus on building brand with whatever you can get out in front of people and getting those email sign ups so we have a platform on which to engage fans, to talk with them , to get real with them.

What matters is that those people can begin trust you and they know you’re real because they can see it.

How do you prove that you’re real? If your music is jaw droppingly good thats usually enough, but its not the only way. By making a statement and standing for something that differentiates you give yourself the opportunity to stand out and be recognised.

You gotta understand communication here – video is particularly powerful here – when you watch my video up there you see what I’m like, what kind of guy I am and you make a whole bunch of judgements based on that that I could never expose myself to if you only ever read my writing.

It’s amazing way of creating trust and this is a big reason for why video – regular video, authentic video – is so important for new artists.

It’s gotta be authentic. Is it time to talk about me yet? Yes I think so.

I look at what other people are doing and I want to differentiate myself in a big way, while remaining true to myself, true to my audience.

So I’m on my blog here, and on twitter as @mattnz playing with my brand, I’ve done a few videos for youtube that I want to desperately improve on, building up my brand.

I’m a businessman. I’m a marketing guy. I’m not sugar coating it. If you’re going to make it in music you NEED someone as calculating and cunning as I am on your side or you will never see significant financial reward from your passion. The structure is no longer there to support you, if it ever was.

I am here to make money out of what I do – or well, what you do – and that’s why I write this damn blog. And that is for real. That’s my brand message, now I just have to prove it.

Show evidence. Present myself authentically as an authority.

You see how I keep saying “authentic”? Here’s what I’m getting at: There are so many retards out there without a clue who are either just faking or failing miserably in an effort to fake it, that a little bit of authenticity can go a long way.

You must avoid that trap of dishing out the same tired bullshit that thousands of other artists are serving out every day. That’s why they’re failing to connect, because it’s old, it’s tired and nobody wants to hear it.

Buy a download, buy a t shirt, whatever, dont care, you’ve already lost me.

For authenticity, you gotta really reach down deep and not only find it out, but bring it out. I’m moving to a trust based model so it’s going to be crucial now that I power up my branding so that what I’m saying actually cuts through, actually gets through to people and engages them.

And that’s what you’ve got to do. Bring it out. Build trust.

Whether my crazy ideas about making money from trust stand, there is NO WAY that building relationships with fans that are authentic and putting your fans first will ever be a bad strategy.

The idea is to stop thinking about making money, selling stuff. That’s my job. Your job is JUST TO BE REAL. TO CONNECT. Through your art, through your content, through who you are. Build your brand, connect with people authentically, build trust and leave the rest to me.

69c a song come on you’ve got to be kidding me.

We’re trying to make some serious money here.

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