You may choose to agree or disagree with the following article but there is no denying it. The world,through advances in information technology and telecommunications, is rapidly getting smaller and more digitally integrated. As musicians and producers we have to be aware that the former model of the record company – dictating what music is marketable – is dead. In fact the ‘record company’ is now a cog in the machine of the conglomerate entertainment industry. An artist’s image (and unfortunately not necessarily the music) may be considered to have more ‘market value’ by the mainstream entertainment industry if it can be easily sold and duplicated across a wide range of media (videos, CD’s, DVD’s, reality TV, commercials, merchandising and other cross-marketing campaigns). With the advent of the internet and the World Wide Web, entertainment companies found other means to reduce marketing and distribution costs …. so why can’t we also use this tool?
The internet can be great for marketing. So much so that producers, musicians, singers and other artists worldwide who may be unsigned or belong to an independent label have an amazing opportunity to market themselves and as the world becomes more digitally connected the opportunity to expose our talents, music and culture also grows. We have something to offer of great value.
As anyone who is serious about starting and maintaining a business knows, marketing is everything. It is how you keep your current and prospective clientele informed of what you can offer. You should in fact know, and build, your audience. Who are you marketing yourself to? Are you an entertainer who is trying to increase your fan base? Are you a production company looking for prospective clientele? What is special about you or your company that people SHOULD know about? With the internet, geographical boundaries are erased and the potential for reaching and expanding your niche market are enormous.
For example, I am a big fan of using established social networking sites like Reverbnation, Linkedin, Youtube, Issuu and Twitter to guide prospective clients to my company LANCAST Ltd. With these networks I can also inform the people what my company has done and also display pictures, music and videos that were created by my company. This may seem like a lot of work but in fact it is very easy to do even if you are not that internet savvy. In reality, setting up and maintaining most of these accounts is as easy as creating your own email address. You can make some very interesting connections that way, for example I completed a song for a client living in Japan. He created the lyrics and I created the music. We scanned and emailed all the legal papers to each other online as well and now he is very happy with the finished song.
I would advise too that if you have an official website keep it as attractive as possible without excess clutter and link your social networking sites to your website. You can have a great website but nobody will know who you are unless you market yourself. Also, who you have on your network is also very important. Depending on the nature of your business you can have your network consisting mainly of industry professionals or fans. For my purposes since I am running an independent production company, my network mainly consist of people in the industry which has worked out quite well for me. Also, other people in the music/video/entertainment industries look at my network and request to join.
Here are some other suggestions:
Create and constantly update an email mailing list and, if possible, make and distribute an electronic newsletter that keeps your current and potential clients / fans up to date with what you are doing. Gmail, Yahoo Mail and other email accounts have a feature called signatures. You can change the settings in your email account to have the signature promote your company every time you send an email.
With the improvements in computer usage and more accessible software, I would encourage more people to become entrepreneurs. The truth is there are more than enough people out there for us to find our niche market and to provide the services they need.
Always remember …you are responsible for your own self promotion. You are your own brand. Be diligent, be persistent and you will succeed. Go on, market yourself. You will be amazed at who is out there that you never knew about.