Combine the ‘Share Economy’ with Word of Mouth to Create Success!.

An article in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal prompted this blog. I’m always searching for innovative ways for DIY musicians to grow their fan base. I’ve said it before and I’ll say again and again: the internet has created unprecedented opportunities for all entrepreneurs whether you’re a merchandiser, an artist, a chef, a homeowner, a sculptor…as long as you’ve got something the public consumes, there’s a broader audience to be reached than ever before.

Today I read about four businesses whose models depend solely on internet interaction and the needs of like-minded people: Feastly, Airbnb, Blablacar, and Dogvacay. Feastly is a site for people in various cities that love cooking and sharing food with others. The cook posts their menus (time, place, etc.) and responders dine in the chef’s home for a fee. It’s a great way for people who are interested in particular foods to meet and sample new culinary offerings. Airbnb is a space you can list or find a room/apt., etc. for rent, often times for much less than a hotel stay. I was super impressed with the offerings on this site. There are some unique places here that otherwise could not be found by the general public. I’m going to use this site the next time I travel to a major city! Dogvacay is a place to find a sitter for your dog as opposed to boarding them at a kennel and Blablacar is a place for people who want to share transportation costs to get together: virtual carpool planning for all sorts of occasions…you’d be surprised!

So this new ‘share economy’ as it’s being called sparked a new idea. What if DIY’ers combined the house party concept with the share economy concept to increase their fanbase. It would work something like this:
Musicians and artists hold ‘a music share’ in their homes. Artists invite other artists in the same genre to share their music, beats, etc. in front of an audience in your home. For example: You invite 5 people in your genre to perform at a music share (of course include yourself). Each performer would bring 2 friends (or however many your space can hold). You have 5 artists and 10 guests = 15 people that have never been exposed to your music in a friendly (face to face is best!), free environment that are exposed to your music. Other artists will be eager to respond in hopes of gaining new fans of their own. It’s a win-win.

But wait…there’s much more. Let’s assume that you have samples of your music to give away, perhaps 2 CD’s to each guest so they have one to give to friends. And of course, you’d have business cards and info about upcoming performances, etc. This is a fabulous opportunity to meet and interact with potential fans on a level that can’t be reproduced anywhere else. Now let’s say that you do this on a regular basis…let’s say once a week. Every week you are exposing yourself to 15 new fans (using our example above). In the course of a year, that’s 780 potential new fans. Let’s say you do it twice a month and double your audience capacity each time or once a month and triple it…it’s up to you. Then all of these folks will join your email newsletter list, join you on Facebook, Twitter, etc. but the best part is: you’ve created a reason for people to talk about you and spread the word about your cool new sound. WORD OF MOUTH is still the most effective way to create new fans. In the age of digital overload, especially in music, the importance of face to face interaction with fans cannot be overstated. The music share model can also lead to collaborations between artists. You could hold a music share to bring lyricists together with composers…vocalists together with beat makers…the possibilities are limitless.

The downside to this is that there isn’t a website dedicated to a music share…hopefully this will resolve itself soon. In the meantime, it’s vital that you expand your social media presence so you can invite various artists to participate in a music share through Facebook invitations, etc. When creating an invite for a music share, make sure you only invite the number of musicians/artists you can accommodate. For each music share you have, you’ll invite completely new artists. But remember to keep these artists in your genre! If you’re a country performer, you may not gain new fans by inviting metal artists to your music share.

If you need help conducting a music share – let’s setup a consultation. The price of a music share is free and the benefits could be priceless! Share your experiences with me – I’d love to hear about them. And don’t forget – take lots of pics and viddy at your music shares to post on your social media sites! Your new fans will be excited to ‘share’ their experience with friends. Pics and viddy rule social media, don’t forget them 

Music Marketing and Branding: All Careers in the Music Industry Need Effective Branding!

Congratulations! You’ve chosen an exciting career in the music industry – you’re in the right place at the right time! The music industry is thriving, despite the woes of the major record labels, never before has so much opportunity presented itself to music and its related industries. Our chosen field is wide open whether you are:

• A solo artist, full band, DJ, singer/songwriter, producer, composer, musician, promoter, venue manager, beat maker, agent, A & R, recording engineer, acoustician, publisher, photographer, attorney, record label owner, manager, or a combination of many of these talents and skills.

So where’s all this new opportunity coming from? It’s simple: the internet. Anyone can showcase their products or services on multiple sites that can be viewed by thousands – that’s the good news. The bad news is: Anyone can showcase their products or services on multiple sites that can be viewed by thousands – sounds a lot like the good news doesn’t it….that’s because they’re one and the same. If anyone can showcase products and services online it vastly increases opportunity and competition in all areas of our industry.

YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE MUST STAND OUT FROM THE HERD! PERIOD!

Quintron and Miss Pussy Cat know their target audience and market very effectively. Unique and memorable – check out their site: http://www.quintronandmisspussycat.com/index.html

• In order to stand out, your ‘brand’ must be unique and memorable. What’s a brand? Simple: It’s everything you do that tells your specific audience who you are and what they can expect from you! Your ‘brand’ is much more comprehensive than just a recognizable logo. It includes all aspects of ‘design’ from the clothes you wear (which should reflect the audience you’re appealing to), the design/look/feel of your website (and all other online sites), merchandise, videos, marketing materials (including emails), stage performances and communication style. YOU ARE YOUR BRAND! Your logo should also reflect what you want to convey to your audience. Some popular images used in logos that convey a certain brand immediately include (and certainly aren’t limited to) skulls, eagle wings, hearts, guitars, lightning bolts, dollar signs, headphones, microphones and many more. Certain colors also belong to certain genres, for example: black/white/red/silver belongs to any audience that appeals predominantly to males. Other considerations: Are you value oriented, experienced, fun-loving, irreverent, trend-setting, traditional, etc.? Consider your genre and audience; combine that with the personality of your product or service to create your ‘brand’.

• Consider This: A young, fun-loving, all-American-girl-next-door, female pop star would brand herself very differently from a flirting-with-disaster, edgy, socially irreverent, in-your-face punk rocker or urban artist. Their marketing, merchandising, performance styles, and online presence would tell you right away who they are and what you can expect from them.

• And this: a less experienced, value oriented recording engineer, producer or studio owner would market themselves differently from ones whose branding efforts reflect years of expertise, high end recording equipment and superior engineers. Remember: your brand should let your audience know what to expect from you! If you brand yourself as an expert, tops-in-your-field entity and charge your clients accordingly… they’ll expect the highest quality. If you can’t deliver what you’re claiming…claim something else! Remember – there’s room for everyone. There are just as many (if not more) people looking for value rather than the high dollar price tag that comes with tops-in the-field. Word of mouth can either be your best friend or your worst enemy – you decide!

Need help developing a unique and memorable brand? Consider the following:

• This publication forces you to pinpoint your target audience and develop an effective branding strategy: Indie Marketing Power by Peter Spellman. Available on Amazon at http://amzn.to/Rs6uFJ While there are numerous publications out there that are extremely useful, I like Spellman’s comprehensive approach to marketing and branding. It’s a read you won’t regret. I use it my marketing class at Houston Community College and response from students has been overwhelmingly positive.

• Take a college course dedicated to music marketing. The music industry has grown so tremendously that music marketing classes are broadly available, especially if you live in or near a music oriented city like Atlanta, Miami, Los Angeles, NYC, Houston, Nashville, etc. I’m also a professor of music business studies at Houston Community College where we have a thriving music business program (we also offer certificates and Associate degrees in music business). Among other courses, I teach music marketing in Spring and Fall. Follow this link to sign up for my music marketing/merchandising course for the Spring 2013 semester at the Spring Branch Campus of HCC: http://bit.ly/VrwGyf Please email me if you have any difficulty registering: jen@jenthemusicmaven.com

• Schedule a consultation with me! Don’t have time for a college course or to read an entire book before you get started? Schedule a consultation with me and I’ll design a unique and memorable branding strategy just for you. Throughout the month of January, anyone who is on my newsletter list gets consultations for half-price ($25). Consultations last at least an hour and can be conducted in person, phone, or Skype. Students always receive consultations at half price! Sign up for my newsletter list here: http://jenthemusicmaven.com/contact
2013 is here!

Don’t delay success – Opportunity is everywhere!