Welcome to the final part of our 3-part series on how to build a comprehensive musician’s marketing plan, which is one of the most powerful things we do here as an agency. In fact, they are so powerful, we recently renamed them Musician’s Total Tuneup. In the first two articles in this series, we 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 or EP that you’ll release a year or two down the road right? …..Couldn’t be further from the truth. If you haven’t downloaded our Musician’s Marketing Plan / Total Tuneup Checklist, now would be a REALLY great time to do so.
The Constant 5: The Artist’s Ongoing Work!
Your job now during this phase of your musician’s marketing plan is to keep supplying consistent compelling content to strengthen your relationship with your fans and potential fans.
1. Keep The Music Coming! 2. Live (or Streaming) Shows 3. Ongoing Social Media 4. Merchandise 5. Making Money
1. Keep The Music Coming!
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 fanbases new music. Releasing singles and videos will keep fans engaged while they are waiting for a full-length album EP, or next single. A skill set that you need for this is to understand how to use Spotify and SoundCloud. Download my Ultimate Guide to Streaming to brush up on the most effective ways to get the music out there. Remember, you’re not limited to just releasing original new tracks.
Create alternate versions of your studio tracks:
Get a DJ to remix one of your songs. This does not have to be a famous DJ, someone who is familiar with what is trending on Hype M (if that is a goal), or has worked with an artist you love. If you’re interested in holding a remix contest you should contact the folks over at Indaba Music. They put together some great remix campaigns.
Or 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 it provides fun content to share with your fans. You can cover artists that inspire you, or similar sounding artists to further entrench yourself within your genre. Don’t box yourself in though. Covering a song outside of your genre can be a great way to tap into a whole new fan base. 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 Easy Song Licensing who will get the license for a small fee per song on top of the mechanical license fee.
2. Play Live (or Stream) Shows
Continue to tour, hitting the same markets that you played while supporting the new album to build on the momentum that has been made. There are financial limitations though on how often you can tour and you more than likely won’t be able to tour to every market where you have some fans.
Live streaming is a great solution to these limitations. You can use a company like Stageit or Concert Window to broadcast a weekly or monthly show from the comfort of your home or rehearsal space. Be sure to make a Facebook invite with all the details and send to your fans, post on Twitter, and let everyone on your mailing list know when to tune in. Streaming a show is also a great way to interact with your fans on a more personal and direct level.
Keeping the shows fresh and different will help with increasing viewership from show-to-show:
Play a game at the end of the performance or midway through using the chat feature. Trivia would be very easy game to pull off, where people could win merch or any other prizes that you can get your hands on.
Play new cover songs each week, better yet, ask people what covers you should play for the next week. Post the question on Your Facebook Page or on Instagram as a tile. The song suggestion that gets the most likes or comments will be the one(s) you cover.
Have guest performers join you. It’s a great way to add a new element to the live stream while cross promoting to each other’s fans at the same time.
3. Ongoing Social Media
Pay attention to your social channels and post often. Please see parts 1 and 2 of this article to deep dive and keep your Facebook Page, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Blog, or whatever your favorite social media channels are alive and active.
Don’t be a jerk and expect others to come to you – follow people and make friends. If you are not interested in them they shouldn’t be interested in you (it’s a 2-way street). To brush up all of your socials efficiently download my book Social Media Tuneup and get started!
Please avoid this costly mistake: You do NOT need to create merch until you have a fanbase who will buy merch and a sense of what they want to buy.
Merch has become very sophisticated over the last few years, there is no need to order a bunch of T-shirts (unless of course, your fans like to roll that way!)
Our three favorite Merch ideas are
USB Flash Drives – Different kind of merch item to sell that you can load up with music, pictures, videos, lyrics, sheet music, etc.
Vinyl – Is hot right now. According to a recent Guardian article: “sales of vinyl in 2016 reached a 25-year high as consumers young and old have once again embraced physical formats of music.” Make sure you keep the fact that ordering can take months and make sure you are prepared to mail it out and carry it to shows (it’s heavy!)
DIY Craft Items – We also love the idea of creating unique DIY items as a vehicle of selling your music, our client Mary Jennings sells bolo ties at her shows and in her Etsy store when she’s not on the road. We loved hanging out with her and watching her fans try on ties after her set.
Michele Enoch wrote this fabulous guest post on youbloom – The Ultimate Independent Musician Guide to Merchandise and it’s jam-packed with fabulous links and unique idea.
5. Making Money
You want to be considered an artist and not a hobbyist, right? So making money is key to your ongoing strategy. As you’ll see in your Music Marketing Plan Checklist, there are dozens of ways to make money- but you have to be smart about it.
Crowdfunding – This is a great way to fund an album, a tour or a big idea and by the time your campaign ends, your contributors are invested in both the idea and the journey, increasing their loyalty levels to “super fan” status. However you must keep in mind that the average crowdfunding campaign raises $7,000, according to fundable, and it takes dedication and perseverance to pull off successfully.
Also – no crowd, no crowdfunding, so make sure you have a real dedicated fan base before you try this. In order to raise $5,000, you would need around 250 backers who would give an average of $20 each. In order to raise $10,000, you would need around 500 backers, who would, again, give an average of $20 each.
Ariel wrote a whole book on Crowdfunding called Crowdstart, that will walk you step-by-step through your entire campaign, and it comes with amazing done for you bonuses!
Experiences – Backstage meet and greets, private Skype sessions, and dinner with the band before a show are all possibilities and you don’t need to run a crowdfunding campaign to sell experiences. Many indie and major label artists are taking advantage of them.
Subscriptions – is another area that artists are moving towards, where people sign up to receive music via Bandcamp or support the creation of videos through Patreon. Just because people don’t buy CD’s much anymore and even downloads are in a decline, people are willing to support artists, you just need to give them the platform to do so and interesting items and experiences to offer.
So there you have it!
This 3-part series is a LOT and we know it, but we hope that you find it extremely helpful.
Now that you have read the final part of this 3-part series, Download our checksheet to see what you have left to check off or still need to prepare…
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