How “Music Success in 9 Weeks” Got Its Name

Musicians often smirk or actually chuckle when they hear the title of my best selling book Music Success in 9 Weeks. They say things like: “YEAH, it took me 16 YEARS to get here – what will 9 weeks do?” (I’ve heard variations of this many times!)

So, here’s How Music Success in 9 Weeks Got it’s Name…..


It’s a simple answer really: Derek Sivers did it.

I am classically AWFUL at naming things: I’m jealous of people who come up with brilliant names for things like TopSpin, ReverbNation, Girlie Action, and Fluence!

How fun are those names?

Not me: I choose the obvious:

Case and point: CYBER PR
(DUH – Easy).

So when it came time to choose a name for my first book I called my best friend in the music business and a man who has incredible experience and asked:

What should I name my book:

“Keep it simple and easy,” he said “how many steps are in the book?”

9 I answered….. and Voila!

My little book that came out in its first edition in 2008 is now in her 3rd edition and I’m proud that it has helped thousands of musicians.

She’s been to the #1 position on Amazon and served as a textbook at many music industry schools across the USA and Canada.

And now it is priced at the deepest discount I have ever extended. (this links to sales page)

Here’s are some artists’ reviews:

Screen-shot-2012-02-23-at-8.03.26-AM1 “Not only is the material excellent, it is presented in a practical, workbook-like way,    and it is divided into chapters that are actually possible to tackle instead of            overwhelming. Add to that Ariel’s positive input and thoughts that infuse this entire  book, and every independent musician… should get this book and then make a  commitment to work it through the next 9 weeks.”
– Jeanine Guidry – Singer/band leader of Offering

“Ariel’s 9-week plan will truly bring you to a new level of success with your music. It  is laid out in an easy to follow format that takes you week by week through the steps.  After completing the plan, my band has seen a noticeable and measurable increase in  the attendance at our shows, our music is reaching a larger audience, and promoters  and club owners are showing greater interest.”
– M Bassick, “Bass Guy”

“We’ve all spent time asking “What can I do to promote my band?” This book not  only gave me a plethora of resources and instruction, it lit a fire under my a** and got  me out there promoting like a mad man. If you’re looking for a healthy heaping of advice, instruction, and motivation, this is the book for you. BUY IT.”
– Dave Carter, The Station Music

Come order it! I’d love for it to help you get your online presence in order! 

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How To Find A Free Practice Room


This is a guest article from Ben Sword, founder of Music Marketing Classroom.

Here in London practice rooms have gotten crazy pricey. (Maybe you can relate)

So I decided to build an action plan allowing up and coming musicians to practice in-front of a real audience without spending a penny, in fact you can even use this to MAKE MONEY down the road.

Here are the steps…

1. Look around your town for a cool bar, pub, coffee shop, college, nightclub (you get the idea)

2. Call the decision-maker and offer to host a music night…tell them you’ll play for free until it becomes popular.

This kind of pitch is hard to refuse because they can’t really lose.

3. You’ll need to jump on Ebay and get a small PA system, which you can do for around $200 if you “snipe” well.

You could even look for some 80’s disco lights if you want to get real fancy!

4. Now turn up each week and practice your set :-)

5. If you want to do a new song play through it for an hour in the “sound check”. Make sure the band have the track beforehand and the notes to follow. Sure you might be a little shabby, but in my opinion that’s OK…if you wait for perfection before taking any action you may never make any progress.

Growing Your Night

1. Make sure that even if there is only a few people in the place that you get their email address (if possible), and tell them to bring their friends next time.

2. Hit YouTube and look up live footage from awesome performers for inspiration on stage craft. Try to make your little venue feel like the hollywood bowl!

3. Keep writing and playing new songs each week, always be looking for the new “gems”.

4. Listen to music you love with an analytical ear and ask yourself “why on earth did this tune work so well?” use what you learn to improve your own writing.

If you follow these steps there is a good chance your night will grow , then you can ask to get paid!

Getting Paid $$$

I’m sure at this point the venue manager will be happy with the new income and pay you fair, but if not you’ve got the email list and can move wherever you like with the massive incentive of already having a large audience.

So get your negotiation hat on…have the venue manager name a fee first because it might be surprisingly high.

Now maybe you can spend the new income to build your audience even faster reaching out directly to your target fanbase through something like Facebook advertising.

And since you’ve been working hard to improve your chops at the weekly show, chances are the response will be better than ever.

Why is this cool?

Practice in front of a live audience is the best you can get…it the “Beatles Effect”.

Did you know the Beatles were pretty average before they traveled to hamburg and play 18 hours a day for 6 months?

Then they came back and were so good everyone pooped in their pants.

So they took some natural talent…added a lot of practice… and Beatles Booyar!


:: Video Version ::


P.S Did you find this useful?

If so please click share below and let me know.


Ben Sword is the founder of the Music Marketing Classroom, on a mission to help musicians create sustainable careers with a simple four level marketing philosophy.

Learn more at

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The Musician’s Guide to Creating an Effective Music Marketing Plan (Part 3 of 3)

In creating an effective music marketing plan, so far we have discussed building a solid and complete online foundation and outlined strategies for a successful new release launch. Now it is time to kick back and relax for a little while before starting to write material for the next album that you’ll release a year or two down the road right…..Couldn’t be further from the truth!

To build off of all the progress you’ve been making up to this point, while you are working on that next record, you will have to keep supplying content on a consistent basis to strengthen your relationship and stay relevant with your current fans, and at the same time this content will also help to increase your fanbase.

Additional merchandise is one content idea, you can make vinyl for the last album or announce a new T-shirt design. Continue to release music videos for songs off the last album is another, for example take footage from the album release tour and edit to create an easy and fun music video to upload to your YouTube channel.

In the final post of this series I will discuss the three crucial content streams of Music, Social Media and Performing Live.



Gone are the days of releasing an album once every couple of years and leaving it at that, today’s artists need to be constantly feeding their fanbase new music. Releasing singles will keep people engaged while they are waiting on a full length, but you’re not limited to just releasing original new works.

Create alternate versions of your studio tracks:

Get a DJ to remix one of your songs. Not saying this has to be a famous DJ, just someone who knows the technology and is Sparlers Notescreative. If you’re interested in holding a remix contest should contact the folks over at Indaba Music, they put together some great remix campaigns for artists. Unless you’re already an acoustic act, take a page from Nirvana and release an album of stripped down “unplugged” versions of your studio tracks. A great way to show a different side of the band and appeal to potentially new listeners. Lastly release a live album, preferably from the CD release show, but any show will work as long as the audio is of top quality.


Record cover songs:

Music fans love covers. Recording cover songs is a great strategy for gaining awareness for new artists and providing fun content to share with your fans. Cover artists that inspire the music that you make and bigger name similar sounding artists to further entrench yourself within your genre. But also look outside of your genre as you never know, might end up tapping in to a whole new fanbase. This is exactly what the pianist Scott D. Davis did when he decided to combine his love of heavy metal with the beautiful piano pieces he was recording. The result was millions of youtube hits for his metal covers and new fans out of the heavy metal community, even of the artists themselves; Scott has been invited to open for Godsmack, Korn, P.O.D., Sevendust, Vince Neil of Mötley Crüe and Queensrÿche among others.

*Please note, to legally sell a cover song you will need to obtain and pay for a mechanical license. Harry Fox Agency is the foremost mechanical licensing agency in the US. Or work with Limelight who will get the license for a small fee per song on top of the mechanical license fee.

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The Musician’s Guide to Creating an Effective Music Marketing Plan (Part 2 of 3)

Releasing an album or EP into today’s music landscape can feel like a daunting task. Who do you send it to? How will you get people to listen?  How do you cut through the noise? Where are all the places to put it online?

Marketing And AdvertisingThe first blog post in this 3-part series for creating an effective marketing plan dealt with building a strong online presence, so if you follow those instructions you are already in better shape than the majority of artists releasing music today.

In this, part 2, we will discuss steps to take in order to have a successful new release launch.



You must digitally distribute your album or EP. A physical CD only release or selling MP3s strictly on your website is not the way to go.

Digital distribution allows your music to be available everywhere fans will want it. Some will prefer streamed (Spotify, Rdio) and some will purchase (iTunes, Amazon, etc.) and the best way to get added to all of these is to go to a digital distributor like CD Baby or Tunecore.

I talk to artists all the time who take this step too far and sign up with multiple distributors because they think they are covering all their bases, which they are not. All this will do is put multiple copies of the same album on all the digital retail stores.

So, choose one and stick with them. We prefer CD Baby over Tunecore’s model because it’s a one time fee plus a small % of sales vs an annual fee that Tunecore will charge. So unless you think you’ll be generating at least $1k in sales year after year, then CD Baby is the economical option.



The release of the actual music itself is one big event, and this album/EP as a whole represents your main content that will be used in an effective launch campaign.

Keep in mind that you need to also plan for other types of content to support the release. These are many assets you can use to reach out to press and share with your current following that will work to draw attention to the release.

Here are a few of the most effective categories:


Ideally you will have a tour booked to kickoff following the official release of your album or EP. I’m not saying this has to be a long tour, it can be just a few regional dates, as this will help with your press efforts. Local blogs cheering crowd in front of bright stage lightsand newspapers in each market will be much more inclined to cover a new album or EP for an artist if a show is booked in their town.

Having multiple markets to play in will also help you leverage when it’s time for a national press campaign. A list of tour dates will add credibility and demonstrate that you are an active artist working hard to promote your career.



We all know MTV does not play music anymore, that is well-worn territory, but there are thousands of blogs who do love to post videos everyday. A music video that is captivating, colorful, funny, interesting (the list goes on, but you get the idea) greatly helps with a press campaign. The video can be used in the initial pitch to blogs about your album to make for a stronger pitch.

Another thing you can do with a video is secure an exclusive premier of the video on one blog ahead of the album release date to start generating buzz. Or if you don’t have the video ready in time for the release you can also drop it a month or two after the release date as a tool to continue to build awareness and draw attention back to the release.

You should have at least one official music video for an album to use in your press efforts, but you should plan on making videos for every song on the release. The idea is you want to build a fanbase and get as many people listening as possible and YouTube is where millions of people are going to listen to music. Many artists will upload the song’s audio to YouTube with a static image of the artist or album cover, but people are much more inclined to listen to your music if there are moving images. A slideshow video is one method or a better solution is to make lyric videos, here’s a great example from the band Vampire Weekend.


Pretty much everything in regards to your music career takes longer than expected, from making the album to creating the artwork to booking shows, and this definitely applies to any merchandise you want to have available to sell with the new album or EP, so start your planning months in advance.

I will caution you to ask your fans before you make merch to find out what they might like and if you don’t have a good sized fan base merch may not be a great move (yet!), as it can be costly to order merch that doesn’t yet have an audience to buy it.

Remember to match your merch to your crowd and merch isn’t limited to T-Shirts and posters, handmade items can make for great unique offerings or flash drives are great items that are functional and can be pre-filled with your music, videos and even sheet music.

Spark sales at shows, and through your online store, by selling your music through bundling items together. At the merch booth using download stickers from companies like Bandcamp or CD Baby you can create packages by placing a sticker with a download code to your music right on the t-shirt or other physical merch item that you are wishing to bundle your music with. Even though people aren’t buying CDs much anymore, they are still interested in supporting artists they love, so give them lots of different ways to support you and purchase your music.



A big component when promoting a new album is the press campaign, and you can do this by working with a PR company to handle your press outreach or going the DIY route.

I talk to many independent artists who don’t see the point in a press campaign for their new release, usually because they (or artists they know) have spent thousands of dollars on a PR company in the past with little to no results. I definitely feel for artists here, but ignoring press completely is not the solution.

Word Pr.wooden Cubes On MagazineWhen hiring a publicist make sure your music is a good fit with their existing roster and that the publicist has a well thought out plan for the campaign, and most of all, honestly likes your music. An expensive campaign with a PR company that has some major label big name clients is not by any means a slam dunk that you will get “tons” of “great” press for your independent release, and many times will be the exact opposite. Try contacting boutique PR firms that can offer more personal attention or PR companies that are focused on independent artists.

For many artists doing-it-yourself is a totally feasible option that I consult with artists on with strategy and supplying specific media outlets to target.

For the campaign itself having all this support content that we discussed will help immensely in your outreach to press outlets, keeping a steady stream of talking points throughout the campaign instead of just talking about the album over and over and over. But do not focus on just music blogs, your passions, history, interests and hobbies that you have outside of music can all be utilized in a PR campaign. These are your niches and by making connections with blogs and their communities who share your passions and interests will provide a great opportunity to promote your music at the same time.

How To Develop and Dominate in a Targeted Niche – A Cyber PR Niche Marketing Case Study

Further reading that I linked to in Part 1 to help you prepare for PR is important info, so if you didn’t read it the first time around, here it is again.

Or Follow Ariel’s step-by-step guidebook (a whole chapter walks you trough how to get PR)

Music Success in 9 Weeks



Here is a basic model to follow for an upcoming new album or EP release. If you plan on working with a PR company though to promote a new release please don’t set the release date until AFTER you have talked with them as it is important to have their input to make sure everything is aligned with their vision and timetable.

Two Months Before Release

  • Press campaign begins
  • Release a single, a great way excite your fans and also to get some current press quotes to include when contacting press about the full length release
  • Reskin social media profiles to advertise the new release
  • Get your newsletter firing and tell fans you have a special announcement

One Month Before Release

  • Announce pre-sale campaign through your newsletter and social media networks- create bundles of merch to sell for extra boost
  • Set up a Facebook invite for the new release, send it to all your Facebook friends and post on your Fan Page

Two Weeks Before Release

  • Keep the excitement going, hold a contest to win a copy of the new album and/or tickets to the release show

Official Release Day Activities

  • Write a news post about the release on your website or blog
  • Update Twitter and Facebook with an “album out now” post and link to where they can purchase it  (I suggest you pay to boost post so people see it!)
  • Send out a Newsletter to your mailing list

One Month After The Release

  • Service press with official music video and announce tour dates

Again, the more activities you can plan surrounding a release will help build and foster excitement amongst your fans and will create more opportunities to keep contacting press with new content, while at the same time reminding them about the new album or EP.

Also don’t forget to ask your family, friends and fans to write reviews of your new release on iTunes and other digital retailers the minute it becomes available. Studies have shown that albums that are reviewed actually sell more than albums with little to no reviews posted.

In the next and final post – Part 3 I will talk about supplying content while you’re in between album cycles, as a means to stay relevant and fresh with your current fans, and to increase your fanbase as well.

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At Cyber PR, We Represent Cool Bands

Happy Fall Ya’ll!  It’s here, and I am excited to share a few of the immensely diverse and talented artists we represent.  I walked into a showcase 10 years ago at Folk Alliance and had my mind blown and it was because Lindsay Mac was standing in front of me playing her cello like it was a guitar and it was incredible….  So naturally I freaked out when she called me and asked if I could help her with her all new reincarnation. This is not the Lindsay Mac you used to know, you will see why.  But Lindsay is not the only artist who you should add to your newest playlist, Two other artists who you already know are in our line up: Antigone Rising who make female rock and roll real and Jubilee Riots (Formerly Enter The Haggis) both haunted a few of my mixes in the aughts.  And I’ll let you watch and listen to the others because we represent cool bands…



If You Like: Ellie Goulding, Little Boots, Katy Perry


Killer Quote: “This is NOT the Lindsay Mac you used to know” – Ariel Hyatt


stunning electro-pop of Animal Again is the latest opus of singer-songwriter Lindsay Mac. Mac is widely known as the classically trained musician who went rogue and wrote quirky folk that innovatively recast the cello as a pop compositional tool with refreshing tonal capabilities. The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based artist is award winning, critically acclaimed, a mainstay on the modern folk tour and festival circuit, and an indie darling among radio programmers. In addition, she’s amassed a fanbase highly attuned to her vibrant artistic continuum. Listen to the amazing new song Remember here:




If You Like: Chairlift, Foster The People, Florence and the Machine


Killer Quote: “They’re one of Australia’s most talked about up and coming duo’s…”

Tracee Hutchison, ABC Australia


2014 began with Syre & Fresko winning 1st place in the National ABC/TripleJ Run competition, allowing them to represent Australia at the Annual Spring Gala for Chinese New Year in Beijing, performing for over 600+ million viewers in over 70+ countries. And the momentum hasn’t stopped there.


HOT NEWS: Their Original ‘Ruth’ (to be released on EP, Oct 17) has just been placed as a finalist in the global Unsigned Only Song Competition in the top 2% from 8000 entries!




If You Like: Daughter, Florence and the Machine, Paramore, Juliet Simms

Killer Quote: “…she tears down walls with her music, using starkly honest lyrics and intense vocal chops to draw her listeners in and turn them inside out”-


Only 18 years old Charlotte Erikson left everything she knew and moved to London to dedicate her life to her music and art. She began performing and writing music under the moniker The Glass Child and over time amassed 29,000 dedicated followers and fans on her socials, started her own record label Broken Glass Records, and released 5 EPs. Her single “I Will Lead You Home” reached #2 on the Swedish iTunes-chart and been played on major radio such as BBC6 (UK), Sveriges Radio (Sweden) and 3FM (Netherlands). She has let her fans in on her journey by publishing “Empty Roads and Broken Bottles; in search for The Great Perhaps” in April 2013. It tells the true and raw story about a girl who had a dream and went for it with all her heart. The book was beautifully received and sold out after 3 days of pre-order.



If You Like: Indigo Girls, Little Big Town, Sheryl Crow

Killer Quote: “Antigone Rising is carrying on the feral spirit of The Runaways”- Joan Jett


Antigone Rising stormed into 2014 with a foot stompin’ new single, a successful crowdfunding campaign, 2 fabulous EPs, a fan-made video, and a founding band member on the cover of Time Magazine. When the New York based, alt-country female rockers do something, they do it big. They Catapulted into the national spotlight in 2005 with a groundbreaking major label debut that landed them in the top 20 of the Billboard Heatseekers chart for an entire year, the ladies love outdoing their past accomplishments.

They are Set to return with a new EP, Whisky & Wine Volume 2 – Out October 28, 2014




If You Like: Augustana, Kings of Leon, Rusted Root

Killer Quote: “The guys from Jubilee Riots, on top of being amazing musicians who just released a fantastic new album, have been our poster boys, when it comes to engaging their fan base in creative and dynamic ways. Very few bands understand better how to leverage modern technology to turn their music into a journey that fans want to be a part of.”
- David Dufresne, CEO, Bandzoogle


Northern Roots act Jubilee Riots is a band that is very much centered around telling stories that resonate with truth and authenticity, as is evidenced by their latest outing, Penny Black. Inspired by years of touring, meeting people and sharing stories over late night drinks at the bar with fans, the band put out the call for people around the world to submit their stories as inspiration for their upcoming album. 500+ pages of letters came from across the globe – from the band’s native Canada to locales as far away as Japan and Australia – each carrying the weight of one fan’s emotional tale.

The band created a collection of tracks that they could perform start to finish on a late night dance tent stage at festivals; an album with an energetic pulse that would be impossible to sit still and listen to. It was that juxtaposition of upbeat party grooves with meaningful lyrics based on very personal stories that became the focus of the project.

We can’t share the music just yet but come see the brand new website here:



If you like: The Replacements, The Dandy Warhols, The Smashing Pumpkins

Killer Quote: “One of the most impressive things to mention about this album is the amount of insightful, reflective lyrics utilized… They tap into a number of sounds musically, from sounds paralleling newer bands like Built To Spill and Neutral Milk Hotel to older groups like The Smashing Pumpkins and The Flaming Lips.” – Good Vibes Music Blog


The Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based 6 piece forges a distinct sound from a variety of sources, ranging from majestic progressive rock, psychedelic, bluesy riff-rock, concise pop, and shards of shoegaze and post-rock. Since the band embraces such a panoramic stylistic perspective, the group has garnered favorable comparisons to such diverse artists as The Replacements, The Dandy Warhols, The Stone Roses, Built to Spill, and The Flaming Lips.

Their newest video Semantics was directed by Coven director Mark Borchardt, (who himself is the the subject of the essential 1999 documentary American Movie). Borchardt took a break from working on Northwestern and Scare Me, his two feature projects, to add his low-budget gore skills and you can watch band members go crazy and murder each other.  Just in time for Halloween

If you run a blog, DJ a podcast , curate playlists on Spotify or review music and you want to write about any of these fabulous artists I would be thrilled and delighted to send you music, set up interviews and invite you out to come see them.  xAriel

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If You Stopped Sharing Your Voice Tomorrow What Would the World Be Missing?

Every day brings with it highs and lows. This summer I had my share of highs and lows that I’d like to share with you.

I helped three powerful women from across three generations illustrate the great amount of impact and influence they have to offer others and the world. These were my highs this summer.

My lows involved the anxiety I felt as I began to move away from my comfort zone and into a whole new realm – thought leadership. This terminology does not sit well with everyone, I know, and this realization is where many of my hesitancies stemmed from. However, what I’ve come to realize is you can assign whatever terminology you like, but the importance still stands. If you want to get ahead in any desired field for any reason you must have some influence. This is being a thought leader, an influencer, whatever you feel comfortable calling it.

I came to terms with a great deal this summer and as we move into Fall I am confidently moving in the direction I had been temporarily set back from. I’ve been getting a tremendous amount of wonderful feedback on my article, “If You Stopped Sharing Your Voice Tomorrow What Would the World Be Missing?”, and I would love for you to read it and share your thoughts as well.


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