Making a Scene Presents Marketing to the New Music Consumer!
On September 9 1957 Elvis appeared on the Ed Sullivan show and a marketing phenomena was born. What followed was a blitz of TV shows, Movies, Fan Magazines and merchandise that propelled this memphis truck driver to become the King of Rock. The image machine Col. Tom Parker was able to create still reverberates today. It was duplicated several times over propelling artists like The Beatles, David Cassidy, The Monkees, and so many more, to what seemed like instant Pop stardom! Fan Magazines were not only big money makers for the publishers but were the lifeblood of the Pop Teen Heartthrob Making Machine.
The formula was simple, flood the market with both professional produced Recordings, movies and TV performances combined with what seemed t
Today the fan magazines have been replaced with Blogs, the TV Shows appearances with Youtube and Facebook Live. This is not to say getting on the cover or Rolling Stone or on one of the Late Night TV Shows won’t help you boost your career. Just the way you can get there can be a bit easier if you understand the new consumer and how to market to them.
Before we get started let’s get something out of the way. The “Job” of Musician is to perform and tour! If your business plan does not have this as the central part of your route to success, you are not being realistic in your goals.
The new music consumer is not purchasing their music in the traditional way anymore. The CD is for all intensive purposes a dying format, and as streaming services become larger, downloads are not far behind. This leaves the indie artist with a gap in their potential income stream. Your goal should now be to convert that passive Spotify playlist listener to active Fan who will show up at your show. The more fans that show up at your shows the faster you can advance through the ranks of the type of events you perform at.
Door Gig = Usually a bar gig where there is a cover charge at the door and the band or bands take a portion of the money as their pay or they get a guarantee and the venue recoups that cost at the door.
Soft Ticket = This is a ticketed event that the ticket sale cannot be tied to any one artist. Much like a festival ticket where there are multiple artists on the bill and the ticket represents a show rather than a single artist
Hard Ticket = This is an artist specific ticketed event where the ticket sales can be attributed to a single artist.
Most musicians start their career at your basic bar type gigs that depend on the Door. If an artist is lucky they get to move to Soft ticket events like festivals and move from an early afternoon act to getting a slot in the evening just before the Headliner. The headliner is more than likely an artist that has moved to Hard Ticket events. Your Business plan should concentrate on moving you away from those bar/door gigs to the hard ticketed events. This is the level that booking agents for those late night TV shows and writers for those big magazines look for. This all depends on you motivating that passive listener to becoming an active fan and attending your show, and then keeping those fans coming back for more.
The Content Game
Let’s face it we are in a new era where social media is in control of our daily lives! Our government policy is being created in 127 characters on Twitter and people are spending endless hours scrolling through videos of cute cats, dogs and kids. You walk down any street and you can see people glued to the screens on their phones. There is a constant thirst for “Content”! I don’t point this out to lament for the good ole days, but more to make a poignant observation of the realities we now exist in. The bottom line is CONTENT IS KING!
Like the formula that was used in those early days, you need to mix professional looking content with the content that appears to crack the door to your world behind the scenes. You need to create an image that when people see that you have a show in their area, that they feel close enough to you and your music that they have to see your in person. They should have the feeling that they are going to see someone who they perceive as having a level of Fame. It’s not how big you are, but how big your Content Marketing Plan has made you look. When you have mastered the art of the content game, then you have mastered the art of converting the passive listener to active fan.
Video is one of the most powerful and effect ways to communicate with your fans and it is a great way to create and maintain your image. The Days where you needed to own expensive video equipment or spend years learning complex editing software to create great video content are over! Right now, You have a complete video production suite in your pocket! Today’s Phones and Tablets have the ability to not only record HD and 4K Video, they also have apps that allow you to edit that video into professional looking content. See: Creating a Music Video on A Budget John Pagano Band Creates a Music Video on Just an IPHONE! John Pagano Band edits a Video with an IPHONE App
NOTE: The Secret to Good Video is “GOOD AUDIO”! Invest in a decent mic for your smart phone if you intend on using that to record your audio.
The idea is to create “Good” content, the kind of content that people want to see. You need good professional looking music videos and some good behind the scenes type videos that bring your fans into your world. No matter what content you put out there, make sure it is always in line with the image you want your fans to have of you.
CAUTION!! Don’t sit in your living room and subject people to some endless solo on guitar and expect people to “stay tuned”.
Youtube, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Facebook live are great tools to publish your video content and engage your fans, draw in new fans AND if you are lucky, open new opportunities.
CASE STUDY – LARKIN POE
Larkin Poe began an experiment using facebook by creating videos of them performing different covers songs and putting their own spin on it. The Video Below outlines one of the successes they achieved using this method. In this video they tell the story of how this helped them get on tour with Bob Seger!
Case Study – Jackie Venson
I have been following Jackie Venson for the last 4 years. Just do a search on Youtube for her and see for yourself how to use video effectively!
CASE STUDY – JOHN PAGANO BAND
The John Pagano band has been at the forefront of creating Video content using the tools at hand. The video Below was shot with just an IPHONE 7. We are not talking brand new state of the art IPHONE here, this was an older IPHONE 7!
As we talked about earlier, we are dealing with a new reality for the indie artist today. The new music consumer is not buying music like consumers of the past did. They are creating playlists of their favorite music, that is not based on artists or genre, but on how it fits in the soundtrack of their lives. Their workout playlist, their driving playlist, etc. The reality is we live in a world where the consumer expects instant gratification. If they cannot find you on Spotify or worst yet, they find you on Spotify and you have only one or two songs available, they are going to move on and forget you!
The days of whether streaming services pay enough or not are pretty much over in terms of the indie artist. This is not to say the argument about getting fair pay for your work is over, but the value of the services like Spotify in terms of gaining new fans far outweigh the monies received. The new consumer now expects and demands this new technology and pandora’s box has been opened and there is no going back. It’s time you evaluate how you can best use this new technology to your advantage.
If you are going to release a single, make sure it is in support of a FULL Release available on Spotify. If you are getting reviews of your release, DON’T wait till your release date to have you music available on Spotify. If they read the review and want to hear the music for themselves and they don’t find it. They are going to move on and quickly forget you. There is too much out there for you to lose the opportunity to gain a new fan. Release dates are good to concentrate airplay for the radio charts, but they serve little purpose beyond that. (See Understanding the New Music Consumer)
SOCIAL MEDIA AND YOUR FANS
I should not have to tell you to promote all your shows and tours on all the social media platforms. Putting up tour posters, back stage videos and pictures and fan pictures of your performance. Hold contests for free band merchandise or tickets to the next show for your fans for the best performance pictures or footage. Create a hashtag for your fans to use when they post their pictures and videos and promote that hashtag at your shows! This is a great way to engage your fans and in turn their social media friends will also see all the fun they are having at your shows and want to be part of it.
As any touring artist will tell you, there are endless hours of sitting in the van driving from gig to gig. This is a great time to work your social media. Answer your fan questions, Like pictures and videos and engage with your fans. Create a video thanking the fans from the last show for being a great audience and post it on the venues facebook page or tag them on your social media post. Create a video announcing the next show you are doing and invite those local fans to come on down and have some fun with you! This is a much better use of your time on the road then sleeping or staring out the window.
If you are going to play the Content Game you need to remember 4 things.
- Create GOOD Content – Take time to create good content that portrays you as both a “professional musician” and also gives a view inside the world of a “professional musician”.
- Post consistent Content – the new consumer has an insatiable appetite for content, you need to be consistent and reliable in delivering good content to them.
- Engage with your fans – Social media gives you the ability to create personal connections and engage with your fans. Fans that feel they have a personal connection with you are your best ambassadors.
- Make your Art Available – The first thing someone does today when they hear about a new artist is to search spotify or google. Make sure your Spotify profile has all your newest music and your website has all the up to date information needed for a new fan to explore you, your music and where they can see you live.