A Musicians Playlist to Marketing

I have an enormous wooden wardrobe trunk that wouldn’t have been out of place on the Titanic teeming with the artifacts of my many, MANY teenage musical labors that I like to wheel out from time to time. The fun of rummaging through this hefty time capsule isn’t just to reminisce but to admire the creativity & tenacity of my younger self. We didn’t have Social Networking, or at least as it’s currently defined, so our promotional tools of the trade were the Xerox machines of our High School libraries, some crudely overdubbed cassettes & our parents gas tanks. With the drive of young political aspires we spent countless hours pacing the mall & VFW halls plastering flyers & pleading for listens; It was tedious, time consuming and didn’t always pay off, but one couldn’t help but at least commend the effort.

A lot has certainly changed since then. The vastness and importance of the resources available to the modern musician cannot be understated, but the game continues to evolve at break-neck velocity & can become a bit overwhelming to keep up on. What remains timeless are those same perseverant principles I applied as a teenager. At the end of the day the human element-the blood, sweat & tears aspect of it-goes miles in convincing your prospective audience that you’re not just hoarding likes or page hits to help bolster some tally but sincerely appreciate their support and recognize that…ultimately…your relevance kinda sorta rests in their hands.

It takes more than just uploading music online to become well know online. You need inspiration, strategy, an image and a relationship with your fans. Somewhere along the way, you also need to make some money! Find out if you have what it takes to make it big on the internet.

Here are the 3 I’ve personally found the most effective-


1.) The days of enigmatic rock lure have been trounced by the Wikipedia age, It’s time to open the curtains & give your fans a look inside your world. Instead of treating your Facebook or Twitter account like an automated ad machine, post about your life (within reason of course) or the things that really strike your interests. Respond to personal messages & start a rapport with them; Who knows, you might even make a friend out of it! What’s important is that operative term I used earlier: Staying relatable.

2.) Incentives, Incentives, Incentives! We live in a fairly fickle climate where a fans tastes can change like the tides, so remind them of how much you appreciate THEM by offering the occasional free download or exclusive content. You don’t have to give away the kitchen sink but keep them not only excited about you as an artist by what other surprises they have waiting for them down the pike.

3.) As long as there have been bands with a product to peddle, there have been street teams to help spread the word like gospel. Applying tips 1 & 2, hit your online outlets and gather an army of your devotees to hit those venues & sticker up some lamp posts right along with you in exchange for some exclusive swag, free downloads or whatever you’re willing to provide to sweeten the deal. This is one scenario where too many cooks in the kitchen actually work to benefit it. Encourage them to be creative, and to use THEIR social network to really feed the spark that’s going to ignite your reputation.

While no marketing technique in business is entirely fail-safe, I can promise you’ll find more often than not that applying these common sense principles to your promotional practices will give you a unique edge in all too crowded musical field.

-Dustin James




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