Innovating Around Artist Branding and Music Marketing

by Matt @ Kurb on August 1, 2009

Do you need online music promotion and management? That’s what we do.

You get a complete, personalised service to develop online marketing and management and it works out about US$200 p/month

includes: video promotion // web + graphic design // ppc management (and $100 free adwords credit) // blog promotion

And more!

Contact me, Matt: kurbpromo@gmail.com

Just been reading more on Chris “Long Tail” Anderson’s new “Free” thing.

So how many books did he write? I think I must have been hearing about this for about a year now and every time it’s got a new bi-line. But people are still talking about it, has he been rereleasing new versions or what? Has he been drip feeding the chapters?

But reading various articles around the blogosphere it astounds me how few music business bloggers seem to understand business. It doesn’t have to be a struggle.

If you’ve been wasting your time for years and not getting anywhere, somethings wrong, and it’s not talent, because you can get by without it and plenty do.

Music business bloggers should be pointing the way using innovative concepts, not saying daft things like “how are we going to make more money out of songs and gigs if everything is free?”

Hey newsflash: It’s 2009 and you should know by now that the answer is: You’re not.

Just like your various royalty cheques, songs and performance fees are no your bread and butter, it’s just a little bonus cash you can use because god knows if you’re a musician you probably need it.

So right now that doesn’t mean stop being a musician, it just means to succeed in music with a career, you need people who understand business on your side. Now that used to be the label, but now the label is nothing, it’s just a bunch of guys with an office.

Guess what, I’ve got an office too but I’m not asking you to sign away anything. If you don’t feel it’s right, you’re not stuck with anything. That’s why I ask for $400 upfront for our music marketing services and if you’re not happy after 3 months you can walk away. Just decided right now I’m going to put that up to $500 before the end of the year.

My prices have to keep going up because between me and the 7 guys in india and the Philippines that work for me, we do damn good work for the money we’re paid.

Often you’ll get these guys who have been in the industry awhile and they’ve learnt a lot but they still started out as rock’n rollers who really didn’t want anything else but to rock, and good on them, we can learn from their experience, but you have to understand that most people who had a natural predisposition for business probably cottoned on pretty quickly to where they could actually make money quickly and easily and that’s not the music industry.

A lot of artists don’t understand how much competition there is for the tiny amount of glory and even tinier amount of money available in this business.

That’s why even the wisdom of the old timers with their experience and chops are so valuable.  But this is the thing – they can’t smell money. Not like I can.

This is why I feel really qualified in the music business, because after being in this for almost 5 years now, I am quite keen to make my first million soonish in the next few years because I’ve learnt first hand that goofy dreams don’t make money, even the goofy dreams of truly talented people. So I’m not that keen to mess around with the sort of things people won’t spend their good money on.

Like big pipe dreams. Like songs and gigs from artists with no profile or brand. Until you’re establish these are not going to contribute to your progress that much.

The only reason you had to gig relentlessly in the past was because there was no internet to offer an alternative. Now you gig relentlessly because you’ll never be a truly great artist until you’ve done at least a few hundred shows.

Seriously, when you pay someone like me to help you get moving in the music business it’s not going to be like me coming over to help you build a treehouse and then your mom’s going to bring out lemonade and hot dogs afterwards.

The music game is a bitter trail littered with broken dreams. Because the young musicians were so confident, they spent years butting their head against the same brick walls until their motivation is gone, and in the early stages, although still important, it is no longer essential to have your hometown behind you.

It’s the age of the internet now, and the internet means internet business.

THE BUSINESS:

Business is about providing services and products that quite simply outplay and exclude the competition from even being considered in the minds of your audience.

Which is not hard considering how many fools there are in music and how many music business people, as I said, don’t seem to “get” business.

The situation we’re in is that less people want to pay for music, the people that do pay, want to download it and they expect to pay less. It’s not looking good for songs, albums recordings of any type to be big breadwinners.

Look, I know it’s all about art. Where do you think I came from? I loved the art, the creativity but somewhere I realised . . . I was always good at school and with money, but making music and being a musician and managing the networks and social politics that musicians must do as they move through a “scene” was always a struggle for me and I finally accepted I would rather be a successful business person than a mediocre musician.

But people like me are needed in order for musicians to grow thier careers sustainably. People who understand money and business, because I can tell you from experience, life is hard when you have no money to keep moving forward with. You got money, you can make decisions and make things happen.

You can give it to me to make you famous!

I can also tell you that once you have money, as you probably have been told, you just find a whole lot of new problems that ruin your life, but for now, your problem is you can’t move forward with your music because of money.

Because you need to structure a career around a new innovative business model beyond that of one which either only generates 69c a sale from Itunes or gigging which is hugely intensive and not scaleable.

There I go again with my “business concepts”, but what you need to understand is that both of those activities are a total drudge that will wear you down over years and make it harder to realise your art in it’s purest form and create a vivid brand. Making big money from selling heaps of songs and booking big gigs is something that comes naturally once you’ve put the work into building your brand that makes you a total powerhouse of themes, motifs, ideas, concepts – a brand – that totally feeds the idealogy of your chosen niche / demographic / market, TRIBE.

Doesn’t that sound good? Okay now we need to keep you eating in the years it will take to get there. That’s why you need some business help from me to not only be planning for a future where we are running a business with thousands of customers who are your fans, but until then, looking at what you’ve got and me using my internet smarts to help you get some money going so you can afford to keep paying me to work towards that end goal – in a year or two when you’ve got thousands of fans following what you’re doing and we’ve built a masterful mechanism to facilitate communication and of course sales and marketing to this fanbase.

That’s where you need to be thinking about innovative ways to take what you’ve got and provide as something that people would really want to pay for.

When I first start work with an artist we need to get the people first, which is basically the service we offer, we get you fans and then we talk about making money from them. But then it becomes about ideas, innovations concepts that connect with people in a way that it makes it perfectly logical and reasonable to give you money.

You see what I’m doing here? I couldn’t start a label because that model is dead, and I can’t make money from songs or by managing performers. So innovated that business model to providing my online markeitng and monetization service for $200 p/month so I could get paid – and now in order to get the fans and audience who read this blog engaged I am talking about my experience as a failed musician and a successful business person in such a way so you’ll put it together yourself:

Without. . .

A website, with persuasive marketing and frictionless functionality

A pro email management platform

SEO optimisation

PPC / online advertising campaign

A blog to use as a quick publishing channel

Social media marketing support on myspace/youtube

As well as guidance for facebook / twitter

Outsourcing cheap overseas labour to manage and administer digital tasks

Affiliate marketing set up and tracking

You don’t have a good grasp on the shape of the new music business, and from a lot of the music business articles I read, they’re not telling you nearly enough about this stuff for you to succeed without professional help.

My company of course provides all these services in acomprehensive and personal may for our music marketing clients so please contact us today:

kurbpromo@gmail.com

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