Don’t you just love when you go online and in trying to collect data about your fans and new Spotify streams you’re shortly after engulfed with marketing ads and free webinar links that promise you the moon? Rookies make the mistake of falling for this and realize down the line that it was a setup for a hefty monthly cost. Well, even if there was SOME valuable info in those marketing and advertising classes, there’s a fat chance it won’t work for you, the musician. Here are the 5 reasons why standardized marketing is not the way to go for an independent artist.
5. Music is subjective and every single artist’s audience is unique.
Selling music is NOT the same as selling cars or house appliances. You’re selling value that is not tangible and it takes extremely well-informed and experienced individuals to help you with such a task. A music artist is in the business of selling emotions. Therefore, if you’re selling happy vibes, your audience will inherently be different than the fans of someone who sings about heartbreak and solitude. Audiences also differ in genre preference, age, location, and last but not least job status. Rapping about Lamborghinis to an unemployed crowd will fall on deaf ears and you’ll be deemed as insensible.
4. Your foundation has to be covered before any marketing effort is put in.
More artists than would like to admit, are NOT ready for marketing campaigns and advertisement. Do you have your music quality on par with the industry standards? How about your unique look? Your brand statement, biography, and website? If your online presence is not custom-tailored to the most minute details to represent you and your music, marketing will bring little to no value to you. So realistically assess what point you’re at in your career before you spend money on marketing books or courses.
3. Your location matters more than anyone tells you.
You’re not an Amazon warehouse to ship your products worldwide. Especially in pandemic conditions, artistic efforts are very much focused on the local community. Accordingly, due to travel limitations and poor economic premises all around the world, your music and promotion should be concentrated on your own city, state, and country. Even brands and sponsors now can’t freely ship their products as they used to. Imagine a company thinking you’re in Denmark only to find out you’re in North Dakota and all your potential endorsement deals never materialize. Ignorant marketing agencies will tell you that as long as you have an internet connection, they will help you tremendously and you will gain X amount of fans. Uhm… sure but when are those fans going to turn into a stable income source if I don’t live anywhere near those fans and they can’t ever see me in person? And obviously, every country has dealt with the entertainment industry on different levels and with different approaches. Over here in Italy, the entertainment industry is very much dead for two years now whereas in Texas, US, for example, the majority of clubs and concert venues have opened up and artists are back to a reduced normality. Know your reality and don’t let a marketer from Australia tell you how to conduct your music career over in Africa. You know BETTER than anyone else in this world what circumstances you’re in.
2. Innovation and risk are needed to break through.
Marketers mostly conduct themselves and their business after tried and tested methods amongst the most popular companies so they try to replicate what worked for mainstream success. However, that is NOT how you break through as a musician. Looking back at any artist’s path, you will easily note how not two stories are similar. And neither are the biggest companies in the world similar to each other. You have to bring something absolutely unique to the table to make a difference in your life and those around you. And that unique something has to be marketed in an equally original way to grab everyone’s attention. Can a book with already-tried out methods help you? No.
1. Your strengths and weaknesses are unique to your life experience and social status.
A successful music career is heavily intertwined with who you are as a person. Build too much of a fake personality and you won’t be able to support your marketing efforts in the long run. Be too comfortable with your current state and your brand might never take off. While we do encourage you to test out different marketing tactics, never put all of your eggs in one basket. Don’t think for example that if you shell most of your marketing budget on influencers dancing to your song on TikTok you will blow up. It seldom happens on independent budgets. Plus, you might already be a very talented dancer yourself. In that case, you are better off putting a choreography together yourself and paying TikTok directly to promote your video. Unless they’re working one-on-one with you, a marketing guru can’t advise you on how to best approach a successful music release.
If you read this far, please like and stream the following playlist to support our top 50 favorite independent artists who are putting in arduous work to make their careers happen. Thank you.