Mad, Bad and Sad Music Marketing Business

by Matt @ Kurb on September 3, 2009

My name is Matt. I work with a full staff providing a full range of online music marketing and management services for artists, my email is kurbpromo@gmail.com I charge upwards of $US200 p/month.

So I got 2 emails from clients this week I just want to talk quickly about.

First the bad news from the client who was totally washed up. They were asking if I’d do free posters for their gig as they were against the wall.

I’ll tell you all about them, they spent all this money, thousands of dollars on recording their 2 songs and done a massive disc mail out. They hadn’t been gigging, just putting everything into this two song release.

I felt compelled to convince them to give me $500 to do some online marketing for them because I didn’t see the point of them putting all this effort into the product and physical marketing without doing something online, they believed there were people who wanted to buy the singles and that it would get play so I really wanted to make sure they had an emailing list.

So let’s take this apart.

Massive commitment of resources to a poor strategy. Ultimately it didn’t matter that their recordings had great sound, or that they sent out 2000 CD’s. There was no vibe, it was just like running head first into a brick wall there was nothing cunning about it.

These guys dropped $6k on the recordings and the CD and they had a pretty website and great photos, etc. but it meant nothing because that’s nothing any other band doesn’t have.  I talked to them about trying to bring the band to life. With 6k spent on online marketing I think they could have gone a lot further with a lot less effort.

$6k. You could easily build your “1000” true followers with $6k. I think $6k is enough to make an impact online.

And you could also have 2 really good sounding songs on 2000 discs you sent around the world and still nobody would care, because it’s still spam, it’s still untargeted, it’s still forced and it’s not natural, like dude, it’s not organic, man.

What about their support?

It reminds me, if you go at it with money and a big marketing strategy and that’s great, and if you come up through the scene with the support of your region behind you that’s great too, but you can’t make it on the back of one of those things without a little bit of the other.

What you’re just going to drop out of the sky without playing any gigs? That doesn’t happen in real life. Behind pretty much every great band is a home city that that band absolutely OWNS. You can’t online market your way out of that one so easily.

The second email I got was from some friendly guy enquiring about my possible involvement with his label, and he sent me a song.

I’m not usually interested in your actual music.You see, I’m a businessman, I very try to keep any concept of whether I “like” my clients music out of the picture so I can make objective analysis.

But this RnB tune was of a very high standard and instantly grabbed as sounding radio friendly in every sense of – stylistically, lyrically, sonically.

It sounded like a raw, flat, ever so slightly dated Beyonce track. The girl herself is very easy on the eye.

I have never once discussed legal matters with a client until this instance because I felt like this track could sell 100,000 copies

So let’s take this one apart:

This is a track for what is known as pop music, it’s the pillar of the traditional music industry and therefore all the common knowledge that exists pertaining to traditional music marketing remains to a point relevant.

This is a top product in a cut throat industry, legal diligence must be taken before you make the necessary commercial commitment to this business.

Are you a young girl who makes crisp, bass heavy contemporary pop? Well this is the point of departure from tradition where you have to think about what you can do with what you do do. Get me?

You don’t have to get around in a bikini to make it in music, but you think your going to move 100,000 singles then you better have something to bring to the table. If you do, obviously it’s going to make my job a dream where I shoot fish in a barrel in my sleep, but my point is that you’ve got to be bringing something exceptional that you simply exude as a unified image that is you, that is your music, that is your brand.

Our job is to bring that brand to life online, for your fans, for your potential business partners so you know, know with the data and the numbers before you go crazy spending too much money on a result that can’t be isolated, that’s not based on experience of something you know.

Great music and a great brand together, that’s what you can build a business on from the ground up. You could shoot yourself out of a cannon if you really want to get up there but generally you’re likely to hit the ground with a splat.

When you step into this business, you’ve got to do it smart, when your spending money all over the place, what kind of business are you actually getting yourself into?

Staying alive in it and not blowing all your cash on something you can’t call is smart business. And if you do have the tunes, staying alive and working away at it over the years – yes, YEARS – is what you need to do.

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