Meanwhile, Back at the Corporate Office
switch gears and consider how major labels market
themselves. They select and promote acts that they feel
have the potential to appeal to 10 or more of those same
1,000 people. Then the labels spend millions of dollars
in what I call shotgun advertising. They spray their
marketing message over a targeted chunk of the
population (which often amounts to many millions of
people), knowing well that only a small percentage will
be interested enough to respond and become fans.
Sometimes, this widespread tactic works well enough to
sell lots of CDs and concert tickets -- but it's very
independent artist, you can't afford that type of
marketing campaign. But you know those potential fans
are out there, and you know that you can be successful
by connecting with far fewer people than a major label
requires. It's just that your ideal fans haven't found
out about you yet -- and you're not quite sure how to
a frustrated musician to do?
answer: You must find creative, low-cost ways to go
directly to those one-in-a-thousand fans. Don't waste
your time and money promoting yourself to people who
will most likely never embrace your music.
Here are four steps to take to reach new
1. Define Your Distinct Musical Identity
must have a firm grasp on what your music is about. And
you must be able to define it clearly and quickly. What
are your strongest musical traits? What sets you apart
from other acts? What attitude or social statement do
you make? Being a generic rock, pop or hip-hop act won't
cut it. Dig deeper and discover your unique identity.
When you do finally reach some of those rare potential
fans, don't lose them by not being clear about who you
2. Describe Your Ideal Fan
you have a handle on who you are musically, it's time to
paint a clear picture of your ideal fan. Can you
articulate how your fans dress, where they work, what TV
shows they watch, what they do for fun and who their
favorite cultural heroes are? Observe the types of
people who come to see you perform and note what they
have in common? Knowing precisely who your fans are will
dictate what avenues you use to reach them and how you
communicate your message once you do reach them.
3. List Ways of Getting Access to Your
you know exactly what type of music fan you're going
after, start making a list of the various resources
these specific people are attracted to. What magazines
and newspapers do they read? Where do they hang out?
What radio stations do they listen to? What retail
outlets do they frequent? What web sites do they surf
to? What e-mail newsletters do they subscribe to? For
example, if your fans are mostly Harley riders, go to a
search engine like Google and start entering keywords
related to motorcycles. Evaluate the search results and
compile a list of the many good sources you uncover.
4. Network and Promote Your Music
Armed with this targeted list of contacts, get
busy! Send e-mail press releases to niche media outlets.
Contact the webmasters and editors of appropriate publications. Post messages in
specialized forums. Visit and interact via the web sites
of similar-sounding bands. Contact organizations and
charities related to your musical niche.
short, go to where your ideal fans are. And market
yourself through these outlets relentlessly. Why waste
time and money trying to promote to everyone ... when
you can save money and be far more effective by going
directly to those valuable one-in-a-thousand fans?